Happy New Year, but first

I, like many people, was more than happy to put 2016 to bed.  What a year!  I noticed on New Year’s Eve a few of my friends started posting collages of their favorite moments of 2016 which focused on the good and not all the bad.  With that said, I wanted to look back on my knitting year.

Checking in with Ravelry – I had 27 finished objects.  This is not entirely correct as I doubled up on a few projects which takes the number up to 31 and I also did 3 mermaid blankets that are not on my page so we can say 34.  I made 8 tiny Christmas ornaments for my cousins that is listed as one project so we can go ahead and bump it up to 42 which is really good!  Hats off to me!

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Ornaments made from various patterns using Lemonade Shop Omaha colorway

Next, I went back and checked my goals I listed in the first post of last year – here’s what I found:

  1. Cold Sheep
  2. Finish all of the Projects that Time has Forgotten
  3. Mittens
  4. Online hashtag projects
  5. Knit the Sky project
  6. Test/sample knitting
  7. Refocus on selling finished objects
  8. Work on developing a class to teach kids to knit
  9. Make a few changes to the blog

Well, I did okay with this list.  I failed miserably at Cold Sheep.  I actually had a conversation with my parents last night as we were talking about moving around some furiture about my stash.  My mother suggested I only buy yarn if I’m going to use it right away. I explained that is the only time when I buy yarn but it doesn’t always happen (or it ends up in the ever growing pile of UFO’s).  I did triumphantly declare I had not bought any yarn this year to which my dad looking at me and said “it’s only the 6th”  Small steps, dad, small steps.  Same rules for Cold Sheep this year – travel is exempted and I do have a trip planned to L’Oisive The and possibly Loop London this summer so yarn will be coming home with me!

I did finish all of the Projects that Time has Forgotten but more on that next week.  I did make myself a pair of mittens and I love them!  I’ve been engaging more on Instagram with hashtag projects which is fun.  Nothing from Knit the Sky.  I did more test knitting and I expanded that into tech editing which will be more of a focus here on the blog this year.  I did some selling of finished objects and feel I have a better plan for this year. Nothing on teaching kids to knit yet and no changes to the blog but they are coming! Overall, a mixed bag but that’s okay

Other notes of importance – I went to Rhinebeck!!!!!!  I went with a bunch of friends and met up with more friends at the festival and it was a whole lot of fun.  I went to our local sheep and wool festival.  I had a really fun yarny adventure during my trip to Colorado.  I participated in #knitterspayitforward which was uplifting and reassuring during a very dark time.  And, I started my tech editing business which is super exciting!

With that, I think I can officially put 2016 to rest.  More on my goals for 2017 next week!

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!

 

 

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!

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!!!

#knitterspayitforward

If you’re a knitter and you’re on Instagram you know what this post is about.  I had to write about it but at the same time I’ve struggled with how to approach it.  I do not want to get into any sort of discussion about politics here on the blog.  What I will say is that my reaction to this week’s election results totally took me by surprise.  I quickly learned that my Facebook feed was not a good place to be, but Instagram, that was safe.  My feed is nothing but yarn, wool, and all related items.  As Wednesday went on I started seeing a few cool things.

First a few people were suggesting doing some random pattern gifting.  The idea was to stalk a friends’ favorites and gift them the patterns.  Excellent!  I was all in.  When I got home that night I promptly hopped on to Ravelry.  That’s when I realized that it was harder to put into practice than it sounds.  What I ended up doing was sending a copy of the Glorien Cowl by Kino Knits to a few of my friends who I knew were having a hard day.  I also gifted the Maribou by Kino Knits to a friend.  I’ve done some tech editing for Kino Knits and thought it would be nice to support her while surprising my friends.  In return she gifted me a really cool sock pattern.

What then started happening has turned into quite the worldwide movement.  I believe it was started by sherlock_knits on Instagram, and I’m going to point out that she’s from England.  She posted that she felt there was a need for something positive and kind so she offered to knit a pair of socks or other accessory for one of her followers.  The only thing she asked in return was to repost her image and offer to pay it forward and knit something for one of your followers.  With that, the #knitterspayitforward hashtag was born.

