Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Progress Report

I had a very productive weekend (well, productive knitting-wise).  I am super excited to report that I am almost finished with the lettering on the smokinskip scarf!  YAY!  I made it through the "k", the "i" and the first half of the "p" last weekend.  Here is a pic of it up to the "i" part:


Impressive, eh?  I'm looking forward to finishing.  Then I think I'll be done with intarsia projects for a while after this...  I definitely need a break from it.  In fact, I might be done with gift knitting in general for a while too.

I also made good progress on the Mousseux shawl I am making for my mother.  Here is what I have so far.  I estimate I'm about 25% done at this point, maybe 30%.  It is just increasing garter stitch at this point, so it's really easy.  Not too boring... though the rows are starting to get pretty long, so that feeling may change.  Here is a pic, though there's really not much to see:


I have no doubt that I will have this done before I go visit my mother in late April.  Yay!

p.s.  I envy some of the knitting bloggers out there who always take the most beautiful WIP pics!  Mine are horrid, I know.  Frankly, my FO pics really aren't much better... something I need to work on.

Genius! Free-Sole Socks

I woke up to a cool email today from Knitting Daily talking about something I have never heard of before, but am totally in love with: Free-Sole Socks.  These are socks that you knit the leg and top of the foot separately from the sole and the heel, then you somehow join them together (I'm a little sketchy on the details).  Anyway, the point is, that when the sole of your sock wears down, you can remove it and knit another one to replace it - meaning your socks will last forever!  Neat, huh?

Here is a link to the blog post that Knitting Daily wrote about it, and here is a link to the book, by Anna Zilboorg.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Maybe Monday: Kitten Amigurumi!

For today's Maybe Monday, I am looking at a sweet little crochet project: amigurumi kittens!


Why I Want to Crochet This:  First of all.... we're talking about KITTENS!!  Love them!  Second... the pattern is FREE!!  Third ... I love Amy Gaines's designs!  She is so talented!  Lots to be excited about with this project.

Why I Might Not Make It:  I've been making a lot of little amigurumis lately at the expense of doing more "serious" knitting projects.  I've just got a lot of other projects in the works and not sure I should take a break to work on another critter right now.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nouveau Projet!

I was exploring Pinterest yesterday and found this beauty:

Mousseux, by Organdi Bidouille
{link to pattern steps 1, 2, and 3}

Isn't she lovely?  I've been looking around for a nice shawl to make my mother (since I don't like the one I already made her, or the one I started to replace it) and this is definitely the one.

The only problem is... the pattern is in French.  There is a loose English translation, and pictures, so I have no doubt that I will be able to get by, but the frustrating thing is that everyone's notes and comments are in French, particularly the notes and comments on the version pictured above, which I want to copy.  Now, theoretically, I speak French, so I've managed to decipher a lot of what is going on (with some additional help from google translate, of course!)  But, it has all been a little headache inducing... and I still can't quite figure out the yarn situation of the above-pictured shawl.  It is definitely a mohair lace-weight yarn carried along with another yarn, as I can see in the designer's WIP pic:


I have no idea what that mystery yarn is, but I made an executive decision that I am going to use a fingering weight yarn and carry it along with the Knit Picks Aloft yarn that I already have in my stash.  I picked up some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering at the LYS yesterday (the colorway is called "Pepper"!) and I swatched it all up last night on size 10 needles and I like the results, so that's what I'm doing.  C'est décidé.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

FO: Wine Tote

I love my wine... and sometimes I am forced by social convention to share a bottle or two when I visit other people's houses...  but I had no cute way to transport the wine that I share, which was something that had to be remedied!  Enter: the crocheted wine tote.  I discovered this pattern on Pinterest and it was one of those things I instantly knew that I had to do!  (Unlike the other 6,256 things I have pinned that I will probably never do....)  It was a semi-frustrating project for me, but, in the end, I'm happy with how it turned out and I can't wait until the next time I need to tote some wine over to a friend's house!


yarn details
Berroco Comfort in Raspberry Sorbet
dye lot V1584
worsted weight
50% Acrylic, 50% Nylon
100 grams / 210 yds

Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Seaspray
dye lot 39451A
aran weight

50 % Cotton 50% Acrylic
100 grams/207 yds


project details
pattern: "Wine Tote" by Katie Cornell of Off the Hook Crochet, $3 on Etsy; and I followed the crocheted flower instructions on this blog.
hook: size h

yarn used: 0.69 skeins (145 yards) of Comfort; didn't measure the amount of Cotton-Ease
finished size: wine bottle size
duration: October 28, 2012 - January 26, 2013


notes

  • Although my notes say this took a few months to finish... I actually crocheted the final version of this tote in a weekend... it just took me several partial and one complete frogging before I got it right!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FO: Vera the Ladybug

My sweet little niece Kadyn loves ladybugs and her birthday was coming up so I decided to crochet her this little lady!  Her name is Vera and she is one of the amigurumis designed by my favorite crocheter, Stacey Trock.  Stacey sells kits on her website where you can buy the pattern, yarn, and eyes for lots of her little creatures, so that's where I got started with this one.  It's really a good deal, I recommend looking into it if you want to make a little critter but don't have enough scrap yarn laying around in the right colors.  (Incidentally, I completely overestimated how much yarn this project required and I probably did have enough scrap yarn in my stash to make it without the kit, but....  hindsight is 20/20).

