Sunday, July 29, 2018

FO: Graphically Gray Baby Blanket

You know how much I love to knit baby blankets, so it must be someone special who prompts me to do it! I made this one for my boss's new bundle of joy, Violet.  (Had I known her name before I started knitting, I absolutely would have incorporated some purple into the mix!) 

Speaking of color, I asked what color the nursery was going to be and I got back a mix of gray and white with pink accents.  I couldn't stomach the boredom of making a fully gray baby blanket, so I decided to try this chevron design, which turned out pretty cute:

I used Knit Picks Comfy yarn here, which is the only yarn I will ever use for baby blankets - it is SO soft and durable in the wash.  I first used it to make a blanket for my niece and it has become her official blankie, goes everywhere and has held up.  Her mom recently told me, "whatever you paid for that yarn, it was worth its weight in gold." 

Anyway, here's an "action shot" of the chevron blanket with the adorable squishmallow that my boss gave me, as a thank you for stitching up his toddler's favorite stuffie when he got ripped.  (In case you haven't picked up on this, my boss and I are total bffs... lucky me! Nothing worse than having a bad boss!)

yarn details
Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in White, Whisker (gray), and Flamingo (pink)
Worsted Weight
75% Pima Cotton 25% Acrylic
Machine Wash Gentle / Tumble Dry Low
$2.99 per 50 g/109 yd skein (purchased in November 2017)

project details
pattern: "Graphically Gray" by Wilma Peers in the book 60 Quick Baby Blankets (I got it used for about $6 on Amazon)
needles: size 6 and 7 nickel-plated circs (see note below)
gauge: I actually did check the gauge here, but I forgot to write it down
yarn used: 3.4 balls of Whisker (368 yards);  3.2 balls of White (342 yards); 0.5 balls of Flamingo (52 yards)
finished size: about 29'' wide (that's all I wrote in my notes, not sure why I didn't measure length? But I believe it was roughly square)
duration: February 2, 2018 - April 14, 2018


  • The last time I made a baby blanket, I noticed that I was rowing out - which means your purls are looser than your knits and it makes a weird pattern on the reverse side - so I decided to try a new trick this time by using two different needle sizes.  I did my knits with a size 7 and my purls with a size 6. (This was super easy because I used interchangeable needles, so I just put a 6 tip on one end of the cable and a 7 tip on the other)
  • I read a lot of complaints on Ravelry that my fellow knitters didn't like the pattern instructions for the triangles at the ends of the blanket, so I followed their notes, but also sort of did my own thing. Jessica7965's notes were really helpful, but I added some W&T's in my short rows; I added a photo of the scribbled notes I took on my Ravelry project page if you want to check that out.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sock Blocking & How to Soften Yarn!

Heads up! This post contains affiliate links, which means I get may a commission if you purchase something based on my recommendations in this post.

I'm blocking a pair of socks this afternoon and I thought I'd give you a peek into the process. This is a pair of no-purl Monkey socks that I made for my friend Eli (she loved the last pair of Monkeys I made, but they weren't the right size for her).

The yarn is Knit Picks Hawthorne Speckle, which is absolutely beautiful yarn, but it's not as soft as their Stroll yarn, which is my favorite... but, never fear, Beyond Soft is here!  Whenever I want to soften up yarn a bit, I will let the project soak in a sink of warm water plus one capful of this stuff for about 10 minutes.  Then you drain and lay flat to dry.  Voila!

You might spy some sock blockers in this picture too.  It's actually pretty rare that I will use these to block socks (I usually just use them to take pretty pictures). There is always a risk that sock blockers can stretch out cuffs too much so I avoid using them, but, every now and then lace is just stubborn and you need a little help to open up the stitchwork.  That's what happened here.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

My Swift Cover & Crushing Those Little Moments of Frustration

I was using my umbrella swift today and it occurred to me that I have never shared a picture of my adorable swift cover from Slipped Stitch Studios.

Before I got this cover, it was always such a pain to store my swift, because those little arms would catch on everything when I tried to take it out or put it back in the closet.  Those little frustrating moments are something I learned to deal with and I didn't realize how much they bothered me until I got this swift cover and suddenly all that pain was gone and I could move it around the closet with ease.  I don't remember how much I paid for the cover - I recall thinking that it was a bit of a splurge - but it has been worth every dollar for sure!

