Little Acorns






My last post on knitting with cotton yarn was very popular and I hope I encouraged you to try a cotton yarn this summer. My most recent finished knit uses one of the yarns I mentioned, Softyak DK, in a medium olive called Canopy. Acorns Jumper is a real cutie and was a test knit for Kat Sejud-Green. The acorns made me smile and were easy to make, and they came out just like real little acorns! It's like when a few cables going this way and that way make a perfect owl. So fun. Because the yarn has a bit of yak, it makes a warmer sweater for our climate so I'll pack it away for several months and bring it out this fall. Before I do I'm going to rip out the sleeve and body hem ribbing, add a inch or two of pattern, then make the ribbing again. It's a perfect fit now, but he's sure to grow during the summer. The pattern is well-written and is beginner friendly. It is knit top down and requires no fancy stitches; if you can knit and purl, you can make this darling sweater.


Purchase Acorns Jumper pattern by Kat Sejud-Green

My Ravelry project page 

Softyak DK

My review of cotton yarns.


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xo Kristen


knitting with summer cottons

I'm back after only one day, but a reader asked about cotton yarns and I got so excited replying to her comment that I decided to write a blog post about knitting with cotton yarns. I consider myself a bit of an expert on this subject. I live in Northern California and summer days can be mild and summer evenings are often chilly and our humidity is low. Also, I naturally tend to run on the cold side, so with these factors combined, I knit and wear cotton sweaters all spring and summer long. I have favorite yarns that I go  to again and again and I'm sharing them below. I'm sure you have your favorites too and I'd love to hear about them. If you don't often knit in cotton because you think it might be tough on your hands, I hear you. I don't like that either! The yarns I recommend are easy to knit, I promise. I have found that the lighter colors can be softer than the darker colors. Maybe the dye saturation has something to do with that? The difference is negligible, but I thought I'd toss that out. I stay away from mercerized cottons as they are too rough on my hands.


As for care, you should always follow ball band directions, but I'll confess I sometimes don't. I often put my garments in the washing machine (in a mesh bag with the setting on gentle with cool water) and sometimes even pop them in a dryer on the lowest setting. The sweaters last longer if you hand wash and dry flat, but sometimes I'm in a hurry. Also, I find a 10 minute pop in a low dryer fluffs the garment back into shape and then it can finish drying flat.  Here are my yarns in LOVE order edited to add links to my Rav pages where you can find the pattern and yarn links, plus my mods if any:


Rowan Handknit Cotton is by far my favorite cotton yarn. The handle is soft and easy on the hands, machine washable (I even put it in the dryer), the colors are gorgeous, it is value priced and long wearing. I have sweaters that are still in rotation that I knit many years ago and they continue to look great. I have knit 19 garments with Handknit Cotton and will be knitting a white Fonda soon to wear this summer. This is a cool cotton and I can wear it on a warm day. Below are two of my Handknit Cotton sweaters.


Seacoast

Love Note

Poetry


Rowan Softyak DK is wonderful in every way. It is my 3 year old grandson's favorite yarn. It is soft obviously or he wouldn't like it. It glides though the hands like a silk stocking and loves any needle you throw at it. The stitch definition is divine and perfect for anything from stockinette to cables and lace. Garter stitch holds up well in this too. It is not value priced, but I still think definitely not an overpriced yarn. My earlier sweaters knit with this continue to look beautiful, and children's garments hold up well and can be passed on, even after a season of hard wear. The colors can be muted because of the yak fiber, but there are quite a few brights and some lovely pastels as well. There is no white. I have made 23 garments out of Softyak DK and many more to go! I love it for hats and children's garments, but I knit garments for me as well. This is an all-season yarn for our climate and while I cannot wear this on a warm day, it works great for a chilly summer evening. I would love to see this in a fingering weight. Below see some of my Softyak DK garments.



