Tag Archives: Free knitting pattern

Knitting Blog? Well, yes

Based on the last month, casual droppers-by would be excused for having no idea that this was nominally a knitting blog.  (Or an active blog at all — thanks to my friends who checked up on me!  Yes, all is well.)

You’d think it was all flowers and Saturday Skies, like this Saturday Sky from two weeks ago a month ago,  from the top of the Washington Monument.


(click to embiggen if you wish!)

But I have been knitting, truly!  Just traveling and working a lot also, which leaves little time to blog about it.

I’m not going to catch up with all the knitting I’ve done all at once, but let me show you today what I actually finished while on the Washington DC 5th grade trip.  While on the bus, even! For my younger daughter, The Gothlet, who is 11:

Gothlet Gauntlets!

Even though it wasn’t cold when I finished weaving in the last end and gave them to her, the gauntlets were immediately put on.  I think she liked them….!

These were made from amazing GothSocks self-striping yarn from Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs (etsy shop at the link; there’s an update next week!).  This colorway was  ‘Little Goth Girl’, and how perfect for my Gothlet?  As I told you before, I bought this at Madrona, from the dyer, who was very kind in skeining up some more yarn she had at home, and bringing it in for me to choose from  (which I happily did).  As I may have mentioned before, I designed these in such a way that they will fit my daughter now (she’s skinny, being a picky eater) and in the future (she’s shooting up like the proverbial weed).

I did this by shaping the arm part of the gauntlet, to hug the arm, but also by putting in ribbing on the undersurface to draw the gauntlet to the arm now, and also in the future.  I used k2 p2 ribbing, which is the most resilient I know. Below is the back side and the front, when I had just started the hand portion with thumb gusset.

Gothlet-Gauntlets-rear-view Gothlet-Gauntlets-march-8


Here I am above, demonstrating that the gauntlet fits an adult!  And I am of average height and at least average weight, though perhaps my wrists are a bit on the bony side.

Back to the happy Gothlet.

I’ll write this up formally when I can, but in the meantime, I wanted to give a quick and dirty version for anyone who might want to knit something similar, because it really did work out well.

First of all, I knit this a touch loosely at least on the hand: I usually knit socks on 0s, sometimes 1s for thicker fingering weight.  I knit these mitts for a skinny 11-year-old on US size 1s (2.25 mm) for the ribbing, and size “1.5”s (2.5 mm) for the arm, then size US size 2s (size 2.75 mm) for the main part of the hand (because I didn’t put any ribbing on the palm, reasoning that it would bug me a bit to have that texture there, but still wanted this to fit in the future when she’s bigger; and for the looks part of the gauntlet, a little looser there was OK).

If I were knitting this for me, I’d probably go with 2s all the way. The ribbing makes it fit snugly, but I’d rather have the knitting flexible more than dense, on these, which are not by their very nature designed for wearing outdoors in a midwestern January, for example.

If you needed to fit this to a different size arm, I’d suggest looking at your gauge (mine was 7 stitches/inch on 2s) and the measurement of the forearm at its widest, and casting on stitches in a multiple of 4 to equal that measurement or slightly less.  But I would still decrease to the same number of stitches for the hand (48) because that fits pretty much anyone of adult or near-adult size.

One last note:  In this self-striping yarn, I took a trick from Meg Swansen, and every time the color changed in the ribbing, I KNIT every stitch of the first row of different color instead of knitting in pattern.  This makes the stripes very crisp, without the ‘ticking’ effect in the purl stitches.  It’s a cool trick!  Not essential, but I like it.

Without further ado, here’s the quick and dirty directions for the Gothlet Gauntlets:

Cast on 64 stitches loosely (I used the German Twisted Cast-on).  Consider using 1-2 sizes bigger needles than you might normally use for socks, for ‘give’ and comfort (you don’t need hard wear here, and you want flexibility in the upper arm).  Use method of choice (two circs, dpns, Magic Loop).

Knit 12 rows in k2 p2 ribbing.

Mark beginning of row with stitch marker.  Knit 38 then place stitch marker, k1, [p2, k2] four times, p2, k1, place marker, knit 6.

