Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Sock Surgeon's Afterthought Heel

So, it's no secret that I'm obsessed with self-striping yarn and I almost always use it to knit Grumperina's Jaywalkers because I love that pattern!  However, I really don't like how the striping gets messed up at the heel/gusset so I was interested in trying something new: an afterthought heel.  That way I can knit the whole body of the sock in one pass and the stripes will be nice and tidy, then I can go back and add the heel.  Pretty cool, huh?

There's lots of ways to do it, but I decided to go with Emily B. Miller's method in a Sock Surgeon's Afterthought Heel.  This is a pretty cool method because you don't have to do any pre-planning about where to place the heel and you actually go in and snip the yarn later to add the heel.

Snipping into your sock is a little unnerving... but in the end, it was pretty awesome!!

Here are some pics:

Right after I cut into the sock and picked up the first few stitches...  the super scary part!

After I picked up all the stitches -- lots of waste yarn to weave in later!

Knitting the heel!  (hint - it's a toe!!)

I recommend trying this method!  It's awesome!

FO: Vintagey Jaywalkers

Here is my latest pair of Jaywalkers... I absolutely love this colorway!  It's called Time Traveler.  I picked it up last November when Knit Picks brought back Felici for a limited time and I totally stocked up!

I knit these up with nickle-plated dpns and it was a really bad experience resulting in laddering and injuries!  Won't be doing that again!  But they are still pretty fun, ladders and all!  :)



yarn details
Knit Picks Felici in Time Traveler
Fingering Weight
Dye Lot 46550
75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon
Machine wash/Tumble dry low
$5.49 per 50 g /218 yd ball

project details
pattern: "Jaywalker" by Grumperina, available as a free Ravelry download at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jaywalker#
needles: size 2 nickle plated dpns
gauge: 15 stitches and 22 rows over 2” in stockinette
yarn used: 1.44 skeins (313.9 yards)
size knit: small
finished size: bottom of heel flap to cuff: 9”;  back of heel to toe: 8”;  circumference: 8” 
duration: December 18, 2014 - October 11, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

FO: Toleware Hat

Yes, I already have a million hats, but when I saw this simple hat with the cute embroidery on Ravelry, I knew I had to make one more!  But, to be totally honest, this project was a little disappointing for me.  I thought it was going to be cabled, but it turns out that it is sort of just a mock cable - that's fine, it's just not what I was expecting - it wasn't as challenging of a knit as I would have liked.


Also, the pattern instructions for the embroidery weren't what I needed and I couldn't get mine to look like the sample.  After several tries, I just ripped it out and did my own thing.  I was willing to pay $6 for this pattern because I wanted those embroidery instructions, so it was kind of sad that they were lacking (I thought there was going to be a sketch or very detailed instructions telling you exactly where to do the embroidery or something, but it was just very generic instructions telling you how to do a lazy daisy and a french knot).

You can see the sample hat on the left, and what I was able to pull off on the right:



On the positive side, I will say, this pattern has the most gorgeous instructions I have seen!  It has the most darling illustrations!  I also thought the decreasing for the crown was really well done.  Sometimes ribbed hats get all funky when you decrease, but she did a nice job planning it all out.


So, there you have it. In the end it's a very cute hat and a nice pattern, it just wasn't what I expected.

yarn details
Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Black
dye lot 146055
worsted weight
100% Merino (superwash)
machine wash cold/gentle, lay flat to dry
110 yrds/ 50 gram ball @ $4.69 each

scraps of pink and green yarn for embroidery

project details
pattern: "Toleware Hat" by Kristin Spurkland, $6 available on Ravelry (includes pattern for matching fingerless mitts)
needles: size 8 nickle plated circs (done in a pseudo magic loop style)
gauge: ??
yarn used: 130 yards (1.18 balls)
duration: February 22, 2015 - August 21, 2015 (was a fairly quick knit, I just took a long break from it when it was no longer hat weather)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

FO Fail: Owl Apple Cozy

I tried to make this adorable apple cozy, but it was a big fail.  My owl looks cute, but it is way too small to fit an apple inside.  Sad!  The pattern didn't list a gauge, so that was her bad.  But, also, I knew fairly early into the project that it looked a little small and I never stopped and put a test apple inside, so it was my bad too.  Anyway, here is my cute owl that will cozy up nothing:



yarn details
Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Sea Spray
Lion Brand Lion Cotton in Morning Glory Blue
worsted weight
100% cotton

findings:
orange felt
scraps of white and black acrylic yarn for the eyes

project details
pattern: Owl Apple Cozy by Kara Gunza, available for free here
hook: H (5.0mm)
gauge: apprx 5 rounds= 2'' diameter circle (this was way too small)

notes:
  • I couldn't get the eye brows to look anything but angry, so I took them off
  • To orient button loop on other side for second wing: Ch 4, 1 sc in each of next 7 sts, 2sc in next st, 1 sc each of next 7 sts, 2 sc in last stitch, join - 18 sts and button loop.