Alaskan Pullover

Silver Birch

The Golden Hour


Rowan Summerlite comes in both DK and 4 ply weights. This cotton feels like well-behaved silk when knitting and like a cloud when wearing. I'm knitting a Petite Knit summer tee in the 4-ply now. The yarn can go in the washing machine, and don't tell anyone, but I also put it in the dryer using the same precautions that I mentioned above. I've knit 7 garments so far with Summerlite. Summerlite feels cool when wearing and I can wear it on a warm day. See a few below.


Tulip Romper

Lavande

Shifty

Rowan Creative Linen is a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen. It is not a super soft handle, but with so much linen in the content, it is amazingly easy on the hands. The linen gives this cotton yarn some muscle and it will work up into anything beautifully--shawls, tees, cabled cardigans, you name it. The finished garment has a cool feel next to the skin and I can wear this on a warm day. This is a well-priced yarn, not exactly value priced, but the yardage is excellent and the garment will be long wearing and is a great choice for something summery. The colors are clear and bright and the white is a beaut.


Lila Top Down

Splash

Rowan Cotton Cashmere is mostly cotton with a touch of cashmere. It feels almost suede-like while knitting and the fabric too comes off with a bit of a smooth, suedyish feel. The colors tend to be soft. It makes a good transition sweater as it's one of the warmer cottons to me. I have knit 4 garments with this yarn and I can wear them in spring and fall and also on cooler summer nights. 


White Horse

Phoenix


You'll note that the above choices are all from Rowan. Rowan, an English brand best known for their wools, actually make the BEST hand knitting cottons on the market. You may remember that I was a Rowan Ambassador at one time and while I have put sponsorships behind me, I still love to promote products I love and Rowan yarns have rarely disappointed me. I'm sure there are many other Rowan cottons and other brand cottons that you love and I'd be so happy to hear from you in the comments section below. You may have noticed that I didn't add Cotton Glace to my list. It's a fav of many, but does make my hands tired after a while so I don't knit with it anymore. 


Berroco Modern Cotton is also a lovely yarn. It comes in beautiful brights and pastels plus a pure white. It is a blend of cotton and acrylic and is easy care and easy knit. Stockinette looks gorgeous in this yarn as do cables. It has great yardage and is value priced. I don't have as much experience with this yarn, but I have liked it when I used it and did want to give you a Rowan alternative. And one more cotton I've tried and loved is Skinny Cotton by Blue Sky Fiber.


As for purchasing, I'm lucky that my LYS is a Rowan Flagship store. If you cannot find these yarns in your neck of the woods below are links that will help you.

Find a local Rowan retailer here.

Find a Rowan online retailer here.

I've added links below to the Rowan site so you can read descriptions, get yardage, see colors, etc. plus they have online shopping. Some colors are unavailable but I think that is because of the pandemic. You should be able to find the colors you want with an online search.

Handknit Cotton

Softyak DK

Summerlite DK

Summerlite 4-ply

Creative Linen

Cotton Cashmere


Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite cottons. Please, let me know yours! If you'd like to make a comment, please scroll down or click here.


Happy summer knitting. Kristen




Dolly

Hello friends! I have been so happy this week. First, taxes are done, out the door, finished--big relief. Second, I am fully vaccinated and my entire family is either fully or almost fully vaccinated. We are planning a reunion in June and I'm floating on air. When I got my second injection, I came home and actually felt like crying I was so relieved. But instead we finished our taxes and then I collapsed on the sofa and thought, what a good good day. 

Also, the roses are starting to bloom and I've finished all four of my test knits that I was working on simultaneously (and then I signed up for two more) and this one, Dolly, is published and I can share it.  




Cutest buttons ever. I think they are Czechoslovakian.




Dolly. Big sigh. This was a pleasant knit all around and designed by one of my favorite designers, Libby Jonson of Truly Mrytle. She runs the loveliest of test groups that I've ever been involved in. Test knitting an unpublished pattern can sometimes be confusing, but encouragement and compliments overflow in a good test group and this group was fabulous. Libby is hosting a knitalong with this pattern and I know it will be fun and helpful. There is one tricky stitch in particular that will need some concentration, but there is a video for it and you'll end up sailing though. The pattern's colorwork uses the mosaic technique. Please note that when you purchase the pattern prior to April 30, you'll receive a mini-pattern that includes sizes, yarn and yardage information, and everything else you need to get started, then at the end of the month you'll automatically receive the full pattern. In that way everyone can be ready with yarn and needles when the KAL officially starts. 


