Tag Archive | lace knitting

FO Friday: Manos Alegria Grande

I’m excited to share my latest FO with you today! I got a chance to review some Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande and I’m always up for that challenge. It’s a yarn I’ve used before, but they’ve released some new semi-solid and space-dyed colorways. I selected one of the resist-dyed colors called Gleam, which is black with purple specks. (Shocker, I know.)

Okay, first of all, what the heck do ‘space-dyed’ and ‘resist-dyed’ mean? I had no idea. The internet tells me that space dyeing is when multiple colors are applied along the length of the yarn which may or may not repeat after a fixed interval. Resist-dyeing is when a substance that is impervious to the dye blocks its access to certain areas of the fabric, while other parts are free to take up the color of the dye. Hm, okay, that sounds fun, and it sure makes some cool yarn. And that cool yarn can make a really cool shawl — look at how the speckles change direction between each section!

For my two skeins, I chose a pattern from Manos called the Serenità Shawl. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry and was designed for two skeins of Alegria Grande. I did the pattern as written and ended up with just a few yards left over. It’s a fun pattern that switches from stockinette to garter to lace.

Knitting with the Grande was a delight, as Manos always is. The Grande is a smooth, thick, squishy yarn. But here’s what I never realized before: it’s machine washable! It’s 75% merino wool and 25% polyamide, which means you could make awesome sweaters in gorgeous colors that are easy to care for! This has opened up a lot of new opportunities for me to use the Alegria yarns in my knitting.

For shawls, I’ll still hand wash, though. This one is a small shawl so I blocked it as aggressively as I could, and wow, the lace opened up beautifully. It’s got a great drape and I’m happy to wear it next to my skin, which occasionally has some wool sensitivities.

I did come across two frayed spots, one in each skein, where the yarn had thinned. I didn’t want to risk it breaking unexpectedly so I did break the yarn to skip those spots. I ended up with a couple of extra ends to weave in but I feel like those two spots are totally within reason. There are so many good reasons to knit with Manos (pretty! soft! colors!) but don’t forget the cool stuff like supporting the skilled women in Uruguay who produce the yarn, or that Manos is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. It’s just a company I feel good supporting, and you can learn more here.

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me two skeins of Alegria Grande (retail value: $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Sock It To Me Monday

This could have been a Friday post just as easily, because today I’m sharing a finished pair of socks. I started these quite a few weeks ago, as soon as the yarn arrived, to be honest. But then they were lace socks and I got distracted by other yarns, so it wasn’t until last week that I really focused on them. Once I did, they knit up pretty quickly.

Here’s what I know now: lace socks are stretchy! I normally cast on 64 stitches for my socks. This pattern offered 60 or 72 stitches, and looking at other projects, it sounded like 60 would be too small, but I knew 72 would be too big. So I thought I’d be clever and just add one lace repeat, and cast on 66. It worked fine for the lace, but the heel flap gave me issues. The first time I did my usual 32, but that messed up the lace pattern plus things got weird at the toe when it was time to decrease and kitchener. So the second time I did 30, with made the lace behave nicely, and would have worked fine at the end if I’d moved the right stitches from one needle to the other.

I was trying to have equal amounts on the top and the bottom, you see, but my brain misbehaved and I ended up decreasing the first three times in the wrong place. I fixed it then and it’s not really noticeable when I wear them. But what is noticeable is that they’re loose — I should have done 60 stitches after all. So now you know: if you want to knit all lace socks, be sure to make the appropriate adjustments for size!

Or just do what I’ll do next time and keep the lace on the leg only! Pattern is Mercury Socks and the Ravelry link is here. The yarn is Show Me Yarn Bootheel in Stained Glass Menagerie, a special edition that came with a matching project bag. It’s no longer available but they have other pretty yarns on their Etsy site.

Oh and today is Duncan’s Gotcha Day! We’ve had him for three years now.

Today is a holiday in the States so I’ll be spending the rest of the day knitting and puttering around. Hope the rest of my US friends have a good holiday as well!

FO Friday: Hundred Acre Wood

Today I will share the pretty photos of my latest shawl, the Hundred Acre Wood shawl. I am very glad this shawl is done. This is one of those projects where you look at it and think, “Well, at least the yarn is gorgeous.”

