What to make with speckled yarn

WTM

Speckled yarns have been around for quite a while, but it seems as if they’re having a bit of a moment — I’ve certainly noticed an uptick in Funfetti-esque skeins around the internets. Like variegated colorways, it can be a little tricky to find just the perfect pattern to show it off. A simple canvas is generally best (I’m likely going to knit a Hitchhiker with the skein of Duck Duck Wool 80/20 Merino Silk Fingering, because it’s one of those patterns I think every knitter needs to have) but I’ve also spotted some beautiful patterns that incorporate it along with lace and stripes.

Here’s a selection from among my favorite speckled projects:

JaninaKallio's speckled Crescendo in Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles, colorway Monet and Handu Ilun Sinkku, colorway Turkoosi

JaninaKallio’s speckled Crescendo in Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles, colorway Monet and Handu Ilun Sinkku, colorway Turkoosi

Susanne/sosu's Chevron Fringe Shawl in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, colorways The Hotness and Direwolf Graffiti

Susanne/sosu’s Chevron Fringe Shawl in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, colorways The Hotness and Direwolf Graffiti

Kristen/k10's Dotted Rays in Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering, colorway Neon and Grey

Kristen/k10’s Dotted Rays in Skein Merino Cashmere Fingering, colorway Neon and Grey

Vanina/horsebike29's Pebble Beach Shawl in Skein BFL Sock, colorway Teen Angst

Vanina/horsebike29’s Pebble Beach Shawl in Skein BFL Sock, colorway Teen Angst

Claudia/himawari's Match & Move in REPUBLIC of WOOL Twist Fingering, colorway Tiny Dancer Speckled and Rohrspatz & Wollmeise “Pure,” colorway Feldmäuschen

Claudia/himawari’s Match & Move in REPUBLIC of WOOL Twist Fingering, colorway Tiny Dancer Speckled and Rohrspatz & Wollmeise “Pure,” colorway Feldmäuschen

Ryan/ryanpagehaas's Japan Sleeves in The Lemonade Shop Simple Sock, colorway Grey Speckled and The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet, colorway Silver Queen

Ryan/ryanpagehaas’s Japan Sleeves in The Lemonade Shop Simple Sock, colorway Grey Speckled and The Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet, colorway Silver Queen

Kelly/kelbelmakes' Curtain Call Cowl in Lynai Superwash Sock Yarn, colorway Manic Speckled

Kelly/kelbelmakes’ Curtain Call Cowl in Lynai Superwash Sock Yarn, colorway Manic Speckled

Catrina/CatReading's Fluid Slouchy Beanie in Spun Right Round Squish DK Shock Star

Catrina/CatReading’s Fluid Slouchy Beanie in Spun Right Round Squish DK Shock Star

Sabrina/dasmondschaf's Doodler in Das Mondschaf Merino Singles, colorways Firefly, Bananaphone and Leela

Sabrina/dasmondschaf’s Doodler in Das Mondschaf Merino Singles, colorways Firefly, Bananaphone and Leela

knitsublime's French Can Can in Duck Duck Wool DK Limited, colorway Speckled Stone

knitsublime’s French Can Can in Duck Duck Wool DK Limited, colorway Speckled Stone

What to stash this week: Get taken away by patterns and yarn

Daydreamer-by-Janina-Kallio-3

Wanderlust Knits, a new pattern club from designer Janina Kallio, is a responsible yarny indulgence. Members receive four accessory patterns released in April, June, September and November, well before they’re available for sale individually. The first pattern, which you receive when you sign up, is Daydreamer, a two-color crescent shaped shawl with stripes, eyelets and a knitted-on edging, exactly the simple, striking, pattern that Janina is known for.

InvictusContemplate

Take a bike trip through France, courtesy of Invictus Yarns. Sue is sponsoring Tour de Sock, a sock-knitting event and fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders that is based on the famous bike race. Registration begins on May 1 and there are prizes! Sue is also headed to Pasadena May 13 to 15 for her first year at Vogue Knitting Live. There will be some sock yarns in the shop during VKL to support the Tour de Sock, with more added on May 17.

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Barbara of Spencer Hill Naturally Dyed Yarn teamed up with an IU newcomer, project bag-maker and knitwear designer Rock Solid Designs, on the Turtle Cove Cowl. The cowl uses two mini skeins of Spencer Hill’s Nell MCN to create a beautiful two-color design. You can purchase a kit through the Spencer Hill website.

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Another Barbara, Barbara Benson, also worked with a new-to-IU dyer — Gale of Gale’s Art, who creates sock blanks stenciled with fun patterns — to design a wavy lace pattern for a shawl that perfectly shows off the sea-themed yarn. The shawl pattern uses beads, which Barbara says evokes “a fishermen’s net fresh from the water with sparkling droplets caught in the mesh.”

