30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 10

Do you have a favorite pattern or designer?

I absolutely love Rebecca Danger and her book The Big Book of Knitted Monsters. I’ve made two of the patterns so far and they are really easy to follow. They make excellent gifts for my great nieces / nephews and are easily customizable. For the first monster, I followed instructions and used white felt for the mouth. For the second monster, I crocheted “teeth” and sewed them on. You can mix and match parts and once you’ve made one, you want to make more.

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Hugo the Couch Potato Monster and Petunia the Patio Monster

I’ve test knit a lot for Linda Browning and I love how each of her patterns can be built upon to make them larger or smaller, based on your preferences. She tends to write smaller shawlette patterns that fit her very petite ballerina daughter; however I’ve always sized up for someone that is a “regular” size. Last year, during the month of December, she offered one free pattern a day. So, if you look in my Ravelry library, you’ll see that I have most of them. Here are a few pics of the ones I’ve test knit for her. I have another one that is super gorgeous and was my first project with beads; however it’s still in stealth mode because the pattern hasn’t come out yet. (The pattern names are added to the pics, dependent on which method you use to view the content.)

Another designer I love is Joji Locatelli. I’ve purchased two of her patterns so far and really enjoy the ease of her patterns. You’ve already seen the picture of the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl that I blogged about on Day 6 and Day 7 & 8 of the challenge. I also purchased the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl. For now, I’m waiting until I have a few more projects completed before I purchase her ebook titled “The Authentic Collection“. I want to knit every single pattern in the collection, so I feel it is a fantastic deal.

And last, but not least (because I seriously could go on and on…like yesterday’s post on yarn), Tin Can Knits. Because how could you have a post about favorite designers and not include them? I’ve knit two of their patterns so far (the Barley hat twice) and I adore their sense of color and style. Their pictures make me drool and wish that I lived in their neck of the woods; if only so I could wear everything they design.

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 7 & 8

I actually made it 48 hours without being on the computer. Let me tell you…it really helped a lot! I went and got a pedicure on Tuesday and relaxed the rest of the day; catching up on some shows on my DVR. Yesterday my husband and I went on an afternoon date to see Star Trek Beyond and grab a bite to eat. It was his last day of vacation and we wanted to do something outside of the house. The movie was great but the company was even better.

Day 7’s question piggy-backed off of day 6 and asks:

Your least favorite? (as in your least favorite project you’ve knit)

Melinda Cloth by Norma Wampler

I think if I were to knit this again, it might be enjoyable. I was only a couple of months into knitting and wanted something that was quick and easy…instant knitting gratification. The only reason why I did not enjoy knitting this was because of the yarn. It was my first time knitting with 100% cotton and I decided at that point that I would never knit with it again. It hurt my hands. Or so I thought. Now I know that I probably had too tight of a gauge and that was what was causing my hands to cramp up. I am happy to report that I am knitting with cotton again and may even attempt this pattern again at some point.

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Peaches & Creme Solids in the color Orchid

Day 8: What’s your most challenging project?

Stepping Stones Kit by Iris Schreier

If you click on that link, you will see copious notes on my Ravelry page for this project. I don’t know why I thought I was ready for short rows and lace just a few months into my knitting journey…I was being brave and adventurous, I guess. I frogged so many times that I think I could have made three of these shawls in that amount of time now. Just reading back through them makes me shudder. I still have the shawl and have only worn it a couple of times. Maybe it needs to go in my gift pile? Or maybe I should keep it for the memories? I do remember it was the first time I was ever featured as a photo on a project page and that made it really special to me and worth all the hard work.

I blogged about the project here and here.

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I had a request by Bekki from The Dartmoor Yarn Company to show my 3 Color Cashmere Cowl worn properly instead of pulled up as a tube over my head (as shown in Day 6 of the blogging challenge, so here’s your pic Bekki!

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The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

And since Thursdays are usually about the socks, here’s my list of fellow sock knitters. I desperately hope to be rejoining them soon!

Check out Maggie at Project(s) in Progress and Katherine at fiber and sustenance and see what they are up to this week!

Also on our Thursday Sock Buddy list, however away on break are:

Alex – alexandknits

Hannah – unsophisticated+jejune

Jennifer – a creative yarn

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 2

Hi All!

It’s Day 2 of the challenge and I’m ready for this one!

What is currently on your needles?

As you all know, I am not currently knitting anything because of my cubital tunnel syndrome; however here are the projects that I was working on before and will pick up again the second I am able to knit again.

The Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure (Free on Ravelry)

This baby has been on my needles the longest (since July 31, 2015) simply because it is a take along project and lives in my SUV. It’s one of those projects that you don’t need to keep count (after you cast on) and can stop and start whenever. I’ve knit this while standing in line for a concert, at doctor / dentist offices, at wineries, on planes, as a passenger riding in the car…you name a place where you can knit on something mindless and this hat has probably been there. I would actually like to finish it before I make my annual trip to Indiana for Thanksgiving as it is a gift for my cousin and she has been waiting a looooong time for it. The hat is 10 inches long and the pattern calls for it to be 13 inches before you start the decreases so I’m almost there. That should give me plenty of time!

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Almost ready for the second skein!

Trillian by Martina Behm (Paid for pattern on Ravelry)

My next project was started the day of the Olympics (August 5, 2016) and was supposed to be finished between opening and closing ceremonies. I cast on with a dear knitter friend who is in the Meetup Knitting Group I go to every Thursday afternoon. Hers turned out stunning! Although you may not recognize the name of this pattern, this designer also created the Hitchhiker, and this shawl is part of a Trilogy with four patterns. That doesn’t make sense to me; however I haven’t read the book (yet) and don’t know if that’s some sort of reference that others may know about. The Hitchhiker has been in my queue far longer than this pattern; however I couldn’t resist knitting along side my friend and since I purchased the whole set, there was no expense involved…except for yarn.

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Lovely, squishy garter stitch in Miss Babs Yowza…yummy!

Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B Anderson (Paid for pattern on Ravelry)

And last, but not least, my Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B Anderson. I started these as part of the #sosKAL on July 10th and was happily knitting along with some of my blogging friends and Thursday Sock buddies when the disaster known as my cubital tunnel syndrome kicked in. I should have known better than to just work on teeny, tiny needles for a whole week with no other project to take a break. I did make a lot of progress ; however I am paying the price for it now. I still love them and can’t wait to get back to them…I just won’t be knitting solely on them ever again. Lesson learned!

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Love, love, love the stripes!

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge is the creation of Meggiewes who blogs at Knitting in Wonderland.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the next question. Until next time, Happy Knitting!

 

 

 

Thursday: It’s NOT All About the Socks

Hi All! Another Thursday has rolled around and as you can see by my blog post title, today is NOT all about the socks. I’ve gotten a measly three rows finished since last week, as you can see from my progress keeper. Just a reminder that this is the Smooth Operator Socks by Susan B Anderson.

What happened? Well, I was planning on knitting more; however after all the sock knitting of the week before and not switching to another project, my cubital tunnel syndrome started kicking in again. I thought I could fight through it and cast on a new pattern Friday of last week. It’s for the Olympic Knitathon that is being hosted by Andrea at This Knitted Life. I recently purchased some yarn from Miss Babs called Yowza – Whatta Skein, in a light worsted weight, and was dyeing (pun intended) to knit with it. The color is called Beachglass and is so soothing and beautiful to look at and touch. Look at this yarn baby! It’s humongous! I wanted to cuddle it and snuggle it and keep it with me all the time.

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The pattern I chose is Trillian by Martina Behm. I did fantastic on Friday and knit 50 rows of the pattern. Did I tell you how squishy and mushy and just delightful this yarn is? Oh, yes! It’s a dream to work with. And the pattern itself is super easy. Just what I needed to be able to knit and watch the Olympics.

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Saturday was a bust because I realized that I had forgotten to do one of the increases four rows back (out of the four rows I knit on Saturday) and it was super noticeable. So, I tinked back and put it down for the day. Plus, we went to pick up our wine shipments at three different wineries, did some wine tasting and then shared a bottle of wine with some sushi. Who can knit after all that?

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Sunday was a little more productive and I got to 90 rows completed! Oh, that lovely yarn. Don’t you want to just cuddle up with it? If you’ve never tried it, you must!

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And then I woke up Monday morning, with pain shooting up my arm and numb pinkie / ring fingers on my right hand. And I had to work on a computer all day. I haven’t been able to knit a single stitch since that time 😦 So, although I wanted to knit on my socks and my shawl, nothing is happening until I heal. And that is my story for this past week folks. How was your week?

If you feel so inclined, and wish to join up with our Thursday Sock Along, let one of us know in the comments. See below for my fellow Thursday Sock Knitters! We also have a hashtag on Instagram #ThursdaySockAlong.

