What’s on my Needles This Weekend

You might recall that I knit hats for my goddaughter and her twin.  I took the twin’s hat up to her two weeks ago and it was a huge hit!!  It was a very unseasonably warm weekend but she wore the hat all weekend.  This is my favorite picture that I managed to snap – she’s hard at work on her homework wearing her hat 🙂

20161106_110805

Her mother and I decided to get out for a little retail therapy and that included a stop at Spun Ann Arbor.  Now, I’ve had an ongoing debate with my friend G about this shop.  My first two visits were not the best but she loved it.  My best friend is moving so this was sort of a goodbye tour of all my favorite Ann Arbor spots. I had to hit Spun one more time and I had seen they were having a trunk show.  It was like a different store.  They had physically rearranged it and the people working were much more friendly so it was a much better experience and I can see why G loves it.  The trunk show was by Why Knot Fibers.  The girls were lovely and we were having quite a chat while my best friend wandered the store (I should note she is not a knitter).  As we were talking my friend came over with a hat in hand and asked if I could knit it for her.  I guess she was feeling left out of the hat fun!  I noted the pattern in Ravelry and she set out to pick out her yarn.

I had said I was not buying yarn but I could not leave without a skein from the Why Knot Fibers girls and they had shawl pins from Craftyflutterby and that’s been on my list for awhile.  So, despite my “I’m not buying any yarn, remind me of that” to my bff on the way in, this is what I left with.

20161105_145800

Now, my bff bought the yarn needed for her hat according to the tag on the hat.  The hat is Coze by Alex Tinsley and is designed so that you can knit two hats with huge pom poms out of 2 skeins of yarn.  My bff (like me) is anti pom pom so she bought the one skein.  What I did not realize until I was reading the pattern at her house later was that is called for the new Malabrigo Caracol and I looked in the bag and that’s what she bought and in one of my favorite Malabrigo colorways – Paris Night.  Can I just say, this yarn is just yummy!  What a delight to knit!  I’m about halfway through and almost to the point where I just want to get it done so I hope it will be finished here in the next couple of days.

20161109_074229

One last note for today, I’ve been hearing a lot about the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long which starts next week.  My needles are quite full right now but I’m hoping to find a small project to support a designer and join in on the fun.  I was completely sold when I saw this graphic on Instagram this morning.  A little world wide knitting might do us all some good right about now.

rv76m9fThere is more info in a Ravelry group called Indie Design Gift-A-Long so check that out if you’re looking for some fun over the next month or so and I know I’m looking for some fun!

Some Kino Knits Love

With any given luck, Mary and I are hanging out at Rhinebeck right now so while I’m gone here’s a little blog post I wrote for her 🙂

I first started listening to the Kino Knits podcast about a year ago.  I quickly became a fan and worked my through the back episodes.  I also joined the Ravelry group so I could enter contests and keep up on all things Kino Knits.  When Mary put out a call for test knitters I was in!!

The first test knit I did was for the Rybka (Wee Fishie) pattern.  With Mary being in Africa, her e-mails often arrived early in the morning.  She sent out on the call on what ended up being a very snowy day at my house, perfect for settling in for a long day of knitting.  Note – this project did not take up an entire day of snowy knitting, unless I had made an entire school of wee fishies.  It’s a quick knit and I love that you can use whatever scrap yarn you have hanging around.  I think it’s cute on its own as a little gift or I could see knitting a number of them and making some type of bunting or mobile or other decoration.  I used worsted weight and it still came out in a wee size so using sock yarn would totally make them easy to use for decorative purposes.

20160409_132157

I just finished another test knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for Mary last month.  The pattern is not released yet so I won’t go into a lot of details but here’s my brief preview.  They are designed for a long gradient.  I happened to have a lot of extra gradient yarn that I had intended for another project.  In the end, that turned out to be a bad yarn/pattern combo.  So I was happy to put it use in a much better yarn/pattern combo.  It was perfect for these mitts.  While I usually find mitts with sock yarn to be a slog, I felt this really kept moving with the pattern stitch and with the work of involving the thumb which was a little different than I had used in the past.  Keep your eye out for this one, especially if you love all the great gradients that are out there right now.

I love the Kino Knits patterns because they are easy, yet interesting and I always learn something new, which for me is the perfect recipe for a good pattern.  The Rybka used Judy’s Magic Cast on, a new to me cast on so it took me a few minutes to get that down.  She also uses a slightly different version of increasing stitches than I’ve previously used.  Even with all that I think it took me a couple of hours, at most, to knit up.  The mitts have a very interesting stitch pattern that was new to me.  Again, it’s a fairly easy pattern once you get it down but it’s nice to be doing something just a little different.  I think this is something you can see in all her patterns – she tries to make them just a little more interesting.  If you’re tired of knitting just plain socks, cowls, or hats check out her Ravelry store for something to spice up your knitting!!!

