Bubble Hat 2.0

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Last month I knit a Winter Olympics Hat for a young man (child size large)  using the bubble stitch that I had just discovered. It was fun and easy. His mom liked it and asked if I would knit her one “in something like gray”. It gave me an opportunity to revisit the pattern and make it better.

 

The original video and instructions for the bubble stitch indicated that I should start with multiples of 4 stitches plus 3. I didn’t really think about why there should be 3 extra stitches. Now I know that they are needed if you are making a flat scarf. One stitch is slipped at the start of each row to make a nice edge. The other two deal with alternating rows of bubbles each of which is offset by half a bubble (2 stitches).

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Since the hat is knit in the round, no extra stitches are needed. In fact the addition of the three extra stitches prevented the bubbles from fitting together nicely at the back as shown in the picture above.

The hat is very stretchy so the diameter of the child size hat was about right for the small adult version as well. Instead of 59 (56 plus 3), I cast on 60 stitches (evenly divisible by 4). The child’s hat was too short for an adult so I added two rows of bubbles (12 additional rows).

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The hat turned out just right, the right diameter and the right length. I like using at least two colors as this shows off the bubble stitch better than a single color would. Here are the instructions.

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I hope you like the hat. It would look nice in team colors. It is quick and easy.

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As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

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Nailed It!

 

The winter olympics has been such a knitting inspiration. One of the coaches even knits to relax. And the hats! Oh, my. So many pretty knit hats.

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I watched an interview with ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson on Sunday. She was fun to listen to, but all I could think about was that cute hat! I was sure I could make one.

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I looked through my stash and found a light colored yarn that looked like it would work.

The yarn is Vanna’s Choice (worsted weight) and the color is “linen”. I think Sarah’s hat is a little lighter in color, but I didn’t want to make a special trip to the yarn store. For the pom pom I used a thick gray yarn and the large (blue) 85mm Clover Pom-Pom maker. I think Sarah’s pom pom is larger but this was the largest maker I had.

Here’s the hat!

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I think it turned out pretty well. Here are the instructions.

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Sometimes the things I try don’t turn out exactly like I think they will. Of course, I don’t write about those. Haha. But it is fun to see failures that others have shared about their Pinterest attempts. Often they tag them with “Nailed It!”

I especially like the photographs of babies and children.

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These always make me laugh.

Well, here is my entry. What do you think?

Nailed It

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Bubble Knit Winter Olympics Hat

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Recently, I saw a video of the bubble knit stitch. It looked fun and not too hard so I knit a sample. It was really hard for me to knit a bunch of rows and then purposely drop stitches to do the K4B (knit four below) stitch. The instruction videos I found on line are pretty good though and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Once I felt confident, I decided to make this hat for my young friend, just in time for the winter olympics. It only took a few hours, so you would still have time to make one if you get busy!

The bubble stitch is done in sets of four stitches. You need to cast on multiples of 4 plus 3 additional stitches. The “bubbling” is shifted by 2 stitches every other sequence so the bubbles fit together like bricks. The first bubbling row starts with K3 and the next starts with K1. Then back and forth. I wanted a K1,P1 ribbing so I had to cast on an even number, 58, and then add a stitch by knitting front and back to bring the count up to the correct 59 stitches.

I am not including the directions for the bubble stitch itself, I could not do any better than the videos and explanations already available on the internet. But here are the instructions for the hat and a few more pictures.

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To make the hat larger, just add bubbles. To make the hat larger diameter, increase the number of stitches in groups of 4 and adjust the rest of the pattern. You can make the longer by adding bubbles six rows at a time.

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I think the bubble stitch is fun and I love the way the hat turned out. I hope you enjoy the pattern. Be sure to visit the internet instruction sites and thank them for their work!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

 

 

Stash Buster Hat and Scarves

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These three scarves and their matching hat are quick and easy. They are knit on giant US35 straight needles using three strands of worsted weight (size 4) yarn in a seed stitch. They are a super “stash buster” and can easily be knit in team colors for a quick gift. If you hurry, you can knit some up for the Super Bowl!

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There is only one version of the hat but there are three styles of the matching scarf. Take your pick.

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Scarf Style 1 is a traditional scarf that is 60” long and 10” wide. It requires about 115 yards of each for the three colors of yarn for a total of 345 yards. This one was knit with yellow, black, and white.

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Scarf Style 2 is the same scarf as style 1 but with the ends sewn together to form an infinity scarf. This one is rust, brown, and white.

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Scarf Style 3 is a cowl style (11″ x 28″), attached with buttons that can be worn in a variety of ways. It requires 100 yards of each of the three colors of yarn. This one was knit with one yellow and two black yarns.

