My Cowl version of “Where Feet May Fail” Shawl

Well, kids, it’s been raining here in the Seattle area for the last 8365837458 days. I finished my cowl a few day ago, but haven’t been able to get outside to take any pictures without fear of drowning. The sun came out briefly today, so I took advantage of it. Unfortunately, I think this may be the only partially sunny day for a while. :/ (For the record, I LOVE rain, but after 8365837458 days of it, I’m ready for some dryness.)

Where Feet May Fail Cowl

As I previously mentioned, I used the same stitch patterns that I used in my Where Feet May Fail shawl, hence the name.

I think it turned out pretty great. I like working with sport weight wool and Cascade’s 220 Superwash Sport is one of my go-to yarns for these kinds of projects. It’s relatively soft, comes in great colors, and is not too pricey. The reversible garter stitch pattern is very cool. Each side is the reverse of the opposite, and it has a amazing squishy texture. I really like this particular lace stitch pattern too, so added a few panels of those, like in the original shawl. The lace pattern looks completely different on both sides, but again, both are attractive.

Where Feet May Fail Cowl

I added an I-cord-looking edging to the cowl. At first, it was difficult to maintain consistent tension with it, especially in the stripes sections. I had to slow down and concentrate on how tight or loose my edge stitches were. It was also too easy to create loose stitches in the lace sections. After some practice though, I barely had to think about it. Of course, any edging could be used: a garter edge, slipped stitch edge, or any other that you like.

Change the pattern with your own ideas!

The pattern is extremely flexible. It can be made wider, thinner, longer, shorter. Add more lace if you like, or leave out the lace sections and add more squishy stripes. Endless possibilities. 🙂

I’m writing up the pattern now, and hope to have it done in the next couple of days so I can share it with you. It feels so great and squishy (I am loving that word), and I want to make a lot more in different colors.

Don’t  get washed away, Pacific Northwesterners! :O

UPDATE: Free pattern available at Ravelry.

Reversible Two-Color Knitting, aka Making Your Knitting Look Cool on Both Sides

I am fascinated by reversible two-color knitting. There’s reversible knitting. There’s color work. Put them together, and you can make some pretty awesome creations.

Reversible Two-Color Knitting

I’m not talking about double knitting (which is pretty cool too). Double knitting produces a double-thick layer of fabric that creates “negative” images on opposite sides. I’m talking about stitch patterns that may or may not look similar on both sides. But both sides look great and either can be used as the “right” or outside.

Reversible Two-Color Knitting

If you want to try out two-color reversible knitting, I have to highly recommend this book: Reversible Two-Color Knitting  by Jane Neighbors. Originally published in 1974, it’s currently out of print, but can be found second-hand on sites like Amazon or Jane divides the book into chapters on stitch patterns, items created with these stitch patterns, and ideas on how to use them. The first chapter of stitch patterns is called “Simple Reversibles.” It contains a ton of stitch patterns that use only knit, purl, slipped stitches, and yarn overs. I had no idea there were so many ways to manipulate these 4 stitches.

I’ve used a couple of these in my designs. Where Feet May Fail uses a reversible garter stitch while Joy Comes In the Morning uses one called Shadow Boxing. Shadow Boxing is a lightweight, but warm pattern, perfect for scarves and shawls.

The technique took some getting used to. The reversible garter stitch (like most of the patterns in the book) involves a circular needle, and sliding the work to the other end of the needles at a color change. This is done to keep both edges of the item the same. Color changes occur at both sides, so you don’t have alternating yarns running up only one side of your garment. I needed to watch my tension too. When sliding the work to the opposite end of the needle, the stitches may be tight due to no “give” from the previous color. This can be remedied by adding some well-placed yarn-overs, and dropping them on subsequent rows. Or just consciously keep the edge stitches loose.

