Chunky Cowl - How To Knit it!

 Isn't this cowl cute? Big chunky cowls and infinity scarves have been SO popular lately, that I really wanted to knit up my own version of one. 
Being that this cowl is knit straight, like one big very long scarf, and then seamed up the short ends, it is super simple to knit. This makes for a fast and gratifying knitting project, and it's perfect for those last minute gifts you still have to give. 
You could knit one of these up in about 3 hours or less, so you could definitely turn at least one cowl out before Christmas morning on Saturday!
On to the tutorial...
I should say that this pattern is not really completely mine. I modified a stitch pattern that I found on this Norwegian knitting site, Pickles. The original scarf, called an Icelandic Sunrise Shawl has increases built in to make a triangular scarf. I simply modified the stitch pattern so that the stitches wouldn't increase. 
The pattern was just too interesting to not use! The way the pattern is knit feels a little wrong to a seasoned knitter, like you're doing something wrong, but trust me, it's worth it in the end!
The pattern has a 2 row repeat, so it's super simple to remember. 

To make the cowl I knitted, you will need:
9mm or size 13 Straight knitting needles
2 skeins of of super bulky wight yarn

Note: For the cowl I'm wearing in the above pictures I used Rowan Big Wool Fusion in shade 06. 
This is discontinued now unfortunately, but you can still find some colors online.
Regular big wool is still available through Rowan Yarns, and #061 concrete is the closet color match.
For the rust colored cowl in the tutorial, I am using Cascade Yarns Lana Grande in color 6029.
Both yarns have about 87 yards in each ball.

The right side of the knitted fabric will look like this. See the loops that stretch across the bias?
The wrong side of the fabric is equally interesting and looks like this.
Because the loops are on the bias, the knitting will make a slight curve.
This will become helpful once you seam your cowl, so you get a nice drape. 
Right side curve.
Okay. Cast on. You will need to Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches.
Both cowls I made used 16 stitches.
The first row pattern is as follows.
Knit one, yarn over (YO) with 2 wraps.
Do this until you reach the last stitch. Just knit the very last stitch. You don't need to YO after it.
This is what your right needle will look like after you have knit 16 stitches with double wrap YO's in between.
Now comes the confusing part where you will think you are messing up.
You need 4 stitches to work with. So take your right needle and slip the first knit stitch on it purl wise.
Now release both wraps of the YO. Just let them fall. Things will not unravel. Just trust me for a second, okay?
Slip 3 more of the knit stitches purl wise on to the right needle, releasing the YO wraps until you have a total of 4 big lonely stitches sitting on your right needle. Put those 4 stitches back on to your left needle, because now we are going to work with them.
The four stitches should look like the 4 above, big and LOOSE!
Never fear. Now you are ready to knit the second row of the pattern.
Row 2: Insert your right needle through all 4 stitches, as if you were to knit them all together.
Make a knit stitch, but DO NOT slip the 4 stitches off the left needle.
So, this picture shows me making the first knit stitch.
There it is, a knit stitch with the 4 live stitches still on my left needle.
Now wrap the yarn tail in front and get ready to make a purl stitch.
Ppurl into the 4 stitches, as if to purl all four stitches together.
Again, DO NOT slip the 4 big stitches off the left needle yet.
Now knit once more through the 4 stitches.
And purl once more.
Now that you have 4 stitches on the right needle, you can slip the 4 big loopy stitches you just knit and purled through off the left needle.
Now repeat the releasing of the yarn overs to get your next 4 active stitches. You will do this 3 more times if you are knitting with 16 stitches, as I am above. You will create 4 little clusters of looped bumps.
Remember, you just want to pick up the knit stitches to work, the YO's just make slack between the stitches to make the bumps on the front of the work.

So, in review
Row 1: *Knit 1, YO with 2 wraps*. Do not YO after last Knit stitch.
Row 2: *Slip 4 stitches purl wise onto right needle, releasing YO between each Knit stitch.
K1, P1, K1, P1 through all 4 stitches.*


Snake Cables!

I've been knitting a lot lately. It's cold, so I guess it seems like a natural inclination.
I have a big cowl in the works, since I've been seeing fluffy knit cowls all over. 
I also knit Colin a hat, which I shared here before.

