Planetarium

This hat is a free pattern in the most recent Knitty online magazine. I thought it was so pretty that it jumped right onto my needles!

Planetarium designed by Cissy Yao and knit by Deborah Cooke in KnitPicks Chroma

I folded it in quarters for this picture.

The pattern is called Planetarium (that’s the Ravelry link – here’s the Knitty link) and it’s knit in two colors of a fingering yarn. I used KnitPicks Chroma for mine, because I had it in the stash. The colourways are Black and GoGo Boots, which is a gradient yarn. it’s a very clear pattern and an easy knit IMO.

I made a couple of changes to the pattern. I knit it exactly as written the first time, but the mister doesn’t like slouchy hats so much. My gauge was also a bit tight. Rather than changing needles, I knit a larger size (actually one repeat larger than the largest size) and I left out one of the three star bands to make the hat shorter. It fits more like a watchcap, which makes him happy.

As much as I like the colours, I think the yarn is going to pill – it’s a single ply, loosely spun. If I make a second one for myself, I’ll use a yarn with more of a twist, maybe Koigu KPPPM. Hmm. Time to check the stash!

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Knitting Berroco Minutia

Berroco has a tradition of publishing patterns for miniature knitted sweater ornaments. Every year, I think I’m going to knit a bunch of them and make a garland of mini-sweaters as a Christmas decoration. This was the first year I actually cast on one of them. Here’s what happened.

Fievel is one of the 2022 Minutia designs from Berroco. (Here’s the Ravelry link and here’s the Berroco link. This is a free download in both places.) It’s supposed to be knit in a DK weight yarn on 4.5mm needles, but I decided to make mine smaller. Here it is in MadTosh Merino Light in Cardinal, knit on 2.5mm needles:

Fievel pattern from Berroco knit in MadTosh Merino Light by Deborah Cooke

There’s a small difference – I don’t have a single knit stitch following the raglan line on mine. Maybe that stitch is missing from the instructions. (?) The result is quite cute, though.

I was thinking about the size of this little sweater and then this happened:

Monster High doll with Fievel miniature sweater knit by Deborah Cooke.
Fievel, a free pattern from Berocco, modified for Monster High doll by Deborah Cooke, knit in Malabrigo Sock

She’s right. It would fit her – if she could get it on. And so, I revised the instructions: as instructed, you start knitting at the back left shoulder and work in the round. There’s not an opening, just an end to sew in. So, I moved the starting point to the center back and added a stitch so there’s a wee bit of overlap. I worked flat until the work was divided for the sleeves, then continued in the round. I had to make the sleeves longer (fortunately, you can take off the hands of MH dolls to get a sweater on).

Here’s Frankie at right with her holiday sweater, a giftie from me. This one is Malabrigo Sock in Rayon Vert, knit on those 2.5mm needles.

Oddly, she doesn’t look much happier.

You can guess what happened next: Babs wanted one, too.

Fievel, a free pattern from Berocco, modified for Barbie by Deborah Cooke, knit in Rowan Kidsilk Aura

I used those same directions with the split at the center back but used a thicker yarn – this is Kidsilk Aura knit on 4.0mm needles. I’d been envisioning a chartreuse fluffy sweater for B with this yarn, as a good match with this fakey leather skirt. I had to frog this one back a couple of times, given B’s curves – I kept ending up with too much sweater in the back.

The final result has decreases on the back after the work is split for the body and arms, making the back narrower. It’s also shorter, more of a cropped sweater that ends at the waist. It opens all the way down the back – I’d thought of joining it, but there was all that bulk and I went with simple. There are snaps on the back and little non-functioning buttons.

If I knit it again (ha!) I’d change the stitch distribution so there were more stitches on the front than the back. It is a bit stretched over her bust, and that’s where the extra bulk is in the back. At least two stitches should move, maybe four. The decreases in the back might not be necessary then.

Here are the three versions.

Fievel pattern from Berroco plus two variations sized for dolls knit by Deborah Cooke

Phew. Do I dare to cast on another mini-sweater Christmas ornament?

Salley Mavor

It’s Miniature Monday and time to share some inspiration. Today, we’ll have a peek at the work of artist Salley Mavor.

I first learned about Salley when a friend shared the video of her work creating the illustrations for the children’s book My Bed. They’re not really illustrations – they’re fibre art sculptures which were photographed for the book.

Here’s that video, which also talks about her process.

