Diminishing Colors Cowl

A stripped cowl of grey and blue where the striped start with one color being larger and decreasing and the other color starting smaller an increasing.

Every so often, I love a good knitting challenge. They’re such a fun way to test your skills and can sometimes lead to a high level of satisfaction. This is all to say when Wonderland Yarns reached out to see if I could crank out a sample of their Diminishing Colors Cowl in less than two weeks, I couldn’t help but agree (spoiler alert: it took about 7 days)

This cowl has seen many a baby lead weaning meal, hours of a baby crawling around and a few hours sitting in the sun watching the world go by. It’s survived being thrown when a nightmare interrupted nap time, inquisitive baby pats, and being quickly stuffed into bags for commuting. And then it was done before I really registered casting off the last stitch.

I love being a mom and one of the interesting things I’ve started to see come out of it is a sort of blink and the world around me shifts. Blink she’s rolling over. Blink she’s crawling. Blink she’s sitting up. Blink she’s trying to go up stairs. Blink blink blink. I guess I always thought that when it came to crafting I would see the world slow down a little bit due to the time it takes to knit each stitch, instead, the stitches are flowing much like time is. Blink one color was done. Blink halfway done. Blink nearly there. Blink sewing in ends. Is time still broken from 2020? Am I the only person who’s noticed this about their knits? Is it simply what happens as you get older? Questions I honestly don’t spend too much time thinking about and perhaps aren’t restricted to knitting and parenting.

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). This one was a kit if you’re interested or can be worked up with two colors of Mary Ann (my favorite base!), worked up for a trade show so I can’t speak to wearing it all the time. I will, however, be making something for our daughter out of the leftovers because you end up only using a little over half of each skein.

Grist Shawl

A purple and pink striped crochet shawl laying underneath a owl russian doll yarn bag.

I was in high school with my paternal grandmother passed away, which means that I inherited my grandmother’s crochet hooks and sewing basket at a time in my life when I wasn’t intently crafting. I wasn’t looking to learn new skills and I didn’t have regular access to craft supplies. My aunt was regularly encouraging me to knit by gifting me nice yarn and needles when my birthday rolled around and I had enjoyed sewing during home ec, but otherwise, I’m not sure why I was thought of when it came to finding a home for the crochet hooks and sewing basket filled with notions. They aren’t things I grabbed for myself with the intention of thinking of her while I used them, these things were items that someone else thought I would enjoy having.

The interesting thing is that they weren’t necessarily wrong. These hooks and sewing notions have moved from apartment to apartment with me, patiently waiting until the day I decided to take up a new craft. Sewing reentered my life when I bought a $20 vintage machine in 2018, earning the notions a permant location on my craft table. Crochet and I have a more tentative history, one where I bring the hooks out every couple years determined to actually learn how to use them. The last time I opted to try learning was back in 2016, where I made my first dish cloth, scarf and baby blanket. In 2020 I tried again, making up crocheting in the round to make a couple of coasters. Setting my sights on a few crochet projects that popped up in my instagram feed, I signed myself up for a few classes this year. Thinking perhaps 2022 would finally be the year I switch my ravelry filter from only knitting to knitting and crochet, I signed up for a few project based classes at Gather Here and one at Webs Yarn.

Grist, by Victoria Myers, was my first attempt towards this goal. It’s the first project I’ve completed using a pattern, as well as the first one I’ve attempted that manipluated increases and decreases in order to create a shawl shape.

One of the tricky things about learning something new is that you have to anticipate the project not looking perfect at the end, which means it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on nice yarn. The flip side of this, is that once you’ve worked with nice yarn, it’s hard to justify forcing yourself to work with lesser yarn. To combat this dilema, I used leftover yarn and converted the shawl into a cowl when I ran out of yarn.