What’s on the Needles This Weekend

I don’t usually have themes for each month but it seems that will be happening again this month.  Last month was all about knitting love and this month will be all about Rhinebeck!!!!!!!!  I might be getting a little excited 🙂

Traditionally, if you are attending Rhinebeck you knit a Rhinebeck sweater.  I don’t knit sweaters (although Joji Locatelli is really testing that theory with that latest collection of hers 🙂 ) so I figured I wouldn’t worry about it.  It’s not like a have a lack of knitwear to bring with me.  But then, I went to the Loopy Ewe in July and bought some fun yarn to knit the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl and then Becky from the Knit Actually podcast bought one of those same colors and knit an amazing sweater shrug and has decided we need to get a twinning picture while we’re at Rhinebeck.  Did I mention that you end up with 501 stitches at the end of this?  And, there’s a picot bind off?  No, well, that’s what in store for me this week.

Ideally I’d like to finish by next Sunday so I have time to block it before it has to be packed. At last count, I’m at 15 rows left and 9 days (or 7 to my goal deadline, 9 to drop dead it has to be done deadline).  The yarn is by Knerd String and I am totally in love with it.  The depth and tonal qualities of the her colors has me falling in love with solids all over again. The pattern is actually a pretty fun knit and if I didn’t have a few other things I had been working on that also had deadlines I probably would be a bit further along.

Speaking of Rhinebeck, I’m going without a plan.  Crazy?  Dumb??  I’m not sure.  I know that what I really want to do is just soak up being there and enjoying hanging with my people.  Checking out everyone’s knitwear.  Meeting “friends” from near and far.  I’m sure I’ll buy some yarn but if I don’t get the freebies and I don’t get the show exclusives, I’m okay with that.  If you have any tips or suggestions feel free to leave a comment!!  And, if you’re going to be there let me know!!!

20160925_214800

 

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.

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

Three FO’s and a HO

May has been a pretty productive month!  The other day I had lunch with a crafty friend and she did ask if I have like 17 projects going on at one time.  I laughed and said yes!  She was under some sort of mistaken impression that I actually finish knitting things. LOL! But, this month I have finished a few things and am making good progress on a few date sensitive projects.

Let’s start with this little pumpkin hat.  Pattern is Little Pumpkin by Susan B. Anderson and I used mystery stash yarn.  I believe the orange might have been a Cascade of some sort and the brown is maybe a Lion Brand or equivalent from the big box store.  It’s for some friends who just had a little boy.  When they did their pregnancy announcement on Facebook it was in October and they used a pumpkin in the photo so I thought it would be cute to knit the baby his own pumpkin hat.

IMG_2326

Next, my friend runs a nonprofit that helps local families in our area who have children who are struggling in some way, either with or without a diagnosis.  They are having their first ever golf outing in June so I offered to knit a set of golf club covers she could use as a prize.  I’m using Purl Soho’s Golf Club Covers pattern.  I got all the yarn from the big box store (and, shhh, don’t tell her but I used the gift card she gave me for helping with their annual fundraiser 🙂 ).  I have knit them in the organization’s colors which are orange and black.  Their logo has all the colors in the stripes of the black one.  I have one more to make – the set is for the driver, the 3 wood and the 5 wood.  I love how they are coming out.  The Purl Soho pattern is great!  I love all their patterns and they are free!!!

My only issue is that when you get to the part that covers the club head you have to hold the yarn double.  This makes for some tight knitting so it’s a bit tough on my hands/wrists but I started working on them early enough that I’ve been able to take a break between covers.  I will be playing a very tight game of yarn chicken for the final one.  I’m glad I started with the biggest and worked my way down so fingers crossed!!

 

Next, I talked about my mystery yarn and the Graduate Your Stash KAL that I’m doing.  So, I did finish one bowl and kind of felted it.  I’m going to knit up the rest of the skein into bowls and head over to a friend’s house who has a washing machine with an agitator and hope they felt some more.  The pattern is Stash Busting Project Bags and Bowls by Molly Conroy and is free on Ravely.  This first one came out a little smaller than I thought so I’m using bigger needles on the next one and will see how that changes the size.  Otherwise, it’s a great pattern and has five different options depending on how much yarn you are trying to get rid of!

