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!

il_570xn-262323774

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.

20161215_095540

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!

20161217_095444

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!

 

 

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.

20161125_103056

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.

20161125_211958

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!!!

First FO’s of the Year!

Wow, it’s the end of January already!  I might be having a harder time with how fast this month went because we’ve had such a mild winter in the Great Lakes so I’m not quite as worn down by snow and cold as I usually am at this time of year.  It’s a good thing because this is the first time in two years that I have not had a trip planned to a more tropical destination in February so thanks winter for working with me this year!

Either way, I’ve had plenty of knitting time this month but that will not necessarily show in my FO’s for the month.  After all the Christmas mermaid blankets, I took a short break and then started work on a fourth one which was also a special order (yea for Knit Picks after Christmas sale!)  As long as I was ordering, I decided to do a scrap mermaid blanket and donate it to our youth group raffle that is held during our Lenten fish frys. I needed a couple more full skeins and then used leftovers from the Christmas order to make a rainbow mermaid.  Initially I started working on the private order but was told there was no rush and the first fish fry is February 19 (Easter is super early this year!) so I switched and cast on the rainbow mermaid which is why my actual number of finished items it low this month.  Here’s a picture of the rainbow mermaid.  As usual, I used the Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley which you can find on Ravelry or her Etsy store and used Knit Picks Brava Worsted and held two skeins together.

20160126_142951

I also can’t resist sharing this picture of the Christmas order I did for my friend’s little girls – they are too cute 🙂

IMG_26351-1

The only other thing I finished is A Girl Thing by Joji Locatelli and it’s from her new Authentic Collection.  I can’t say how much I love the Collection. There’s such a variety of patterns which is great for someone like me who is not much (okay, or at all) of a sweater knitter.  As soon as I saw the hat I knew I had to make it from my leftover 3 Color Cashmere Cowl yarn because it had many of the same design elements and would make a lovely set.  Recently, I saw on Instagram that Joji is now designing a 3 Color Cashmere Shawl so I’ll probably end up down that rabbit hole when it’s released…

20160105_084652

Love my hat/cowl set!

Last I finished a sock and did cast on the second one (which was my only cast on for the month!!!  Go me on finishing those wips!)  This sock is with the Arne & Carlos yarn so I’m doing a vanilla sock and am trying out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I enjoyed the heel as it does not require picking up any stitches but I ended up with a weird pucker and I’m not sure if it was a sizing issue or the fact that halfway through the heel the stitches came off the needle and, perhaps, did not get put back on correctly.  (By the way, anyone else notice that there are evil yarn demons that attack your purse knitting???)

The instructions for the heel only include the heel so I broke out my Sock Architecture book to find a new toe to try.  Now, for some reason in all my knitting years no one ever told me that there are toes that do not require kitchner stitch – it was like a whole new world opened up to me!!!  I did the Round Toe and love, love, love it!

So, let’s call this 2 1/2 FO’s for January.  The 1/2 is a languishing WIP so a little bit of progress 🙂

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

It’s hard this month to share much because it’s a lot of Christmas knitting but I feel that it’s a pretty safe bet that my brother does not read this blog so I can talk about the hat I’m knitting him.  When I was in Fort Worth in January and made the stop at Mad Tosh Crafts I found these kits for various Texas colleges that would knit up a scarf or hat.  They had TCU (Texas Christian University) kits (which made sense as the store is about 10 minutes from campus) so I picked one up.  Despite the fact that my brother was born and raised in the Midwest he has become southern quite fast so a nice warm cap would serve him well and he does work for the Athletic Department at TCU.  Now, if only I could knit a colorwork hat between January and Christmas!

According to my Ravelry page I started the hat in June and the first couple of inches knit up fine – standard ribbing and then I hit the problem section.

20150808_193038

The hat is knit flat, I’m sure due to the colorwork but as I continued to work I realized there was a huge issue with the chart. When it’s complete the white will spell out “Horned Frogs” which is the school’s team name.  As you can see the “g” is below the line so that’s what is in the picture and you need to start that and knit on it for a few rows before you find out if it matches with the rest of the words.  I should’ve realized it was a problem when my yarn was down at the “g” and I needed to start on the bottom of the “H” but I carried on and learned quickly that my letters were not matching up.  I counted, counted again, read the chart, double checked the written instructions and still got no where.  My next step was to turn to Ravelry.  The kit is put out Camas Creek Yarn and I found a group online and posted my question.  Basically, there were too many stitches and it did not tell you were to start the chart work.  I waited about a week and got no response.  I also sent a private message and not no response.  I finally tracked down an e-mail address on the website.

