Saturday, March 14, 2015

New projects

I've been admiring this combination crochet-knit sweater for a while, but there doesn't seem to be a pattern available. I decided to wing it, and come up with my own version. Enter random crochet flowers:

I have a feeling this will be a long term project since I don't have a pattern and not really even a plan to speak of. The extent of my plan is to crochet different flowers until it looks like they might cover half of the front. Beyond that, not sure.

Then I saw February 12's version of Feather and Cloud and I was hooked. Feather and Cloud is a simple sweater with mostly reverse stockinette, and a feather-and-fan border around the front. I quickly ran to the yarn store and grabbed four skeins of Malabrigo Rastita.

Rastita is between a DK and Worsted weight, so skinnier than what the pattern calls for. I will have to do some math to adjust for gauge, as I'm off about 25 %.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Saturday Update

Pattern: "Jewelry"--my own with some design elements borrowed from Jewel
Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee
Needle: 4 mm circular
Feeling: Like it! knitting with the yarn was great, but my "pattern" (or lack thereof) was a pain, and I probably could have knit two sweaters with the effort I put into this, had I just followed a purchased pattern.
Find it on Ravelry.

"Did you check the white balance?"
I think blogging about it was part of what got me to finish it, but I also just really needed a new sweater. For the most part I had fun knitting it, but sleeves were starting to get frustrating. Now I'm just glad it's done!

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Progress Report

The Jewelry sweater is off the needles, although not quite finished. But as you can see, I have buttons picked out, so at least it could get finished.

The sleeve detail includes a twisted knit stitch running down the middle and ending with a little bit of the pattern stitch. The sleeves are about 2/3 length, mostly because that's all I had yarn for.

 Now just a final blocking, weave in the ends and sew on the buttons. 

I even finished the edging on the Lofty cardigan and started on the sleeve. This shouldn't take long to finish!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Benefit Plan

Another benefit of blogging is that it keeps you honest and on task. At least if you share pictures of in-progress work, that is. So here we go--nothing finished, but lots started.

A cardigan from Quince and Co. Chickadee:

I'm calling this one "Jewelry" as it's loosely based on the Jewel cardigan pattern by Kim Hargreaves and the stitch pattern reminds me of some kind of filigree. Progress on this cardi stopped when I lacked the mental energy to start figuring out the sleeves. I wanted seamless set-in sleeves but didn't really have a pattern to go by. So in the basket it went.

Next I started this top-down cardigan from Brooklyn Tweed's Loft. I'm calling her Lofty, of course.

I'm going for an A-line look with pockets in the front.

This one stalled when I needed to graft together the border edging at the bottom. Sigh...

Then I started a vest, and with renewed vim and vigor knit on it like a crazy woman for about a week:

This one is based on a pattern called Drip-Drop by Hanne Falkenberg. Sort of. I tried really hard to get the pattern--her patterns are usually only available as kits, and they are very spendy. But this one is only available in a book, in Danish, from a couple of Danish yarn stores. The cost of the book shipped to Minnesota was going to be well over $100, so I decided to reverse engineer the pattern from pictures. (I usually don't like doing that because I think the designer deserves to get paid for their hard work, but this time getting the pattern was not feasible.) I'm making some changes and adjustments, and I really should finish this before I forget what I did and have to figure it out all over again. However, I'm back a full circle, and knitting the sleeves for Jewelry again (I have knit the first sleeve cap about four times...):

So would someone please kick me in the rear to get some of these finished?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Pretty Picture or a Thousand Words?

I would like my blog to be one of those blogs with beautiful pictures. You know, like this   or this   or this   . But when I wait to post until I have the kinds of pictures I want, I end up not posting at all, or waiting a month or two before I post. And although I myself enjoy reading and following blogs with nice pictures, I do also enjoy reading blogs that post at least weakly--I hate waiting for a new post for a month!

Getting good pictures means waiting for the perfect light, waiting to have time to take the pictures during daylight, waiting to have the projects at a stage when you can take good pictures, waiting to have time to edit the pictures... the list goes on. And soon it's two months later and I still don't have good pictures. Oops.

Maybe I just need to accept the fact that I'm going to (and do) have a blog with mediocre pictures. Because at the end of the day, the trade off for having good pictures is posting rarely and therefore having few people reading/following the blog. Because it's more fun to follow blogs that post regularly (and I don't mean the kind of once-a-year regular). But then again, blogs with nice pictures are nicer to look at... what a dilemma!

Today I resolve to allow myself to post with mediocre pictures and mediocre text and we'll see how that goes. Hopefully I will end up posting more often. I work on lots of projects that never make it to the blog because I don't have good (or any) pictures, and because I don't have anything smart to say about them. And because I haven't figured out how to post pictures on the blog from my phone (another thing on the to-do list).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Toes too!

The cold snap we experienced a couple of weeks ago caused a sudden urge to knit something really warm. And to knit it fast! What better project than slippers:

There are still several members of the family that don't yet have these perfect foot warmers. Last winter I started from the bigger end and then lost interest after I made two pairs. This time I started from the middle of the size range and have so far made 2.5 pairs.

I think the "wrong" side looks better than the right side, so I'm turning them inside out.

