Hello friends, today on the Knits of Steele knitting blog I want to tell you a bit more about my latest knitting design the Cass Cowl. This knitting pattern is squishy, it’s cozy, it has a big braided cable and twisted rib. This knit cowl design has everything I love and that’s why I named it after me!
This chunky knit cowl came to be way way back, I’m not even sure when. I think it was some time in 2019. I knew when I designed it that I eventually wanted to release the knitting pattern, but I lost my confidence a bit and even though I wrote the pattern up I never put it through testing or had it released.
But I set a goal in 2020 that I’m continuing this year to design more knitting patterns and release more of the knitting patterns that I already have written and ready to go. So starting of 2021’s schedule of releases here (finally) is the Cass Cowl knitting pattern!
I named this pattern after myself as a joke at first. It was a placeholder name until I could think of something better, but it just stuck and so it has remained the Cass Cowl. It feels like the right name for this knit design.
And the reason that it is a fitting name for this knitting pattern is that this knit cowl has so many of the design features that I love. Starting of with twisted rib. I’m not sure why I love twisted rib so much, but I do! It just adds a little something extra to a hat brim or sock cuff, or in this case the edges of a knit cowl, over traditional ribbing.
I designed this cowl knitting pattern when I was going through a cable phase. The big braided cable is offset to the side and starts right from the beginning of the cowl and goes right to end integrated into the twisted rib. For obvious reasons, this giant braided cable is my favourite part of this knit design.
And it’s all knit out of super cozy and squishy super bulky yarn!
I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick for this cowl, it takes just over 2 balls to complete. I used the colour Spice Market for this pattern, I’m in love with the rose gold, pink and yellow tones in this yarn! Unfortuantely, I think this colourway has been discontinued 😦
But no need to worry because this cowl looks great in any colour! It suits variegated and solid yarns just fine.
This knit cowl is honestly so squishy and cozy. It’s one of the warmest knit accessories I own and I always pull it out on super cold days. It’s large enough to come up and cover half of your face to ensure warmth, but also that you can still see! But it’s not so bulky that it’s uncomfortable and you can easily push it down to sit under or around your chin.
It keeps the wind out when it’s tucked into the collar of your coat and when paired with a hat it keeps your head and neck totally warm and covered from wind and snow.
As most knitters can tell you, it’s really easy to get carried away with projects, to get side tracked with new yarn and new cast ons. It’s possible to do a lot of knitting and feel like you accomplished nothing! So for 2020 I set some knitting goals to keep me on track.
At the beginning of 2020, I wrote out my knitting goals for the year. It was actually one of my first posts on this knitting blog! Of course when I wrote this blog I had no idea the turn that 2020 would take… But despite being thrown for a loop by a global pandemic and seemingly endless months of lockdown – I made some good progress on my knitting goals!
Knitting goal 1: Colours
The colours that I wanted to knit with this year were one of my goals. This was because in 2019 I felt like a lot of my projects were really dark neutrals – there was A LOT of navy blue in 2019.
I wanted to use more bright colours because I really love bright pinks and teals and greens, but have never really brought them into my wardrobe.
I think I did pretty well with this goal. Here are some of my colourful projects from 2020.
This was my Christmas Eve Cast on in 2019, but I didn’t finish it until mid-February. I absolutely love the colours I used a mini set from Holy Press Fibres for the contrast colours. The main colour is Mushroom on Artfil Belle which is a fingering sock yarn, and one of my favourites. I love the contrast of the bright colours and this gorgeous tonal great.
This pattern was on my Ravelry queue for ages, I had a really hard time choosing colours. I knew I wanted to use Magician as the main colour, and I bought that yarn first while I made up my mind about the second colour.
I actually used a colour wheel to pick this contrast colour. I highly recommend using a colour wheel if you’re like me and bad at coming up with combinations. I think I almost used a creamy white instead of this peach!!
I used a Hawthorne fade set from Knit Picks for this sweater and it took me a few tries to figure out the colours and the pace of the fade. I’m not 100% happy with the fit of this sweater, it’s too tight and too big in all the wrong places, and I ran out of yarn so the sleeves are an awkward length. But I love the colours!
And I used this light neutral colour for my Simone Pullover, which is totally out of my comfort zone and I loved how it turned out!
These last two sweaters are my biggest fails towards goal number 3…stashbusting…two new sweater quantities definitely weren’t in the plans for 2020…OH WELL!
