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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FO’s for August

Well, not much this month but here’s what got done during August:

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Yarn: Keppi by Lion Brand Pattern: Jazzy Knit Hat (on label)

First up is the Jazzy Knit hat that was on my needles earlier this month.  This was a super quick knit and as noted in my earlier post a fun and super soft yarn to work with.  The pom pom is a little tricky to attach because it is pretty solid so getting the needle through it is a challenge but I love the way it turned out.  I’m working on a pink one now and they will both be donated to my friend who hosts a fundraiser to raise money for MS.

The only other completed project for the month was my Melody’s Makings test knit which I talked about last week.  If you missed the post, here’s another picture of the cute baby pants and hat.

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I’ve got a ton of stuff on the needles right now so eventually those things have to get finished, right??  Please, tell me I’m right!

My First Test Knit

I was so excited to be tagged by the amazing Melody Jo Rogers for a test knit this month.  I discovered Melody’s patterns a couple of years ago when I decided to start selling finished items.  Her patterns are great and come in a wide range of sizes and, most importantly, she grants permission to sell finished items.  That’s a big issue for me and probably should be a separate post.  I had signed up to test knit for her awhile back and just had not been able to jump in on any of the opportunities until two weeks ago.

I’ve had some work changes this summer and, as I have mentioned, I have lots of time to listen to podcasts with my current job.  Sadly, I don’t have wifi so most of the day I’m off-line to save on data on the phone.  As I was at work I was listening to one of the knitting podcasts I listen to and started thinking about how I wanted to get into test/sample knitting and how I needed to get a plan for that.  I then recalled that Melody had recently posted she had switched up her test knitting process and I decided I would read up on that when I got home to make sure I was still on her list.  Meanwhile, I got a voicemail on my phone so I had to turn my data on.  When I did that I had Facebook notifications that I was tagged by Melody in a post – a post announcing it was my turn for an opportunity to test knit her newest pattern.  What???  Hello Universe, I’m listening!  It was not the best timing but when the universe hits you over the head I feel you better answer.

So, on to the knitting!  This was for a hat and, because I took the newborn size, baby pants.  I signed up for the newborn size because I really wanted to work on figuring out newborn sizing as I find my hats almost always come out way too big.  Because this was for a test knit I actually swatched!!!  And, I could not reach row gauge.  I read articles on Knitty http://knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/FEATsum05TBP.html), Craftsy (http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/11/knitting-gauge-adjustment/) and I think a few other random sites.  I switched yarns and needles and then gave up.  The sum of all the articles I was reading seemed to indicate that stitch gauge is way more important than row gauge.  And, because I was test knitting, I knit according to the pattern but if it had been just for me I could have adjusted the row count to make up for the difference.  Here are the swatches I did.

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They actually almost all came out the same length.  The one on the far left was a bit taller but it was made out of a heavier yarn.  I ended up using the purple yarn as it came out closest the required gauge.

The pattern was well written and easy to follow as are all of Melody’s patterns.  The hat and pants came out super cute!  I did run out of purple but had the same yarn in green so used that in the mix as well and I actually like it better.  The green and purple are Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering.  The cream is a Bernat or something similar that I got at one of the large box craft stores.  The pants did come out a little longer than the pattern had indicated due to the row gauge issue.

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You can find all of Melody’s patterns on her website by clicking here!  It was a lot of fun for my first test knit and if you need any help with test knitting get in contact with me!!