June’s FO’s

Ah, end of the month, time to figure show off this month’s finished objects (yes, plural, again!).  There’s been a lot of change going in my life as of late and I believe that has crept its way into my knitting, or more specifically, my knitting time.  Starting to get back in the groove so that’s a good thing.

It must have been end of April or the start of May when the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl swept through my knitting group.  The pattern is by Joji Locatelli and I love a ton of her patterns.  The photos for this particular pattern, along with the yarn colors from Miss Babs really make you want to cast one on immediately.  I took a peek at the kits Miss Babs had done and they were just a little out of my price range so I favorited the pattern and moved on.  Shortly after that, C from my knitting group was checking out the new Malabrigo Silkpaca and thought it would be perfect for the cowl.  After we all checked out the pattern we all decided to make one.  It was a new shipment and my LYS had a great selection of colors and there was something for everyone.  I think only two of us have finished so far and we love them!!!  I entered mine in the Fluffy Fibers gentlealong in which she encouraged us to knit (or craft) something that would help us be gentle to ourselves.  What a lovely idea!  And knitting with a silk/alpaca blend in these fun colors really did allow me to be gentle to myself.  The pattern was super fun and went so much faster than I anticipated considering it was knit on a size 3 needle.  The different sections keep your interest and, let’s face, you’re just knitting to get to the pop color when you start!  I did not enjoy the lace section.  I’m not much of a lace knitter and there was a weird stitch in it that really did make me happy.  I will admit that I omitted one repeat of the lace of section but I think it still turned out okay!

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli
Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

The photo on the left is before a bit of light blocking.  I was not going to block but C. told me she had just done some light blocking and it helped a lot.  I think the blocking did make a difference.  I used the steam setting on my iron and dampened the cowl and held the iron above it while stretching it a bit.  I’ve already used it at work to keep my neck warm because there is a fan that blows directly on me right now.

The next FO is the infamous pair of socks that was subject of last week’s post.  I have to say that with as many problems as I had with that second sock, it was by far my best effort at kitchner stitch ever.  I was shocked!  But, I love the socks and can’t wait to wear them when fall rolls around!

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley
Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

I had to get a close up of the killer kitchner I did on that toe!!  As I was checking out the picture of the finished socks, I think I realized what my stripe issue was – I think I used a different number of stitches on the second sock.  You can see the sock on my right leg it a bit more stretched out.  I have a feeling I played with the number of stitches on the leg and did not bother to write it down.  That will teach me a lesson (hopefully!)

Finished Object of the Month

Another month almost over and another finished object to share!  This month’s project was very special to me and was featured in What’s on My Needles This Weekend in March as the perfect travel project.  But, before the big reveal, a little of the back story.

I have been volunteering with my church’s youth group since 2001.  And, that was because the newly hired youth minister had the misfortune of speaking at the masses the weekend following 9/11.  So, feeling like I needed to do something in the world I stopped and gave her my number after mass and she has not stopped calling since that evening.  In the past 14 years we have traveled to Germany, France, El Salvador, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy and NYC together and had many other adventures.  We got lucky, shortly after we started we got a really great group of kids in the youth group.  I hear my teacher friends talk about this – some years you get really great classes and some years, not so much.  And, now all these years later, I was invited to the weddings of two couples who met during those years, dated through high school and college and are now starting lives together.  It makes me feel really old but really proud to see who they’ve become.

The first wedding was two weeks ago and the bride and groom went on our Italy/France trip in 2013.  The bride and I share a love of Tim Horton’s (which are completely lacking in our town).  Today is the second wedding.  The groom went with us to Germany and it was his first trip out of the country (and maybe on a plane, if I remember right).  The baggage handlers went on strike when we landed and so he went the entire 10 day trip without his luggage and was still a trooper.  When I got the save the date cards I knew I wanted to do something special for them.  And, since I learned to knit right after I started volunteering with the youth group and was known to knit on planes, trains and in cars and at retreats I figured I had to knit them something.

Knitting for a wedding is much more difficult than knitting for a baby – far less choices.  I’m not a huge afghan knitter (more of short term project knitter) so I was struggling until I remembered that I had favorited the Sinkmates pattern.  I decided to make them each a set.  I made one in navy and one in white based on each of the couples’ tastes.  And then I went on Etsy and found these cute cutting boards that had marriage kitchen prayers on them and finally I got them a gift card for somewhere they had registered.  I pictured this gift in a box (and I’m sure my presentation got completely ruined as it was tossed from car to house, etc but it looked good when I put it on the gift table 🙂 ) so I got a box and arranged the gift.

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I wrote in the cards that in the box they would find something to clean their kitchen; something to decorate their kitchen and something they could use to fill their kitchen.  I hope they enjoyed it!  And, I have to wonder if having two hopelessly single women leading their youth group acted as a cautionary tale and led them down the path to marriage…

April’s Finished Objects (yes, plural!)

Wow – 2 finished objects this month!!  I’m so impressed with myself.  The first was a pieces which was commissioned by a friend.  She requested a spring infinity scarf in a light blue color.  This was an easy knit and the colors in the yarn really made the project pop.

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Project #2 is thanks to #the100dayproject.  If you have not seen/heard about this on Twitter or Instagram check it out.  It started a few weeks ago and those participating have committed to creating for 100 days and posting a picture each day on Instagram using the above hashtag and creating a unique hashtag for your project.  Knitting was an obvious choice but seemed too each or without goal.  I’ve had a couple of single socks hanging around and I have a ton of sock yarn waiting to be socks so I went with #100daysofsockknitting.  I’m amazed at how much I get done, even if I only do a couple of rows each day.  So, one single sock is now mated up and ready to wear come winter!

