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Little Boy Blue

I was recently given the challenge of taking five 100 yard hanks of yarn and making something grand out of them.

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I’m a big fan of Master Chef, a TV show where the “home chefs” are given certain ingredients and are challenged to make something amazing/fantastic/yummy/beautiful and a frighteningly short amount of time. I felt a little bit like that upon taking up this challenge. 500 yards has endless opportunities, but when each hank is a different shade of blue, that puts some limits on a design. It needed to get done quickly, sandwiched between other deadline knitting and the daily grind.

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One of my favorite yarn companies is Neighborhood Fiber Company. I discovered them when we moved to DC and my LYS carried it. The mastermind behind NFC is Karida, a woman with sass, endless color capabilities and charisma. Haven’t knit with her Studio Worsted yet? Do it. You’ll thank me. I grabbed a few hanks of her Studio Sock a few years ago when I wanted to knit my mom a beaded shawl that would knock her (knitted) socks off (seemed like a great idea until 1000+ beads dumped on my keyboard, onto the kitchen table, onto the floor and onto everything). The depth of the yarn (named after local neighborhoods) is beautiful and once I discovered her Worsted (the colors, *swoon*) and that it had good yardage AND was super wash, I was hooked. This was the yarn I had for the challenge.

Mom's shawl

Mom’s shawl

What to do with 500 yards of five shades of blue? I only had to look at my son to get my answer. A cabled cardigan for Callum! It is a universal truth that children look adorable in hand knit cardigans, especially those with cabling and stripes.  E = MC2, 5+5=10, what goes up must come down, toddlers look cute in hand knit cardigans. They just do. It is known.

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What transpired over the course of a few days turned into Callum’s Cardigan, a top-down raglan with cabling down the back and twisted cables running down either side of the button band. There’s a lot going on in this pattern… Stripes, button holes, raglan increasing, different cables on the front and back… I had a great time designing and knitting it. I even had a little bit of each color left!

Five of my friends are currently pregnant. I think I’ll knit this cardi up in a solid for one of them.

Callum’s Cardigan pattern available for download here.

Lacy Scarf

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I don’t like summertime.

Throw me on a mountaintop in a snowstorm, or under a cold rain without an umbrella and I’m a lot happier than if you left me in a field with the sun beating down, the humidity making me drip with sweat and the oppression of the summer heat weighing me down. The Washington, DC summers are brutal. They last from May until October, more or less half of the year!

Highway Mirage EPOD.usra.edu

As Americans, it’s alarming how accustomed we’ve become to faux summer. I won’t get on my Global Warming soapbox today, but stores that pump out arctic air conditioning yet leave their doors wide open to let it all escape into the ether, supermarkets that you can practically see your breath in and shopping malls that require you to wear a sweater in August are fine examples of how we’ve embraced faux summer. In Europe, air conditioning is a luxury, not an expectation. They accept summertime (for better or for worse) and don’t have a fit if a store doesn’t have subzero temps pumping through their vents. I find movie theaters to be the best example of faux summer with their consistently frigid temperatures.

Even though I count down the days until autumn will be upon us, I’ve learned to be prepared in the summer. It feels odd to pack a scarf or shawl when the mercury is approaching 100 degrees, but the facts are, these days you need to.

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Let me introduce you to the Lacy Scarf.

Knit in Cascade’s new supersoft hand painted Pima cotton (part of the Ultra Pima family, which includes Ultra Pima, Ultra Pima Quatro and Ultra Pima Fine), Ultra Pima Hand Paints, these generous 220 yard hanks are perfect for summer knitting with a great price point that many hand painted yarns don’t have. I love knitting with cotton in the summer because after all, who wants a lap full of wool when the sun is beating down on you? And hand painted cotton? Yes, please! A big plus to this yarn is it can be washed in the machine, then thrown in the dryer. Summer knits can get sweaty when you transition from the 35 degree movie theater into the 108 degree air to walk to your car. With a dozen hand painted colorways to choose from (I adore the Mossy Mix), you can knit a few that you can smugly hand out to your fellow movie going friends as their teeth begin to chatter. The simple lace pattern knits up quickly and the scarf takes less than 1 hank. Some cottons can be tough on your hands, but not this one. Beach knitting, here we come!

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Going to the movies is one of my favorite things. Alone, with a friend or in a large group, I have and always will be a big movie goer. So while I love the cold and I love movies, I don’t like to be cold at the movies. I’m keeping this Lacy Scarf in my bag at all times (and when it starts to smell like popcorn, I’ll be able to wash it with ease).

Download the free Lacy Scarf pattern here.