Where Feet May Fail Cowl
Reversible Two-color Knitting

I’m currently working on an infinity cowl using the stitch patterns I used in Where Feet May Fail. This pattern uses the reversible two-color garter stich and an open lace pattern. Unlike the original shawl, where the lace is incorporated with short rows, this one will be easily modified. I hope to have the pattern available soon. Just in time for Spring, haha. 🙂

Knit Socks: My lastest Kai-Mei Pair

I’ve been on a knitting hiatus recently, but the cold snowy weather we’ve been getting lately has kicked me back into gear. I started a third pair of knit socks from one of my favorite patterns back in November, with only a few rounds completed. It sat until a few days ago, then I whipped out the entire pair over the weekend.

A post shared by @megaptera11 on Feb 23, 2017 at 2:06pm PST

These went pretty quickly since I had knit the pattern a couple of other times. By the time I started getting bored with the 3×3 ribbing on the leg, it was time to begin the heel flap and heel turn (my favorite parts, knitting-wise!). The lace stitch pattern that winds its way across the top of the foot is a bit fiddly to work, but well worth it. I ended up working 8 repeats of the stitch pattern before starting the toe decreases. (The pair I created back in 2011 had 9 repeats, but I’ve lost the needle death grip since then, and don’t knit as tight.)

Because I have the tiniest feet ever, I used size 0 circular needles with the Magic Loop method.

I’m not entirely sure of the yarn as it didn’t have the original label. It was marked as a Wool2Dye4, sock weight 3-ply. It’s beautiful and incredibly soft.

Kai-Mei Knit socks

Check out the many other projects that knitters have created on Ravelry.

The Next Projects…

Of course one of them will be another pair of socks. This weekend, I visited Tolt Yarn and Wool and picked up some Cestari Traditional Collection for my Hyak socks.

A post shared by @megaptera11 on Feb 27, 2017 at 10:07am PST

I like rustic yarns, and this one is no exception. Made of 100% worsted weight wool, this should knit up quickly into some warm, thick socks that will keep my feet warm when tromping through all this crappy snow we’re getting. :/

I’ve also got a couple of ideas for a cowl based on one of my other designs, and a top based on a project I did a while ago. Stay tuned…

5 of My Favorite Sock Patterns on Ravelry

When I first started my knitting adventures several years ago, I thought socks would forever be beyond my skill level. Like many other beginning knitters, washcloths and simple scarves were my go-to projects. But, while I still enjoy those simple projects, I wanted to challenge myself and created my first pair of socks. It was a complete FAIL. (It was me, not the pattern.) So, after moping and pouting, I decided to try again. The second pair was much better, and I found myself looking for different patterns. I tried different patterned socks and different construction methods (i.e. toe-up vs. top-down), and found myself thoroughly enjoying the process. Now, socks are my absolute favorite thing to knit.

For me, socks are the perfect project. They’re small, which makes them extremely portable. They use at least a few different techniques, which makes them interesting. And the design possibilities are endless. Ravelry has nearly 29,000 listed sock patterns. (That doesn’t include other leg accessories like booties, legwarmers, etc.)

Socks can also be knit many different ways, using the technique one is most comfortable with. I found double-pointed needles a bit awkward (though there are some patterns I use them for), but the Magic-Loop method worked great for me. Other methods that I’ve not tried are using two circular needles and knitting two at a time.

5 favorite sock patterns

I’ve knit several different sock patterns. Some of them I did more than once. I want to share with you a few of my favorite sock patterns. A couple of these I haven’t knit yet, but plan to.

5 Of My Favorite Knit Sock Patterns

1. Kai-mei
Green Kai-Mei Knit Sock patterns
Kai-Mei, ©Interweave 2009

In my opinion, nearly ALL of Cookie A’s designs are pretty amazing, so I had a difficult time picking just one for my favorite. Many of her designs are characterized by complex stitch patterns consisting of cables, twisted stitches, lace and more.

This top-down sock is knit with fingering weight yarn. It begins with a simple ribbed leg, then continues with a seriously cool stitch pattern that begins on the side of the ankle, then curves its way across the top of the foot. I love it so much, I’m on my third pair. (My other pairs are here and here.)

(As a side note, I got to meet Cookie A a few years ago at a cabling class she taught at one of the LYS’s. She was very charming, a great teacher, and autographed my Knit. Sock. Love. book. 🙂

2. Severus
Knit Severus Sock Patterns
Severus, ©Angela Tennant

This simple, yet elegant design by Angela Tennant is a beautiful tribute to one of my favorite fictional characters and the actor that brought him to life onscreen. Anyone who has seen the Harry Potter films will be reminded of the billowing black robes worn by Alan Rickman as Severus Snape throughout the films.

