Monday, October 14, 2013

NEW PATTERN: Red Bird Old Fashioned


Sometimes I get a little nostalgic in my designs.

I think knitting is, by nature, nostalgic for many of us who grew up learning arts & crafts from relatives. I, like nearly everyone,  learned from my grandmother. She also taught me biscuit making, how to strip a white pine for basket weaving (something I REALLY want to get back into), cross stitch, crochet, how to shell green beans and shuck corn, and (like only a southern grandma can) how to tie your hair in a bandana and make molasses in a big outdoor vat with the rest of the 'relations'.

She also, at Christmastime would have on hand this powdery stick candy from a regional company called Red Bird out of Lexington, North Carolina. They made all kinds, but Peppermint was my favorite. It was like sucking on solid chunk of powdered sugar. It's way too sweet for me now, but as a kid, I was all about it.

I've been working on this tam in, what is probably, the best superwash merino out there. For the sake of liability, you can quote me as saying the best washable merino I've ever laid hands on. Swans Island Organic Washable 100% merino from Maine . It's beautifully dyed, with subtle variations in tone, but chewy and with a slight halo. You would never believe this is a superwash. It lacks the crunchy, stiff nature of most washables I've worked with and is nothing but a pillowy joy to work with.

The point of all this reminiscing is that I chose the Snowy Owl (white) and Malbec (red) which I figured would look rather christmas-y, no matter how I wrangled it-- but I wasn't prepared for it to turn out the exact color of those peppermint candy sticks.

I'm getting a sugar high just looking at this.

Now it has me daydreaming about Christmas and snow and the Appalachian Mountains... and wanting a sugar bomb.

The hat itself (there is a hat in all this daydreaming!) was an experiment in taking Estonian and Latvian knitting motifs and seeing how they would react to systematic decreases.  I love these motifs, with their tiny repetitive checks and crosses. They are linear and geometric and very small- often worked in fingering weight in miniscule repeats over a piece the size of a mitten. I do believe that the larger Norwegian patterns lend themselves better to sweaters, but I wanted to see if these Estonian and Latvian patterns could work on something slightly larger than a mitten, say... a tam? I did choose one of the larger motifs, but was satisfied with the overall effect. Now I want to experiment with some lighter weight yarns, smaller gauges, and smaller motifs. Just to see what happens when you try to turn them into a six pointed snowflake.

Yarn: Swans Island Organic Washable in Snowy Owl, Malbec (1 skein each)
Needles: 3.5mm circular
Gauge: 7st and 7 rows = 1"
Pattern Available as a PDF download for $3.50

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