Instant Satisfaction

I always seem to lean towards complicated knitting patterns – especially for others. Let’s face it though, usually the recipient does not notice that you did Fair Isle, or short rows, or the most complicated lace chart in the world and had to rip it out 4 times before you finished! Ack! Que some projects for me…

I finally dug out my Rowan Lima I had stashed and decided to treat myself! I just finished a cowl and hat combo just for me-me-me. 🙂

My version of the Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West.

And my Awesome Rikke hat!!!

OK I cannot describe how much I freakin’ Love this hat. It is so perfect: casual, unique, soft, warm, lovely. You must make one. Now.

umm… So my birthday was this month and as a present to myself I decided to cast on Katie. Wow, what a lovey pullover. Absolutely loving this:

Beautiful! So simple too… Don’t let the cool patten at the waist fool you, even for a colorwork novice like me, this was cake! Mods: I omitted the YO’s at the raglan (I don’t really like holes in my sweater..), I put a half twist in my rib (as usual) so that it lies flat and pretty. I really love this, and it will definitely get lots of wear.

OK. Now, time to finish all my holiday gifts… Only a couple left to go!

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Angry Knitting

Sorry for no posts in awhile. Life has been in the way of knitting lately. I have actually been chugging along with my projects, but unfortunately it seems like my knitting is just angry with me. I also misplaced my camera, and a post without pictures is just, well, sad.

My featherweight cardi is just about done but….

It just seems..not quite right. The front hangs all wrong, and the stitches I picked up for the collar are a little scrunched. I actually bound off the collar far far too tight on the first try. It looked absolutely ridiculous. Thought I would share for a quick laugh.

This is what NOT to do! So, of course, being the perfectionist I am, I ripped out the front and am now using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off. It is definitely much stretchier, but still just seems a little off to me. I am tempted to frog the whole thing entirely *gasp! So I put it aside and decided to start some new projects for gifting.

My last post included a poll for a sock pattern to make for my grandmother. I was planning to CO for either the lingerie socks or the Fiori di Zucca socks, depending on which matched my gauge best, since both had similar vote counts. Ummm… The only problem was, well, apparently Dream in Color Smooshy is more of a DK weight than a sock weight. Yeah. Even though I was dying to try one of the beautifully complicated patterns I mentioned last time, no amount of modding (yes, I tried..and tried…and tried) would allow me to make either pattern smaller than a size only bigfoot could wear.

Plan E: find a new pattern that matches my goofy gauge. I decided on the Vinnland sock pattern. Well, kinda. I used the Lifestyle Toe Up Socks guide from Charisa Martin Cairn for the body, and then worked the Vinnland pattern over the foot and leg. In case you are interested, I used a US2 and my leg and foot have 56 sts. I am making them two-at-a-time also! I can’t believe I have never tried this before and they are moving along quickly. Just one more thing: this yarn is a MUST try. It is amazingly soft, the colors are vibrant, but still has great elasticity for wear.

Lovely! Hope she loves them as much as I do.

Bonus! I weighed the rest of my skein and I have enough for some fingerless mitts!

FYI these are the zombie viXen mitts by Susan Claudino.

I promise more timely updates of my projects as I go. In the works: gloves (lookin awesome so far), a couple of small items for me (!), another hat for a friend, and a beautiful pullover!

Happy knitting!

Christmas in September!!

I am so excited!!!  I got a nice surprise today; all my newly purchased yarn arrived on the porch!!!

Yay!!!  From the left:  Shalimar Yarns Breathless in Gunmetal (scarf), Dream in Color Smooshy with CASHMERE (socks!), Cascade 220 Fingering in Natural and Charcoal (colorworked gloves…), and of course the LAST skein of Mad Tosh Sock in Ginger for my Waffle Fries Pullover (almost done!!).  All but one of these will be for xmas gifts.  No one could be more excited about making their gifts than me!

Now the hard part… Where to start and what (exactly) to make?  For my breathless scarf, I am thinking about making the Marin scarf.