FO: Winter Garden Socks

When I wanted to learn sock knitting, I bought the fabulous book Knit Socks by Betsy Lee McCarthy.  I used this book to make my very first pair of socks and a couple pairs of the Classy Slip Up Socks.  I can't say enough great things about this book - I think it's a great place to get started with sock knitting, if you learn well from books.

I always thought the Winter Garden Socks were the most beautiful socks in this book, but they looked so difficult that I never thought I would have the skill to make them.  But then, one day, I was like, "hey!  I'm an awesome sock knitter - I can make them now!"  And I did.

So, here are my gorgeous socks:



yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll in Peapod, Dusk, and White
dye lots: 63628, 40845, 44970
fingering weight
75% Merino 25% Nylon
machine wash & dry
231 yards / 50 grams @ $4.69 each

project details
pattern: "Winter Garden" by Betsy Lee McCarthy in Knit Socks
needles: 1.5 (2.5mm) wooden dpns
gauge: 31st and 42 rows over 4'' in stockinette
yarn used: 101 yards Peapod, 111 yards Dusk, 101 yards White
duration: November 2013 - July 2015 (took a long break from these...)

notes:

  • The pattern has you using a different size needle for different parts of the socks.  I think I may have done this with the first sock, but probably not the second sock.  I don't think it made much of a difference.
  • To avoid jogs in the stripes I used the method where you knit the first row in the new color normally, then on the second row, you pick up the stitch below it and knit it together with the first stitch of your new round.
  • I'm fairly certain that I did not pick the best method for managing my color changes with the stripes. I broke the yarn at each stripe and wove in the ends as I worked.  This was really time consuming and I think it makes that area of the sock look a little untidy (even though the weave is more or less invisible -- there is just more bulk in that area).  Not sure if I ever want to knit striped socks again - it was sort of a drag.  If I do, I must find a better method.
  • Loved the cute fair isle details on the cuffs and heel!!



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Needle Troubles

Have you ever had a project that you really don't like, but you've passed the point of no return, so you just obsessively work on it so you can finish it and put it behind you?  Well, that's been me this week with my latest pair of Jaywalker socks.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Jaywalker pattern and I absolutely love the Felici yarn that I'm using for these socks, it's just the needles I selected for these socks are all wrong!


These nickle plated dpns are really pointy, which is actually awesome for this stitch pattern, and I admit that I work faster with the smooth nickle needles than I do with wood.  But they are SO heavy that they pull on the stitches and create wicked ladders.


Also, one time I accidentally stabbed myself with them!  Ouch!


In conclusion, these needles probably have a place somewhere, but they are just no good for socks.  Remind me not to use them again!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

FO: Daisy the Flower

Sadly, Daisy the Flower was my last project from the freshstitches kit club.  I loved being part of the club so much - but I had to cut back on my craft spending and the kit club just had to go. (Sad!!)

The one thing I didn't love about the kit club is that I frequently ran out of yarn because I like to use an I or a J hook for these critters and that doesn't work with these kits. Anyway, this time I grabbed the prescribed H hook, but then it turns out that I accidentally grabbed a G... so, it's a little smaller than intended and I have a ton of yarn left.  Oh well!  No big deal.

As the "extra", this kit came with cute comic eyes (which you can buy in Stacey's eye shop) and a little squeaker to go in the leaf.  I didn't use the squeaker in this project, so I'm saving it for something else. (I thought it would be fun in a baby toy, but this one couldn't go to a baby because the eyes are not baby-safe).

And now, meet Daisy:



yarn details
purple and green worsted weight yarn 
100% wool
(from freshstitches kit club, Spring 2015)

findings
18mm comic eyes
polyfill stuffing

project details
pattern: "Daisy, the flower" by Stacey Trock of freshstitches, exclusive pattern for the freshstitches Kit Club #13
finished size: 8'' tall, flower head is about 5.5'' in diameter
hook: G (4.0 mm)
yarn used: no idea, but it was less than 100 yards purple and 30 yards green
duration: April 7 - August 21, 2015

notes
  • I'm not a fan of the way the ruffle petals turned out - I think the last round is too tight and it makes it all curl under. If I made it again I would either make the last round another increase round or I would have done it in a larger hook.
  • Also, if I made it again, I would put a dowel or maybe just a pipe cleaner running through the stem and the head so it stood up straight like a flower. The head is too heavy and it flops back if you stand it up, so it can only lay flat or has to be propped up against something.
  • It might be fun to experiment with making the face yellow and the petals a color, like a real daisy

Saturday, October 3, 2015

German Short Rows!

