Charity's Wrap - Final Pics!

FO – Charity’s Wrap / WIP – Folded Squares Cardigan

I’m so happy I can share final pictures of one my latest FO’s (Finished Objects)! I’ve been chomping at the bit to share the full project with you. Charity’s Wrap went live on Ravelry today and guess what? It’s a free pattern! Isn’t that exciting news? This was a very simple project, with a bit of easy lace thrown in for good measure. It’s meant for someone new to lace and is super easy.

You may remember some of my other posts about this project where I was just starting the project here and the blocking process of acrylic here. Those two posts really contain all the information…or you can check out my notes on Ravelry. While you are there, want to add me as a friend? I love looking at others notes, pictures and projects for inspiration!

In addition to starting my next pair of socks (more on that Thursday!), I’ve also decided to cast on for my very first Cardigan. I figured if I can knit a pair of socks, why can’t I knit a sweater? The pattern is free from Purl Soho and is called Folded Squares Cardigan. One of my knitterly friends made it and brought it to our weekly MeetUp group and it looked fantastic on all body shapes and sizes. I knew it would be the perfect start for me to begin my foray into sweater knitting.

I’m using size US 8 – 5.0 mm 40″ circular knitting needles and the yarn is Knit Picks Comfy Sport in the color Planetarium. I originally ordered the color Whisker; however they were low on stock and I wanted to start this ASAP. I’m so glad they were as the color is gorgeous and for only $2.99 a skein, how could you go wrong? The yarn is super soft and is working up beautifully! I was going to tell you how many rows I am into this; however I just updated to iOS9 on my iPhone and the app I use is not opening 😦 Looks like I’ll be counting by ridges instead of rows after all! Darn technology! You have to learn something new every day, right? Until next time…

Happy Knitting!

Charity's Wrap - Final Pics!

Charity’s Wrap – Final Pics!

Charity's Wrap - Back View

Charity’s Wrap – Back View

All snuggled up!

All snuggled up!

One more view!

One more view!

Cardigan Progress

Cardigan Progress

Close up view - Cardigan

Close up view – Cardigan

Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 6

Wow! It is official! My Perfectly Perfect Sock (no mistakes on this one!) joins my Imperfectly Perfect Sock (lots of mistakes on this one) to make a delightful pair. They are soft, cozy and I absolutely love them! I won’t be able to wear them with shoes as they are thicker, although they may fit in my bigger boots. Otherwise, they will be for my tootsies on those colder Northern California nights.

For those that haven’t been following along with my first sock adventures (although why wouldn’t you?), I’ll share the particulars. I used the Toe-Up Socks using German Short Rows pattern. I knitted with size US 3 – 3.25mm DPN’s and the yarn was Lion Brand LB Collection Superwash Merino in Purple, my favorite color.

In this project, I learned how to knit with DPN’s, to knit in the back loop and to cast off on a ribbed edge. Everything else, I already knew; I just didn’t know how it all came together. Why was I so scared to knit socks? I’m so happy I conquered that fear!

I’m currently going back and forth between three vastly different sock patterns to decide which one I want to knit next. All three are lovely patterns and I will learn something new with each one, which is a goal of mine. One has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time and combines my love of Harry Potter with socks, Hermione’s Everyday Socks. A fellow blogger, Alex just finished her first pair of socks with the pattern Rye and they make me smile. And then another fellow blogger, Mr. Josiah Bane of The Sock Monkey just published Meduseld and they are absolutely stunning! Decisions, decisions…stay tuned next week as I continue this series to find out which pair I chose.

Want to join me and my fellow knitters in knitting socks? Check out Hannah and Maggie to see how they are doing and link up with us 🙂

Happy Knitting!

IMG_9797 IMG_9798 IMG_9799 IMG_9801 IMG_9803

Killing versus Aggressive Steam Blocking

So, I finished my test knit for Charity’s Wrap, which I don’t want to show final staged pictures of until she publishes the final pattern and I can link all of you to it. It can be knit with anything from Worsted to Bulky Yarn, to be made into a scarf or a small wrap. I actually finished one hour before I left for the airport to go on vacation; however I didn’t have time to block or weave in the ends.

