Tag Archive | hand knits

Two Gray Cowls

Just a quick one tonight to show off a couple of cowls. The first one I finished several days ago and just got around to blocking.

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The pattern is Flor de Maio and it was designed for Classic Elite Yarns Chateau, a baby alpaca yarn, and that’s what I used. It’s one of my favorite yarns, so soft and decadent, with great drape.

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It lost a bit of the thick density with blocking, so I kind of wish I hadn’t blocked, but it did open up the pretty diamond lace pattern nicely. This one will be a gift.

The other one is made from some of my brand-new yarn from over the weekend, Cascade Yarns Spuntaneous, and I’m kind of in love with it too.

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It’s a delicious super bulky, soft like roving, softer than Rasta or Magnum but with that same wonderful chunky texture.

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The pattern is A New Years Cowl and it was quick. Like, couple of hours quick.

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I mean, come on. This is just so perfect. I love it so much I might have to make another one. And another, and another!

Happy knitting, friends!

Save me, knitting

OMG guys, Christmas is coming. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and for some reason it hit me that Christmas is just a little over a month away and I am so far from being ready that it’s not even funny. I haven’t even had the brainpower to start thinking about it. I have no idea what my kids want, let alone what the nieces and nephews want. I don’t even know what *I* want. (That’s not true. I want yarn and time to knit. That would be plenty.) So there’s a ton of shopping to do, plus decorating, and we have A LOT of decorations. I know, they don’t all need to be put out, but I do love having the house decorated. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it today. I think I got spoiled the last few years, when I wasn’t working and I had time/mental energy to put toward this kind of stuff. It’s a little different now. I have to readjust. I think I’ll make a list. Maybe two lists. That always helps.

Let’s try to refocus and think of happier things: I have a FO! I finished my second Color Block Wrap yesterday and wove in the ends this morning and I LOVE it.

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For as big as this is, it is a super fast knit. It took me about a month, and I am not a monogamous knitter. This was mostly lunch break/ kids’ concerts knitting. Here’s the project page if you want details. I’m so glad I went down a needle size; I love the denser drape. This will get a lot of use this winter.

I also have a new cast-on. I had to go to the LYS last weekend to get yarn for an Etsy order, and I knew I was getting some money for a previous custom order, so I splurged on a gorgeous skein of Anzula Cricket in Charcoal. I’ve been wanting a black cowl for myself for a while. It took a bit of searching but I decided on the Saltfleet Cowl pattern, and I’m calling mine the Black Diamond cowl.

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The Anzula is a treat to knit with, that’s for sure. Soft but not limp, not splitty at all, great stitch definition, and there’s enough color variation that it’s not like knitting with black yarn at all. I’m loving this project.

And since I finished my previous mindless knitting project (the Color Block), I pulled out a project that’s been in hibernation for a long time. I got the set of gradient purple yarns (Knit Picks Palette) for Christmas two years ago and cast on Purl Soho’s Gradient Cowl. It’s pretty, but boring, so I work on it for a little while and then tuck it away again. I’m now over halfway through, I’m a faster knitter than I was two years ago, and I have a lot more time for mindless knitting. (Unfortunately that means I have much less time for complicated knitting, but hey, it’s a trade-off. I gotta find the silver lining where I can.) Anyway, I took this with me last night when I went to an author event and made good progress.

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What author, you ask? None other than Rainbow Rowell, super-talented author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Landline! She’s so fun to listen to; she’s funny and smart and snarky and honest and I just love her. I mean, look how cute she is:

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Oh, and I found other knitters there too! There were two of them sitting right in front of me–I recognized a handknit hat on one, and a handknit shawl on the other. They noticed me knitting during the break, and we chatted a bit, and then during the second half, one of them pulled out her knitting too. I love to encourage knitting in public!

Okay, this was a fun interlude but I’m afraid I must re-enter the scary world of holiday prep. We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year so cleaning must happen today, and I’m definitely not doing it all myself so I’ll be dragging some unhappy helpers into the mix. Wish me luck!

Fairy SnowCap

I finished a hat this morning and it’s so pretty! This was my spur of the moment “I need to make a hat” knitting this weekend, and it fit the bill perfectly.