I'm using my basic slipper recipe, starting with a rectangle at the heel, picking up stitches along two of the edges, knitting until past the opening, casting on a few stitches for the top, and finishing like the foot of a sock. Usually these take a couple of rounds in the washer and a round or two in the dryer to be properly felted.

Yarn: Cascade Yarn eco+
Needles: 6 mm

Monday, January 26, 2015

Keep them warm!

Felted mittens for my husband. These babies were also in the UFO basket for about a year. See a theme here?
I think my husband is starting to get the picture that if I start something for him, he can wait at least a year for it to be finished. Oops... (The need to finish these may have had something to do with the need to free up the long 3 mm circular needle... more about that later.)

The yarns are random left overs. The greens are fingering weight yarns left over from sweater projects, and the gray is some mystery yarn from my mom. I held the green at the tip double to get a similar gauge as the gray. I felted these with a couple of rounds in the washer and dryer, plus a little bit of hand felting for the top portion to get it down to the right size. All three yarns were rather unprocessed and felted wonderfully to a soft and super warm fabric with a little fuzz.

Yarn: fingering and DK left overs (the dark green was Geilsk Tynd Uld; the lighter one is similar but a different brand)
Needle: 3 mm

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Vitamin D-2

Some extra vitamin D is surely needed here in the depths of winter! I really loved my first Vitamin D sweater so I decided to make another one in a different color. That was about two years ago... I lost steam a couple of times, and recently this sweater has been just laying around, waiting for the ends to be woven in and to get a good blocking. Somehow I finally got the urge to finish this sweater that had languished in the UFO basket for so long.

 The reason for the contrast color is that I was going to run out of yarn and was not going to be able to find the same dye lot anymore (another reason to get stalled on the progress). I thought that a clearly different color would look better than just a slightly different one.


The poor sweater has been in UFO state so long that I've lost the ball bands and can't remember what the yarn was. Some fingering weight alpaca that only comes in natural colors... Needle size? perhaps 3.5 mm. Or 3.25 mm.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sun dress

Pattern: modified from Clara.
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Solid, 1 skein
Needles: 2.75 mm Addi Circular
Size: 12 mo

This was one of the cutes baby dresses I'd seen on Ravelry so when I needed a quick on-the-go project, this one jumped to the top of the queue. I only had one skein of sock yarn to make this dress so I had to make some modifications to make sure the yarn was enough. I started the hem with 11 repeats of the leaf pattern (instead of 12) and decreased a few stitches along the way, ending up with the equivalent of 10 repeats at the top before the seed stitch band.

I had read other peoples' concerns about getting the dress over a child's head, so I started the opening earlier, a couple of rows into the leaf pattern at the top. I found the cutest little yellow flower buttons, too!

I crocheted around the button bands and made two vertical button holes by crochet. They seemed to hold the opening closed more firmly than two simple loops.
I also modified the sleeve openings and switched to twisted rib. I used short rows and didn't add any ribbing on the under-side to avoid bulkiness.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Birthday knitting

Last weekend my mother reminded me that my niece is turning one year old next month. This resulted in frantic searching of a suitable birthday pattern. I made her a sweater for Christmas, and for an April birthday, more woolly clothing didn't seem like the most practical thing. But no worries--as soon as I laid my eyes on the Jam Made granny kitty, I knew I had to make it! Jen's versions were so delightfully colorful! I wanted to make mine a little smaller, though, so I rummaged my stash for fingering/light sport weight yarns.

The center square is called October Love, made of left over sock yarns. The back side is a simplified version of the same without the 7th row that creates a raised edge on the previous row (the blue row on the front). The grey yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine.

When I was little one of my favorite toys was a kangaroo made by my aunt. In my romantic and perhaps unrealistic dreams I am hoping that Granny kitty can become one of those favorite toys for my niece. The one that she can't leave home without.

As I was making this, my son already announced that he wanted one, too. Because crochet is much slower than knitting (at least for me), and requires more looking at the project when working on it (i.e., I can't really read or watch TV while crocheting), I am going to modify the pattern for the next one. My plan is to crochet the center square, then pick up stitches and knit the rest. I'm thinking about lightly  felting the kitty, but I need to test the compatibility of crochet and knitting because they shrink at different rates. I'm thinking garter stitch would probably work best for this.

The big slipper project is also progressing, although it got put on hold for making the first Granny kitty. Two pairs of slippers--the two biggest sizes I had to make--already got finished. Both are made from Cascade yarns Eco Wool. The snake-like pattern is embroidered on top before felting.

In other knitting news, my 9-year-old son decided two days ago tat he wanted to learn how to knit. I showed him a basic knit stitch and he worked a few rows with much frustration. The next morning when I got up he'd already been up for an hour. I asked what he was doing, and he showed me his knitting. He told me he'd gone on Youtube to learn how to cast on and started a new project, then worked on it with no help, all by himself. He had pulled some yarn from my project basket, but I didn't mind, I was just giddy about him wanting to figure it out by himself!

Yesterday he already started a hat, which he worked on for two rows and then set aside, then later started a scarf, and today he wants to go to the yarn store to pick out yarn for a project. Again, I don't mind, I know what startitis is like, and I'm going to embrace his enthusiasm for knitting as long as it lasts (which might not be very long.) Off to the yarn store!