My main yarn is Tukuwool Fingering purchased in Finland two years ago. I always buy yarn souvenirs when I travel and when a knitter visits Finland, Tukuwool is the way to go. In Helsinki we popped into Snurre, a breathtakingly beautiful yarn shop that had a wall of Tukuwool. If you ever visit Helsinki, please plan to stop here. I feel it's a must for any knitter. My husband has no interest in yarn, but we stayed an entire hour; I think he was happy to rest his feet. The yarn comes from Finnish breeds, is strong and rustic, wooly with some muscle, and even primitive. I loved the knitting experience, and while the yarn softened and bloomed after a bath, it is not next-to-the-skin soft to me, but I don't require all my yarn to be super soft. A cardigan (with a tee underneath) is beautiful in this yarn and I've been wearing it every day in my chilly home. Thumbs up on Tukuwool.


Dolly pattern by Libby Jonson and KAL information

My Dolly project page

Tukuwool at Snurre in Finland. Tukuwool at Wooley Thistle in the USA


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felt softie for Easter

 







I wanted to make this post to share the free template for the lamb pattern, but I've looked for over an hour and cannot find it for the life of me. Edited, a kind reader found it for me right here! I also have a few others that I plan to make in the future and have those links below. I love making tiny felt animals and very pleased with how lambie turned out. I prefer stuffed animals to be three-dimensional with head gussets and underbody gussets, and I prefer patterns that are not cartoony. I shared that odd picture of lambie laying down so you could see his underbody. This little lamb will be hidden in one of my vintage cardboard Easter egg boxes for Carter to find on Easter Sunday.

We baked Easter cookies with pretty sprinkles on Tuesday and dyed Easter eggs today. Two hugely messy projects to do with a three year old. Today I sent him home with blue/purple hands as he could not keep his fingers out of the egg dye.

Those gorgeous fruits are a trade from a neighbor, tomato seedlings for a bag of fruit. The lemons are the pink lemonade lemons I told you about and I'm happy to have them for my Easter buffet. The dark purple leathery fruits are passion fruits. They are perfectly ripe and so delicious. Carter and my husband turned up their noses, but I thought, OK, more for me. I think I'm going to have to look into planting a vine.

Take note about the free patterns: Some of these are downloads from sites I'm not familiar or comfortable with. If I don't want to download, I copy the template image and enlarge and print. Sometimes the quality is not the greatest, but it's certainly good enough for our purposes. Most don't come with directions because they assume you'll know how to put the pieces together. They are all pretty simple. I use high quality wool blend felt from Benzie for my animals and if there is a seam allowance I cut that off. If using felt, it's best not to seam and turn inside out as it will be too bulky. Instead seam on the outside with embroidery thread using the buttonhole/blanket stitch. I used buttons for eyes but if you are gifting this to a child who may pull buttons off, you can embroider the eyes. I embroidered the mouth and nose. Most of the patterns below make small, hand-held toys.


Lambie in felt or fabric. (Link takes you to a free PDF from Pattern Bee)


Love this bunny and duckling from Creativity in Pieces (safe site)


Sitting dog template (The link takes you to an image. Copy the image and enlarge to print.)


The following three links are safe Pinterest links. I'll be making this elephant for Carter's birthday this summer.  I did not want to go to the website and instead just copied the image from Pinterest and enlarged to print. Same thing for this sweet fawn and this giraffe


Look at this bonanza of patterns from Pinterest! Again, if you don't feel comfortable going to a site, go to the Pinterest site, copy the image, enlarge and print.


Happy Easter! I hope you're surrounded by sunshine, flowers, chocolate bunnies, and family on this happy day.


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