Picking up where I last left off

January 21st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Its been nigh on almost a year since my last crafty blog post. Much has happened in my life, and most of it has been (unfortunately) sad and challenging. I lost my dad to cancer last year, and it became very difficult to knit and write for awhile. The shawl that I had been working on (see photo below) sat for 7 months from the day my dad passed away until the day I felt able to start knitting again. The shawl is still not finished, but I am no longer feeling sad every time I look at it. It will be glorious once its completed, and I will remember dad when I wear it.

FlickerandFlame

When I was away in Europe in the fall of 2014, I took two knitting projects with me (one was the Wannabe Vintage Mitts from my last post) and didn’t really knit on either of them. However, once I finished those mitts, I was determined to get the second pattern, a pair of socks completed. Its been some time since I made knit socks for myself, and I was looking forward to having them as the temperature cooled off this past autumn. So without further ado, let me present my Step-aside Socks:
StepasideThese socks were really quite easy to make, I know that they look like cables, but actually the cable-like pattern is created by alternating decreases and lace. Pretty nifty! I used up some sock yarn that someone gifted me a few years ago – huzzah for stash-busting!

Pattern: Stepaside by Yvonne McSwiney (Ravelry link only)
Yarn: Patons North America Kroy Socks 4 Ply in a stripey/tonal marine colourway
Yardage out: 332 yards out for stash-down points
Needles used: 3mm dpns, but I wish I had used 2.75mm as the extra needle size made these socks more floppy and less fitted than I’m used to. Still love them though!

Another big change in my life last year was that I became an aunt for the 4th time, but this time to the first baby girl in the family! Huzzah for knitting frilly things at last! Its annoying, but there are way more knitting patterns for girls than boys out there. I’m not really sure why. I think it may stem from the fact that girls/women can wear ALL the clothes, but boys/men are confined by traditional masculine-looking clothing (kilts aside). Thus, it follows that there are more patterns for girls than boys. Still, I’d love to see more fun patterns for boys.

So here’s the first really girly outfit I have ever created:
IMG_2336The outfit took me about a month to make and bought a lovely soft baby alpaca yarn special for it. I was going to make booties to match, but my sister and brother-in-law told me not to bother. I started knitting it about 5 days after baby Abigail was born (I usually wait for babies to be born before I knit for them in case something happens….)

Patterns: Charlee Baby Girl Coat and Little Flower Hat (both Ravelry pattern links)
Yarn employed: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Cherish in pansy
Yardage out: 408 yards out for stash-down points
Needles: 3.5mm, 3.75mm circulars and dpns where needed; and 3.5 crochet hook for edging

IMG_2344I love the details of this outfit – the slit and knitted bow in the back of the coat, the flower on the crown of the hat, and all that fluffy crochet edging. I hope I get a photo of Abigail modelling this outfit…

Thanks for staying supportive while I’ve been offline for the past while. I’ll do my best to keep updating, but also be sure to check out my Facebook page, as I post many updates and interesting articles there.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2016 (year of the Monkey!)

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Looking back/Looking forward

March 25th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s incredible how time flies. This time last year I was knitting a sea otter for a co-worker of mine’s first child, and then a couple other small projects for friends before I took off travelling. Which I meant to inform my lovely crafty blog-readers about, and kind of failed to do so. For 13 weeks, I lived out of a big rolling suitcase and moved about every 3-7 days. I went to London, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco by myself. If you are curious about my adventures, please feel free to enjoy the ride by reading my travel blog at www.1womantraveling.blogspot.ca (I recommend going to the beginning and working your way forward, unless you are the type that likes to jump around – well, then be my guest 😉  ).

I had one of those “best laid plans of mice & men” moment when I decided to pack two knitting projects for my trip. Guess how much I managed to get done while I was away? About 35% of one of the projects. Derp.

Since I have been back, I’ve been working on finishing up some WIPs – including that spinning project I started over a year ago. I’m happy to say that I’m 67% complete on that “Firefly” spinning project for a friend, and here’s a photo of what some of it plied on a niddy-noddy looks like:

3-ply (Navajo) “Firefly” coloured yarn that sings a song of flames yearning to burn brightly.

I still have another 4 ounces of this fibre yet to spin, so I’m expecting/hoping that the yardage is enough for my lovely friend Rebecca to knit a sweater or cardigan out of it. I have to say, this yarn is damn-near perfect in terms of grist (a true worsted!), smoothness, and lack of knots due to no breaks during plying. It’s nice to feel like I’m really becoming a master spinner.