So let’s start with that: the yarn is from Molly Girl Yarn and is a set of Bass Line Minis in Jazz. I love these colors. LOVE them.

And honestly, the pattern was good too! I mean, after the first lace section, I looked at and it was clearly wonky and I thought, huh, I have NO idea what I did wrong. After the second one, I realized I was doing my yarnovers wrong, and on the next row they were sliding to the wrong place and I was knitting them in the wrong order. But I didn’t figure it out until late in the second lace row and by then I just shrugged. Whatever. Little eyelets, nobody around me will know what they’re supposed to look like.

Like I mentioned before, the pattern was nicely marked to show where you should have used certain percentages, so it was easy for me to mark each 20% section for each mini skein. The problem came when I had more yarn than each section called for, and I tried to get creative to use as much as possible. It went fine until the last section, and I tried to use up the pink, and … well, math is not my strongest subject. I added a few simple eyelet rows, all along weighing to make sure I saved enough (5%) for the picot bindoff. It didn’t seem like much but that’s what the pattern said, right?

Wrong. The pattern said 5% of your total yarn, not 5% of that one mini skein. Unfortunately, that light bulb didn’t go on until I had already started the picot bindoff and it was very clear I wouldn’t have enough yarn. ARGH. Of course that’s how this project would end. I unbound my cute little picots and did a normal, plain bind-off, and realized I should have just done a couple of garter rows at the end instead of eyelet rows because now the edge wants to curl even after a good blocking.

Sigh. It’s fine, though, really. Because look that that up there. It’s pretty. No one else will see any of my errors. But just in case you want to see what it’s really supposed to look like, or maybe you want to make your own correct version, here’s the Ravelry pattern link. This is the small size, which does work quite well for mini skeins, if you do it right, that is.

I’ll be casting on a new shawl this weekend; here’s hoping it goes better! Happy Friday, friends!

No FO Friday

It’s close, but not finished yet. I made it to the final color of my Hundred Acre Wood shawl, and the pink just pulls it all together and makes it perfect!

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The “whatever” theme continues with this color: I over-estimated how much blue I had left, so I wasn’t able to do a baby fade with the blue and pink. And since I used more of the previous colors, I have more pink left over than I do rows in the pattern. I’ve added two rows already and plan to add at least two more. I’ve got my scale handy and will keep weighing to make sure I save enough for a picot bind-off, but I definitely want to use as much of the pink as possible.

Also, I need to show off my new pins! Katrinkles is doing a gift with purchase, where you get a free Vote pin with every purchase until November 3rd. I wanted a Vote pin for my Empower People cowl anyway, so this worked out perfectly.

ea54ad64-2644-4dc8-8e91-a4a9b212ac12I love them both! And the sheep pin has a magnet on the back, rather than a pin, which I think is a brilliant idea. I think it’s because they were more or less intended as name tags, but I just wanted a wee bonny sheep for myself.

Happy Friday!

FO: Sea Swell Shawl

Today’s project is a KAL I did with Jemma and Under the Olive Tree Knits: her new free pattern, the Stargazer Shawl. She designs a lot of one-skein shawls, which are perfect for my little yarn treasures. At the end of June, I’d pulled out a skein of Andromeda sock yarn in the prettiest pink/purple colors, but wasn’t sure what to do with it, so it sat around until I saw Jemma’s pattern. I’d say the two go together very well!

0F52E8A9-C80B-4454-80F3-BC5BC3714482The pattern is easy to follow, though I have to say it got a bit repetitious for me toward the end. And somehow my gauge is completely different than hers: this is the second project of hers I’ve done where I ran out of yarn quite a bit sooner than she did. Instead of 295 rows, I stopped at 271 rows before doing the garter edging. I probably could have done one more eight-row section, but really didn’t want to play yarn chicken. And I think it still turned out to be a wearable length. Now I know to check my gauge when I knit her patterns … or just have extra yarn on hand, which is more likely!

65E1DD45-92CE-47AD-9B98-3E5283FAC9EFThe yarn is Andromeda sock yarn in the color I Love You Berry Much. It is good yarn with such gorgeous colors. It would have made beautiful socks, but I’m still glad it decided to become a shawl instead.

