What’s on my Needles This Weekend

During the week I was doing my usual daily check of the Hot Right Now patterns on Ravelry and came across these adorable Easter bunnies.  These types of projects totally suck me in (see last year’s Easter knitting extravaganza).  The pattern was free and claimed it would only take an hour to knit a bunny.  Sold!

The pattern is from Filature du Vaulgaudemar which appears to be a French yarn company, it can be found here.  It calls for worsted weight yarn (although I think anything would do if you also substituted needle sizes as well).  Basically, the pattern tells you to knit a square and then has a photo tutorial for putting in stitches that are cinched which form the ears and face.  Here’s the fun part – the back is sewn along the top so the bunny bottom is left open and can be stuffed with candy.  The instructions then have you weave a ribbon through the bottom stitches so it can be cinched closed.  I don’t know about you, but I know a few small children who will think it’s hysterical that candy comes out of the bunny’s bum!!

For the one I knit yesterday I used leftover Zealana Artisan Tui which has a nice fuzzy look to it.  The instructions warn you to be careful not to break the yarn as you are forming the ears and I, of course, broke the yarn.  I’ve decided to use some scrap acryllic on the next one so that it is strong enough to pull tight.  It took me a bit longer than an hour to knit the square and then do all the assembling and I still need to sew up the back but this is what I got done yesterday.

It’s really like magic!  It’s another great stash buster, especially for any stash with a nice halo to it.  I’m hoping to knit up a few more for some of my little friends before Easter.  If you were looking for a quick, Easter knit I would definitely check out this pattern!!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

The exciting news is all of my deadline knitting is off the needles!!!  That includes another Mermaid Tail blanket and the only Christmas present knitting I was doing.  I’m focusing on fun projects for the remainder of the month and will dig back in come January.

One of things that started making the rounds in the days following the election was Project Peace which is being hosted by The Healthy Knitter

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I used a gift certificate to my LYS to purchase some yarn for this KAL.  The notes had said that the stitch pattern would show up better with a solid or tonal yarn.  I really don’t have much in the way of solids in my stash (and will try to focus on that in the future).  It calls for kind of a weird yardage so I was having problems finding what I wanted.  I finally settled on 2 skeins of Woolfolk Sno as I have been known to stop and pet it often during knit night.  I chose a very light gray. The yardage was going to be very close to just enough but I figured I could figure something out.

When the pattern update came out I read that there is an option to add an i-cord edge. After the great picot bind off of October I feel that I may live to regret this decision but I think I’m going to go for it!  And, I think I’m going to use a different color for a little pop around the edges, which solves my somewhat short amount of the main color.  That leads me back to my lack of solids in my stash.  And, then, lightbulb, I had leftovers from my 3 Color Cashmere Shawl.  Now, I’m trying to decide which color to use for the edging (if I ever get that far)

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I think I know which one I’m leaning towards but feel free to let me know if you have a favorite!

The pattern is free which makes me filled with peace!  It’s a simple waffle stitch cowl.  My biggest hitch was casting on 318 stitches, which is a lot.  Luckily, I waited until knit night and I was talking about my plans for the i-cord edge.  My friends quickly replied that I should do a provisional cast on (as they laughed at the thought of an i-cord cast off on 318 stitches).  I never really got a grasp on the provisional cast on so they were kind enough to show me how to do a crochet cast on.  Now, I’m terrible with a crochet hook and my friend G is not the most patient person.  It did not take long before she asked if she could just do it for me because watching me struggle with the crochet hook and the knitting needle was too much for her.  She got about halfway through before she had to go but it gave me a good start.

I had decided I would knit a couple of rows straight to avoid twisting all of those stitches. I did that and then ended up joining in the round on the wrong side but I carried on.  The pattern is a 4 row repeat and I was about halfway through the second repeat when I realized my stitches were twisted.  #*@&@!  I stopped and thought about it but eventually decided it would bother me enough that I should go ahead and tear it out.  I was able to salvage the cast on and I’m back on track (I also moved it to 60 inch needles to avoid any future issues).

We can also use a little extra peace this year so if you haven’t joined in yet, check it out!

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!

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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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!

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What’s on my Needles This Weekend

I had very good intentions about getting a post up last week but what I wanted to write about was not corresponding with what I had photos of and I had a lot going on last weekend so I took the week off.

I want to try something new with my monthly WIP post.  That is, I’m going to include a list of everything I’m actively knitting on (not that is sitting in the land of forgotten projects or that has been banished to the corner of the yarn room) and then I will  talk about one of the projects in more detail.  I can then double check my progress month to month because nothing seems to be leaving the land of forgotten projects!

So, projects currently getting my attention include: Little Purple Sailor Coat which is by Sublime Yarn and my Derecho by Laura Aylor.  The Derecho is my knit night project unless I have a deadline knit and it may get finished, some day.  I finished all my current deadline projects so found myself being able to chose whatever I wanted to work on this week so it was definitely nice.  I’ll talk more about the Sailor Coat, maybe next month because that’s a longer story.

The last thing on my needles is a newborn hat which I will be listing in my Frekol shop. This does not sound like the most exciting thing to talk about but I think there are a few notable points.

When I was first contacted by the folks at Frekol to open a shop my Etsy shop had been empty for quite some time.  I never got any traction with my Etsy shop and with all the changes I felt a shop my size was just getting lost in the shuffle.  I sold more things to friends or being contacted outside of Etsy.  Frekol is like Etsy but all the sellers are in the Cleveland, Ohio area so a bit smaller.  As I was thinking about reopening the store, I knit a couple of small Christmas ornaments which were little sweaters, stockings, etc. out of some sock yarn for gifts.  I loved knitting them, they used very little yarn and a light bulb went off – this is something I could knit and make a few dollars on.  I could also knit newborn hats which don’t take very much time or yarn either.  This would be a way to use up leftover sock yarn (I always have a lot because I have super tiny feet) and be able knit things I enjoy knitting, look good and had some built in profit.

It has also turned out that at my new job we have to take 1/2 hour break but we are also allowed to eat at our cubicles.  This means I eat as I work and then break for 1/2 hour and knit things to put in my store.  When I had my Etsy store, I never had time to specifically knit for the store so everything was listed as knit to order.  I was also doing much more complicated hats for babies and kids which still did not take much time (but definitely more time) or yarn.  These had a very low profit margin.  Now, I have products stocked and have time dedicated to knitting things just for the shop.  If I need to knit more it will only take a day or two instead of a week or two so I’m hoping these might start selling come fall when people are starting to think about Christmas.

When I was at the Great Lakes Fiber Show a couple of weeks ago I found some great yarn that is in the colors of the Cleveland Browns.  I’ve been focusing on finding yarns that are the colors of the local sports teams because we in Cleveland love our sports! (and if anyone knows where I can pick up some Cavs colored yarn let me know!!)  I could not wait to dive in.  I whipped up this little stocking ornament.  I then cast on a newborn hat and I love the way you can see the change in the striping based on the size of the object.

For my hats, I’ve been casting on 85 stitches on size 4 needles and knitting until it’s about 4 inches. I hate ribbing so I just knit and let the bottom edge roll up.  I then use the Knitulator found on the Eskimimi’s Makes blog to work my decreases.  This is a great (free) tool.  All you have to do is enter the number of stitches you have and then the number you want to decrease and it will work out the spacing so it’s even all the way around.  And, that’s it – hat done.  It’s great lunchtime knitting and it’s also good for meetings and waiting so I always have one in my bag now

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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!

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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.

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