On Salley’s website, you can check out a lot of her work, along with links to videos. My favorite tab is Polly Doll, who has been photographed in many places. Here she is in Ireland, in this pic from Salley’s website. (If you click on it, you’ll be taken to the Polly Doll tab.) Look at that fabulous little sweater!

Polly Doll in Ireland Β©Salley Mavor

Salley also has a book, Felt Wee Folk, about creating your own miniature figures. You can probably guess that I’ve ordered a copy. πŸ™‚ Here’s the info about it on her website.

Here’s Salley’s website, Wee Folk Studio, where you’ll find lots of other inspiration.

Knitting for Blythe

Here’s another project I was working on in December but couldn’t show you because it was a gift. My friend collects dolls (like me) and her favorite is her Blythe doll with purple hair. I don’t have a Blythe doll – I’m not even sure I’ve seen one in real life – so it always feels risky to make for her, but I do it anyway. πŸ™‚ Here’s last year’s gift to my friend and her Blythe.

Clothes knit for Blythe doll by Deborah Cooke, Christmas 2022

Many of these knitting patterns are from the same designer, whose work is just so clever and cute. Her name is Jane Pierrepont and she publishes her patterns as Polly. Here’s her Ravelry profile. It looks like her website is gone. 😦

The gold and brown dress is her Blythe Lacey Mini Dress which is a free pattern on Ravelry. I knit this one in MadTosh Merino Light in the colourway Vanilla Bean. The dress is knit flat and then seamed, and knit from the top down. I joined mine in the round when the lace skirt started. I also mucked up the lace pattern (It was written for knitting flat and I was knitting in the round) so substituted a traditional one, Vertical Lace Trellis instead. In hindsight, it wouldn’t be that big of a change.

R1 as instructed.
R2: P1, *P2tog, YO and repeat from * to end.
R3: Knit
R4: Purl

Here’s the back of the dress. I put snaps to close the back, then added four teeny buttons to the right side which aren’t functional.

Blythe Lacey Dress designed by Polly knit by Deborah Cooke in MadTosh Merino Light

Maybe I’ll make another with the right lace stitch!

The bolero is another Polly pattern, Blythe Shrug, also a free Ravelry download. (and a pattern I previously modified to fit Barbie.) This one is knit in a bit of leftover Koigu KPPPM. I made a little corsage by crocheting a daisy of KSH and adding some beads to the centre of it. The bag is one of my own market bags, which work for all 1/6 dolls.

The purple sleeveless dress and striped fuzzy top are from the same Polly pattern, which is not free (but is totally worth buying.) It’s called Cozy Comforts and includes the Pleated Pinafore and the Mohair Sweater. I made the dress in Rowan Felted Tweed since it called for a DK weight. I think a slightly lighter DK would have worked a little better – this one is a bit stiff. The top is knit in two colours of Sugar Bush Drizzle – that’s a Ravelry link, since Drizzle has been discontinued. I made mine striped, using two colours. Sugar Bush Drizzle is similar to Rowan Kidsilk Haze, specified in the pattern. These pieces took 13g of Felted Tweed and 3g (total) of Drizzle.

Here are the backs so you can see the button closures. I used KSH for the loops on both, since it’s a strong thread – Felted Tweed isn’t very strong and I was afraid it would snap with use.

Cozy Comforts dress and top for Blythe knit by Deborah Cooke in Rowan Felted Tweed and Sugar Bush Drizzle

Next up, Blythe needed several coordinating accessories. The messenger bag is one I’ve knit before. The pattern was a free download at stickatillbarbie.se , a website of free knitting patterns for dolls which is no longer hosted. I think you can find the patterns archived on the Wayback Machine, but here’s the Ravelry link for this one. I used up some sock yarn for this bag and modified the flap a bit to add a buckle. Here’s my original knit of this pattern, which is knit following the directions. The pattern calls for a crocheted strap, but I knit mine instead: c/o 50 stitches. K2 rows, P 1row, K2 rows, cast off purlwise.

fingerless gloves for Blythe knit by Deborah Cooke in Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Malabrigo Lace.

The necklace is one of the ones I threaded for my dolls on stretch elastic. There’s a post about them here.

And finally, fingerless gloves with teeny tiny button bands. The pattern is a free Ravelry download, and requires small needles. I knit mine on 1.6mm DPNs in Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Blackcurrant, which meant I had to knit them using the magnifying glass on my desk.

