Quickie checker-board mug hug

My Twitter friend, Corinne, (@MotherScuffer) needs a quick make for her partner’s birthday.  So here’s a mug hug how-to.  I wouldn’t aggrandise it with the label ‘pattern’, since although it’s coming straight out of my head I can hardly believe it’s original.

So.  I work these things with double yarn – knitting two balls of yarn simultaneously.  Bear in mind this is going round a mug – some people drink with them still on, so you probably want to avoid fluffy, shedding types of yarn.  I have to admit, I go with acrylic, partly because I have a lot of it left from the zigzag blanket, but also because it washes so well.

If you choose two related colours, say a light blue and a dark blue, or burgundy and pink, you get a lovely tweedy effect.  Or you can go for a sharp contrast – orange and green is good together.  So is yellow and red.

I tend to default to 5mm (US 8) or 6mm (US 10) needles.  Up to you – the thinner your needle, the tighter your knitting is going to be.

For an ordinary (UK ordinary) sized mug, I would go with 15 stitches.  For a larger mug, increase this number in multiples of 3.

The design is easiest to work with the mug you’re knitting for – or one like it – by your side.  There are no hard and fast rules for sizing these things.

Cast on 15 stitches, using two strands of yarn.

Row 1: knit to end
Row 2: purl to end
Row 3: knit to end
Row 4: *K3, P3, repeat from * to end
Row 5: *P3, K3, repeat from * to end
Row 6: as row 4

Rows 4 – 6 form the pattern.
Continue in pattern until your hug is roughly 1cm (1/2″) too short for the mug, wrapped around the mug horizontally starting from the handle.

Repeat rows 1-3.
Cast off.

Now, join the top two and bottom two stitches of your hug, leaving a gap in the middle for the handle.

You can either leave the hug plain, or embellish by stitching on a heart cut from felt, or embellish with buttons, or a little message/label embroidered in backstitch on felt. 

A first pattern…

I wrote a pattern!

OK.  I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t so much write a pattern from scratch as make two things from existing patterns, and smash them together to make a new, different thing.  But it took some maths, and some working out, and a *little* bit of frogging, and everyone’s got to start somewhere, right?!!

So, I’ve started with working out how to make a lacey, cabley cowl.  Like this one:

This was born from my eldest daughter’s often expressed jealousy at my own cowl.  On a Christmas Eve trip to Hobbycraft (spit!) she was ooohing and aaaahing at the softness of a Wendy wool/alpaca blend aran weight yarn, and I thought …. well, it *would* knit up into a lovely snuggly cowl…. and the very next thing I knew, it was in my basket.

So the pattern is a blend of the garter girl burberry-inspired cowl and the f.pea lacy cowl pattern, while being not quite the same as either…

And for your delight and delectation, this is what I did:

Materials:

100g aran weight yarn (I used Wendy Osprey alpaca/wool blend, shade 2686)
Size 10 (US) 6mm needles
Cable needle
Yarn needle

Key:

8CF – slip next 8 stitches onto cable needle and leave at front of work.  Knit 8 stitches, knit the 8 stitches from the cable needle.
8CB – slip next 8 stitches onto cable needle and leave at rear of work.  Knit 8 stitches, knit the 8 stitches from the cable needle.

Method:

Cast on 52 stitches
Row 1: knit to end.

Pattern:

**Row 1: P to end
Row 2: *K4, K1 YO K2Tog, rep from * to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 3: P to end
Row 4: K to end

Repeat rows 1-4 twice.  On third repeat (row 12): K3, 8CF, K13, 8CF, K4
Repeat rows 1-4 twice more.  On third repeat (row 24): K18, 8CB, K18**

Repeat from ** to ** until work measures approx 18″ (finishing on row 24)
Next row: P to end
Next row: Cast off knitwise.
Join short edges, to form a loop.
Darn in loose ends of yarn.

And that’s it!! My first pattern – I do hope someone else makes it… will you send me photos, if you do?