Free knitting pattern: RUN beanie

I knitted my RUN beanie ages ago, but somehow I never got round to publishing the pattern for it. I don’t talk much about running on this blog, but I do run, and runners like to show that they are runners. Hence the idea of the beanie! Also, given this is an easy and relatively quick knit, you might just be in time to turn it into a Christmas present for a runner in your life, or perhaps for yourself!

Also, I used the lovely Portuguese Retrosaria Beiroa yarn for my beanie. I love how it is so light and lofty, at the same time as rustic with darker strands of wool spun into the yarn. I’m also fascinated with the story behind the Retrosaria yarns, whose aim is to revive Portuguese wool and yarn making. Next time I’m in that part of the world, I simply can’t miss out on visiting their shop in Lisbon!

ÁRBORE·DO·FOGO NEWS:

I’m currently doing a Black Friday sale in the shop, which means you’ll get a 30% discount on everything that’s there from today all through the weekend! Use the promo code BF2016 to be eligible for the discount.

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My first shawl: Baya

I haven’t written here for ages and I don’t really have a good excuse for it. I simply haven’t managed to get life back into a good flowing rhythm ever since we came over to NZ. This means that, in sudden bursts of anxiety, I tend to keep putting off things that don’t seem “useful” or “important”. I mean, how useful is it to talk about your knitting on your blog? Knitting itself… well, that is a totally different business though, it is very important – it feels very important. Hmm… see the discrepancy here?

As a matter of fact I finished the Baya Shawl quite a while ago, but somehow, I just never ended up taking any decent photos of it – or even figuring out how to do that (attention to Scotch tape detail). This has to be remedied.

Baya shawl (2 of 1)

Baya shawl (1 of 1)

I think I mentioned before that I am not really a shawl person, so I had been battling myself about whether I should actually ever start this project. You might be asking why on earth did I then consider knitting a shawl. Two reasons: pink and curiosity.

I’m convinced that the main reason I bought the Summer 2014 back issue of Pompom Quarterly was the lovely photo of this pink! shawl worn by a model sporting a colourful Hawaiian-style print jumpsuit. Call me whatever you want, but my obsession with pink has no end. As a teenager I tried to conceal it by wearing almost exclusively black for quite a while. I went as far as refusing to ride a bright pink Schwinn Lady bike – yes, with white saddle and white fittings – which my Mum, who clearly did not know the slightest thing about teenage psychology, chose to buy as a surprise gift. I saved and saved and ended up investing all my pocket money in a black(!) mountain bike – one of those 1990’s models with a steal frame but something like 24 gears. Later, during university, while I still rode my black bike, the prejudice started to melt away, until, eventually, I lost control entirely when I got back into running. I’m pretty sure I’m still known as the blond girl with the fluo pink running jacket (la rubia con la chequeta rosa) by some runners back in my dearest Coruña (Spain). What I’m not known as is one of those female runners complaining about the omnipresence of pink running gear.

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Pink, pink and more pink. Pretty close, right?

But let’s go back to knitting.. and curiosity. Curiosity about shawl knitting has been there ever since I noticed that some knitters seem to be completely obsessed with shawls, knitting one after another. I was interested to learn how you create that lovely crescent shape, and more than anything, I was dying to try my hands at some proper lace. It seemed terrifying, but I know I like challenges.

So before I knew, on impulse, I had bought the yarn I needed for the Baya. It was not going to be all pink, as the original, but it also could not have no pink in it. I’m not entirely sure, why I settled on the combination of BC Garn Semilla Fino in a pale turquoise (colourway OX106) – I would describe via another bike reference as similar to Bianchi green – and Semilla Extra Fino in bright pink (OZ123). Truth be told, I expected the latter to have a bit more orangey-coral tone – God bless internet yarn shopping.

I had never actually knitted with any of the Semilla family before, although I had had my eyes on it for a while. BC Garn is a Danish yarn brand with a number of interesting yarn qualities. Semilla in particular is advertised as an environmentally friendly organic wool yarn, and, aside from its very knitter-friendly price range, it comes in really lovely colours. NOTE: I have read since a few reviews saying that the yarn pills quite a bit, which hopefully shouldn’t be a problem or a shawl. However, as we are still in NZ winter, I haven’t worn it yet.

The knitting of the Baya shawl itself was not especially eventful – luckily. The first few rows of the lace panel seemed eternal, actually making me think I wouldn’t have the patience to go through with the project. But afterwards, once I got the logic and didn’t have to check on the chart at every other stitch, all started to flow. Lazy knitter as I am, I didn’t use a lifeline, but, probably due to the fact that I was mostly scared to death I would make a mistake and wouldn’t know how to fix it in the complicated lace, I didn’t make any.

As for developing a shawl addiction, I concluded that lace shawls are practical travelling knits, as they require only a small volume of yarn, hence occupy little space. Also, the transformation of the shawl after blocking was quite amazing. I almost couldn’t believe I had made that lovely delicate item with my own hands. However, come spring I am still yet to find out whether I’m to be converted into a shawl person. Mind you, seven years of Spain hadn’t done that to me, will hand-knit lace do the trick?

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Pattern: Baya Shawl by Mindy Wilkes (Pompom Quarterly, Issue 9, Summer 2014)
Yarn: BC Garn Semilla Fino (OX106) and BC Garn Semilla Extra Fino (OZ123)
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 7) and 4 mm (US 8)

FO: Little Wave Cardigan

It seems like the greatest enemy of knitters is sewing. I often find myself obsessively knitting a piece to be finished when I can see the end is near. However, I often have knitted pieces all done waiting to be seamed together… well, for ages.

With the Little Wave Cardigan things were getting almost pathological. The garment is actually knitted as one piece, so the only seaming/sewing you have to do is that of the pockets and some kitchener stitch at the back neck. And that was kind of still exciting. But then, buttons. I had the cardigan sitting in a canvas bag under the coffee table for weeks before I got round to sewing the buttons on. It was so much more appealing to get in some progress on the Baya Shawl (now also finished).

In any case, last week finally Chan got to wear his hand knitted cardigan for the first time, and eventually we also had some non-rainy days so I could take a few outdoors shots.

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All in all the pattern was straightforward to follow. The little wave stitch is easy to memorize, probably the biggest struggle was to not to mix up the right and the left twist stitches. I especially liked the clever shaping at the shoulders and back.

Possibly my least favourite part about knitting this pattern was the collar, which actually is a garter stitch strip that runs all around from the bottom right edge to the bottom left, meaning excruciatingly long rows. By the way, at least in the size I knit (36 1/2) , following the instructions I ended up picking up a few stitches less at the edges below the shoulders than specified in the pattern. Probably I just messed something up.

Chan Littlewave.jpg

One last thing to mention is the yarn. I used Drops Big Merino, which I had previously knitted a hat with. I immediately fell in love with this yarn because it is soft, knits up evenly and has awesome stitch definition, not to mention the price point.

Unfortunately, soon after I had bought the yarn for this cardigan I found a few reviews stating that it grows and stretches disproportionately when blocked/washed. As of now I do not have much to say about that as my hat and the several swatches I knitted held up well in both machine wash (wool program) and simple soaking. I have not blocked the full cardigan though as the fabric is even and smooth as it is, so I did not want to take a risk. Washing it will be the next adventure.


Pattern: Little Wave by Gudrun Johnston (BT Wool People Vol. 6)
Yarn: Drops Big Merino in colourway Anthracite
Needles: 4.5 mm (US 7) and 5 mm (US 8)
Size: 36 1/2