I’m also glad I got these photos taken early in the morning. It is very hot here so now I can hibernate in the A/C with my knitting for the foreseeable future. Happy Friday, friends.

WIP Wednesday

It is July! And I finished some projects last month! That means I got to cast on two new projects yesterday. They’re both KALs and both should be done by the end of the month. One is a Christmas in July sock KAL that Mildly Granola suggested, and I pulled out my West Yorkshire Spinners yarn in Fairy Lights for that, along with solid red for the cuffs, heels and toes. I’m doing my favorite simple pattern so they can be my mindless fun/travel knitting.

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My other new project is a shawl KAL with Under the Olive Tree Knits. Jem released a free one-skein pattern called Stargazer, and it was perfect for a skein of yarn that I’d pulled out of my stash recently, wanting to knit it. You can find download options on her website.

B547B90E-4827-4694-A346-F1AFE89FED9EMy yarn is Andromeda sock yarn in a fabulous color called I Love You Berry Much and I do love it berry much indeed! The pattern is a fun mix of stockinette and simple lace, and I can tell already it’ll be addictive.

We’ve had a slew of birthdays in our family the last few weeks and have started doing some small social-distanced gatherings. As hard as it is not to hug my nephews and nieces, it’s so nice to get to see my people again. And yesterday was the boy’s birthday: he’s 17 now! How did that happen?? He’ll be a senior this year and it just doesn’t seem possible. He also joined me for a rare live music performance. Our town has always done a community summer band and the girl participates every year. This year they only did one concert, with the musicians spaced six feet apart, and streamed it live on Facebook. Family members were allowed to come, so the boy and I took our chairs and our masks and enjoyed the music in the summer night. I’ve missed live music so much; this was a treat.

I’m not sure what we’ll do when the weather doesn’t allow us to gather outside anymore, but I guess we can cross that bridge when we come to it. Hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!

FO: Lydian Cowl

For my fourth and final FO of June (it felt like more, honestly), today I’ll share my Lydian cowl. This yarn is Delicious Yarns Frosting Worsted in Boysenberry and it’s quite yummy. So soft and squishy, and great drape both before and after blocking. It started out as a different cowl but got frogged halfway through, and it was a bit splitty after that, but I’ll take the blame for that. I still loved knitting with it and I think I’ll love wearing it … when it’s not 90 degrees outside!

B6547D3B-B810-4760-89C5-05A9E54D9844_1_201_aThis was my first time knitting something using charts, rather than written instructions, and it wasn’t terrible. It helped that I didn’t have to memorize too many symbols, and I wasn’t tracking hundreds of stitches.

I love that main panel that almost hints at cables but isn’t, and I love the back that’s lacy but not a boring simple lace. However, I had a heck of a time with this pattern and I don’t know why. I kept getting to the end of the round and being one stitch off, and then I’d have to tink back. It wasn’t the pattern’s fault; it’s not complicated and it was well-written and clear. I think my brain was just struggling with keeping track of so many things going on. Maybe I’m better off sticking with simpler patterns right now!

028B8335-C9B2-4C3C-AB66-C91559CB70C3You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

The designer is also on Create2Thrive but this pattern isn’t, though maybe it will be added soon. I haven’t done anything with that site yet but I did sign up for an account on LoveCrafts and you can find me as bonnyknits. It’s not bad, but so far it doesn’t quite offer everything I love about Ravelry, so I’m still tinkering and pondering. Have you found any other great fiber community sites?

FO: Olive Pink shawl

Yes, it’s Monday and that’s supposed to be sock day here in Blogville, but weird monogamous knitter me doesn’t have any sock progress to share. I finished my Olive Pink shawl on Saturday morning, blocked it that day, and yesterday took it out for a photo shoot. It was a challenge because it is so BIG.

4B30C783-12CA-4886-821F-C4A75A6725A6This isn’t even the whole thing. From tip to tip, this baby is over eight feet long. I have no idea how that happened, except, you know, gauge. If you don’t count the angled ends, it’s about 70″ long, which is much closer to the pattern’s 73″ length. Also, I used less of Color B and more of Color C than the pattern said I would, and again, no idea. Whatever. That’s kind of what I love about this pattern: it works really well with “whatever”. I made some mistakes? Whatever. I added an extra two rows to that section? Whatever. I did the final border wrong for the first two rows? Whatever. It’s all good!