Prepare yourself for another Craftsy post... yes, I am obsessed.  The free short rows class* has been one of my favorite Craftsy class for a long time, so when they released a full length short row class* with the same instructor, Carol Feller, I had to sign up! Yay!  I have only done the first few lessons so far, but it is just as awesome as I hoped it would be.  I learned the german short row technique in both garter stitch and stockinette.  I absolutely love it.  The short rows are nearly invisible!  Observe:


Strongly recommend you take this class.  Now back to more short row fun!

*Those are affiliate links, meaning I get some yarn money if you use them. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

FO: Business Casual II

Didn't you just love the socks I made my Aunt Carol a couple of years ago?  And don't you just love tweed?  Can you see where this is going?  Yes.  I made a pair of Business Casual socks using tweed yarn.



yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in Thirst Heather
dye lot 146737
fingering weight
65% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon, 10% Donegal (the tweedy part)
Machine wash, tumble dry low
50 g / 231 yards per ball @ $4.31 each

project details
pattern: "Business Casual" by Tanis Lavallee, free pattern available here.
needles: size 2 bamboo dpns
gauge: 17 st 23 rows over 2'' in stockinette (note: pattern gauge is 14 st by 20 rows, so my gauge is a little tighter, but I like them this way)
yarn used: 1.24 balls (286.4 yards)
size knit: small
finished size: top of cuff to bottom of heel - 8''; back of heel to end of toe - 8.25''; foot circumference - 7''.
duration: August 24, 2014 - August 1, 2015

notes:

  • The tweed is awesome, but I still like the tonal yarn that I used for the original socks better. These socks have a lot of texture from the cabling, so I don't know if the extra texture from the tweed is necessary.
  • cabled without a needle the whole way through!  yay!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

FO: Evergreen Lake Mittens

Last year I was interested in learning more about fair isle knitting, so I signed up for the Craftsy class Stranded Colorwork: Basics and Beyond.*  I have sort of lukewarm feelings about the class and about the mittens I made as my class project.

With the class, I was hoping for a bit more broad introductory material on stranded color work (like an in depth explanation of how to hold the yarn, how to keep it from getting tangled, how to keep even tension, etc) and the instructor doesn't go that as much as I would have liked. She explains how to do a float, then hops right in to the mitten lessons.  The instruction on how to knit the mittens is excellent - if you want to be walked through how to knit this pattern, I recommend the class. If you want to know more about fair isle, I preferred the class Simple Sweaters: Stranded and Steeked.*  But I digress....  here are the mittens:



I feel lukewarm about the mittens for a few reasons: (1) I had a limited choice to pick from because I was buying closeout yarn so I just picked the options that were going to give me the highest contrast...  but I really just don't dig these colors. (2) I don't wear mittens. (3) Even if I did wear mittens, these are extremely bulky and I don't think I would have any use of my hands if I wore them.



Still, this was a fun project for learning stranded colorwork and they knit up fairly quickly.  Now I have the confidence to knit stranded colorwork with finer yarn into something I will actually wear (think: socks).

yarn details
Cascade Yarns Cascade 128 Wool
Highland Green and Marigold
dye lots 2J2045 and 2I8003
Bulky Weight
100% Peruvian Highland Wool
handwash cold
100 g / 128 yards @ $5.99 each

project details
pattern: Evergreen Lake Mittens by Sunne Meyer (pattern is in course materials of the Craftsy class Stranded Colorwork: Basics and Beyond)
needles: Can you believe I never wrote this down? It was probably size 9 for mitten and size 7 for cuff - nickle plated circs (used magic loop)
gauge:16 st and 15 rows over 3'' in main pattern (after blocking)
yarn used: 97.3 yards green (0.76 skein) and 67.8 yards yellow (0.53 skein)
finished size: 8.5'' cuff to mitten top, 4'' wide (laid flat), 3'' thumb
duration: February 17, 2014 - February 22, 2015


Notes:
  • Take a look at the thumbs.  See how on one of the thumbs the green is dominant and on the other the yellow is dominant? Weird, huh? I held the green yarn in my right hand and the yellow in my left when I knit these. (I am a thrower, so I held the main color in my right hand). The green thumb is the first mitten I knit. I think by the time I knit the thumb of the second mitten almost a year later, I was more comfortable maneuvering the yarn with my left hand and it took over as the dominant color.  Crazy.

*Those are affiliate links to Craftsy up there -- I get some extra yarn money if you use them.

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?

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.

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!