Since I have come home I have managed to finished 5 knitting projects. So let’s get caught up to the present on some of my projects, shall we?

First up, my Wannabe Vintage Mitts, which was one of the projects that I had initially taken on my trip with me that didn’t evolve all that much. To tell the truth, I was so enmeshed with where I was on my travels that I didn’t feel like pulling out the knitting. Especially when there was always something to do: a free walking tour, sangria hour, meals with hostel-mates, bike rides, beach time, or the availability of interesting foreign novels for free at most of my hostels. When I came home I realized that it was high time that I get a move-on and finish these fingerless mitts because I had cast them on in late July and was feeling like a bit of a failure languishing knitter.

I’m really pleased with the way these fingerless mitts turned out. I was even told by a fellow Raveler that my photos were clearer than the “model” ones used on the main pattern page on Ravelry. I’m tickled pink by that comment!

My Wannabe Vintage fingerless mitts. I must say, they really are stunning! I love the delicate cable detail.

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Wannabe Vintage Mitts by Jennifer Buettgen (free Ravelry download)
Yarn used: Stricken Smitten Sinful Socks in “Scheherazade’s sky” colourway
Yardage out: 150 yards out with points for stash-down!
Needles: 3 mm dpns
Notes: I decided that the cuffs in this pattern are too short. I did 3 repeats of Cuff A, and knit 2 repeats of Cuff B. I unfortunately didn’t extend the thumb cuff, but I would extend it if I knitted these mitts again.

Next up, something really cool and a bit nerdy if you are into Marvel comics etc. Last year, a B-rated movie called Guardians of the Galaxy came out. The movie was just so-so, but one of its characters (“Groot” played by Vin Diesel) was really fun and audiences were more into this character than any other. Spoiler alert: Groot is a baby at the end of the movie (I won’t say why or how). The dancing baby Groot has inspired no less than 21 knitting and crochet patterns on Ravelry! I mentioned that I had seen Groot patterns to my boyfriend (yes, we are back together) and he said that he wanted one. This was just 5 days before Christmas! So I had to get my butt in gear and get knitting.

The actual knitting of this item wasn’t all that bad. The devil was in the details though…embroidery, safety eyes, moss, planter’s foam, I even spray-painted a pot white to “plant” Groot in! I’m super happy with how my Groot turned out though. His arms are bendy, so he can “dance” (with help from a human of course). My bf has this guy on his desk at work to help cheer him up when he needs it on busy days.

Baby Groot! So cute!

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Baby Groot by Meghan Munro (paid pattern – download)
Yarn used: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in “Sable” and Noro Takeuma in Olives for the embroidery/trimmings
Yardage out: 40 yards out with points for stash-down!
Needles: 2.75 mm and 4.5mm dpns
Notes: The directions for the bark crown are a bit strange so I kind of winged it. I also had a devil of a time trying to slide pipe-cleaners through the i-cord arms. I recommend bending the sharp end, and making a looser gauge i-cord to make pipe-cleaner insertion easier. Instead of feeding the excess yarn tail through the i-cord, I whip-stitched it down the arm. This also allowed more room for the pipe-cleaner. I inserted two toothpicks into Groot’s body to help keep him sturdy and upright as his head is a bit heavy for his body. I placed a rock in the bottom of the pot to add more stability. I glued the rim of a half-circle of potting foam flat-side-up. Then I glued moss and baby Groot with a glue-gun.

I’ll post another blog soon about some more completed projects. Thanks for staying tuned in!

 

 

 

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Tying up some loose ends

August 1st, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Its been a little while since I wrote a crafty blog. Its mostly because I have been working hard and planning for my upcoming three months off. But I have been knitting in the midst of all this madness and I’d like to share what I’ve completed to date.

First up, what I nicknamed as the Ribbing of DOOM project – a pair of fingerless mitts for my friend Bran. It took me 5 months to complete these mitts, and it was mostly due to sheer boredom. I’ve come to realize that while I love the look of ribbing, I’m not a fan of knitting it forever in a fine yarn. In this case, I was downright masochistic, I was using lace yarn held double. Shoot me now! But I’m happy to say that they are all done, and the finished product looks good! I unfortunately don’t have any photos of Bran wearing these mitts, but I have a feeling she won’t be needing them until autumn arrives.