Knit approximately 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in pattern as established (knit to marker, k1, [p2, k2] four times, p2, k1, slip marker, knit to end of row).

Begin decreases: Knit to two stitches before marker.  SSK (slip as if to knit, slip as if to knit, knit two slipped stitches together).  Slip marker.  Work stitches between markers in rib pattern as established. K2tog (knit two together).  Knit to end of row.

Knit next 7 rows in pattern as established (knit to marker, work in rib pattern between markers, knit to end of row).

Decrease as above on 8th row.

Continue decreasing every 8th row until you have decreased 8 times, down to a total of 48 stitches.  You will have had to shift stitches on your needles to do the last few decreases, unless you Magic Loop, possibly.  This is all right!

Knit in pattern as established until gauntlet is desired length to wrist. Then knit a row in all stockinette (knit every stitch), removing markers as you come to them, and dividing the stitches evenly between  needles (24 stitches front and back, with ribbing centered on the back: 3 knit stitches, 18 stitches of p2 k2 ribbing, 3 knit stitches).

NOW: (here’s where it gets a bit sketchier)

Follow the directions for the Fingerless Piano Mitts and Mini-Mitts on this blog, but plug in the correct numbers for this size:

starting with 48 stitches instead of 40.

For RIGHT gauntlet, knit 28, place marker for thumb gusset, k4, place marker, knit to end of round (16 st).  Then follow instructions until dividing stitches for thumb gusset.  For LEFT gauntlet, knit 40, place marker, knit 4, place marker, knit to end of row (4 st).  Then follow instructions until dividing stitches for thumb gusset.  At end of increases, you will have 64 stitches (again!) on the needles.  You may need to knit more plain rounds to make the gauntlet the correct length to reach to the crotch of the thumb.

At thumb gusset, after putting the thumb gusset stitches on a holder of spare yarn, and after casting on 4 stitches, you will have 52 stitches total.  The rest is as written.  Feel free to adjust the length of the stockinette and ribbing to desired length.  The thumb instructions are also as written.

*someday I’ll get this written up all formal-like.  But I thought I’d get the bare bones version out there, because I’ve been asked!

Here, in other news:  Saturday Skies of the last month, since DC.




More knitting, more flowers, more Saturday Skies to come!

We Three, We’re Not A Crowd


Brownie points if you remember the name of/tune to that old song!

“We three” are three little preemie hats, for Jeanne and Chelle’s 4th Annual k3tog Preemie Hat Knitting Extravaganza!

The one in the middle is not quite as pointy as it looks there; see?


(That would be the green-eyed stare of death, there. No animals were harmed in the making of this photo, just seriously ticked off.)

And I have a fourth little hat on the needles. (Heavens, these go fast after this: we-call-them-pirates-hat-done.jpg

But I’ll show and tell you more of that later. There’s a story. There’s always a story with me….)

Anyway, back to the preemie hats! Check out the link above; the goal is a total of 150 preemie hats knit in January, which is so do-able, you guys! There’s even a contest. And there’s a basic preemie hat pattern here, courtesy of Chelle, or you can Google a gazillion.

Or here is my little hat pattern, finally typed up, which I find doesn’t fall off easily, and also grows with the little squirts (their heads grow Really Fast!). It’s what I used for the above hats. The pattern is mom- and baby-tested and approved! One friend’s baby would only wear this hat; or at least, it’s the only one that didn’t fall over his face and make him cry. Flip the brim up when first wearing, hat-with-brim-folded-up.jpg then down brim-folded-down.jpg as the baby grows. Knitting at a slightly looser gauge makes for maximum growability (unless you’re making an outdoors winter baby hat, which needs to be denser).

The above-pictured hat is in yet another version of lovely Twisted yarn. This is Meg’s Kabam yarn, a superwash merino/bamboo/nylon blend. At first glance, I preferred the more saturated colors of her other yarns; this one is softer, more heathered, a little more lustrous (though not shiny like Tencel). But, oh, is it ever nice to work with! Not splitty, very soft, and it makes a wonderful baby hat. And I’m liking the softer colors now.  Definitely some socks are going to happen from this yarn in the future. The other two hats are in a nice DK-to-worsted-weight acrylic from Moda Dea.