These socks are worked toe-up with fingering weight yarn and use a simple eyelet pattern throughout. A white picot edge that is picked up inside the top of the cuff gives a nice finished touch, and I love the knit buttons. Here is my interpretation of the pattern. While I like the black yarn for it’s reference to Snape, many projects have been created using other beautiful colors.

3. Tree of Life
Tree of Life Sock patterns
Tree of Life, ©Janel Laidman

I first saw this design by Janel Laidman many years ago, and it prompted me to go out and purchase her entire book. I have to admit though that I’ve never made any of her designs. Yet. I love socks. I love colorwork. But the thought of putting the two together still intimidates me. I’ve done plenty of stranding in the round using fingering weight yarn, but the non-stretchiness of it in socks scares me a little. Yet, when I DO venture into stranded socks, this one will definitely be one of the first.

This beautiful design is worked top-down with two contrasting colors of fingering weight sock yarn.

4. Hyak
Hyak Knit sock patterns
Hyak, ©Kim Swingle

I haven’t knit this one yet either, but it’s next on the list. I’ve only ever knit socks with fingering weight, so I’m looking forward to trying some out using worsted. I’m especially looking forward to using the yarn called for in the pattern, Traditional Collection 2-ply by Cestari. This yarn is 100% wool from Targhee/Columbia sheep that produce a soft and lofty yarn and is processed so that it retains some of the natural lanolin.

This pattern and yarn is available from one of my favorite local yarn shops: Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, Washington. This beautiful shop carries locally crafted fibers and designs, a great selection of needles and crochet hooks, and fun and interesting notions. They also carry a great selection of books and items from local crafters. Tolt offers a diverse schedule of classes and knitting circles and hosts a variety of events. If one needs a relaxing area to meet up with fiber-y friends while enjoying coffee and working on a current project, this is the place to be. I highly recommend stopping in if you’re ever in the area. It’s about a half hour drive east of Seattle.

5. Rushing Rivulet – Riverbed
Rushing Rivulets sock patterns
Rushing Rivulet-Riverbed, ©Cat Bordhi

This pattern is from another one of my favorite sock designers, Cat Bordhi. It is worked toe-up in fingering weight yarn. The all-over stitch pattern is simple, but the genius in this design is in the way it is constructed. The increases for the arch are placed on the bottom of the sole, allowing a small stitch pattern to be placed all over the surface of the visible parts of the sock. Additionally, this technique makes for an amazing fit on the foot; these are probably the best-fitting socks I’ve ever made. This construction technique and others are found in Cat’s book “New Pathways for Sock Knitters.” The book is about 10 years old, but still relevant and great for creating one’s own designs. These are just a few of my favorite sock patterns. I’ve got plenty more that I would love to share with you in the future. Have you knit any of these? Do you have any favorite sock patterns to share?

An oldie, but a goodie…

t’s really no secret that I’m a big fan of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe.) With the premiere of Marvel’s Doctor Strange on the horizon, I wanted to thank everyone who’s downloaded and/or knit my Hail Hydra Mitts in the past couple of years. It’s definitely my most popular design on Ravelry.

“Cut off one head, two more shall take it’s place!”

(For you non-geeks out there, Hydra is one of the fictitious villain groups of the MCU. Check this out.)

I charted this pattern a couple of years ago, and despite the downfall(?) of this organization onscreen, the pattern is still being downloaded on a regular basis. Check out all the amazing project pages over at Ravelry.

These mitts were a lot of fun to create. It was my first time doing Latvian Braids, which are easier than I thought they would be. And of course, there is stranding. I enjoy this technique so much, and while I still have some tension issues, I’m steadily improving. And the Hydra logo lends itself well to stranding, since there aren’t that many long floats.

I’ve been brainstorming some designs for the premiere of Doctor Strange. Stay tuned!

Have you knit the Hydra Mitts? What other geeky knits do you enjoy?