Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Eve everybody.

As you can see by my progress bars, I've finished almost every project I had on the needles. For a day or two I literally had nothing but those socks, no old UFO's, nothing.

I'm starting the New Year clean

And hopefully with the help of this blog, you, and my progress bars, I won't fall into the trap of starting a project and then casting it aside for something new and shiny and never finishing it, as I have before.

I've ripped out the only old project that I had left that I knew I wasn't ever going to finish, it was going to be a crochet ripple afghan, and I was making good time on it... last winter. Then my wrist started cracking uncomfortably when I would go longer than half a row so it got put aside and languished until the other day when I ripped it out. I'm thinking about starting another smaller, knit afghan using the ripped out yarn, but I doubt I'll put it in the progress bars, it will mostly be, just something to keep my hands busy while I wait for other projects to come to me.

I cleaned out my stash, it was beginning to become unruly, and full of yarn that I haven't even looked at in over a year (including yarn meant for the afghan) I ended up giving away three grocery bags worth of acrylic to somebody on freecycle, and now I have much more room to properly organize my stash. And buy more wool!

For the New Year I already have some projects in mind:

Bill and I plan on getting out more this winter, which necessitates new winter wear, in the form of scarves and mittens for him. I really want to make Bill a pair of Squirrel and Oak mittens but I have to wait until the 19th(!) for Knit Picks to restock the colour of green he wants.

I've also ordered the yarn to begin Sheep shawl I plan on giving to Monica as a gift for being my bridesmaid. I joined a KAL, but I'm becoming a little worried, as I can't seem to find anybody in the KAL, or Blogosphere who has actually finished this shawl.

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To keep me busy in the meantime, I'm starting a scarf for him out of some beautiful Icelandic wool I found in the stash while I was cleaning up. I bought it in Reinbeck three years ago with no project in mind. It's just a simple slip stitch pattern, and it doesn't show up well in the picture, but it's nice, and wont curl, and as long as it's a warm scarf I don't mnd.

Scratch that, I decided I didn't like that pattern, so I changed it, and my needles size, and when I went back to do the math, I realized I had somehow done the math wrong the first time, and realized there was no way in heck I was going t get any kind of good length out of the yarn I had.

:: sigh :: back to the drawing board.

I have some purple/pink/blue Cascade Pastaza I bought at the same time that im going to use for a scarf for me if I can find a good stitch pattern.

Don't worry, once the yarn arrives, I'll have much more interesting pictures to show you.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday sky

Yesterday I looked at the weather forecast, it said mostly sunny.

I wake up this morning, and it's snowing. Le sigh.

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Saturday sky, taken 11:00am Saturday, December 30, 2006, beside the Platypus Nest.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I love gift cards

What I'm going to get for Christmas:

I just ordered A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and Charted Knitting Designs: A Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker from

And earlier today Bill and I went to Borders and I ordered Knitting Around By Elizabeth Zimmerman and Favorite Mittens: Best Traditional Patterns from Fox & Geese & Fences and Flying Geese & Partridge Feet By Robin Hansen

The mitten book will take a week or so to arrive, Knitting Around may be as much as a month. I got free super saver shipping on the Barbara Walkers, so those are expected sometime about January 8-10.

I'm so excited, I'm all twitchy!

(I'm still debating weather to get myself a subscription to interweave knits, the last few issues have been pretty good, but suddenly I'm wary of making a commitment.)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

ho ho ho

I hope everyone had a good Christmas/Yule/Solstice/Hanukah/Kwanza/Festivus/whatever.

Just a few pictures from my holiday:

the sky on the way down to my parent's house was beautiful, I don't this picture does it justice, especially as I had to take it out of a moving car's window.

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While setting the table for dinner, my grandmother's cat, Rusty tried to get in on the act. I think he was disappointed, no food yet.

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home this morning, Cayenne cuddling/shredding her new friend.

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chocolate cake truffles that I gave out for Christmas, the top ones are Kahlua with powdered cocoa coating, middle was Baileys with powdered sugar, and the bottom was Kirsch.

