Tag Archives: misty blue

Trellis Ponytail Hat

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Wow, this Trellis Ponytail Hat / Messy Bun Hat was a quick knit! (find the pattern here) Even for me, since I’m trying to knit slowly.  It is one of those addicting patterns where, as you are knitting, you can’t wait to see how the pattern is working and how the trellis pattern emerges.  I teased you in my last post with this picture of my afternoon break as I was working on it:

The whole idea behind these hats (of which there are many patterns out there now) is that if you want to wear at nice warm hat, but your ponytail is in the way, you can make your ponytail stick out the back.  You can adjust the button opening based on whether you wear your ponytail up high or down low.  Very practical and you get a cool hat too!

Once I got the technique down, it was done in a flash:

[I just figured out how to do these nifty galleries for pictures, so you don’t have to scroll as much.  You’re welcome.]

If the yarn looks familiar, it is the same Malabrigo Rios I used to make the Misty Blue sweater.  I only needed a little bit of the second skein to finish the sweater and there was more than enough left over to make the hat.  I will say it again:  I. Love. This. Yarn.

This pattern is knit completely flat (not in the round) and uses slipped stitches (and switched stitches) to make the trellis pattern.  For the life of me, when I started, I couldn’t figure out what the heck was happening.  But then the pattern actually started emerging and I figured I was doing it right.

The “switched stitches” involves dropping a stitch off the needle – and letting it hang out there – then slipping another stitch, then putting the dropped stitch back on your needle.  Nerve wracking to say the least, especially in the beginning.  Once you get going, it’s no big deal.  Until you realize your numbers aren’t right and somehow a stitch got dropped not on purpose. [That might have happened to me.]  A cable needle would be helpful if you are just too nervous to do it this way.

Really the biggest feat for me was the five buttons that needed to be put on this hat. FIVE. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I really dislike sewing on buttons.  I will put a shawl pin in a cardigan or just leave it open in order to not sew on buttons.  But this hat being what it is, meaning you can’t remotely wear it without the buttons, I needed to do them.

So, the best way of doing this was with a spoonful of sugar – the sugar in this case being the Wednesday night knit-in at The Spinning Room yarn shop, where I could chat away with everyone and work on my buttons at the same time.  And as it happened, I needed to sew buttons on the sweater too (more buttons):

[This picture makes the yarn look gray.]

So that was EIGHT buttons I sewed on.  In a row.  If you follow me on Instagram, I posted that picture right after I was done, proclaiming I needed some sort of reward for that!  By the way I recently found this YouTube video for how to sew on a button and it is a much better way than I was doing.

A Digression:

Speaking of Instagram, I’ve been posting things I’ve been doing on my breaks during the day…

The other day the King Arthur Flour catalog came. My kryptonite. I love almost everything in there and every time I get it I want to bake all the things.

During this morning’s break I worked on my Apple Blossom Socks by Helen Stewart.  I showed those to you in my last post, too.  I couldn’t get them out of my mind, so, since I happened to be at the yarn shop on Wednesday (how fortuitous), I picked up the skein of Happy Feet 100 Splash that I have been looking at forever.  The yarn in the pattern is speckled, but I’m slightly worried that my yarn might be too speckle-y.  Stay tuned.

Another Digression (not at all related):

Take a look at the progress made by the students in my Two Socks on One Circular Needle class that finished up last night:

Well on their way to finishing two socks at once!

Back to the Trellis Ponytail Hat:

This ponytail hat was a fun knit and it was great to learn a new technique.  What do you think of the ponytail hat in general – the idea of it?  Do you have someone you would knit it for? [I’ll be offering this one as a class in May/June-ish.]


6 Tips for Overcoming a Challenging Knitting Pattern

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Seeing a challenging knitting pattern that, from the outset, looks really complicated can be very intimidating.  For example, it may be several pages long, have two charts, each with a different number of rows, to be knit at the same time, as well as increases to be knit at certain intervals.

Makes you want to run the other way right?  But you don’t have to. These challenges don’t have to stop you from knitting it!  Here are a few tips to help you through.  I also have an example of what I did with a complicated pattern.

Tip #1:  Breathe.  A few deep breaths before reading through the pattern will help calm your brain down which is probably shouting, “Danger! Too hard! Don’t do it! RUN!”