It showed up on my feed sometime Wednesday afternoon so I reposted that evening.  For awhile on Wednesday and Thursday I was trying to keep track of all the posts and I was up to over 20 offers and I could not keep up. As I’m writing this there are over 4,500 posts with the hashtag.  The offers range from people knitting something to yarn to patterns to stitch markers to project bags.  I’ve won a hand knit hat from someone in France.  I will be doing my own drawing tomorrow.  New posts are still popping up.

I realize if you tell a non-knitter about this they may think you are crazy.  I mean, let’s face it, getting a free pattern really isn’t going to change the world.  But for me, and I think a lot of other knitters, it helped get us through a tough week.  It felt like being wrapped in a big, woolly hug all week because my feed was just filled with these posts.  We knitters created a loving bubble in an the otherwise tough social media world.  And if you were looking for a judgment free zone, this was it.  It doesn’t even really matter if I “win” anything else (although, a sweater’s quantity of La Bien Amie yarn would certainly be nice 🙂 )  It was really just what I needed this week – a place where everyone was just concerned about being nice and spreading some joy in the world.

Check out the hashtag – some of the discounts and giveaways are good through next week so it might not be too late to jump in.  And, other thing I would point out.  There is a KAL starting on December 1st which is being hosted by Christina Campbell.  I did a KAL with her earlier this year and it was a lot of fun.  This is going to be a Peace-along.  It’s running 12/1 through 12/21 and it’s a cowl and with it she will be sending peace tips and her thought is if we get enough knitters focusing on peace maybe we can find some.  And, I think given what I’ve seen this week she might be on to something.  Go check it out – I’m going to be checking my stash tomorrow to see what I can find.

*Image above created my MochimochiLand 🙂

 

October FO’s

I’ll get back to my Rhinebeck story next week but I wanted to pause and do my monthly round up of FO’s (and there are lots so I had to share!).

First up, I knit a hat to match the Little Purple Sailor Coat.  I had some yarn left over and the baby’s birthday was approaching so I knit this little Bow Cloche which is a pattern from Knit Simple magazine, Fall 2013.  This was definitely a lesson in listen to the notes your previous self left on the pattern.  I had written a note from the first time I made it that the pattern ran really small and so I should knit a size up.  The sizes are 2, 4 and 6 years old.  I was knitting for a 1 year old so I made the smallest size.  I took it into knitting and everyone told me to start over.  I made the size 4 and was still concerned that it would fit.  But, it fits great and she looks adorable in her ensemble.

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Once I got that done it was time to focus on finishing the Rhinebeck shawl.  It was full steam ahead for the two weeks before the show.  I really needed to get it done by the weekend before so it would have time to block.  And, with much whining and complaining, it was on the blocking mats the Sunday before I left.  There’s a picot bind off and I won’t discuss the number of stitches involved in case you have one your needles but, oy!  I got some blocking help from my friends on Instagram and it looked amazing on the mats.  I also got a ton of compliments at Rhinebeck because that pink popped so much, especially in the bright sun of the day.  My friend Becky wore her sweater knit out of Knerd String as well and we had one overlapping colorway so that was really fun!

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Funny story about the blocking mats.  I bought mine at Five Below and I only had two and knew I would need more for this shawl.  I was out with my Mom and ran into the store to pick up another two mats.  The next day I showed her this picture so she could see what I did with the mats.  She said “is that lace?” and I said “yes” and she said “you knit that?”. Yes, yes, I did but trust me I whined the whole time!