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The folks at Bijou Basin Ranch just got a whole bunch of qiviut, the champagne of fiber! There is lace and fingering weight in both 100% qiviut or a qiviut blend in bright hues or natural-colored skeins. The fiber is warm, but light, perfect for all seasons.

Bellbrook3IU

Bellbrook, Mindy Wilkes’s newest shawl design, is completely reversible, which means you can choose to show off the bell-like leaves on the “right” side or the borders of ribbing on the “wrong” side. And it takes just 400 yards of fingering-weight yarn.

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Stephannie Tallent’s new design, the Sand Ripples Shawl, features a lace edging, worked first with a combo of stranding and intarsia, a two-color cable pattern and a short-rowed garter stitch body.

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In the Game of Shawls, you knit or you freeze. Lara Smoot’s The Great Game, the latest in her Game of Thrones-inspired series, was designed with a seven-color gradient set from Miss Babs.

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Rock Solid Designs sells cute box project bags with unique snap closures that act as yarn guides, allowing you to work on your project with the bag closed, without the risk of fraying or snagging your yarn.

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Here’s a closer look at the fun stenciled sock blanks from Gale’s Art.

What to stash this week: Simple pleasures

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The Simple Treasures shawl pattern from Christine, the dyer behind TreasureGoddess Yarn, allows her luxurious and fun MCN yarn to shine while you indulge in one of life’s simple pleasures. The triangular shawl, with panels of stockinette and simple lace, takes a skein of her Cashmere Super Toes MCN yarn, which comes in super-sized skeins of 600 yards and colorways, with such fantastic names as Song of the Sirens (pictured above in the shawl), Mermaid’s Curse and Lusty Wench.

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Laura of Fiber Dreams, a fellow tea drinker, has named her new leafy, lacy pullover after our favorite morning beverage. This tea– I mean tee — can be knit boxy or more fitted, depending on the size you select. The bottom-up sweater has minimal seaming, for joining the top edges of the shoulders and sleeves. There’s also a Ravelry KAL for this and Laura’s other designs, with prizes!

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Mindy Wilkes has given us a beautiful design for those irresistible gradient, mini-skein set, or variegated sock yarn. Pomeroy Shawl is a simple, asymmetrical garter stitch shawl with a crochet chain bind off, inspired by one of those sets. It takes 500 to 550 yards of fingering weight yarn.

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Add a little fiber to your mail with the Swoonish fiber club. Club members get roughly 4 ounces of high-quality fiber dyed to wow. Packages are always a surprise, but you can see previous shipments on the Swoonish blog. Sign-ups end May 1, with packages sent out mid to late May.

Spencer Hill Pink

After two shows, Barb of Spencer Hill is back in action, with plenty of Pippi BFL sock, Nell MCN, and Lily Merino/silk in the shop and more updates, and new bases, on the way.

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The latest Wool and Two Sticks colorways were inspired by the Mad Hatter’s eyes on the poster for Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass. They’re available on Wonderful 100’s, a Merino/silk fingering.

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Wild Hair Studio is a small family farm raising Purebred Romeldale/CVM sheep, Registered Gotland sheep and crossbred sheep. They offer batts, smidgens, art batts, and other goodies from the farm.

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If you’re headed to first annual Steel City Fiber Festival in Allentown, Pennsylvania this weekend, stop by booth B2 to say Hi to Suzanne of Groovy Hues Fibers and her yarn, as well as fiber arts gear from a guest artisan.

Back to knitting basics with garter

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Viola Henslowe

Two weeks ago, I had eye muscle surgery to correct the crossing that had become progressively worse since my late 20s, the reason why I donned sunglasses for my sweater FO shots in recent years. While my surgeon did an amazing job, my brain has been working overtime processing the images from both of my eyes instead of only one. Since knitting takes a bit more focus, I decided that the best way to get back into it was a comfy garter-stitch shawl. So, last week I cast on my third Henslowe, a combination of garter and a relatively easy lace edging that I’ve worked on a little at a time while listening to audiobooks (and feeling old now that Bridget Jones is now in her 50s).

So, I thought I’d pull together a list of some of my favorite mostly-garter shawls, comforting knits that are perfect for when you need some mindless knitting.