I am leaning towards this, as the future recipient (not gonna say who yet!) would probably prefer the warmth that this provides (mostly garter st) as opposed to some lacy beauty.  Plus, if I purchase the pattern then I have an excuse to make one for Moi!

Now, the socks… that’s a toughie.  I got the Smooshy with Cashmere with luxury in mind for my Grandmother (yes, I can admit that here, because she does not have access to internet – aka my blog).  So I would like to choose a pretty conservative pattern, with maybe a little lace detail for interest.  Also, def wanna choose from patterns I already have access to (the yarn was pricey enough!)
Some ideas:

Fiori di Zucca:  These look difficult, but I am up to the challenge!

Vorticity: Traditional-ish cables with a little open lace.

Lingerie: Lacy look with eyelets (PS – not sure why they are charging $6 on Ravelry when this pattern is free on knitty.com???)

Yeah, um, I can’t decide.  I was thinking maybe I could get some help?  Choose which sock you like the best and vote below!!  Remember, these are for my Grandmother.  I would like to make her some socks that are not only beautiful and soft to wear, but make her think of me whenever she slips them on.  Please vote!  Or, maybe list a suggestion (links are helpful).

And as for the Cascade fingering (which I have never used and am dying to try)… these will be gloves for a dear friend (by request – no big surprise here).  Last Christmas, I made her a Selbu Modern hat.

BTW, which she actually wears and loves (yay!).  So, I will be incorporating this pattern into the cuffs of the glove.  Wish me luck!

WIPS:  Still chugging along on my Hannah Fettig Featherweight cardi.  Loving this one so far!  Everyone says it’s a bit boring, but I like having some endless stockinette to keep me occupied during X-Factor 🙂  Just started on the collar!  Waffle Fries is also almost complete!!!  Got my last skein I need for the sleeves, PATTERN UPDATE SOON – stay posted!

As always, Happy Knitting!

Knitting in Public + Project Updates

I have been so busy lately!  Especially now that football season is in full swing – my DH and I are avid football fans – go Hokies!

George in his Virginia Tech snuggie!

I have been knitting on the go for the last couple of weeks in order to get my projects done.  How many knitters out there like to wave their needles around in public?  If I want to actually finish the mountain of projects on my list, I pretty much have to.  You would be surprised at how many idle moments you have to work on your knitting on the go!

Some tips for knitting on-the-go…  When I am getting ready to go out, I grab the simplest (ie, lots of stockinette) project and stuff it into my knitting bag and take it with me.  Any idle moment I have, or even as a passenger in the car, I use to knock out a few rows.  But, when out in public, I always ask myself, “Is this a knitting-appropriate event?” For clarity, pretty much any time is knitting-appropriate, but you will get strange looks now and then.

Examples of a NON-knitting-appropriate event:

  • At a sporting event:  Shame on you!  You are a real fan, and all attention must be given to your team!  Granted, during a tailgate or while watching on TV is allowed.
  • At a bar:  Actually pretty much anywhere where a lot of alcohol is involved, KWI (knitting while intoxicated) is not usually a good idea.

  • When the dude-chick ratio in attendance is greater than 10:1:  Yeah, women give weird looks too, but most of the time, men just don’t get it.  “What on Earth are you doing??”  Although, what better way to inject some estrogen in the room than pull out your DPNs and whack out a sock!?  Honestly, a lot of men are actually fascinated that you can make fabric out of sticks.

Don’t be ashamed!  Knit in public!

Knitting status update:

Projects completed:

  1. Owlie socks!  I have deemed these my lucky VT gameday socks.
  2. Levenwick is done – with buttons!  PS, buttons are annoying!!
  3. Turn A Square hat v.4.0 – per request 🙂

In progress still: my Waffle Fries pullover.  I made it to the sleeves! Fits like a glove so far.  Pattern write-up is almost complete!!! So excited about my customizable knitting pattern!

I started another cardi for moi a couple of days ago: Hannah Fetig’s Featherweight Cardigan.  I am using some lovely Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the Manor colorway I was saving for myself – yay!

After casting on, I remembered why I don’t particularly love using laceweight yarn.