I have my Coziest Memories blanket to use up my fingering weight scraps. But one of my goals for 2020 was to knit some scrappy knitting projects that weren’t for fingering weight.
My success towards this goal has been so-so…
I knit the My Little Secret Crop by Jessie Maed Designs at the beginning of lockdown in March, actually I knit two of them. This was a really good project for scraps, but as I used fingering weight held together it didn’t quite meet my requirement of scrappy knitting projects that weren’t fingering weight.
For my second My Little Secret Crop I used Nomadic Yarns self striping yarn held with some speckled Hawthorne fingering and it Love the way it turned out. This was a serious game of yarn chicken, by the end I had just a bit of the striping yarn left over.
I knit the Falling For You cowl by Leslie Alcock. It’s worsted weight and you just need a bit of each colour. It’s designed to be 4 colour blocks and that’s how I knit it, but for my next one I want to do smaller stripes of many colours and that will be perfect for using up worsted weight scraps.
This year, I sought out to solve my own problem when it came to having lots of super bulky scraps. I didn’t have enough of one colour to knit a whole hat so I designed this scrappy knit hat just a few days ago.
I have so many bits of super bulky yarn so I will definitely be making more of these knit hats in all sorts of colour combinations! You can find the free knitting pattern here.
Knitting goal 3: Stash busting
I had some great success with this goal. I knit 37 projects in 2020 and nearly all of them were using up yarn I already had in stash including several sweater quantities.
I have quite a bit of this fuzzy yarn leftover so I need to come up with something to make, I’m thinking a cozy cowl would be perfect!
And here’s how I failed:
Given I knit so many projects with yarn I had in my stash, I’m not sure I’d call it a failure, but I certainly bought more yarn this year than I wanted to…well than I planned to, because I certainly wanted to buy all of this yarn (and more)!
Outside of the yarn for my Simone Pullover and my City Limits, most of my new yarn came from the Great Toronto Yarn Hop – you can read about my haul from that event here.
Sweater quantity for the For Fox Sake sweater. Although in my defense…this was a pattern from my Ravely queue, so it’s a de-stash of my queue LOL.
And some sock yarn! The bubblegum pink is going to be a pair of Shag Carpet Shorites, I’ll hold the yarn double. I don’t have plans for the self striping skein yet…definitely socks though!
there’s some of the other pretty yarn I didn’t get to this year…somehow in all the knitting I did there is actually yarn I didn’t use! It’s almost unbelievable. However, I saw a moth the other day so most of it is packed up safe in vacuum bags and not fit to be photographed!
Knitting goal 4: Designing
The final goal I set was to design, and actually release, more of my knitting patterns. I have a tendency to design something and then lose the nerve to actually put it out into the world.
In 2020 I released six knitting patterns, many of them are free knitting patterns on this blog!
One of these six patterns is the Twister Mitts
I’m pretty proud of my progress this year, but I did design two pairs of socks that never saw the light of day so I still have some work to do in this area.
Hi everyone, I’m here today with a free knitting pattern for a super bulky weight hat. This scrappy colourblock hat is a great pattern for all of your leftover bits of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick or other super bulky weight leftovers.
This is also an easy level free knitting pattern and it is a beginner friendly hat pattern. This is a really great free knitting pattern for your first hat if you are just learning to knit.
You only need to know how to knit and purl, knit two together and slip slip knit, and knit in the round. I know that seems like a lot if you’re just getting started and learning to knit, but it’s easy I promise!
If you’re learning to knit and don’t know how to do those things you can pick them up really easily! Here are some helpful tutorials:
This free hat pattern also makes for a great last minute gift because it works up super quickly and it only requires a bit of each colour so you can make it with bits of leftover yarn from your stash.
I wanted to call this hat the Oh Sh!t last minute gift hat! If you’re anything like me you leave your Christmas gift knitting until last minute. I do this every year and whip up some last minutes hats, mittens or ear warmers using super bulky yarn. These projects come together so fast and make great handmade Christmas gifts.
So this year I started to tally up who still needed a gift. We are not doing any Christmas gatherings this year, but we do have some family dropping by to do a socially distanced gift exchange. I wanted to knit up a couple quick handmade gifts, but when I looked in my yarn stash…there was not a full skein of super bulky in sight!
This year with the lockdown it’s hard to just run out to the craft store and grab some super bulky yarn, and even if you can run to a store yarn has been in short supply. And this hat works up SO QUICK I knit the adult, child, and baby size all in one day.