At first, I thought things were going to work out.  I finally got an e-mail response!!  She indicated she did not see an error on the pattern and offered to give me a call.  I responded with my phone number and some times I was available.  A week later she responded to my e-mail (after never calling) and explained the “g” dipped below the line (which I knew) and hoped that helped.  I gave up at that point.  Basically the pattern had you cast on 112 stitches and the chart for the colorwork was 74 stitches and there were no instructions on where to start the chart because obviously it needed to be centered.  I did the math myself and went on with my day.  The kit was really nice and the yarn was spot on for the colors of the school but I was disappointed with the lack of pattern support.

Once I finished the writing I decided to go ahead and join to knit the rest of the hat in the round.  I saw no point in continuing to work flat and having to purl back the long rows.  Plus, I was running low on yarn and needed to decrease the amount of the decrease rows to get it done.

IMG_20151113_141929

I used the Knitulator on Eskimimi’s site (you should check it out if you need to decrease or increase evenly across a row – it’s magic!) to figure out the decreases and just ignored the rest of the written pattern.  Good news is that it should be done before Christmas!!

Unexpected FO’s for October

Well, a week ago I was afraid this would be my first month without a FO and that was very sad but a couple of things happened that have led to two FO’s!

First up – the Upside Down Daisy Hat by Susan B. Anderson.  You can find it in Itty Bitty Knits (check your library!).  I have to say that it was this book that really turned me on to knitting baby hats.  If you do have lots of little people this book is a must own.  I’ve made many of the patterns and a few them (such as the Daisy) I’ve made multiple times.  It’s my go-to book for the little ones.  I have friends who are active foster parents and they were blessed with a newborn baby girl earlier this month and so the Daisy seemed perfect for her.  I realize it’s October and a pumpkin would’ve been more seasonally appropriate but my friends currently have a little boy and I know they have been craving pink in their home so I wanted something very girly and a pink daisy is nothing if not girly.  Plus, a little ray of sunshine in this very dreary time of year is always nice.

Pattern: Upside Down Daisy by Susan B. Anderson Yarn: labeless stash

Pattern: Upside Down Daisy by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: labeless stash

The next thing that happened was that the project I was working on finished up last week so I’ve had some time off before the next project starts which gave me some much needed time to work on an order I have for Christmas.  Of course, I’m talking about the mermaid lapghans that are all over the internet.  My friend has ordered one for each of her two daughters. I ordered the yarn from Knit Picks and I’m using the Brava held doubled.  The price and quality of the Brava can’t be beat so I got a huge box of Brava in the mail and started off.  The first one was requested to be pink and the second purple and I’m putting a blue fin on the pink one and a green fin on the purple one.  I started the first one about a month ago and this week was just what I needed to finish it.  They look like a lot of knitting but they really knit up fast.  The fish scale stitch is fun and seems to keep it moving along.  I’m taking a couple of days to cleanse my palette with some of my other neglected projects and then start number 2 on Monday.

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Colors: Cotton Candy and Sky

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava
Colors: Cotton Candy and Sky

Apologies for the picture – I could not get the colors to turn out right in any kind of light so it’s a bit more vibrant in person!

FO’s for August

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

20150819_222510

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.

20150821_185645

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!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

The title should actually be “What’s Not on My Needles This Weekend”, it’s one of those weeks  This is a picture of the chair that holds all of my “in progress” project bags:

20150808_192903

That’s 5, if you’re counting and this does include my purse project or the basket of small projects (2 more bags…).  It also does not include the Land of Forgotten Projects.  I’m knitting donations for two upcoming benefits, a test knit that is due next Friday, my own test knit for a special order, another Wren Wolf cowl, a Christmas present, the rainbow cowl I cast on in celebration in June, another random project, and, of course, socks.  I’m working in deadline order so really, I have the test knit on my needles but will do a post on that once the pattern is released!

So, my purse knitting right now will be used for benefit donations I’m working on.  I had big plans for my donations at the start of the year but the summer really got away from me and things have been a bit unsettled around here so I needed to get realistic about my knitting time I had for these projects.  I was in New York last weekend (read more about it on Travel Tuesday 🙂 ) and I went to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio and found the perfect thing!