Anyway, the lesson here is: all those little moments of frustration add up.  When you are given an opportunity to make something easier on yourself - take it!  Something as simple as putting your swift in a bag can make a real difference in your quality of life.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

FO: Gladys Socks

Some fun socks off the needles!

Note: the links to Knit Picks below are affiliate links.☺

yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll in Firecracker Heather (buy here)
Dye Lot 196237
Fingering Weight
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Machine wash/Tumble dry low
$4.69 per 50 g/231 yd skein (purchased in November 2017)

project details
pattern: "Gladys" by General Hogbuffer (free Ravelry download)
needles: size 1.5 (2.5 mm) nickel-plated circs (Knit Picks fixed ciculars)
gauge: nope
yarn used: 300 yards - 1.3 skeins (65 grams)
size knit: CO 64 stitches
finished size: bottom of heel to top of sock: 9''; back of heel to tip of toe: 9.5''
duration: January 30, 2018 - May 20, 2018

  • Ribbing on cuff: 2.25” (25 rows) 
  • Leg pattern: ~1.75” (24 rows)
  • German twisted cast on

Sunday, May 20, 2018

FO: Grand Canyon Socks

Another pair of stripey socks!!  I made these for a friend of mine who loves to hike, and, as a bonus, I knit a good part of them while I was at the Grand Canyon , so they are totally an ode to his nature-loving self.

yarn details
Knit Picks Felici* in Steamer Trunk 
    *affiliate link - meaning I may get a commission if you buy something upon my recommendation ☺
Fingering Weight
Dye Lot 18515
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Machine wash/Tumble dry low
$3.84 per 50 g /218 yd ball purchased September 2017

project details
pattern: "A Sock Surgeon's Afterthought Heel" by Emily B. Miller; available as a free Ravelry download - with an accompanying YouTube video.
needles: size 1.5 wood DPNs
yarn used: 353 yards - 1.62 balls (81 grams)
size knit: CO 64 stitches
gauge: sorry - forgot to measure
finished size: bottom of heel to top of sock: 10.5''; back of heel to tip of toe: 9.75''; circumference: ~7''
duration: November 4, 2017 - April 22, 2018

  • As usual, I did a German twisted cast on - my favorite! Check out this cool Craftsy class on cast-ons and bind-offs*, to learn how to do it.
    *another affiliate link... gotta earn some yarn money!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Gifts for The Knitting Mama!

I'll start this post off with two disclaimers:

  1. First, I'm a cat-mom, not a people-mom (but I still know a thing or two about gifts knitters like to receive).
  2. Second: I'm sharing some amazing etsy products today and I'm using affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you use them (but I would recommend an etsy shopping spree with or without a commission because I freakin' love to shop handmade!)

With those out of the way, here is my First Annual Spicy Knitter Mother's Day Gift Guide!!  Because every mom - cat-moms included - need these things in their life:

For Cat-Moms and Cat-Fancier People-Moms...

The World's Best Mother's Day Card ($3)

As I said, this gift guide is appropriate for cat-moms and people-moms, and this mother's day card does double-duty on that front.  (Sorry dog-moms... go find your own gift guide!)

Cat Mother's Day Card
Photo Credit: SimonsNest

For Moms Across the Pond...

Knitting Mum Needle Case ($21)

For all the "mums" out there, you absolutely need a special case to hold your knitting needles! (I use a ziplock bag, which is so pathetic that I can't even believe I'm admitting it in public).

Mum's Knitting Needles
Photo Credit: KellyConnorDesigns

For Procrastinating Cat-Moms...

Knitter's To Do List ($8)

Pretty much every to-do list that I make is titled "Things to Do Before I Can Knit," so, this pre-printed to-do list stationary would save me a ton of time - time I could spend knitting.

Knitter's To-Do List
Photo Credit: theclevercove

True Story: at the time I wrote this post, there was only one of these babies left in stock... and I bought it.  I'm still including it in my gift guide in case the shop owner re-lists it.  I hope she does because I will need a replacement in 50 days. ☺

For Generous Moms (is there any other kind?)...