I chose an acrylic yarn for this pattern, thinking I was going with Bulky and instead found out it was Super Bulky, so it’s quite bigger than I expected. Now, I’ve made plenty of blankets, hats, scarves, ear warmers, etc. using acrylic yarn while crocheting. In fact, that’s the only type of yarn I knew before I began knitting. For shame! I have never, I repeat, never blocked any of my crochet projects. Again, for shame! I knew I was going to have to do it for this shawl because of the lace edging and the serious curling.

I Googled how to block acrylic and set about pinning my wet blocked piece of shawl onto my blocking mats. That was the first suggestion I saw and as I am familiar with the technique, due to knitting with fine yarns, I chose that first. I used my blocking wires for the straight top section and t-pins for the lace (can you believe I thought they were tea pins when I first started knitting?) See pic below (note the still curled up edges of the lace).

Wet blocking

Wet blocking

That didn’t work, so I started steam blocking with my trusty iron. Wouldn’t you know, it looked perfectly flat when I took the pins out and as soon as I picked it up, the lace edges curled. Argh!

This past Thursday, I asked my fellow knitterly friends (from my Meetup group) their advise and I was told I might need to kill it. Kill it??????? OMG! I can’t kill my knitting! Oh…not literally killing it. You shape your piece and place a towel over it and then iron it. Thus, killing the yarn (basically melting it) and making it permanent. It also changes the texture of the yarn. So, instead of trying it on my finished piece, I decided to use up the last 4 grams of Electric Blue yarn and make a swatch. This is what happened. *You can click each picture to make it bigger.

IMG_9720

Front before killing

IMG_9721

Back before killing

IMG_9722

Front after killing

IMG_9723

Back after killing

Ugh, I didn’t like that effect! Although it’s still soft and stretchy, and as you can see, much bigger…I didn’t like the way it flattened out the stitches. I then tried another suggestion. Maybe I didn’t steam aggressively enough? OMG, it worked!!! You actually have to use the Steam button on your iron, not just passing the steam over the knitting. You have to soak it with steam, move it into place, then let it cool and dry before removing the pins and picking it up. See below what the lace looked like before aggressive steaming and after. Lessons learned! I can use acrylic yarn and still get a beautiful effect! I can’t wait to share this with the person I’m gifting it to…I hope she loves it as much as I do!

Happy Knitting!

IMG_9727

Before steaming…all curled up

Side by Side - Blocked versus Unblocked

Side by Side – Blocked versus Unblocked

Blocked!

Blocked!

Finished first sock!

Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 5

We went on vacation last week to Fort Lauderdale, FL…our first visit since we moved to Northern California in April 2014. I had a 5.5 hour flight there and back and knew I could get some serious knitting in. I brought along the Toe-Up Socks using German Short Rows and Sockhead Hat WIPs in my beautiful new project bags and had no problem getting through TSA with bamboo needles. I was seriously stoked to be sitting in an airport / on a plane knitting the time away.

My best friend’s son, who I consider one of my nephews, was thrilled when I pulled out my project bag and started knitting the day after we arrived. He had tons of questions and loved “helping” me with the yarn ball, doling out the yarn as needed. He was positive I was going to finish the sock by the time I got home and kept telling me what a great job I was doing 🙂

And I did it! I have officially completed my first sock! It’s perfectly imperfect and I love it! It’s so soft and cozy…perfect for chilly winters walking on cold tile. I learned a lot that will help me with my second sock. Particularly to make sure that I have not accidentally created an extra stitch that I then have to decrease, making my stitches look a little wonky.

I decided to stop at 76 rows for the leg section and then started the one inch ribbing for the cuff. I really liked the length at that point and didn’t really want a sock that went almost to my knee. I have to say that the bind off was kind of wonky for me, as I’ve never knit in the back loop or bound off with ribbed knitting; however I was able to do it successfully.

