Tuesday Mewsday: Tiger Spotting

Melissa and I are back from a week’s vacation—up to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, then back along the coast with a two-night stop-over in Fort Bragg. One of the high point was this biker, who we saw both in Fort Bragg and again along the 101 on our drive home.
Tiger biker
His bike was custom painted with tiger stripes and his leathers were orange and black. I am not sure how he added that tail to his bike, but it was quite something.

We also saw some beautiful coast—
The surf at Fort Bragg

Rocks and surf at Fort Bragg

And the “Time and the Maiden” sculpture atop the old Masonic lodge in Mendocino.
Time and the Maiden in Mendocino

At the Shakespeare Festival we saw McBeth, Much Ado about Nothing, Henry VIII, and Equivocation—a wonderful new play that presents a fictional account of the conception and writing of McBeth. We are already planning our trip back for next year, as well as a week-long hike along the coast.

Two (Rather Nice, If I Do Say So Myself) Hats

This past week, I’ve taken a break from sock design to knit up a pair of hats. There were some stitches I’d been wanting to play with, and I was longing for a simpler pattern on needles a bit bigger than toothpicks. The end results are the two hats you see here. First up is Yarrow, a very quick knit (only 36 rounds using bulky weight yarn).

Here it is in Baby Alpaca Bulky—
Hat and model

And here it is in a yarn I picked up at Hobby Lobby while visiting Iowa—
Hat and model

Hat and model
(The model is my former student Maryam, who’s on break from Durham where she’s studying law.)

For Yarrow, just cast on 64 stitches in the round on 16″ U.S. 10 needles, placing a marker every 16 stitches. Work 4 rounds of P1, K1 rib. After that just knit from the chart, repeating the chart 4 times on each round; the markers will indicate the chart repeats. Switch to double points when you need to (I moved up to U.S. 10.5 needles here because I knit more tightly on double points than I do on circulars). Voila—weave in ends and you’ll have a hat!

Note that the symbol key is at the end of this post, since it’s the same for both hats.

Yarrow hat chart


I named the second hat Laurel. It’s related to Yarrow, but worked in worsted weight yarn, with just a few bobbles.

Here it is, knit up in Paton’s Bamboo Angora—
Hat up a creek

Hat and ferns

For Laurel, cast on 96 stitches in the round on U.S. 7 needles, placing a marker every 24 stitches. Work 6 rounds of P1, K1 rib. After that knit through the first chart once (again, you’ll be repeating the chart 4 times on each round), then work rounds 1-14 a second time. Once that’s done, work the decrease chart, switching to double points when necessary. Weave in the ends and presto—another hat!

Laurel body chart

Laurel decrease chart


Key to chart symbols:

A blank square is a knit stitch.

A dash – is a purl stitch.

/ is knit 2 together.

\ is slip2 stitches knit-wise one at a time, return these to the left-hand needle, and knit them together through the back loop.

The funny tent-like symbol is a double decrease. Slip 2 stitches together knit-wise, knit the next stitch, then pass the pair of slipped stitches over the knit stitch and drop.

The dark dot is a bobble. work k1, yarn over, K1 into this stitch. Turn your work and purl back along these three stitches. Turn your work again. Move the first two stitchs on your left need onto your right needle. Pass the first of these two over the second and drop. Return the remaining stitch to the left needle. Pass the second stitch on the left needle over this stitch and drop. Return the remaining stitch to the right needle and continue working as charted.

My First Sock Pattern

I’d mentioned that at the start of the summer my knitting friend Chris and I had set a sock challenge for ourselves. Each of us would write a sock pattern (with no swatching), then give the pattern to the other, who would knit up the first sock. After that, the sock and pattern would come back to the designer, who would have to knit up the second one.

I wanted my first sock design to be something special, so I threw in a bit of everything: leaves with nupps down the front, a bouquet motif in the back, a narrow line of vertical lace running along the side of the leg from cuff to sole, and an eye of partridge heel. Here you can see the result—

The green socks from the rear
I’m not quite satisfied with the bouquet motif. I found one in a stitch dictionary, but it was worked bottom-up, so I sort of guessed at how it might be worked top-down. I need to go back and do some swatching to get the leaves a bit pointier and to make the blossoms more distinct.

The green socks from the side
Here’s a side view.

The green socks from the top
And here’s a shot of the leaf stitch that runs down the front. You can’t see the nupps as they were only on the leg. (And when I write up the pattern, I won’t be using nupps. I’ve come up with a very simple small bobble that I like better. It really does look like a little berry.)

Since this is my first sock design, I think it’s only fair to share it freely. As soon as I get through my charting backlog I’ll post the pattern so others can enjoy it. If you’d like me to email you when it’s ready, just leave me a note in the comments section.