Archive | December 2016

One Done, Two Begun

Here, let me show you something I finished! I actually finished it a few days ago but was slow getting around to taking a halfway decent photo.

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This is my Quickie Scowl. I used Classic Elite Chalet and Chateau, two skeins of teal and one of light gray, and that wasn’t enough. It’s shorter than I wanted. I blame it on needle size. The pattern calls for 10 1/2; when I made it the first time, I used 10s (no idea why), and this time I chose 10.75 because I wanted to use my fun Marblez needles and I thought the size would be close enough. And I do love the loose drape and the nice big yarnovers, but of course it’s wider than my first scarf, so with the same amount of yarn, it’s also shorter. I thought about sewing the ends together for a cowl which would be long enough to double, but I asked my daughter and she voted for a scarf, so a scarf it stayed. And it is a cozy, warm, close-fitting scarf indeed!

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I did start two new projects yesterday, the ones calling my name, and boy are they fun! First I cast on for the Miss Winkle with my hot pink Frolicking Feet. It’s a Martina Behm pattern so there’s plenty of squishy garter stitch but also this nifty looped edge that is super addictive.

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It’s also super hard to photograph! It was a little tricky to figure out, and I’m pretty sure I did the first one wrong, but eh, it’s a design feature, right? At first I thought I’d get annoyed by the fiddly nature of it, but it turns out I’m loving knitting this and want to keep going just to make more loops!

My second cast-on was the Gothic Lace cowl in MadTosh Vintage and that’s a delightful knit too. The yarn is thick and squishy and slides just right on my bamboo needles and the lace makes me think without being too complicated, and bonus: when it’s done I’ll get to pick out buttons to add!

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And thankfully, the rest of my weekend is pretty empty, so I should get to work on these quite a bit. But once I get started on the margaritas tonight, I’ll probably switch back to the simple Hill & Dale cowl.

I think that’s a wrap for my 2016 blogging. See you on the flip side, and here’s wishing you all a happy, safe New Year’s Eve!

The Call of the Yarn

I have four sad WIPs that I have been neglecting. I have allowed myself to become distracted by all the new, pretty yarn entering my stash. I want to knit ALL the things with the new yarn. I’m quickly filling up my Ravelry queue with potential projects and am slowed only by having to go back to work. I’ve already started one new project, with some yarn I bought right after Christmas. I got two skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Archangel, and wanted a simple pattern to show off the gorgeous colors. I love cowls and wear them almost every day, so that was the easy decision. After much perusing, I settled on the Hill & Dale Cowl, a generously-sized cowl that will make perfect lunch-break knitting.

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As always, I’m loving knitting with Malabrigo. But I’m also itching to cast on a Chevrione shawl with my new Frolicking Feet gradient set. I haven’t done any fingering weight lace in ages and I’m craving it!

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Plus I’m desperate to make a Miss Winkle shawl, and I think this pink Frolicking Feet  will be perfect. (I’m sensing a theme here.) I also have this gorgeous skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage waiting to become this Gothic Lace cowl.

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See?? So many beautiful projects just waiting for my attention! The pull of these yarns is so strong that I’m even ignoring a Malabrigo Hitchhiker already on my needles! That’s pretty significant…but hm, maybe I should get that back out…hmm, how many WIPs is a reasonable number?

A Story of Yarn

Free yarn. What knitter would turn down free yarn? Not this one! So when one of my SILs said she’d gotten some yarn from a client and it was mine if I wanted it, I said sure! To be honest, I was expecting chain-store acrylic. Then she said the woman had told her it was “good yarn, not the cheap stuff” and my hopes went up a bit. A quick glance in the bag revealed it was indeed “better” yarn — I saw one label for Rowan wool and thought I might find some goodies.

That night I dumped out the bag, and as I started picking up the balls, I made a disappointing discovery: the yarn had been stored around a smoker. The smell wasn’t super strong, not overpowering, but it was there. I knew I could wash finished pieces but I was afraid the smell would bother me as I knit.

