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Friday, August 21, 2015

FO: Rainbow Baby Blanket

When my brother announced that he was expecting his fifth child I was so happy for him... but also a little bummed out because it meant I had to knit another baby blanket.  I sort of have a love/hate relationship with baby blankets.  On the love side, I like having something really special to give the new little bundles of joy and their parents.  On the hate side, they always take a long time to knit and tend to be either super boring or super tedious... so, you can understand why I was feeling a little anxious about the idea of knitting another one.  Then I visited my Ravelry queue and found this pattern that I had saved a long time ago.  The rainbow made me happy, not anxious - so it was the pattern for me!


Here is the blanket all spread out.  It was huge!  I could barely get it all in one shot.  And would you believe that I didn't pull out a measuring tape and measure it before I gave it away?  Oops!


The best part about this blanket is the yarn.  I totally splurged on it, but it was worth it.  I used nine different colors of Knit Picks Shine Sport.  I love how soft this yarn is and the color selection is fantastic.  Each stripe ended up using just barely over one ball of yarn.  If I were to ever knit this again, I would modify the pattern so that I can make it slightly smaller and only use one ball of each color.  This would have saved me boatloads of money.  (But then I wouldn't have lots of soft rainbow yarn left over to play with!)


yarn details
Knit Picks Shine Sport in Blush, Clementine, Crocus, Dandelion, French Blue, Green Apple, Peapod, Reef, and Serrano
worsted weight
60% Pima Cotton, 40% Modal
Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low
110 yards / 50 grams @ $2.99 each

project details
pattern: "Rainbow Baby Blanket" by Patsy Leatherbury
needles: size 7 nickle plated circs
gauge: who swatches for a baby blanket?
yarn used: 1.059 yards -- (about 123 yards of the pink and red; the rest of the yarn was approx. 115 yards each)
finished size: didn't remember to measure :(
duration: January 13 - March 29, 2015 (I respond well to deadlines)

notes

  • Used Russian joins when joining two balls of the same color together; didn't do anything special when changing colors - just left ends and wove them in at the end (I made sure to split the yarn a lot when I was weaving them in.  Still, this yarn is so slippery, I'm sure those ends will work their way out quickly!)
  •  Like I said above, if I knit this again, I would modify this pattern to only use like 100-110 yards per color so I didn't have to buy an extra ball for those extra 10 yards needed to complete each stripe.
  • I absolutely love the drape of this yarn for this project.  Definitely recommend it!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

UFO sighting! Tropical Clutch

I was rummaging through one of my (secret) yarn storage spaces this morning looking for a particular yarn I need to finish a project and look what I found:


This is going to be a cool beaded clutch and I remember I was so excited about it when I started the project and it took me forever to find the right wooden beads and the pieces for the handle.  You'd think that after I went to all that effort, I would have knit it up quickly to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  But that was over two years ago...


I can't believe I let it hibernate for so long!  Poor little clutch!  So, anyway, today I am devoting a little time to work on it.  It's been at least a year since I've touched it and I had to relearn the beading technique a bit, but I'm on track now.  I'm officially bumping it up in WIP priority list to right below my last freshstitches kit club project and above the last panel of the hue shift afghan - two other projects that have been languishing in the WIP bin for far too long...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

FO: Stretch the Giraffe

I'm in love with this sweet giraffe designed by my favorite stuffed animal designer - Stacey Trock of freshstitches.  This is from her book Crocheted Softies which I got as a very generous "extra" in my swap package in a secret pal swap among people in Stacey's Ravelry fan group.



Usually I make amigurumi out of standard acrylic yarn (or from 100% wool if it is from a kit I get from Stacey, since she likes to use the nice stuff).  But this time I tried something different.  I used a very soft cotton/acrylic blend from Knit Picks called Comfy.  I also crocheted this guy at a much looser gauge than I usually crochet my stuffies at (used a J hook vs. an H).  All this resulted in a very soft, extra squishy, huggable, adorable giraffe!  Yay!

yarn details
Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Creme Brulee and Doe
worsted weight
75% pima cotton, 25% acrylic
machine wash and dry
109 yards/50 grams @ $2.99 per ball

findings
12mm safety eyes
polyfill stuffing

project details
pattern: Stretch the Giraffe by Stacey Trock in the book Crocheted Softies
hook: J (6.0 mm)
gauge: looser than usual
yarn used: 1.1 balls of yellow and 0.43 balls of brown
finished size: 8'' high - not including horns
duration: May 9 - August 16, 2014

notes

  • I ran out of the yellow Comfy yarn with just a few rows left on the head, so I subbed in some Shine Worsted in the same colorway that I happened to have.  You really can't tell, thank goodness! 
  • I like how this guy is floppier than my usual stuffies, but I feel like you can kind of see the stuffing through the fabric. I think I will probably go back to using an H hook for my freshstitches amigurumi.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FO: Owen the Teddy Bear

This adorable teddy bear was a very special project for a very special person.  Mike, my mom's fiance, had an amazing relationship with his mother, who was a knitter like me.  She passed away several years ago, but Mike saved her WIPS and a lot of her yarn.  Last year, he gave them to me because he knew how much I love yarn and knitting.  One of her WIPS was a red and white striped sweater, about half-way finished.  There was no pattern and it's probably unlikely that I could match her gauge exactly, so finishing the sweater wasn't really an option, so I set out to recycle the yarn.


I wanted to make a very special gift for Mike to thank him for the gift, so I decided to use the yarn that I unraveled from the sweater to make him a little teddy bear from the same yarn that passed through his mother's fingers.


yarn details
mystery white yarn (recycled)
fingering or sport weight?
fiber did not felt - acrylic or superwash wool?

a bit of red mystery red yarn (recycled) for heart

bits of black fingering weight yarn from stash for eyes

findings
polyfill stuffing
buttons
carpet thread

project details
pattern: "Owen" by Jane Watling, available for purchase on Ravelry (£4.00 GBP)
finished size: sitting (seat to top of head) - 10”;  standing (toes to top of head) -  13.5”
needles: size 3 bamboo dpns (see note)
yarn used: ??
duration: Dec. 7, 2014 - Jan. 27, 2015

notes

  • I used bamboo dpns for this project that have kind of a dull point, but if I were to do it again, I would use pointier nickle plated needles.  It was challenging to knit with the duller tips, especially for the part where you pick up stitches for the ears.
  • The method of attaching the arms and legs is strange, but works wonders!  I was able to find some very strong thread called carpet thread in my grandmother's old sewing kit and it was perfect for this job.  (We're using vintage materials all around on this project!)  I wasn't able to find buttons in the size specified in the pattern, so I used smaller ones and it all worked out just fine.  I wouldn't stress out too much about finding buttons the right size - just use what you have on hand.
  • Here is a visual of the moveable limbs:

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?