Pendulum by Amy Miller

Pendulum by Amy Miller

Color Affection by Veera Valimaki

Welcome Back Garter by Casapinka (I started this before surgery and am at the point where I need to pick up stitches)

Welcome Back Garter by Casapinka (I started this before surgery and am at the point where I need to pick up stitches)

French Can Can by Mademoiselle C

French Can Can by Mademoiselle C

Marrakesh by Janina Kallio

Marrakesh by Janina Kallio

Duane Park Triangle by Kirsten Kapur

Duane Park Triangle by Kirsten Kapur

Nangou by Melanie Berg -- with a post-surgery selfie

Nangou by Melanie Berg — with a post-surgery selfie

What to make this week: A new look for a gradient

Peephole-6_BBenson

The Peephole Stole from Barbara Benson Designs is a cool take on the multi-skein gradient sets that are all the rage among indie dyers. Barbara divided a six-skein gradient set in half and created a striping pattern that gradually shifts from high contrast to low contrast, creating what Barbara calls a secondary gradient of diminishing contrast. Worked on the bias, the rectangular stole includes a combination of slip stitch color-work and lace. There’s currently a KAL going on in Barbara’s Ravelry group, so if you have a gradient or color set without a project in mind, here’s a great pattern for it!

The knits of Downton Abbey

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Downton Style

I know I’m a little late with this post, but I can justify it by saying that I still have the last 40 minutes of the Downton Abbey series finale (sniff!) to watch, so the series is not over for me yet! And, it will certainly live on in this era of binge watching.

Last year, I favorited a few patterns for a Downton Abbey swap I was participating in via the Subway Knits Ravelry group and decided it would be a good idea to curate a definitive list of sorts.

Here are some pattern suggestions culled from my favorites that I feel would be stylishly worn by some of my favorite Downton Abbey characters:

Lady Mary

Chrysler Crown Shawl by Natalie Servant: Stylish and trendy, and would go perfectly with Mary’s sharp bob.

Lady Edith

Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer: Simple and chic, for a lady ready to take on the publishing world.

Cora Crawley

Lady Grantham Hat by Brenda Castiel: Obvious, I know, but this soft and elegant design is a good fit for nurturing Cora.

The Dowager Countess

Eleanor Cowl by Audrey Knight: Staid and traditional, but a bright color can give this a bit of sass.

Daisy

Sprig Cloche by Alana Dakos: Soft and girlish, a design that I can see Daisy wearing on her way into town.

Anna

Fellowes Cloche by Amy Herzog: Classic, but strong.

Mrs. Patmore

Biscuit by Bonnie Sennott: Because what else but food would make you think of Mrs. Patmore?

Mrs. Hughes

Drifted Pearls by Jennifer Lang: Soft and comforting, with plenty of elegance.

Shawls I’m crushing on, and indie yarn pairings

Shawl Crush Collage

I have a good mix of pattern types in my Ravelry favorites, but I tend to be drawn to shawls most of all. As soon as I see one I love, I start fantasizing about the yarn I could use and the color possibilities. So, I decided to round up some of my recent “shawl crushes” and my Indie Untangled yarn picks for them:

Black to the Fuchsia by Casapinka with Port Fingering from Dark Harbour Yarn

Black to the Fuchsia by Casapinka with Port Fingering from Dark Harbour Yarn

Under the Same Sky by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne with BFL Silk from SnailYarn

Under the Same Sky by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne with BFL Silk from SnailYarn

Seasmoke by Laura Aylor with Opulent from The Uncommon Thread

Seasmoke by Laura Aylor with Opulent from The Uncommon Thread

Melodia by Janina Kallio with Silk Single Fingering from Lakes Yarn and Fiber

Melodia by Janina Kallio with Silk Single Fingering from Lakes Yarn and Fiber

Check out more pairings on Pinterest!

What to make: Get your mitts on these

Spiced Cocoa

I usually don’t go crazy with holiday gift knitting deadlines (my husband and my mom, the two people I’ve knit gifts for that were Official Holiday Gifts, haven’t minded getting them a little late, as long as they can wear them when it’s cold!). This year, my gifts are a little more time sensitive, as I decided to knit a cowl for my hair stylist in lieu of a traditional tip, and then realized I can use the remaining yarn, Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Sport, to make some mitts for my sister-in-law.

Along with hats, or bulky cowls, mitts are a perfect gift knit as they can be completed relatively quickly, can often use a partial skein and are useful even when it’s not bitterly cold. Here’s a curated list of patterns — some from IU designers and others that I’ve favorited — that I think you can easily add to your holiday gift-knitting list:

DK or Worsted

Pictured above: Spiced Cocoa by Laura Aylor

X-Mitts by Toby Roxane Barna

X-Mitts by Toby Roxane Barna

Back Roads Mitts by Melissa Burke

Pinehurst by Natalie Selles

Nalu Mitts by Leila Raabe

Fingering or Sport

Inverse Mitts by Keya Kuhn

Inverse Mitts by Keya Kuhn

Mouton’s Boutons by LeMou Designs (likely what I’m going to make if I have enough Tosh left over from the cowl I’m knitting)

Fallberry Mitts by Anne Hanson

Antiquity by Alicia Plummer

Shallows Mitts by Bonnie Sennott

Multi-colored

Gradient Mitts by Krista McCurdy

Gradient Mitts by Krista McCurdy

Andrea’s Mitts by Kirsten Kapur

Camberwell Mitts by Lara Smoot

Maroo Mitts by Ambah O’Brien

Pixelated Palms by Jennifer Beaumont

What to make with variegated yarn

Magpie Hediye

As a sweater knitter, I tend to gravitate toward more semi-solid colors. There are so many amazing variegated skeins from indie dyers, though I’ve often found it hard to figure out what to make with them — you don’t want lace and cables to get lost, but you do want something that breaks up the colors a bit.