I also thought the flap looked backwards on the original, so I moved the thumb hole. The instructions for the change are on my Ravelry project page. There actually are little button holes on the flaps so the buttons really work.

And then I saw this 1/6 scale Barbie Dreamhouse that made me laugh – so Blythe has this playset too.

That’s it for Blythe this year! What do you think? Do you knit for Blythe or any other 1/6 scale dolls?

Make Mine Black

Here’s a sweater I started a while ago and shoved away. I dug it out again recently and got back to work. What made me put it away? The yarn is black and it’s Rowan Kidsilk Haze – and I knit at night while watching TV. Fortunately, it’s in stockinette and I was able to find my rhythm this time.

Here’s the current state of my progress on the back of the sweater:

Hebrides in black Kidsilk Haze, knit by Deborah Cooke

You can see that it’s crumpled where it was shoved in the bag. What I’ve knit recently is smoother. The pattern is Hebrides, which was a free pattern from Rowan by Lisa Richardson – although it was designed for Kidsilk Haze Stripe. I knit it twice in that yarn:

Hebrides by Lisa Richardson knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze Stripe by Deborah Cooke
Hebrides by Lisa Richardson knit in Kidsilk Haze Stripe by Deborah Cooke

It’s just a basic sweater with long sleeves and a round neck. I wear these cardigans all the time, especially the purple and green one. The KSH is awesome, too – the sweater is light (it weighs less than 150g) and I especially loved it for travel. You can scrunch it into any bag then pull it out whenever you need it.

I’ve needed a plain black cardigan for a long time and had the black KSH in my stash, so a match was made. Sometimes Ravelry is a bit scary – I evidently cast on the back of this sweater in July 2016. (!!) Well, I’ll get it done by next July. I remember that the back was the trudge and the project picked up speed after that. Maybe not the best choice of a night knitting project in the winter, but knitting KSH in the summer heat didn’t work out either.

I’ll keep on keeping on with this one, but will probably sneak some smaller projects into the queue in between.

The Nutshell Studies

I’ve been discovering a lot of interesting miniatures. so will start sharing them on Miniature Mondays. These displays are creative and inspiring – and sometimes surprising.

The Nutshell Studies were created by Frances Glessner Lee in the 1940’s. They’re dioramas of crime scenes, intended to help train detectives to solve homicides. Lee (1878-1962) was America’s first female police captain and a pioneer in developing forensic sciences. She worked with the Department of Legal Sciences at Harvard and created these miniatures to teach police investigators what to look for at a crime scene.

The Red Room Nutshell Study by Frances Glessner Lee

Here’s an article about an exhibit of the 19 dioramas at the Smithsonian a few years ago. The image above is from that article and clicking on it will take you there, too.

This article at the Smithsonian magazine has a slide show of images and more information about Lee (who sounds like a very interesting woman.)

Here’s the Wiki.

Pantone Hats

Things have been quiet here, mostly because I’ve been writing like mad lately. I did NaNoWriMo in November, then was finishing up the book that publishes next week – it was almost twice as long as I’d expected, so getting it done was a bit of a crush.

I have also been knitting though. πŸ™‚

First, I have three hats to show you.

Three hats in Caron X Pantone knit by Deborah Cooke

I found a package of three Pantone X Caron braids in the cutout bin at Spinrite a few years ago. (That’s a Ravelry link because these braids are discontinued and no longer on the Yarnspirations site.) This colourway is called Morning Blues. I think they might have been a little off-weight in certain colours – which would explain them being discounted – as I had some fiddling to do to get a result I liked.

First Snow hat knit in Caron Pantone X by Deborah Cooke

The middle one is that old fave hat pattern of mine, First Snow (which is no longer available.) It has a faux-fur pompom. I wasn’t fussy about where the colours changed on that one, just started the next colour when I ran out of the one I was using. It took every inch of the braid to finish. I knit two of these before but only managed to photograph one. Here it is.

The other two are knit using the Yarnspirations patter Fair Isle Hat, a free pattern which is designed for this yarn bundle and is still available. It specifies where to change colours and I had to fudge it a couple of times. I still think they came out well, though.

Next time, I’ll show you the cardigan that is challenging my eyesight…

Rainbow Cowl

Last summer, I showed you a cowl that I knit of a self-striping yarn called Lionbrand Scarfie, using the Ups-and-Down Cowl pattern from Yarnspirations. (That’s a Ravelry link.) I liked it but the yarn wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I was shopping. Of course, I found exactly what I’d been looking for after the first one was knitted up.

