Other things I made during the 2022 “Make Good Stash Down”

This past winter, my Local Yarn Store held their second stash down knit along (KAL). The goal was simple, work through the yarn in your stash and finish projects on your needles. I actually knit most of my yarn! By the end of the KAL I only had two or three skeins left in my hatbox. During the KAL, I made (and have already mentioned) a Sorrel Mini, my Tic Tac Toe sweater, some quick knit cowls, a couple of gradient knits, and a hat for my husband. Since the KAL took place while I was patiently waiting for our little one to arrive as well as in the early days when I had to stay awake for long stretches of time, a lot more knitting took place! In addition to those projects, I also made:

Another pair of Flip-Top Mittens, this time in Blue Sky Fibers Extra. These are super handy for taking the dog out or for any day when a little extra dexterity is important. I believe this is the ninth time I’ve worked up this pattern? It’s a quick and easy gift that everyone seems to enjoy, so I’m sure it won’t be the last time I reach for the Red is Best pattern.

Socks, of course. Prior to this project, I had never worked with Urth Uneek Fingering and if I’m being honest it made for a crazy pair of socks! Part of me thinks it could have made a beautiful shawl as well, I’m thinking something that takes advantage of long color repeats. Since Hubs picked out the yarn specifically for the purpose of adding another pair of knit socks to his collection, I tried holding the yarn double when knitting the heel and toe. With any luck, this will add an extra layer of toughness and prevent holes just a little bit longer.

A baby cardigan, in Wonderland Yarns & Frabjous Fibers Mary Ann and Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok Light, held double. In my mind, I knit the larger size so that O could wear it longer… in practice, she won’t be able to wear it until the fall. Oh well!

The final project I was able to finish (just barely) was a woven scarf to match Hubs’ hat. The plaid is a little crazy, but I’m hoping the various fibers will keep him very warm next winter.

I still can’t believe how many projects I cranked out in the three-month period, and how quickly I refilled my stash when the KAL ended. My queue is long again, which is a fun place to be.

Looking to add some Wonderland Yarn to your stash? 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) :]

Gradients Galore

Yarn gradients are not a new thing, in fact, they’ve been around for years and I used to lovingly stock them when I worked for Webs Yarn Store. So why has it taken me so long to start playing around with them? I have no idea! Ever since working up Euphorbia and Mince Pie Fading Lines for my mom and designing Head in the Clouds, I’ve found myself reaching for the gradual color transitions again and again.

Bloomerang shawl knit up in a blue - fuchsia gradient being modeled by a young woman wearing a black shirt tucked into high waisted jeans.

First, came the Bloomerang Shawl knit up in Muscari, a gentle transition from blue to fuchsia (or fuchsia to blue depending on which direction you decided to work from). In my case, though the blue makes up the largest section of the shawl, it’s actually the purple-fuchsia end that speaks the loudest. I don’t often reach for boomerang-shaped shawls, something about the lack of symmetry makes it feel as if they’re going to fall off my neck during the day (they never actually do), but Bloomerang creates interesting color blocking when worn. It’s easy to enjoy the way the blue pops dramatically against the other colors when wrapped.

Solandis shawl knit in a white to blue gradient being modeled by a young woman wearing a charcoal sweater and black yoga pants.

Next came Solandis worked up in Aquilegia, whether or not you want to call this one a shawl or a cowl depends on your personal preference! I loved the simplicity that Solandis called for, each row dependably predictable and easy to put down and pick up again. My only regret for this one is that I started with the Whitish color instead of the blue, despite knowing that the starting color would take up the bulk of the showl (see what I did there?). In my mind, starting with the white would allow for the greatest contrast when worn, but now that it’s done I find myself thinking that reversing the colors would have provided more of a pop.

Ebb and Flow Arm Warmers knit in a yellow to purple gradient laid on top of each other on a gray table cloth. Each arm warmer begins with each end of the gradient and ends with the middle color.

Then came the Ebb & Flow Arm Warmers knit in Anemone, each arm warmer worked on a different end of the gradient so that the upper ends meet in the middle. Anemone is one of Wonderland Yarns’ more dramatic gradients, so the transition between the arm warmers isn’t as smooth as it could have been if knit up in one of the other colorways I worked with. Thus, the arm warmers are funky and vibrant, coordinated by pattern more than by color. I like the idea of running with them in winter, the bright colors helping cars see me on gray days. Plus, I sense they’d be comfortable on days where layering for runs is critical.

I don’t think this is the end of gradient knitting for me, if anything I’m just getting started. In terms of future projects, I’d love to make my daughter a Plumeria Mini in Jade Mar Flower (I love the way she looks in blues and have to take advantage of her lack of opinion on the matter) and I have a mini-skein set of Coal and Scuttles that’s dying to be turned into Longma’s Cowl. So there’s no “finally” to this post, “finally” would imply that I’m done working with gradient skeins – and I’m not!