I did some googling and asking around, and the consensus was that washing the yarn was my only hope, and even that might not work. Knowing that, I performed triage on the yarn. I set aside to donate the colors I didn’t like, the unlabeled skeins I thought were acrylic, the ones that felt too scratchy for me. That left me with seven balls of wool and cotton. I filled up a tub with water and Eucalan and let them soak for several hours, then squished them out and set them on a towel to dry.

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Well, that took forever, as you can imagine. I decided they’d dry out faster and air out better if I could put them in loose hanks. So I spent some time with my swift and ended up with neat, tidy, damp hanks hanging in my craft room.

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Tonight they were dry so back on the swift they went to get wound into pretty cakes. As near as I can tell, the smoke smell is gone. (As is most of the cat hair.) What treasures did I keep? I hear you asking. Well, I got two skeins of what I believe is pima cotton (pink and purple), one skein of Rowan superwash wool in red, one skein of a luscious wool/silk/cashmere blend (Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra, to be specific), two balls of Mochi Plus in the color Neptune (which I recognized because I have three balls already), and best of all, a skein of Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in red. They’re all definitely worth the work of washing and reskeining! And now I’m quite pleased with myself and my new stash.

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What about you? Have you ever gotten awesome yarn for free? Or gone to great lengths to save good yarn?

Gift Knitting Part II

Whew, another Christmas in the books! It was a busy one, a good one, and now I’m ready to move on. I do enjoy the holidays, but they seem to have gotten more complicated, and thus more stressful, over the years. I’m happy to have a bit of a breather now, and be able to focus on my knitting! What have I been making, you ask? Well, let’s take a peek:

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I made good progress on this teal and gray scarf yesterday while binge-watching 11.22.63 on Hulu. (SO good, and I loved the book so I was worried, but I really enjoyed it and am now reading the book again.) Anyway, nine hours of TV means lots of knitting time.

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Pattern for this one is Quickie Cowl and yarn is Classic Elite Yarns Chalet and Chateau.

This one is another Twinkly Lights Cowl like I made for my SIL (the tan/brown one I showed you before) only this one is in Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky. I also did it correctly this time, with the wider center section, and I love it. It’s dense and heavy and warm, and I know I’ll be wearing it a lot when the temperatures drop again.

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I managed to score some more Cascade Spuntaneous Yarn, this time in purple and pink, and the purple one ended up being my Christmas Eve party knitting. And when I finished it, the hubby snagged it because he was chilly. And he liked it too!

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Fortunately for him, he had his own warm knitwear waiting under the tree! A week before Christmas, it was super cold, and as he wrapped his (handknit alpaca) scarf around his neck, he casually mentioned, “Gosh, I need a buff.” Like you, I said, “What the heck is a buff??” and found out it’s basically a really snug cowl that can be worn over the face when one is doing weird outdoorsy things like hiking or biking or running, or whatever. And I know he didn’t mean it like that, but knitter friends, you know I heard him say, “You need to make me a buff for Christmas.”

Well. Challenge accepted! I popped over to Ravelry and found this perfect pattern (had to buy the book; don’t know if I’ll make anything else from it anytime soon) but didn’t have the right yarn. I made it to the yarn store two days later and cast on that night with some Cascade 220 Superwash. It needed to be warm, resilient, and preferably washable, so I chose a good workhorse of a yarn. As I began knitting, I remembered how much I dislike knitting from charts. I especially dislike them when the chart is in iBooks and I can’t get it into my knitting app to keep track of rows. So yeah, I wrote out the charts and knit from that instead. Worked pretty well! Six hours later, I had a buff ready to wrap.

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Isn’t it so pretty?? I love the design; I think I want to make it again but with a looser fit.

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I think he liked it. I mean, I know he looks scary here, but he’s really not. And he says it’s warm. I call this one a Gift Knitting Win!