Tip #2:  Read through the whole pattern to get an idea of what will be entailed.  Jumping right in without reading through the whole pattern may set you up for failure.  There is often a direction “at the same time” which occurs further along in the pattern, but is something you are supposed to already be doing by the time you read it!

Tip #3:  Map out your rows.  When a pattern has several charts as well as instructions for increasing, it helps to map out how you will accomplish your rows. Writing down each row, along with the corresponding chart rows, in a chart format or just in rows on your scrap paper will help tease out the confusion (see my example below).

Tip #4:  Cross off each row on your map as it is completed so there is no question as to what row you are on if you put your project down for a while.

Tip #5:  Keep breathing! One row at a time and you will get there.

Tip #6:  If you are still confused about how to organize your rows/charts, stop in at your local yarn shop and ask for a little help!  Most shops are happy to take a few minutes to help walk you through what to do and get you on your way.  [If it is a particularly complicated pattern that will take more than 10 minutes or so, they may suggest you schedule a private lesson.  Private lessons are great for quality one-on-one instruction and well worth the cost.]

I recently found a challenging knitting pattern – an adorable baby sweater pattern which was 7 pages long, had two different charts, that had two different repeat lengths, that needed to be knit at the same time (at different parts of the same row) while knitting from the top down and increasing at four locations on my needle.  Whew!  The challenge was:  How do I keep track of all this?

Once I had worked out a system for keeping track of two charts and increases, it went quickly.  To work out the system, first I took a deep breath!  I read through the whole pattern to understand what would be happening throughout the project. For example, in this pattern the back chart is only knit once but the front chart is knitted throughout.  That bit of information would help me get organized.

Next, I made a little map/chart for the rows I would need to knit. I lined up the two rows I needed to repeat for the increases with the rows of each of the knitting charts like so:


Look at the first number for the increase row, then follow the numbers vertically down for what you will need to do on the rest of that row.  You will see that after row 14 of each of the charts it gets interesting.  You are still working on the first (and only) repeat of the back chart but you need to start over at the beginning of the front chart.  Making a little chart like this to keep track made the process soooooo much easier to complete.

*The “EVEN” means to work even (no more increases).

Challenge accepted and challenging knitting pattern overcome! I finished the Misty Blue baby (and child) sweater yesterday and I can’t say enough how cute it is.  See for yourself:

See? So cute right???  I just love the back lace detail.  It’s something a little unexpected.

This Misty Blue pattern goes from 0-6 mos up to 9-10yrs in sizing.  You can make it with long or short sleeves.  The cute butterfly buttons are a little too big for my buttonholes so I’ll be searching for another set.

For those who are local, this will be a class offered at The Spinning Room yarn shop in June and I’ll teach you all these tips in person.

I did also overcome another knitting challenge — the one where I couldn’t knit for a long time because of my elbow tendinitis. HOORAY! After much rest and heat and stretches and REST, I’m able to knit for some pretty good lengths of time.  I still need to stop before I want to, in order to rest, but the elbows are much better!  I am using this FUTURO Tennis Elbow Support which really helps.  I also use this FUTURO Energising Support Glove. I have used the glove for several years already as it just gives some nice support to your hand when you are knitting for a long time. (click on those links to get them on Amazon)

Boy does it feel good to actually be making some progress on knitting projects!

What do you do when you find a challenging knitting pattern?  Ignore it and find a different pattern? Run? Try it?

Storm Stella Dig Out (and a little knitting)

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The biggest news around here yesterday was storm Stella.  In case you are not tired of seeing snow pictures, I’m happy to give you some more.

We ended up with a little over two feet of snow.

And here is a video of Paul plowing the driveway for the second time:

Paul actually worked most of the day from home and I was busy too.

I did do a little knitting once things calmed down. I’m working on Misty Blue:

An adorable baby/kids sweater (up to size 9-10) that I will teach in a class at The Spinning Room in June.  I’m making it with Malabrigo Rios, a superwash wool, which I love, Love, LOVE!

I also need to tell you about the cowl that I was working on – remember the one I had to restart because I ran out of yarn?  But that needs it’s own post.  Yes, there is a story to tell. [cue the cliffhanger music]

Were you affected by storm Stella?  How did things go for you?