I always have a TON of leftover bits of super bulky weight yarn like Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick. But never enough for a full hat, a half skein of one colour, a quarter of another, bits and bobs leftover from hats and mittens.
This hat is knit in the round from the brim up. 16” circular needles are used until the decrease rounds when it is necessary to switch to DPNs or magic loop to maintain tension.
This knit hat comes in three sizes: baby/toddler, child, and adult. This knitting pattern is written for the smallest size with the numbers for the larger sizes in brackets.
Required skills: knitting in the round, knit, purl, knit two together, slip slip knit
Super bulky – Sample used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick
Colour A: 9 (11, 12) yds
Colour B: 9 (11, 12) yds
Colour C: 9 (11, 12) yds
Colour D: 9 (11, 12) yds
Total: 36-48 yds
US 13 (9 mm) 16” Circular needles and DPNs or size to obtain gauge
Yarn needle for weaving in ends
3 stitch markers (different from BOR)
10 sts and 14 rows = 4” by 4” in stockinette stitch
Baby/Toddler (Child, Adult)
Fits head circumference 17-18” (19-20”, 21-23”)
BOR: beginning of round
CO: cast on
dpn(s): double-pointed needles
k2tog: knit 2 together
pm: place marker
ssk: slip slip knit; slip next 2 stitches one at a time as if to knit, return to left needle and knit 2 together through back loops
sm: slip marker
st(s): stitch; stitches
With Colour A CO 36 (40, 44) sts.
Join to work in the round and place BOR marker
Work 3 (4, 4) rnds of 1×1 ribbing (k1, p1 around)
Knit 1 (1, 2) rnds
Switch to Colour B
Knit 4 (5, 6) rnds
Switch to Colour C
Knit 4 (5, 6) rnds
Switch to Colour D
Set up row: *K9 (10, 11), pm, repeat from * to end of rnd
Rnd 1: *Ssk, k to 2 sts. before next marker, k2tog, repeat from * to end of rnd
Rnd 2: knit to end of rnd
Repeat rnds 1 and 2 until 12 (8, 12) sts. remain, switching to DPNs when circumference becomes too small for 16” circular needles.
Cut yarn leaving at least an 8 inch tail, using a yarn needle weave yarn tail through remaining sts. and pull tight. Weave in ends.
Make sure you share your projects on social media and don’t forget to tag me!
I really hope you enjoy this free hat knitting pattern for the scrappy colourblock hat! You can see my other knitting patterns in my Ravelry store and follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my knitting adventures.
I cannot believe that November is over and it’s already time for another monthly round-up! The monthly round-up post is my opportunity to share with you what I’m knitting, my works in progress, my knit finished objects, knitting patterns I’m working on and MORE.
In this edition: my woeful neglected WIPs, a FREE hat pattern and my new crafting obsession…let’s dive in!
Current Knitting Projects
For Fox Sake Sweater
I wrote about this knit colourwork sweater in my October Round-up, and I had about 20 rows left in the yoke. Now I have maybe 5-7 rows left. I haven’t worked on it for the past few weeks, but I am done the foxes!
This is going to be my last sweater of 2020, if I finish it this year at all and it’s looking very possible that I won’t. But once I get through the yoke and the sleeve separation my pace should pick up quite a bit.
Vampire Vibes Socks
For a second I thought For Fox Sake was my only WIP, but I am also working on a pair of knit socks. These were my Halloween Cast-on if such a thing exists. I’m using KnitPicks Felici in the colour Vampire Vibes.
In my last post I wrote about my experience with my first afterthought heel and I’m going to do another afterthought heel on this pair.
I haven’t knit much on them, I’m mostly pulling out this project for knitting during movie night.
Coziest Memory Blanket
I mean…this a a forever WIP and I promise I won’t include it in every monthly round-up, but I do want to chat a bit about my scrappy mitered square blanket. I started this blanket in August of 2019 and in August of this year I realized that I was barely 10% through.
A few weeks back I set a goal of doing 2 at least squares every Sunday and I’ve been pretty good so far at keeping that up. If I manage to stick to this goal all the way through the end of December I’ll be 20% done when 2020 ends!
Finished Objects AKA Mini-FO Spotlight
Bear Lak Cowl
The honour of being the only Knits of Steele FO for November 2020 goes to the Bear Lake Cowl (Ravelry link) by Kacey Herlihy. This was a test knit, when I saw Kacey post the testing call I fell in love with this pretty cowl. And it came at the perfect time in my cowl/DK obession!