So — go forth and knit a preemie hat, or two, or five, or more! Talk about a quick and satisfying knit, which also helps the tiniest new little members of our world. Then either send them to Jeanne or Chelle sometime this month, or donate them to your Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of choice (either works by them — just let them know if you donate locally, and you’ll count towards the total hat #, and qualify for contest prizes!). Have fun!

Recipe for Wedding Pi


(I couldn’t resist; this photo looks like a slice of pie!)

Well, this post is more about coming up with the ‘recipe’, followed by the ‘big picture’ version of the pattern. I suppose I’d better write down what I did while I still sort of remember. . . .

If there is interest, I will write up the Wedding Pi pattern with charts and complete instructions after the holidays (it’ll take some time to format the charts, and I need to reknit the center to figure out for sure how I did it). Thanks, Lorette, for paying me the compliment of saying you’d pay for it! I’d probably set it up with a link for a voluntary, optional donation to charity, though. So, y’all, let me know in the comments if you would be interested in the whole kit and caboodle (after you read the CliffsNotes version below).


The basic outlines for Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Pi Shawl are in abbreviated form in her Knitter’s Workshop and written out in more detail with a specific pattern (see Wendy’s knitted example) in Knitter’s Almanac. The basic idea is mathematically elegant. (Here’s some interesting musing on the pattern construction.) But in a nutshell, you start at the center with a circular cast-on, then increase by doubling the stitch count at increasing intervals; in this case, increasing by doing a row of yarnovers (without corresponding decreases).

I’ve wanted to knit a Pi shawl for some time, and my friend’s wedding was the perfect reason. But I wanted to personalize the shawl (and keep it interesting). So the part that took the longest (other than playing with the yarn) was designing it by selecting the lace patterns I was going to put in between the increase rows. Though I pulled out every stitch dictionary and lace knitting book I had (well into the double digits, certainly), it so happened that when all was said and done, every stitch pattern I used (other than the small part I unvented) came from this:


A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, by Barbara Walker, published by Schoolhouse Press. It can be ordered directly from Meg Swansen & helpers at Schoolhouse Press, here in my adoptive home state, or through many other venues. If you don’t have them, I highly recommend the Walker Treasuries. I find myself using the 1st and 2nd most often, but right now am knitting a scarf incorporating a pattern from the 3rd Treasury (charted patterns, a boon!). The 4th is a wonderful smorgasbord of all sorts of different patterns, tips, musings — rather different from the other 3. Check them out!

So I leafed through my books looking for patterns that had a stitch count that could fit approximately within the stitch numbers of the rounds and the row numbers as well; that harmonized well with each other but didn’t look too similar; that had some significance to me or the bride; and, of course, I had to like them! Having a plain ‘purl back’ row was a bonus tiebreaker, as I was converting these patterns from written instructions to a chart knitted in the round, and a plain round every other row simplified life considerably.

Then — because this was a circle shawl which would be seen from all directions, but the patterns would be largely upside down — I went back through the books Upside Down. Very interesting!

To help me decide, especially as far as harmonizing patterns, I photocopied all the patterns I was considering and played with them.



Then I turned them upside down. virtual-swatches-upside-down.jpg

After making final decisions, I converted the written directions into charts. For one pattern that was confusing to convert to a chart due to changing stitch counts and shifting starting points and decreases, I even <gasp!> swatched with worsted weight!

swatch.jpg On straight needles! needle-details.jpg What is the world coming to? Heavens to Betsy!

Then (finally!) I started knitting.

But I didn’t like the first center I made. shawl-mark-i.jpg The pattern repeats were too shallow to look like anything much.

So I frogged it and started again with something I made up. shawl-as-dreamcatcher.jpg

(I will have to knit the center again to figure out what I did; I wasn’t anticipating people asking for the pattern, nor was I planning to knit this particular pattern exactly again! I do need to get in the habit of jotting notes down when I do things like this. I’m knitting a scarf I’m designing right now, which will have two halves united by grafting, so it was essential to keep track as I did the first half so I could reproduce it exactly. Thus, I actually did take notes the second time — after I frogged the first iteration.)

