September FO’s

I was listening to a recent episode of the Knitting Butterflies podcast and Emily was talking about her totals for Stash Dash.  She finished a smaller number of large projects in comparison to Boston Jen of the Down Cellar Studio podcast who finished a large number of small projects.  It does seem that knitters fall into one category or another and if I’ve learned nothing else from these monthly FO posts it’s that I’m a small project girl!  So, let’s get to it!

First up – I finished my test knit for Becky from the Knit Actually Podcast.  I talked about this last week so won’t go into the details.  I love it and I keep it in my purse so I always have a coffee sleeve handy, especially with the cooler weather arriving (maybe, still pretty hot here in Ohio!)

20160912_125730

Next, sticking with my theme of knitting love this month, I finished jar cover for a gift. One of my best partners in crime is moving this weekend, only 3 hours away but that’s much further than 5 minutes across town.  Of course, I decided a week before the going away party that I needed to knit something.  How else do we cope with feelings?

I had ordered (against my better judgment) more picture yarn from Artistic Yarn by Abi.  I swore off picture yarn after the snowmen socks but she came out with this totally cute panda yarn and my friend is quite the panda fan so I had to order it.  My thought was that it would make a good Christmas gift some Christmas but the move prompted me to get it out and use it now and to not wait.

I refuse to knit socks for anyone but me so I wanted to figure out something else I could make with the yarn.  I was thinking an ornament.  The picture is best worked over 60-64 stitches.  When I was searching Ravelry I came across the Americana Jar Cover by Jenn Sheelen.  It was perfect because it had the right number of stitches and was a manageable amount of knitting for the time I had.  The panda yarn came with a matching solid color for heels and toes so I used that to cast on and do the lace section at the top.  For this round of picture yarn knitting I went down to a size 1 needle.  I knit the snowmen socks on size 2’s.  I continue to understand the relation between gauge and needle size better the more I knit and I realized part of my problem might have been my needle size.

The pandas went much better.  Maybe it was the needle size, maybe it was just improved knitting.  I do know that I still really can’t adjust my tension which is usually a good thing but that is the suggested method for make the picture work.  Instead, I increase and decrease stitches in the green between pandas to make necessary adjustments.  Only having to do 2 repeats also was great.  It helped it seem like it went much faster!

Jenn just released some Halloween themed jar covers and I definitely want to knit those. The pattern was fun and I would love to get a jar and knit a bunch of them. She has versions in snowflakes, hearts, jack-o-lantern and the stars & stripes.  It would be a great seasonal decoration by switching out the cover each season.  My friend loved it and it was a great hit at the going away party.  She is not going to have much space where she is moving so I think this will provide a little bright spot in her world.

20160918_154025

Funny note – I had bought a jar at the dollar store and it was a little wide but I got the cover on it.  The night before the party I was at a craft store and found the jar in the picture which is perfect.  However, the cover had stretched out and I had a bit of a panic.  But, yea wool!  I wet it down and laid it flat to dry and then slipped it on the new jar and now the pandas don’t look like they had botox!!

Last, while I love the finished object I did not love the process of this project.  A friend saw a pair of hockey skate baby booties online somewhere and asked if I could knit her a pair.  I found two patterns on Ravelry – one was $5.75 and the other was free.  I preferred the look of the paid pattern and while it called for beginner level crochet I went with it.  Now, with all the talk of #fairfiberwage I definitely understand paying for patterns and have no problem with it.  But, especially when the pattern is almost $6, I expect to have no problems knitting it and that was not the case with these booties. I pulled out a couple sections of the knitting because the pattern was not clear.  When it came to the crochet section (basically this was the skate blade) I asked my crochet friends and they could not quite figure it out.

I decided to take a look at the free pattern to see if I could take the best parts from each and make a final product that I liked.  From the free pattern, I knit the skate blade.  I liked it but it was very one dimensional so I picked up along the cast on edge and mirrored the pattern, adding a few rows for the fold, and then folded it up and sewed it together so it had a little bulk.  The only other change I made was using a 2 stitch i-cord for the laces (it was going to a little Penguin fan so the laces are gold) instead of a single chain crochet or just yarn.

