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