Okay, call me old-fashioned, but this is weird, isn’t it? Aromatherapy never really felt at odds with knitting to me. I mean, who was the genius who said to the Lily design team, “You know what the biggest problem facing knitters today is? Smelly yarn! I mean, who likes the smell of cotton? And god knows it’s impossible to light a candle while you knit! So let’s put chemical fragrances in the yarn! How has no one thought of that before?!”

Lily Sugar’n Cream Scents worsted-weight cotton yarn, $2.19 at Joann.com in Aloe Vera, Lavender, Fleur de Lavande (somehow different), Powder (yech!), Vanilla Bouquet, Camomile (sic), and Rose Petal.

Am I wrong? Is this a brilliant idea and I just don’t get it?

This one’s been hanging around for a while, so I thought I’d put it up here.

It’s from a Purl Soho pattern called the Rochefort Chapeau, knit in Eggshell and Burgundy Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, on size 5 needles. Silky Wool is a really nice yarn–it’s not as soft, really, as the name would suggest, but kind of nubbly in an organic and matte and homey way–and yet not scratchy or stiff. The colors go along with the muted, homey feel.

I like the hat a lot, as does my sister, for whom I made it. It’s fresh and stylish but also old-fashioned-y, like something you found in a bin from your mom’s childhood that, shockingly, is back in style. It’s very unique, too–though modern and voguish, I’ve haven’t seen another soul wearing anything similar on the streets of NYC. It’s also light and loose enough to be a good transition hat–perfect for those slightly chilly, rainy spring days when a thick wool hat just seems depressing.


 

Scenes from my windowsill.

Here’s the finished pic of that hat I was blocking the other day–the Dogwood Hat for my cousin. I knit it, as you may recall, in the fabulous Cascade Yarns Cloud 9 (Sunflower) on Addi Turbo Lace needles (size 7). I tried it on just to take a photo for you guys, and I’ll try to get another pic of her wearing it to post.

And here it is all wrapped up in some lovely Snow & Graham wrapping paper I got from Papel in my Brooklyn neighborhood:

 

Clever name, no? I kind of love this hat. It’s sort of Scottish Highlands-meets-Sesame Street. It was going to be slouchier (as per the pattern, the super-easy and quick Sock Yarn Slouch Hat), but I cut it short by a few rows to create a slightly snugger hat. See a tutorial for the pompom here!

It’s knit up in Knit Picks Gloss Fingering (a wool-silk blend) in the Kenai and Scarlet colorways, which was really a joy to work with. It feels soft but warm and durable, and the colors are very vibrant. I used my size 1 Addi Turbo Lace circulars to magic loop it, and I’ll tell you more about why that was a wonderful experience in at a later post.

These are pictures of my beautiful sister modeling for me. Thanks, Nicole!

Pom-poms, pompoms, pompons–no matter which way you say it, they all look silly when you type them a bunch of times. Here’s a quick how-to for anyone curious to learn how to make the perfect one (in my opinion) with 2 different yarns and no fancy equipment.

*Note that the instructions are identical to making them with one kind of yarn.

Step 1: Take some old cardboard and cut out two identical donuts. Mine are 3″ diam. on the outside with a 1-1/8″ hole, which yields a pompom approximately 2.5″ in diameter. I’m sure there’s some kind of equation to figure out how big to make them, but I just have 3 sets of donuts for 3 different sizes that I know work through trial and error. This is the “medium” size. You can also buy these made out of plastic, or you can just use your homemade ones until they disintegrate like I do.

Step 2: Holding the two strands of yarn together, wind a little “shuttle” that will fit through the hole. This probably won’t be enough for the whole pompom, but that’s okay–we can add more later. Trust me, it’s better to have too little yarn than to not be able to fit the shuttle through the donut hole.

Step 3: Hold the two donuts together on top of each other. Wrap the double-stranded yarn around both donuts (as if it were just one). It’s alright to leave the yarn ends just kind of flopping; we’ll trim them later. Cover the donut in one flat layer of yarn…

Step 4: …And then wrap it all the way around one more time (making a total of 2 layers of yarn). Cut the yarn (P.S.: Can you see the other ends flying freely up there? That’s where I added another shuttle of yarn after the first one ran out. You add it just the way you started the first one.)