And now, I have to scramble to finish my Rhinebeck shawl (sorry, no sweaters for me!) but 3 weeks from today is the big day!!!!

Cozy Memory Blanket

I feel like this month’s posts have all been about knitting love which, while I’d like to say was intentional, was actually coincidence.  But it probably is the best way to count down the time to Rhinebeck where all things fiber are celebrated.  I’m so excited to be going this year and I will be driving with my best knitting pals from home and when we arrive I will be meeting with both IRL friends and online friends from near and far and I can’t wait!! p.s. did I mention it’s my birthday weekend????

Anyway, back to today’s post.  One of the friends I will be meeting up with is L who moved to Vermont last month and who was worked at my LYS on Thursday nights for the last several years.  We got an invite to a going away party and my mind started thinking that we needed to do something for her.  We are knitters so we must knit, right???  And that’s when I thought of all the cozy memories blankets and thought that was perfect.  I messaged 2 of our other friends and they agreed so the 3 of us set about making it happen.

G set up a secret Facebook group and we all invited knitters to join.  The task was simple – knit an 8×8 square and if you were so inclined make it something that reminded you of L or that L would like.  Drop the square at the store and give it to anyone but L and there was an assembly party at my house the night before the party.

Let me just say when set a task before a group of knitters look out!!  We ended up with somewhere around 37 squares, I don’t recall the exact number but it was definitely uneven.  A few tips if you ever decide to plan a surprise cozy memory blankets.  Leave longer than 24 hours for assemby (we were lucky we had some fast crocheters and were okay with uneven rows); try to really enforce the size rule (we had some real varied sizes) and keep better track of who gave each square (we started out okay but lost our way with that – I had hoped to give L a print out of the blanket with who made each square)

We met at the assembly party and first worked out a layout.  Had we started earlier, we probably would have whipped a few more squares to even it out.  But, we let it go (thanks Elsa!) and just crocheted them together the best we could with the numbers and sizes.  We were split on how we started the joining so on some squares you can see the join and others you cannot.  I’m not sure either way is right or wrong but we probably should have made a decision before we dived in.  There were basically 4 of us who did the assembly and that seemed to be the right number.  It was getting a little confusing on who had what and what was being stitched to what so with more people that would have added to the confusion.  In the end we got it all done and were able to give to her at her party.  I’m sure she will never actually use it (honestly, it’s a bit unwieldly with the various weights and textures of yarn).  It’s definitely not washable but she will always have the memories of the knitters of RCS.  She loved it and was able to identify a pretty high number of squares, proving as always, that we knitters have our colors, etc. and those that work at our LYS really get to know their knitters.  My square was made of yarn that she helped me picked out for a poncho I made and a light purple bulky Lopi because L loves purple and crunchy yarns🙂

Here are a few pics – enjoy!!!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

Well this weekend I’m working on a test knit but there’s a bit more to the story.  My friend Becky from the Knit Actually podcast hosts an event called Knit Knosh which sounds like so much fun!  She combines wine tastings, with food, and a little yarn tasting (aka a mini skein) from 4 local indie dyers.  I was explaining this to my non-knitting friends last night and they thought you actually tasted the yarn, sigh, non-knitters what are you going to to do???

Anyway, Becky came up with a quick little pattern for a coffee cup sleeve to give out at the event that would use a mini skein.  I have some mini skeins but haven’t decided what exactly I want to do with them so instead checked my scraps.  I keep larger leftovers in a clear bin and smaller bits and bobs in a clear vase.  I found a mini skein’s worth of a mystery rainbow yarn that had been around for awhile.  When I was still a newer knitter I did not quite understand the importance of keeping ball bands which makes for a lot of mystery yarn in my stash.  But I thought I might have made a scarf with it and lucky for me I had put it in Ravelry.  The yarn is Crystal Palace Sausalito which is a fingering weight 4 ply yarn that is 80% merino and 20% nylon so it was perfect for this project!

