Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cashmere, Buttonholes and More Socks

Hi Knitters,
Happy Valentine's Day! I don't have any heart knitting for you today, but I do have an excellent project in a Valentine-y red. It'll have to do this year.

Every once in a while you see a pattern that you know you have to make and that you have to start immediately. The Purlbee's Two-Color Cowl struck me like this for some reason. 

I like to dabble in crochet every once in a while. This cowl was the perfect counter to the knitting and designing I have been doing lately for my book stuff. I had this Trauco, Araucania 100% cashmere lace weight, just sitting around but I never knew what to make with it until I saw this pattern. 

I pulled out my trusty US D/3-3.25mm crochet hook that I wasn't even sure I had, and got to work. I just chained until I had about 22 inches and joined to work in the round. I ended up with fewer stitches than the pattern calls for but I figured it would be fine and it was. This is an easy and well written pattern. You need to know how to chain, slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet. Those are very basic crochet skills and I love the end result.

I can't believe how light and airy this cowl is, it feels like butter. I finished my Two-Color Cowl Sunday night. In the morning, I soaked it in Celebration Soak Wash for about 20 minutes. I squeezed out the excess water and laid it flat to dry. It smells so good. 

It dried in no time at all. By the end of the afternoon the cowl was completely dry. I wore it for the rest of the day and night. I love the tonal variation of the yarn as it adds interest to the fabric. Also, I made my cowl about 13-inches in length instead of the 16-inches suggested in the pattern. That is plenty long for me.

Anyway, I deem this project a huge success, good enough to use a skein of cashmere. This is the first time I have worked with 100% cashmere so that was fun and new. If you are a beginning crocheter the Two-Color Cowl would be a perfect project for you. It's so simple and fast.

I love the Purlbee, don't you?

On a different note, while I was waiting for my new cowl to dry, I was wearing my Owls cardigan. I have been meaning to tighten up the buttonholes a bit as they were a little too big for the buttons I selected and kept coming undone while I was wearing the cardigan. This was the perfect chance to get this done. I often end up tightening knit buttonholes after I make a cardigan so the buttons stay buttoned.

I used a matching gray thread and sewing needle to do this. On the wrong side of the buttonhole I take a few stitches to close up the hole a bit. Before tying off the thread and cutting, I always try to pull the button through the hole to make sure that I haven't made it too small. If it's a good fit I tie a couple of knots and pull the end through a few stitches and cut the thread. It is completely invisible and secure.

I wore the Owls cardigan for the rest of the day along with my new cowl. The buttons now stay closed which makes me happy! What an easy and effective fix.

Also, while my cowl was drying and I had my basin and Soak out, I quickly washed a pair of handknit socks I made a couple of years ago. This is one pair that has been borrowed by my Peachy (and never returned). I believe it is Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn (do they still make this yarn?). I used my simple sock pattern, click here if you missed it.

I don't wash these socks in the machine because this is a single ply wool and I think they would felt. It is so easy to handwash wool and then it always smells so good when you are done. I actually kind of enjoy handwashing my woolens. These particular socks have been worn and washed a lot and they are holding up very well.

That's it for today. I am thinking about another book giveaway soon. I feel like I haven't done one in a while.

Have a super Tuesday.
best, susie


Unknown said...

happy valentines day, susan!

Anonymous said...

I love the colours of those socks, so bright, so cheerful! Oh, and you've inspired me to risk trying my DPNs again. :)

Suzanne said...

Happy Valentine's day!

Amber said...

My first and only pair of socks was from the same colorway of this yarn, it is Noro. Because I realized I would NEVER buy a pair of pre-made socks that cost as much as the yarn, and then I still had to spend hours making them! One lady wanted me to make some for her to buy, but I told her they would be more than $500 so she declined! :)

Rae Lynne said...

Your cowl is beautiful and I LOVE the color you chose to crochet it in. I pondered this pattern when I was on PurlBee once but wasn't attracted to the two-tone sample they had up (duh - I can change the color! lol) but yours is stunning!

Happy V-Day! :)

kristie said...

Loving the colors of that cowl! And I absolutely love the purlbee! I'm about to start on a chevron pattern baby blanket from their site.

Short Nana said...

I have just found and joined your site and am totally smitten! Found the chicken pattern I've been searching for for weeks and now here's a lovely cowl - exactly what a friend has asked for! So ain't that just grand! Thanks for your site and all your hints, patterns and advice.

Stefanie said...

Perfect for today that luxurious cowl. Oh boy, nothing can beat the feel of cash. Red is such a great color on you.
Fun, fun socks!

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

Love the cowl! Maybe I could pull this off, even with my limited crochet skills. I have a skein of handspun cashmere that has been in the "permanent stash category" for a long, long time because it was too precious to use on just anything. I think it will work for this!

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Socks!

I made those exact socks, loved them best of all my hand knit socks...
they got old
they got felty
they got holes
I darned
they got more holes..I miss my favourite socks :~{

knittingknirvana said...

Gorgeous!! I also LOVED that cowl when they posted it. Now that I'm done with London's Granny Square Blanket I think it might be time to start hookin' on a cowl for me! :)

Lynda said...

I have just received your wonderful Itty-Bitty Toys. However, I can not find any reference to yarn weight on any project except the sock yarn ones. When I google the suggested yarns, they vary from worsted through fingering weight. Are the directions specific for the weight of yarn you used, or can a different weight be used and still turn out OK? Thanks for your help. Lynda in WA

Susan B. Anderson said...

o-wool balance - dk
blue sky cotton - worsted
cascade 220 - worsted
rowan purelife - dk

All of the yarns in the book can be found on Ravelry for a thorough description and listed weights. You can always google a yarn to get more information if you need it, too.

Also, since you are knitting toys, gauge is always important, but there is more leeway to be slightly off on the gauge because it doesn't have to fit anyone. Your toy might be a little smaller or bigger in the end if you use different weight yarns.

Have fun with your toy knitting!

Elizabeth D said...

I love The Purl Bee, too -- but I have to admit that I laugh a little when I see the occasional $400 blanket. That's why we know how to substitute yarns! I may have to follow in your footsteps and make that cowl -- I actually know all those stitches, and it looks like a great first non-rectangular project.

Unknown said...

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