Step 5: Here’s where things get a little tricky (and a little tricky to photograph). Hold the donut firmly in your non-dextrous hand so that your thumb and fingers are securely holding the center of the donut in place–we’re about to cut all those strings, and we don’t want them to fall all over the floor. Insert a pair of sharp scissors (if you have fabric-only scissors, now is the time to bust them out–your regular office shears will just give you a headache) between the two donuts–it’s hard to get at first, but trust me, it makes the cutting go much more smoothly. Do some fancy finger work to hold all the yarn bits in place while cutting around the entire circumference.

Step 6: (Home stretch, I swear!) Still holding the middle tightly, feed a length of string (longer than you’ll need–maybe 10″–since your deftness is kind of compromised at this point) between the donuts. Pull it all the way around the circumference and down to the bottom.

Step 7: If you’re working alone, you can put down the pompom at this point without freaking out too much about spilling yarn confetti everywhere, but if you can get a helper to do this part while you hold the pompom, it definitely brings peace of mind. Tie a simple knot in the yarn you’ve looped around the donuts and, quickly and with confidence, cinch it tightly around the middle of the yarn (back through the two donuts). It will make the pompom into a sort of bundle inside the donut. Tightly tie a few more knots over the first one to get it really secure.

Step 8: Pull the pompom out from the donuts.

Step 8: Fluff it until it looks like a pompom.

Step 9: Trim all the long strands from before (note: if you are planning on attaching the pompom to something else, it’s probably a good idea not to trim the long strand you used to tie the pompom, as that comes in handy for attaching it to other stuff), and look over your pompom for all the inevitable longer strands sticking out. Trim it up into a nice sphere.

Et voila! A pompom! Clean up your workspace (because it’s probably covered in yarn bits and cardboard shavings) at admire your pompom before you use it. Check back later to see what I put mine on!

Here it is: the first Finished Object of the blog. I tend to work on so many projects at once (and have such a short attention span) that FO’s are few and far between…until Christmas, when they all get made at the 11th hour. But here is something I just made for me, because I felt like it. It’s the one that got frogged back to nothing and I almost gave up on it then, but I somehow persevered. And I’m glad I did. Introducing…

The Colonnade Shawl! (Excuse the crummy pics and wrinkliness–I blocked it out so nice and pretty, and then wore it for a few weeks before finally remembering to take a few pictures.)

It’s a Stephen West pattern found here, and meant to be knit in two colors. I wanted something simple and warm and grey, though, so the whole thing is out of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in the Gneiss colorway. It’s lovely and warm and wraps around my shoulders comfortably on the cool spring days we’ve been having.

Also, it looks kind of like a manta ray. Which is cool.

Here’s my other project. It’s a super-fast knit; I started it last night, and I’ll probably finish by tonight (edit: finished it already!) It’s the Dogwood Hat, and I’m knitting it for my cousin’s birthday out of Cascade Yarns Cloud 9 in the Sunflower colorway (so soft and squishy!!). It’s a nice bridge piece–warm enough for the cool spring days we’ve been having, but bright enough not to feel like another winter hat–and the eyelet pattern makes it feel a little lighter, too.

Edit: The only complaint I have is that I should have done another repeat of the chevron pattern. It’s a little short as is, more of a beanie than a useful hat. So I’m in the process of blocking it pretty aggressively now to get some extra length out of it (in a kind of ghetto way–by pulling it over an old juice bottle. What? It works!) Will fill you in on how that goes!

Here’s a quickie, mostly because the only photo I have is really blurry and ugly, so I don’t want to dwell on this topic too long.

This is my latest WIP, a Sock Yarn Slouch Hat in Knit Picks Gloss Fingering (colorways: Kenai and Scarlet). I think it’s cute, and it’s holding my attention pretty well. I’m trying a couple of jogless jog techniques, but none are working! The jogs are still really jog-y! Any tips?

Speaking of tips, I’m magic looping this with one of my two new sets of Addi Turbo Lace circular needles. I will give you a full report once I’m done with the projects, but let me just say this for now: LOVE!!!!