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and for knitting content!

Some little knitted gifts I gave:

Perdita for my cousin, she loved it! (it's unfinished in this picture, because I had to wait until I could measure it on her wrist before putting on the loops to fasten it with.)

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The mitered square heart sachet(pdf)

This was quite fun to knit, and my grandmother loved it! I stuffed it with lavender, and she kept picking it up and sniffing it throughout the present opening.

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I enjoyed making the sachet so much, I wanted to try making it in this neat worsted wool I had too, so I set down to fiddle with the pattern and came up with this:

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my soon to be mother in law loved it.

and then a gift for myself, I wasn't sure I liked the way the ridges worked on the fist version, so I tried on with just stockinet.

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I'm still not sure which way I like better. Ah well.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Sky

In preparation for the freezing of the St. Lawrence the 'Buoy Boys' have come on the Robinson Bay and removed the Buoys from the waters surrounding Clayton.

Their seasonal like colours just begged to be in the Saturday Sky before Christmas.

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Taken 12:50pm Saturday, December 23, 2006, In Frink Park, Clayton, NY.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

the last minute wips

It's getting down to the wire, and I began to feel guilty about the lack of hand madeness to my gifts so I found some nice little last minute knits.

First, a heart sachet (pdf) for my grandmother.

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Bolstered by Jo's success I jumped in on this one, I'm knitting it a bit smaller than the pattern calls for and my hands are not happy. I'm using left over yarn from my hederas.

Using even more leftover yarn is Perdita, in bluebell for my cousin.

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This one is super quick, and I'm having fun, this is my first time beading too.

And last but not least mitten tops for Bill's mitts.

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This is probably not going to be done on time, I was trying to keep it secret, but it's hard to secretly knit for somebody where you are around them so much.

The mitts were made about three years ago when Bill and I first began dating. I had a lot less knitting experience and sticktoitivness then, and the tops never got finished. He's been wearing the mitts whenever it's cold, and there's always the joke about how his fingers are cold, and when will they get finished. But I'm a lot closer to that now ;)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

those incandescent socks

So this is
the moral of my ode:
beauty is beauty
twice over
and good things are doubly
when you're talking about a pair of wool
in the dead of winter.

-excerpt from "Ode to a pair of socks" by Pablo Neruda

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I finished the Hedera look a likes last night while visiting my parents.


Yarn: Knit Picks Essentials in African violet.

Needles: US size 2.5 (3mm) Addi Turbo 40" circulars (Addi calls them US size 2, but I've always hear 3mm's called US2.5)

Pattern mods: everything but the stitch pattern. I did these two at one, toe up magic loop. I knit them at a slightly tighter gauge than called for, added an extra pattern panel so that I worked on 70 instead of 60 stitches. Did a short row heel and did 3x2 ribbing for the cuff.

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My first pair of sock yarn socks, before now I've done mostly worsted house and boot socks. These were originally supposed to be for my cousin, but her feet are size 7.5 and they fit my 9.5, yeah, still figuring out how in the world I thought they would fit her with my gauge and cast on stitches. They are even a little big for me, and tend to bag a bit around the ankle.

I've learned more about negative ease now, and have a better grasp of how to size socks to fit who they are supposed to fit. I also decided that I think would like my socks knit tighter as well, the fabric felt a bit loose to me, I think I'll be doing my future socks on smaller needles from now on.

The heel is a Sherman heel, which is a variant of a short row heel. This method was by far the easiest I've ever done, and came out with a beautiful heel with very little fuss, and I barely had to pay any attention. I made the heel too narrow though, I shouldn't have short rowed down to as few stitches as I did, but they still fit relatively well, and I just chalk it up to a learning experience about how to make socks fit properly.

I probably also should have knit the cuff for a little longer, but by then I was just getting sick of still working on these socks and I wanted to WEAR them!

And I leave you with a better view of the perfect heel:

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Thumb Trick:

Sometimes called an afterthought thumb, I first read about it in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

This method is used in fetching but it is also very common in a lot of stranded, and Norwegian style type mittens.

