Tag Archive | handknits

Keep the party going!

You would think that I would get a lot done during a crafting weekend. I certainly thought I would. I packed six projects plus my journal plus my computer. Now, my portion of the “weekend” was only about 24 hours, and part of that was spent at the yarn store, so maybe I can justify why all I did was finish a sock and work a few inches on my purple Boxy. But the upside is that I had so much yarn energy built up that I came home and cast on three new projects!

img_6046You can probably tell that the top two are new socks. The bottom one will be a cactus, which I’m making for my work white elephant gift exchange. It will get a flower pot and everything.

I also snuggled with dogs a lot yesterday. Jack was offended that he was not invited to my getaway. I told him maybe next time.

Happy Monday, friends. Hope it’s a good one. At least as good as Monday can be.

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween! But my kids are older so I don’t have to go out in the cold to trick-or-treat, and I don’t have to answer the door over and over while listening to my dogs bark. As cute as my kids were when they were little, I confess I don’t miss the chaos of Halloween. Instead, I’ll leave my porch light off and just keep knitting like it’s a normal night. I’ve got another bottle sweater on my needles, but today I wanted to show off my latest FO, my Not So Lacy Lace Scarf.

fullsizeoutput_2412After blocking, it was 72″, and at first I was afraid that was too long, but now I think it’s perfect. Plenty of length to wrap around however you want!

fullsizeoutput_2417Sorry for the less than stellar photos; it’s been a little chilly and I’ve been too lazy to get outside for a proper photo shoot.

The yarn is Schachenmayr Fashion Soft Mix, a nylon/alpaca/wool mix and it’s super lightweight and soft and fluffy! It’s a gift, and I really hope they aren’t sensitive to alpaca or wool.  I haven’t made a scarf in a long time, and I was afraid it would drag on forever, but I finished this in a week! Once I memorized the 4-row repeat, it was fast and fun.

Hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween!

Sweater Weather

Yes, we all know it’s sweater weather, but the fun thing about being a knitter (okay, one of many) is that we can make sweaters for all sorts of things! People sweaters of course, but also dog sweaters, maybe cat sweaters, even chicken sweaters. And now…a bottle sweater!

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This was my first time doing cables. I’ve resisted them for years because you know, “cables are hard” and they’re fiddly and complicated. Well, guess what, they’re not hard or complicated. They are fiddly, but gosh darn it all to heck, I LOVE how they look! No wonder people persevere with cables; they look amazing. This is a gift for a coworker, but I might need to make one for myself just for a fun winter decoration.

The pattern is Wine Bottle Sweater and I found it easy to follow. Yarn is just acrylic from the stash. This was so fast to make; I think I got it done in one day.

What color is your pompom?

Well, that sounds weirder than it did in my head. To follow up on yesterday’s hat debate, I ended up going with the two-color pompom. I was overthinking it to a great degree and finally had to realize that it would be cute no matter what color the pompom was. And it is!

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So that will go off to my work friend this week. I also finished the scarf for my other friend and it will be blocked today. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me today, but wanted to share my Spring Rain “progress”.

Spring Rain is a two-color shawl with alternating garter and lace sections. The lace sections are 22 rows, no repeating rows, and I had a little trouble keeping track of where I was at times, but I was doing all right. Maybe had to fudge a stitch here or there, but it all worked out. Then, disaster: the needle slipped out of about ten stitches! GASP! With some knitting, that’s not a big deal. But with lace, where you have yarnovers and SSKs and K2TOGs and SKPs…it’s bad. Very bad. I was in denial at first and thought I could fix it. I picked up what I thought were the stitches and kept knitting. The first lace row after that was off by two stitches, so I added two and kept going. The lace row after that, I was off by four. Yes, it was bad. No, I had not put in a lifeline. Apparently I live on the edge. By this point, I was 17 rows into the 22-row lace section. It was the last lace section of the shawl. I could have kept faking it, but I knew the lace wouldn’t look right, and since it was the outer edge, I didn’t want it to look wonky. I needed to frog.

My first step was to find a long circular needle in a smaller size, I think they were size 2, and thread it through the last row of garter stitch.

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I did that all the way across without any issues. See the two needles in there?

img_5801-1Then I pulled out the original circ and frogged all those rows of green lace. It was satisfying and sad at the same time. And this time, when I started with the lace again, did I start using a lifeline too??

No, I did not. But wait, hear me out! I did start putting in a stitch marker after each repeat in the lace rows, so when I lost track, it was easier to find my mistake(s). And since then it’s been going pretty well, though it’s been on the back burner while I focused on some gift knitting instead.