Bran-warmers. This photo shows both sides of the radiating rib pattern.

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Marywarmers by Lisa Reeve (free Ravelry download)
Yarn used: Wollmeise Lace-Garn in an electric indigo/purple colour
Yardage out: 791.7 yards out with points for stash-down!
Needles: 2.5 mm dpns
Notes: I chose to do 5 repeats of the cuff rather than 7 (I thought that 7 would be too long)

Next project – a hat for a particular dude. This hat was meant for my boyfriend for Christmas, but we broke up in January and have recently begun reconnecting again. So I decided it was time to make the hat he should’ve got for Christmas (and to get him to quit grumbling about it LOL).

Man-baby hat

Project Notes:
Pattern name: 
Windschief by Stephen West (paid pattern)
Yarn used: Muse Merlot Aran in a gorgeous royal blue palette.
Yardage out: 114 yards out with points for stashdown
Needles: 4.0mm and 4.5mm dpns
Notes: it only took me 6 days to knit and block this project. Ah, I love the ease that comes with quick projects!

As I alluded to in an earlier blog post, I’m leaving shortly to go away for 3 months to travel to Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Morocco. While I’m away, I’ve assigned myself two knitting projects (and neither of them were part of my original plan that I wrote about previously). One, I’ve started, and the other I will start while away.

Travel project #1: Wannabe Vintage Mitts which is a free Ravelry download. Here’s what I have done so far:

Cuff on the first mitt done

Traveling project #2: Stepaside Socks which was free for the month of July (score!) but is now back to a paid pattern. I have yet to figure out which yarn to use for this project, but perhaps this one that I won as part of the Ravellenic Games a few years ago?

Weee! Pretty sock yarn.

Whatever yarn I end up using, I’ll need to dig it out of my yarn stash (which is a mess right now due to all the packing going on in my house), wind it, and get whatever needles/notions together so I have everything with me while I’m on the road. I’ll be blogging on a different site, but if I come across something really cool and crafty on my journeys, I’ll blog here about it. So long for now! :-)

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Mad as a March…otter?

March 21st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For any of you lovely readers who have been following along with my Instagram otter post updates, or this blog, you’ll know that I have finished the super cute sea otter project I’ve been working on this past month.  March is always an insane month – heavy workoad at the day-job, the weather (in like a lion, out like a lamb), crazy social obligations, and so many birthdays.  Its enough to make anyone a little “mad.”

But this knitter is not the March Hare.  No, while my sanity has gone a bit by the wayside with all this “madness,” I consider myself to be Otterly Insane.  But of course, not literally.  Nope, I fell for this oh so cute (but kind of sewing nightmare) project for my coworker’s first child being born (another birthday!)  Its otterly cute, and I think you will agree:

Otterly complete

This project took me 37 days to knit.  Honestly though, a large part of that time was not spent knitting because I have been dealing with chronic pain and other “madness” this past month.  Also, I needed to wrap my head around 3D knitting because this is the first toy I’ve ever knitted.  It takes a different kind of mental gymnastics to understand how limbs are formed in knitting etc.  I’m so used to 2D knitting (sweaters in the round excluded).

I nicknamed this fellow “Gus” because that’s what he looked like to me.  I told my coworker that he could change it to whatever name he wanted to, but he liked Gus, so Gus he shall be!

Here’s Gus otterly in pieces before I sewed his appendages to his body:
Gus

And here he is with his appendages attached. 

As you can see, his legs looked a bit wonky.  The pattern directions were unclear about the leg placement – all it said was “attach the legs in the way that looks most cute to you.”  Hmmm, open to interpretation for sure.  I asked for some input from other knitterly folks, and more or less rotated the legs 90 degrees so that they sit properly now.
gus side-angle

Project Notes:
Project Pattern: Monterey Sea Otter (Ravelry link only)
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in brown, tan, and black; and GarnStudios DROPS Muskat cotton in silver.
Stashdown total: 196 yards out
Needles: 4mm and 3.5mm dpns
New skills employed: shadow wraps, embroidery, stuffing (without over stuffing), Turkish cast-on.

I’m happy to say that my coworker loved this gift and has promised to send me adorable photos of Gus + baby.  I look forward to receiving these pics and going “Awwwwww!” at my desk at work.

