Brioche Knitting

Brioche Knitting

It seamed easy enough when Ania explained it to me, after completing section two of the Stephen West Exploration Station Mystery Knit Along. However, watching the video did not provide enough information for me to create a swatch. In most of the other videos, not one person indicated the correct stitch cast on number. In Stephen’s video, he says to cast on an odd number, but I think generally, you need an even number. I created my swatch with his I-cord border but kept getting stuck on row 3. Also, that yarn over/slip was tricky. West kept performing in one motion, which confused me. I started by doing each step and after I caught on, I changed to the one-motion method. Two days later, I finally figured it out. So now, it’s on to section two.

The key features of Brioche knitting are a dense, ribbed fabric, which highlights one of two colors on either side. In my swatch below, the front is red and the back is a plum.

Red Rain

Red Rain Wrap

I had knitted this previously under project name Let It Go. My godmother had gifted me with a skull ring for Halloween, so I wanted to make her something for her birthday (November) and xmas. When she came for a visit, I got her color and already had the Debbie Bliss Merino Aran (Fiber Content: 100% Merino Wool; Yarn Color: 325700; Yarn Weight: 4, Aran), which had been gifted to me by a dear friend, Irma. This project was knitted up with size US 10 needles. The slight difference in look is attributable to aggressive blocking, which was required because two skeins did not reach the desired width: 72 inches. The blocking increased the length by 4 inches; this one measures 13 inches.

When I tried to nail down the right yarn for her project, I knew she liked bling and was considering something at the store I used to work at, but now that I have been banned from the store, that was no longer an option. She liked the color of this yarn and specifically stated that she did want bling. After one skein I showed it to her and the first thing she asked was “Where’s the bling?” Aiyaa! So on a recent visit to the Sugarplum Festival in Buena Park, I found the light pin and bought that for her, serving as bling and a shawl pin.

I am quite impressed with the blocking and my incremental skill level. As previously posted, this project is based on the beginning border of the Bridger Cowl by Kris Basta. The name of this project – Red Rain by Peter Gabriel – comes from my music library.

Orange Crush Shawl

Orange Crush Shawl

Cast On: September 29, 2013
Cast Off: November 18, 2014
Pattern: Orange Crush Shawl by Allison Harding
Needle: US 7
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk (Fiber Content: 85% Merino, 15% Silk; Yarn Color: 5641 Mango; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Finished Size: 61 x 11 inches (aggressively blocked)

Named after the song by the same name – Orange Crush by R.E.M. – it seems like a lifetime ago when I started this. I had received a prize at The Knitting Tree, L A Cascade Yarn Tasting even in September 2013. I set to work on the shawl immediately, but after a while, the lace and fine yarn weight got old, and I put it in hibernation. I was not happy that the pattern did not indicate how much yarn should be left to knit the border. My boss, at the time, suggested leaving one ounce. Looking at the yarn specifications now, that can’t be right, and I don’t remember the specified weight on the digital scale I used.

When I picked up the project again, I was still trying to get to one ounce. When I finally reached that amount, I began the ending border. Well, after about three tries, I kept ending up with an extra stitch after row two, and more importantly: the knitting direction was counter-intuitive to the border/body attachment instructions. I even had at least three more knowledgeable knitters try it with the same results.

I finally decided to contact the designer via Ravelry. She did not reply. Bad form!

Subsequently, I wrote Cascade Yarns and received a fix withing 48 hours. Now that’s a yarn company I can support. Unfortunately, I cannot speak favorably regarding the yarn. Even before I finished the project, haloing had begun on the beginning border. I find the halo unattractive, more like lint or pilling.

Overall, I am glad to have finished another UFO.

Price: USD $61.00

Let It Go

Let It Go

Cast On: August 26, 2014
Cast Off: September 5, 2014
Needle Size: US 9
Yarn: Tiara by HiKoo by Skacel (Fiber Content: 10% Kid Mohair, 5% Wool, 49% Acrylic, 22% Nylon, 10% Bead, 4% Sequin; Yarn Color: 0001 White; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Dimensions: 72 x 9 inches

When I made the Good Lovin’ Cowl – Pattern: Bridger Cowl by Kris Basta – I fell in love with the border stitch, thinking it would make a beautiful shawl. Well the other day, while stocking yarn at The Knitting Tree, L A, I opened a box and discovered the Tiara. It was love at first sight, but the idea for this project had not yet been conceived. A few days later…lightbulb! And here it is. I managed to get a couple of pictures that show the beads (light blue and lavender) and sequins. I only used one skein to make this, afraid to add another because the width was increasing so fast. As such, the piece is shallow and long. I wore it the other day at the TKTLA Sunday Brunch to show it off and was surprised that some time passed before my neck started getting warm, considering I am always hot.

The name of the project – Let It Go by Demi Lovato from the movie Frozen – was a delayed choice, but very apropos, considering the colors.

