Image Map

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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

FO: Koolhaas II

Stashbusting alert!  I had a spare skein of Silk 'n Wool left over from my Back to School Vest.  I used to see this yarn every time I went through my stash and think, "This yarn is cool.  I should make a hat with it..."  Also, every time I would wear my Koolhaas hat I would think, "This hat is cool, I should make another one..."  And one day I finally put the two thoughts together and this hat was born.

yarn details
Moda Dea Silk 'n Wool Blend in Pewter
85% wool, 15% silk
worsted weight
hand wash cold and dry flat
cost: 80 g / 154 yds @ $4.19

project details
pattern: "Koolhaas" by Jared Flood, Interweave Knit Gifts 2007, pdf version available for purchase on Ravelry or on the Brooklyn Tweed website for $7 or on the Interweave Online Store for $4.50 (that is where I got mine many years ago)
needles: size 5 and size 7 nickle-plated circulars
gauge: gauge is so hard to measure here- but my best guess is 24 stitches and 32 rows over 4” in lattice pattern on size 7 needles (FYI: pattern gauge called for 26 st and 30 rows, but I didn't swatch.  I'm a rebel.)
yarn used: 1 skein
finished size: 7” tall and apprx 16” in circumference at brim
duration: Dec 31, 2014 - January 3, 2015

notes
  • This hat really needs at least one more pattern repeat to make it tall enough to cover your ears so it will be warmer for a winter hat - but, I was barely able to finish it as written with only one skein of this yarn, so I didn't have that luxury.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FO: Frosty the Tiny Snowman

Considering all the snow we have had in Boston lately, Stacey could not have picked a more appropriate little cutie to go in our freshstitches Kit Club shipment this winter!  I even crocheted him on a day when I was snowed in and couldn't go into work.  The kit included the white and orange yarn and all the safety eyes used as the "coal pieces" to decorate the snowman.  I knitted the little hat with some scraps in my stash.  Stacey loves rainbows, so the colors were sort of an ode to her.


I am proud of this little guy because I crocheted him while holding the yarn in my left hand, which is a much more sensible way to crochet than holding it in the right hand, which I typically do.  It was weird to try something new, but after a while it started feeling more natural.  I'm going to force myself to crochet this way from now on!

And here is Roxy, displeased by all the attention this little guy is getting.


yarn details
white and orange worsted weight yarn
100 % wool
(from freshstitches kit club January 2015)

findings
polyfill stuffing
two 12mm black craft eyes
two 8mm black craft eyes
five 6mm black craft eyes

project details
pattern: "Frosty the Tiny Snowman" by Stacey Trock (kit club exclusive pattern)
finished size: 4.5'' tall (without hat)
hook: G (4.25mm)
gauge: slightly tighter than 5 rounds = 2.25'' in diameter
yarn used: had several yards left over from what was in the kit
duration: February 2-3, 2015

notes

  • I was going to be all clever and write down instructions for how I knitted the hat, but I waited too long to write this blog post and have totally forgotten what I did.  Sorry!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Continental' Crocheting in a Blizzard

Well, Boston got hit with another big snow storm yesterday, so I again find myself with some time off work and itching to make it productive.  Last week, I decided to devote my snow day to practicing my continental style knitting.  This week, I decided, why not focus on "continental"crochet?  Never heard of continental crochet?  That's because no one calls it that - everyone just calls it normal crochet.  I crochet in a very abnormal style - holding the yarn in my right hand and throwing it over the hook, just like you do in English style knitting.  No one ever really taught me how to crochet, I sort of just figured it out and it made sense to me at the time to hold the yarn like I do when I knit. I form the stitches correctly this way, so it's not like I'm doing it "wrong" - I'm just doing it the slowest possible way.  I need to learn how crochet "correctly", with the yarn in my left hand.  So I practiced yesterday, ALL DAY.

Look, here I am doing it!

(Yes, that is a number 12 on my thumb...  it is my Super Bowl manicure...  go Pats!)

It was so awkward for me to hold the yarn this way, but I managed to do it and I made a tiny little amigurumi snowman wholly working in this style.  I split the yarn a lot more often than I do crocheting with the yarn in my right hand and I feel like my tension is really uneven.  I definitely need practice, but I think this is an important skill to learn, so I'm going to keep at it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Continental Knitting in a Blizzard

New England is getting slammed today by a massive blizzard, which means no work (yay!)  I have been making the very most of my snow day by going on a total knitting spree.  It's been legen... wait for it... dary.