My latest finished project if this hat I knit for myself. 
It's the same yarn as Colin's hat, just in a lighter colorway. This is Brae Tweed #810 in Lichen.
I really like this yarn. It's merino and donegal wool, baby llama and bamboo. So it's fluffy, but has a nice drape.
My hat was knit with a pattern from tiny owl knits, called the Parseltongue hat
The cables look like snakes!

I bought the pattern on ravelry, and the only adjustment I made to the hat was to knit the band at the bottom of the hat about 2" wide rather than 1" like the pattern suggests. 
The pattern knitted up really well. The tiny owl instructions are written very well. 
The only awkwardness I ran into is that I used smaller needles than she suggested to get the gauge right. 
I used size 7's, but apparently other people on ravelry use 9's or 10's to get the proper gauge. Do I just knit really tight fabric?

It snowed last night, so I'll need a hat to keep my head toasty.
Especially with a high temperature today of 28 degrees!

I finished the couch upholstery and throw cushions today, pictures tomorrow when there is daylight!


Favorite Christmas song. Which is saying a lot, because I don't particularly like Christmas music.


Bike Seat cover how to

I finally got the Pfaff back! It was a whole month of waiting and not sewing, but it's finally fixed!
My first project was a bike seat cover for Colin.
He, like most other people living in the Hague, rides his bike almost everywhere, rain or shine.
Bike seat covers are a pretty common thing, so you can ride after a rain without an awkward wet patch on the seat of your pants.
This is how I made it.
You'll need:
Water proof material - I used vinyl, but oil cloth or laminate cotton would work spectacularly and would be easier to work with. You'll need about a 1/4 yard total and you'll have leftovers.
Metal Eyelets
Spring loaded cording stops
A pattern traced from the top of the bike seat.
Colin's one request was that I make his bike seat orange.
Apparently orange vinyl and/or oil cloth is super hard to find.
I ended up using this mildly hilarious basketball texture orange vinyl.
First, cut out your pattern. 
Colin traced and scanned his bike seat for me and I printed it out on this neon printer paper. 
 Trace the bike seat template onto the wrong side of the vinyl. Leave about a 1/4 inch around the edges.
See, it's traced. Cut this out, again, leave about a 1/4 inch around each edge. 
Cut a strip of vinyl about 30 inches long by 4 inches wide. 
This strip will be the sides of the bike seat cover.
Cut out the long strip. 
Mark a line 1 1/2 inches from one long side. 
Fold the vinyl edge over to meet the marked line. Sandwich the cording inside. 
I find it easier to insert the cording now instead of trying to feed it through after sewing the casing.
This is my preference with super stiff fabric like vinyl. If you do this, you must be careful not to sew over the cording. 
 Sew the seam. Use tissue to make sure the vinyl glides through your feed dogs and under the presser foot.
You can rip the tissue paper off when sewing is done.
I reinforced this seam with a zig zag stitch.
 Now is the time to attach the strip to the seat shape. Find the center back, pin the pieces right sides together and sew. The casing edge is NOT the edge to sew. If you're working with vinyl, this will be awkward and difficult.
Go slow and stretch the curved edges to shape it correctly. Do not sew up the short edges yet!
 When it is done, it will look like this. Again, I reinforced the seams with a zig zag stitch.
Now insert the eyelets. I used single eyelets just on the outside layer of the casing. The cord will go through this from the inside of the casing to the outside.  
 See, just one layer of eyelet. These are little hammer set eyelets. 
Once they are set, push your cording through the eyelets to the right side of the fabric.
 Now finish the short edges of the strip to make a back seam. 
You can simply butt the edges, right sides together and sew a seam straight up the back.
Now we can attach the cord stops! Melting the ends of the cord makes this easier. 
Use a match or a lighter to just barely melt it, then smoosh it between your fingers to smooth it. 
 Once my stop was on, I tied a knot and melted the ends of the cord together.
 Finished back
Now go put the cover on your bike seat!
More updates in the days to come!


it's been weeks, I know...

