Tag Archives: Hazel Knits

Soldatna color update

Well, it took all morning, but I just had to know for sure.

Here’s the green yoke version.

And here’s the white yoke version. The green and purple arrow section isn’t nearly as compelling as I imagined it would be, I think because of the nearby white. See how much more the green and dark purple stand out from each other on the first picture, when there’s no white near them? It doesn’t work that way in the second picture. Also, the green vertical stripes are harder to read on the white background, than the white vertical stripes on the green.

So I’ll be carrying on with the green yoke/purple and white arrow version!

It’s actually pretty quick knitting, when you’re not knitting two. I started these on Friday, and it’s only Monday afternoon.

Onward!

On the needles: Soldotna Crop

I don’t knit from other designer’s patterns very often; usually I’m designing something of my own. But every once in a while a design will catch my attention, and I just have to knit it! The last time it was Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover. I loved it so much I knit two of them.

This time? Caitlin Hunter’s Soldotna Crop is calling my name. I bought yarn for it in June. But I set it aside so I could design and knit a linen top first. That’s the incentive plan: Work first, then play.

Here’s the yarn I bought in June. Iris, Spooky Hue, Nickel, and Fresh Cut. I was a little worried about the gray and green; they don’t have much tonal contrast, and I really wanted to use the green for the arrow line across the yoke. Per the pattern, it would be paired with the gray.

Not much contrast there, right? But I knew I wanted the watercolor-y light purple Iris for the main part of the body, and I thought I wanted the dark purple to pop off of that.

I ignored my warning bells and cast on. Did I do a proper washed and blocked gauge swatch? No. Do as I say, not as I do! Sometimes just jumping in and starting is as good as a gauge swatch. I don’t mind ripping.

The first attempt used the recommended size US 5 needles, and it was tighter than it should have been. So I started over on a US 7. Oh, with a provisional cast on. I’ve paged through a lot of Ravelry project pages, and the one complaint is that the neckline is very high. So I’m skipping the ribbing and the short rows, and just beginning right below the colorwork. I’ll figure out the neck treatment later.

When I got to the green/gray arrow, there was no contrast at all. Guess I should have listened to those warning bells. Also, I decided that I didn’t want the dark purple as a background at the beginning; the whole sweater was bringing me down. Too autumnal, or even wintery. So I went back to Twisted, and bought a skein of Nekkid to replace the gray.

I still want the light purple as the main part of the body. And I wanted way less of the dark purple, so I’ll use that for the arrow. That’s the least used color. The question is: Nekkid or Fresh Cut for the beginning and the interplay with the light purple?

I started with Nekkid, and it felt like the purples were a stripe on a white sweater. Pretty contrasty! In this color scheme, the arrow would be dark purple against green, which I would love. Should I knit a little further? As I said, I don’t mind ripping!

I also started with green, and the combo of this and the light purple made me think of sugared violets. Beautiful! I like how everything seems to blend. But now the arrow would be dark purple against Nekkid, which is very contrasty, and not quite as pleasing as purple against green.

So far, I’ve decided to go with the green beginning. It feels more blendy/cohesive. And the contrasty arrow will really stand out. But of course I’m having second thoughts. There might be more green than I want here. I may go and knit a little further on the other piece and see what happens. Which do you like?

I find color to be such an adventure, and so hard to predict how colors will interact until I try it. How about you?

I never did wash and block any of these beginnings. I guess it will fit…or it won’t!

Kittiwake, my linen top, is coming in August! I’ve knit two of them. The pattern has been edited, and test knitter Ann just got her yarn and is knitting away. I’m looking forward to sharing that with you! Soon!

A peek into my knit design process

While I was knitting my Go Tell the Bees KAL shawlette this month, I was also designing another shawl.

This is Hazel Knits Entice MCN fingering, in Splish Splash and Hoppy Blond. Two of my favorite colors in one of my favorite yarns. This yarn is soft and not splitty, and not over or under twisted. It falls absolutely straight from my needles to the ball while I’m knitting. And that bit of cashmere makes it sooooooo lovely to knit with.

I can’t show you the shawl until September, but I’m really happy with it! It took me a while to get there. When I was about 2/3 done with the first prototype, I decided that I didn’t like a couple things about it (proportion between elements and lack of simplicity for writing the pattern), so I got more yarn and started over. I didn’t want to rip the first one until I was sure the second one was a go! Gotta have a backup handy, right?