20160508_145943

And, last but not least, I finished one sock so that would be the HO.  More details and pics when I finish the second sock!

There are a bunch of fun KALs going on this summer.  I know everyone is all about Stash Dash which is such a great idea.  But, I don’t participate because it requires just a little too much thought and planning for me.  I’m finishing up the Graduate Your Stash KAL which ends June 30th.  I will also be participating in the Summer Superlatives KAL hosted by Becky of the Knit Actually Podcast and the Great Outdoors KAL which is hosted by Emily of the Knitting Butterflies Podcast.  If you are looking for fun and low key KALs I would recommend either or both of them.  You can find more info on them in their Ravelry groups or on their websites.  Side note, I think I might get to do a little knitting with both of these ladies as I will be visiting Colorado in July so we’re trying to figure out a little knitting get together while I’m there which will be super fun!!

 

Knitter with a capital K

Have you ever had that moment where you realize you are a Knitter (with a capital K)? I’ve had a few experiences recently that have led me to realize I’ve crossed the line from a recreational knitter to a Knitter.

I’m not exactly sure where the line is but I knew I crossed it a few weekends ago when I had a list of knitting chores to complete.  Knitting chores??  Yeah, this was serious now. Those chores included putting some socks through a citric acid soak and blocking a cowl I had just finished knitting.

20160402_112208

Another sign that I had crossed an invisible line happened at a party that was a mix of my knitting friends and some non-knitters.  One of our knitting friends moved away last year and was due back for a visit which prompted the get together.  Unfortunately, she had to cancel her trip at the last minute but the party must go on.  One of the non-knitters was taking pictures to send to our friend and she was utterly amazed that while I was looking up and smiling for said pictures my hands never stopped knitting.  Hey – this girl needed to get that cowl off the needles!!

And, while this last little story may not indicate a line that has been crossed, it’s pretty darn cute so I’m throwing it in!  I knit the bunnies and monsters for my best friend’s kids for Easter (see FO’s for March).  The youngest is 9 and he really loved his monster, which I thought was adorable, because he’s a boy and he’s 9.  And, of all the kids, he’s the only one that’s expressed an interest in seeing how I actually knit.  I always have knitting when I go to visit and neither of the girls has ever shown any interest in learning.  This last trip the little one came over and asked how I did it.  So, I showed him a few stitches slowly so he could see how it worked.  After he watched for a few minutes he turned to his mom and said “Mommy, Jenny is amazing!”  Yep, that’s right kid, I’m amazing!!  He was my favorite that day, but don’t tell the others 🙂

There are other smaller things that tell me I’m no longer a recreational knitter.  I spent quite awhile with my mom in the big box store yarn aisle discussing yarn weights.  I find myself thinking a huge fair isle project seems like a good idea.  I’ve had passing thoughts that maybe I do need to knit a Rhinebeck sweater (who am I???)  Oh yeah, and I’m really going to Rhinebeck this year 🙂  I may also tell people I’m a knitter before I tell them anything else about me which must be a sure sign!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend (and a little bit of science)

May 1st marked the start of Kino Knits Graduate Your Stash KAL.  What is that you may ask? Well, Mary came up with a great idea – use the oldest thing in your stash whether it be yarn, fiber or a wip and finish it up during graduation season.  You can read about all the rules and prizes in her Ravely group.  I loved this from the minute she talked about it on her podcast.  I set of in search of my oldest yarn.  Two things to remember – 1. I’ve only been knitting for just about 13 years and 2. I didn’t really start accumulating yarn for the first few yearn.  I was more of a recreational knitter.  I didn’t realize that at some point you stop being able to knit all the new yarn you buy as fast as you buy it.

With those disclaimers – my oldest skein of yarn was from 2006.  It took awhile to confirm the date because the trip was pre-Facebook for me and I quickly learned that anything I can’t date on Facebook, I can’t date at all!  I also learned that my digital picture storage is a disaster that needs to be addressed soon, but I digress.  I went to Oregon with a knitting friend and we visited a yarn store in Eugene.  It might have been Soft Horizons Fibre but I’m not completely sure.  (note, this is where the second disclaimer comes in – I just figured I would knit it right away…)  Also, this was pre-Ravelry for me so I wasn’t really tracking any of my knitting or yarn store visiting.  Anyway, I bought this awesome skein of yarn and all the hand-written tag said was “Labrador”, 200 yards, $28.  Nothing about fiber content. I feel like I bought it because it was unique and made there at the store but who knows??  I wound it into a ball and what a ball it is!