I spent quite a bit of time revisiting my attempt to learn how to knit continental style.  I previously got started on my quest to learn this style of knitting with Craftsy's class Improve Your Knitting with Patty Lyons.  I started a wavy ribbed scarf to practice, but I kept getting frustrated with it so it spends a lot of time banished in the coffee table drawer.  Well, Craftsy recently released a class entirely on continental knitting taught by Lorilee Beltman that I have been dying to check out, and what better time than now, when I am totally snowed in?? (those are affiliate links, btw).  Want to hear the coolest part?  Craftsy gave me this new class for free so I could review it on my blog!  Hooray!

I love the class.  I have only done the basic lessons so far. I haven't moved on to the advanced portions yet since I don't need to know how to do increases/decreases for my scarf, and I'm trying to be laser focused on that project instead of working on meaningless swatches.  So, what have I learned that I didn't learn in the other class?  First, an awesome new way to tension the yarn on your left hand that involves wrapping it around your wrist.  It is so awkward at first, but it really is an excellent hold.  I also got a much better idea of how to hold my work - it needs to be a little closed-up like a pie slice compared to throwing where you keep it wide open like you're holding a book.  On that note, I was trying to knit my scarf on 12'' straight needles and this class made me realize that was making things infinitely more difficult because I couldn't hold the work close enough to my body so I switched to circulars and it is going much better.

I was hoping to learn some insanely easy way to master the continental purl stitch, but, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any super secret trick to it.  It's just gonna take practice.

In the end, both Patty Lyons and Lorilee Beltman do excellent jobs teaching the basics of continental knitting in their respective Craftsy classes, and, as much as I LOVE the Improve Your Knitting class and recommend it to everyone, I think if you are just out to learn continental, then Lorilee is your girl.  Can't wait to finish the rest of the course and see how to do those increases & decreases in continental.  I doubt I will ever adopt this as my primary knitting style, but I have been madly curious about how it all works and I love learning something new!

Oh, and here is my scarf in progress.  It's about 24'' long so far.  I want it to be super long so it will be extra warm, so I estimate I'm about 33% through with it.  (I aim to use up all this yarn - which is three balls, and I just finished one).


Let's all say a little prayer that work is cancelled again tomorrow, shall we??  :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

FO: Footie Socks

I was drawn to this pattern for footie socks because my mother lives in Southern California and, while she loves to receive hand knit socks from me, it is a little warm for them down there.  So, I thought these socks would be a good compromise, and they are!  She loves them.

Be forewarned, my fellow knitters: this pattern is a doozy!  It's more of a formula than a pattern and it requires a little math and a lot of careful attention to detail.  The cool thing about this is that you can make the socks out of any weight yarn with any needles that you like, which I dig.  Getting through the complicated mathy parts wasn't so bad, but I did have a heck of a time with the prescribed method for the short-row heel.  It has you double wrapping the stitches which was really awkward for me and it looks pretty messy.  Next time I'm just going to do it my own way.


yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Gypsy
Fingering Weight
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
dye lot 9597
Machine Washable/Tumble Dry Low
$9.99 per 100 g /462 yd skein

project details 
pattern: Footie Socks by Miriam L. Felton ($6)
needles: size 1.5 bamboo dpns (2.5mm)
yarn used: 0.36 skeins = 166 yards
finished size: 8'' long, heel to cuff is 4''
duration: April 29 - October 19, 2014

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hello 2015!

My poor little blog, I'm sorry I sort of abandoned you last month.  You know how the holidays can get... but I'm back, for today at least!  Let's make it count!

I've been busy clicking away at a few projects: my tweed business casual socks, a new pair of stripey jaywalkers, a mystery animal, two blankets, and a hat!  Whoah!  See why I've been too busy to blog?

I'm really loving the new jaywalkers that I casted on right before I went away for Christmas so I would have something to knit on the plane.  I scored a ton of felici yarn when Knit Picks brought it back for their Black Friday sale, and this is one of the colorways I snagged: Time Traveler.  It has sort of a neat vintagey feel to it, no?


I also made another Koolhaas hat out of a blackish-grey tweed yarn I had in my stash.  I marathon-knitted it over the New Year's weekend.  I don't have any pics to share, but I'll get some eventually.  Here is a progress pic I took when I was just a few inches into it:


My brother and his wife are expecting another baby this Spring, so I've also been working on a baby blanket for my new niece.  At first I wanted to make her the popular Owl Obsession blanket (which I also snagged the yarn for at the Black Friday sale), but I got one owl into it and realized that it was sort of a stupid idea to make a baby blanket out of 100% wool, so I went back to the drawing board.  I am now making an awesome rainbowy blanket instead - it's going to be fabulous!  I received the box of yarn for it yesterday and the colors are amazing. Can't wait!

Well, that has you sort of caught up on my happenings.  Until next time...  keep knitting!