Okay, last project. This one was also last-minute. Like I made it on Christmas Eve and gifted it the next day. I’d wanted to make something for my aunt but couldn’t think of what to make. While browsing Instagram, I saw a photo of ErikaShmerika’s First Leaf Neck Wrap and thought AHA! A quick bulky project that’s a little bit different, that’s perfect! I pulled out some Berroco Kodiak in the color Harbor Seal (code for Gray) and knit this up while watching Jurassic World.

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Jack was so kind and modeled for me after I finished it. I think he looks quite handsome. But his patience didn’t last too long and I did need to add a button.

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I think this is a really cute scarf, and the yarn is warm but so fuzzy and lightweight. The pattern called for a full-length scarf but I liked the idea of a more unusual buttoned neckwarmer, and bonus: it worked perfectly within my time constraints!

I do enjoy gift-knitting when it goes well! And now the gifts are put away, the kids are busy with their new gadgets, and I can settle in and do more knitting. And because my family knows me and loves me, I can start a round of selfish knitting with MY new gadgets: a new YarnPop bag and a yarn valet!

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I hope you all had joyful holidays with plenty of knitting time and just enough family time!

Gift Knitting

Of course I had to decide, at the last minute, to make some Christmas gifts. All along, I told myself I wasn’t going to stress over making handmade gifts. I had one gift made months ago and was enjoying my selfish knitting time. But then the urge hit me — and I really wanted to make a cowl for this specific person. I had a vague picture in my head, along with an idea of what yarn from my stash I wanted to use, and I took to Ravelry. I soon found the Twinkly Lights Cowl and knew it was perfect. I cast on immediately and was done within about three hours (spread over a couple of days).

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I loved knitting this and will definitely be making more. I really want to do a black and gray version like the original. I accidentally did only 10 rows of Color B in the middle, instead of 20, but I don’t mind. I think it came out a good height, warm without being too bulky. The yarn is Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in colors Chocolate and Extra Creme Cafe, and I used less than a skein of each. This is lovely yarn to knit with; it feels dense without being heavy, firm but still soft. It’s not luxurious the way some yarns are, like alpaca, but it’s a great everyday yarn perfect for hats and cowls. Probably mittens too, maybe I should try that!

I also started a new scarf this week. For a brief moment, I thought it could be a gift, but then I came to my senses when I realized that A) Christmas was six days away and B) this is a SCARF. Now, this will be a shorter scarf, but still. A scarf. And my knitting time is still hampered by this crazy job thing. Anyway, I made a scarf for my husband a couple of years ago and we all love it and occasionally steal it. The pattern is Quickie Cowl (only I modify it to make a scarf) and it’s knit with CEY Chalet and it’s just so cozy and warm. It finally occurred to me that I could make another one, since I have more of that yarn in the stash. In fact, I have two skeins of a gorgeous deep teal and a skein of light gray to coordinate. I decided to use the same pattern since we like it so much but noticed I’d used a smaller needle than recommended the first time around, so I went up a needle size and cast on.

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It’s YUMMY. And gorgeous. I adore this yarn, truly. It’s so warm and never makes me itch. I’ll probably ignore all my other WIPs and knit on this exclusively!! (hahahaha!)

Hope you’re all ready for the holidays coming up! I know I’m not!

So Many FOs!

I have SO MANY finished objects to share, it’s ridiculous. And just so you don’t hate me, keep mind that some of them I finished a while ago and couldn’t share at the time, and some of them were simple travel knitting, and some of them were super quick crochet hats. So, now that we’ve agreed not to judge or compare, let’s take a peek, shall we?

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First up: Messy Bun Hats! Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon, but it was by request. The bottom two are for two of my nieces, and the top two are for a friend’s nieces. I used this pattern as a basis but modified a bit, mostly by picking up stitches for a knitted brim instead of crochet. These hats are incredibly fast to make.

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This scarf is for a coworker, and it was also super quick to make. I used Susan B. Anderson’s Leaf pattern and one skein of Bernat Roving and got one cute scarf. Hopefully the blocking keeps it from curling too much.