Here’s a list of patterns, including some from Indie Untangled designers, that were created with variegated yarns in mind, or that show them off very well. And please comment with your favorites!

Shawls

Above, Hediye by Ysolda Teague, shown here in Magpie Fibers Swanky DK in Rhinestone Cowboy

Loop by Casapinka

Loop by Casapinka

Brickless, Endless Rainbow or almost any shawl by Martina Behm

Night’s Watch by Lara Smoot

Multnomah by Kate Ray

Wave by Kristen Finlay

The Fool by Toby Roxane Barna

The Fool by Toby Roxane Barna

Ingot by Lisa Mutch

Momijigari by Beth Kling

Cowls

Sugarplum by Lara Smoot

Sugarplum by Lara Smoot

Turning Stone by Chrissy Prange

Brighton by Veronica Parsons

Honey Cowl by Antonia Shankland

Hats

Oh Bother hat and cowl by Barbara Benson Designs

Oh Bother hat and cowl by Barbara Benson Designs

Botanic Hat by Stephen West

Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure

Sweaters

Sun Tea by Laura Aylor

Sun Tea by Laura Aylor

She’s Electric by Ann Weaver

On the Grass by Joji Locatelli

What to make: More cowl bell

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COWL Turning Stone

I had intended to write a whole post about fall sweaters, maybe even share my favorite examples of cable-y goodness from Rhinebeck, but thinking about sweaters right now is kind of overwhelming, especially after finishing a sweater, a DK-weight shawl and a baby blanket last month. I’m feeling like knitting some small winter accessories, cowls in particular. I realized the other day that I only have a couple of go-to cowls and I need to remedy that. And, very appropriately, A Playful Day is doing a Selfish Single Skein Along starting Nov. 21 and I picked up a lot of single skeins at Rhinebeck.

Since my family is Jewish, and my friends and I have taken to going on movie/dinner/karaoke outings instead of exchanging holiday gifts, I don’t usually have a crush of holiday knitting. I am making an exception for my husband, who recently underwent spine surgery and who definitely deserves a handknit. When I picked up the skein of Western Sky Knits Willow Sport at Gauge + Tension last month, I knew I would knit something for him. In searching for a unisex cowl that would work well in a variegated color, I found Chrissy Prange’s Turning Stone, which you can see as a WIP above.

Here are some more pattern suggestions, whether you’re knitting for someone else or decide to be a little selfish (hey, you deserve it!). Psst: Many of these patterns will be discounted 25% starting today until Nov. 21 through the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, which you can learn more about here.

Fingering

Song of the Sea by by Louise Zass-Bangham

The Keep Calm Cowl by Lexi Parisse

Frost in Bloom by Lara Smoot

Shallows by Bonnie Sennott (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Sport

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

More Cowl Bell Please by Mary Annarella (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Rhodes by Kimberly Voisin (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Firenze by Elizabeth Elliott (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Like the Tides Cowl by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Dorigen Cowl by Karen Robinson (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

DK

Flambeau by Sara Gresbach (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Flambeau by Sara Gresbach (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Ceramic Flowers by Mademoiselle C

Gather by Tin Can Knits, with a sample made in Duck Duck Wool 50/50 Merino Silk DK by The Knot House, a LYS in Maryland. My choice for the DDW I picked up at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Gather by Tin Can Knits, with a sample made in Duck Duck Wool 50/50 Merino Silk DK by The Knot House, a LYS in Maryland. My choice for the DDW I picked up at the Rhinebeck trunk show.

Careen by Katya Frankel (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Hunter Cowl by Brenda Green (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Worsted

Horloge by Alex Tinsley (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Horloge by Alex Tinsley (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Symbiotic Cowl by Hanna Maciejewska (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Exakta Cowl by Stephannie Tallent (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Whitby Place by Keya Kuhn

Windrow by Bristol Ivy (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Aran and Bulky

Rhinecliff Cowl by Laura Aylor (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Rhinecliff Cowl by Laura Aylor (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

What You Wish by Terri Kruse (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Lansbury by Shannon Cook (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

Heirship Cowl by Deirdre Lejeune (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

White Leaf by Alicia Plummer (Part of the Indie Design GAL)

See all of these, plus many more of my favorites on Ravelry and Pinterest.