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Easy and Gorgeous Alpaca Cowl instructions

Local, natural alpaca bliss in a brown like only the best chocolate

A photo posted by Faerwear (Dori) (@faerwear) on

This came from a local alpaca ranch – we actually have several of these within an hour’s radius, and we’ve mostly visited all of them (fun for kids, and alpaca poop is BOMB for your garden, and it doesn’t burn – so you can basically just sprinkle it around whenever you want and your plants and your soil will show almost-instant happiness).

Actually though, i found this one single skein in one of the local thrift shops. I couldn’t believe it, because a thirty dollar skein of yarn came home with me for $6.50, label and all, but so it did. One single skein, which hung out in my yarn stash until recently when I began busting for gifts.

I really only knit small things anymore – hats, small shawls and triangular scarves, fancy washcloths – and I whipped this up as a gift. I of course tried it on, and it’s pretty dang sexy.

SUPER simple instructions here:

You’ll need one 220-yard skein of something luxurious in a heavy fingering/sock weight, or double two laceweights (which is pretty much what this was, handspun two-ply) and some US10 needles (I use a 16″ circular because it’s easy transport for me). You really do need something with a propensity for drape – alpaca, silk blends, etc.

Cast on 84 stitches and join for knitting in the round. Purl a row, and then knit for 12-18 inches (if you want to be able to pull this up over your head and ears, knit at least 18-24 inches). You’ll have some curl (quite a bit at the beginning) because it’s straight stockinette but eventually the weight of the fabric will pull most of it out and the rest of it just looks and feels nice. Cast off in purl and block.

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Christmas Knitting, Gifts and Free Knitting Patterns

free knitting pattern | Evie's Dream Scarf | faerwear

It’s no secret amongst my friends that I’m also an avid knitter, and there’s nothing like finding good free knitting patterns that endure. I’ve paid for plenty of patterns – I can tell you from personal experience that a LOT of work goes into one, even if it’s just formatting it for standards so you can post it on your own blog.

I had a crazy year though, and my knitting time was basically taken up by designing faerwear (that’s fine too – I love to knit and make jewelry, but knitting is one of those things that i do strictly for gifting and enjoyment as I am slow at it) – but it’s now the holiday season, and so I am knitting like crazy).

This is exciting because it offers the periodic excuse to visit a yarn shop (or Webs, or Jimmy Beans Wool, my two favorites for finding deals on commercially-produced yarns), have soft fluffy things in my hands for hours, watch a lot of period pieces (my favorite for knitting) and also because it means I just get to be creative, without worrying about whether something will sell.

Christmas gifts from me are generally hats, dishcloth sets and cowls – they’re all quick, easy, and always useful ūüôā

That being said, I actually have several of my own patterns available, some of which are free and found right here on this website! If you’re on Ravelry, you can peruse all of my patterns together right here.

And yes, I do knit a lot of my own hat patterns as gifts – but I wanted to mention, also, two of my other favorite go-tos: the classic Felicity hat pattern, and Graham from Nutty Irishman Knits – both of these slouchy beanies knit up quickly and easily.

Eventually I will tell my very sweet and romantic story (the one that left me single-parenting all year) – but suffice it to say, that part of our lovely modern day love story saga is now over and my Canadian partner was granted a marriage visa this very morning! We will all be together as a family again in just a few short weeks – I’m so excited about the new life we are about to embark on, and all the creativity that is about to pile out of this household.

I have two more craft shows happening before Christmas – one this Friday and one this coming Monday evening (a “sip and shop” – lord help me, because I think that “sip” might mean “wine”, but that’s always a good thing when it comes to shopping). So I’m busy writing, making earrings, knitting, and mothering all at once right now and just reminding myself that January is going to be a big sigh of relief.

Happy Holidays!

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Seed and Linen Stitch Throw instructions

a very basic set of knitting instructions

A month or so ago, I acquired some delicious Araucania Lauca yarn for five dollars a skein. It was being discontinued. Its wool, silk and camel blend is very, very soft.

It’s an aran weight yarn – so if you want it and you can still find it, cool. Otherwise, substitute something really soft in a light¬†worsted or aran weight. ¬†There are just over 180 yards in each skein of¬†Lauca so you’ll want to consider that as well. ¬†I have three skeins of it.

I am not really all that much a fan of variegated yarn. EVER. I was, when i was a new knitter and tricked into believing the collection of colors would mesh into something cool, but then as i got further into my “knitting adventures”, I wasn’t so much a fan. Yarn barf, I believe I’ve heard it called…

It wasn’t until I brought this home that I started actually learning about how you¬†really work with this stuff – using slipped stitches to break up the colors, etc…

Well – that trick doesn’t¬†quite work for me here, as you can see – but it’s still pretty dope. While I’ve got some pooling, at least the edges of the color pools have been softened some¬†by the blending created with slip stitching. And although my original intent was to knit a giant, brioche cable cowl with it – I realized before I actually started, thank god, that I would never,¬†ever actually wear the result. More than likely I’d frog it a year later and do something else with it instead – like what I wound up doing with it.