I also found the scarf and started to remember how it came to be.  Ravelry tells me I made this in 2011 so I’m amazed at how far my knitting and knowledge of yarns has come in 5 years and even though I still sometimes struggle with techniques or counting I know that I’m so much improved.  I attribute this to my blogging, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, Ravelry, and just generally delving deeper into the knitting world.

My LYS had stocked this new yarn and I love anything rainbow.  I wanted to see how it would knit up so I bought a skein.  I realize now that I could have just looked it up on Ravelry to see it but I just didn’t know that back then.  There was a free pattern for a scarf that went with the yarn so that’s what I did with it.  (It did not help that the skein only had 198 yards on it).

But when I look it at now I think it’s either an overly large necklace or a too small scarf – it’s just weird.  I may have to find a small child who may enjoy a rainbow scarf.

The other thing that bothers me about this is the way it stretches out the color repeats of the yarn.  Considering it was put out by the yarn company I would think they would want to make the yarn look great.  It’s just too long for the way the colors are dyed, in my opinion.  It just kind of makes the colors all blend together and are not as rainbow as I might have hoped.  It’s knit long ways instead of across which really stretches those colors out.  It may even look better if it were knit the other way.

The coffee sleeve has a much smaller circumference and I think really makes the color repeats shine so much more.  I love the chevrons that Becky added in and I think I’m going to love the finished object.

20160910_150154

It’s hard to believe this is even the same yarn.  I’m so glad I found this particular scrap and was able to look back and see how far I’ve come in knowing about yarn, color, and pattern selection.  The gradient look that is going to result from this pattern is really going to make me happy.  And, when I get frustrated with my knitting I will remember this and know that it’s all part of the process.

The Story of the Little Sailor Coat

After so many comments on my Little Sailor Coat from last week I figured I needed to follow up with it’s story this week.  I think sometimes a project comes along that combines all of the things we love most about knitting.  Not that I don’t love all my projects but some just hit all the sweet spots and that’s how I felt about this sweater.

Some good friends of mine got involved with a local foster to adopt program in hopes of adding a child to their family.  A beautiful baby girl was placed in their care last year.  As with all children in the foster system she had a rough start in life.  They are hopeful that she will be able to stay with their family but it is a very long process.  With fall approaching they asked if I would knit a cardigan sweater for her.  I enthusiastically said yes!

Here’s the deal – I have lots of amazing girls in my life but when they were tiny I lacked the knitting skills to knit cute little sweaters.  Now, they are tweens and teens and not so interested in hand knit sweaters.  My friends’ request gave me the opportunity to check out all the cute baby sweaters I hear about on podcasts and see my friends knitting.  I showed up to knit night and explained my mission for the evening – find a pattern and some yarn to make a totally adorable baby sweater.  I had been looking on Ravelry and was focused on top down, knit in one piece sweaters because sewing is not my thing.

As I was wandering, my friend L who works at the store approached me with a sample the store had of the Little Purple Sailor Coat and I fell in love.  And, like real life love, it did not matter that it checked off none of my must haves and all of my dealbreakers.  It called for Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK which is a slightly more expensive yarn, especially for a baby sweater (dealbreaker).  I went home that night and opened up the book and set out to cast on.  That’s when I realized it was knit in pieces parts – sigh (dealbreaker).  This was not the sweater of my dreams but it was still the one.