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This is another cowl with Cascade Yarns’ Spuntaneous yarn and I think it’s stunning. Plus, big yarn + big needles = fast project! Pattern is New Years Cowl.

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This little kitty just needed whiskers, so that was a fast finish too. I dabbed some glue on them and now they’re drying, so hopefully they’ll stick out nicely and my nephew will be pleased. He’s one of my favorite people to knit for; he just loves everything so much.

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Okay, this one was not a fast finish. I started this in February 2015 and finally forced myself to finish it. It’s not perfect, not exactly what I thought it would be, but it’s done, and once I’ve taken a break from looking at it, I might even be able to wear it. Pattern is Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl and I used 8 colors of KnitPicks Palette.

All right, are you ready for the last reveal?? It’s my favorite, I think. So, I work in a lab that studies yeast, and a while back my boss asked me to make pombe yeast hats for the team. She didn’t have any other requests or ideas beyond that, so I asked what it looked like. (I’m the non-scientist admin person; I don’t actually play with the yeast.) Tetrads, she said, like four peas in a pod. I went hunting, asked my Knitting SIL for advice, and eventually stumbled on bobbles. Bobbles ended up being perfect.

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I started with this pattern, but it was mostly for the general look. I kind of made up my own stitch counts, and changed the bobble pattern to be groups of four. But guess what? Bobbles are horrible. I mean, they’re not that hard, but good grief they’re fiddly and interrupt the rhythm of knitting and they were a pain in my butt. I don’t think I’ll be doing much more bobble-knitting in the future. Still, I persevered and everybody got their own color, and I think they were pleased. At least some of them were. Some of them might not be hat people, and that’s okay. It was a fun project.

And after all that, I’m down to only four WIPs on my needles. I didn’t commit to very much gift-knitting so I don’t have any projects that I *need* to finish. I mean, I really should pick up one of my WIPs, but I’m also feeling kind of desperate to cast on something new, something else with bulky yarn. What’s your favorite quick bulky-yarn project?

Pretty pretty yarn

Recently we spent a day in Columbia, MO. I knew of one yarn store there that we visit each time we’re in town, but on a whim I did a google search and found another one. I only had time to visit one LYS, so the new one won. It’s called True Blewe Yarns and it was marvelous! The selection wasn’t deep but it was delicious. They carried a few favorites, like Madelinetosh, Manos del Uruguay and some Cascade superwash but they also had some new (to me) lines like Holiday Yarns and Three Irish Girls, and I fell in love.

My husband found this yarn. It didn’t jump out at me at first because it’s not my usual combination of colors, but then I looked at the name:

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YES! It’s Wonder Woman yarn!! And I do adore Wonder Woman. So this was my first pick. It’s from Holiday Yarns and it will be either a long cowl, to wrap twice, or a shawl/scarf thing similar in size to a Hitchhiker. I had a hard time resisting the Twilight, Batman and Black Widow colors. You can check out all their yarns online here.

Then I had to pick a multicolor skein from Three Irish Girls because they were beautiful and felt good when I petted them. This was the winner.

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It’s Adorn Sock in a colorway called Piazza del San Marco and I have no idea what it will become.

I admired this color because…well, purple, but wasn’t going to pick it up until my husband pointed out how nicely it went with my dark purple winter coat. (Oh, yes, I know I’m very lucky to have a husband who helps me spend money on yarn!)

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It’s Holiday Yarns FlockSock, 400 yards of fingering weight. Definitely a scarfy-shawl thing.

Then my daughter found these scrumptious beauties and I loved them so much I had to have two! It’s like Malabrigo Rasta only SOFTER. AND you get 109 yards per skein!!

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The gray is going to become a big cowl (for ME) and the cream will become a hat with a BIG pompom (for…I don’t know who).

I had to quit after that but they liked me enough that they put my yarns in a nifty tote bag, and that’s happy because what knitter doesn’t need another tote bag??

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So if you’re in the Columbia area, I highly recommend you check out this jewel of a yarn store!