And now, without further ado, here is Vera:

yarn details
black, red, and white yarn from kit
worsted weight
100% wool

findings
12mm black safety eyes

project details
pattern: "Vera the Ladybug" by Stacey Trock (available for purchase here)
hook: size h
yarn used: Stacey says it is 50 yards of black, 25 yards of red, and 10 yards of white.. I didn't measure myself, so we'll have to trust her.
finished size: 3.5 inches long and 3.25 inches tall (including the antennae)
duration: January 31 - February 3, 2013


notes

  • The pattern says this little lady is four inches tall, which sounded big in my head, but actually, it is very small.  (I guess that's why it is listed in the shop section "tiny amigurumi"... duh...)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

(Long) Weekend Update

Hooray for President's Day weekend!  I got tons of knitting done, as well as lots of Buffy-watching and my first foray into Downton Abby (and I can totally see how so many people are addicted to that show!)  But, back to the knitting report....

I am very proud of the progress I have made on the smokinskip scarf!  Though, I still don't think I'm going to finish it before scarf-wearing weather is gone :(  The picture below is slightly out of date, because yesterday I managed to finish the second s and half of the second k.  Just 2.5 letters to go!

I also got some crocheting done.  I saw this pin on pinterest about how to crochet a rose and I thought that would be the perfect adornment to the wine tote I recently finished crocheting.  I'll do an FO post soon, but here is a sneak peak of the rose:


Finally, as promised, I practiced continental-style knitting!  I did it for about half an hour on Saturday, then probably 15 minutes on Sunday and Monday.  I definitely think I have the knit stitch down, it's the purl stitch that is driving me mad.  I can do it, but it is slow-going and it just feels sloppy.  Also, I have virtually no tension in my purl stitches, which is problematic.  I guess all I can do is to keep practicing!  I think it will be a long time before I get my tension even enough that I can actually make a project continental-style, but I'm sure I'll get there.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Maybe Monday: Spring Socks

This week I'm loving these super fun and colorful stripey Spring Socks designed by Eveli Kaur:


What I Love About Them: An excuse to use Noro Kureyon?  Yes Please!!

Why I Might Not Go Through With It:  No real reason not to knit these... other than the fact that the yarn is kind of pricey.  OK, one other teeny tiny reason why I might be too lazy to knit these is that it requires splitting the ball of yarn in half before you start knitting, which sounds like a drag.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Decisions, Decisions!

Help!  I think I'm ready to start a new project, but I can't decide which one!  I've got four options:

OPTION 1: Tropical Clutch

I already have all the supplies for this one, and it would be a nice small project.  Plus, I've never knit with beads before, so I'd learn something new.

OPTION 2: Bliss Top

I just bought this book and I'm super excited to knit this top!  I have yarn in my stash that should work for it, however I would have to liberate some of it from a long-abandoned WIP.  That's not a problem though.  However, maybe it's not a good idea to start such a big project when I already have a large project looming (the smokinskip scarf).  Maybe it would be best to stick to something small.

OPTION 3: Leaf Beret

I've been wanting to knit this for ages and I recently just bought the yarn for it.... so I'm sort of itching to get started!  It's a small project, and would probably be a nice hat for early Spring, which is just right around the corner!

OPTION 4: The Girly Top

This was my Maybe Monday feature this week.  I believe I have some yarn in my stash that would work, but I'd have to double check.  The only reason I'm tempted to start this project now is because I also want to learn how to knit continental style and this would probably be a good learning project for that.

Oh, I don't know what to do!!  I probably shouldn't start any of them and focus on what is already on my needles instead...  but where is the fun in that??

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Continental, Baby!

I've been threatening to do this for a while now, but I think I'm really going to do it this time: learn to knit continental style!

I don't know anyone who knits this way, so I'm going to have to hit the internet for guidance.  First, I will browse the wikipedia entry on continental knitting, to put it all in context....  Next, I'm going to check out TECHknitter's amazing tutorial - she explains everything so well!  Then I'll move on to video.  I have found KnittingHelp.com's tutorials helpful in the past for English-knitting questions.  Knit Picks also has some instructional videos that might be worthwhile.