I used a circular cast-on somewhat different from Emily Ocker’s circular cast-on, which was used by EZ. Emily Ocker’s requires a crochet hook and makes a little rosette bump in the middle. ‘Sokay, but there’s one that’s bumpless. Here’s a very detailed exposition from the Techknitter; it was almost a little too detailed for my simple-minded brain, and it took a minute for me to figure out that the needle motion was identical to a provisional cast-on many of you have probably used, called invisible cast-on (or the Twisty-Wrap by Meg Swansen); Cat Bordhi used this in her earlier books, before the last. Here are photos and a nice explanation from Eunny Jang’s old blog (scroll down to the bottom of the post).
I discovered by necessity that when one decides to frog and restart with this circular cast-on, but one is not at home with all one’s stuff including dpn’s — that the oxymoronic Jumbo Chibi works very well to cast on with!

For the early rounds, though I used two circs as is my wont, I think next time I’d use dpns, as with the yarnovers and laciness, I couldn’t help but get wider yarnovers at the two transition points. Granted, it was better after blocking, but it offended me.

So once I got the shawl onto one circular needle, it was just knit, knit, knit, and knit some more. Until a few weeks later, it looked like this, then this! Look at this picture, half-a-shawl.jpg (click for big) and you can see the yarnover increase rows pretty clearly.

I used laceweight yarn (Cherry Tree Hill Suri Laceweight alpaca) and size 4 needles; two circs initially, then a 16″ KnitPicks Harmony circular needle, then 24″ and 32″ Addi Lace Needles. I’m not sure of the yardage, unfortunately; I’d guess about 1200 yards. (The yarn was mill ends, so a little hard to tell.) I guess I’ll have to knit it again to check! 😉

So here (FINALLY! you all are thinking!) is the quick and dirty version:

Cathy-Cate’s Wedding Pi

  • Cast on 9 stitches with the circular cast-on method (look at Eunny’s demo for an odd # of stitches; the Techknitter’s tutorial shows the technique for an even #, though she explains at the end how to do odd also).
  • Knit one row.
  • *k1, yo* around for one round. 18 stitches.
  • K 3 rounds (I think I did *yo, K2 tog* around in the middle row, not sure, but knitting plain will work well too).
  • *K1, yo* around for one round. 36 stitches.
  • k 6 rounds (again, I did something slightly fancier, which I don’t want to write down wrongly. I’ll figure it out and put it in when time allows).
  • *K1, yo* around for one round. 72 stitches.
  • K 1 round.
  • Snowflake Eyelet, 2nd Treasury of Knitting Stitches (BWT2), page 248, for one pattern repeat (12 rounds).
  • *K1, yo* around for one round. 144 stitches.
  • K 2 rounds.
  • Little Arrow Lace, BWT2, page 274, for two repeats (20 rounds total).
  • K 2 rounds.
  • *K1, yo* around for one round. 288 stitches (?).
  • K 1 round, increasing 12 stitches roughly evenly spaced to 300 stitches total.
  • Candle of Glory, BWT2, page 256, for two vertical repeats (48 rounds).
  • K 1 round.
  • *K1, yo* around for one round. 600 stitches.
  • K1 round, increasing 12 stitches roughly evenly spaced, for 612 stitches total.
  • Bell Lace, BWT2, page 291, for 56 rounds, two vertical repeats.** I put beads in the last repeat.
  • K2 rounds. Increase four stitches in last round somewhat evenly. Break yarn, leaving a long tail and leaving shawl on needles.
  • Provisionally cast on 13 stitches and start Wave Edging (BWT2, page 367), purling the last stitch of each row together with one shawl stitch for a knitted-on bind-off — flexible and pretty. I put one bead in each pattern repeat. 88 repeats, more rows than you probably care to know about. (1232 to be exact. No, I didn’t think you wanted to know that.) Weave edging together when all shawl rows are cast off.