The final result is a finished object I will never wear! I probably would have been better off blocking the shawl and enjoying a mini Grist than working a cowl that looks funny. Oh well, you live and you learn. At least I learned how to read a pattern and am ready to move on to more complicated crochet things :]

Geneva’s Cowl

A light and dark green textured cowl laying on a table. Slipped stitches are used to make forward and back slashes and seed stitches rows are worked with alternating colors to create subtle stripping.

One of the hardest things to do as an adult is to make friends, something that’s made even hard by living rurally. I think it has something to do with learning what you want out of life, it’s not that certain people no longer fit it’s that you need to have a certain level of things in common with them. Gone are the days where the connection of both liking blue crayons is enough, which if I’m honest is a little sad.

The flip side of this difficulty is how much you come to appreciate the friends that you do have in your life and all the little things they do for you. The “how are you text messages” take on a new meaning from the days of AIM because you know the person on the other side is ok with your honest reply.

Geneva is one of our most thoughtful friends — she’s witty, and strong and provides overly detailed instructions for reheating burritos. Rugged to withstand hours of working on the farm with her animals, with textured stitches to represent the embroidery she crafts in her spare time, this cowl was designed with her in mind.

Use two skeins of Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Tweed (one in each color) to create the single wrap shown, or grab two extra skeins to work up a double wrap. Geneva’s cowl can be found on Ravelry.

Beinstulpen im Trachtenlook: Translated into English

Toddler legwarmers knit up in a multicolored worsted weight yarn.

Last week, I mentioned that I made leg warmers for our little one using Beinstulpen im Trachtenlook which is written in German. Google translate did a pretty good job getting me some of the way there, but I did have to rely on my own experience to finish the translation. Since the pattern is free, I thought it might be worth sharing more broadly because it’s free and fun to make!

The pattern has two sizes, SM and ML, and takes ~100-120 yards of worsted weight yarn. I knit a size SM for a sie to fit someone around the 1-year mark. In terms of length, I worked 8 cable repeats and then knit 3 knit rows before casting off (~9in). There was no special reason for picking this length other than working with the goal of the leg warmers going as high up the leg as possible.

What I did:

CO 44 (48)
R1-4: [K2, P2] across
R5: [Knit the second stitch, then the first stitch, P2] across

I didn’t stagger the twists, but if you wanted to:
CO 44 (48)
R1-4: [K2, P2] across
R5: [Knit the second stitch, then the first stitch, P2, K2, P2] across
R6-9: [K2, P2] across
R10: [K2, P2, Knit the second stitch, then the first stitch, P2] across

In terms of length, I worked 8 cable repeats and then knit 3 knit rows before casting off (~9in). There was no special reason for picking this length other than working with the goal of the leg warmers going as high up the leg as possible.

Bright Red Hyphen Sweater

Red short sleeved handknit cardigan with a hyphen pattern across the yolk. Coordinating multicolored pom pom hat and cabled leg warmers  are laid on top of it.

No matter how you swing it, patroning yarn shops with my husband is different from patroning yarn shops by myself. He forces me to slow down and reminds me to take a look at the gorgeous samples that the shop owner/employees have taken the time to knit up, otherwise, I’m often someone who runs in and out to pick up yarn for a specific project (a habit developed out of necessity when working for Webs Yarn Store). In fact, if he hadn’t been there when I impulsively decided to pop into Norwich Knits I probably would have walked out empty-handed instead of with the two coordinating skeins of Malabrigo that I left with.

The initial plan was to make two short sleeved Hyphen sweaters and while it’s true that I loved working the pattern (the yoke stitches were the perfect pop of interesting), my second plan was to work up a coordinating pair of pants. Then I decided to knit the sweater in a size larger and realized that I hadn’t purchased enough yarn for the pants!

With a quick pivot, I worked up a pair of coordinating leg warmers (I’ll do a separate post on that because I translated a pattern from German and it’s worth sharing!) and a hat. So happy with the end result, right down to the red flower buttons I found.

Speaking of buttons, I used my sewing machine’s button stitch to attach the red flower buttons and I’m sold. Despite the knit fabric, they are firmly attached it took a quarter of the time. 100% recommend this technique :]