Last Post of the Year

Well, I guess this is going to wrap up 2016.  The next 2 weeks are Christmas and New Year’s so I will be taking a brief break.  I will be spending that break trying to recover from the year that was 2016 which will require copious amounts of knitting and tea!

Most of my FO’s so far are gifts so in my first post in the new year I’ll do a wrap of December FO’s, take a look back at 2016 and a look forward into 2017.

I do enjoy covering trending topics and if you haven’t noticed recently the ponytail hat is wild right now.  I first noticed this last week as I was checking out the Hot Right Now on Ravelry.  I think there were 1 or 2 patterns in the top 20 and I wondered what the deal was with the hats.  Well, just a few hours later I get a text from a friend with a picture of a crocheted ponytail hat and a request to knit her one (we’ll leave out the obvious issues with this, she is not a crafty one).  I had no idea where the picture came from but I’m sure you’ve seen it by now.  Here’s the link to the Etsy store with the pattern listing and it’s all over Facebook.

After I got her text I saw the above link show up on a friend’s Facebook page with a suggestion that she might like it.  And then Knitgrrl posted it on her Facebook page and a lively discussion ensued as she also has a pattern for such a hat, that she wrote in 2005.  Proof that all things old are new again.  There were some great comments in that group, including one that mentioned that her teenage niece was 5 when that pattern came out (side note – what???  how was 2005 that long ago???) so these are new to today’s teens.

And then there was this beauty!

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Oh, so much fun in this one picture!  Takeaway – they were knitting ponytail hats in the 1950’s.  Everything old is new again!  There are currently 5 different patterns on the first 2 pages of Hot Right Now on Ravelry.  I feel like a new one pops up everyday.

Back to the request to me, I ended up downloading the Holey Hat by SlipStitch Design.  It was free and seemed to have the flattest top. A few of them kind of build up around the ponytail and I wasn’t crazy about it.  This hat called for bulky yarn and size 10 needles so I knew it would be quick.  I had no bulky yarn but I did have the right colors in worsted weight so I held it double and got started.  But then I didn’t like it.  The picture causing the craze is crocheted so stockinette doesn’t cut it.

I then did a little search for a knit stitch that looked like crochet.  I found a five round pattern on LoveKnitting.com so I gave it a go and I loved the results.  Here’s the FO.

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Things I was not completely crazy about were the top – I wish it was flatter.  It also turned out to be a very stiff fabric and the holes were quite large. My friend loves it so that’s what important but I’m taking these notes as I move forward.  I had been posting in progress pics on Instagram and another friend requested them for her two teen daughters.

I started the next hat and I went down to just worsted weight and am using size 7 needles and I really love how it’s coming out.  The lighter weight yarn really shows the stitch definition and the holes are much smaller which I think will make for a better hat!

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How fun are these colors???

I never understand how certain knit/crochet end up going viral and ending up in and on all of our social media but it does always make me laugh and a lot of time it ends up making me money which is fine by me!

With that, I would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful, healthy holiday season! Thanks for reading and I have a lot of good stuff planned for 2017 so stick around to see what’s coming!

 

 

2nd Annual Christmas Inspiration Bundle

Last year I put together a bundle on Ravelry of Christmas inspired knitting ideas (you can find that post here)  I thought it was a lot of fun so this morning I took some time to look through Ravelry and see what I could find for this year.

I did a search with the term “Christmas” and then sorted from newest added to Ravelry so I would find all the recent stuff.  I do love just doing random searches on Ravelry and eliminating the “hot right now” default search order because you can see some really interesting stuff.  There’s something out there for everyone is always my take-away.

Some of these will knit up really quick so if you’re looking for last minute gift ideas there are some great ones in this bundle.  Here’s the link.

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The Victorian Yuletide ornaments are by Jenn Sheelan who did the jar cover I did earlier this year in the panda yarn. I love her stuff and she has a couple of collections of ornaments.  Colorwork seems extra popular during the holidays and I loved the cowl and the fingerless mitts.  The Christmas present hat is adorable that that designer had a whole line of super cute holiday hats.  I’ve never seen a mug cap before but it seems like a good idea and might go well paired with a mug mat and a cute mug.  The Polar Bear Pouch is so adorable and I need to find a little person who would love it!  Sunny the Snowman is by Susan Claudino who did the pattern for Patch who I knit in October and who was my Rhinebeck trip mascot.  I will definitely be knitting a Sunny soon!

A couple more patterns to point out that are not in this bundle.  It’s not too late to join in on the Project Peace which is being hosted by the Healthy Knitter.  You can find more info on her blog but it’s a lovely free KAL.  I’ve started and the end product is a cowl and her hope is to bring a little peace into the world with knitters everywhere focusing on peace while knitting this cowl.  She offers daily reflections on her blog and I think the last count I saw was 19,000 knitters.

Another pattern I’ve been knitting is #Errnaments by PBJ Knits.  This is a $2 pattern but she is donating the profits to ChildAid, a nonprofit that helps children in Central America. It was created for the Just One More Row podcast and they are quick and simple mini sweater and stocking ornaments that make great gifts!  I bought the pattern for myself and gifted one to my friend Becky.

Hope you find something fun and festive to knit!!!

November FO’s

This will be short and sweet because there were not a lot of FO’s this month.  I did manage to finish the Coze hat that I was knitting for my best friend.  This is really a quick and easy knit and would be a perfect last minute Christmas gift.

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Pattern: Coze by Alex Tinsley; Yarn: Malabrigo Caracol in Paris Night

I also finished my #knitterspayitforward gift.  I put it in the mail this morning so I will hold off on the details until the winner receives it so I don’t ruin any surprises!

The last (or first) thing I finished this month were my Mrs. Roosevelt’s Mittens.  I love these!  I used MJ Yarn that I bought when I was at Fancy Tiger Craft over the summer.  The color is great.  I held the yarn double for the palm and fingers.  It even got cold enough to wear them last week and they kept me nice and warm.

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Pattern: Mrs. Roosevelt’s Mittens by Franklin Habit; Yarn: MJ Yarns Simple Sock in Green Dragon

I’m starting the Peace-A-Long which is being hosted by Christina Campbell on December 1st and am looking forward to that.  I will also be casting on my Christmas socks (more on those next month) and will be hoping for more FO’s to end the year!!!

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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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!!!