I used KnitPicks Capra for this project. It was my first time using this yarn and definitely not the last. It is so cozy and warm, the squish factor is unreal.
New (FREE) Knits of Steele Design
I released a new free knitting pattern a couple weeks ago! Hazelnut Latte is a simple knit hat is a perfect wardrobe staple for Fall or Winter. I wrote about it on the blog when it was released, you can check that out here.
And you can download your free copy of Hazelnut Latte from my Ravelry store!
Part of the reason that my WIPs have been so neglected in November is that I’ve been really enjoying some other hobbies outside of knitting this month.
I did A LOT of knitting in the first three quarters of 2020 and I’m not losing my mojo by any means, but I have taken some time to think about slowing down in the amount of projects I’m knitting. Running out of space in my closet…
Near the end of October I thought that I might enjoy Cross Stitch so I purchased some beginner friendly kits and my journey began. And I love it! Look out knitting…just kidding, knitting will always be my love/obsession but it’s nice to have some variation in crafts.
I haven’t posted much about my cross stitching other than an Instagram story here and there when I’m popping in to give updates. I don’t intend for this to become a cross stitch blog LOL. But I do think I will write a post in the near future about getting started with cross stitch, what my experience was like and some tips for beginners, from a beginner.
I’m approaching my cross stitch journey way differently than my journey with knitting and I don’t think cross stitch will ever reach the same level for me as knitting has what with this blog and my Instagram account.
And that’s exactly how I want it! Posting about my knitting hasn’t taken away my love for it, but it has made that love different and I view cross stitch as a bit of an escape from that.
Like many people I got really into Animal Crossing new Horizons during lockdown when it came out earlier this year. But over the past couple months my enthusiasm for the game was waning. And while I didn’t feel like I wanted to play, I was sad about that because it’s such a cute game and I was having a lot of fun.
In November I’m happy to say that my Animal Crossing motivation was back and I’ve had a lot of fun improving my island (hello five stars!) and making plans for cute little areas I want to create in the future.
If you’re not familiar with Pikman it involves cute little creatures called, well Pikman! I had one of these games for my Nintendo DS and Matt surprised me with the new one for the Switch.
I just started so I’m not very far along, but this game is also going to be keeping me entertained when I’m not knitting!
This game is the reason I have played on the new Playstation more than Matt has! It’s so cute.
One of the reasons I am loving this game is the world is so whimsical and cute it’s nice to escape reality for a bit. And it’s like Pokemon, but sometimes I find Pokemon overwhelming, in Bugsnax it seems really do-able to actually catch all the critters.
This blog is already loooong enough so I’m going to try and keep the knitflix section short! Here are the shows, movies, podcasts I’ve been enjoying while I work on my knitting projects.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
If you have been following me on Instagram than you know that Buffy is my favourite show. At the beginning of lockdown I started a re-watch and it has taken me until now to finish it.
This was my first time watching the series beginning to end since I first watched it back in 2015. When Buffy aired I was too young for it and although I caught some of the later episodes on cable when I was older I didn’t really follow the series.
Now that I’m finished the series I’m going on to read the comics which pick up where the show left off! And if I can get my hands on it, I’ll re-watch Angel which is a spinoff show.
Matt and I love adult animation and after watching Archer a dozen times and finishing Rick & Morty we needed something new. With the 4th season of Big Mouth coming this week we figured it was a great time to get into this show.
This show is SUUUUUPER for adults only – very R rated and if a lot of sexual content is going to make you uncomfy I would avoid it. That being said it is hilarious and has had us laughing out loud and cringing all at the same time.
Wine and Crime Podcast
I used to be really into the podcast Wine & Crime (this is another one with graphic content for adults only), but with so many podcasts to keep up with, and not having a commute in 2020 I’ve fallen behind on episodes. Near the end of November I started listening again and now I’m working towards getting all caught up.
I really love the format of this podcast compared to other true crime shows, it’s broken down into segments with each host tackling the background of their topic or a case. And they have a wine pairing for every show!
That’s a wrap on November 2020! I’m not sure how this post got so long when I feel like I’ve hardly done any knitting…I hope you enjoyed it. Please share with me in the comments what you’ve been up to this month.
What’s coming up in December….I mean who knows, but I think I can say that the December Round-up will include a few words about chunky knits, a new cross stitch project or two, some Christmas knitflixes and maybe even an FO!
OH and my Christmas Eve cast-on because I already have that planned! Maybe I’ll even share some of my favourite cookie recipes here on the blog.