I’ve also started my second sock! No Second Sock Syndrome for me! I was able to use my beautiful new crochet hook from Furls called Odyssey to create the provisional cast on and I am thrilled with the feel and fit of the hook. It makes me want to pull out some of my crochet WIPs and finish them off 🙂 I am through the toe and three rows into the foot. Hopefully this one will go a little faster as I’m only working on one other project at this time.

If you’d like to join myself and my other fearless sock knitters, Hannah and Maggie…cast on and link back to us! I promise, if we can do it…you can too!!!!

Happy Knitting!

Finished first sock!

Finished first sock! I did it! Markers in place to ensure the second sock matches.

Side View

Side View – Flaws and all…I hope the little holes caused by the picking up stitches after the GSR’s block out 🙂 You can also see where I accidentally increased/ then decreased…always on the right side of the foot.

Second Sock - Toe Finished

Second Sock started! Toe and 3 rows of the foot section complete.

Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 4

This post is going to be a quick one as I’m on vacation and posting from my iPhone. I thought I’d be further along on my sock; however have been having a ton of fun hanging with my best friend and her family. 

I was able to make progress while on the plane and have gotten a few rows in here and there throughout the week. I’m 60 rows into the leg section and have 20 grams of yarn left. I need 5 grams for the ribbing, so I’ve got quite a way to go yet. The leg section is at 7 inches. Hopefully next week will see one finished sock 🙂

If you want to follow along on my fellow sock knitters blogs, check out Hannah and Maggie’s blogs! They are rocking their socks!

Happy Knitting!

 

Side View

 
 

Front View

 
 

Almost as long as the foot!

 

Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 3

I’ve been dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, so took time off from knitting 😦 , and spent minimal time on the computer this past week (outside of work), thus no blogging. With some rest, my hands are no longer tingling / numb and I am back at it! If you’ve ever had it, you know that rest is the best thing to heal. Luckily, I had an Art Glass class, my book club, and two sick dogs (not so lucky) to keep me busy.

In the last few days, I accomplished a lot. I am four rows away from finishing Charity’s Wrap and have made excellent progress on my first sock. I also received two project bags from an awesome shop, Knitter’s Nook, on Etsy to take along on my upcoming trip to Fort Lauderdale. I’m going to blog from my phone next Thursday…it will be exciting to see how that will work!

Onto my socks… In my last post, I had noted that I needed to get to 8 1/2 inches in length before starting the heel. After measuring my foot again, I realized that I actually needed 7 1/2 inches in length. I got to that point and started the heel. It was super easy using the German Short Rows (GSRs) and worked up exactly like the toes, without having to do the provisional cast on. I did have to pick up three stitches along the sides before beginning the leg section and then decrease on the next round.

I can no longer put the sock on my foot (good reason for trying magic loop next time!) so I stuffed it with other socks to kind of see the shape. Please excuse the lumpy pictures 🙂 I am currently 10 rows into the leg section and have 31 grams of yarn left. I know I need to have 5 grams left to finish the ribbed cuff, so have a lot still left to do. I also have a hole that I will have to tighten up once complete. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there!

The pattern is not made like a traditional sock with the heel flaps, heel turns and gussets; however I have learned a lot and will be able to use the techniques in future sock patterns. I might even try a pattern that is traditional, just for the learning experience. To see my fellow sock knitters progress, check out their blogs! Maggie’s is here Project(s) in Progress and Hannah’s is here unsophisticated + jejune. If you would like to join us on our Thursday Knit-a-Sock along, link up with us!

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Butterfly Project Bag

Super cute Butterfly project bag!

Sheep Project Bag

Sheep Project Bag! Love it 🙂

Close up of GSRs when working the heel

Close up of GSRs when working the heel

IMG_9516

Heel complete

IMG_9519

Back of Heel

IMG_9525

Stuffed sock with leg section started; wow that looks long!