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Pattern: Came with the yarn but basic sock Yarn: Snowman Self Patterning by Abi Grasso

I have to say they are pretty cute but it was kind of a pain in the behind to knit.  I’m not great at playing with my guage and as you can see in the picture it’s really hard to get the snowmen to match up so there was a lot of decreasing and increasing stitches during the snowmen rounds.  I’m not sure I’ll tackle another self patterning yarn.  Maybe just stick to stripes for me, or something a little less defined.

I Heart Knitters!

This month’s finished object is a quick and easy project that literally only takes a couple of hours to knit up!  I feel like I’m cheating but I did knit it this month and it is finished (let’s ignore all the other projects hanging about needles all over the house right now…)  I was invited to a surprise 60th birthday party for one of my knitting friends, we’ll call her AH.  The theme was 60 Shades of Gray (ha ha!).  AH had very kindly made made us paper woven hearts for Christmas and they reminded me of the Dansk Hjerte pattern that was published in the Interweave Knits, Holiday Gifts 2012 issue.  I had made one for a co-worker for Christmas in 2013.  We talked about the knitting version and I never got around to digging out my copy of the magazine.  So, her birthday was a great excuse to make her one!  I bought two shades of gray Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift and set off to work.  I was super excited!

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I still had yarn left so I made another heart for the Fluffy Fibers tea swap.  If you’ve never listened to the Fluffy Fibers podcast highly recommend it!  Of course, I’m a huge lover of France so I love listening to Isabelle talk about the beautiful south of France.  A few months ago one of her listeners suggested a tea swap as Isabelle almost always talks about what tea she is drinking.  It was super fun and it was the first time I’ve participated in a swap on Ravelry.  We were to include a few bags of tea, a note explaining our tea choices and a small crafted or tea related item.  My original plan was to knit up a small drawstring bag but that was going super slow and I was time crunched and that’s when it hit me – another heart!  I sent the heart, loose tea from the Tea Lab which is a cool, local tea shop, a couple of sugar stirs and some tea bags to use with the loose tea off to England.  So, there’s Cleveland tea over in jolly old England!

I received a package from a different person in England.  It included several bags of tea including English Breakfast and English Afternoon tea – gotta love they distinguish between morning and afternoon tea!  A small, I believe tea bag placing plate and then you can see in the picture the pink (which matches my kitchen excactly!) tea cloth I received.  I did not exactly know what it was but I’ve noticed in pictures from British knitters on Instagram that it appears they use these as pads for their tea set up.  Excellent idea!

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I don’t know how other swaps on Ravelry work but it was a great first experience.  I especially loved the global element involved with this one.   Another perk of the swap – I got a random message from one of the participants, she had noticed I specified a particular type of French tea I enjoy but have a hard time finding in the States and she sent me a link to a tea shop in Dallas that carries a nice variety!  I love knitters!

So, my friend loved her two shades of gray heart and was super surprised at her party!  And, my other heart made it’s way across the pond!  They were quick knits but well appreciated by fellow knitters and it really is a great gift idea and can be made in any other color combination with any stash you have around the house!

February’s Finished Project

This month’s finished project*!!!

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Pattern: Follow Your Arrow 2 Yarn: Space Cadet Aurora in Colors of Cleveland January colorway Susquehanna Sparkle Sock in Trumpet

*it still needs to be blocked 🙂

This was my first knit-a-long and it was a mystery one so it was tons of fun!  I learned a lot of new stitches and got to use some fun yarn.  I would definitely partake in another mystery knit-a-long!  Now, to figure out the blocking issue.  I’m not a blocker and this thing needs some serious blocking.  I’ve seen the actual finished ones on Ravelry and they definitely make me want to figure it out!  Any tips or suggestions for blocking?

Finished Object of the Month

Trying a new feature this year – featuring a finished project each month.  Fingers crossed I finish something each month…  So, without further delay, this’s month’s project is….  The Guernsey Wrap!!!!!

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It needs just a touch of blocking but I usually use my futon to block on and it’s covered in a mix of Christmas decorations and stuff that needs to be stored in my attic so as soon as I dig it out I will block this.  It turned out so amazing!!  I love it!!  I did a prior post about the yarn and pattern – you can read it here.

The Zealania Tui was amazing to knit with and is so warm and snuggly.  This project helped improve my chart reading skills.  I’m not much of a visual learner and would prefer to read and write words, not pictures so charts are sometimes a challenge for me.  The other interesting thing about this pattern was that it called for a sewn bind off.  I had to do a little research to find a tutorial.  I always find the ones on Knitty.com to be really helpful, especially because I do prefer the written instructions as opposed to videos which I find hard to watch and do the technique at the same time.  The sewn bind off is a little kitchner like in it’s rhythm but with only one row of stitches, not two and not even remotely as painful as the kitchner.  It comes out looking just like the long tail cast on edge.  I had to mark the cast on edge to tell the difference.

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Long tail cast on edge

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Sewn bind off edge

I would definitely use the sewn bind off again, especially for something that needs loose bind off – it worked great!  I’m so glad I got this done and we still have plenty of winter left during which it will gets tons of use!

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