There are a few things on my knitting bucket list from brioche to toe up socks and one of the techniques on that list was an afterthought heel on a pair of socks.
If you’re not familiar with the afterthought heel technique, basically you knit a sock tube with a cuff and toe, but no heel. Then when you’re done the sock you go back to place your heel by picking up stitches and…cutting into your knitting!!
The idea of cutting into your finished work can be kind of scary, in the whole afterthought heel process that’s what worried me the most. But after I learned how it’s done I saw it’s really not that scary at all!
About my socks!
Before getting into the technique, I want to share a bit about the yarn that I used for these socks.
I used Lion Brand Mani Pedi which has been in my stash for FOREVER in the colour Boot. I only used one 50g skein and I was expecting these to end up being shorter than they turned out, so I’m please how much leg I actually got out of just 50g.
I actually didn’t want the stripes to match on these socks, I was just aiming to use the full skein and so I didn’t care if they matched. And they ended up being exactly the same practically down to the stitch!
For the cuffs, heels, and toes I used Lion Brand Sock Ease in the colour Grape Soda which has also been in my stash for a while. I’ve used this yarn for cuffs, heels, and toes before.
I looked a quite a few tutorials and how-tos when I was preparing to start these socks and also when I was figuring out where to place my heel and how to pick up the stitches and cut my knitting.
The resource that I used most is this video tutorial from KirbyWirby. She takes you through the whole process of how she does her afterthought heels. I watched this video before I started my socks and then I watched it as I did the afterthought heel completing it step along with the video.
I also referenced these blog posts/articles about afterthought heels while I was trying to figure out where to place my heel.
Because I knew I wanted to use as much of this 50g skein as possible, I weighed my skein as I knit. Once I was about 25g through the skein I started the toe on my first sock.
I did about 28g left to make sure I wouldn’t be cutting it too close I ended up with enough yarn leftover to put a square in my Coziest Memory Blanket (Ravelry link).
I knit both of my tubes before starting the heels so that when I measured and placed my markers I could be certain it was the same on each sock. I definitely didn’t want a pair of socks with different foot lengths!
For the heel I really just followed all of the steps from KirbyWirby’s tutorial.
For placing my heel I followed KirbyWirby’s instructions for measuring. My foot length is 9.5 inches (women’s size 8) and so I subtracted a quarter of an inch for a snug fit because you want some negative ease in your sock.
The toe of my socks were 1.75 inches. So 9.25″ – 1.75″ = 7.5″ from the tip of the sock toe to placing the heel.
Once I knew where I was putting the heel it was pretty easy to count the stitches down the socks and place my markers. Although I have to admit my eyes were a bit sore after from looking at the tiny stitches for so long. Especially because I double and triple counted to make sure it was correct.
The hardest part for sure for me was figuring out where to place the heel. I agonized over this part it probably took me longer to actually place the heel than it took to knit it LOL.
But I ended up following KirbyWirby’s instructions to the letter and it worked perfectly!
Here’s how you can do it:
Measure your foot from toe to heel – I also compared to my shoe size and how many inches it should be based on that to know my measurement was correct.
Subtract a quarter inch to make sure you have a snug fit.
Measure your sock’s toe from tip to start of decreases and subtract the length of your toe.
Measure that length from the tip of your sock and that’s where you put your markers for your heel!
Would I do it again?
YES! Here’s what I love about the afterthought heel:
Compared to a short row heel it’s much cleaner especially if you follow the tips from KirbyWirby’s video tutorial for keeping the corners tight.
You can see in the picture above which is a short row heel done with the wrap and turn method that the heel is not as clean and there are small holes at the corners.
The afterhought heel has cleaner corners and no holes along the side.
The thing I love most about this method is that you can can just knit and knit and knit a tube without worrying about when you have to do the heel.
It’s great for knitting during movies or on the go. I’ve taken socks with me when I go camping and trying to do the heel while talking with friends or in the darkness around the campfire is the worst! But with afterthought heel I could easily knit up two sock tubes and not worry about heels at all.
And thirdly, because you’re knitting the heel in the round you can have a striped heel! When you do a short row heel or a heel flap your self-striping yarn won’t really follow the pattern in this area because it’s a smaller amount of stitches, so it ends up more colour blcoked than striped.
But with the afterthought heel you’re knitting the heel in the round, so you can get a fun self-striping heel. I’m planning to do this on an upcoming pair so follow my Instagram to see those when I knit them!