2 Quick Knit Cowls I’m in Love With

Two cowls laid on a grey table cloth. One is grey with blue and green flecks, the other is striped fushia, purple and teal.

Since becoming a brand ambassador for Wonderland Yarns, my role has shifted from promotional to primarily sample knitting. This has been a welcomed shift because they send me yarn and patterns and I knit them, meaning that I’m starting to work with colors I don’t normally reach for and patterns I don’t have to worry about who to gift the finished garment to. To make a joke out of it, it’s the all-inclusive vacation version of knitting: maximum fun without having to spend hours and hours looking for the perfect project and yarn combination every time. (To be clear, I do still do that! This just means I have a project on my needles while taking the time to figure it out that offers a little more spice.)

The first cowl I worked up and want to make several more of is the Pub Crawl Cowl. Worked up using Alice DK in the colorway Fireflies, this pattern allows the yarn to do most of the talking while throwing in a few purl rows to keep things interesting. Having never worked with Alice DK before, my first observation was the soft sheen and vibrant colors provided by the silk blend, my second quickly became the gorgeous drape. Also, I’m not usually drawn to speckled yarns, but this colorway changed my tune. The subtle flecks of color evenly distributed across each stitch creates a gorgeous fabric. I can’t help but wonder if there is a pullover I can knit up and enjoy during cooler summer nights.

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to wear something with stripes (other than socks!), enter the Parfait Cowl knit up in Mad Hatter (thankfully they sell mini-skein kits for those of us who aren’t as confident in selecting colors). The rich colors are a perfect accent to anyone’s dark winter wardrobe. Mad Hatter is quickly becoming one of my go-to yarns.

Both cowls took 2-3 days to work up and required little pattern referencing, perfect for a last-minute gift or a long car ride. Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts or on yarn clubs) :]

Navy Homestead Button Flap Hat

Close-up of a navy knit hat with a large yellow button holding the top flap down.

There is nothing better than visiting a yarn shop and wandering aimlessly through the shelves in order to find your next treasure. Well, nothing better than wandering said yarn shop with my husband. Though he’s not a knitter, you will not find a non-knitter who is more excited to engage in the community. So when we visited The Elegant Ewe in Concord before our daughter was born, I found myself laughing as he selected his own sock yarn and fell in love with a hat design before begging me to knit it for him.

The Homestead Button Flap Hat is not a garment that I would make for myself, nor is it a garment I would expect him to wear on a regular basis. That being said, I can remember the moment his eyes spotted the shop sample vividly. To say they lit up like a kid in a candy shop for the first time would be an understatement. In fact, it was one of those moments where I would have knit him the object no matter what it was (well almost no matter what it was).

The hat itself is a free pattern designed with Plymouth Yarn’s Homestead in mind. Hubs selected a navy tweed in the yarn line and we took home a printout offered by the yarn store. It took me about 5 days to complete the project, but I probably could have cranked it out in a day or two if I had really set my mind to it.

Once the giant yellow button was attached, this hat became a winter staple. Hubs even packed it in his hospital bag because he wanted to meet our daughter in it! I’m not sure I would make this pattern again unless asked, but I highly recommend it if you’re looking to make a hat with a different construction.

End of the Tic Tac Toe Sweater KAL

Two Tac Tac Toe sweaters folded in half and laid side by side so that they form a complete sweater.

Thank you to everyone who downloaded the Tic Tac Toe sweater this past month! I’m so excited by the number of pattern downloads and can’t wait to see how different people continue to have different takes on working it up. If you haven’t grabbed the sweater for free yet, you have until this Friday with code three in a row, after that the pattern will be full price.

Grab the pattern on Ravelry.

May 2022 Bookclub: The Turn of the Key

Cover art for The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware.

The Turn of the Key drew me in within two or three paragraphs and quickly became a stressful book that I couldn’t put down. I genuinely enjoyed the way that Ruth Ware started (and then proceeded to tell) the story as if Rowan (Rachael?!) was writing a letter to a lawyer in hopes of getting her side of the story out. It reminded me of reading Amanda Knox’s memoir where you want to believe her but also want to know what happened to her roommate that night (Note: Amanda Knox’s story is one that I’ve been following since the beginning, I’m glad she’s back in the states with her family).

