A Revamp of the Cupid’s Mix Beanie, Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

A few weeks ago I suddenly realized I had not seen my daughter’s Cupid’s Mix beanie in many months. In angst I up-heaved her room, searched through all my knits and combed the house. The beanie was nowhere.

It goes without saying that a replacement was in order. I quickly contacted Carol of Havirland Yarns and purchased a new Cupid’s Mix set. The old mini skein kit is now a set of 20 mini bobbins, which she has labeled “Cupid’s Mix Frankensocks Kit.” (Her other Frankensocks kits are amazing as well.) My original pattern was designed for the mini skeins, which are approximately 10 grams each. The mini bobbins are 5 grams each, so my pattern could not accommodate them. I fretted at first but then decided to simply revamp the old pattern to include two versions: one for mini skeins (left) and one for mini bobbins (right).

Cupid's Mix Beanie

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How did she grow so fast??? You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s only been one year.

To download my free Cupid’s Mix Beanie knitting pattern click here, or to download from Ravelry click here.

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dsc04599Get your Valentine’s knit on!

My Find Your Fade–Neapolitan, Anyone?

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If you’re a knitter on Instagram then you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Find Your Fade shawl pattern that is making its rounds on a LOT of posts lately. This lacy gradient shawl was designed by Andrea Mowry (@dreareneeknits), who also initiated a KAL for the project on January 1st. From then on (if not before) Find Your Fade has spread like wildfire, or like the flu, but a flu that is good for your crafty soul.

When it came time to start my Fade I was longing to work with neutrals, and I wanted to create a subtle gradient. I had tried to find yarn in my stash to use, but that was a disaster and would have resulted in a very messy-looking shawl. Fortunately a light bulb went off in my head reminding me of Quince and Co’s delicious array of easy gradient building yarns, so I skipped over to their site and decided on these colorways, in order from start to finish (left to right): Shell, Dogwood, Petal, Canvas, Chanterelle, Twig and Root.

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These selections highlight an important realization for me: I love to wear neutrals, but they are not as fun to knit up as the bright and exciting speckles I have come to cherish. I’ve concluded that while I enjoy knitting with bright colors the most, the odd contradiction that I don’t necessarily like wearing the brights makes it a bit challenging sometimes when I’m choosing the colors for a project. Then there’s the project itself to consider: Which colors will best suit the design? For me the color-deciding process is nothing short of exhausting, but at least I know I am not alone. (Krissy, I am thinking of you!)

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In the end I am very happy with my dainty, “elegant” (as my friend Maiko put it) shawl, which will coordinate with almost all the outfits (as my friend Corrie observed). Thank you to these three ladies–Krissy, Maiko and Corrie–for a fun KAL!

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If you are at all interested in this project I recommend searching the FindYourFade hashtag on Instagram. There are some tremendously gorgeous Fades out there, and I have yet to see a Fade I do not like. While you’re at it, go ahead and follow Krissy @aftermidnightends, Maiko @hikozoart and Corrie @corriekingsley, whose posts never fail to inspire. And since I never drop names in this way let me go ahead and add my good friend Adriana @nanoadri, whose knitting account is equally awesome.
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The picture at right shows the back side of the shawl, which is my favorite side. When working garter stitch and fading colors, the results are less stripey on the reverse side, creating a smoother gradient. Next time I make this project I may weave in my ends on the right side, although that would subtract from the beauty of the shifting double decrease spine.

To see more details about my project visit my Ravelry page here. Knit on!

Caswell Bay Fingerless Mitts

dsc04494In October my daughter started asking for another pair of fingerless mitts, so her mitts were at the top of my 2017 knitting agenda. I had decided I would do the mitts in DK weight yarn because I knit the last few with fingering (it was like I was knitting socks), and I didn’t have the patience to do that immediately again. Sophie had also asked if she could pick out her own yarn online, and reluctantly I agreed. After looking through all of my favorite Etsy sellers and favorite big brands, she decided on Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in the colorway “Shiver.” I’m not gonna lie and pretend I wasn’t thrilled at the opportunity to work with Hedgehog again. I have quite a bit in my stash, which I hoard like a greedy troll, but for me this stuff is not easy to come by. At one time I had joined a Hedgehog sock of the month club, but otherwise I get all my sock and DK Hedgehog from Simply Socks Yarn Company.

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Since there are a ton of nice fingerless mitt patterns out there, settling on a pattern was no easy task. However, I ended up picking the Caswell Bay pattern, which is part of a travel-inspired compilation by Fiona Alice called Take Heart: A Transatlantic Knitting Journey (pictured above). I had purchased this book a year or so ago, but with all the spur of the moment KAL’s and gifts, I only now gave myself the chance to make something from it.

The pattern is available in two sizes, so naturally I went with the smaller one, which even then I knew would be a tad big for my daughter. As I was selecting this pattern I had worried the speckled yarn might not be best suited for showcasing the beautiful arrow- or heart-like shapes on the top of the hand, but that doubt is long gone. They turned out great!

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Look at that twisted rib! It seems like each time I knit it I’m like, “Oh, hello old friend!” The definition, the twist–it elevates the rib and renders the shapes and colors more eye-catching than they would otherwise be. Perfect for my Sophie!

