My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Two Thirds

I am almost at the two-thirds point in my Leftovers Cowl.

WIPCloseup020914 240x227 Two Thirds

It doesn’t look like much all smooshed up, but check this out:

WIP020914 240x135 Two Thirds

It is approximately 56″ long at this point.

I am starting to re-use yarns now. I still have a few un-used ones, and I am mixing them in with colors already used. And still trying to get a nice mix of light and dark and good contrast. It’s such fun to knit because I am finished with a set of colors before I get bored.

Loki

Loki wanted you to see how pretty he looks right after being brushed:

Loki020914 186x240 Two Thirds

As you can see, he has a lot of fur! Way more than Lucy had — I could get away with brushing her once a week. I brush Loki every day and get a fair amount of loose fur out of him each time. If I didn’t brush him so often he’d get mats in his little armpits. Lucky for me, he loves being brushed and combed.

Have Cuff, Will Travel

First things first, the winner of a copy of  Knit Nordic: 20 Contemporary Accessories Inspired by 4 Traditional Sweater Patterns by Eline Oftedal is GerryART, who has been emailed. As always thank you to everyone who left a comment and a big thank you to Sterling Publishing for offering a book for the give-away.

My Leftovers Cowl has gotten a bit too big for me to drag to the office every day on the off chance I have time to knit a round or two during my lunch break. So I have something more portable on the needles for a commuter project:

Cuff020514 240x215 Have Cuff, Will Travel

This is the first of a pair of fingerless mitts. I am knitting with Shibui Knits Sock, a fingering weight 100% superwash merino wool, in the Abyss, and Roppongi colorways. As you can see, I’ve got a cuff done in corrugated ribbing. I’ve worked up a fun little chart for the back of the hand. All will be revealed in time.

But I do continue to work on the cowl. I’ve not had a lot of knitting time so far this week, but I am plugging along.

WIP020514 240x135 Have Cuff, Will Travel

However, a certain furry little somebody has been requesting a lot of lap time this week. I am putty in his paws.

Loki020514 240x135 Have Cuff, Will Travel

Speaking of Colorwork

This came in the mail a couple of days ago:

KnitNordic020114 189x240 Speaking of Colorwork

This is Knit Nordic: 20 Contemporary Accessories Inspired by 4 Traditional Sweater Patterns by Eline Oftedal to be released this coming Tuesday, February 4.

Very clever idea for a book! Marius, Voss, Setesdal, and Fana are four of the iconic traditional Norwegian knitting patterns. I’ve knit several Norwegian sweaters and the patterns for these 4 are so familiar to me.

What the author has done in this book is take these four traditional patterns and offer 5 patterns for contemporary accessories based on each.

At the front of the book is a nice intro with information on the four iconic patterns.

First up, Marius. There are lots of vintage photos and some good information about the design on this page. And there are lots of Marius patterns on Ravelry.

The Marius index page of Knit Nordic:

KnitNordic020114Marius 240x147 Speaking of Colorwork

The Marius patterns are for a handbag, a racerback tank top, hot pants (yikes), a teddy bear (awwwww!), and a Christmas stocking.

Next, Setesdal. There’s a lovely pattern for a Setesdal sweater listed in Ravelry.

The Setesdal index page of Knit Nordic:

KnitNordic020114Setesdal 240x144 Speaking of Colorwork

Setesdal patterns: an iPad cover (I love this), a necktie, slippers, wristwarmers, and a beanie hat.

Next comes Fana. Here’s the Dale of Norway Fana pattern in Ravelry.

The Fana index page of Knit Nordic:

KnitNordic020114Fana 240x147 Speaking of Colorwork

The Fana patterns are a beret, a “half-sweater” (like a small poncho), armwarmers, coffee press cosy, and cup cosies.

Finally, Voss. Here’s a pretty Dale of Norway Voss pattern in Ravelry.

The Voss index page of Knit Nordic:

KnitNordic020114Voss 240x153 Speaking of Colorwork

The patterns are for a toilet roll cover, potholers, a cowl (she calls it a snood), a cushion cover, and an iPhone cover.

The skill level for each pattern is noted and the instructions look nice and clear. The colorwork is charted, in large, easy-to-see charts. There is a nice detailed techniques section in the back with information on knitting in the round and stranded knitting. Also included is information on working from charts, finishing techniques, and linings and fastenings.

The patterns are all very cute (though you will not catch me knitting stranded wool hot pants any time soon) and some of them are definitely easy enough for a colorwork newbie or wanna-be. The cowl or coffeepot or cup cosies would be very easy to make, and what great gifts. I can see almost anything in this book making a wonderful gift knit, and they are all fairly small projects so they would knit up quickly. The yarns used are listed by weight, not by specific brand (sport, DK, worsted, etc.) and there are some projects using bulky weight yarn that would knit up in a snap.

Sterling Publishing is once again sponsoring a giveaway for WendyKnits readers. Who’d like a copy of this great book?