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The hat requires about 40 yards of each of three colors for a total of about 120 yards.

Here is a table that shows how much total yarn is needed for each style. Divide by three to find out how much of each color you need.

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Because the yarns are held separately and not plied together, the resulting scarf is very soft and fluid. It feels wonderful.

Here are the instruction and some pictures.

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Cowl with buttons attached

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Long scarf worn knotted

 

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Infinity Scarf double looped

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Loosely knit stitches mean no buttonholes are needed for cowl

The cowl can be worn many ways, folded or unfolded, buttoned or unbuttoned.

Close up of the seed stitch.

I hope you enjoy knitting this hat and these scarves. This would be a great project for a beginning knitter.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

Quick and Easy Knit Winter Hat

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Sometimes I see people wearing a hat or scarf and I think, “Hey, that’s cute and I bet I could knit it!” If I’m feeling bold I may ask them if I can photograph it, or measure it (I carry a tape measure in my purse) or count the stitches. Sometimes the owners can tell me where the pattern came from and I can credit its designer. But usually they don’t know.

That is how I happened to knit this particular hat. I saw it and the owner let me count the stitches. I guessed at the needle size and knit a trial hat. It is made on large US13 and US15 needles using super bulky yarn so the hats knit up quickly and are thick and warm.

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My first attempt was a serviceable hat but not quite what I was going for. It is too long (slouchy) and I don’t like the knit row at the lower edge. But it certainly gave me a starting point and with a few changes I was able to knit two more hats that turned out just as I wanted. I actually pulled this first one out and reused the yarn to make it with the improved pattern.

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I had some yarn left over after making this Super Warm Cowl last winter and decided to make a matching hat. The two of them together now form a cozy complete head cover for even the coldest day.

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I did not put a pom pom on this hat. The owner did not want one and I didn’t have enough yarn anyway.

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The third hat was made with Lion Brand Thick and Quick in a the color “Galaxy”. It is rich purple with sparkles. I was looking for something to make a hat for my new Yoga instructor, Becky. I knew this was the yarn as soon as I saw it. It is sparkly, just like Becky. But it is so dark that it doesn’t photograph very well. The details are lost in the poor winter lighting that I was stuck with. Photograph is not my forte.

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I did make a big pom-pom for this hat using the large (blue) 85mm Clover Pom-Pom maker. Interestingly, the yarns of the pom-pom are seen end-on instead of from the side. The pom-pom looks much darker and less sparkly than the hat does. Its still quite pretty but I was surprised when I saw this effect.

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I have some more hats planned. They only take a few hours. I will update this post with pictures when I get them done. If you make one, put a pic in the comment section. They would be fun to see.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Child Safe Scarf

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Last winter a child was serious injured when his scarf caught on some playground equipment. He survived but has permanent damage to the structures of his neck. Yet, its cold here, and kids need something to keep them warm when playing outside. I heard some moms talking about it and was reminded of the ties worn by supervisors in a machine shop where I used to work. They would tie a conventional tie and then cut it in the back and put it back together again with velcro. In that way, if it got caught in a machine it would “break away”.

I have been knitting cowls for people for several years, they are my most requested item. I decided to make a “break away” version for kids. I tried several closure ideas – thread was too temporary and difficult to replace, break away jewelry closures were hard to attach, velcro was too stiff and scratchy.

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I settled on small (size 1) snaps and they work very very well. They come apart easily under stress but are quickly re-closed with just a “snap”.

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The scarf has bands of knit and purl rows that act like accordion folds. They allow the scarf to fit easily pushed down around the neck or be pulled up to cover the mouth, cheeks, and nose.

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I have made two so far, both with Vanna’s Choice yarn. It is soft, fluffy and washable. The small size measures 14” x 5” (unstretched).

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I made one in Taupe and another in Purple Mist. The kids like them and the moms are happy.

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Small size uses 40g of yarn

I can’t quite get two out of a single 3 oz. skein so the next ones will undoubtedly be multi-color.

The length and width could be easily changes. The colors could be school or team colors.

I hope you will make some for the little people you know!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Cable Stitch Scarf

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Lately, I have been creating hats and scarves and rugs and yarn. I have been weaving, spinning, and knitting. But I haven’t been writing. I like to write about my projects to share ideas and to document what I have done for future reference. Today I feel the need to catch up writing a bit.

Cable stitches are fun and not very difficult. This one is especially simple. It is just four repeating rows. Every row starts with a slipped stitch and ends with a purl. It is knit on large US15 10” long straight needles. The design is five cables each four stitches wide, all in the same direction, separated by two stitches.

