Friday Finds- Winter White

{Snowy Creek by Imagesbylynnann}

This weekend we will be hanging out with high school students at our youth group's winter retreat. Although there is not much snow here in Michigan, it is cold! Here are a few prints and photographs I found on Etsy to help put me in the 'outdoor' mindset.

These pictures are all so peaceful and serene that when I look at them, I almost believe that I enjoy spending hours outside in sub freezing temperatures. The truth is, I don't, but have planned accordingly. The first items I packed were my knitting needles (not that this is too out of the ordinary for me).

Enjoy your weekend- bundle up, stay warm!

{Winter Cheer Print by sarahjanestudios}

{Cardinal in Snow by NatureMandalas}

{Snowfall Symmetry by Country Dreaming}

Improv Hat and Cowl Patterns

Earlier this week, I posted my selfish knitting projects. Both the hat and the cowl were a super easy knit, and in a couple evenings, I had a new matching set.

I jotted down some notes as I went, and as promised, will share them here. I will most likely get around to putting these in PDF format to have available on Ravelry someday, but for now I will just post them here on my blog. After all, there needs to be some sort of benefit for being a loyal reader, right?

These patterns are relatively simple and quite suitable for a new knitter. If you have not yet knit in the round, challenge yourself to do so. You may feel like you are all thumbs when you start, but by the end you will have it down!

**A general note about the amount of yarn used: Joe gave me 5 skeins of Ella Rae Latte(from Center Street Knits) for Christmas. I knit the hat first, and it used up about 1 1/2 skeins. When I knit the cowl, I just kept going until I ran out of yarn. Although the yarn is a bulky weight, I think it knits up a little thinner than a regular bulky. For a 50g skein, there is 82 yards. This means for the hat I probably used about 120-130 yards. Check my hat gauge against yours to see if your yarn it going to work- you may need to use a different needle size.

Improv Hat

100 g bulky weight yarn
(I used about 1/2 skeins Ella Rae Latte)

Circular needle, 16-in length, size 6 & 7 (4.25 &4.5 mm)
and one set of dpn, size 7 (4.5 mm)

19 stitches and 26 rounds= 4 in(10 cm) over stockinette stich

Cast on 80 stitches with size 6 circular needles. Place marker. Join, being careful not to twist.
Cuff: Work k1, p1 cuff for 6 rows

Switch to larger needles.
Round 1: *k8, m1 ; continue from * to end of round (90 stitches)
Round 2: knit
continue in stockinette stitch until hat measures 8.5". Since you are working in
the round, you will just be knitting(no purls)

Begin decrease rows (switch to dpns when you can no longer work on circulars)
Round 1: *k7, k2tog; repeat from * to end (80 stitches)
Round 2: knit
Round 3: *k6, k2tog; repeat from * to end (70 stitches)
Round 4: knit
Round 5: *k5, k2tog; repeat from * to end (60 stitches)
Round 6: k2tog across all stitches (30 stitches)
Round 7: k2tog across all stitches (15 stitches)

Break yarn, leaving tails about 8" long. Draw yarn through remaining stitches
and fasten off.

Improv Cowl

200g Bulky Weight yarn
(I used about 3 1/2 skeins of Ella Rae Latte)

Circular needle, 29-in length, size US 13
(double strand of yarn used)
8 stitches and 17 rows= 4"(10 cm) over seed(moss) stitch


With two strands of yarn held together, cast on 93 stitches. Join, being careful not to
Round 1: *k1, p1; *repeat from * to end
Round 2: *p1, k1; *repeat from * to end

Since the whole cowl is worked in seed(moss) stitch, and there is an odd number of stitches, you will k1, p1 for the whole cowl. Just continue to repeat this until the cowl is the length you want it. Mine is about 6" wide, but I would have gone longer if I didn't run out of yarn! The shape is a very long circle(about 54"), that you can wrap twice around your head/neck.

For all the new knitters, you can do this! Even if you have never read a pattern before, try to figure out as much as you can, and ask me any questions you have.

For the more experienced knitters, let me know if there are any mistakes or changes I need to make.

PS...sorry for the deja vu pictures. My usb flash drive broke this week so I have to use pictures that are already on my computer until I get a new one!

Selfish Knitting Month

Last night I was browsing Ravelry forums when I came across a post about "Selfish Knitting Month". The concept is, all the presents are out, so January is a time to knit something for yourself. Makes sense, I thought I would join right in!

Joe gifted me a few different yarns for Christmas and I am slowly deciding what to do with each of them. For my 'selfish knitting' I started with the Ella Rae Latte. At first I was a little baffled by this yarn. The label lists the content fiber as: 30% baby alpaca, 30% milk fiber, and 40% microfiber. The yarn in single ply and so incredibly soft, but I was still interested in finding out what exactly 'milk fiber' is.

After doing some research, I learned a few interesting things about milk fiber. Milk yarn is made from milk protein fibers. You can read more about how milk fibers are derived from milk here. This website also claims that since milk fiber contains amino acids, it makes the fiber antifungal and antibacterial. Huh...who knew?

Anyway, back to the knitting.

Joe had purchased 5 balls of Ella Rae Latte in a beautiful orangish/pinkish/reddish color. Whatever color you call it, it seems to match well with my new mittens and I decided to make a complementary hat and cowl.

I had an idea in mind of what I wanted, but I couldn't really find a pattern to my exact specifications, so instead, I just put yarn on needles and started knitting. Result: slouchy hat and infinity cowl combo. I'm sure I will be living in these over the next couple months. Any selfish knitting for you?