Pattern: Fairy SnowCap  It was well-written, included lots of tips and instruction and photos. Very little repetition in the lace pattern so it made me think without making my lose my head. Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Jil Eaton Minnow Merino in dark pink. Used every bit of 154 yards, and that was making a slightly smaller pompom than the designer.  img_2318img_2319img_2320img_2321

Now, here’s what I didn’t like: making a hat top-down! You have to start on DPNs, which aren’t my favorite, and this pattern has a lot of YOs and my YOs never ended up at a good spot on my needles so I switched to 9″ circs as soon as I could, but they were metal Addis and way too slick for this yarn/pattern. Once I was able to get to my bamboo 16″ circs, it was okay, but then you run into the bottom edge problem: it needs to be stretchy without being too big. The pattern recommended a sewn Kitchener bindoff, and included a handy phototutorial and everything, but I’m a lazy knitter and I just did Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bindoff instead. It fits my medium-size head well, maybe loose enough that it would work well on a large head too. So I’m calling this a win, but I probably wouldn’t knit this pattern again. That’s totally me and my preferences, and not the pattern.

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend as much as I am mine. (It’s wonderfully unscheduled, leaving my lots of crafty time.) I even have plans to go to a LYS today!

I’m still here

Hello. It’s me. I was wondering if after all this time you’d like to meet, to go over everything.

Okay, not everything. I will refrain from making this a completely political post and just say that I am devastated and scared and determined to do what I can to make sure my country remains great. I think everything beyond that has been said, and plus, I just don’t feel like going there here.

So instead, let’s talk about knitting. I have been MIA for a while, I know. The girl has had lots of music stuff going on but last weekend was the highlight: she earned first chair flute in the All-District band! Woo hoo! That means she gets solos in the concert and gets to audition for the All-State band. Fingers crossed for that one. I have been knitting, but can’t share most of what I’ve done lately because it’s a secret Christmas project. I have been working on my alpaca color block wrap and it’s grown quickly; I only have a stripe and a half left.

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It’s deliciously soft and warm, and I can’t wait to put it in my rotation of hand knits. My other current WIP is the Hitchhiker Beyond. It’s going more slowly, but that’s what you get with fingering weight and small needles.

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The color is terrible in this photo, not accurate at all. I’m so sorry. I’ll do better next time.

And here, look at my new tote bag!!

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Pretty cool, eh? Might be my new favorite.

Until next time, whenever that may be, hope you all stay safe and happy!

Progress on the WIPs

Yes, it is Friday, and here I am blogging! Thanks to a dentist appointment today and a book event this evening (I get to see JODI PICOULT!!! SQUEE!) I decided to just take the day off. I’ve got errands to run too, of course, but thought I’d take advantage of my rare quiet morning at home to slip in a quick new post. So: lots of knitting time this week! My beautiful new Color Block Wrap is coming along nicely. I’d forgotten what a fast knit it is. I decided to just go with the size 10 needles because I liked the resulting gauge. I figure I’ll do the first three sections, see how long it is, and decide then whether I need to add another skein or two. I don’t have more dark pink but I’ve got a light pink and more grays, so I could easily add more yardage.

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And I was a winner this week! We went to a fundraiser for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and there was a silent auction, and I won a new knitting tote! Yes, I totally DID need another bag, thank you for asking. Isn’t it cute?

img_2157I also won a gift certificate so I’m ordering another bag and I think I’m even going to splurge and get it personalized!

Look at this: I also managed to work on Silverleaf this week:

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Yep, that’s the leaf section! I made it through half of the leaf lace pattern, so just the other half and the final boarder left to do. I’m still loving this project. It’s just perfect. But I’ll love wearing it too!

This weekend promises to be quite busy. Another band competition (the last of the season) will give me plenty more knitting time, so look for a FO on the blog soon!