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The trouble with coffee is…

March 10th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I am a devoted tea-drinker.  I had to be – I grew up in an Irish household.  Tea is a thing in Ireland and the UK.  Fanaticism over what constitutes a “proper cup o’ tea” has been debated ad nauseum on the internet.  On Ravelry, there are 27 pages of teapot cozy patterns of various sizes, shapes, and colours to choose from.  Its a tea-lovers dream!

However, this post is not about tea.  No, its about its rival cousin – coffee.  Or more specifically, about Bodum (aka French Press) cozies.  Apparently, they are not really that common.  A google search will land you an Etsy shop or two selling them, or some odds-and-ends kitchenware stores that supply them.  A Ravelry search shows only 1.5 pages of Bodum/French Press cozy patterns.  What gives?  My understanding is that coffee is the beverage of choice in North America, but its accoutrements are not afforded the same amount of consideration as tea’s do.  Hmm.

A very dear friend of mine is an avid coffee drinker – Bodum/French Press preferred.  However, their coffee would continually get cold very quickly.  They were using a much worn and stained tea towel wrapped around the Bodum to keep it warm.  This technique was not very effective but was the best method available at the time.  Until I decided that this lukewarm coffee tragedy must end.  And so, I decided to knit a Bodum cozy.

Bodum cozies can either cover the entire Bodum (similar to a teapot cozy) or can wrap around the Bodum, leaving the spout free so that you can enjoy your coffee while it retains its heat.  I decided to go with the latter option and picked this pattern.  As this pattern required very little yarn, I used only yarn ball ends to stashbust and create what I think its a pleasing cozy.

Knitted cozy prior to the finishing

I knitted 4 rows of blue (Cascade Eco+ in steel blue), followed by 3 rows of charcoal grey (unknown yarn ends), and 1 row of light grey (Bernat Berella Solids) – rinsed and repeated until the cozy was about 13″ tall.  I made the cozy a bit taller because I knew I would be lining it with craft felt to make it warmer, and this would cause the knit fabric to shrink in size a bit.

For the finishing, I did single crochet in the charcoal colour around the outside of the cozy to anchor the yarn ends and created 4.5″ i-cords to be able to tie the cozy onto the Bodum.  Finally, I sewed in a piece of craft light-blue felt onto the back for insulation.  Here’s the final product:

Coffee time!
Photo courtesy of Carsen Farmer.

I think it looks great!  My friend has reported back that their coffee is much warmer now, but thinks that double-felt would make this cozy even better.  Definitely something I’m going to keep in mind if I make another.

All told, there is about 165 yards out for stashdown on a 3.75mm needle.

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Didn’t quite make it to the Podium

February 28th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Another year, another Olympics, another Ravellenics challenge.  Alas, I did not make it to the “podium” this year for the Ravellenic Winter Games (or “knitting Olympics” as it were).  My “event” was the Toy Toboggan  with points for stash-down and glory for Team Canada.  

I had everything planned out: pattern selected and printed, needles, stash yarn at the ready. 

So what happened?  Basically, life happened.  I alluded to a sad event in my last blog post that has been hanging over me like a bit of a cloud for the past two months.  But then add two more sad personal life events (which I won’t go into detail here), stress, and my chronic pain…and well, the Ravellenics goal of glory went by the wayside.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t keep knitting on the toy that I started.  So far is looks like this:

Otter beginnings

 I’ve dubbed this project the “Ravellenics Turd” because honestly, what does it look like to you?! 😉   Its actually supposed to be a Monterey Sea Otter, but so far its just the body and a part of one arm.  

I’m learning some new skills while knitting this thing, such as shadow wraps, and the eastern cast-on method.  I will also have to do embroidery for the sea otter’s face and lots of seaming to put the whole thing together.  Its one of the things I enjoy most about knitting – learning new skills to make something.  Often these new skills feel like magic when I do them for the first time.  Other knitters will know what I’m talking about.

This project was for a coworker of mine who’s wife is having their first child.  Its fitting because I work with aquatic species at risk, and the sea otter (not the Monterey) is one of our species.  Nerd humour?  You betcha!

Because I didn’t finish this project (or in Ravellenics terms, make the podium), and the baby came early (4 weeks too early!) I’m in need of some catching up!  My goal is to finish and assemble this toy in the next two weeks or so.  Here’s hoping that my back/neck pain will quiet down so I can get some real work done on this fun project.