To be entered in the drawing for a free copy of Knit Nordic: 20 Contemporary Accessories Inspired by 4 Traditional Sweater Patterns by Eline Oftedal (generously supplied by Sterling Publishing), leave a comment on this post by noon Eastern Time, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. At that time the Random Number Generator will select a winner.

Leftovers Cowl

Work continues on my Leftovers Cowl:

WIP020214 240x135 Speaking of Colorwork

I am close to half done — I have 2.75 repeats done at this point and I plan to knit to 6 repeats. And I have yet to use a yarn twice. But I will soon be repeating yarns as I am running out of new balls of leftovers!

Loki

Loki wants to get in a game of hide and seek before the Superbowl.

Loki020214 164x240 Speaking of Colorwork

He’s waiting for me. icon smile Speaking of Colorwork

Mmmmmmm, Leftovers

I am happily working along on my Leftovers Cowl.

WIPCloseup012914 240x135 Mmmmmmm, Leftovers

There were some questions about this project in the comments so I will address some of them here.

Diane asked: How do you handle the “jog” at the beginning of a new color combination? Bury it in the purl stitch?

Basically, yes. The purl stitch on each side is worked in the background color and it occurs at the halfway point and at the end of the round.  The jog is not an issue anyway, because the cowl will be folded along these purl ridges and steam-blocked, so the start of the round will be on one side of the cowl and the end of the rounds will be on the other side.

Ginny asked: Do you separate your sock yarn into wool blends and 100% wool?

I do not . . . and that’s a good question! While most of my sock yarn is 100% wool, I do have some sock yarns with 10% nylon content and I am using these interchangeably with the all-wool yarns. What I am not using are yarns that have other fibers, like bamboo or mohair or alpaca. Another variable is thickness — not all fingering weight sock yarns are created equal so there is going to be some slight variations in yarn thickness. I have eliminated all yarns that seem to be bordering on laceweight or sportweight to try to keep things consistent. There are slight differences in thickness in the yarns I’m using, but it’s not enough to dramatically affect gauge.

Jamie asked: Are you using a particular book for pattern inspiration, or is it all “as the yarn speaks to you”?

I charted out the whole thing before starting. Each chart yields around 13″ of length, so I will work the chart 5 or 6 times. The motifs I am using in my chart are partially traditional fair isle and partially stuff I made up.

I am leaning towards working to charts 6 times and if I do, I have between a quarter and a third of the total piece done at this point:

WIP012914 135x240 Mmmmmmm, Leftovers

For each “band” in the pattern I select two different yarns from my leftover sock yarn stash. I am of course making a point of selecting two colorways that contrast, and I am also keeping an eye on the colors I’ve used so I don’t, for example, have several bands of different shades of green in a row. I’m also making a point of mixing up the background and foreground colors, that is, switching dark/light and light/dark to make it more interesting.

At this point I have not needed to repeat a yarn yet, and I still have enough leftovers for several more bands before I have to start repeating yarns used. When I repeat them, I’ll mix them up so no two bands will be identical in colors.

I will write up the pattern and make it available (and that pattern will tell you how many stitches, etc., another question asked by several of you). While it is perfect for using up your leftover sock yarn, you could do the whole cowl in two colors. Maybe Rainbow Kauni and a solid? Or you could use mini skeins that are available from a number of yarn sellers. I know that The Loopy Ewe has sets of mini “cakes” of complimentary colors — Loopy Cakes! icon smile Mmmmmmm, Leftovers

Loki just does not “get” my fascination with this project. I do believe he is bored.

Loki012914 240x195 Mmmmmmm, Leftovers

Happiness

Now this makes me happy.

WIP012614 221x240 Happiness

That is the start of a cowl. Unlike the Britta Cowl, which starts with eleventy-billion stitches and has you knit top to bottom (or bottom to top), this cowl is knit end to end. The green stitches at the bottom of the piece are a provisional cast-on. Once I have the cowl as long as I want it, I’ll graft the starting stitches to the end stitches to make a continuous loop.

Because it’s being knit in the round as a tube, it’s double-sided. I have one purl stitch running up each side to give it fake seams — this will aid in keeping the piece straight and flat when I block it.

I am using a U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) needle. The yarn is . . .

. . . leftover sock yarn.

People who have known me for a while know that I went through a long stretch of time when I knit socks, socks, and more socks. For each pair of socks knit, I have a ball of leftover sock yarn. I knit a lot of socks, therefore I have a lot of leftover sock yarn. You know the largest size L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag? This one, in Extra Large. I have two of those stuffed full of leftover sock yarn. So I have lots of raw material.

I strung together a bunch of Fair Isle motifs, picked out two nicely contrasting balls of yarn, and had at it.

Knitting this is so much fun. I’m doing each motif in a different set of colors, so it’s always changing and therefore, always entertaining. At least it is for me. It wasn’t until I started knitting this that I realized how “un-fun” my last project was. Now, knitting this cowl, I am having to speak sternly to myself every night so I will put down the knitting and go to bed. I’d rather sit up all night and knit.

This little guy is pretty good at convincing me to put the knitting down.

Loki012614 240x206 Happiness