I really like this method because it's seamless; sometimes when patterns have you place stitches on a holder and then cast on the top stitches you can get an odd seam right in the crease where your thumb meets the hand, and that can be uncomfortable.

The only trouble that some people may have with this method is that you cannot immediately try on your mitten in progress, as you can with mittens where the stitches are put on holders. But if you want to you can just knit a few more rows and then pick up the stitches instead of waiting until the mitten is done, threading the waste yarn through them so you can try on your mittens as you knit.

The trick:
Knit to where you want to place the thumb hole, and take a length of contrasting yarn, and knit the thumbhole stitches with it instead of your working yarn:

(see the working yarn, still on the right-hand side of the work?)

Then, slip all these stitches back onto your left hand needle purl wise:



And knit across them, with your working yarn:

Here are the held stitches after a few rows have been worked:

(Fetching uses a ribbed pattern. When knitting with the waste yarn, just knit plainly, and when knitting back across the waste yarn, knit plainly again, then pick up any stitch patterns again once you've passed the thumb. If using colour patterns, they can be resumed right away as you are knitting over the waste yarn. It is just easier to pick up the stitches later if they are all knit.)

Finish the mitten, and then turn it inside out:

See the purple bumps in-between the blue bumps? Those are the stitches you'll be picking up.

Start picking up the stitches using a pair of circular needles:

As it begins to get awkward to fit them on the needle, slide them onto the cord and continue picking up all along the top edge:

When you get to the end of the row, there will be a stitch where the waste yarn only holds half of it; you want to pick that stitch up too:

Then just turn the work upside down, and keep picking up the underside stitches too:

Keep a loop of the circular cord at the end, to separate the two sides.

Here it is with all the stitches picked up:

The top row will have one more stitch than was originally knit onto the waste yarn, and the bottom should have as many as was originally knit.
Usually, patterns will say that after picking up stitches you'll have one side equal, and one side with one less stitch, but I find that the method I use results in fewer holes.

Now, start puling out the waste yarn, with no worries of a dropped stitch, since they are all already on the needles!

Here it is with the waste yarn removed, and all the now live stitches on the needles:

Pull the cord of the needle until there isn't a loop at the end anymore:

Stick the needles into the thumb hole and out of the mitten:

(The fetching are open at the top, so I stuck them out the top, if making a closed top mitten, just send them out the wrist.)

And pull them out, flipping the mitten right side out in the process:
Ta da! You are almost ready to start knitting your thumb!

I like to make sure the top and bottom are equal in stitch count, and it really helps to tighten things up and prevent holes if one more stitch is picked up and put on bottom needle:
If things are still a bit loose at the sides of the thumbhole, just pick up one more stitch at each end and knit it together with the next stitch on each needle on your first round.
From here you can either move all the stitches to DPNs or you can keep up with the circulars and knit the thumb magic loop style.
Knit your first round through the back loop for extra security and tightness, to further help prevent holes.
If doing colour work that requires a certain number of stitches, simply decrease or increase evenly along your first row to achieve that number.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A fetching pair

The fetching are done, and my hands are happy.

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It's strange, I never really thought than arm/hand warmers did much to keep you warn, but they actually do.

While my fingers aren't covered they do stay a bit warmer than if I had nothing, and the rest of my hand and wrists are nice and toasty, and that in and of itself seems to make me feel warmer overall.

A word on the knit picks swish superwash.

This pair took just over one ball, (I ran out with three hand rows and a thumb to go.) if had knit the wrist portion to the recommended length of 2 1/2 inches instead of adding an extra inch I probably could have done it with just one ball.

Also the first fetching is noticeably more worn looking than the second, and I see, just since wearing them last night and this morning that they are beginning to get a little pilly and ratty looking. Its not too bad, mostly on the palms, and I could probably fix them right up with my sweater stone, but I'm surprised at how quickly they got this way.

