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hat patterns for beginners | #anyhatkal

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my favorite hats. Since then, I’ve received several questions from beginner knitters (or knitters who have never knit a hat) about what pattern I would recommend for a very first hat! Of course, I dug around on Ravelry and found some excellent ideas that I’m happy to share here!

Back in 2009, I was in college and rediscovering my love of knitting. (I guess a full-time job and full class load weren’t enough? I needed a hobby!) I can’t remember exactly why, but I decided I needed to knit a hat. I must’ve gone to Michael’s to find some acrylic yarn and a book (at the time, I had no idea YouTube videos about knitting were even a thing). I purchased this book, which taught me how to join in the round, change to DPN’s, decrease, and cinch up the top of the hat. Although the patterns in it are pretty outdated and I don’t really recommend it (i.e. I think you’re better off with the patterns below and YouTube), it did teach me all the basics of hat knitting! And, obviously, I fell in love. I’ll take knitting in the round and no bind off over a huge stockinette shawl any day! I could wax poetic about my hat-knitting love forever, but instead I will tell a quick story and then share those patterns!

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my favorite hats

favorite hats

Yay! I’m so excited for today’s post! I want to share with you my favorite hats. Hats are, hands down, my favorite thing to knit. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, this shouldn’t surprise you! They’re quick and fun to knit, and the result is a highly wearable finished object. That makes for what I consider to be a “high-yield” knit: grab a skein off the shelf, cast on, and in a couple of hours you have an attractive and cozy accessory. What’s not to love?! (For comparison, I consider socks to be a low-yield knit… I hate knitting them, I hate wearing them, and nobody sees them!)

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clarke

Clarke by Jane Richmond is a simple, stripey pullover that I’ve been eyeing for quite a while. When I saw CotLin on sale, I decided it was finally time to add Clarke to my wardrobe and I purchased 7 balls of Sagebrush and 3 of Swan. I was hoping the cotton-linen blend would provide a lightweight, versatile piece, suitable for wearing in virtually all seasons! Braving the 90 degree heat, I layered it here with a chambray button-up and I really enjoy the look!

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First off, the yarn was actually pretty enjoyable to knit with. I was a bit concerned because I’ve had trouble with both cotton and linen being hard on the hands, but CotLin was surprisingly soft and easy to work with. Stripes seem to make garments go more quickly, and this sweater worked up in less than a month (while I knitted on… several… other things)! When all was said and done, I used only 6 balls of Sagebrush and 2 of Swan. In hindsight, I wish I had gone up a size (no, I didn’t swatch – please don’t judge me) for more ease. I may be able to get a little more length out of it, but I have already hand-washed and machine-dried it. Yes, CotLin is machine washable and dryable! However, I think drying it caused it to shrink some, which is a huge bummer. It’s still wearable, but I’m hoping it will fit even better when I’m a bit smaller. I recommend the yarn overall, but consider that if you don’t want to machine-dry it, it will take a long time to dry on its own (it was still very damp 24 hours later, which is why I threw it in the dryer. The spin cycle on the washing machine may cut that down some). I love the idea of being able to wash my handknits with my other clothes, but I’m not so sure that I’ll be throwing this in with everything else. I should also note that the Sagebrush color bled quite a bit, but I don’t think it affected the white stripes.

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Now for the pattern! This is the first Jane Richmond pattern I’ve knit and it is awesome! I usually go through the pattern and highlight the numbers that correspond to my size, but Jane makes it infinitely easier with a fill-in-the-blank style! With the pattern being so easy to follow, this sweater was a very easy and meditative knit. I’ve learned that going up a needle size while binding off makes for a stretchy edge, so I bound off the bottom hem, sleeves, and neckline in pattern with a size 6 needle. I would definitely recommend this method if you, like me, have been unhappy with the tightness of edges in the past. Other than that, I used the recommended needle sizes. There isn’t much more to say about this pattern. Unless you just hate stockinette, I think you’ll love it! It’s such a simple design, but its well-written pattern and easy style make it a great staple for any wardrobe! I’m already dreaming of one in wool for winter!

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Check out more photos on my Ravelry page. I can’t wait to cast on my next sweater for Shannon Cook’s Summer Sweater KAL (lots of chat going on here)!

xoxo

Andrea

#sweatergoals | update

Back in January, I wrote a post about my 2017 #sweatergoals. Somehow, half the year has gone by & I haven’t quite kept pace with my aspirations. I’ve been knitting lots of shawls lately, but I’ve come to the realization that sweaters are much more practical for my wardrobe, so I plan to knit several in the last half of the year!

I keep getting sidetracked by new patterns and yarn! So far, I’ve knit Sawyer by Julie Hoover (blogged here), but I haven’t managed to cast on any of the other sweaters. One down, four to go!

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I love participating in the Tops, Tanks & Tees Knit Along hosted by Shannon Cook each spring. Right around the time it was starting, Dieuwke van Mulligen’s pattern Sparkle Up was released. I knew I wanted to knit this right away and ordered some Plucky Crewbie in Medieval). This sweater has such interesting construction and I enjoyed it so much! There aren’t many stitches to pick up (only around 70 for the entire garment!) and the sleeves basically knit themselves! I actually loved this sweater so much that I already want to knit another, in a sport or DK weight for more slouch and longer sleeves. Even though this wasn’t part of the plan, I’m so glad I knit this!

