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Comfy Coffee Cozy (Free Pattern)

Knitting February 7, 2018

Get Comfy With A New Coffee Cozy

Late last year, I received a package from a friend back home. I adore getting packages and letters in the mail, but I was even more ecstatic when I saw what was inside. She had knitted a coffee cozy with a fox on it and sent it to me. I know how much time projects can take, and it meant a lot to me that she went through the time and effort to make something I could use as well as love.

While I don’t drink coffee, I do drink a lot of herbal tea, hot cocoa, and cider, so I popped the cozy over my favorite cup and have been using it ever since. It’s practical, beautiful, and a reminder that there are people out there who think of me and love me. It’s a lot to pack into a little gift, but very meaningful. If you have friends or family members far away who love hot beverages, this little memento will bring a smile to their face every time they use it.

Of course, there are hundreds of options for coffee cozies these days, so where does one start? Depending on how well you know your recipient’s likes and dislikes, it could be a pretty simple process. I’ve found a few crowd pleasers that I think will be easy enough for most knitters to make in an afternoon.

First, the Forest Friend Cozy from Stitch And Unwind. This is tagged as an “Intermediate” pattern because of the graph design and color switching. You’ll need double pointed needles, worsted wool yarn, and some patience for this project. There are options for a fox, a raccoon, and an owl. This is a great stash-buster pattern because of the little bits of yarn used for the animals, as well as the 50 grams of yarn used for the cozy itself.

Next, the aptly named “Junkies Java Jerkin” from Marjorie Walter. If you know someone who loves argyle, they will go gaga for this cozy. It comes in two sizes (S/M and M/L), and is also a great stash-buster because of the bits of yarn it uses to create the argyle pattern. You’ll need to know how to read a graph, as well as how to shape and use a mattress stitch to sew up the seam.

If you’re looking for something a little more wild and unique, look no further than the Unicorn Cozy from Studio Knit. This can be personalized with a person’s favorite colors and is easier than the first two patterns. You can use worsted or aran weight yarn, and you’ll be using regular knitting needles, along with a yarn needle and scissors.

Of course, if you or your recipient are Harry Potter fans, then you can’t do better than the Hogwarts-scarf inspired cozy pattern from Patty Mac Knits. Three of the cozies have the same pattern. Only the Ravenclaw pattern is different and I believe it’s because Patty is using the movies as references. This is the easiest pattern and works up very quickly with little yarn.

Lastly, if you’re a bit more traditional or practical, the coffee cup cozy with an extra pocket for a packet of your favorite hot drink might be your cup of tea. Simply Notable’s pattern is an instant classic, and should please the book-loving, tea-drinking acquaintance who is receiving this gift.

If you want to grab any of the free patterns, you can find them on Stitch And Unwind, Marjorie Walter’s Ravelry page, Studio Knits, Patty Mac Knits, and Simply Notable.

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Leafy Knitting (Free Pattern)

Knitting February 7, 2018

Leaf Store Bought Decorations Behind With This Fall Foliage

Fall is by far my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the chilly wind rushing through the treetops, and the brightly colored leaves littering the ground. Crunching through the leaves on a cool afternoon bundled up in a cozy sweater and looking forward to a hot cup of cocoa is probably one of the best feelings in the world. Especially since fall also begins the holiday season with Halloween (my favorite holiday) and Thanksgiving. There are dozens of decorations to choose from to celebrate the passage of time, including pumpkins and gourds, scarecrows, and leaves.

If you want fall decorations that are both timely and tasteful, you might want to take a look at this free pattern for knitted leaves. You can make them any size and use them for placemats, coasters, napkin rings, centerpieces, or string them together for a garland. Make them in every fall color, brown, orange, yellow, and red, or you can make sets for different parts of the year, with pastels for spring and bright, bold colors for summer. Winter colors can be red, green, white, gold, and silver.

Studio Knits has a free, easy pattern that is accessible to any level of knitter. The leaf shape is easy to make larger or smaller (just increase or decrease as needed), and you can use any yarn or color to match your other fall decor. If you subscribe to Studio Knits, then you already have a leg up because they have walked through the stitches needed for this pattern. If you’re feeling a mite unsure, you can also watch their video tutorial on YouTube for helpful pointers.

To make your own leaves, you’ll need to collect the following from your craft space: yarn, knitting needles (make sure they are the right size for the yarn you’re using. There are helpful charts online in case you need to double check), a tapestry needle, and a pair of scissors. It is noted in the video tutorial that size 8 knitting needles and worsted yarn are used, but that’s just a suggestion. If you want to use chunky yarn to make a large leaf rug, just make sure you have the coordinating size knitting needles handy.

As for the techniques needed to make one of these, you’ll need to know how to cast on with the long tail method, knit, purl, make a slip knot, SSK (slip, slip, knit), knit two together (k2tog), and bind off. Even though I’m a beginner knitter, I know most of these already, so don’t be afraid to stretch your skills a little if you’re just starting out.

Depending on how you want the finished product to look, you can either let the leaves do as they will, which results in a curling up of the ends and looks particularly fall-like, or you can steam the leaves so that they lie flat, which will be better if you’re using them as trivets, coasters, placemats, and the like. There are instructions included on how to steam the finished leaves.