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Sweater Round-Up

January 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For anyone following along with my Facebook/Twitter feeds (and this blog), you will remember that over-achieving me wanted to knit my three nephews sweaters for Christmas.  I’m happy to say that I finished 2 on-time for the big day and had the 3rd done by December 28th.  Not a bad showing, I think.  Here’s the line-up of what was accomplished:

Nephew sweater #1

Twisted tree

This sweater was a few months in the making as honestly, I found the pattern a bit boring, and frankly, I hate twisted stitches.  But the final project turned out pretty good and the colour is perfect for my nephew Z, who has hazel eyes.

Project Details:
Pattern name: Twisted Tree Pull-over (free download here)
Size: age 4/5 but made the body long enough for a 6 year old as this nephew is tall/skinny for his age
Yarn used: Sidar Snuggly DK in “Leaf Green” (colour #198)
Yardage: 639 yards out (points for stash-down!)
Needles used: 3.5mm for all edge work, 4mm for body (knit completely in the round)
Notes: The decreases took much longer than expected (27 decreases over 54 rounds).

Nephew sweater #2

Soledad

Project Details:
Pattern name: Soledad (free download here)
Size: age 4
Yarn used: Berroco Vintage DK in “Paprika” (colour #2176)
Yardage: 469.4 yards out (points for stash-down!)
Needles used: 3.5mm for all edge work, 3.75mm for body (knit completely in the round)
Notes: this pattern had some errata that I had to work out, plus I made a bunch of alterations as well. My notes can be found on my Ravelry project page for full details.

(On a sadder note, the nephew that this sweater was intended for unfortunately passed away the week before Christmas. I gave this sweater to his big brother Z as he will be able to wear this sweater for a while before he grows out of it.  I’m currently in a state of mourning, but wanted to share this project as it was dear to my heart and a lovely knit).

Nephew sweater #3

Sunshine Cardigan

Project Details:
Pattern name: Sunshine Cardigan (free Ravelry download here)
Size: age 18-24 months
Yarn used: Sidar Snuggly DK in “Baby Grey” (colour #427) and “Engine Red” (colour #413)
Yardage: 561 yards out (points for stash-down!)
Needles used: 4mm needles for all as I wanted this cardigan to fit bigger than what the pattern suggested
Notes: forgot to mirror the cables on the front, but ah well. Also did a cable down both side “seams” (wasn’t noted in the pattern but I liked the look of it).  I sewed snaps into the back of the buttons because I wasn’t in the mood for making button-holes. Snaps also make squirming toddlers easier to dress. Did all the garter areas in contrasting colour.  This cardigan looks great on my littlest nephew R, who looks like quite the little man in it.

Changing track – a cardigan for me!

About a year ago I started the Talamh Cardigan for myself (see this blog post mentioning it) but I never got around to writing about it.  Why? Because after about 5 months of knitting the thing, when I put it on, I hated how it looked on me.  The front gaped open over the bust, the shoulders just didn’t look right, and I wasn’t sure about the fit.  And so it sat on my couch.  And sat.  And sat some more until I finally showed it to a few friends of mine that convinced me it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was imagining.  One of my knitting friends offered some advice, and I thought about it and decided to add a bit more fabric to the button-bands by doing some single-crochet.  It helped, but the cardigan still gaped open over the bust.  And so this cardigan sat for another 3 months on my couch, taunting me with my failure as a knitter.  I ignored the cardigan and focused on the nephew Christmas sweaters.  Finally, over the holidays, I sewed some hooks/eyes onto the button band and that seems to have dealt with the gaping issue.  I’m still not 100% happy with the way the cardigan sits on my shoulders/collarbone as I’m really narrow across the shoulder, but its wearable now at least.  

Green Tea Talamh

Project Details:
Pattern name: Talamh Cardigan (paid-pattern available here)
Size: 35″ bust
Yarn used: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes sport in “Green Tea Heather”
Yardage: 996 yards out (and points for stash-down)
Needles used: 3.5mm needles for all
Notes: to be found on my corresponding Ravelry project page as there’s lots!

On a final note, I’ve knitted about 4000 yards of yarn in 2013.  Huzzah!

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Around and around

October 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The seasons have changed, and once again the wheel of the year has turned around and its officially autumn.  I also seem to find myself going around town trying to do all the things without depleting my energy during this time of gathering in.  And I seem to be knitting many projects in the round these days as well – although I suppose that isn’t all that surprising to those who know that I have no love for knitting things flat and then seaming them.  There’s a freedom that comes from knitting items in the round – it feels like second nature to me now.  I suppose that I’ve taken a cue from the Knitting Guru herself, Elizabeth Zimmerman.

