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Thursday, May 14, 2015

FO: Wave Rib Scarf, (a Continental Knit)

Ever since I started knitting, I have always dreamed of being able to do it super fast!  When I learned how to knit, it was a combination of learning from books and watching my Grandma.  My grandma knits English style (which may or may not have something to do with the fact that she is actually from England) and that seems to be what a lot of the books focus on, so that's how I learned to knit.  However, as I became more immersed in the knitting world, I realized that people who knit Continental style can go much faster, but every time I tried to knit that way from books or you tube videos it was just a huge disaster.  I couldn't get it.  So, when Craftsy came out with a class on different knitting methods, I jumped at the chance to learn Continental knitting.

I started this scarf in December of 2013 while watch Patty Lyon's Improve Your Knitting class on Craftsy.  I love this class and highly recommend it!  This scarf was recommended as a good practice scarf because it is a ribbed pattern so you have to switch between knit and purl often, getting practice with both methods.  I dutifully plugged away at it for a year but Continental knitting still felt so odd and unnatural to me, that it wasn't very fun to work on, so I often abandoned it for other projects.  In January, I discovered a new Craftsy class called Knit Faster With Continental Knitting taught by Lorilee Beltman.  This class was exactly what I was looking for!  Although she didn't have any super secret method for mastering the purl stitch, which is what I was hoping for, she had lots of tips on knitting Continental style, particularly with speed in mind.  Honestly, one of the most valuable suggestions from the whole class was to take this project off straight needles and put it on nickle-plated circulars.  This makes it easier for you to hold the work in the most efficient way for Continental knitting and it made a huge difference for me.  (p.s. those are affiiliate links above)

Without further ado, here is the scarf:


This pattern was a little tricky to read because it has a lot of instructions that simply say "Rep Row 3" etc, so you have to keep going back to the instructions for previous rows and it was slow going (see left side of picture below).  So, almost as soon as I started, I knew that wasn't going to work and I rewrote the pattern, getting rid of all of those "repeat" instructions and re-writing the instructions for each row (see top-right of photo).  I followed this pattern and used a row counter for probably two-thirds of the scarf until I finally decided I was being a crazy person and created a chart for the pattern, which is the fastest way to read it (see bottom-right of picture).  I didn't create the chart for the full width of the scarf, just the first few chevrons which was all I needed to get me in the groove.  After charting it, I was able to read my knitting against the chart and see where I was in the pattern, so I tossed the row counter which sped up the knitting considerably!


And on to the details:

yarn details
Rowan RYC Soft Lux in Gigli
dye lot 35718
worsted weight
64% Merino, 24% Nylon (Polyamide), 10% Angora and 2% Metallic

handwash cold and air dry
137 yards / 50 grams @ $2.99

project details
pattern:  Meandering Rib Scarf by Lion Brand Yarn available for free here
needles: size 5
gauge: varies
yarn used: 2.75 skeins (377 yards)
finished size: 75'' x 7''
duration: December 4, 2013 - February 27, 2015

notes:

  • This scarf taught me an important lesson on gauge: if you switch needle types, change your yarn hold, and speed up about twice as fast, your gauge is going to change drastically!  You can see below, the left side is where I started the scarf on straight needles, with the yarn tensioned around my pinky and working quite slowly.  The right side is where I ended the scarf on circular needles with the yarn tensioned around my wrist and moving at a brisk pace.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FO: Gato Mishto, a.k.a. Flu Cat

This spring my boyfriend got hit hard with the flu.  He was dreadfully sick and I was so worried about him that I stayed home from work to take care of him.  Only, it turns out that I really didn't want to be anywhere near him for fear that I would catch the flu myself, so I spent most of my day locked away in the girl cave crocheting this darling cat.  (Of course, dutifully checking in on him every couple of hours).


I discovered this pattern on Pinterest and the fun part is that the whole thing was written in Spanish.  I tried running it through google translate, but it didn't really work, so I sort of just looked at the numbers in the pattern and then used the pictures to figure out the rest.