Price: USD $140.00

Peg Shrug

Peg Shrug

Cast On: May 17, 2014
Cast Off: May 17, 2014
Pattern: Peg Shrug (Improvised) by Hooker Leo
Needle: Unknown Size
Yarn A: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Magenta]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn B: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Multicolor]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn C: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Pink]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn D: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Multicolor]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Dimensions: 30 x 12 inches (open)

So because I am sick…again…I decided to stay home and see if I could crank something out from all the novelty yarn I have collected. About a couple of weeks ago, I organized most of the novelty yarn by color.

Basically, I double stranded the yarns, connecting a new yarn when one yarn ran out, and cast on 45 stitches on about a US 15/17/19 needle. Worked in garter stitch, this shrug is very shallow, only sewing the corners together to create the armhole. As you can see, I stared with the magenta yarn, which is some kind of chenille or velour, double stranded with a multicolor knobby yarn. When the chenille ran out I attached a pink mohair type yarn. When the knobby yarn ran out, I attached the final multicolor bouclé yarn.

I did not continue into the purple novelty because the color would have been lopsided and I thought it was long enough. I would have preferred something longer/deeper, but had already cast off. What is interesting about this shrug, is that one side is heavier (chenille side/knobby) than the other (mohair/bouclé). I think this coincidental design makes it appropriate for either cold or warm nights; all you have to do is decide how warm you want your shoulders to be.

I am unsure of the fiber content of any of the yarns and did not perform a burn test on any of them. I am pretty sure the chenille is some kind of acrylic with nylon; the bouclé is almost certainly some kind of acrylic, as well as the knobby yarn; and the mohair type yarn could possible be real mohair.

The name of this project – Peg by Steely Dan – is a selection from my music library.

Price: USD $40.00

 

Peg Shrug

Peg Shrug

Cast On: May 17, 2014
Cast Off: May 17, 2014
Pattern: Peg Shrug (Improvised) by Hooker Leo
Needle: Unknown Size
Yarn A: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Magenta]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn B: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Multicolor]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn C: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Pink]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Yarn D: Unknown (Fiber Content: Unknown; Yarn Color: [Multicolor]; Yarn Weight: Unknown)
Dimensions: 30 x 12 inches (open)

So because I am sick…again…I decided to stay home and see if I could crank something out from all the novelty yarn I have collected. About a couple of weeks ago, I organized most of the novelty yarn by color.

Basically, I double stranded the yarns, connecting a new yarn when one yarn ran out, and cast on 45 stitches on about a US 15/17/19 needle. Worked in garter stitch, this shrug is very shallow, only sewing the corners together to create the armhole. As you can see, I stared with the magenta yarn, which is some kind of chenille or velour, double stranded with a multicolor knobby yarn. When the chenille ran out I attached a pink mohair type yarn. When the knobby yarn ran out, I attached the final multicolor bouclé yarn.

I did not continue into the purple novelty because the color would have been lopsided and I thought it was long enough. I would have preferred something longer/deeper, but had already cast off. What is interesting about this shrug, is that one side is heavier (chenille side/knobby) than the other (mohair/bouclé). I think this coincidental design makes it appropriate for either cold or warm nights; all you have to do is decide how warm you want your shoulders to be.

I am unsure of the fiber content of any of the yarns and did not perform a burn test on any of them. I am pretty sure the chenille is some kind of acrylic with nylon; the bouclé is almost certainly some kind of acrylic, as well as the knobby yarn; and the mohair type yarn could possible be real mohair.

The name of this project – Peg by Steely Dan – is a selection from my music library.

Price: USD $40.00

 

Again And Again Hats

Cast On: May 8, 2014
Cast Off: May 16, 2018
Pattern A: Seed Stitch Beanie by Lisa Gentry from Leisure Arts Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps

Yarn A: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 149 Silver Grey?; Yarn Weight: 4)
Yarn B: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 151 Charcoal Grey; Yarn Weight: 4)

Pattern B: Ribbed Beanie by Lisa Gentry from Leisure Arts Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps

Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color: 151 Charcoal Grey; Yarn Weight: 4)

I was given this project by the store owner, for a customer who’s daughter had purchased the supplies, but decided not to make the hats for her and her boyfriend. I will admit that I was not a happy hooker when I received this assignment and to be rigorously honest, I entered “angry knitting” mode. Angry knitting was explained to me by a child that came into the store one day with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. When I asked her what angry knitting was, she explained that her stitches were too tight. I have expanded on that definition: focused and intent knitting on a project that is challenging when you would rather be crocheting.

The patterns were well written and the hats worked in the round, an added benefit because I dislike seaming knitting. I am not a fan of DPNs, preferring a couple of circulars instead, but even this proved difficult towards the end of the first hat. On the second, I found an extra set of circulars on the table and borrowed them. Using three circulars versus two made finishing the second hat a little easier. I was asked to make the hats based on the larger size (21 inch circumference): the first one slide right over my head, which leads me to believe my tension was too loose; the second actually grips the head, so I think my tension improved.

