Banff colourwork hat

Banff colourwork hat

I very rarely am excited by new pattern releases, but recently a rare thing happened. Tin Can Knits released the Banff hat pattern as part of Camp Tolt – and I just had to knit it NOW.

It helped that I already had suitable yarn – Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted – which I have used for colourwork hats before. This was a fun knit and I really love the two colour tree design. I was going camping soon (first time in eight years) and felt like a new hat to wear. I used magic loop as I didn’t have any short circulars in the right size.

I knit the 23″ size for my 23″ head using the recommended needle sizes (4.00mm ribbing and 5.00mm colourwork). It turned out pretty slouchy after blocking, but was quite tight before wet blocking. It fits better with the brim turned over actually, though that’s not how it was designed.

I really enjoyed this knit and my Ravelry page says that I knocked it out in 3-4 days. I love the way the colors work together too. My only criticism of the pattern is that there is one set up crown decrease row in this size that doesn’t line up with the other decreases, but really that’s minor. I love this hat. Perfect for camping in the cool Pacific North West summer.





Colourwork decorations for Christmas


December has been a horrible month. Our family has been struck down with a nasty virus, the kids first, then the adults who have had it particularly badly. It feels like a such a long time since I actually felt well, I’d say coming up to three weeks now. My motivation for creating anything has been low but I have managed to turn out seven of these lovely little Christmas balls while cuddled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a box of tissues.


They are Julekuler by Arne and Carlos, two Norwegian men who were commercial knitwear designers who branched out into hand knitting and have become superstars of the knitting world. I have the hardcover book which is really lovely and full of beautiful color photographs of Christmas in Norway. It is clunkily translated into English as “55 Christmas Balls to Knit”. There’s only 2624 projects for this pattern on Ravelry!


The yarn I used is Knitpicks Palette which is a 4ply/fingering 100% wool yarn especially for colourwork. I used the colors white, serrano (red) and spruce (green) and 2.75mm double point needles. The yarn the designers used was 5ply/sport but I think my balls came out  a nice size.


Clockwise from top right: Greek Cross, Hospitality – room in the heart, Tricolor, Snow Crystal and Hand knit Border. I made these as gifts and I wish I could have made them for more people. I managed to get five made and posted off to Australia and magically they did arrive before Christmas. I was pretty sad to see them go and so made two more for myself to keep! It’s a nice idea knitting the same basic pattern but with different colourwork designs. I felt I had mastered the pattern after the first two or three balls but the different designs kept it interesting. It was pretty challenging in the beginning – very fiddly with only my third time using DPN and second attempt at stranded colourwork. The hanging loops were my first crochet chain. I had intended to try two handed colourwork but I was quite overwhelmed and gave up on that idea.  The rocking horse design was my nemesis. After three unsuccessful attempts at getting it going I cut off the yarn and threw it in the bin. That was rather cleansing.

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Secret Rose (in red and white) and Dacing Around the Tree (in green and white). I found myself drawn to the more traditional Scandinavian designs rather than the animal and figure motifs. The secret rose motif was actually on a pair of tights I bought my daughter from the Scandinavian children wear brand Hanna Andersson.  The three coloured ball required a lot of detangling but the knitting itself was pretty easy.


I’m done with Christmas balls for now but suspect that there might be a few new designs appearing next Christmas on my tree. I do so love these fuzzy little ornaments. Here are some gifted ones in situ on their trees in Australia! Thanks for the photos guys!

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And here are the two I kept on our own tree.


I hope that you all have a lovely Christmas and holiday season, whether you are at the beach, in the snow or in the wet.


My wintry Nymphalidea – finished!

I finally finished my beautiful Nymphalidea scarf/shawl, and I am very pleased with it!

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As you can see there are a few different ways to wear it. Not that I’ll be doing much of that any time soon given the very hot, and now disgustingly humid weather we’ve been having. But it can wait.

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I knit this much larger than the pattern suggested.  I really wanted to get to a third repeat of the blue part of the gradient (my favourite shade in this yarn) but sadly ran out of the plain blue yarn just as the gradient blue was starting to come in.


I really enjoyed knitting this, watching the colour gradient, knitting a loose tension. And I’ve ordered some Knitpicks Chroma in the same colour way but worsted weight to make a matching hat, so sometime soon I’ll have a lovely winter set.


My Ravelry project with all the details is here.

I also finished off this little hat for Julian that I started back in May! Pity it missed the winter.