Aaak!  It’s like knitting with dental floss!  My gauge is a little screwy on this one, so I am fitting it as I go (not usually advisable, but oh, well).  In order to get gauge the way the pattern was written, my knitted fabric looks like a fishing net, so I went down a couple of needle sizes (US4).  I love the way it is starting though.

Like my recycled “yarn caddy”?  😀  This is a pretty ambitious project, so it will probably have to make some room for items on my xmas gift list.

Happy knitting!

Fall = Sweater <3

Fall is my favorite time of year!!  The weather cools, the scenery is picturesque, and football season begins.  But this is one of my favorite reasons:

source:  Glamour Magazine

Fall sweaters!!  Loving some of the newest trends:  stripes, oversized sweaters, and a resurgence of Fair Isle.   A big color trend right now is cobalt blue… I’m on the hunt for a vibrant shade to start a new creation for my own wardrobe.

Some sweaters I’m loving:

From left:

1)   I love the look of the asymmetric openwork, and this color is spot-on.  (Anthropologie)
2)   Subtle stripes look beautiful in a casual pullover.  (Anthropologie)
3)   The colorblock trend is still going strong.  This would be a super easy way to add interest to a simple crew-neck or raglan.  (Gap)

I have the beginnings of an idea for a sweater.  I’m dying to use an awesome skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Ginger.

So, of course, I searched Ravelry.  I decided I really wanted a pullover.  I was shocked to discover that there are very few patterns using a fingering weight yarn.  What you people are scared of using your US2/3 needles??  I have been into experimenting with combinations of knit and purl for texture.  With a fingering or sock yarn, the textures could be implemented without adding a lot of bulk.

A test swatch:

Design idea:

I am loving the waffle stitch texture.  I was playing with continuing the “waffles” up in vertical lines to create stripes that look almost like graph paper.  I will let the “waffle lines” move in and out with the waist shaping to emphasize the figure.  Like this:

The different colored vertical “stripes” are not actually a different color, they are the small “shingles” that move up the garment.  Otherwise, this will be a traditional crew-necked pullover with set-in sleeves that are to be picked up as I go.  Stay tuned for some progress pics.

Even experienced knitters are wary of knitting sweaters… I have had my own difficulties until I realized that the real problems are FINISHING and FIT.  I am putting together a post with some advice for achieving a perfectly fitting sweater and some finishing tips that I have found helpful.

In other news, my Scalene scarf is complete!  In order to keep my xmas gifts a surprise, I have posted pics to my Ravelry project page.

Happy knitting!

Inspired

I am frequently searching Ravelry and reading blogs from designers I love.  New ideas and inspirations pop into my head daily – seeing a knitted hoodie someone is wearing and thinking about how I could make it and what yarn would work best.  I really should write down some of these ideas and notes as I go… I will be updating some design ideas as I finish them and post soon. In the meantime…

Patterns I’m Loving:

  • Cookie A has a beautiful new collection of patterns.  She is known for her sock designs, but I am loving some of her new items.  Her Rotation cardigan caught my eye… This one’s a beaut, plus it looks really easy to modify.  The open shape would be very flattering, so sizing would not be such a challenge.
  • Another of Cookie A’s patterns from her new book: Lateral socks. These are so understated and pretty.

  • Veera Valimaki’s Color Affection Shawl.  Just beautiful!  A fellow knitter at Fiberge is teaching a class on how to make this lovely item for all who are interested!
  • Ysolda Teague’s Marin scarf.  This would have to be for me to keep!  Fall is coming so soon, and I can always use more scarves.

George wants me to make him a hat.  Look at the little theif…

Yarns I’m Itching to Get My Hands On:

  • Quince and Co Osprey:  Heard great things and seen some beautiful pieces made.  Stitch definition looks like it will be nice, so maybe a cabled sweater?
  • A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna Cashmere:  This name keeps popping up under designers I love, and the colors are stunning.  And, c’mon, it’s cashmere! I have not met a cashmere I did not want to pet.  The Marin scarf pictured above was made using this.
  • Zealana Eco Merino/Possum:  There is a possum in my yarn!  Yes, quite seriously.  I was intrigued by a Vogue Knitting Design Contest that is built around this yarn distributor.  This article gives a nice review.  Warmer than cashmere??  I must find out – mittens or a nice cozy hat?

