Posts Tagged ‘cowl’

I can knit!

I knit this!

Way back when I first learned to crochet, I titled the post “I can crochet!” so how could I not title this one, “I can knit!”? Looking at my first knitting project I probably should have called it, “I can sort of knit.” My cowl is a bit of a train wreck: dropped stitches, uneven edges, and because I enlarged the pattern incorrectly, one extra big rib.

I knit this!

It is straight up becky home-ec-y and I love it! I have always found knitting to be intimidating and really just hard. For my first knitting project I did exactly what I did for my first crochet project: I chose a pattern that used huge needles and huge yarn, so it knits up fast. Then I didn’t really follow the pattern anyway. Instead I asked my friends (thank you, Cindy!) for help and when I still couldn’t do it, I asked youtube for the answers.

It is absolutely exhilarating to learn a new craft. Now there are a thousand things I want to knit! The first one on my list is, god help me, another cowl.


crochet bandana cowl

crochet bandana cowl

I have been on a bit of a crocheting kick recently. After all the sewing for kcwc I got rather sick of looking at my sewing machine. And I got sick of certain little people poo-pooing things I made for them. So I went to the yarn store and bought some beautiful, soft, and squishy yarn to make something just for me.

crochet bandana cowl

I’m not usually a fan of things trying desperately to be something they are not–think tofu dogs. Crochet is not knitting, even though they both use yarn. Crochet is its own art and has its own strengths that I try to showcase. But I wanted so badly to make the bandana cowl pattern by Purl Bee.  Looking at it was painful, because it is so perfect, but I can’t knit to save my life.

crochet bandana cowl

Thankfully someone made an equally awesome crochet bandana cowl–no tofu dogs in sight. The cowl is the same shape as the knitted version, but I think the stitches were chosen by someone who loves crochet and knows how to show of its strengths.  It worked up super fast in the gorgeous wool/silk blend yarn I bought. All the cowl details are on ravelry if you are interested.

crochet on crochet

ooo! looks like there’s a little crochet on crochet action going on in this last picture.


this is wool from five green acres

portobello yarn by five green acres

Today I am super excited to introduce you to Mary Jo of Five Green Acres. I am lucky enough to know Mary Jo in blog life and real life. She is a whirlwind of creative energy! When she walks in a room you cannot help but be swept up in her projects and plans and insatiable curiosity about all things crafty.


This is wool. First Harvest: Backyard from Mary Jo, FiveGreenAcres on Vimeo.

Years ago, Mary Jo had an idea that started with carting home sheep in the back of her minivan. Since that day, she has thrown herself into raising sheep, grazing sheep, birthing sheep, and shearing sheep. If that weren’t enough, she then went on to clean the wool, card the wool, dye the wool, and spin the wool. And now yarn! gorgeous, squishy, soft, subtly colored yarn! Please watch this lovely video to see the birth of  beautiful yarn, named appropriately First Harvest.

first harvest yarn

Because we live so close, Mary Jo delivered a skein in that same minivan! Then my work began. I needed to find a project that was worthy of the yarn. A skein of First Harvest yields a precious 100 yards.  I asked her how she determined the weight and length of each skein:

When I set about spinning up the dyed fiber, I knew I wanted to make a yarn that could be knit up fairly quickly – something that was at least worsted weight or heavier.  The downside of this is that I can only fit so much on my spinning wheel’s bobbin before it becomes too full, limiting the length of each skein to about 100 yards.
Another thing about designing yarn – determining the gauge can be something of a guessing game.  It all depends on the size of needle (or hook) used, right?  I had determined that First Harvest was about a worsted weight, comparing it to other yarn I had in my stash, but now that I’ve added the yarn to the Ravelry database, I see that by their standards First Harvest is a Bulky weight.  Ravelry gets the final say, I suppose, so I’m changing my tune – Bulky it is.  The semantics of weight don’t matter as much in the actual working up of a project, as long as you do a gauge swatch, which we all do, every time, right?  Hee.


first harvest cowl

I of course did not swatch, so I crocheted and ripped and crocheted and ripped and crocheted and ripped. I couldn’t find a pattern that was special enough for the yarn and used just the right amount of yarn. Finally I gave up the never ending Ravlery pattern search and made up my own pattern (first harvest cowl pattern here).

  first harvest cowl

I came up with a pebble-y stitch that shows off the yarn beautifully. Mary Jo created this gorgeous gray/brown color with sumac berries of all things. She named it Portobello, which describes it perfectly: mushroomy, earthy, soft and loamy. Of course I’m not perfectly pastoral, so I added a stripe of shocking blue for the city side of things.

first harvest cowl

Visit Mary Jo’s blog, Five Green Acres (and shop, This is Wool) to see more of First Harvest and hear stories of her yarn from sheep to skein.


wheel stitch cowl

Sorry I disappeared from the internet last week: school holiday, crazy children, broken camera, blah, blah, blah. The camera will be in the shop for a good two weeks, so you are stuck with my dressed-up-to-look-like-a-polaroid camera phone shots for a while. That’s me up there, trying to look all stylish in my cozy new cowl.

wheel stitch cowl detail

It has been a loooong while since I picked up a crochet hook–10 months to be exact. Needless to say I was rusty. There was a lot of ripping out at first, but then the crochet neurons began firing again and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. The cowl pattern is the chunky circle scarf  from people webs.  Not only is the pattern free, but Lindsi talks you through every bit–lots of people had questions about different steps and she answered them all in the comments section. How awesome is that?

happy halloween cowl

Now I’m dreaming of my next crochet project.  I think Cal’s new shawl pattern is definitely on the list. Or I might try my hand at some amigurumi, but I can’t decide elephant or bear/mouse?  Or something totally different. What do you think?

p.s. taking pictures of yourself is hard. Happy Halloween!




things on the internet that are awesome

I’m feeling a little less than creative these days, more scattered and listless–maybe it’s the change of seasons. Also, I can’t find the damn camera cord to upload my pictures, so you are stuck with this link link linky post. But it’s good.

I recently discovered the newish blog lightbluegray and I went a little crazy for this cowl she made for her daughter, especially the bright yellow Xs. All of the blog is fantastic, check out her nightstands and embroidered sheets!

This display via Blosoem is some sort of paper mache/paper bag awesome.

I have always had a thing for laundromats–used to live above one even–and this one takes the cake. It’s like living in a roll of washi tape. via hi + low

how fantastic! turn your plush into lamps (via whip up).

And do you know about pillow week over at erin’s house? I plan on making the pillow version of this bedspread. If you want to know what other things I like you can look at my tumblr: things on the internet that are pretty.