So instead, I started a little throw. Because this matches my home perfectly in all ways – color, vibe, etc… It will look absolutely fabulous on my olive green seventies papa-san chair.

Here’s the basics – NO GAUGE!

With US10 needles (Knitter’s Pride Dreamz interchangeables) I cast on 151 stitches, and seed-stitched an inch or so¬†of top border. If you want to use a different needle size or yarn thickness, simply cast on an odd number that creates the guestimated width you want (I say “guestimated” because you can try and sort of “guess” by how many stitches you’ve cast on, which will draw in some, or you can do some knitting math if you’re inclined to that. I might have been, before motherhood).

The border is continued on the sides by seed-stitching the first and last eight stitches of every row. Linen stitch comprises the center of the blanket. When you run into two slipped stitches next to each other, slip the first and just purl the second¬†one – that way you keep the “bump” you need for the pattern.

I have three skeins of this yarn and will just knit until I run out (let’s hope I can get a squarish shape out of it!). At the end I’ll just add an inch or two of seed stitch border on the bottom and there it is. So simple, nice mindless knitting for Netflix, audio books and knit nights.

The effect and difference between the stitches is subtle, but apparent – and makes for a nice, FLAT throw that is also actually functional and warm, too – and all that slip-stitching mixes up those colors a little bit. There’s still a TON of pooling here, but it’s pretty dang cool anyway. I’m happy with the simple choice I made for this yarn. It’s lovely to work with.

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Free one-skein knitting pattern – Shakti hat

Shakti | free knitting pattern | Ravelry | hat | faerwear

Who was Shakti?

In this particular case, I’m referring the person this pattern is named after, a brilliant and beautiful Australian friend of mine. Because she lives “down under”, I had to knit this during the summer. I tried several other things, ripping back several times, until I let the design simplify and knit itself, based solely on a stitch pattern from an old Tricot stitch pattern book.

Like Arrow, this one features a twisted rib brim and a simple stitch pattern (in this case, Spiral Stitch) that looks fancy, but it’s easy enough for a beginner who’s comfortable working in the round. The Ravelry pattern page is here. There’s also a handy-dandy little “print-friendly” button at the end of this post so you can print or PDF this pattern easily.

This is not a “professional pattern” and is being offered up for free (and as such, nope, I didn’t gauge, because I hardly ever do when I whip up a hat since I use the same needle size almost every time and¬† I know myself). Many people have knit it in the past 9+ years with beautiful results, and any errors that may have been encountered in the original pattern were worked out long ago by enthusiastic and courageous knitters like you.¬†

Materials:

  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool, 100% Pure New Wool; 100g/223 yards; 1 skein (you’ll use less than half!)
  • US8 dpns
  • US8 16″ circular needle (optional)
  • Stitch marker (1)
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Stitches & Abbreviations:

  • k: knit
  • k1-tbl: knit one stitch through its back loop
  • p: purl
  • k2tog: knit two stitches together
  • yo (increase): yarn over
  • kfb (increase): knit into the front and then the backof the stitch
  • eor: End Of Round

Instructions:

Using the long-tail cast-on method, cast on 72 stitches, join for working in the round and place marker for end of round. Knit 12 rows of “twisted rib” as follows:

*k1-tbl, p1; repeat from * to eor.

When you’ve knit twelve rows of twisted rib for the brim, knit the increase round:

*k1, kfb; repeat from * to eor. 108 stitches. Begin stitch pattern.

Round 1: *p3, yo, k4, k2tog, k3; repeat from * to eor.
Round 2: *p3, k1, yo, k4, k2tog, k2; repeat from * to eor.
Round 3: * p3, k2, yo, k4, k2tog, k1; repeat from * to eor.
Round 4: *p3, k3, yo, k4, k2tog; repeat from * to eor.

For a more fitted hat (as shown), repeat the above four rows 9 times for a total of 36 rows (not including brim). For a slouchier hat, add additional repeats (per personal preference) of these above four rows.

Begin decreasing for crown:

Round 37: *p2tog, p1, yo, k2tog 4x, k1; repeat from * to eor. 72 sts.
Round 38: *p2tog, k2tog, yo, k2tog 2x; repeat from * to eor. 45 sts.
Round 39: *p1, k2, yo, k2tog; repeat from * to eor. 45 sts.
Round 40: *p1, k2tog 2x; repeat from * to eor. 27 sts.
Round 41: *p1, k2tog, k1, k2tog; repeat from * to last 3 sts, p1, k2tog. 18 sts.
Round 42: *p1, k2tog; repeat from * to eor. 12 sts.
Round 43: *p1, k1, k2tog; repeat from * to eor. 9 sts.
Round 44: *k2tog, k1; repeat from * to eor. 6 sts.

Cut yarn and with tapestry needle, thread through remaining stitches on the needle. Weave in ends. Block if preferred.

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