The more I design, the more I realize that what I love is a pattern that is simple but interesting to knit. Stitch patterns that are easily memorized so I’m not tied to a chart. And it has to be pretty when I’m done! I think this one is a winner on all those fronts.

I used the leftovers to swatch some stripes for the current piece I’m designing. The piece will have have lacy sections divided by a stripe of some sort. I tried a couple of my favorite elongated stitches on my first prototype, but they weren’t quite what I was looking for. Time to swatch!

I put this up on Instagram, and received some good feedback. I really love the bottom stripe, but those are bobbles in there, and I don’t want to make 60 bobbles in a row. Ever.

I liked the way the top CC stripe is set off by the MC garter stitch above and below it, but wasn’t sure it had enough gravitas to hold things together.

So I tried that heavier eyelet stripe with a garter stitch offset (new top stripe) But all that garter stitch made the eyelets look smaller. Nope!

This one is the winner. I’m using Bumblebirch’s Heartwood fingering weight. I love this yarn; it’s a joy to knit with and it is standing up well to my knit/frog/reknit design process.

These colors, Hellebore and Atlantic, are a gorgeous combination that makes my heart sing! Thanks to Bumblebirch dyer Sarah Kurth for picking them for me.

And I’ve mathed my way into a simple and elegant design. (Wish I had done the math the first time…) I knew I was on the right track with this design when I couldn’t stop smiling. Looking forward to sharing this one with you soon.

Bagel bliss, high tea, and yarn!

There is something wonderful about mastering a skill and getting repeatable results. I’ve been on a bagel quest for the last couple of months, turning out batch after batch in search of the perfect multi-grain boiled bagel texture.

I did a lot of reading, experimented with a couple recipes, and ended up with a heavily modified version of this Easy New York-Style Bagel recipe from the Oregonian. Here’s my take.

Bagels

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided into 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup
(you may need up to 1/4 cup more)
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole grain flour; I’ve tried spelt, and now kamut
Extra bread flour for kneading
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
Optional toppings: coarse salt, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds

Instructions
In an 8 ounce measuring cup, add 1/2 cup warm water. Pour in the sugar and yeast, stir to combine. Let it sit for 5 minutes to get the yeast going.

In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast-sugar mixture. Add an additional 3/4 cup warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed to form a moist, firm dough. You may need to add more water to get this texture.

On a well-floured countertop, knead the dough for 5 minutes, working in additional flour as needed. Your finished dough should be firm and stiff. (Other recipes have you knead for 10 minutes, but this is too much time for whole grain flours.)

Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add dough and turn it so that it is coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. A perfect warm place is your microwave! Before putting the bowl of dough in, heat a large mug of water for 3 minutes. Move the mug to the back corner, add your covered bowl. When the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), punch the dough down and let it rest, covered with the towel, for another 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. Form your bagels by gently rolling each piece into a ball, flatten a bit and poke your thumb through the middle and make a good sized hole. (The hole will shrink.) Place bagels on a lightly oiled baking sheet, or an unoiled Silpat. Cover the bagels with the damp towel and let them rest for 10 minutes.

While the bagels are resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Reduce the heat to a low boil. Working in batches of 4 or 5 bagels, use a slotted spoon to lower the bagels into the water. Simmer for 2 minutes, flip, simmer for 2 more minutes. Remove the bagels to a wire rack to drain.

Add toppings while bagels are damp, just out of the pot, if desired.

Return drained bagels to baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 9 lovely bagels

It’s been a food heavy weekend. Carole and I put on a tea for a lovely group of graduates.

Besides scones, we had savories

and sweets.

The moms served the scone and savory courses, and then we had them sit so we could serve the sweet course, and serve the moms the whole tea menu plus mimosas.

Here’s to moms, grads, friends.

The knitting continues, too!

Biscuit and I are testing out ideas for this lovely yarn from Bumblebirch. I think I know what it’s going to be. Biscuit is still dreaming.

And I’m narrowing down my blue/yellow choices, too. Hazel Knits Splish Splash with Midas? Or Hoppy Blond?

Knit on!