One of the early images that stuck with me early on was Rowan describing how she didn’t belong in the prison, only to look in the mirror and see that she had been transformed by her environment. It was fantastic foreshadowing of how she was going to be shaped by the nannying job and provided insight that Rowan was possibly someone who could be influenced by those around her.

When I read books like this, I’m often left pondering the “real or not real” question. In other words, does Rowan actually hear someone pacing in the attic every night or was it actually a bird and her imagination? Where did the doll head actually come from? Do the little girls have the ghosts of the little girls who died speaking to them on a regular basis? If Rowan hadn’t been primed that the previous nanny’s had quit due to superstition, would she spend so much time questioning her surroundings?

Having completed the story, I can’t help but be amazed by the ending. What a little girl. What a thing to have to live with for the rest of her life. This book was fantastic and I didn’t see it coming! This begs the question, what exactly happened to Rowen. It’s clear that the letters are never sent and that they “don’t really matter” when found in the future, does that mean she’s found not guilty? Or does it mean that she kept the secret and took a life sentence?

Cover art for Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

As the weather gets warmer, I find myself itching to get out and start foraging again. In honor of wandering through the woods and learning about how plants can be used, we’ll be reading Practice Magic by Alice Hoffman for June’s book club. Since this is a movie I’ve seen a handful of times, it will be interesting if I can let go of picturing Sally as Sandra Bullock and Gillian as Nicole Kidman.

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them backβ€”almost as if by magic…

Some Ponyo Love

A pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I enthusiastically purchased 3 yards of gender-neutral patterns from Spoonflower. A yard of firefighter fabric in their organic cotton knit, a yard of kiwi bird fabric in their organic sweet pea gauze and a yard of Ponyo Fabric in petal signature cotton. Then, I enthusiastically set off to find gender-neutral patterns to work each of the fabrics up in.

For the firefighter fabric, I made a pair of easy-knit overalls. The kiwi bird fabric became a bubble romper. Ponyo, however, sat staring at me for months because I couldn’t find a gender-neutral pattern that fit what I wanted to make with it. There isn’t a good reason as to why, but for some reason, all I wanted to do was make a Flutter Pinafore Dress out of the material. Honestly, it wasn’t even that the dress had ruffles (especially when you consider that I didn’t even add ruffles!). Something about the fabric just screamed to me that it wanted to be a dress and not overalls or a romper.

So I sat on it, occasionally taking the adorable fabric out from time to time to see if I could find a pattern that excited me as much as the Flutter Pinafore Dress. Trying to decide if I should cut my losses and make the dress for a friend or if I should compromise and convert the dress into a romper. In the end, I spent a lot of time knitting and sewing other things. Allowing my mind to forget about Ponyo until about a week ago when I started to have enough energy to start thinking about being creative.

The back view of a pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

I would be lying if I said that the Flutter Pinafore Dress was not enthusiastically printed and taped together. Due to looking for alternative patterns for so long, the Ponyo fabric was going to become this little dress no matter what, it was just a matter of who was I going to make it for (and I was sort of hoping to keep this one).

Monica Bacon is a fantastic pattern writer for beginners because each step shows an image of what you’re meant to do. In true Paige fashion, I hated gathering the skirt but am happy with how it came out. The only thing I would do differently would be the addition of the elastic on the back of the dress. For starters, using 1/4 in was too small to synch the back completely (but I had so much of it leftover from making crib sheets that I couldn’t help but commit). The other thing I would do differently would be to thread the elastic through the back instead of attaching it before sewing around the waist (which is what the pattern called for). In my mind, I would have less sewing to do and less ends to clip, but in the end, attaching the elastic early lead to a finicky five minutes. I also added a decorative star stitch to the bottom of the skirt, which would have looked even cuter if I had considered the color of starfish instead of using white thread (but hey it’s still cute!).

I love this little dress and wish I had the skill set required to convert it into adult size.