My latest FO (or Finished Object for you non-Ravelry type folks) is an infinity scarf for my RMT, Jamie Davey.  What is an infinity scarf?  Well, if you have looked around town, you will have likely seen many people warming up with long, loopy scarves that can be wrapped around the head for maximum insulation from the elements.  Its basically a giant circle (or oval), and they are certainly en vogue maintenant.  Just type “infinity scarf” into a Google search and you will know what I’m talking about.

Jamie has a love of large, chunky, cozy knits.  She couldn’t find any infinity scarves that would suit her needs – must be chunky, and wolfish-grey to go with lots of items in her wardrobe.  So she commissioned me to make her an infinity scarf, and off we went to Three Bags Full to buy some yarn.  If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you will have seen some of the photos that I posted along the way as I knitted up this scarf.

A note about Jamie – this wonderful lady has been helping me heal from my 3 car accidents with her deep tissue massages for almost the past 4 years.  She is professional, personable, and funny.  Jamie recently opened up her own business this year, huzzah!  Here she is in her office, The Treatment Room:

snug up James

She was super stoked with having her scarf done quickly in time for the colder weather.  After some indoor shots, I shooed her outside for some awesome autumnal glamour shots.

jamie in leaves

And a great close-up of the scarf here:
closeup infinity scarf

Project Details:

Project name: To Infinity, and Beyond!
Pattern: The Vortex Infinity Scarf – free pattern
Yarn: Cascade Magnum
Yardage: approximately 200 yards (still need to measure for stash-down certainty)
Needles: 10mm (US15) circular needles (on a 40″ cable)

 In other news, I’m getting close to finished on nephew sweater #1 (also knitted in the round, hehe).  I will be posting another blog with photos and info next week if all goes according to plan 😉 .  Then I need to get moving on nephew #2 and #3’s sweaters.  Sometimes I think that I’m nuts for doing 3 child sweaters for Christmas, but I know that they will go to good use and will be loved by my sweet nephews.  Well, that’s what I hope at least!

 

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Babies on the brain

September 18th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Before anyone gets excited, no – I’m NOT pregnant.  Just had to throw that out there before I get started on this post.

Its been a summer of odds & ends crafting it seems.  I focused on small projects to carry around with me as its been a rather hot & dry summer season here in the usually rainy west coast. To finish up with some leftover yarn from the items I made for my co-worker Dayna (see previous blog post), I made her a cool braided i-cord headband:

headband

Apologies for the craptacular photo, its hard to take pictures in my apartment now that the lighting has changed with the season.  I used up 13.75 yards of the same Agave Oracle yarn from my previous blog post.  Basically, I made 3 i-cords on 3.75mm DPNs and knitted for about 9 inches long before casting-off, and then braided them (including the tails) together to make a headband.  Pretty cool, huh?  Totally a design of my own!

Another quickie project that I managed to do over a day and a half is a really sweet baby hat for my co-worker Paula who is having her first child.  Here it is in all its tri-peaked glory as it blocks over a balloon.

hat

Project name: Newborn Tri-corn hat
Project pattern: Baby Tri-Peak (external link for everyone)
Yarn: Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool, worsted weight, in colour #1898 (or kind of a dark raspberry jam colour)
Yardage: 60 yards for stashdown!
Needles: 4.5mm 16″ circular needle, 4.5 DPNs, and a tapestry needle

Here’s another photo with natural light to show colour & bonus smile of the baby-mama in question:

paula with hat

 

And now that we are half-way through September, I’m looking forward at the upcoming cold (and inevitable damp) months and that means Christmas knitting. 

While I know that most folks may run screaming from their computer screens at the mere mention of the C-word (as I shall call Christmas henceforth), as a knitter of intermediate speed with chronic pain, I need to be able to plan out my C-word knitting projects to have them completed in time.  The plan for this year (because I’m nuts) is to knit 3 sweaters (or to be specific, 2 sweaters and 1 cardigan) for my three nephews.  Luckily, I will not have to mail out any packages containing these sweaters, so I have right up until December 22 to work on things!  Also lucky for me is that these 3 boys are all under the age of 4, so that should make things go a bit faster…

The current sweater that I’m working on is for one of my nephews (for the sake of keeping things under wraps until the C-day comes around, I won’t identify whose getting what until afterwards) in a lovely green colour that should wash & wear well.  Here’s what this sweater looked like about a week & a half ago:

twisted tree in progress

That’s the sweater with 4 completed pattern repeats of twisted cable stitches running down the side “seams” of this sweater.   As of this posting, I’m on repeat #9.  So, almost ready to divide for the sleeves!  Exciting times, but I still have 2 full other baby sweaters to make – hence my blog post title.  Onwards!