**Note: my friend is not tall, and time was also a bit of a factor. If I were making this for me, who is of average height and likes a longer shawl, I would probably consider 3 or 3 1/2 vertical repeats, 3 1/2 repeats giving you the full # of 96 rounds in the mathematical progression. However, if you go beyond 3 1/2 repeats, you would need to put in another increase row to keep the shawl circular (thereby creating an unholy number of stitches in a round, also); or alternatively you would need to accept that the shawl won’t be circular, but more bell-shaped at the bottom. This is fine for fit, in fact some may prefer it, but will complicate blocking. What I would do if I wanted to enlarge the shawl would probably be to put on a wider edging, as the edging has a lot of ease.

As knit, and after blocking the h*ll out of it (well, my friend *is* a pastor, I didn’t want any h*ll left in it! and I refrained from swearing while knitting it too!): final dimensions were 57″ (145 cm) across. A general rule of thumb for a nice full-sized shawl is “wingtip to wingtip” (fingertip to fingertip with arms outstretched); my friend is taller than 57 inches (4 foot 9 inches), believe me! This comes to the wrist when she wears it folded in half; but the shawl fits with more fullness and shows off the pattern more when worn as in the photo, shawl-back.jpg with perhaps a quarter of it folded back across the neck/upper back. It stays put reasonably well in this configuration, given the light weight, even without pinning. (There’s a great little pictorial about how to wear different-shaped shawls in various ways in “Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls” by Martha Waterman, BTW.)

  • So the patterns I ended up with were:
  • Snowflake Eyelet
  • Small Arrow Lace
  • Candle of Glory
  • Bell Lace
  • Wave Edging

The shawl and its patterns therefore incorporated:

  • The seasons of the earth (winter snowflakes, spring and summer flowers, autumnal yarn) and also the seasons of life;
  • The four elements (flowers arising from earth, arrows through air, fire colors and Candle flames, waves of water);
  • A number of references to weddings and love (wedding Bells, the Candles (which also, upside down, look exactly like hearts surrounded by a glow), the Arrow Lace which I suppose could be Cupid’s Arrows, but upside down reminded me of steeples and of praying hands;
  • And surrounding and enfolding it all, the wave edging; emblematic to me of time and of love, which are both ever-changing but continuous, without end, carrying us on our journey.

(And you thought I just picked those patterns out randomly.)

Mini-Mitts and Piano Mitts pattern!

Plain and slightly fancy fingerless gloves, of amazingly soft and warm alpaca/merino/cashmere yarn (elann.com Baby Cashmere).

They look better on:

I’m providing the pattern for free, below. (Sorry for the delay; I went through a fair amount of gymnastics to make a .pdf file, and now I can’t get it uploaded. So please do that copy and paste thing if you like the pattern).

But I have a request. If you would, please consider, in exchange, making a donation to the Red Scarf Project. The Orphan Foundation of America does wonderful things for young men and women, who also are accomplishing wonderful things, with very little support. A dollar or three can make a difference in someone’s life. Here’s Norma’s (of Now Norma Knits) main blog and Red Scarf Project blog, which have buttons to donate directly. And if you e-mail Norma to let her know you donated, she’s having prize drawings here and there! Talk about a win-win situation! Of course, if you’d like to knit a beautiful Red Scarf for the project, here’s the information you need for that (only 3 more weeks to do so!).

Thanks for thinking about it, and enjoy the pattern!


Fingerless Piano Mitts




One size fits almost all.

Yarn requirements:

Piano Mitts: 1-2 skeins elann.com Baby Cashmere (60% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, 10% cashmere; 25g skein, 109 yds/100 m)

Mini-Mitts: 1 skein elann.com Baby Cashmere

Elann.com Baby Silk (80% alpaca, 20% silk) or any soft and warm fingering weight yarn may be substituted. Most sock yarn comes in 50g or 100g skeins, so will make more than one pair.

Gauge: 28 stitches per 4 inches (10 cm). These are designed more for indoor wear, so the gauge is looser than one might otherwise knit socks. Also, yarn that is a little too fragile for hard wear as a sock will work well in this project.

Needles: I used size 2 (3 mm) needles, but I am a loose knitter. Others might use size 3 (3.25 mm) to get gauge. You may use two circular needles, a set of double pointed needles, or the Magic Loop method at your discretion. You may wish to use one size smaller needles on the ribbing.

