Pattern & Yarn Review: Cry For Spring

I’m just going to waltz in here like you saw me yesterday (not since September) so I can tell you about one of my latest projects. 😛

One of my goals for the year is to try different knit/crochet techniques on smaller projects before I tackle them in larger ones.  I’ll tell you more about that goal in an upcoming post but for the month of February, technique chosen was “twisted stitches” (not to be confused with twisted knit stitches that are the result of an error).  This technique is used to create a cable like texture (aka faux cables) and can be used in a variety of ways: replacing ribbing on hats, fabric design on clothing, blankets  and socks).   I used it to replace the ribbing on a hat that was part of the Winter Ravellenic Games and my review of the pattern and the technique are as follows:

  • Pattern: Twist & Slouch (free)
  • Designer: Kali Berg
  • Pattern Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The twisted stitch pattern itself was really easy and I memorized it after the first repeat.  It was lovely to see the yarn working up into those beautiful faux cable stacks but the clear error in the decrease portion of the pattern was a no-no for me.  Before someone comes and attacks me with a pitch fork (cause after all, the pattern is free) I still stand by my review.  I probably wouldn’t have been so anal if the stitch count was high but when I make things I always think about newbie knitters especially those who might not be a part of a real life knit group and are self taught.  The error is enough to throw a newbie off and might leave them wondering how to conclude the finishing.  Let me get into that …

The pattern has a cast on amount of 78 stitches with no increases throughout (meaning the pattern stays at 78 stitches for the entire project). At the point of the first set of decreases it asks the knitter to k2tog (knit 2 stitches together) until the end.  The result would be 39 stitches.  The next round is a straight knit round but the round that follows that (the second decrease round) asks the knitter to decrease again using the k2tog option.  Mathematically, this doesn’t work.  The knitter would end up with 19 resulting stitches from the k2tog and 1 extra stitch.  I’ve been knitting long enough to go ahead and fudge this but a newbie might not know what to do with that last stitch.  I went ahead and just knitted it by itself so it didn’t remain not worked, then I finished the hat as per the pattern’s instructions.

It worked out alright but I thought maybe the designer could have updated the pattern to a round 76 or 80 stitch count rather than leaving it the way it is.  If she knitted her own sample there is no way she would not have seen this error.

I typically read the notes other knitters make on Ravelry before I do any project and one remark which kept popping up is that knitters found the brim a little tight.  I solved that problem by knitting the entire hat with a size 9 needle rather than 8 for the brim then 9 for the body.  I got the perfect fit from that.

  • Knit Again Meter: Absolutely!  Next go around I’m going to make the body shorter so the hat fits like a beanie instead of a slouchy.
  • Technique Review: From what I’d read, the resulting fabric from the twisted stitches is supposed to be very stretchy.  Initially it didn’t feel that way but by the time the brim was done, it really was.  I’m glad I didn’t follow my mind and add more stitches to the cast on.
  • Yarn Review: The yarn used in this project was a skein of Papaya in Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran Weight.   The content is 100% merino so this hat will be relatively warm.  The only descriptor of the yarn I don’t agree with is that it’s aran weight.  This is more like a regular worsted weight and my trusty spinning w.p.i (wraps per inch) tools told me that I was right.  But it was lovely to work with and the colorway reminded me so much of Spring.
  • Additional Technique Resource: Knitting The Twisted Stitch (Interweave site)

It feels weird to be back here … but in a good way.  Familiar yet unfamiliar.  I know and love this space but I feel as if I’m trying to find my writing voice again.  Know what I mean?   I guess that’s what happens when you stay away too long.  I hope you’re all doing well, let me know in the comments how you’ve been and what you’re working on.  ❤



Read, Knit: The Tea Planter’s Wife

Back in the day, when I was younger and full of tragic heroine’s angst, I would have lapped this book up in a heart-beat, but now that I’m older, not so much.  This is not to say that this book is not a good read, it’s just no longer my cup of tea.

The story is set in colonial Ceylon and it’s protagonist is Gwen — a naive nineteen year old who has become married to a mysterious tea plantation owner after an extremely fast  courtship.  She then travels from London to Ceylon, excited about her new life and head over heels in love with her new husband.  She arrives to find that he’s not the same man she married, that excitement she had to run her own household is dampened by the mistrust and resentment of the plantation’s servants, that her sister in law seems hellbent on breaking up her marriage and of course, there is another woman in her husband’s life whose complicated presence Gwen doesn’t understand.  Enter stage left, a local man who has piqued Gwen’s own interest, then last but not least, the secrecy of what happened to her husband’s first wife.

The book in some ways reminded me of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.  The air of secrecy, this “thing” that everyone knows except the protagonist, story set against a colonial backdrop.  Then all of a sudden, it’s discovered that even the protagonist has her own secrets which added a smidgen more drama to the plot.  I really liked the author’s prose and descriptions of the culture and country were beautifully done.  But that’s where it ended for me.  I just never became invested in the characters.  The protagonist made choices that I didn’t understand or could relate to.  I also thought the plot was predictable.  The book had a slow start, gained momentum in the middle but the end was as I expected.   For the fans of this genre, this book would be an absolute love,  in my case, I like it, but I don’t love it.  It held my attention enough so I could practice reading and knitting together.  That’s a good thing right?

The Planter's Wife

Author’s Website: Dinah Jefferies

Knit Pattern: Boden from Nice & Knit

disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.