Alex – alexandknits (currently on break, but will be back soon!)

Hannah – unsophisticated+jejune

Jennifer – a creative yarn

Katherine – Fiber and Sustenance

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

FO – Gypsy Moss Shawl

Hi All! The test knit I was working on went live today, so I can finally share details. It’s called the  Gypsy Moss Shawl. I wasn’t looking for a test knit (I saw it when scrolling through Instagram); however as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it. This pretty much consumed my knitting time for a little over a month (meaning very few blog posts during that time) and I’m very pleased with the results.

The designer of the pattern also dyes her own yarn and we were required to use her yarn in the project to show them off. I absolutely love the colors I chose from the kits she had available and the yarn is super snugly soft. It was an absolute joy to work with. If you purchase a kit prior to August 1, you will receive the pattern for free. You can see more details on her website: Pandia’s Jewels. * The designer did not pay me to say this!

The colors in the skeins I chose are listed in the Earth Gypsy Shawl Kit; however since all of the skeins are hand dyed, none of them look exactly like the other. I alternated skeins every two rows to ensure the final shawl would be even in color. You can see more about that in my notes on Ravelry, as well as all of skeins caked up. This was a very simple knit, easy enough to watch TV or podcasts while knitting. The most time consuming part was the Moss Stitch at the end of the shawl and the fringe. Let’s get to the goodies.

Ravelled Here: Gypsy Moss Shawl

Started 4/23/16 – Finished 6/2/16

Needles: US 5 (3.75mm) ChiaGoo Interchangeables (I kept increasing the cord length as it got larger)

Yarn: Pandia’s Jewels Hand Dyed Yarn in Snug Base in the color Gypsy (2 skeins); Pandia’s Hand Dyed Yarn in Snug Base in the color Berry Stain (1 skein); Pandia’s Jewels Hand Dyed Yarn in Mohair Lace in the color Berry Stain (1 skein)

Techniques New to Me: Fringe

I was very happy to finish this while we were on vacation in Hawaii and even happier that I was able to take pictures there (on our very last day)! Every time I wear this, I will be reminded of our dream vacation, wrapped up in a big shawl of goodness.

Until next time, Happy Knitting! (PS…you can click on each image to make it larger! Please let me know if they are too large for viewing and I will go back and make them smaller.)

 

Thursday: It’s (Usually) All About the Socks

Hi All! Notice the title this week? Yep, that’s because usually Thursdays are all about the socks. This week, I did not knit a single stitch on my socks. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Add on top of that, we are leaving to Hawaii for a week’s vacation on Saturday. I have been desperately trying to get my test shawl knit completed and blocked before leaving. I really want to take pictures of it for my project page, and the Designer of the pattern (Nimruse of Pandia’s Jewels on Ravelry), while we are in Hawaii.

Disclaimer: The Designer of the pattern has given permission to talk about the test knit and show pictures.

Have I finished it? Nope, but I’m so darn close! If only these last few rows weren’t taking me 30-45 minutes to complete. If only the Gods would stop conspiring against me, making me miscount stitches and lose stitches completely from my needles. (Seriously, like the Gods need to stop it!) If only I weren’t knitting Moss Stitch with almost 400 stitches and counting. If only mosquitoes sucked fat instead of blood. (Yep, I had to throw that one in there…LOL)

This is my first time knitting Moss Stitch and although I don’t like knitting it (hate going back and forth between knits/purls), I am loving the look of it! The test knit is using yarn from the Designer and she will package the yarn and the pattern as a kit once it is released. She has some really beautiful colorways and I can’t wait to share all the information once it’s live. The body of the shawl is knit in one fingering weight color and there is a contrasting color for the edging, also fingering weight, that is held together with the same color in lace mohair.

This thing is going to be beautiful when it’s finished…I just hope I get it finished in time for Hawaii! Maybe while we’re in Hawaii? Argh, I can’t wait to get to Hawaii!

I’m so sorry to Hannah at unsophisticated+jejune and Alex at alexand knits for not getting a sock post in this week. However, you should really go check them out and see what progress they have made on their socks! If you’d like to join in, cast on a pair of socks and link up with us! We’d be happy to have you 🙂

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Oh, and here’s a sneak peek of the test knit shawl!

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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.

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Front before killing

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Back before killing

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Front after killing

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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!

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Before steaming…all curled up

Side by Side - Blocked versus Unblocked

Side by Side – Blocked versus Unblocked

Blocked!

Blocked!