Four New WIPs

I kind of went crazy this weekend and started some new projects. Not just one, a few. The first is my fourth Hitchhiker. This one is for a former co-worker and a good friend, someone who was kind enough to read my manuscript and give me some feedback. She picked the yarn and I’m providing the manual labor. Fortunately, she has very good taste. IMG_5404The yarn is Araucania Huasco, a lovely crispy Merino. It’ll be my first fingering weight Hitchhiker but it’s going quickly enough. Still, I got a bit tired of the skinny yarn and tiny needles and needed a bulky fix. So I started this. IMG_5548Simple beanie in super-bulky wool on size 15s. This was so super fast to knit…but the sad part is that I got to the decreases and realized I have no size 15 DPNs and couldn’t finish. Joann doesn’t carry them in the store, but thankfully we’re testing Amazon Prime so I’ve got a set ordered that should arrive tomorrow. But just that hat wasn’t a long enough break from the Hitchhiker, so I *finally* cast on for my Color Block Bias Wrap in Chateau. IMG_5547Um, this yarn is AMAZING. It’s a bulky blend of 70% alpaca, 30% bamboo, and it’s a chainette yarn so it’s incredibly light and fluffy. I don’t even care that it’s spring and I’m knitting with alpaca. I might in a couple of weeks, but for now, this will be fantastic evening knitting.

Finally, this morning the girl had an early morning orthodontist appointment to have her braces removed (hooray!). Early, like 7:30. On spring break. Ugh. Anyway, I had a bag ready to go, and in my bag I had yarn and needles to start a new hat. I’m thinking it will be for me but I always think that and I never keep it. Still, I’ll pretend. IMG_5549I’m doing another Violet Waffles hat and using HiKoo Simpliworsted, a bouncy squishy merino/acrylic/nylon blend. It’s one of my favorite yarns, and I think it will make a great lightweight hat. But seriously, hot pink is a really hard color to photograph.

I managed to almost double my WIPs in two days, but I’m okay with it. I now have a nice mix of projects to meet almost any need. I’m not sure how much knitting I’ll get done this week, having both kids home all week for spring break, but it will surely be more than the writing/revising I’ll get done (which will be none, I’m guessing). And maybe that’s just as well. I’m up to three rejections, and each one stings a little more. So it might be best for me to take a break and not think about it for a while. Today, I’ll do that by taking the girl on a belated birthday-shopping trip. Maybe I’ll take the hat knitting with me!

Frogged Sweater

Way back in April 2104, I started knitting a sweater. It was to be a cardigan for me out of some lovely purple variegated cotton. It went well, if very slowly, but then the miles of stockinette bored me to tears. It got relegated to a project bag, then a drawer where it hibernated for a very long time. I thought maybe someday I’d get back to it. I really do want to be the person who wears hand-knit sweaters; I’m just not sure I’m a person who can *make* hand-knit sweaters.

Recently, if you remember, I discovered I’ve been purling wrong ever since I started knitting. Why is this relevant? Because of those miles of stockinette in that cardigan. ALL of it had been done with the wrong purling. So for me to work on it again, not only would I have to conquer my hatred of miles of stockinette, but I would have to deal with the unusual texture of the stitches. I could either do it with my old purling style, which made the knitting rows harder, or I could switch to the new and have two completely different looks on the sweater. Neither were good alternatives in my mind.

On Saturday at the craft show, I was talking about it to my Knitting SIL and she mentioned I could just frog it and make something else with the yarn. It is, after all, truly lovely and soft yarn. Frog it?? Frog the sweater that I spent so much time on?? Was she crazy?

Nope. It made complete sense. I wasn’t enjoying the knitting of the sweater. I would enjoy it less going back to it now with a different method of purling. There simply was no good reason to keep it.

So yesterday I pulled it out of the drawer where it had been hiding for months and months.  IMG_5146The colors aren’t good in this photo but you can see the great expanse of stockinette. I’d even already divided for the sleeves. But there was no going back. I pulled out the cord, attached the end of the skein to my ball winder, and started winding. In a very short time, especially compared to how long it took to KNIT all that, the yarn was wound into pretty cakes, ready to become something completely different.IMG_5149What will it be? I’m not sure yet. I have six skeins of it, so the options are wide and varied. For now it will go back in the stash while I ponder.

Surprisingly, I’m not sad. It felt good to let go of a project. I don’t want to feel compelled to knit things because I feel like I “should”. I’m not a sweater knitter, and I’m not a sock knitter, and that’s okay. That’s the wonderful thing about knitters: we can all do different things and appreciate the differences without judging (at least most of us can).

The craft show is over, so the pressure is off for now, and I’m going to enjoy the selfish knitting time. The goal is to work on some older WIPs; here’s hoping some things can cross over onto the Finished Object list!