F380335C-1B98-4D4E-9A7D-013983651758_1_201_aBecause it doesn’t really matter! There are so many patterns and textures and colors that no one knows what it’s “supposed” to look like, and no one is going to look closely to try to find mistakes. And if anyone where to do that, that would be weird and I don’t really care what they think anyway.

This was a fun pattern to knit, at least for the first 75% of it. By section 16, I was getting a little tired of it, but it was fun to use so many colors and stitches. The yarn is SoLo from LoloDidIt and I really like it. It’s 100% and has a little bit of a halo, which was only a problem when I was knitting with two colors and the yarns would get wound around each other and stick together. But it’s super soft, doesn’t bleed, and blocks out beautifully.

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The original pattern was a collaboration between Casapinka and Lolabean Yarn Co. and you can find it here on Ravelry. Note: I do have Classic Ravelry turned on. (Side note: I’d had NuRav on since they switched and it didn’t bother me, though Rav’s reaction, or lack thereof, to all the issues others were having bothered me a lot. This morning I turned on Classic Rav before adding the link here, and it was like a sigh of relief. I hadn’t realized how much I preferred the look of the original!)

With this done, I’m off to finish an almost-complete cowl now. Hope you’re all staying mostly well and happy!

Penny FO: Pretty in Pink

Some colors are almost impossible to photograph well, unless you’ve got a lot more photography experience and knowledge than I do, I guess! I’ve tried a few different times, places, and lighting scenarios to get photos of my finished Penny sweater and the vivid pink (Malabrigo in Fucsia) just resists all my attempts to show the true color. So this is what you get, and at least you’ll be able to see the pretty lace!

AE4102DB-5D28-4EEC-AB73-54ACEB7A72AB_1_201_aThis experience taught me a couple of things. One: that shit does NOT always block out. The ladders on my first sleeve are still there. Whatever. And two: Malabrigo Arroyo, or maybe all superwash, grows A LOT in the bath. I knit this according to the pattern specifications and it was kind of huge when I first got it out of the water. I had to squish it back into a more normal size and it still seems very long. But it fits pretty well and that’s the important part!

The neckline is a bit lower than I expected, but it doesn’t bother me much since I’ll be wearing this over something else anyway. And I really like the lace detail down the middle of the sleeves.

7CC2305B-D6D8-44B0-8FCA-2C51F1E593D9_1_201_aI don’t know why but I didn’t enjoy knitting this one very much. Part of it was my confusion when it was time to join the body and sleeves for the yoke, and I felt like the instructions for the decreases could have been clearer. But I have to admit the final product is lovely, and I bet I’ll enjoy wearing it!

Finished: Dowland Shawl

My Dowland shawl got blocked this weekend, and after the boy mowed the backyard I went out for a photo shoot. It posed beautifully, too. Prepare yourself for a photo-heavy post because it was hard to choose which ones to omit!

45957989-6B81-4A3B-BD04-6BAE994D1CBC_1_201_aI’ll start with the obvious: this is a huge shawl. I used all but 14 grams of my two skeins of Kitty Pride Fibers’ Ocicat Fingering in the color A Bonny Lass. The pattern says you can repeat section eight up to two times to use up more yarn, so I repeated it once. I didn’t want to risk running out of yarn, though I think I could have squeaked through just fine.

The last lace section gave me fits. I had to rip out thirty rows of lace the first time I knit it. The second time went better, but I still had three rows where I ended up off by one stitch, and I just fudged it. I couldn’t stand any more tinking or frogging. I did spot one of the errors when I was pinning it out, where the yarnovers didn’t line up just right, but no one will ever notice it while I’m wearing it, and it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of the lace pattern.

After I had it all pinned out, I realized I did not pin the scallops correctly, so there are more scallops and they’re closer together than the designer intended. But by then, it was mostly dry and again, I wanted this shawl just to be done, so I’m calling it a design feature.

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This was not an easy knit for me but it might be one of my proudest knitting moments. It turned out to be exactly what I wanted from my Bonny yarn, and I can’t wait to have somewhere to wear it to show it off!