Here’s my second attempt at this pattern:

This one is knit of Caron Cakes in Rainbow Sprinkles. (That’s another Ravelry link, since MIchaels doesn’t have the yarn on their website anymore.)

I finished it up once at the specified length, but the ribbing wasn’t symmetrical – I wanted it all in the turquoise, framing the other colours in the cable pattern.

Rainbow Cowl, Ups-and-Downs Cowl knit by Deborah Cooke in Caron Cakes Sprinkles

So, I frogged it back and reknit the last bit.

Rainbow Cowl, Ups-and-Downs Cowl knit by Deborah Cooke in Caron Cakes Sprinkles

I didn’t shown it to you sooner because I was waiting on one last toggle – Fabricland had five but I needed six. I bought the sixth when they restocked and now it’s done!

Sewn Socks – and New Knitted Ones

I usually knit socks, but recently someone at my sewing group talked about sewing socks from leftover pieces of jersey knit. I was intrigued and had a look around the internet, then drafted my own pattern. Here’s a pair of my finished sewn socks:

Jersey socks sewn by Deborah Cooke

These are sewn from a Dutch print on cotton jersey that I used for one of my Mirri dresses. It was expensive, so I kept every shred – plus I really like it.

The pattern for these is a tube, pieced from two long rectangles. One has darts for the heel so needs to be cut a bit longer. Originally, I measured the length of my foot for the pattern, but ended up shortening it by about 2″ – because of the stretch of the jersey knit. I first tried these with rounded toes but the fit wasn’t good, so I shaped the toes for left and right socks. Here’s my pattern now:

Pattern for Jersey Socks drafted by Deborah Cooke

It’s 4.25″ wide, with a .25″ seam allowance on each side. I have skinny feet. πŸ™‚ These end just above the ankle and things are getting snug – if I wanted to make taller socks or knee socks, I’d need to widen the pattern and maybe even shape it to fit the calf.

Here are the other two pair I made of scraps:

Jersey socks sewn by Deborah Cooke

They don’t look like much when they’re laid flat, but they are quick to make. I serged the darts, then all around the perimeter. It literally took minutes to make three pair. I just used a zigzag to hem the tops, but could have used the twin needle instead.

They’re more like sock liners to me, but then I tend to wear thick socks when I wear socks. They’d be easy to make to match another garment and would be fun to wear with shoes that will only allow a thin sock. I might also wear them as sock liners this winter. The tan and black ones are made of a sweater knit and they’ll be the warmest of them all.

Have you ever sewn socks?

I also finished kniting a new pair of socks for myself in self-striping yarn.

Socks knit in Online Supersock Stripe by Deborah Cooke

This is Online Supersock 6-fach Stripe Color, which has been well-aged in the stash. I think I bought it originally to make socks for the mister, but he missed out this time. πŸ™‚

Maine Ocean Quilt

It’s been quiet here lately because I’ve been buried in writing and publishing tasks. Last week, though, I took a little fiber break and got this quilt top finished. I quilted it on my Singer 185.

Blue squares pieced and quilted by Deborah Cooke

This one was inspired by a quilt I saw on our road trip to Maine: the cabin where we stayed had a quilt in this pattern on the bed. Theirs was red and white, but I really liked the simple pattern and how effective a design it made. I doodled it down, then came home to sort through my stash. I really like this colour combination. The top has been waiting to be quilted for a while.

Since the colours reminded me of the ocean, I quilted it in waves – they go diagonally across the middle square, then I started to quilt around and around. After finishing the third (outer) square border around the middle, I had to respray the outside border with temporary adhesive – all that wrestling of the fabric had made the layers come apart again. The backing is a printed cotton sateen from my stash, and the border is the same Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass in purple that’s in the quilt.

Here’s a picture of the pieced top in the sunshine:

Maine Ocean quilt by Deborah Cooke

This one was a challenge to quilt on the machine – I think it’s either the maximum size that I can manage or close to it. It’s 72″ by 72″ finished. I have one more that’s about this size (the mermaids) and I’ll probably try to do my Storm at Sea on the machine – it’s a teensy bit bigger. (Ha. No pix of that one. It’s been waiting a looooooooong time to be quilted!) The bigger ones will have to go to the long arm quilter to be finished up.

I also have a lap top pieced in these fabrics which I’ve been handquilting with embroidery floss. It has flannel on the back and is a very cozy piece of work. I’ll try to get that done soon and post a pic.