Tag Archive: free

Black Socks (no, really)

You may recall the dilemma I ran into when choosing yarn for the wool socks my husband requested (blogged about here).  After failing to acquire the Knit Picks yarn I desired, I finally talked myself into casting on for this project using what I had on hand: the perfect black sock yarn.

This is the start I made during the weekend, using Scheepjes Invicta Extra.  This is a wool/nylon blend that is soft, machine-washable, and very durable. It is perfect for this project in every way except that I struggle to see the tiny stitches when working with yarn this color. Thank you for not asking why I bought this yarn in the first place. It’s been in my stash forever and I am not even sure how it got there.  As much as knitting with black yarn saps my vision, black is a color my husband is happy to wear, and I love that I am putting this yarn to use (and not spending more money on yarn at the moment).

I am compensating for the difficult color with a straightforward pattern, Regular Guy Toe Up Socks by Chuck Wright. Even the name of this free pattern is practical and direct! It is a very plain toe-up sock with 2×2 ribbing on the instep and leg.

Best of all, this project will qualify me for a chance at the fabulous prizes on offer from the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry, if I can crank these out by March 31.

Seems doable at this point. As long as it stays nice and sunny around here so I can see.

Five for Friday: Free Patterns for Fall Warmers

For many of you, cooler autumn temperatures are already inspiring a flurry of cozy fall knitting. It is still unpleasantly summery around here, but wishful thinking drove me to the interwebs this week in search of some patterns for fall accessories that would be quick to knit and fun to wear to keep warm before we have to haul out the heavier coats. Here are five of my favorite free patterns you may not already be aware of for cute accessories.

1. Brighten Your Winter Slouchy Hat and Scarf by Elizabeth Hale

{source: Elizabeth Hale, via Ravelry}

Elizabeth Hale, aka freshwaterpurls on Ravelry, offers up her pattern for this cozy seed stitch hat and scarf set free as a Ravelry download. She knit her combo using just three skeins of Webs Valley Yarns Berkshire, but any aran weight you’ve got in your stash would work for this.  Handspun might also work well.

2. Spring Fern Socks by Cookie A. for The Loopy Ewe

{source: The Loopy Ewe}

These cute socks were designed as part of a class Cookie A. taught at the Loopy Ewe yarn store. The store owners were kind enough to offer this pattern to all of us free on their website.  You can’t see clearly from this photo, but these have an interesting lattice-work pattern knit into the heel.

3. Slouch for All Seasons by Melissa LaBarre for Classic Elite

{source: Classic Elite}

This hat pattern was offered as part of Classic Elite’s weekly email newsletter, but if you missed it there, you can still download the PDF via the link above. The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn.

4. Cozy Cable Mitts by Hannah Garcia

{source: Hannah Garcia}

Knitting blogger and designer Hannah Garcia of virescent knits offered up her recipe for these adorable and quick mitts to keep your hands warm as the temperatures drop. These are made in DK weight yarn.

5. Sideways Garter Stitch Hat by Drops

{source: Drops}

This free hat pattern from Drops/Garnstudio uses fingering weight yarn. The one pictured uses some self-patterning sock yarn to great effect, but some of the few Ravelers who have made this hat have achieved even cuter results with other varigated yarns, such as Noro Kureyon Sock.  Check out this one by blumunchie to see what I mean. This could be a great stashbuster for those of us who like to buy bright sock yarn, but don’t have a need for so many bright socks. Know anyone like that?

Five for Friday is a series of (mostly) weekly posts to highlight five favorite fiber-related links or items I’d like to share with my readers. Got an idea/request for a future feature? Email me or post to the comments.

FO: Baby Fan Mitts

These mitts knitted up so quickly, I didn’t even have time to mention them in a work-in-progress post!

Pattern: Baby Fan Mitts by Morgan Wolf (free Ravelry download)

Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Redwood Bark, used less than 1 skein

My project notes on Ravelry


Last fall and spring, I had some very cold hands while walking my dog early in the morning. I can’t put my hands in my pockets and hold her leash at the same time. And I have learned from experience that having my fingers wrapped up in full mittens or gloves is more hassle than it is worth.  So when I saw this lovely Malabrigo Silky Merino yarn on sale this summer at Sandrasingh.com, I knew it would be the perfect thing for some fingerless mitts. This was my first time ordering from Sandra, and the experience couldn’t have been better. The yarn was on my doorstep before I even had time to wonder when it would arrive. I think I ordered on a Monday morning and the mailman brought the yarn on Wednesday. It was that fast. I also got a personal email from Sandra following up on the order. I highly recommend her shop.

These mitts work up fast! I only worked on them during parts of a round trip cross-country flight and an hour or two tops on the ground.  I suspect I’ll be keeping this pattern in mind for quick Christmas gifts.

Buttercup Tee: Good news and bad news

Let’s start off with the good news.  I finished knitting my Buttercup tee on Friday and was able to do all of the finishing this weekend.  Here it is modeled by Minime, my duct tape fitting assistant (wearing a scarf to hide her turtleneck).