20150805_202459

It’s a Keppi hat and comes with that big fuzzy pom pom – everything you needs for a hat in one tiny package!  I got this aqua one and a pink one.  Some have crochet patterns on the other side of the label and some of knit patterns.  I ended up with one of each but something to look out for when buying if you specifically need one or the other.  But it’s a simple hat so no pattern is really necessary.  I think these will look really cute in a raffle basket.  I’m making a child size hat but it’s pretty stretchy so it might also fit a small adult.  It’s knitting up super fast on size 7 needles – here’s what I’ve got so far:

20150808_200407

I would say I’m about halfway done and quite pleased!  It’s great purse knitting too!  What’s on your needles this weekend?

Frigid Princesses

Given that focus of my knitting business is kids’ hats, I’m always trying to keep up with the latest trends in their little world.  Over the past year I think we all know what that has been – Frozen!  Frozen mania has taken over the world.  It’s no different for the all the little kids I know.  With Christmas around the corner I started perusing Ravelry for patterns based on a Frozen theme.  The first thing I found were these adorable Anna and Elsa dolls – the pattern is free so I thought I would give it a whirl.

One of the most important things to me on projects like this is to the get the coloring right.  The number of projects I see on Ravelry or Etsy or Pinterest where the crafter has just not used the correct colors.  It makes such a huge difference.  I know it can be a real pain to try and match colors but it’s really worth the time and effort.  KnitPicks is great for color work like this because they have so many colors in very affordable yarns.  I ordered a bunch of yarn and got started.  I shared a picture on my Facebook page and the reaction was all the Frozen mania you would expect.  One of my friends did not even know what it was but wanted two.

This all leads to the biggest problem – trademark issues.  In my post I was careful to say they were not for sale and I was experimenting.  All of which was true at the time.  I had recently seen an article (which I can’t find now) that Disney was cracking down on Etsy sellers who had Disney themed products for sale.  Being a lawyer, I totally understand the trademark issues involved here.  However, part of me thinks none of this is hurting Disney and maybe they should worry about more important things but I like to be a law abiding citizen so I’m careful with what I sell and how I market those things.

Once my bundle of carefully chosen yarn colors arrived I set off to work.  In the end, I did enjoy the finished project.  I love the way the pattern was written and the dolls turn inside out so they have their ball gowns on one side and their winter wear on the other.  My big problem with this type of project is making the faces.  I’m terrible at the face making part and if you can’t get the faces right it doesn’t really matter how good the rest of it works.  These are going to be Christmas presents for my friend’s daughter.  She’s an easy going girl and won’t be bothered by the weird faces!

20140816_155735 20140816_155839

After this, I gave up on the frigid princess knit items, until, I got a request from a friend.  Her daughters are dressing as Anna and Elsa for Halloween.  She did not want to buy them the wigs for sale in the stores and had found some cute knitted hats on Pinterest and was wondering if I could recreate those.  So, I set off on another frigid journey.  I still had the blue from the dolls for the Elsa like hat.  I’m much more pleased at the outcome of these hats.

I found a pattern for a crown hat for newborns that I was able to size up for the 4 year old who would be getting the hat.  The interesting thing about this pattern was it was written for magic loop and I despite magic loop with all my being.  I’m a dpn girl through and through.  Ordinarily this difference does not matter but in this case, the hat is constructed inside out so you are purling the entire hat and that is tiresome on dpns and creates almost unavoidable jags when the decreases start.  I knew there had to be a way to knit this hat (without grafting it to the crown later).  I stopped in my LYS yesterday with this exact burning question – how do I flip this hat so I can knit it?  Turns out the answer is to make a mistake we all probably made when learning how to knit on circular needles – flip the direction.  It’s amazing how hard it is to make that mistake when you are trying to do it.  I definitely remember realizing halfway up a hat that I had knit it the other way and being utterly at a loss for how it happened.  I cast on the new hat today and am happily knitting it up –  no grafting, no purling and boy, it is going faster!  So this is how my frigid princess hats turned out!

20141019_185714 20141019_185559

I think the girls will look adorable and will have nice warm heads which is important where we live!!

Day 6 – How Knitting and the Law Intersect

Day 6’s assignment is to write about a knitter or crocheter that we admire.  I have met so many amazing knitters over the years, it hard to focus on just one.  There were no knitters in my family.  My grandma and her sister would crochet when I was young and I do remember a few failed attempts trying to learn to crochet.  Crochet still is not my craft – must be the Libra in me that I feel unbalanced with only one needle!  I just woke up one day and decided I wanted to learn how to knit.

