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!