Today’s post will be dedicated to following quick winter knits that I made in January*: a scarf, a hat, a headband/earwarmer, and fingerless mitts:
*Ok, I actually made the scarf in January 2010. But it was still in January!
It’s hard to believe that it is still winter, because it sure didn’t feel like February in Nor Cal this week, where the temperature hit 75 degrees. We’re back to the usual 50s during the day, 30s-40s at night now, but the nice weather made me really excited for spring! Just look at the daffodils that came up behind my apartment:
In spite of the warm days, most of the knits I’ve been finishing lately are definitely for winter. I’ve been trying to use up what I’m sure most knitters have in their stash— skeins of weird yarns. I’ve got a lot of yarn that other people have given to me over the years. It can be a challenge to figure out how to use it. In my case, the yarns in question have textures and colors that are not what I’m used to working with. But I’m trying to destash, so I took up the challenge! With the help of Ravelry I found three free patterns that I liked (in addition to scarf one that I made up). Please note that all links below require a (free) ravelry subscription to fully view. [Bonus: the only photos I have of the yarn before I knit it feature Jo the cat.]
Patterns 1 and 2: Canto, the thick and thin red yarn
I received nearly three ball of this yarn from a friend in 2008. For two years, I simply used it as decoration, as you can see in the photo. Then in January 2010, I got bored and cast 11 stitches onto size 13 needles and knit until it seemed like a good scarf length. It’s quite bulky in the thick parts, so 11 stitches was a good width.
But I still had a significant amount left over. I love the color, so this winter I searched ravelry to see what else I could do with it. Turns out, yarns like this just don’t look good in anything but really simple patterns. Once I realized this, I settled on the Overnight Hat.
I made the small/medium version and it turned out great. True to its name, this was a really quick hat: I made it while watching several episodes of Parks and Recreation. The funny thing is, I get more compliments on this hat than any other I’ve made. The thick and think texture makes it look more complicated than it it. Of course, the color helps too—putting these items two side by side is visually intense!
Patterns 3 and 4: unidentified multicolor yarn
My other yarn was even more of a mystery to me—I still don’t know what brand it is, or exactly how much if it I had. I believe I got this from a friend in 2010. All I knew about it was that it was thick, soft, and had seemingly random color changes in marled gray, black and brown. Jo thought it was the best cat pillow ever:
I tried several patterns before hitting on the first one that actually looked good with this yarn—the Vanessa Headband.
As you can see from this admittedly blurry photo, I made the thin version, though I’d love to try the wide version too. I’m really bad at remembering where I am in a cable pattern, but it was also a pretty quick knit. I usually wear it with the all gray side facing the front. Depending on how much my hair has grown out, I can either wear it as a headband proper or as an earwarmer—which is actually quite useful when riding a bike in the early morning hours of winter.
To use up the rest of the yarn, I eventually settled for modifying the pattern for Gradient Mitts.
I made the small on size 10 needles and the fit turned out perfect—I’m getting better at adjusting for bulky yarns and my own loose gauge. I didn’t do the gradient color pattern, but I did pick these because they looked good in odd color combinations on ravelry. I knew that no matter what, I was going to get two completely different looking mitts, thanks to the weird color pooling of the yarn. So with a little bit of planning, I divided the yarn into two balls and held them together double stranded while I knit—this helped break up some of the color pooling. Finally, I added half thumbs to the pattern by picking up stitches around the thumb holes—I found that my poor thumbs were just too cold while riding a bike or driving with these on. But now that I’ve done that, I really like them.
So those are my quick winter knits! I have one more I’m working on, but it’s not done yet, so I’ll save it for another time. And if anyone knows of any other free, quick winter knitting patterns, send them my way before it gets too warm!