When choosing a cable stitch you can select how frequently you want the stitches to cross-over, how many stitches you want to twist, how far apart you want the cables to be, and if you want them to all twist the same way or different directions. If you search the internet for pictures you will see that these decisions can lead to an infinite number of combinations and patterns.

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This scarf patterns uses repeats that are six stitches wide. P K K K K P

Half of the four knit stitches are then crossed over every four rows.

With such a short repeat, the pattern looks very twisty with no regions that are flat and smooth. It makes the scarf fluffy and full even thought the yarn is ordinary worsted weight “size 4” yarn. I used two 3oz skeins.

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Cable needles come in a variety of forms, hooked, straight, bent. I like the hooked form because it hangs easily out of the way in the front or back of the work. In the cable rows, some stitches are transferred to the cable needle. Those stitches are allowed to hang loosely on the front or back side of the work depending on which way you want the cable to twist. If you let the stitches hang in front, as I did on this project, you get a left twisting cable. The stitches on the cable needle are “skipped” while others on the needle are knit. The cable stitches are then returned to the needle and knit. In this way, some stitches cross over others creating the cable.

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The scarf is quick and easy. It is easy to start and stop. A pattern of four rows only takes about 10 minutes, so it is an easy project to pick up and put down. I usually put a needle tip protectors on the needle when I put it down, just so the stitches don’t slip off (I have a cat – enough said). You can see that I also inserted a “life line” periodically in case I needed to pull out any part of the work where I made a mistake. This is a string that is threaded though the stitches on the needle and makes it easier to pick up those stitches after pulling out a section.

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I had intended to finish this scarf by gathering each end and attaching a large pom pom made with the scarf yarn and a black yarn. But my daughter saw the scarf and claimed it. She requested an infinity scarf so I sewed the two ends together without twisting to form a loop that she can wear hanging long or doubled over.

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If you haven’t tried cable stitch before, this is an easy pattern to start with. Once you get the hang of it, you can try different variations.

Make the cables wide or narrow.

Space the cables closer or farther apart.

Twist the cables left (keep the cable needle in front) or right (cable needle in the back).

Knit more or fewer rows in-between twists.

Combine cables into more complex patterns.

Happy Cable Knitting!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Something From Nothing

 

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Today I found 3 balls of yarn in a plastic bag with a note in my mother’s handwriting. “Do not use this yarn! It is needed to extend a sweater I have.” It was dated January 1986, over thirty years ago.

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I inherited my mother’s knitting things when she died and I generally feel great joy when I carry my projects in her Van Gogh Starry Night Bag or use the wooden ruler with her initials written on the back of it. But sometimes I get caught off guard a bit, especially when I find one of her notes. And she wrote a lot of notes. If she was keeping something, it likely had a note with it.

I still have a lot of her yarn, but today I was sorting my stash by color into large, clear zipper bags. I thought the bags would keep the yarn clean and organized but still let me see in. So these three balls of yarn, all different colors, would need to be separated.

But the note said not to.

I decided to knit them together into a scarf. That is not what she intended but at least they would always be together. There was about 40 g of each sport weight yarn; white, brown, and rust. Scarves vary in size so my plan was just to start knitting, quickly on big US 35 needles, until I ran out.

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I cast on 15 stitches and worked a seed stitch pattern with all three yarns held together. Every row was K1, P1 all the way across ending with K1.

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The seed stitch made the scarf thick and soft. I think it is also very interesting visually. This stitch also lies nice and flat without curling up at the edges.

When I got done, the scarf was about 9” wide and 58” long. That is just how long I make my looped infinity scarves so I sewed the two end together into a loop. It turned out so cute that the first person I offered it to adopted it. Six hours from the time I found the note until the scarf was on its way to its new owner. Not bad.

I guess it wasn’t literally something from nothing, but it did feel like a problem turned into a scarf.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

Update:

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I just found the pattern that mom knit with this yarn. I remember the sweater now that I see it. She chose to make it up in the same colors shown in the picture.

 

My Sampler Color-Strand Knit Scarf

 

As a prelude to writing this post, I looked up the definition of sampler. I had always thought of it in terms of an embroidered piece used to practice different techniques. Beginners would create a sampler and in the process be introduced to a variety of techniques and materials.

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Turns our there is some disagreement. Many definitions emphasize that a sampler is for showing off your best skills. Another complained that the term is often misused and must include an alphabet. Still others extend the definition to the person as well as the piece.