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I am glad I frogged, even if I did lose a good chunk of progress. I love this shawl and really want to it to be as close to perfect as I can get it. It’ll be done by St. Patrick’s Day at least!

P.S. I ended up giving Grace her monthly injection for her Addison’s disease a day early and it made a huge difference. She’s back to her bouncy obnoxious self, licking all the faces and roughhousing with Duncan. Fingers crossed it lasts!

I get knocked down, but I get up again

A couple of days ago the girl sent me a snapchat asking if I was okay, because I hadn’t blogged in like three weeks. I confess, I teared up a bit because it was really perceptive and sweet and I miss her. As I told her, the answer is yes. But also no. And all the gray area in between. One of our dogs, Grace, got really sick last weekend and she’s still not quite 100% so I’ve been worried about her, plus a little stressed about how much we spent on vet bills because of it. Work hasn’t been what I want it to be lately, and I’m at the point in my life where I think about things like what are my long-term goals, how can I have multiple, competing goals, how do I want to spend the rest of my working life, is it okay to do something that fulfills you even if it’s not “A CAREER”? And I haven’t found any answers yet. I’m knitting, but I haven’t felt the call to write about it lately. Every time I think about it, it seems like a lot of work, so I don’t bother. But, here I am, doing the thing, because maybe if I push myself a little bit, I can get back in the groove.

My most recent FO is a hat commission I just finished this morning. It’s not quite done because it needs a pompom, but I’m debating between pink, silver or both. What do you think? It’s for a 10yo girl, if that makes a difference.

img_5840I used Caron Simply Soft Party Sparkle. I do like their acrylics, and I do love some sparkle! The pattern is Zayo Bayo Hat, which says it was written for 4-7yo kids, so I bumped up the stitch count by a few stitches.

Over the last few weeks, I also finished the Cersei hat for my former boss’s birthday, and I cast on for a new cowl for myself and a scarf for a friend’s birthday coming up. Plus I’ve been working on my Spring Rain shawl and my Boxy (not that much on the Boxy, to be honest). Oh, and I cast on a new pair of socks for a nephew, but I haven’t gotten a photo of those yet.

The Spring Rain shawl has its own little story, so I’ll share that soon. It will be a tale of why one should use lifelines when knitting lace shawls!

Happy weekend, friends. Hope it’s a good one for you!

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Sock It To Me Monday

Today’s post is brought to you by Mildly Granola, who started the Sock it to Me Monday theme, and who introduced me to the Twizzler sock pattern! I completed the second Twizzler sock over the weekend, after struggling a bit with Second Sock Syndrome.

img_5745They have longer legs than usual, because I got carried away on the first sock and of course had to make them match. The feet are also a little too long, and honestly, I don’t even know if I did the toes the same. I stopped looking at the pattern ages ago, and by the time the toe of the second sock came around, I just did a barn toe and called it good. They look the same, though, don’t they? The yarn is from Mudpunch in a color called Peacock Notation, and it was great to knit with! Now let’s just hope they wash and wear well too.

Review: SmartStix DPNs

I have made no sweater swatch, nor have I made progress on my current WIPs. Instead, I spent yesterday making something new and completely different. But I finished it, so it’s still a win in my book. I had some SmartStix DPNs from Knitter’s Pride I wanted to try out, and one more hat to make for my donation box, so I selected the Gooseberry Hat and a skein of superwash sport yarn from my stash. I’ve used the SmartStix before for mittens, and I find them perfect for that. So easy to measure cuffs and body length as you go!

But I wanted to try them with a different project, and even though I don’t typically knit hats with DPNs, it seemed like a good option.

IMG_5640These are the 5″ length, in size 4, and I will say they were a tiny bit short for a hat, even this baby hat. At this point, these DPNs are only available in 5″ or 8″ lengths, so while the 5″ are perfect for mittens/gloves (and would be brilliant for socks!) for hats I’d definitely buy the 8″ length. I loved being able to measure my progress so easily. Plus, even though the needles are aluminum, they aren’t super slippery like others I’ve used. They seem to grip the yarn just enough so the needles don’t go slipping out or the stitches sliding off. They’re lightweight, and the markings are laser etched. I have three sizes of needles and have used them all multiple times, and the markings are still clear and easy to see.

I’m definitely not as fast on DPNs as I am with circs, but I made this quickly enough and didn’t have to worry about switching when I was ready to decrease. They do offer the SmartStix in fixed circs and interchangeables, and I might like to try the 16″ for hats. I definitely want to try the size 1 DPNs for socks! Have you ever tried the SmartStix?

Thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and Knitter’s Pride, who generously sent me three sizes of 5″ SmartStix DPNs (retail value $38) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.