Accessories: 2 or 3 stitch markers.

Pattern notes: The Mini-Mitts take exactly one 25g skein of Baby Cashmere (as in, you will probably need to unravel your swatch if you make one). The Piano Mitts as knitted take barely over one 25g skein; perhaps just one if you make the cuff short. Three skeins will make two pair of mitts with plenty left over. It would be easy and fun to dress up the backs of the gloves with a lace motif or a cable. If so, remember that the pattern will look best not centered, but placed a few stitches to one side of what seems to be center, since the thumb is more towards the palm. Also remember to do a mirror-image for the second one, since the motif will make them asymmetric, left and right hands. Otherwise, they are completely symmetric as written.

You may use the increase of your preference for the thumb gusset. I would suggest paired lifted increases (also called Make 1 Right, and Make 1 Left), see tutorial here:


Piano Mitts and Mini-Mitts

Cast on very loosely 40 stitches. Divide as desired among needles, and join to work in the round, being careful as always not to twist. Place marker to mark beginning of round, if desired, or beginning of round may be between two needles.


For Piano Mitts:

Round 1: Purl.

Round 2: Knit.

Round 3: [k2 tog, yo] to end of round.

Round 4: Knit.

Round 5: Purl.

Round 6 and following: [K2, P2} to end of round.

For Mini-Mitts: Round 1 and following: [K2, P2] to end of round.

For both: Continue in K2 P2 ribbing for 2 – 2 ½ inches (5 – 7 cm) or desired length.

Then you will be changing to stockinette (knit every round) for the Palm.

Round 1: K1, place marker, knit to one stitch before end of round, place marker. You may remove beginning of round marker if you wish.

Rounds 2 & 3: Knit.

Round 4: K to first marker, increase one before marker, knit to second marker, increase one after marker, knit to end of round. (Increase round.)

Repeat rounds 2-4 six more times. You will have 54 stitches total on the needles, and you will have 16 stitches between the two markers.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 (knit).

Now, knit a final increase round as follows: K to first marker, slip the marker and increase one AFTER marker. (If you are using the lifted increase, K1 first and then increase.) K to second marker, increase BEFORE marker (again, if using lifted increase, increase before the last stitch before marker). Knit to end of round. 56 stitches on the needles.

Repeat rounds 2 & 3 (knit).  [As written, the glove really does fit almost all, but for an unusually long or wide hand, you could knit more rounds at the point, until the glove just reaches the ‘crotch’ of the thumb.]

Hold Stitches for Thumb: On next round, k to 2nd marker and remove marker. Slip next 16 stitches to waste yarn to hold for thumb (8 between 2nd marker and end of round, and the following 8 stitches between end of round and 1st marker). Cast on 4 stitches, i.e. with overhand loop method, onto right-hand needle, then join to rest of live stitches and continue knitting in stockinette for the hand stitches (total of 44 stitches on the needles).

Top of Hand: Knit approximately ¾ inch (1.5 to 2 cm) in stockinette (knit every round), then knit 6 rows K2 P2 ribbing. Bind off VERY LOOSELY in ribbing pattern. (Could also use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind-off.)

Return to Thumb Stitches and place 16 held stitches on your needles, dividing as desired. Join in yarn, leaving a long tail, and knit these stitches. Pick up and knit 1 stitch into the small gap between the held stitches and the 4 cast-on stitches (try knitting into the back of the stitch you pick up). Pick up and knit the 4 cast-on stitches. Pick up and knit 1 stitch into the gap between the cast-on stitches and the held stitches on the needle. Join in the round (26 stitches on the needles).

Knit one round until you reach the first picked-up stitch. Knit 2 tog. Knit 4. Knit 2 tog (or SSK). (24 stitches.)

Knit 1 round.

Change to K2P2 ribbing for 6 rows. Bind off VERY LOOSELY in pattern.


Weave in ends, using the long tail at the thumb gusset to neaten up this area as needed.
Pattern copyright 2007 Catherine Ryan, all rights reserved. Permission granted for personal use.

Proof that one size fits almost all, almost miraculously:

9-year-old hand  * * *  Guy hand

Same glove on everyone, I promise!