Well, I feel pretty safe calling my scarf a “sampler” of color strand knitting. I made it to try patterns and colors without committing to a single scheme. I didn’t really plan it out ahead of time, but rather looked for a pattern I liked, chose some yarn, knit for a few inches, and finished a section. Then I moved on to something new.

Color strand knitting is fun, but challenging. For me the hardest part is getting the tension right. The stranded colors are carried behind the main color and it is easy to pull them too tight and make the work bump up or pull in. While watching a video a knitter answered the question “how loose is too loose?” (for the color strands). Her reply was that there is no such thing as too loose.

For me, the easiest patterns are those that interchange the colors a lot. If the colors change every stitch of two, then the yarns aren’t pulled on the back. On the other hand, if one color is carried for a lot of stitches before it is used again, there is an opportunity for it to get messy.

Each sections taught me something about color strand knitting. Where I worked up the pattern myself from my imagination or examples that I saw, I have included the pattern. For those sections where I used a pattern created by someone else, I did not include it.

I chose to make the scarf on size 7 circular needles so that all the strands would be on the inside and not messing. In this way, I didn’t even have to weave ends! I cast on 72 stitches. I love this number. It is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 36. This meant I had a great deal of latitude when choosing the size of the pattern to be repeated. Each section starts and ends with two rows of the main color. This helps delineate the sections.

The yarn is acrylic yarn from my stash. If I make another, I will choose better yarns. But this was a good choice for a starter scarf. I hate to waste my good yarn on projects if I don’t know how they are going to turn out.

It is wonderfully warm and thick. I can’t wait to liven up my gray coat with it this winter. I wonder what people will think.

Section 1 – Gray and White Fair Isle

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I started with an easy section that didn’t need a written pattern or row counter. The stitches switch color often enough that there was not trouble with tension. Every other row has stitches of every other color. The white thread is just carried up the rows when not in use. I didn’t want the too ends to be the same, exactly, so I reversed the colors for the last section. I like the way it turned out.

Section 2 – Sheep

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Baaaa! This was a big leap for me. It is one of  only two sections where there are more than two colors in any one row. The sheep are a bit “puffy” due to inconsistent yarn tension, a mistake. But most people like them. Some even thought I had done this on purpose. It seems to be the favorite. Maybe I will make a scarf with just sheep the next time.

Section 3 – Red on Red Diamonds

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Whenever I used bright colors, I tried to make the sections more narrow so the color did not take over the scarf. In this section I use a solid red and a variegated red yarn. I thought the diamonds would look nice, but instead the yarns were so close in color that the pattern is lost. Lesson learned. In the future I will choose more contrasting yarns.

Section 4 – Egyptian Border

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I designed this pattern from some borders on old Egyptian textiles. You can see that I was still having tension problems. Here is the pattern:

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Section 5 – Fish

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These are supposed to be gold fish swimming in the pond. I chose a blue sparkly variegated yarn for the water and I like this choice. For the fish I use the only orangish yarn I had, a fluffy, variegated, yarn with varying thickness. Bad choice. The details of the fish are lost where the yarn is extra fluffy. Some people even have trouble seeing the fish when I tell them they are there! Next time I will use yarns that are similar in texture, especially with small detail patterns.

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Section 6 – Argyle

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I love argyle. What I learned from this section was not to knit when I was tired. I left out a row! Can you see where? I didn’t notice it until it was far too late to go back.

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Section 7 – Transition

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This pattern transitions from one color to another and the second half of the pattern is the mirror image of the first. This section turned out longer than any so far. I think if I made another scarf I would try to make the sections more similar in size. Perhaps two sizes.

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Section 8 – Squares

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This is another bright, an therefore narrow, section.

Section 9 – Owls

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This section also turned out larger than I would have liked. In order to get any detail in the owls, they have to be large. I probably would choose simpler outlines next time so the section did not turn out so long compared to the other sections.

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Section 10 and 11 – Fair Isle Geometrics

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This is a narrow red and gray section, followed by a more intricate fair isle pattern in blue, light blue, and white. Here again, there are three colors in some rows. I hold the main color in my left hand and “throw it” while holding the other colors in my right hand and “picking them”. It isn’t that hard to keep two colors in one hand, but it does increase the complexity of keeping all the tensions even.

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Section 12 – Binary

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This black and white section actually says something –  the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (preamble and article 1). Each letter was converted to an eight character ascii code consisting of zeroes and ones. The digits were then knit in black and white. Because each letter is eight characters and 8 goes into 72 evenly, the letter line up. Each letter has a some similarities and when it is knit you see stripes of two black stitches. This section was very difficult to knit since it did not repeat in any meaningful way. To help keep track of the pattern, I used a pattern reading device made of cardboard, similar to the one shown here. Once I transferred the pattern to a spreadsheet and printed the columns, it worked very very well. There is a typo. I dare you to find it.