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Sizzle Pop Shawl

I wanted to knit this two-color brioche stunner the second it was released (earlier this year), but contrary to my normal behavior I ruminated on it awhile rather than jumping right in. The pattern is called Sizzle Pop and is authored by Lesley Robinson (Knit Graffiti). Seeing as this is my third completed Lesley Robinson pattern I am becoming quite the fan–as should you all.

At some point it struck me that with the right colors this shawl would make a lovely Christmas gift for my mom. I set to work searching for the perfect yarn and came up with “Dirty Denim” Superwash Sock 80/20 by Spun Right Round, which I found in my stash. For the deeper, contrasting color I chose the colorway “Eclipse” in Black Trillium Fibres Pebble Sock.

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I went with the smaller, triangle version and used size 5 needles rather than size 4. I followed the pattern precisely until I reached the final two rows when I realized I would not have enough Dirty Denim to finish, so I bound off at that point, two rows shy. It did not affect the overall look of the shawl, and I am thrilled with the outcome. I cannot wait for my mom to open her fabulous, blue brioche shawl!

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Magic Carpet Afghan Knitting Pattern

This pattern came to be because, once again, I could not find a pattern that fit the bill for its intended recipients. I wanted a chunky blanket in various colors, so I went with Malabrigo Rasta. It’s soft, affordable and there are loads of colorways from which to choose. The colorways used in this afghan are Leguna Negra, Aniversario, Archangel, Pearl Ten, Azules and Ravelry Red (seven skeins total), and the pattern is knit by holding two strands together throughout.

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Thinking it would be nice to have some texture mixed in with all those colors, I decided to alternate sections of garter and stockinette rows. Oh, and tassels! I’ve been quite in love with tassels this year. Upon completion, the afghan reminded me of a magic carpet, so there you have it. Voila! A blanket for royalty.

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To download the pattern from my website, click here and scroll to the pattern image. To download from Ravelry, click here.

The Christmas Crunch

Each year, the very second the leaves start falling to the ground, I quickly dream up a gigantic list of knit gifts for the holidays. (In my defense some are on there by request.) My husband and kids are always baffled and chastise me for making myself frantic: “Why do you DO this to yourself every year?!” The answer is I love to make things, and when the holidays approach that love reaches an insane level that I can’t control. It’s compulsive.

This year feels less rushed, however. Today is November 29th, and already I’ve completed all the small gifts I aimed to make. (That doesn’t mean I won’t make more.) The most tedious craft this year was not knitting but rather, sewing–by hand–and embroidering with beads, to make 33 Heirloom Wool Ornaments, a kit from Purl Soho. I went with the new Wineberry colors, but the kit is also available in Mistletoe (greens), Lusterware (corals) and Milk Glass (ecru).

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For my next small gift project I knit with scrap yarn a handful of stars (be they ornaments or coasters or whatever the recipients designate them to be), which came from the Luxury Holiday Garland pattern by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich. With the lace edging along each arm they look like little snowflake star hybrids–adorable.

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The final project that I chose for small gifts this year is another from Purl Soho: Soft Cotton Knit Dishtowels. I had intended to make more of these garter stitch beauties, but after three I got worn out on this pattern. Regardless of my early defeat, it’s definitely a pattern that I will return to again.

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I highly recommend all of the patterns included in this post. Happy gift making, fellow Christmas crunchers!

*The Christmas tree cards from the top pic are from the Etsy shop AnastasiaMarieShop. The stack of potholders shown are additional small gifts that I completed earlier and that are made from my own pattern. (See previous post here.)

Chunky Potholders with a Pattern

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Last Christmas I was dazzled by the yarn of Knit Collage as I frantically knit up gifts for my family and friends. (I had used Knit Collage Pixie Dust yarn to make a total of four throws!) This year, after finding nothing to jump at on Ravelry, I decided to use Knit Collage to make some small gifts–potholders!

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The potholders are little more than a large-sized swatch, but these little squares explode with color and texture. Since wool is naturally fire resistant, these potholders have great functionality, but they can also be used as mats for plants or other home decor. One day I would even like to make a bunch of squares to sew together to form a blanket.

Below is my potholder pattern, or click here to download it.

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Easy Chunky Potholder

Materials:

  • Knit Collage Cast Away yarn, 2 skeins (Blue potholders shown are knit with the colorways Lagoon and Nomad; others are knit with Prism and Oak.)
  • Size 17 needles

Gauge:

1.5 sts/inch, 6 sts and 9 rows equals 4”

Dimensions and Yield:

Each potholder measures 8 by 8 inches. Two skeins of Cast Away yarn make 4 potholders.

Pattern:

Holding together 2 strands of yarn, cast on 12 sts somewhat loosely using the long tail method. (You should have no more than 6” of tail left over to weave in.)

Knit in stockinette st for 17 rows, beginning and ending with a purl row.

Bind off loosely knitwise.

Weave in yarn ends by hand.

Dampen and block to roughly 8 by 8 inches.

© 2016 Jamie Hoffman