It’s always amazing to me when I wake up the morning after Labor Day and suddenly I can’t deny it anymore: fall is in the air. Here in Maine leaves are just starting to think about changing from the lush greens of summer to the fiery reds, oranges and yellows of autumn. While squirrels and chipmunks are busily stockpiling their winter provisions, I have a similar compulsion to get my own nest ready for the long winter months ahead. I consider myself truly fortunate to have a warm home to hunker down in, and since I don’t need to search for nuts and berries I’m able to spend this season reacquainting myself with my love of making. But first, I have some summer projects to finish up – not to mention some stash busting to make room for new yarn!
Speaking of stash busting, these adorable knitted leaves are a good place to start. The Little Leaves and Tiny Ivy patterns (found in Alana Dakos’ Botanical Knits and Botanical Knits 2, respectively) are available as free downloads on Ravelry – click here for little leaves, and here for tiny ivy. I made these leaves using yarns that have inspired me to get my fall knitting under way. Let me tell you all about it!
This fuzzy leaf was made from Heirloom Romney Yarn. Consisting of 100% American Romney wool, Heirloom is lofty, warm and ruggedly soft. It knits up to a range of gauges: use US 8 needles for a dense fabric more suitable for outerwear, mittens or slippers; go up to a US 10.5 for a looser, more comfortable fabric that fills in beautifully after blocking- perfect for sweaters and blankets! I can’t help but daydream about which lovely heathered color I’d use for the Neck Down Men's Hooded (Hoodie) Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple in this yarn. That or the Diagonal Detail V-Neck Cardigan, which has ribbing details on the sleeves and body that would showcase the texture of this US made yarn.
|Heirloom Romney Yarn|
|Neck Down Men's Hooded (Hoodie) Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple|
|Diagonal Detail V-Neck Cardigan|
It’s too bad you can’t reach out and feel a photo. The above leaves were made from Juniper Moon Farm Stratus Yarn. This is a newer addition to the shop, and we love it! Stratus is an ultra soft blend of wool, yak and alpaca with a little nylon thrown in there for stability. The softness of these fibers is shown to its full potential in this chainette constructed yarn; chainette yarn is just what’s needed for maximum loft and surface area without sacrificing too much strength.
I liked this yarn so much, it inspired me to design the Fortitude Ponchette Pattern. This reversible accessory is surprisingly warm, even when worn over a t-shirt or sleeveless top. It’s big enough to layer over your winter coat, and the side openings allow you to move your arms freely. Each bottom flap is worked back and forth to the shoulder, then the pieces are joined to be worked in the round to finish. An I-cord bind off gives a tidy finish to the neckline. This project requires 5 balls of Juniper Moon Farm Stratus color 0105 (K-STRAT-105GoldenDusk) and a 24″ circular needle, size US 9.
Speaking of soft and squishy… Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed Yarn is a luxe blend of wool, silk and cashmere. Although it’s subtle in the color shown above, this yarn is the best tweed I have ever worked with. Its soft, durable and the tweed flecks stay in the yarn, not on your lap. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Jo Sharp! One of my favorite Jo Sharp patterns uses her Aran Tweed – the Jo Sharp Garter Stitch Jacket and Cabled Hat Pattern. What a warm, comfortable jacket that would be. We have a very old sample of the Jo Sharp Warmth Blanket Pattern here at the shop, and its excellent condition is a true testament to the sturdiness of this yarn.
|Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed Yarn|
|Jo Sharp Garter Stitch Jacket and Cabled Hat Pattern|
|Jo Sharp Warmth Blanket Pattern|
|Jo Sharp Garter Stitch Jacket and Cabled Hat Pattern - Pattern Download|
|Jo Sharp Warmth Blanket Pattern - Pattern Download|
These well defined leaves are made from Norumbega Yarn. One of our tried and true Signature lines, Botanica is known and loved for its unique pearly ply. This special twist makes for a yarn that is immune to pilling and strong, strong as can be. Available in a wide variety of colors, Botanica is an easy go-to for most worsted weight projects. I recently used this workhorse yarn to design the Auditorium - Knitted Backpack Pattern, a bag for all ages. Knit on size US 6 needles, the fabric is dense enough to not require lining. And believe it or not, this project just uses one skein of each color!
|Auditorium - Knitted Backpack Pattern|
|Auditorium - Knitted Backpack Pattern (Download)|
Last but certainly not least are these colorful little leaves made out of Malabrigo Rios Superwash Wool Yarn. I’ve often compared Malabrigo to butter because of its incredibly soft, smooth hand. Rios is a super versatile superwash that’s been kettle dyed to perfection. If you’re looking for a simple, smaller project I strongly recommend our Cowl Two Ways pattern. This textured cowl is great for both men and women. The variegated colors and washability of Rios are of course also well suited for kid’s projects like the Basic Vest for Children by Knitting Pure and Simple or the Children's V-Neck Down Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple. For a broader range of ideas, you can also check out Malabrigo Book 10 - Rios.
|Malabrigo Rios Superwash Wool Yarn|
|Cowl Two Ways|
|Basic Vest for Children by Knitting Pure and Simple|
|Children's V-Neck Down Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple|
|Malabrigo Book 10 - Rios|
|Cowl Two Ways - Pattern download|
While summer may be over, we knitters will have plenty to keep us occupied in the upcoming months – whether busting our stashes, making gifts or planning some cozy new additions to our wardrobes. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to get busy!