Section 13 – Camino

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This section commemorates my hike on El Camino de Santiago del Norte. As you walk along the route, you find your way by following blue signs with yellow arrows and shells.

There are official signs and those painted by helpful people. I tried to work out a pattern for the shells, but the diagonal nature of the lines made that difficult. I like the way the arrows turned out.

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Section 14 – Purple Fair Isle Diamonds

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This is similar to the argyle section but better. I didn’t skip a row and the yarns show more contrast.

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Section 15 – Peace Baby

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I knew I wanted many colors in this section but I couldn’t work out the color rows in a way that I liked. So instead a chose a rainbow variegated yarn. I wonder how it would look with the yarns reversed, rainbow background and white or black peace signs.

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Section 16 – Diamond Fair Isle

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This is a geometric pattern was good practice carrying the yarn with loose tension. I thought it was getting too long so I stopped the pattern one diamond series earlier than the pattern shows. By this section I was getting pretty good at “trapping” the carried yarn into a stitch in between where it shows through. It was tricky to learn and makes the work go more slowly, but in the end it is worth it to control tension and the loose hanging yarns.

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Section 17 – Cats

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These cats are adorable and I copied them from a cross stitch towel at a friend’s house. Nothing I came up with was any cuter. Each little face is different. This is another section where a color was carried for 10-15 stitches on the back. So here again I “trapped” the yarn. There are good YouTube videos to learn this technique.

Section 18 – Gray and White End

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This section is the opposite of the first, with the white yarn being the dominate color.

I sewed the ends of the scarf closed with the invisible stitch. I had planned to decorate the ends with pom pons but the consensus was that they would detract from the scarf. I can always add them later I decide it needs them.

I worked on the scarf off and on for months. I’m glad its done and mostly happy with the way it turned out.

Here are the main lessons I learned:

  1. Control the tension of the yarns.
  2. Be sure the yarns contrast enough that the pattern can be seem.
  3. Use yarns that have the same thickness.
  4. Keep motifs of a similar size.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

My First Knit Socks

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I finished my socks! I have never knit socks before. While I was at my spinning class recently, one of the others spinners helped my choose a pattern at the Siever’s bookstore and gave me some advice on how to proceed. I bought two books including one that shows how to knit socks two-at-a-time on a larger circular needle.

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I decided to take along the basic pattern when we went to Florida in September. We were flying so I couldn’t take all my knitting but thought I might have some time to at least read about socks.

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As it turns out, we ended up weathering Hurricane Irma in a shelter. When I thought we were just going to be in for some rain I bought some needles and yarn. There was not a good selection and I ended up using cotton/nylon yarn. It sounded like a good idea but probably was not the best choice. I even knit a small sample to check the gauge, something I have only recently started doing.

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I began with the “simple socks” as instructed by the author.

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Working with two circular needles was easier than I thought. I don’t mind DP needles but this was pretty interesting. I never had to use stitch holders or worry about needles slipping out (something that happens to me occasionally when I use DPs).

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But the pattern wasn’t without its challenges. Because of the ribbing, I sometimes had to purl the first stitch on the new needle. After a bunch of practice, I finally figured out where the yarn had to be placed, but you can see I made a number of mistakes. After another “fatal” flaw I had to pull out these stitches and I did better after the second start.

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Since I hadn’t actually planned on knitting, I did not pack my implements – no row counters, stitch markers, rulers, etc. So when we moved to the shelter I had to improvise. I used a paper plate to keep track of progress and some yarn ties as stitch markers.

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Of course I didn’t get them completely done in the shelter. But once I got home I did. I understand now what is meant by “second sock syndrome”. But I persevered and eventually got them both done. After having to restart and unknit some sections I decided to put in a “life line” in case I needed to go back. As you can see, I ran the lifeline through the stitch marker. Well, that wasn’t right! So I just left it there and used another marker to proceed. Lesson learned.

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The socks fit pretty well. But the cotton yarn doesn’t have much elasticity so they bag out a bit after wearing them a short time. I threw them into the washer and dryer, but they are still too loose. For my next pair I think I will drop down a needle size and choose a wool yarn.

I may move on to trying the magic loop method and then eventually two-at-a-time with magic loop. I have already learned so much about sock knitting! I am looking forward to perfecting the process.

Thanks, Shawn, for your advice!

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.