I am glad to be done and think this is the last time I will knit something in the round. My index fingers hurt and the tightening of the stitches as the circle closes is not a fun experience, especially when you are trying to knit three together. I am glad that I got over my knitting dislike which resulted from a dropped stitch in my Black And White Cowl, which is a currently hibernating template for the Happy Cowl. I still have to finish the Orange Crush Shawl and a knitting blank, which now I wish I had crocheted versus knitting. Doh! Having done a little yarn reorganization, I also have sorted my novelty yarns from my Japanese grandmother by color and they are just waiting to become scarves, wraps, cowls, shawls…easy stuff. But all knitting will go on hold again, as I complete the Ballet-Neck Tee from Vogue Knitting Crochet Special Collector’s Edition magazine.

Hotel California Capelet

Hotel Calfiornia Capelet
Hotel Calfiornia Capelet
©A Hooker’s World

Cast On: February 3, 2014
Cast Off: February 4, 2014
Pattern: Ribbon Capelet by Ruth Ellen Thompson
Yarn A: Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon (Fiber Content: 90% Nylon, 10% Metallic; Yarn Color: 5 Blue Silver; Yarn Weight: 5, Bulky)
Yarn B: Trendsetter Aura (Fiber Content: 100% Nylon; Yarn Color: [Grey]; Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)

I got the Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon from the store and the Trendsetter Aura from Beach Knitting before they closed. I had been wanting to make a cape and sufficed with this capelet due to the one skein of Sari Ribbon I had. This was a very quick and easy knit. I only wish I had made the grey trim thicker, but it is sufficient as it is.

The name of this project – Hotel California by The Eagles – is from my music library and I think was inspired by the colors of this capelet.

Price: USD $108.00

Blue Cowl

Blue Cowl

Cast On: January 11, 2013
Cast Off: January 18, 2013
Pattern: Improvised by Hooker Leo
Needle: US 13 – 9.0 mm
Yarn A: Unknown
Yarn B: S.R. Kertzer Northern Chunky (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic: Yarn Color: Cool Turquoise: Yarn Weight: 4, Worsted)
Yarn C: Universal Classic Chunky (Fiber Content: 75% Acrylic, 25 % Wool; Yarn Color: Petrol Blue; Yarn Weight: 6, Bulky)
Dimensions: 7 x 80 inches

I originally started this with a crochet single crochet chain. Then I got to the double-stranded part, I wondered what it would look like if I split the double-strand, but the amount of stitches became unmanageable.

The next attempt included the Cat Bordhi Mobius cast on. It was not as hard as it appeared to be the first time I learned it. After testing the single strand unknown with a double stranded Kertzer, the stitch width appeared equal. However, upon completion, you will notice some puckering – now part of the design element. I think the double stranding and the bulky yarns I was using made knitting it somewhat difficult – double stranding did not help. I actually broke my US 5 needles somewhere along the way while investigating splitting double strands while I was knitting. I think I’ll stick to single stranding from this point forward.

Basically, here’s what I did:

CO 120 with Yarn A (Super Bulky)
Knit 2 or three rows, making sure you have enough yarn to finish with the same number of rows.
With the Kertzer Chunky (double stranded) I did one row [knit, yo]
With Universal Classic Chunky (double stranded), I knit 3 rows
With Kertzer Chunky (double stranded), I knit 1 row
With Yarn A, I did one row of k2tog and finished with the same number of knit rows I began with
BO loosely or use stretchy BO

I am not happy with my bind off, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference to the piece, as a whole. Still, I would have preferred a looser bind off. I suppose I should learn the stretchy bind off.

I would have put a link on S.R. Kertzer, but when I click through from Google, I am asked to log in and I could not close the tab without quitting the application. You think they’d have checked that out or at least fix it. Whatever! Turns out the yarn is discontinued, so the company may not be in business any more.

Coffee Cup Square Motif

Coffee Connection Afghan Square
Coffee Connection Afghan Square
©A Hooker’s World

Cast On: November 26, 2012
Cast Off: November 26, 2012
Recipe: Coffee Cup Square Motif by Hooker Leo
Needle: US 6 – 4.0 mm
Yarn: Red Heart Soft; Yarn Color: 1882 Toast; Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Weight: 4
Dimensions: 12 x 13 inches, should be 12 x 12 inches

Having finished Summertime Blues Blanket, I was all geared up to deconstruct my first attempt and recreate the Coffee Cup Square Motif for the Coffee Connection Afghan within the requested dimensions: 12 x 12 inches. The odd thing is that I have already made a square – minus coffee cup, with the same yarn, but different color – using an 8 needle and had no problem with gauge.

I started with an 8 and it kept coming out about 13.5 inches wide. After a few calls to some knitter friends, I decided to decrease the needle size. With a 7 needle, I still was too wide at about 13 inches. Not pleased, I decided to go down to a 6 needle. Finally, I got the right width measurement, but did not discover until I was done that the height is 13 inches. Aiyaa! Well, at least one dimension is correct. I’ll let the overage be absorbed by the blanket.

This recipe is available for free and may be obtained by following the Recipe link above or by visiting Ravelry.