Monday, June 25, 2018

before we go...

I always like to take a knitting project with me on trips so I have something to do on the plane. This means that I'm often starting something new the night before so I have a portable and easy one (e.g. socks). This, however, really takes the cake - why not start and finish something the day before so you have the perfect accessory to wear on the trip??

That's a little bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. The knitted cowl was in fact already done - it was Lando, which I finished and wrote about in January 2015 - but the thought of lining it has been marinating in the back of my mind for a while. I've never actually gotten around to doing it until I decided that this HAD to be the cowl I took with me to Scotland. Temperatures in the highlands were forecasted to be a little bit chilly; apparently warm for them, but high 50s and low 60s is cold for a California girl. Also that seems like the perfect excuse to wear a warm yarny thing. The issue I had was that I wanted a cowl that was small and would go with everything I was taking with me. Solid navy Lando was perfect but I haven't really liked wearing it because the wool is a little bit itchy.

I've had the fleece for it in my stash and earmarked for the lining for just as long as the cowl has been around. This horse pattern seems appropriate given that I named it after a horse I was riding the winter I made it. With really no other excuse other than just "it seems hard to do" I sat myself down to figure it out. In the end I just attached it the same way I would a binding to a quilt, with a ladder-like approach to the whip stitch. I used a sturdier thread rather than just plain sewing machine thread and I think it worked out just fine.

All I had to do was cut the fleece a little larger than I wanted, sew one seam, and then whip stitch on while folding the edge under. The cowl is narrower than the horse pattern repeat, but I lined it up so I had at least a few faces peeking in when I cut the piece out. 

The funny thing is that after all was said and done, I actually got the fleece in upside down relative to the way I like to wear the cowl. Oops! Well, only I will know.

And the most important part, it was great to wear! With just a small amount of effort, it has become one of my favorites now. Thumbs up for sticking with it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018


One of my friends from the barn had a birthday last month. Her boss, another good friend of mine, suggested I make her a knitted scarf she can use to ride in since she loves the one I made her so much (what great feedback to hear!). That was a fantastic suggestion, so I got started on it and it took me just a couple of evenings of knitting to finish.  

I tend to wear very bright colors at the barn - I have riding pants in red and purple - and Celeste laughs at me since she wears the more traditional colors - olive, beige, and navy. I found the better part of a dark gray ball of yarn in my stash and paired it up with a cowl pattern I had saved on Ravelry. Cowls are good for riding because they don't come unwound, and I thought she would appreciate my effort to give her something neutral to wear. 

The motif is a Shetland one called horseshoe lace, which I consider appropriate both as a sign of luck and as a gift for a horsewoman. I really like the way it turned out with the marled gray yarn - despite my love of brights I do like me a nice gray. It looks fine unblocked, but stretching it out to about 12" x 12" on the board opened up the pattern and it looks even nicer. I also wanted to make sure that it was going to be wide enough to get it on and off over a helmet in case she decided mid-ride that it was warming up. 

I did make one modification. Rather than mirroring the pattern so there were sets of horseshoes that faced one another, I just continued with them facing the same direction for all the repeats. I saw that some others had done that when I looked around on Ravelry and I liked the way it looked. I did get a note that she liked it, so I hope she ends up getting some use out of it if the mornings ever cool down again! 

Celeste Cowl
Pattern: Crofter's Cowl (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh DK in 'El Greco'
Needle: US 8

Friday, June 22, 2018

marking mother's day

Browsing Pinterest gives me more ideas than I could ever use, but it is really fun to save pretty pictures and craft ideas and revisit them later. Someone had saved a picture of what looked like miniature skeins of yarn that were made into stitch markers for knitting, and I thought it was a clever idea to try making my mom a set for Mother's Day. 

The hardest part was finding the rings to use as the actual marker, but a bit of time spent in the jewelry aisle at Joann's fixed that. I got myself some plain ones and these pretty twisty ones. The only other bits I needed to find in my stash were jump rings and my DMC floss. It took a bit to find a color combo (I like them all....) but I took a look at my Mom's Pinterest page on yarn and got an idea of the kinds of colors she'd been looking at. No surprise, lots of bright colors and rainbows! Then all it took was some wrapping and twisting (just like the "real thing") and a little bit of wrestling with the jump rings. It was super fun to put these together and really satisfying to see just how much they actually look like little hanks of yarn.

When I dug up my jump rings, I also found beads and other jewelry making things. Stitch markers are really just like earrings for knitting needles, so I made her a small set of sunflower markers too. The longer one will be handy for keeping track of the beginning of rows. 

I love the bumble bee markers I got gifted a few years ago and I use them all the time, so I hope Mom will get some use out of these. There are so many neat ideas I found when looking around for DIY markers, I'm sure I'll make some more this year.