Why not include a picture of me modeling this, you ask? Well, here we get to the bad news part of the story.  Even though I made the proper adjustments for working this sweater at a smaller gauge, and even though it has the proper dimensions to fit me when I measure it flat, it is SO HEAVY that it looks like a potato sack on me.  This is a classic case of poor yarn substitution.

If you have been following the development of this project, you may remember that I made some gauge adjustments to this pattern so I could knit it using Naturally Caron Spa yarn, a bamboo-acrylic blend.  The yarn itself is lovely. It just made a poor companion to this pattern.  The weight of the yarn pulls the delicate top of this sweater down too much. And it looks especially awful around my tummy and hips area.

I think I will be gifting this sweater to my sister, who is bigger on top than I am and who has smaller hips. It should fit her perfectly. I’ll be making myself another one, at some future point, in DK weight cotton or linen.

Being mostly a process knitter anyway, I am not too sad about this result.  Particularly since I am so excited that I successfully executed an improvised top down knitted hem for the sleeves. I’ll be providing some info on how I did this in another post later this week. Suffice it to say, it is easier than you think!

Here is a closer shot of the shoulder and sleeve.

Look how nice the hemmed sleeve looks! So, no tears for me and my Buttercup. It’s onward to finishing the Featherweight Cardigan I have going, the long delayed baby gift knitting, and a few new things too.

Five for Friday: Unique Home Items to Make

As boring as it has sometimes been, my success in cranking out a knitted throw in the past month has been inspirational. I LOVE that I don’t have to think at all about fit issues on the blanket. No one is going to outgrow it or become too fat or thin to wear it.  It will be ages before it goes out of style. It is a pretty neutral color and will provide its recipient with years of warmth and enjoyment. Why am I not making more home stuff?!

This question sent me on a new pattern hunt this week in search of other interesting projects that I could make for my home (or the homes of friends worthy of handmade gifts).  Not surprisingly, I found many wonderful options, including the following that are available online free. Here are the five I was most excited about, but if you want to see the full list I bookmarked, go to my favorites tagged “home” in Ravelry here.

1. Puff Daddy and Puff Daddy’s Baby by Anna & Heidi Pickles

{source: www.pickles.no }

I just love this knitted pouf. It reminds me of a sea urchin.  You may have spotted similar poufs in high-end design catalogs, where they seem to sell for a lot more than your materials will cost. The creators of the one pictured at www.pickles.no were nice enough to post free instructions for this cushion and a smaller version online so we can all possess these adorable, cozy items.

2. Celtic Pillow by Janine Bajus for Two Swans Yarns

{source: Two Swans Yarns}

Another free pattern. This one is for a fair isle pillow.  If you are going to do all that colorwork, how great would it be not to have to worry about fit or style issues as you would for a garment? This seems like it would be a terrific way to try out stranded knitting without committing to scary steeks too.

3. Sunny Spread by Ellen Gormley for Crochet Today!/Red Heart

{source: Crochet Today!}

I was thisclose to making this throw for the wedding gift instead of the one I ended up going with. I was worried I would run out of time before I finished this (I am not the world’s best crocheter…).  Still, I would love to make this. I think the pattern is so unusual and pretty.  It is also a free downloadable pattern.

4. Fishy Tawashi scrubber translated from Japanese by Rhonda White

{source: knittingknonsense.com}

I’m not sure these little fishies can make doing the dishes fun, but hey, it’s worth a shot. I bet these would make great gifts, too.

5. Mug and French Press Jacket by M. K. Carroll

{source: MK Carroll}

Blogger M. K. Carroll posted directions for this gorgeous cabled mug cozy on her blog and on Ravelry.  A more detailed PDF version of the pattern is also able for download with most of the profits going toward charity Knitters Without Borders.  I bet this would be a quick and satisfying knit. It would also be extremely handy to have since hot beverages cool quickly when your hands are busy knitting.

Though this is meant to be a list of five things, I can’t possibly wrap it up without two more quick mentions.

First, the Lifetime Achievement Award in this category of unique knits for the home goes to the ladies of Mason-Dixon Knitting, Ann Hahn Buechner and Kay Gardiner.  If you aren’t already familiar with their work from their fantastic, long-running blog or their two wonderful books, you really should check out their work. They both have turned knitting for the home into an artform, continually cranking out patterns for items that are functional and practical yet at the same time stunning to look at and interesting to knit. Most of the patterns that caught my eye in this category seemed to be from the Mason-Dixon ladies. Hats off to them for sharing their ideas with us!

Second, a Local Interest Award goes to the Tarheel Dishcloth by Lindsey Ligett for Waterloo Wools. Who would have thought that a blue dishcloth with a UNC Tarheel logo on it could be so cute? If you have never been to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro area, you may not entirely understand the concept of school spirit. Even public buses in Chapel Hill are often Carolina blue! Doing the dishes with a handknit Tarheel cloth seems perfectly natural to me. Thanks Lindsey for this great pattern.

Happy weekend everyone!

Five for Friday is a regular feature that highlights short lists of patterns or other links that I like within a certain topic. If you have ideas for topics you would like to see featured, please don’t hesitate to post a comment or email me at wooldurham@gmail.com.