the knitting

katie quickly busted out the rest of this smoke ring (pattern here), so that she could move beyond garish yellow acrylic and start making herself another shawl with some of the yarn we bought on our trip to the yarn store.

katie's smokering

what i think is fabulous about this smoke ring? it’s for a crossing guard in alaska. garish yellow acrylic? perfect.  the trade was also pretty sweet.   and the woman gave katie two skeins of lovely wool from her family’s flock.  she’s supposedly ‘allergic’ to wool.  all the more for us, i say :)

the beginnings

and me, on this little vacation i’ve been knitting too, even though i’ve 3 designs i need to get cracking on this month. i started the pregnancy sweater in some lovely stuff i inherited from flo.  100% wool from green mountain spinnery.  i already altered the gauge a bit and am planning to put the arm holes up higher after reading finished comments on rav.  we’ll see how much i get done before i have to come back into my real life!

live and in person

smoke ring

one of our regulars at the shop (hi jane!) stopped by the other day to show me this smoke ring made from my pattern. colorwise, it is actually crisp bright red. what was really cool about this whole thing is seeing one of my patterns, knit by someone else who doesn’t know me, in person for the first time.  although jane knows me and my stuff, she didn’t knit this. her cousin (who did not know that jane knows me) made it for her and gave it to her as a gift! how cool is that?!?

p.s. the free pattern links on the side work again – i had no idea they weren’t working! sorry about that.

two old shale smoke rings

and a partridge in a pear tree.

my free pattern

old shale - artsy

and the new one on the front page of knitty.

feather and fan
it is a smoke ring

yarn – weight, make up etc. – needle size, cast on number etc.
picot bind off (very pretty)

and you can see the differences. mine is the super utilitarian cousin – made at a particular time in a particular place for a particular person with a particular yarn. mostly, it’s beautiful because feather and fan is lovely and because of the yarn. yarn and stitch dependent you might say.

the one on knitty is much much more glamorous, light, airy, almost for a 1940s movie star – artsy and beautiful. the beads and the picot edge are perfect little details to make it even more classy.

the ‘ice queen’ is also blocked to flare at the top and the bottom, where as i think that would have looked very silly with mine because of the heaviness of the fabric. (i also intentionally made mine wider so that the person wearing it would look less like a worm – and to note, i don’t think that the knitty one makes people look like worms either. guess it depends how you wear it though, cause on ravelry? there are worms.)

now, let us talk about utility. the ‘ice queen’ – not so good for my mother-in-law in alaska, but perhaps perfect for california where the designer is from. and not so bad for pittsburgh where i am now – it’s a downpour and 53 degrees – not really super warm wool hat weather. different patterns, different spaces.

this exploration has been brought to you by the feather and fan stitch (aka the old shale stitch). go try it out today. if you’re not inspired by smoke rings – and you very well may not be – (confession – i’m mostly not inspired by smoke rings… shhh) the misty garden scarf from scarf style and this the luxe neckwarmer* from knit 2 together use the same pattern (ravelry links). but truth be told, just cast on with something from the above tutorial. easy peasy lace and so pleasurable. here are some of the things that i’ve done with old shale:

feather and fan

and if you’re on ravelry, you can check out the gallery of both smoke rings here:
ice queen
old shale smoke ring
if you’re noting that there are way more ice queens than old shales, mine didn’t get nearly the press :)

*and yes, i’ve made many feather and fan neck warmers and no, i didn’t steal the pattern from this one :)

old shale smoke ring

my vacation is pretty much over – we leave on a plane tomorrow – and indeed, my vacation knitting is also done. i’ve had many of you ask about this yarn, so the specs are below and here’s a free pattern to boot!

katie, my mother-in-law, does not like to wear hats. but unlike my other friends and family who don’t like hats, she lives in alaska and can’t get away with a headband. so, this is the perfect accessory for her. she already has quite the collection (including a white, lace quiviut one!). why does she like them? they don’t squish her hair, can be worn many ways (like this or this), and they are warm and toasty. here’s another pretty shot of the colorway taken during our walk downtown.

as i said before, Katie is my only knitting relative, so when she came to visit ben and i in montana, of course we had to go dig through the bins of mill ends at mountain colors. she bought a whole bunch and hasn’t had the chance to use much of it yet… so i took it upon myself to borrow some from her stash to make her this smoke ring. it is mountain colors bearfoot – 60% superwash wool/25% mohair/15% nylon. we think the colorway is sagebrush and it was probably about 4 oz, because we tend to buy mill end bearfoot in sock-like quantities.

Anyhow, here’s the super simple pattern. Enjoy!

Old Shale Smoke Ring

Yarn: fingering weight wool

Needles: size 7 US, 16 in. circular

Final measurements: 12 in. across and about 14 in. tall

CO 144 stitches
join, being sure not to twist

row 1: purl
row 2: knit
row 3: purl

old shale pattern (stockingnet version)
row 1: knit
row 2: knit
row 3: k2tog 3 times, (yo, k) 6 times, k2tog 3 times
row 4: knit

repeat until you get towards the end of your wool
and end
third to last row: purl
second to last row: knit
last row: purl
BO loosely

block to make the ends behave themselves and loosen up the lace a bit
keep warm and enjoy!