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Somebody mentioned to me the other day after I had started these that they were putting off making them because they were afraid of the 'thumb trick' (knitting waste yarn, putting it back, knitting again and them picking up the stitches later).

And that is such an easy little trick, and makes these mitts so easy and quick, and it seems such a pity to not make them just because of it, so I put together a tutorial while making me second fetching last night. I have to edit together, but I should have it up by tomorrow.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Sky

The last few days have been beautiful for this time of year, until today, It is rainy and overcast today. ah well.

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Taken 1:10pm, December 16, 2006, looking out back of the platypus nest.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Looks Kinda fetching don'cha think?

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Yeah, I jumped on the Fetching bandwagon, better late than never.

I've wanted to make some warmers for a while, but just didn't really see any patterns that I like, or that I felt like working on.

Then the other day my hands were freezing here at the computer so i started really looking.

Now, I've been itching to try grumperina's method of cabling without a cable needle and there is a ton of pictures of fetching out there, (some better than others,) so I decided, what the heck!

I started this one last night while Bill was fixing dinner, and finished it tonight, right after dinner. pretty spiffy. I've already cast on for the second one, and having just as much fun as the first! Yahoo!


Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash leftover from the dog sweater.

Needles: US size 5 Inox 40" circs. magic loop. 6's would have gotten me closer to the gauge called for in the pattern, but swish is a bit thinner than the recommended yarn, and I wanted to maintain snugness, especially as in most pictures of them I've seen they have looked a bit baggy.

Modifications: tons, I don't think I can ever follow a pattern exactly.

Obviously I changed yarn and gauge, but with the stitch gauge change it messed up the row gauge as well, and the pattern is written in rows, not inches. So I had to figure out how long I was supposed to knit by multiplying her recommended rows by her row gauge.

Then I threw it out the window. I wanted mine to be a mite longer than most versions I've seen, so I knit for 3 1/2 inches rather than the pattern's 2 1/4 before the thumb. I also knit the thumb over 10 stitches instead of 7, smaller stitch gauge remember? And I always have a problem of gloves and mittens being too tight around the base of my thumb.

I knit the top of the hand a bit longer before the final cable as well. Then I picked up the thumb stitches differently, and knit the thumb in 2x2 ribbing to compensate for it being a bit larger than called for. In retrospect, probably could have decreased a few stitches for a better fit once I got past the base, as you can see in the pictures, it's a bit baggy, but not bad enough that I want to rip it out. I also knit it for father up my thumb ha the original pattern; thumbs want to be warm too!

The first two cable crosses at the wrist are done as per the pattern, but it thought they looked a bit short, so the second cable cross I waited 6 rows instead of 5. I like that way it looks.

I also threw the picot bind off out too, I thought it just made the cast off edge look messy, and I prefer my normal K2tog bind off, nice and stretchy, yet still looks nice and neat.


Hey Look!
There's even a KAL!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Omg I sold something!

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Remember this post where I talked about selling stitch markers?

Well, I enjoyed making them so much, I wanted to keep doing it. I had a few beads leftover, (and I could help buying a few more while we were in Watertown the other day) so I sat down and made some more.* Now I have plenty of stitch markers on my own, so I really had no reason to make these new ones, especially as the bag of stitch markers for Bill's mom is full, and everybody else's gifts had been sent out.

Then I got thinking; the only real reason I didn't want to sell my markers was that the only venue I was aware of was places like Etsy and frankly I really didn't want to bother with mailing and dealing with people and setting up a shop etc. It didn't make the small profit I would make worth it.

Then the other day I realized that I could probably sell them on consignment over at Reinmans!

Reinmans is the local hardware store, but they are much more than that, the woman who runs the place is also one of the women in charge of our bimonthly knit night, and there is a sizeable yarn store there. To top it off I knew she already did consignments, because the woman who helps teach sells many of her felted bags there.