Sorry for the long absence. 
Work has been intense. Who decided Christmas shopping started the day after Halloween this year?
And to top all of this off, we've started the 3rd week of the Pfaff at Missouri Sewing Machine Company.
I'm feeling drained, and I'm hoping family time will help.
More soon, promise.


blog traffic

I love the beauty of google analytics.
My chevron dresser was featured on the spanish blog Oh Mundo Cruel back in July... unbeknownst to me until now!
I don't read spanish, but the pictures are pretty amazing, and google translate will help with any text you might want to read.
Oh Mundo Cruel features a little bit of everything, fashion, interior design, product design and lots of images to copy into the inspiration file we all have sitting on our desktop.


Gezelligheid Hat

I knitted a hat ya'll!
See all those pretty little v shaped cables? 
However hipster I might look in this hat, I did not knit it for myself.
This hat is destined to be mailed to Holland for Colin.
I'm calling it the Gezelligheid Hat because I read somewhere that gezelligheid means cosy in dutch.
And I want this to make his head cosy in cold wintertime weather in the Hague.
 I'm just modeling it to show you how pretty it looks and how many weird faces I can manage.
Glare is what happens when you take pictures with overhead light and a camera flash at night indoors...
Anyways, I knit this hat in two evenings of stop and go knitting after work this week.
It's an easy project, and I thought I would give you the pattern, in case you love my hat so much that you want to make your own.
If you've never knit cables before, this would be a great little intro pattern to work, since the cables are pretty small and easy to work with.
I found the original pattern on Ravelry
It was originally written by Smariek Knits. She calls it a Cap Karma Hat.
Her pattern stops the cable repeats at the bottom, so the top of the hat does not follow the V pattern and is all just knit.
Brooklyn Tweed has written a modification for the crown shaping so that the cables continue all the way to the top of the hat, through the decreases. It's a really clever modification actually.
My hat is a combination of the original cap karma with the Brooklyn Tweed modification added after 4 cable repeats.
Below I've copied the directions I followed, renamed for your convenience.
Gezelligheid Hat
You'll need:
-1 skein worsted weight yarn

-one set of size 8 ( 5mm) double pointed needles
I used a fifth double point as a cable needle, 
but you could also use a traditional cable needle per your preference.
CO 96 sts, join with out twisting
Knit 8 rounds of *k2 p2* ribbing
Round 1 - k across
Round 2 - k across
Round 3 - k across
Round 4 - *CB4, k4*
Round 5 - k across
Round 6 - k across
Round 7 - k across
Round 8 - *k4, CF4*
Repeat rounds 1-8 three more times, or until desired length.

Decreasing - 
Round 1 - k all sts
Round 2 - k all sts
Round 3 - *ssk, k6*
Round 4 - *(sl next st to CN and hold in back, k next 2 sts, k st from CN) k4*
Round 5 - k all sts
Round 6 - *k5, k2tog*
Round 7 - k all sts
Round 8 - *k3 (sl next 2 sts to CN and hold in front, k next st, k 2 sts from CN) k4*
Round 9 - *k1, k2tog, k3*
Round 10 - k all sts
Round 11 - k all sts
Round 12 - *(sl next st to CN and hold in back, k next st, k st from CN) k3*
Round 13 - *k2, ssk, k1*
Round 14 - k all sts
Round 15 - *k2tog, k2*
Round 16 - *k1 (sl next st to CN and hold in front, k next st, k st from CN)*
Round 17 - *k1, k2tog*
Round 18 - k all sts
Round 19 - * k2tog*

Break yarn and draw through remaining sts, weave in all ends.


Abbreviations used above (and how I work them):
k = knit
p = purl
CO = cast on
CN = cable needle
ssk = slip, slip, knit. Slip 2 stitches from the left needle knit wise onto the right needle. Insert you left needle back into those 2 slipped stitches and knit them together as one knit stitch. 
sl = slip a stitch from the left needle to the right needle
k2tog = knit two stitches together as one stitch
CB4 = slip 2 stitches onto the CN and hold in back of work, then knit two stitches from the left needle, now purl 2 stitches from the CN
CF4 = slip 2 stitches onto the CN and hold in front of work, then knit 2 stitches from the left needle, now knit 2 stitches from the CN