At the time I learned to knit I was working very closely with an attorney in Pittsburgh.  I must have mentioned something about my new hobby and was shocked to learn she was a life-long knitter.  I remember her asking me what I was working on and as I recall the conversation I’m sure I told her I was working on some sort of scarf or other beginner project and the standard size 9 or 10 starter needles.  And her reply has stuck with me for all these years, she told me she prefers to knit on size 1 or maybe 2 needles.  I thought she was insane, or I should say that confirmed for me that she was insane (as I said we worked very closely together).  Who would want to knit on those skinny, skinny needles???  That would be me.  I now completely understand what she was saying.  I do occasionally pull out the 10s or 11s if I need a gift quick or need some instant gratification but I’m usually at a 6 or below on anything I knit now.  She retired from her day job a number of years ago but knitting is the tie that binds.  Usually on a cold January day I get an e-mail from her asking if I will be coming to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Show and I go every year more to see her and catch up then for any other reason.  We take a class, do some shopping and when time allows grab some lunch.  She tells me she does not keep up with most of the other people we have worked with over the years but we have our knitting and I update her on all the news with our group of colleagues.  I learned so much from her professionally and I continue to learn from her skills as a knitter, she is crazy talented.  I missed the Pittsburgh show this year for so many reasons but I sure I hope I can make our yearly catch up session next year!

The second part of today’s assignment is to write about someone who has given you feedback, negative or positive about your knitting.  This one is a little easier for me.  And, it’s another amazing woman I had the good fortune to work with for a number of years. She worked at a law firm in New York and in today’s world we communicated solely by e-mail and maybe one or two phone conversations but for whatever reason that was enough to form a friendship.  We really wanted to meet and kept hoping our mutual client would have a meeting for all their counsel.  It almost happened but she was pregnant with twins so we had to wait.  She had those twins and just when I thought she was never coming back to work I got an e-mail that she was copied on and I immediately e-mailed her!!  With the magic of Facebook I was admiring pictures of the twins just a few minutes later.  And that long awaited meeting was finally scheduled.  I decided to knit the twins hats.  They are a boy and a girl and they live in home that loves sports.  I found this cute pattern by Susan B. Anderson for little football helmets and made one in baby blue and one in pink.

Here they are on some teddy bears I had at the house!

Here they are on some teddy bears I had at the house!

There was a welcome dinner scheduled for all of the attorneys attending this meeting.  People were coming from all over the country.  We had decided to meet for a pre-dinner drink and, really, to be girls who are excited to meet before we had to act all professional.  I gave her the hats and she was so excited with them.  I was worried because as all knitters know we only see the mistakes in our work but she was genuinely thrilled.  We then headed off to dinner with about 10 other attorneys.  No sooner did we all sit down did she pull out the hats and pass them around and tell everyone that I had made them for the twins.  I thought I was going to have to hide under the table.  Everyone loved them but it was not the tough, professional attorney image I was going for, however, it was extremely flattering and we’ve been friends since.  She had a third and he got his own football hat.  She stays at home with all those kids now and we keep in touch over Facebook and she has been so supportive of my knitting work.  Lucky for us I love to visit NYC and she lives just outside the city so we get the chance to meet up every so often.  I am sure I will never forgot that business dinner!

 

 

Big Day, Little Hats

Today was a big day in my day job.  I was scheduled to finally argue a motion, the outcome of which will determine whether this case continues or is over, at least for my client.  I have been working on this case for over five years and this motion has been scheduled on five or six prior dates dating back to original date in June.  Given other decisions in this case I most likely will not be successful but a small part of me holds out some hope.  I got to court extra early so I would not be stressed by traffic, parking, etc.

I was sitting outside the courtroom gathering my notes and my thoughts.  I checked my phone and had 3 Facebook notifications and a message.  The notifications were about a picture I was tagged in.  The picture was of my friend’s 3 month old great-nephew wearing the Cleveland Browns hat I knit for her to give him as a present.  It was so adorable!!  The message was from my friend who just had a baby and it was the new baby’s hospital picture in which she is sporting the hat I knit her and took up to the hospital when I went to visit.  The photographer loved the hat and Madeline is a lovely model!

Image

I could not help but smile looking at the pictures of these two precious babies in my little creations.  Somehow the five years I’ve spent on this silly case did not matter.  No one is going to remember the case five years from now (assuming it finally goes away, but someday it will..)  Knitting can be a stress-buster even when you are not actually knitting.  There are always articles being published about the benefits of knitting and I completely agree with all them.  Here’s another angle – take a look at what you’ve knitted on the heads of happy, beautiful babies, kids or whoever, I guarantee you it will be an instant mood booster!

Still no word on my motion but I’ve accepted the inevitable and, on the off chance I win, someone owes me dinner and it will be at a nice place!!