I did a bit of research the day before, looking up how consignment sales are usually conducted. Most of what I could find was for people who make clothing, but I did get a few ideas. They said that most owners like to make an appointment where you can sit down, and look at samples of your work before they decide. Then there were a couple of ways it could go. I could name my price; she pays me, and sells the items at a slightly higher price, good for me and pure profit for her. Or she could name what she was willing to pay and then sell them higher, not quite as good for me, as I wouldn't have as much control over how much profit I made out of the deal.

I got all excited, put together a little tag that I could print out on 3x5 index cards, attached the sample markers with pretty yarn and then yesterday while I was at work with Bill I walked over to talk to Mary (the owner.) I asked if she would be willing to think about it, and showed her the markers. And she LOVED THEM!! *squee*

Also luckily I was able to name my own price. I asked $7 per set of four, which isn't too expensive, quite low compared to some of the things I saw at Etsy, but I was still making a big profit compared to material and time costs, and I didn't have to deal with people (other than Mary) and no fiddling with a storefront or mailing out stuff! She's selling them for $8.50, so they should hopefully sell well, especially in the holiday season. I almost wish I had asked for more, but it think I'm just being greedy, I mean, I'm making a profit, having fun, and frankly I don't think people in this area will be willing to pay much more than that. (During summer when the place is full of tourists is a different matter, but I think most of my sales is going to be locals for a while)

The only thing she asked for was markers that could fit larger needles, as right now, the only split rings I could get only fit size 10's (6mm) and many people are fond of big needle projects.

I explained that right now I was only working with leftovers because I didn't want to put in a big investment without any assurance of a deal, but now that I know she's willing, I would get bigger ones. I found a place online that sells larger split right for cheap, so in the next couple of days I may order some. I only use split rings (which are harder to find in a variety of sizes around here) because they are stronger than jump rings and less likely to snag on knitting

*the markers in the picture are not the ones I sold. I was a dork and forgot to take a picture of them before I took them to see Mary

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Sky and bonus bassets

Friday afternoon into this morning I had to baby-sit my parent's dogs while they were away at a Christmas party.

Today's Saturday sky comes with a few bonus basset pictures.

First the Saturday sky:
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Taken Saturday, December 9, 2006 at 8:45am, out back of my parent's house.

Now the dogs:

This is Floyd, he's incredibly curious, he was probably thinking "hey, what's that silvery boxy you have there... is it edible? Ah! Bright!"

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This is Sam, Floyd had his bone, so he got up on the favorite char and was watching him.

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And Duchess.

Duchess is getting quite old, she's about 10 years old now, this is her favorite spot, laying right up against the base of the couch, you have to be careful when you put your feet down not to step on her.
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Friday, December 08, 2006

What is that, another pair of socks?

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These were started yesterday for car knitting, I have found that I cannot knit the lace for the hedera look-alikes in the car, it requires too much attention and I make myself carsick. Yesterday was supposed to be our weekly trip to Watertown for supplies, and I needed some plain old no stitch pattern knitting for the ride. Well, it snowed so no Watertown trip, but I still have new socks!

( btw, is it just me or do all socks, when started toe up two at once always look kinda like a strange, colourful bra when photographed?)

this is the yarn I'm using:

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I found it in my stash, one ball had already been re-wound into a center pull, and this one had no label, I know it's Regia, but that's about it (the center pull must have been wound from the outside in because the two sock are striping in opposite colour direction. I don't care; I think it makes them look kinda cool).

I bought this, along with the yarn used for the sweater ornament, several years ago when I first started knitting. I wanted to make socks, so I found a generic top down pattern and went at it and made myself a sock, it didn't fit, so I never made its mate (I still have the second ball sitting in my stash waiting for a non-sock use.) and I never made socks again until last winter when I fell in love with toe up and short row heels. And now I'm afraid I have caught the sock bug!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

a mostly doggie post

Progress on the Hedera socks is slow, I'm only about 4 repeats into the leg, but I have a good excuse!

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It is very difficult to knit with an adorable doggie on your lap.

Especially when you have to stop every few rows and rub the tummy.

But I'm not complaining, and anyways, how can you say no to a face like this?