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A woman about town…

August 16th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Summer can be a bit of a lull time for most knitters as its so warm & humid that the idea of working with yarn (especially wool or animal fibre yarns) seems like an obtuse idea.  No so for me, as I find ways around the heat by knitting smaller, lacier, somewhat “instant gratification” type projects. 

Since I have stalled on my purple Passion Flowers shawl (I have a couple valid excuses – I swear!), I felt it was time to get back on the knitting horse and get some projects done.  But I didn’t have anything in my queue that I really wanted for myself, so I made good on a promise to a co-worker a few months ago to make her something…

My co-worker Dayna has often admired my craftiness and had expressed interested previously in having me make something for her, with the proviso that it not interfere with any other knitting-related deadlines that I may have.  Sweet of her, huh?   I showed her a cowl pattern that I’ve had in my queue for forever (no really, its been in my queue since 2008!) that I wanted to knit and was she interested?  Hells yes!

Away we went with the pattern in hand to the LYS Wool is Not Enough where Dayna bought some gorgeous Twisted Sisters Oracle yarn in Agave.  This yarn is a delicious blend of 60% merino wool and 40% bamboo.  The yarn has that lovely sheen that only comes with bamboo, and it behaved more like a plant-fibre base rather than an animal-fibre base yarn (namely, that it didn’t have a lot of give when knitting it up).  We bought 2 skeins (= 420 yards stash-in) because the cowl looked like it would eat up more than what the pattern called for.  I suggested to Dayna that I make her a matching pair of mitts because hey, what makes a lady ready for autumn winds and temperatures?  A smart, matching set of mitts & a cowl, that’s what! 

set

Set break-down:
1) Cowl
Pattern: Eleanor from Knitty (free pattern)
Yarn: Twisted Sisters Oracle in Agave
Yardage: 174.25 yards for stash-down
Needles: 3.75mm 16″ circular and 3.5mm 16″ circular needles (pattern also called for 4mm to cast-on, but I didn’t like the baggy look of the cast-on edge when I initially started the cowl so I dropped down to the 3.75mm to cast-on instead).

just the cowl

2) Fingerless Mitts
Pattern: Foliage Lace Mitts (free pattern)
Yarn: Twisted Sisters Oracle in Agave
Yardage: 179.75 yards for stash-down
Needles: 4mm dpns
Modifications: I made a fair number of modifications to make these mitts a better fit (the pattern had no wrist-shaping) and look more finished

Wrist shaping:
Pattern repeat 5, rows 7, 9, and 11, I decreased on the inside & outside wrist (either K2tog or SSK like doing the toe of a sock) as this pattern has no shaping in it at all.

I increased during the thumb gusset part thus:
Row 1: increase on both inside/outside wrist by either M1R or M1L as appropriate.
Row 4: increased on inside wrist only
Row 10: increased on both
Row 13: increase on outside wrist only
All thumb gusset increases were M1R or M1L rather than Kfb as I don’t like the look of those increases.
I also picked up 6 rather than 5 stitches after putting the 15 sts on waste yarn to help close the gap.

Thumb:
I picked up 12 rather than 8 sts to help close the gap and divided the stitches amongst 3 needles.
Thumb was made thus:
Row 1: K all
Row 2: K1, K2tog, K to 3 sts before 3rd needle, SSK, K1, K2tog, K to end
Row 3: K to beginning of 3rd needle, K1, K2tog, then K to 3 sts before end, SSK, K1
Row 4: K all
Row 5: K1, K2tog, K to last 3 sts before end of round, SSK, K1 (20 sts)
Row 6-8: K all
Row 9: K1, K2tog, K to last 3 sts, SSK, K1
Row 10-12: K all
Cast-off

Finishing
I also wanted to make these mitts look a bit more finished as they didn’t have any ribbing around either cuffs. So I did SC around the arm cuff, and did an applied i-cord bind-off around the finger cuffs.

just the mitts

Dayna is officially (at least in my books) a woman about town. :)

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