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The yarn is my own hand dye and I do enjoy the pooling/striping effect that happened in this hat – rather good luck than anything! I think the reason that this project stalled for so long is that I hate circular knitting with magic loop. I am also not fond of double point needles. I only made headway on this when I started knitting in the round with a really short circumference cable so that I could just knit round and round.

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The Ravelry project for this hat is here.

Oslo star beanie!

So I finally finished the Oslo Star Beanie that was my Dad’s birthday present. His birthday fell in late December while we were all at the beach, so I opened up Ravelry and filtered for hats, male or unisex and patterns available online. This is the pattern he chose and the colours he requested.


It was a rather traditional choice I think, but Dad has a traditional blue and white knitted hat that he bought in Scandinavia when he travelled there in his early twenties, so I suspect that inspired his choice.


The yarn is Morris Empire 4ply  which is a really lovely and soft 100% Merino wool, highly twisted. It felt very nice to work with though there were a few obviously joins in the yarn.


I made the shorter 4″ brim and the largest size, 60cm, for my Dad’s 58cm head. It is seen here modelled on my own 57.5cm head and you can see that it is really much too large for a fitted beanie, it really is more like a Tam or slouch hat. I hope Dad is ok with that, as I think he was expected a fitted hat. If he wants a different hat and I get to keep this one I won’t be sad.


This was my very first colour work, knitted in the “pick up one strand, knit it, put it down and pick up the other strand” method. Which was reasonably easy but very slow. I tried holding two yarns in one hand and just couldn’t get the hang of it. And never having had any luck with knitting continental I wasn’t about to try two handed colour work. One new thing at a time!



I had a few issues with the pattern. Firstly I used far more yarn that the pattern stated and had to go out an buy a second ball of the blue yarn which was pretty annoying. Thankfully I was able to purchase the same dye lot. Secondly, in the last 10 rows I think there is some error with where the decreases are placed. If I knit them where written then I ended up with the wrong number of stitches. I knit them where I needed to to get the correct number of stitches. Also I now notice that a few other Ravellers found that the pattern ran large. It is a bit disappointing.


I’m also not sure that there is any way to make the crown sit flat. I haven’t blocked it because I scared it might get even bigger, but I guess it will have to be washed eventually.

All up and am rather proud of this hat. It took quite a lot of time and concentration. Annoyingly I finished it a few days _after_ Dad left for a ski trip in Japan. So the hat is here in sunny Melbourne and Dad is in the snowy Japanese alps! C’est la vie! It will be winter here soon enough.

OMG I’m knitting stranded colourwork!

Yep, I’ve taken the big, deep plunge into Fair Aisle/ stranded colourwork!



And I’m knitting it the most time consuming way possible, by picking up and putting down each strand, each time I knit one, two, three etc stitches. If you think that I’ll be knitting continental on one side and English on the other, you’ve got to be kidding! I have not been knitting very long! I would really like to figure out how to hold both yarns in my right hand and knit but it’s not really working for me. I’ll keep trying because this is seriously slow!

Talking of slow……..



I give you 10cm of 3 by 3 ribbing in 4ply on 2.75mm needles. This took about 15 hours and was very seriously boring. But it’s over now, and I am very proud of my twisted German cast-on, first time ever, and in fact only my second long-tail cast on.

This hat is the Oslo Star Hat. I offered to make my Dad a hat for his birthday, which fell while we were away down at the beach. I pulled up Ravelry and searched for adult male hats patterns, got rid of ones only available in print, and let Dad choose a pattern from the hundreds of patterns that remained. This rather traditional-looking hat was what he chose. It looks rather like a Scandinavian style ski beanie to me, but don’t quote me, I am not well versed on cultural knitting styles. Dad also chose this traditional blue and white colour scheme. I did tell him that I’d never done colourwork before, but I was willing to give it a go!

In other awesome news, look what my amazing aunt knitted for Ruby and Sally!



What a gorgeous skirt! That pattern looks like Swap Skirt for Blythe. It even has a cute little button closure.



(And excuse Sally’s freaky fringe. Althea took to her with a pair of scissors concerned that her hair was in her eyes. Hopefully I’ve convinced her to ask me if she wants to hairstyle her dolls and I will do it, so it will at least be straight.)

Also this cute dress….



which is a very mini dress on it’s own, but looks great as a tunic and matches Ruby’s make up very well. What I lovely gift! and impeccably knitted too. Althea is a very lucky girl.