Want to add these to your fall decor collection? You can find the free pattern, video tutorial, and photos on Studio Knits.

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Knit Fish Toque (Free Pattern)

Knitting February 7, 2018

Stick This Fish On Your Head

When I found this pattern, I laughed out loud. It’s exactly the kind of thing I love to wear. It makes a statement, it’s silly, and it’s one of those things people will ask you where you got it. Then you can direct them to the free pattern and schedule some knitting buddy time. The whimsical pattern from Thelma Egberts on Knitty is available for free, and it’s a one size fits all type of hat. Sound too good to be true? Maybe a little fishy? Don’t worry, there’s no catch!

One of the reasons I like this pattern is that it is so customizable. Have leftover bits of yarn? You can add them as stripes into the fish. You can use any kind of yarn, any color, and if you want a live fish instead of a dead fish, all you have to do is put dots on the eyes instead of X’s. You can create a hat for yourself or a friend with your favorite colors, team colors, or even Harry Potter scarf colors.

The pattern does recommend using a worsted weight yarn, or at least wool or acrylic yarn that will fit the gauge. It’s important to check your gauge with this pattern, because if you decide to go bigger, it will look like the fish is devouring your noggin. Too small, and it will look like it’s hanging onto your scalp for dear life. In order to check the gauge before you begin, use the stockinette stitch to knit 18 stitches in 28 rows. The resulting square should be about 4 inches.

Once you’ve checked your gauge, gather the rest of your materials, which include: about 400 yards of yarn, one set of US #7 double pointed knitting needles (you can also use straight needles in the same size, though this is marked as optional in the pattern), stitch markers, a small stitch holder, sewing needles (big and small eye), embroidery floss (for the eyes), white felt (the embroidery floss will be used on here), white thread, and a pair of scissors.

This pattern is for a more advanced knitter, as there are short rows involved, as well as decreasing on the double pointed needles. If you’re new to knitting, there are simpler hat patterns that are more accessible, but if you’re willing to give it a go regardless of your level of expertise, just make sure that you have a good knitter nearby to help you with any problem areas. Speaking from experience, knitting with double pointed needles and trying to do short rows can result in hair-pulling.

However, the reward of this particular project is well worth the effort. You will have a unique statement piece to wear to the next fall or winter activity on your social calendar, and you might get a few orders for more, from children and adults alike. This is also a perfect gift for the fisherman, aquarium enthusiast, marine biologist, or fish hatchery employee in your life. You can even include a punny gift tag, such as, “You don’t have to fish for compliments while wearing this hat!”

Ready to add fish heads to your next fashion statement? You can find the free pattern on Knitty.

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Keep Your Furry Friend Warm With This Toasty Sweater

Knitting February 7, 2018

I love dogs. I grew up with several, especially when we lived in the country. We had two beagle-basset mixes named Copper and Todd, and later, a lab mix named Jessie. Copper was a goofy, cuddly boy, while Todd was a shorter, grumpier version who nevertheless kept us in his sights while he surveyed the scene for danger. Jessie was a curious, sweet dog we were given on my birthday (she was found on the side of the road as a tiny puppy). Later in life, my husband and I adopted a small hound mix named Parker, who refused to wear clothing unless it was freezing outside. Then she wouldn’t go outside until she was wearing her Santa suit.

Now we have a three-year old Sheltie named Ransom. Since he sheds quite a bit at certain times of the year, we like to keep him groomed and his fur short. Of course this isn’t a big deal in Colorado until the winter time. It has been supremely chilly lately and we’ve made sure Ransom is inside during the coldest days and nights. I’ve been contemplating giving him a sweater to keep him warmer during the day while he’s outside barking at the mailman or chasing squirrels.

I ran across this darling “Juno Jumper” from Alice Neal and thought it would be the perfect sweater for a small or medium-sized dog. It’s cute, cozy, and not too complicated. You’ll need about 100 grams of chunky yarn (the pattern recommends using something like Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky, and there’s also a link to the same yarn with a sizing guideline if you need to make the sweater a bit bigger or smaller for your furbaby. Just remember, you’ll need more yarn if you’re going to make the sweater for a larger dog). You’ll also need 6.5mm circular needles, 4 stitch markers, scissors, a tapestry needle, and (marked as optional) a 6mm or 7mm crochet hook. Stitches include knit, purl, increase, casting on, knitting with holes, knit two together (k2tog), and ribbing.

This should work up very quickly, especially if you are familiar and/or comfortable working with circular needles. I confess I haven’t used them as much as I should, but there are usually some friendly knitters online (YouTube, for example), or at the local fiber shop if you run into a problem. I’d recommend this pattern for a beginner intermediate knitter, someone who has used circulars before but wants to try making something a little challenging.

If you like this pattern and want more, you can find the author at Alice in Knittingland. You can also find her on social media and other craft sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Etsy. I originally found the pattern on the Love Knitting Blog, so if you peruse their site and decide you like it, you can join their community and share your photos in the comments of the original post (I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like seeing pictures of cute animals in sweaters!). Keep your furbabies warm in winter with this stylish sweater. They’ll want to show it off to all their friends when you go for a walk.

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