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Another sweater I’m adding to my list is the Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond. KnitPicks was having a sale and I have wanted to try their CotLin yarn for a while, so I scooped up 7 balls of Sagebrush and 3 of Swan. I’m already 3/4 done with the body – this thing is going so fast! I’m hoping for a lightweight sweater for cool summer nights! Follow my progress on Instagram and Ravelry!

Looking forward, I still want to achieve my #sweatergoals! I plan to knit the West End Cardigan by Hannah Fettig in Berroco Ultra Alpaca for Shannon Cook’s Summer Sweater Knit Along (another fantastic KAL hosted on Ravelry).

west end

Harvey will make a great winter sweater, knit in Cascade 220, so I plan to start that one later in the fall.

harvey

Mae is a great transition piece, which I will try to work in before cold weather, but need to find the right yarn!

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Finally, the Stashbuster Sweater will be great for using up all those worsted weight leftovers I’ll have!

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Now if designers can stop releasing patterns so I can knit… 😉

Do you have #sweatergoals?! I’d love to hear what patterns you’re stalking!

xoxo,

Andrea

shawl ready for this | volume two

       Oh my gosh! I just realized it’s been a year since I posted volume one of Shawl Ready for This!! I’ve knit a few (like, eight) shawls since then, so I think it’s high time for an update!

I’ve already blogged about Winter Honey, but the rest haven’t received much attention! I’ll start with my most recent finished shawl, Marley by Andrea Mowry. This is one of my most enjoyable knits so far. Once you’ve mastered brioche (I swear it’s not hard! YouTube is your friend!) it’s just a four-row repeat. There’s something very fluid and meditative about brioche and I just love it. I knit this in madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Optic (MC) & Candlewick. It’s light and airy, yet so squishy and warm! This color palette isn’t my norm, but I absolutely LOVE the result!

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“right side” of Marley vs “wrong side”… I love that it’s reversible!

Next up… Boho Blush also by Andrea Mowry (I want to knit every. single. one. of her shawls). I’ve never felt so compelled to knit something… this one spoke to my soul. The squishy garter, delicate lace, a smattering of brioche, and that fringe. Despite having over 500 stitches at the end, this one flew off the needles! I definitely recommend adding fringe after blocking to keep it from tangling. Knit with Plucky Knitter Oxford in Twill, this shawl is utter neutral perfection!

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 Last August, my Nana gave me six squishy skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners Fleece Bluefaced Leicester Aran in three natural shades. I thought it best to knit her something since she was generous enough to bring this yarn all the way back from England! Not long after, Elkhorn by Melissa Schaschwary was released… a yarn/pattern match made in heaven! I knew it would make the perfect Christmas gift for her, and I finished with a few weeks to spare! I don’t love knitting stockinette flat (read: I don’t like purling!) but the stripes and textures kept me interested. I truly enjoyed every stitch and loved her reaction even more!

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Sunwalker. Need I say more? I feel like it’s a classic. Although, I feel like all of Melanie Berg’s designs are classics. But there’s something about Sunwalker. Its generous size begs to be wrapped up in and the “pebbly seed stitch” as Melanie calls it adds texture and warmth. I absolutely adore and can’t say enough about this shawl – it is definitely my most worn so far. Oh, and I used Plucky again – this time (the sadly discontinued) Single in the colorway Betrothed. Single was a great base and is similar to Tosh Merino Light or Malabrigo Mechita. Don’t let the thought of miles of seed stitch overwhelm you – it’s totally worth it!

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Now for a test knit I completed for Shannon Cook last July – Compass Shawl. This is a lovely shawl, with enough texture to keep it interesting to knit. I chose two colors of madelinetosh Pure Mernio Worsted and, though I love the outcome, I would opt for something more wooly were I to knit it again. This is a very bouncy wool and I’m not sure it’s the best option. But don’t get me wrong – this is a fantastic shawl!

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I finished my very first test knit a year ago this weekend, Maybe, Baby Worsted by Webster Street Knittery. If I’m not mistaken, it was one of Jen’s first designs and she did a fabulous job! Although mine came out a bit small (I think I knit a little too tight), it’s a great size for wrapping like a scarf! For this one I mixed Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted and Cascade 220 – both great workhorse yarns. Jen has a few more designs now, and they’re all beautiful, so be sure to check her out!

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The final shawl to mention is Drachenfels. Everyone has knit one by now, right?! If not, you need to! I used the suggested Rosy Green Wool and can’t recommend it enough. It’s one of my favorite yarns I’ve knit with so far, and this is definitely one of my favorite and most worn shawls! The pop of orange isn’t typically “me” but the lovely ladies at Black Mountain Yarn Shop helped me choose them last summer and I am so glad I took the leap! I don’t typically knit something more than once, but another Drachenfels is in my near future!

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Shew. What a post! I didn’t realize I’d knit so many shawls. And there are at least three I want to cast on… I better free up some needles!

I’d love to know what shawl patterns you’re loving! Can you ever have too many?!

Happy knitting 🙂