20160501_103214

It looks kind of woolly – it’s got fibers at least.  I searched Ravelry for a pattern and found a free pattern called Stash Busting Project Bags and Bowls which just happens to be written by my friend Molly in California so that was fun!  It’s a great free pattern for felted bags and bowls – there are five total options and she does the yarn requirements by weight so you can use up that stash!

Right after I wound the ball I took the yarn ties from the skein, put them under hot water and used my scrubbie sponge to agitate them.  It looked like they were thinking of felting and they definitely smelled like wet wool so I forged ahead.  But, I need to know if this yarn will felt.  So, I posted a picture of the bowl I started on Instagram and got some interesting suggestions.

My blogging and Instagram friend Missy, from Missy’s Crafty Mess mentioned both the burn and bleach tests to determine fiber content.  I did a little research and set off to experiment.  I started with the bleach last night.  Basically, you snip off a couple inch piece of yarn, place it in a glass jar, put a tablespoon of bleach over it, put the lid on and wait and see what happens.  From what I read, if it was fizzing that was a good sign.  Leave it overnight and if in the morning there is no more yarn then it should be wool.  I definitely had fizzing going on not long after capping the “jar” (the only glass container with a lid that I had was a salad dressing bottle…).  This morning there was still yarn left in the jar but it was very broken down and there was not much left to it which leads me to think there may be some other fiber mixed in with the wool.

This morning my Dad was coming over and I asked him to come a few minutes early because I needed to burn some yarn and take pictures so was in desperate need of a third hand.  I set it up with a big glass bowl and a large cup of water (for safety) and I cut a piece of yarn about six inches long and then took my candle lighter to it.    While it’s burning you note whether is self-extinguishes,  the smell, the flame and what remains to try and determine fiber content.  I found a great fiber burn chart on ditzyprints.com.  The yarn did extinguish when the flame was removed and it did smell really awful.  What remained was the yarn – I felt like I was charring a pepper because every time it burned I could scrape off the char and find more yarn underneath so it did not fall neatly in any of the burn chart boxes.

You can see how small of a flame there was – it never really “caught fire” and these embers were what remained and the fibers are still very intact under the char.  I’m pretty convinced at this point that it is mostly wool but there is either some other fiber spun in or there is some sort of coating on the yarn.

I finished a bowl with the yarn and may attempt to felt it tomorrow while I’m home doing a ton of other things.  Fingers crossed it will felt!  If it does I will use up the rest of the yarn making additional bowls.  I’ve decided to start a gift/donation box of knit items so when I need a gift or someone asks for a donation I can go to my box and pull something out. These will make great gifts, if they actually felt!  If not, back to the drawing board for a new pattern for what’s left of this mystery yarn.

20160504_193137.jpg

April FO’s

I started off the month is a crazy, finishing frenzy and it was all downhill after that. So, first off the needles this month were my Arne & Carlos socks, which I love!!  I did plain vanilla socks with a fish lips kiss heel and a round toe.  Of course, the fish lips kiss heel is a pattern by the Sox Therapist.  I used the round toe which is included in Sock Architecture by Lara Neel.  It was my first time for both of these heels and toes.  I loved the heel but I did have a little issue with a weird bulge at the end of the heel so I’m guessing it’s something to do with my gauge but I’m just not sure.  I’m going to t keep experimenting. I loved the round toe as I despise the kitchner stitch.

20160402_092613

Next I finished the Girlfriend Cowls by Churchmouse Yarns.  I cast this on right after the US Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage was announced.  Someone on Instagram had started a rainbow-along.  I had this yarn in my stash – it’s America the Beautiful by Destination Yarns so on the needles it went!  The patterns is pretty simple and really did some fun things with this yarn.  I loved how, once I started knitting, it became apparent that as the skein went from primarily reds/yellows to blues/greens.  Sadly, even though it’s April, I’ve worn it quite a bit 😦

20160404_181926

The last FO of the month was a quick little test knit I did for Kino Knits.  She happened to e-mail on a snowy Saturday so I cast it right on.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry which is so awesome.  I had some troubles with Judy’s Magic cast on as I had never done that one before but otherwise it was a super quick knit.  Mary has written it so you can use any yarn you have.  She did hers in sock yarn and I used a worsted weight.  It’s called Rybka (Wee Fishie) and if you are looking for a quick gift knit definitely check it out!

20160409_132157

Confession – I knit the fish on April 9th and have finished nothing since 😦  Lots of fun stuff on the needles so here’s hoping I have something to talk about at the end of May!