Personalized Made With Love Buttons ($16)

I recently bought these engraved made with love buttons to put a final touch on the gift wrap when I give people handmade gifts.  I'll write another post soon to show mine off, I just haven't gotten a great picture yet. At $16 + $5.50 shipping for 50 buttons, they are a great deal and will probably last the rest of my gift-giving lifetime.

It may feel a little weird to give your mom a gift that basically says "hey, use this next time you give me a gift," but I doubt she'll interpret it that way.  They are too cute and any knitter would adore them!

Photo Credit: Cutpie

I also have a runner-up in this category, which I almost purchased but didn't because it is already half-way through 2018.  These are one-inch discs with a hole at the top and the general idea is that it would have had my initials and the year I made the item, so the tag would become like a little keepsake/collectible for the recipient, especially if they receive many handknit gifts throughout the years - I could even see some of my family members using it as a Christmas ornament.  I like this idea because handknit socks definitely come with an expiration date and the recipients get sad when theirs wear out, but at least this way they'd have a little reminder of the love that went into the gift.

Also, I had a conversation with the shop owner when I was considering buying these, and he was very amenable to the idea of customizing the design - you don't have to use one of the stock templates pictured in the listing.
Engraved gift tag
Photo Credit: OTWorkshop

For The World's Greatest Mom...

Knitting Mom Keychain ($7)

I know knitters and I can tell you that they take great pride in their work.  I also know my mom, and she is pretty damn proud of how I turned out.  So, I think this keychain would make a great gift for the knitting mama since it incorporates all the things she is proud of.  Plus, it will have her initial on it, so she won't mix up her keys with all the other "world's greatest" moms in her knitting circle.

True story: there is only one left in stock and I may buy it for myself.  You should act fast.

Photo Credit: LittlePinkBox

For Moms Who Like Ink
(and for those who don't!)...

Knitting Temporary Tattoo ($2)

Does your mom give you a hard time about your tattoos? Give her a taste of the inky fun with this awesome temporary tattoo for knitters.  This would be a fun gift to pop inside your greeting card, which is especially convenient if mom lives out of state.

Knitting Tattoo
Photo Credit: sparkleyassbitch
(sorry about the cursing there, Mom!)

For Fashionable Moms...

Monogrammed Knitting Bag ($35)

This monogrammed knitting bag isn't all "in your face" about knitting, like the other gifts I've selected.  But where it lacks in silliness, it makes up for it in classiness.  It's the spendiest item on my list, but I think it's definitely worth the splurge.  There is also a matching needle case if you really want to splurge!  (And you should.  It's for your mom, after all).

Knitting Bag
Photo Credit: GemimaLondon

And... last but not least...  be sure to check out my etsy shop for cute knitting buttons! ($6)

These are just some of the fun gifts I've spotted for the knitting mama in your life.  Etsy has a whole landing page of gifts curated for mothers - lots of gorgeous jewelry on there that I may get for my own mom! (She doesn't knit, but that's basically her only flaw).

Sunday, April 29, 2018

FO: Shine On Socks

Heads up! This post contains affiliate links to my favorite places to buy knitting goodies: Knit Picks and Etsy.  I get a small commission if you make a purchase based on my recommendations in this post.

I have coveted Cookie A's BFF sock pattern for years and I can't say what took me so long to knit a pair, but I finally did!  I bought this bright yellow sock yarn on a whim and when I started knitting with it, I couldn't get our Executive Director out of my mind.  She always signs off her emails with the phrase, "Shine On," and that's how I felt about these socks.  Hence, they earned their name and future owner.

FYI - my adorable sock blockers came from Yarn Stories on Etsy. Shipped all the way from Lithuania, and completely worth the wait! 😃

yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll in Dandelion (buy here)
Dye Lot 198304
Fingering Weight
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Machine wash/Tumble dry low
$4.69 (minus a Black Friday discount!) per 50 g/231 yd skein (purchased in November 2017)

project details
pattern: "BFF Socks" by Cookie A - available on Ravelry to purchase individually, or in the Knit. Sock. Love. book.
needles: size 1.5 (2.5 mm) wood dpns (specifically, these ones)
gauge: nope
yarn used: 360 yards - 1.56 skeins (78 grams)
size knit: small (CO 64 stitches)
finished size: forgot to measure, but I made them to fit a 6.5 shoe size
duration: December 3, 2017 - March 2018