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) :]

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) :]

Head in the Clouds Knitting Pattern

Head in the clouds shawl sitting on a manikin.

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself reaching for gradient yarns more and more frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I think solid or heathered colorways are still my favorite, but I think gradient colorways are giving me the space to work with more than one color without sacrificing the complexity of the project. Gradients allow you to continue to play around with texture, something I’ve been drawn to of late. This is a roundabout way of saying that when Wonderland Yarns asked me if I wanted to design a pattern for their March Blossom Club, they received an enthusiastic yes!

It took a few tries before I landed on a design that I was happy with, despite going into the design process with the idea of “head in the clouds” after seeing the colorway. My first attempt was a shawl that didn’t make it much further than casting on. Then I tried a cowl with a provisional cast on with the general goal of grafting the ends together at the end, this design didn’t make it much further than the second repeat. Third time was the charm, although I did have to put it down for an evening before committing to it. Visualizing the way a design is going to knit up and block is very difficult – even making a gauge swatch leaves a lot left to the imagination when it comes to what the larger garment will look like. There’s this delicate balance between creating from an idea and calling the project when it’s clear that it’s not working out the way that you intended it to.

Head in the Clouds is a quick knit cowl, despite being knit in fingering weight yarn, with a textured design meant to remind the wearer of birds migrating and puffy clouds in the sky. Guage is not important for this pattern, but not knitting the cowl to gauge will affect yardage requirements (and Head in the Clouds uses just about an entire skein of blossom!).

You can purchase Head in the Clouds on Ravelry.

Close up of the head in the clouds cowl being worn.

Wide Ridged & Wrapped Shawl

13 mini skeins of fingering weight yarn creating a rainbow gradient from pink to purple.

Every season has elements about them that are beautiful and worth looking forward to, as well as elements that challenge you. Personally, I don’t have a strong preference for summer over winter or fall over spring. In fact, I have specific activities that I look forward to enjoying each season that help me combat the elements that challenge me.

That being said, instead of seasons giving me a harder time I find that there are specific months that I look forward to a lot less than others. For example, where we live, April is an ugly month. The snow is more or less melted (but you can’t rule out a random storm) and everything looks (and is) dirty. Trash and dog poop that was neglected during the winter months suddenly makes an appearance. Hiking trails are half mud half ice, meaning that you spend most of your time hiking trying to negotiate how many times you need to take your microspikes on and off. Usually, if I can get through April I can coast through the remainder of mud season (yes it’s a season all its own here) and on to enjoying summer.

November, despite Thanksgiving and the break that tends to come with it, is my other pain month. Similar to April, it’s a dreary month often marked by freezing rain and naked trees. Getting outside becomes a game of “do I have enough waterproof layers to stay warm” and the world around you turns grey while it waits to be blanketed in the first snow of the year.

A large rectangular shawl knit in 13 different colors creating a rainbow gradient from bright pink to purple laid flat on a blue towel to dry.

To combat the gray weather, I found myself knitting a wide version of the Ridged and Wrapped Shawl by Stephanie Shiman out of a 13 mini-skein pack of Mary Ann by Wonderland Yarns. Though the stitch pattern is simple, transitioning from red to greens to blues to purples kept the project interesting. This project saw me through this year’s Great British Bake-off competition, some light reading, and the first couple of episodes of the Wheel of Time (which we’re enjoying, even though it differs from the books).

Though I’ve worked with wonderland yarns before, I always find myself drawn to the vibrancy of their colors. True, the Mystery & Danger pack boasts loud and bright colors, but even their pastel collections are rich and beautiful.

The hardest thing about this project, for me, was deciding where to “randomly” place ridges. How far apart was too far and am I accidentally creating too much of a repeating pattern were the two most common questions going through my head throughout the entire process. Also, it took me a long time to work through this shawl because, though worth it, it’s a bit of a marathon. I highly recommend setting goals (I’m going to knit this many skeins this week), and/or having other projects (in my case sewing) to pick up when you need a break.

As with any long project, I tend to develop a wandering eye, which means that the start-itis now that it’s complete is real! I have so many knitting (Spice, Mini Gale, Sorrel Mini, Peperomia Mini, Birds of a Feather, and Camera Mits to name a few) and sewing (at least two pairs of PJ pants!, Josephine Sweatshirt, a button-down…) projects lined up that I haven’t decided where to start.

Scrunched up rectangular shawl of 13 colors creating a rainbow gradient from bright pink to purple.