Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New pattern: Beeswax cowl

And here it is, as promised! The Beeswax cowl is a slouchy, comfy neckwarmer with the same mini-cabled honeycomb texture as my Beeswax hat.

It requires 280 yards of Vintage Purls Max (a little more than one skein), or another plump, bouncy DK or worsted-weight yarn.

I used a different shade of VP Max for the cowl (this one's called 'Toffee Deluxe'), because I like the way the colours complement each other without matching precisely. If you do fancy a matching set, two skeins of Max will be enough to knit both the hat and cowl.

I love this close-up of the texture!

  • a double-layered honeycomb texture, which flows into and out of the ribbing
  • instructions for knitting mini-cables without a cable needle 
  • one size, with simple instructions for re-sizing both height and circumference
  • both charted and written instructions 

For tips on knitting mini-cables/twisted stitches without a cable needle, check out the links in my post on the Beeswax hat.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New pattern: Beeswax hat

I have a new hat design out, and I'm extra-super-proud of this one!
The Beeswax hat is a knitted expression of my honeybee obsession...

I wanted to create a knitted honeycomb texture that showed the back-to-back double layer of natural honeycomb, and I made a few sketches to help me understand its structure. I found inspiration in photos taken by beekeepers, including this gallery by an Australian couple. I also sketched some simple bees, based on my own bee photos (you can find a few on my blog here).

The yarn I chose is from Vintage Purls, one of my very favourite indie yarn-dyers. Vintage Purls 'Max' is a DK-weight merino/nylon sock yarn - it's very soft and bouncy, and comes in wonderful rich colours. I used two-thirds of a skein for this hat, in the colourway 'Easy Rider'.

The Beeswax hat features:
  • a double-layered honeycomb texture, which emerges naturally from the ribbing
  • instructions for knitting mini-cables without a cable needle 
  • crown decreases integrated into the honeycomb pattern
  • one (very stretchy) size, with tips for re-sizing
  • both charted and written instructions 
  • requires less than one skein of smooshy DK-weight yarn

While swatching and test-knitting this hat, I learned a new method for doing cables without a cable needle. I greatly prefer it to my old method of holding onto the stitch with my thumb and forefinger, which was pretty awkward with my yarn-in-right hand knitting style.

My new favourite method is called the 'slip and switch' method in the article, 4 ways to mini-cable. I found Lee Meredith's twisted stitches tutorial really helpful too (it has step-by-step photos and a video).
It's a great method because if you've memorised which way the basic k2tog and ssk decreases lean, it's easy to know which cable-twist moves to do.
I found I didn't even need to follow the chart after a while. :)

The pattern download for the Beeswax hat is available on Ravelry.

I have a matching cowl pattern in the works too! Here it is peeking out from under the hat... ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A cosy brown jersey

I finished another jersey about a month ago, and I have photos at last! It's a Stasis Pullover, designed by Leila Raabe. My Ravelry project page is here, if anyone wants to see the nitty-gritty details.

I used yarn from Anna Gratton's Little Wool Co. once again, this time the machine-washable 4ply wool. The main colour is 'Walnut', and the contrast colour is 'Terracotta'. They're both lovely rich, heathered colours:

The only issue is that the sleeves are a bit long (oops), but I don't mind - it means I can pull the cuffs over my hands when it's cold. And I can always do a bit of sleeve-surgery later if I want to shorten them!

And do you know what? It's actually cold enough to wear a jersey at last!
June is the best. <3