George gets his hat:

2 rows a day keeps the stash at bay!

Puppies and Yarn!

George models my newest FO. Aww, ain’t he cute?

Hahaha I couldn’t resist.

Spent some time with my friends at Fiberge (LYS) trying to plan some projects, and I picked up these lovelies…

Ella Rae Lace Merino in sage and cream.  I have the rest of the day free, and I should probably be doing laundry, but my lovely new yarn is calling to me.  Swatched when I got home and the yarn is absolutely great.  It’s 100% merino but feels like silky, squishy yumminess.  These babies are going to be a striped shawl (sage is my Mom’s fave color *hint, hint).  I’ve decided on the Scalene Scarf.  I think it’s going to be a beauty.

Not sure yet whether I will post pics in order to keep it a surprise, but I will be adding photos to my Ravelry Page if you want to check it out.  Bonus: the scarf looks complicated, but it is entirely garter stitch… knit, knit, knit… This will be my “multitasking” project; I can knit and read journal articles at the same time!  Yes, I do have other priorities besides knitting.  🙂  Too bad I can’t knit while I do housework 😛

Recently added to my knitting playlist: “The King and All of His Men” – Wolf Gang

Blocking Party and Finished Objects!! (Finally)

Yay!  Rockefeller is complete and I LOVE it!  This one is definitely for me 🙂

I was worried about the colors, but I think it’s really wearable over neutral colors.

Levenwick is complete!!!  Blocking the heck outta the thing to try to smooth out some messy stitches.  Even though it is cropped, the sweater is super warm (the Shelter yarn really grew on me).  Now, I just need some great buttons to add on.  Pics of the sweater soon!  I even had enough yarn leftover to make a surprise hat for the Hubster.

Next project!  Next project!  Hmm… what to make?  Gonna get started on my xmas gifts so maybe this year I can have something for everyone on my list!

Too Much Time, Not Enough Knitting

Well, I wish.

No posts for a while, sorry folks! (If my one reader counts as “folks” 🙂

Let me count… On my needles: socks, cardigan (almost done, my friends!), shawl, sweater!

And I am not finished with any because… (besides the obvious project ADD)

Owlie Socks – Single sock syndrome

Although, it is quite a beauty, if I do say so myself!

Levenwick Cardigan – Single sleeve syndrome

Among other issues… aak!

Rockefeller Shawl – Too many stripes syndrome (OK I made that one up, and to be fair, the pattern is lovely)

Sweater – Endless stockinette (sorry, Husband, your sweater is so boring!)

I am most concerned about my poor, poor Levenwick.  She seems so small! But I barely have enough Shelter to finish it and I even added a bit of length.  Hopefully after blocking *fingers crossed!  My sleeves have ladders big enough to climb on.

3 out of 4 are near completion, so of course, I am itching to plan another project!  Lately, scouring Ravelry for xmas gift ideas 🙂 yay!

Loving this Dream Stripes shawl…

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Or a similar shawl with narrow stripes in muted colors.  Beautiful!!  Stripes are so in for fall (according to my latest magazine).  I can think of a couple of people this would be perfect for.  If you love this, then you know who you are!

Project Updates and New Cast-On

My Rockefeller shawl is coming along beautifully!  I love the colors so far, and I can’t wait until the next clue!!

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In the meantime, I have only to do the last sleeve of my Levenwick… But it’s so hot here that the thought of a thick wool sweater on my lap makes my palms sweat.  So, *sigh* I started a new project!! 😀

Started my adorable Owlie socks!  So far they look great!

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They kinda reminded me of Harry Potter, so while I knit them I watched part of the last movie on HBO.  “Expeliarmus!” I love love my dpns, but have had trouble in the past with ladders in my socks.  So, I tried a technique I saw on techknits blog called “switching” (link here), where I rotated two stitches every round, and PRESTO! no ladders – amazing!  Using beads is not nearly as complicated as I thought, either!

Hoo! Hoo!