The Kiwi Slouch

A new pattern for a friend’s special occasion.  She bought a one way ticket to New Zealand for an experiment in climbing, backpacking, and radical living.  (Check out her blog here)  What better way to celebrate than with this summery, eco-friendly, mesh Kiwi Slouch? 

Ready to make one?  Grab these materials:

1 skein Red Heart Eco Cotton

Size 7 circular and double pointed needles

One stitch marker

This is a nice slouchy hat, loose enough to wear pulled down or over a pony tail. If you wanted a less slouchy pattern, you could decrease by a multiple of 8.   Ready, here goes:

Cast 80 stitches on to the circular needle. Place a stitch marker and join in the round.

Knit in a 1 x 1 Rib (K1, P1, repeat) for 10 rows

Row 11 (increase row): *k1, yo* repeat ** to end

Start this pattern:

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: *k2tog, yo* repeat **to end

Repeat rows 1 & 2  seven (7) times.

Row 25 (decrease row): *k6, k2tog*  repeat ** to end.

Row 26: *k2tog, yo* repeat ** to end

Row 27: knit

Row 28: *k2tog, yo*  repeat ** to end

Row 29 (decrease row): *k5, k2tog*  repeat ** to end

Row 30: *k2tog, yo*  repeat ** to end

Row 31: knit

Repeat rows 30 & 31  three more times.

Row 38: *k2otg, yo*   repeat ** to end.

Row 39 (decrease row): *k4, k2tog*  repeat ** to end.

you’ll probably need to switch to DPNs around  here, but hey- your call.

Repeat rows 30 & 31.

Row 42: *k2tog, yo*  repeat  ** to end.

Row 43 (decrease row): *k2, k2tog*  repeat ** to end.

Row 44:  *k2tog, yo*  repeat  ** to end.

Row 45  (decrease row): *k1, k2tog*  repeat ** to end.

Row 46: *k2tog, yo*  repeat  ** to end.

Row 47  (decrease row): *k2tog*  repeat ** around row.

Row 48: *k2tog, yo*  repeat ** to end. 

Repeat rows 47 and 48 until you have 12 remaining stitches.  Cut a long yarn tail and thread the yarn through remaining stitches.  Cinch the top and  sew in loose ends. 

Happy trails friend!  Wishing you many blessings on your new adventure! 


When to say when

I just got back from a vacation in northern new mexico.  It had all the elements of a great summer getaway – cooler weather, secluded mountain cabin, high altitude backpacking, and plenty of quiet time to knit.  In preparation, I picked a project ,Triangel by Caroline Lang, that I’d been admiring for months.  Granted, I’m a sucker for triangle shawls, but I love the eyelets and V pattern.  It’s knit with a sock yarn on size 4 needles so I knew it would keep me busy most of the week.

I had a ball of Lion Brand sock ease in Rock Candy that I thought would be perfect.  I love the colors and the self striping pattern.  Well, I cast on and set to work.  After the 10 hour car ride, I was making good progress, but a nagging feeling started to set in.  I love this pattern but the yarn just wasn’t doing it justice.  The horizontal stripes vs. the diagonal pattern was making me nuts. And, let’s face it -no one wants to see another yellow hat catastrophe. So, I took a big gulp and a quick trip to a yarn store and made the tough decision to start over.

Well, I’m happy to report it was worth it.  I switched to a solid gray skein of Berocco Ultra Fine Alpaca and never looked back.  It’s hard to walk away from 10 plus hours worth of work, but considering how many hours I put into the finished product, it was definitely the right decision.   So, the lesson is – yarn choice is crucial to a great knit.  Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to walk away and start over. 

Lesson #2 – Inspiration is everywhere.  The very next day I wandered into an outdoors store in Taos with a shelf full of hand knits.  My favorite item? A pair of fingerless gloves knit in none other than the striped sock yarn I’d just abandoned.  I’ve never been more excited to start frogging. 

Lesson learned, inspiration found, and a lovely new scarf for fall.  A great vacation indeed.

The Garter Snake Purse

Another new pattern from the knitting show.  This one’s all done up in a dark purple peruvian wool with tortoise shell acrylic handles.  It’s the perfect beginner project because it knits up quickly and uses simple finishing techniques.  The result is perfectly granny-chic.

This version was knit in a super bulky Peruvian wool – Cascade Yarn’s Lana Grande. To make it more durable, it’s lined with a turquoise satin.  A little scouting turned up these handles on Etsy.  It’s surprisingly simple to make and very fun to carry.  Here’s the link to the pattern on Ravelry:

The Garter Snake Purse


Just to jog your memory, here’s the original knit in Lion Brand Thick and Quick with bamboo handles and a little wooden button.  Just think of all the other possibilities….get ready to make it your own.

How to make Felted Balls

I’ve gotten pretty hooked on making felted balls and I promised a how to post soon. I gave my sister a tutorial a few weeks ago and in no time she had a great looking blue and green necklace.  I’ll warn you up front,  these are not for the dainty – dishpan hands are an inevitability.  But, they look great strung together in necklaces and earrings and I’m already planning to use them for my Christmas decorating.  So, grab your supplies, roll up your sleeves, and get felting.  Here’s how to do it:

The supplies:  100% wool roving (it takes about one ounce to make a necklace) and one bowl of hot soapy water – add as much dish soap as you would for washing dishes.  The water temperature should be as hot as you can handle it.  You’ll also want to keep a dish towel close by to dry your hands between balls.

Step One:  pull apart a small portion of the roving.  It’s important to pull the roving and not use scissors.  It’s easier to start with a small piece than a large one, since you can always add more roving later.


Next,  use your fingers to fluff the roving by pulling the fibers apart.  Then, roll the fluff into a ball and you’re ready to start felting.

Dunk the ball into the hot soapy water and start working the fibers.  The best description I’ve heard of the this part is to pretend that you’re petting a baby chick.  Very lightly rub the fibers in a circular pattern until they begin felting. Apply light pressure at first, and when the ball starts felting you can apply more pressure.

The whole process will take several minutes, so be patient. Re-dunk the ball into soapy water as needed during the process. Be sure to keep even pressure while you’re felting so you don’t end up with an oval. When the ball starts getting hard, you can squish out the extra water to check how hard the ball has gotten.

Depending on how the ball felts, you’ll probably end up with a few wrinkles.  No worries, you can always add a little fiber to smooth out any bumps you may have.

Tear off a little extra piece of fiber and wrap it around the ball evenly.  This layer will smooth out the surface and can fix any shape problems you may have.  Dunk the ball again and repeat the felting process with the outside layer being very careful to keep the ball round.  (It goes a lot faster this time around).

And then, before you know it… Ta da!  You’re first felted ball.  Let you’re creative juices run wild.  All you have to do is dunk, felt and repeat about 20 more times and you’ve got the makings for a necklace.  Just use a sharp needle threaded with beading wire to string them together.

Good luck and Happy Felting!