New Favorites: Sleeveless turtlenecks

best sleeveless turtleneck sweater knitting patterns

Under my bed are a few bins of clothes that I don’t wear but can’t part with. Some because they have sentimental value and some because I just loved them so much that when it was time to stop wearing them I couldn’t let them go. And that includes multiple decades-old sleeveless turtlenecks. What is it about them? I have no idea. But I’d like to knit all of these:

1. Amber by Lisa Richardson

2. Frontenac by Julie Hoover

3. Siri by Caroline Lang

4. Danforth by Pam Allen

(And I don’t mean to put them under the bed.)

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Note to Nashville readers: There are “High-fiber” tote bags on their way to the shimmering Haus of Yarn. Ask for them in a few days!

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New favorites: Wow ’em cowls

textured cowl knitting patterns mikan snood kilkenny

By the time you read this, I will have finished my State Street Cowl, and that makes me a little sad. Not only have I had a great time knitting it, but boy is it a crowd-pleaser. If you’re ever in need of some instant positive reinforcement, all you gotta do is show someone the State Street Cowl you’re knitting. (Or, y’know, post a photo of a beer on Instagram.) Anyway, I’m in jeopardy of knitting a whole bunch of them — as opposed to continuing to explore new patterns and skills and techniques — so I’m in search of something different yet equally enticing for my next portable project. These are strong contenders.

LEFT: Mikan Snood pattern designed by Kyoko Nakayoshi

RIGHT: Kilkenny Cowl, which happens to be another Pam Allen design

I’m also tempted to do Tante Ehm’s beautiful Milanese Loop in State Street proportions.

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New year, new cowl: State Street knitalong

state street cowl pattern by pam allen knitalong

The day Pam Allen’s State Street Cowl pattern came to my attention was the day she (I assume) posted about it on the Quince and Co blog, illustrated with this striking image of an orange version worn by a knee-weakeningly handsome man. I checked out the official pattern images and looked through other finished versions on Ravelry — my favorite might be yayayarn’s Smurf-colored cashmere version — and I was sold. I’m pretty sure I ordered the yarn and the pattern right there and then. And I’m thrilled that a little quorum here agreeing to a knitalong means I’m finally going to knit it.

This should be a pretty quick knit, so I don’t think we need to establish a schedule or any rules or anything. Unless you feel otherwise (and tell me below), I think we’ll just work at our own pace, and compare notes and progress in the comments below. I’ll put a link in the right rail for easy access to the thread. If you want to share images along the way — and please do! — post them on Ravelry or your own blog or Flickr or wherever, and link to it from the comments. If anyone’s tempted to join in but not ready to start today, no worries! Join in anytime.

state street cowl in progressIf I have a resolution for this year, it’s to stop putting so many crappy iPhone pics on the blog, and yet I’m kicking off the year with this one. As you can see, I cheated and cast on early, and I can honestly say this is an extremely fun knit. I’ll be forcing myself not to stay up all night racing straight through it. But I did it in case anyone joining in (actively or silently) could benefit from some basic tips that I’ve found useful. I’m a big believer in stitch markers as both place markers and mental triggers, and also in lifelines — a position obviously reinforced by my recent difficulty. I don’t do a lot of lace knitting, don’t typically work on things that require stitch-by-stitch attention, so want to give myself these aids.

This pattern repeat is 17 stitches wide by 12 rows high, and there are an equal number of increases (YOs) and decreases (K2TOGs/SSKs) within those 17, which means the stitch count remains consistent — assuming you don’t make any mistakes. So I have a white stitch marker marking the beginning of the round, which got placed immediately after I cast on. Then I have a grey marker marking the end of each 17-stitch chunk. Those got placed as I knit the first pattern round (following the rib rounds). I knitted across the 17 stitches from row 1 of the chart, counted my stitches to double-check that I indeed had 17 on my right needle, and placed a marker. Knitted the 17 again, counted, placed marker. Etc. Until I’d completed that first round. Henceforth, if I make an error, I’ll know it within 17 stitches because I’ll arrive at the next marker with the wrong number of stitches. So I should only need to tink my way back one marker (<17 sts) for the do-over. For added security, once I successfully complete the 12 rows of the pattern, I’ll thread a lifeline through the stitches — a length of smooth cotton waste yarn (some people use dental floss) — before starting on the next repeat. So if worse comes to worst and I have to rip out whole rows, I’ll only be ripping back to the last lifeline.

Two other notes then I’ll shut up for now: I am in love with this yarn; how did I not knit with it until now? And because I want mine to be a bit bigger, I cast on 102 stitches and am working the pattern 6 times around rather than 5. I like that shot of it pulled down over the model’s shoulders and want the option, so it needs to be as big as my broad shoulders.

OK, blah blah blah! Let’s knit!

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New Favorites: Simply great cowls

’Tis the season. The one where all I can think about is protecting my neck from the cold rain and wind, and you know what that means. Peaceful to knit. Joyful to wear. Yep, it’s definitely cowl season.

top left: Miles of stockinette spendor from Phildar — but y’know, pick your circumference, multiply by your stitch count, and start knitting

top right: Mel Clark’s Big Houndstooth Cowl —  Sarah made this one recently (in a mottled grey) and I want to steal it right off her neck every time I see it.

bottom left: Mira’s Cowl by Mira Cole (free) — the embodiment of “less is more.”

bottom right: the State Street Cowl by Pam Allen — I bought the yarn for this almost a year ago; think it’s time to cast on.

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UPDATE 01.02.13: We’re doing a little knit-along of that last one, the State Street Cowl. Do join in!