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blizzard Knitting

New England was hit hard with a massive blizzard this past weekend, which can only mean one thing... lots of time for knitting!  I did a little work on my brother's scarf, but I was mostly in a sock mood, so I did a lot of work on the Nine to Five socks.  As you can see: I finished the heel and gusset, and I'm now on to the foot.  Woot!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Maybe Monday: Girly Top

It's Monday, and I'm feeling pretty exhausted.  That's why for today's Maybe Monday feature, I'm dreaming of knitting up something very simple, but very lovely....  the Girly Top by Ram Wools Yarn Co-Op.



What I love about it: I love that this is knit all in one piece and is super simple.  Looks like a nice and relaxing knit.  It also has the potential to be a stash buster, which is doubly-nice.

Why I may not knit it:  That's a whole lotta stockinette stitch....  could get boring.*

*but... if you look at the pattern download, there are instructions for a decidedly not-boring fair isle version of this top.  It's really amazing!  Of course, then the top becomes the opposite of relaxing to knit...  which raises a whole new set of concerns for me....  Maybe I could meet somewhere in the middle with this cool striped variation of the top that I found on Ravelry.  And speaking of variations of this top, this one with a beaded neckline is gorgeous!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

FO: Treasured Baby Blanket

Here it is, my latest and greatest baby blanket.....  It's not my finest work, but it will do.  The last baby blanket I knit was very complicated, so I decided I would do something easier this time, but I think I over-corrected and selected a pattern that was way too easy... all that garter stitch got wicked boring after about two panels.  I know I say this all the time.... but...  I should have just quit and frogged right there on panel two when I realized it wasn't the right project for me, rather than force myself to go through with it.*


And here is a picture of it all laid out. I wish you could feel how soft the yarn is!!


yarn details
Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Honeydew
Dye Lot 2486
sport weight
75% pima cotton, 25% acrylic
machine wash/tumble dry low
50 grams/136 yds @ $2.99 each


project details
pattern: "Treasured Heirloom Baby Blanket" by Lion Brand Yarn (available for free here).
needles: size 8 circulars
gauge: forgot to check... oops!
yarn used: 843 yards (6.2 balls)
finished size: about 39'' square, after blocking
duration: July 19, 2012 - January 26, 2013


notes

  • I did an additional pattern repeat in the center to make a larger blanket.
  • The blanket is knit on the diagonal: you cast on two stitches, then increase one stitch each row until you get to the center, then you start decreasing until you get back to two stitches.  For some reason, the start and middle corners are nice and round, but the finish corner is pointy.  :(  I don't like that.

*Incidentally, the same observation applies to my experience in law school.  Should have dropped out after the first year when I had the chance....


Monday, February 4, 2013

Maybe Monday: Bliss

Welcome to Maybe Monday... my weekly feature where I show off a pattern I am thinking about knitting.  This week's "maybe" is not really a maybe, it's a "definitely."  Check it out:


This top is called Bliss and it is in Kristen TenDyke's book Finish-Free Knits.

What I love about it: Not only is this top classy as hell, it comes from a book called FINISH-FREE!!  I love that concept!!  I suspect that no knitter truly likes finishing, but I really really really dislike it...  So imagine my excitement to discover a whole book of seamless, finish-free knits.  Whoo hoo!!  I also think that I already have some yarn in my stash that will work for this project.  (It is currently tied up in a to-be-frogged UFO).

The only reason I might not knit this: like I said a couple of weeks ago, I have a bad track record with knitting sweaters, so I'm always hesitant to commit to one.  But... this thing doesn't even have sleeves, so it probably isn't a huge commitment.  Plus.... finish-free!!

What's on your maybe list this week?

Friday, February 1, 2013

A few updates

Well, I was sick this week.  I stayed home from work two days.  Day #1, I was too sick to knit!  (boo!!)  Day #2, I was feeling a little better, so I started on a new project - a crocheted lady bug amigurumi for my niece.  I got the 6 little legs finished, plus the wings and the spots.  I ordered a little kit to make it from Fresh Stitches - it came with the exact amount of yarn I needed, plus the safety eyes, so I think it was a pretty good deal.  Though, once I got the kit and realized how little yarn it actually takes to make this thing, I realized I probably could have made do with what was in my stash.  Oh well.

Over the weekend I finished up two projects: I finished the Treasured Baby Blanket.  It's all blocked and ready to be delivered to the baby this weekend.  FO post on that coming soon.  I also completely frogged the wine tote and started over on it.  I ended up spending my entire Saturday working on the darn thing, but I finished it!  Hooray!  I'd like to crochet a flower or something to add a little whimsy to the tote, so I'll get on that soon and then take some pics.