Let me just say the yarn is a total delight!  It can be a little splitty but is so soft and so nice to knit and the drape of the yarn is really what makes the coat so beautiful.  There was no way I could have substituted yarn and been as happy with the finished project. One little problem – my friend loves to the dress the baby in pink, all pink, all the time. The only pink that was available was more of a dusty rose and I did not think it lended itself to an entire garmet.  But, there was an amazing denim blue that I thought would be perfect.  It was going to require a little persuation on my part but I convinced my friend that we needed to go with the blue.  I told her the entire knitting group had voted for the blue and I promised to incorporate some pink.  It really helped to have the shop sample to study.  We could see from the sample that the trim could be knit in a different color so I picked up one ball of the pink and decided to do all the trim in pink.  Over the course of the evening I had explained who the sweater was for and what the story was with the baby and when we had everything picked out I don’t think there was a dry eye at the table – the yarn, the pattern, the colors, the baby it was for, it was a perfect combination.

Ravelry tells me I started it on April 21.  I picked it up on and off over the summer as time and other knitting would allow.  My friends at knit night would ask how it was coming and if there was any news on the baby’s story.  I have to say that knitting a baby sweater is very satisfying!  It’s so quick because it’s so small!  I always worked on it when I just wanted to sit and enjoy my knitting.  The pattern had enough variety that it never got boring but it also never required a ton of concentration which made it a very enjoyable knit.  And I finished it just in time for fall to arrive!

Because of the foster care rules, I cannot share a picture of my friends’ baby wearing it (but I have seen them and she is adorable and really loves her new sweater!). So I had our shop baby, Rose, model it at knit night before I gave it to my friends.  It was Rose’s first modeling job and she totally rocked it!

What do we love most about knitting?  Knitting for those we love, finding the perfect yarn & pattern combo, the help & support of our knitting pals, and a finished object we love!  This was all of that and more.  From the pattern and yarn selection to the modeling of the FO – my knit group is so entwined in this project and the more good vibes that are sent my friends way, the better.  And, I can say that I knit love and prayers for her in every stitch.  This is a much loved sweater for a much loved baby🙂

 

August FO’s – an ode to monogamous knitting

Well, as much as I’m definitely not a monogamous knitter, months like this make me see there are benefits.  I have 3 FO’s this month – two were WIP’s that were pretty close to done and 1 was my Ravellenics project and there’s nothing like the Ravellenics to make me focus on one project.

First up is my Juxtaposed Hat.  This is a pattern by Sarah Shoo of the Cultivate & Create podcast and it’s free!!!  The yarn is from Destination Yarns on her Postcard base which is 75% superwash and 25 % nylon in The Q colorway.  This was some special yarn she dyed up right after the Cavs won the NBA championship.  (Although, someone mentioned it was also Gryffindor colors from Harry Potter).  My goddaughter is a huge Cavs fan so I ordered a skein and asked her mom what type of accessory she would prefer and hat was the winner.  I loved this patter by Sarah.  It’s a fun, quick knit and worked so well with the color changes in this yarn.  My goddaughter loved it and even agreed to model it.

20160820_220550

Next up is my Ravellenics project!  I’m happy to report it won the bronze medal in my local Olympic gathering.  For these socks I used the Prism pattern for the legs, the fish lips kiss heel and the round toe from Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture.  The yarn is Fresh from the Cauldron Schoodic Sock in the Tea Party colorway.  The colorway really read Halloween to me and I was lucky enough to find some leftover orange sock yarn in my stash to up the Halloween feel on the toes and heels.

And last (and the reason for the delay in today’s post) – my Little Purple Sailor Coat sweater.  I’ll do a longer post on this in a couple of weeks as it definitely has it’s own story to tell but I’m so pleased with how it turned out.  I’ll be blocking it tomorrow and sewing on a button.  And, it will makes it way to a very special little girl very soon!

 

Movie Day

I’ve been excited since I heard there was something called Yarn: The Movie.  And then, I saw some crafty folks hosting a showing down in Columbus, about 2 hours from me but I was going to be out of town.  But I totally lucked out and the Cleveland Museum of Art had a one time showing last Sunday.  A bunch of my knitting friends got tickets and headed to the museum.

