Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Manly-Man Scarf

There are times when you have to knit a plain scarf for someone with a conservative sense of style.  But "plain" does not have to equal "boring!"  Pick the right yarn, like the subtly-fuzzy Aran weight Concept by Katia Cotton-Merino (which comes in several neutral colors and a few with subtle stripes) and you'll be done in no time and enjoy the process, too!  Look how happy I am to be working on it ... and how cute those stripes look when they're knit up!

2 balls Concept by Katia Cotton-Merino in color 205
US size 10 knitting needles (straight or circular, your choice)

Cast on 28 stitches.
(Knit 1, purl 1) across.

Pattern row: Slip first stitch of row as if to knit with yarn in back, purl 1, then (knit 1, purl 1) across.

Repeat pattern row until you have a few yards of yarn left, then bind off LOOSELY in pattern.

Friday, September 02, 2016

VVVVVery Quick V-Stitch Cowl

Sometimes you have a skein of fingering-weight yarn that doesn't want to be socks, either because it's too delicate to care for or too special to relegate to something you're just going to stick inside shoes anyway.  Single-ply yarns, cashmere blends, hand-dyed souvenir yarns from trips to far-flung yarn stores ... all of these can be showcased beautifully in this V-stitch crochet cowl.  The pattern is simple and easy to start and stop, making this the perfect on-the-go project, especially as gift-giving season approaches.

  • 4.0 mm crochet hook (US size G)
  • 4.5 mm crochet hook (US size 7)
  • about 60 gm fingering weight yarn (I used Hedgehog Fibers' Skinny Singles from River Colors Studio in color Opalite)
SC - single crochet                ch - chain
DC - double crochet              sl st - slip stitch

  1. Using the 4.5 mm hook, chain 84.  Join with a sl st, being careful not to twist.
  2. Using the 4.0 mm hook, chain 4.  DC in same chain as sl st.  [Skip chain, (DC, chain 1, DC) in next chain] around.  End round with sl st in 3rd chain of beginning of round, then sl st in the resulting ch-1 space to the left of where you just joined.
  3. Chain 4. DC in same ch-1 space as sl st.  [DC, chain 1, DC) in next ch-1 space] around.  End with a sl st in 3rd chain of beginning of round, and sl st in the resulting ch-1 space to the left of where you just joined.
  4. Repeat step 3 until cowl is desired length or you are not quite out of yarn (sample repeated the round 27 times).
  5. Using the 4.5 mm hook, chain 2.  [SC loosely in space between next 2 DC stitches] around.  End with a sl st in second stitch of beginning of round.  Fasten off and weave in ends.
There's no reason this pattern has to be confined to fingering weight yarns. Just adjust the hook sizes to match your yarn choice (when in doubt, go bigger than you think you need, because you want the stitches to be flexible and soft).  Chain an even number of stitches that's big enough to slip over your head once it's joined into a circle, and get going!  For reference, I used 62 stitches with aran/chunky yarn (super fast project!) and 100 chains with heavy lace weight yarn (much slower going, but a totally awesome way to use the qiviut yarn I bought in Alaska).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Simple and Beautiful Sampler Afghan

Patterns are funny things. Sometimes they spring into life, fully formed, like they've been lurking in my brain all along. And sometimes I need to play around with some yarn and a hook and see what the fiber "wants" to be.

I had a supply of Malabrigo Rios leftover from another project, and I knew I wanted to make an afghan. The colorway I had - Piedras - varies A LOT between hanks, so I knew that making one big blanket wasn't the best option. So it would be done in blocks ... and I'd been meaning to come up with a sampler pattern for my not-quite-experienced crochet students to use ... and Erika is always up for holding new classes at the shop ...

After a few hours of digging around, I found the wonderful block-of-the-month afghan designed by Ren Murphy ( It had many of the traits I wanted - it was reversible, textured, and relatively easy. But not all of the blocks were exactly what I had in mind, so I designed a couple blocks based on some of my own favorite textures. After getting Ren's permission to use her designs for the class, I rearranged her blocks in order so that they go from easiest - nothing but single crochet - to the most complicated - some very straightforward front-post double crochet. Voila! A new pattern (and class) is born!
The class is offered at River Colors Studio, and I'm teaching two new blocks each month. I'll post the previous month's instructions here periodically, in case you're not in the Cleveland area but want to play along with us. Feel free to post links to pictures of your own projects in the comments!

And now, without further ado, here's the first handout:

Simple and Beautiful Sampler Afghan

Materials needed:
  • Washable, worsted-weight yarn in two colors - about 50 gm of each for one class, about 600 grams of each for the entire throw-sized afghan (but you can purchase as you go along, if you want), or about 300 grams of each for the baby blanket. Shop sample used Malabrigo Rios in colorways Pocion and Piedras.

Time to pick your project size!

  • If you want to make a 36” square baby blanket, you’ll be making one block using each stitch pattern.
  • If you want to make a 54”x44” throw, you’ll need a total of two blocks in each stitch pattern.

Class 1: March 6, 2016

Abbreviations to know this month:
st: stitch
ch: chain
sc: single crochet

Block One:  Rib-It! Rib-It!

Row 1: Ch 39, sc in second stitch from hook and each ch across; 38 stitches
Rows 2-55: ch 1 (does not count as a st), turn, sc blo in each st across (including 1st st); 38 stitches
Border: *work 38 sc along one side of the square, ch 1 (does not count as stitch), repeat from * on each side of the square.  Fasten off and weave in ends

Block 2: Tiramisu
(inspired by the stitch pattern in

Row 1: Ch 38, sc in second stitch from hook and each ch across; 37 stitches
Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a st), turn, [make 2 sc in next st, skip a st] across, ending with ONE sc in the last st of the row.
Repeat Row 2 until block is approximately square.
Border: *work 38 sc along one side of the square, ch 1 (does not count as stitch), repeat from * on each side of the square.  Fasten off and weave in ends