The best thing about the pattern is that the pattern writer compares this cat to Ashton Kutcher in ways that translate to English hilariously!  I had to call in some Spanish speaking friends to try to help but the best we could come up with is that, from the front, this cat is cute like Ashton Kutcher.  And, from the back, it is cute like an indifferent Ashton Kutcher (you know, because he is turning his back on you).  So, here is flu cat's darling indifferent side:



yarn details
Red Heart Soft Baby Steps in White
worsted weight
100% Acrylic
256 yards /141 grams @ $3.11

findings
polyfill stuffing
pink felt
pink embroidery floss
8mm or possibly 9mm safety eyes (my package is not labeled)

project details
pattern: "Sam the Koala" by Stacey Trock, $4, available here or on Ravelry
finished size: 5” tall to tips of ears; 9.5” in circumference
hook: G (4.25 mm)
gauge: ??
yarn used: 0.23 skeins (59 yards)
duration: March 4, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pepper Pockets!

Check out the cute pockets that I knitted for my grandma's favorite cardigan.  We call them Pepper Pockets.


Pretty cute, huh?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

FO: Sugar Maple Shawl

I wanted to make something special for my Grandma for her 100th birthday and I thought a shawl would be lovely, but I sort of waited until the last minute to get started, so I had to choose my pattern carefully.  I used Ravelry's awesome pattern browsing feature to look for shawls knit with bulky yarn on big needles and I found this lovely pattern, the Sugar Maple Shawl.  At first I wanted to stashbust, but I didn't have enough of the right yarn, so I ordered this yarn from Knit Picks and paid for expedited shipping... that was a first for me!  But I wanted to get started quickly.

You'll have to forgive me, I wasn't so great at getting pictures of this FO, but.....

Here is a closeup of the lace pattern:


And here is the shawl on the blocking board:


And here is the shawl on my Grandma at her birthday party!


yarn details
Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky in Mineral Heather
dye lot 156256
bulky weight 
100% wool (superwash)
machine wash & tumble dry low
137 yds / 100 g @ $7.39 per skein

project details 
pattern: "Sugar Maple Shawl" by Suzanne Stewart, available for purchase on Ravelry for $6
needles: size 11 nickle-plated circs
gauge: I didn't check, sorry
yarn used: 4.02 skeins (551 yards)
finished size: forgot to take final measurements before giving it to Grandma
duration: November 2 - December 6, 2014

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day!

Today is a very special Pi day because it's 3/14/15.  Very cool!  To commemorate this special day, I crocheted a key lime pie.



yarn details
Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Honey Dew
sport weight
75% Pima Cotton, 25% Acrylic

Knit Picks Brava Worsted in Cream
worsted weight
100% Acrylic

Green Oak Acrylic in White
worsted weight
100% Acrylic

findings
polyfill stuffing

project details
pattern: followed the crochet pumpkin pie tutorial from Ice Pandora, here: http://icepandora.blogspot.nl/2013/10/diy-crochet-pumpkin-pie.html
finished size: 2'' long and about 1'' tall to top of pie crust (not including pompom whipped cream)
hook: E & G
gauge: ??
yarn used: ??
duration: March 14, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

#DearMe

Happy International Women's Day!  Today, we are asked to give our younger selves some advice using the hashtag #DearMe.  My advice for young women everywhere is to to take better care of yourself.  That whole self-sacrificing thing is so over.  Take time to do something you love every day, even if it means you sometimes neglect something that seems important.  The other stuff can wait.  Honestly, most things have a way of taking care of themselves, so you should too.  Just relax and knit.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Lesson on Gauge

I have been practicing my continental knitting on a scarf which I started in December of 2013 and I finally finished it yesterday.  Yay!  As I pulled the scarf off the needles and held the two ends together, I was a little shocked...  look at the difference in my gauge between the part I knit last year and my gauge now!


The left side of the picture is my cast on edge which I did 14 months ago and the right side is the part I just recently finished.  Pretty crazy, huh?  I think the big difference is that (a) I changed the way I hold the yarn and (b) I got much faster.

I actually prefer the gauge on first half of the scarf - I think it looks much neater.  As I was speeding up near the end, my gauge got a little uneven and is much looser than I like.  I think I need to experiment more with finding the right hold that will give me enough tension to knit tighter stitches, but hopefully enough give to knit quickly.