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Progress will probably pick up this weekend. Friday afternoon I leave to go baby sit my parent's dogs overnight, so there will be lots of sitting on the couch watching TV surrounded by adorable bassets, and knitting. And I will return will a Saturday Sky from their place, as well as many adorable basset pictures.

Here's a teaser:

The Boys, Sam and Floyd

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Victorian lace and ribbed neck warmer

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This was very fun and quick to knit, and the panache was heaven to work with a little fuzzy, but so soft!
I made this with exactly one skein of panache (I had maybe three inches left over) I would have liked to make it a little longer, so maybe next time I'll order two balls and try to figure out something to do with the leftovers. Of course I probably could have picked a different yarn that comes in more yardage, but then it wouldn't have been so soft and decadent.
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I'm really happy with the buttons too, like I said, I didn't have much yarn left, so I sewed them on using embroidery floss. they go perfectly with the blue. This is going to my mother for Yule, so I'll be giving her the extra button incase one comes off, I'm not very confident in my sewing skills.
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and here is the pattern just for you my loyal readers:


Victorian lace and ribbed neck warmer
Size: to fit 15 inch circumference neck (for larger or smaller sizes add or subtract repeats as necessary, 1 repeat is 11 stitches and roughly two and a quarter inches)
any bulky weight yarn, I used Knit Picks Panache
Size US 7 and US 9 or size to obtain gauge.
Gauge:4.5 stitches per inch on smaller sized needles.

CO 77 sts

Set up row: knit all stitches
Row 1: *K1, yo, K2, ssk, K1, K2tog, K2, yo, K1* rep.
Row 2 and all even: purl
Row 3: *K1, yo, K2, ssk, K1, K2tog, K2, yo, K1* rep.
Row 5: *K1, yo, K2, ssk, K1, K2tog, K2, yo, K1* rep.
Row 7: *K2, yo, K2, double dec. (Slip two together, Knit one, Pass Slipped Stitches over.) K2, yo, K2* rep.
Row 9: *K3, yo, K1, double dec. K1, yo, K3* rep.
Row 11: *K4, yo, double dec. yo, K4* rep.
Row 12: knit
Decrease Row (switch to smaller needles): K10, K2tog, *K9 K2tog* rep. ending K10. (71 sts)
Ribbed neck:
Row 1: (WS row) P1, K1, P1, K1, P3, (K2, P3) *until last 4 sts, K1, P1, K1, P1.
Row 2: (RS row) P1, K1, P1, K1, K3, (P2, K3) *until last 4 sts, K1, P1, K1, P1.
Row 3: rep row 1
Row 4: (buttonhole row) P1, K1 sl1pw wyif, yib, leave it there, (sl1 pw, psso)x3, sl last st back to left needle, turn, yib, cable cast on three stitches, cast on one more st but with yif before placing it onto left needle, turn, sl1kw, pso, K1, (P2, K3)** until last 4 sts, K1, P1, K1, P1.
Row 5-6: rep row 1 and 2
Repeat rows 1-6 two more times, bind off.

Sl1pw = slip one purl wise
Sl1kw = slip one knit wise
wyif = with yarn in front
yib = yarn in back
psso = pass slipped stitch over
pso = pass last stitch over
ssk = slip one stitch knitwise, slip the next stitch knitwise, knit the two slipped stitches together.

The pattern as written will work for exactly one ball of Knit Picks Panache. (50 grams ≈ 68 yards)
If you would like a taller neck warmer, and are using a different yarn or don't mind having most of a second ball of panache left over, repeat rows 1 & 2 once more after rows 5 & 6 for each repeat.
If you have any questions of comments about the pattern please, feel free to contact me.

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For blocking I pinned out the lace bit as far as I could stretch it without completely distorting the rib. I didn't want the ribbing to loose its elasticity so I just lightly spritzed the lace bit and let it dry, it looked like somebody had pinned out a small blue bat to our bedroom floor, but it worked, the ribbing is still nice and clinging, and the lace came out beautifully.

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This blog and everything contained within is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.