There was a line to get in when we got there because they were waiting for the DVD.  I hoped they would get it soon because no one wants to deal with an angry mob of yarn enthusiasts. 6 of us made the trip and I somehow thought we would know everyone at the movie even though that does not make any sense.  We don’t know all the knitters in Cleveland and maybe there were crocheters, who knows???  There were definitely more men than I expected.  Overall, the small auditorium was pretty full so I guess we were not the only interested people in town.

I brought my Ravellenics socks with me because I knew this was the one time it was completely appropriate to knit through the entire movie.  (Side note, I only knit for the first couple of minutes because I did know where the slip stitch pattern started after the stitch marker and my other friend almost lost her ball of yarn down the middle of the theater so I think I’ll continue to skip knitting at movies🙂 )  Finally, the lights dimmed and it was show time!!  I was so excited!!!  While I had heard a somewhat so-so review of the film, I had also heard a really good review so I remained optimistic.

I loved it – 5 dpns to this movie!!!  I get that it might not be for everyone as parts of it are kind of out there, it was everything I had hoped for.  It really concentrates on the use of yarn as art expression.  The movie follows four different yarn artists in different locations. All four use yarn art expression in different ways.  The movie, through the artists, also explores feminist themes of art, craft and women’s work.  It is beautifully narrated by Barbara Kingslover.

To be clear, this is definitely not a movie about knitting sweaters or how yarn is made. There are a few very cute sheep that make appearances but the movie is about how these four women are using yarn to make a statement in the world.  For those people that are just interested in knitting and/or crocheting as a craft to make things this is probably not the movie for you.  I’m a yarn bomb enthusiast and I love to see what talented and creative people are doing to express themselves and their idea.  When I left the movie I wanted to go out and yarn bomb the world.  I would also add that the movie is not just about yarn bombing – two of the women use yarn bombing in different ways in their art but the other two artists have nothing to do with yarn bombing.

One of my friends that came to movie moved to Vermont this past week so she asked if we could visit her two favorite pieces of art in the museum so she could say good-bye to them before she left.  My other friend is new to the area and had never been to our wonderful museum so we did a quick run through before we headed home.  After watching the movie, it was even more interesting to see what her two favorite pieces were as it was clear that we all express ourselves so differently through art.  It was also fun to show off our amazing (and free) museum to our first time friend.   And now, whenever I go to the museum and see those two pieces I will think of our lovely day out.

 

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

Obvious answer this week – my Ravellenics project!!!  I love knitting and I love the Olympics so this is my favorite time of the year.  I joined Team Sasquatch this year and it’s the first year I’ve joined a team so I’m not really sure what that means.  But, I also have my local Olympics.  One of my friends hosts a little event each Olympics and it’s so much fun.  We meet on Opening night and cast on our projects in one of two categories – sprint or marathon.  We have to be complete by closing ceremonies and then she brings in some non-knitters to judge the projects.  I’m a two time medal winner so there’s a lot of pressure on me to three-peat!

I decided to use some of the yarn I bought at the Loopy Ewe last month.  I cast on the Fresh from the Cauldron sock yarn in the Tea Party colorway.  Although to me it’s more of a Halloween colorway.  I solicited some pattern ideas on Instagram and ended up going with Prism.  It’s a free pattern by Jaya Srikrishnan.  It calls for two different yarns but it works perfectly well with one variegated skein.  I started knitting and was thinking how it would be nice to have orange for the heels and toes but I’m not much of an orange person.  I did have some orange in my stash but it has no nylon so I was not comfortable using for heels. Then I remembered I had some left over sock yarn from Susquehanna Yarn and it was sparkle orange and matched perfectly!!!

Good news – the Olympics are half over and I’m done with one sock and through the cuff on the second so I think I’m well on my way to finishing.  I don’t have as much knitting time this weekend so we’ll see.  Side note – headed to see Yarn: The Movie on Sunday so I’ll share more on that soon!!

Here are some pictures of the socks in progress!

20160809_18253120160811_211450