With that on the mats I turned my attention to knitting the cutest little Halloween creature.  I had never seen the work of Susan Claudino and I just love it!  And then Sarah from the Cultivate & Create podcast and Susie from the Prairie Girls Knit & Spin podcast decided to do a Creepy Critter KAL so I got to work.  One of my favorite things is that I used my Candy Skein Summer Fair Foods mini skein pack to knit a Halloween critter!  I knit Patch which is a cute pumpkin headed creature.  I finished him in time to take him to Rhinebeck and he was our trip mascot.  I had hoped to take more pictures of him at Rhinebeck but that didn’t happen (more on that later).  If you want to check out his adventures, I was posting on Instagram with the hashtag #patchdoesrhinebeck.  I loved the colorway names in this mini skein pack – his head is Orange Crush, his body is Chocolate Dipped Banana, and his hands and feet are Pickle Party.  This was a fun knit and I will definitely be knitting more of her stuff.

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Last, I finished the twin’s hat.  So I knit the Cavs hat for my goddaughter and a couple of days after my visit her mom e-mailed and said the twin would like one.  She wanted blue, gray and white.  I checked out Destination Yarn and found her colorway Ice Cave and it was perfect.  Here’s where the project falls off the rails – I ordered worsted weight, not fingering.  I had used the Juxtaposed Hat by Sarah Shoo for the first hat and really enjoyed the pattern – if you’re going to knit a slouchy hat it better be fun!  But that pattern is for sock yarn.  I did a search, asked for help, and ended up with a slouchy hat pattern for worsted weight yarn.  Bad news – it was super boring and I knew I would never get through it.  At this point, I had the stitch count for an appropriate sized worsted weight hat and knew the Juxtaposed was a 10 stitch repeat so I pulled out and started with that pattern and it worked!  Things got a little sticky when it was time to decrease because obviously the hat gets taller much faster with the heavier yarn. (I have notes on my Ravelry project page)  I got it done just in time as I’m headed to visit them next weekend and the cold weather is just arriving.  Cute note – I posted a pic of the finished hat on Instagram and my goddaughter (who follows me) liked it and commented that she would wear her hat when I came to visit so maybe I can get a picture of the two of them wearing their hats next week – we’ll see!

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Phew!  For a very busy month I got a lot done (although both hats have been on the needles for a while and Patch takes very little knitting time)  I’ll return to my Rhinebeck adventures next week so stay tuned!

The Story of a Rhinebeck Virgin, pt. 1 – the People

I’ve rewritten this post so many times.  I’m not exactly sure why I’m finding it so difficult to come up with the right words but that might just be because there’s just so much to say and like the show itself, it’s an overwhelming experience.  I originally planned to divide it up into two posts, but I think after my first couple of stabs, three posts might be the way to go – too much??  Maybe, but it’s a big show 🙂

I’ve had the best intentions of attending Rhinebeck for a number of years. But, it is within driving distance of where I live so in my mind it does not require advance planning.  So what happens is that it rolls around and my weekend is already packed full and I have nowhere to stay.  When my Instagram feed was full of beautiful yarn and fall foilage pictures last year I put my foot down and on January 1st booked rooms at a local hotel and invited my knitting friends.

The drive to Rhinebeck is about 7 1/2 – 8 hours for me.  We decided to leave on Thursday and do a little sightseeing in the area on Friday, hit the show on Saturday and then head home on Sunday.

We arrived at the Best Western in Kingston, NY late Thursday evening.  As we entered the lobby to check in the first thing we noticed was there were knitters everywhere!!!  They were hanging in the lobby and in the bar knitting away.  This is a theme for the weekend – it did not matter much where we went, there were always knitters.  It is like we descend upon the town and take it over for the weekend.  I feel for the locals who must really wonder about all these crazy knitters who come the 3rd weekend in October every year. Or, the poor, random tourists who have no idea what they walked into!

Funny story here, after we checked in and were in our rooms I was checking Instagram, as you do.  A non-knitting friend of mine from home had seen my posts from the day and commented that she could not believe she knew two people going to Rhinebeck (she had no idea the numbers that attend 🙂 ) and online introduced me to her friend who was also there.  Said friend commented that she was currently knitting in the lobby of the Best Western, or was one of the people I had seen when I checked in.  That was definitely fun!

Before I launch into Saturday’s activities, I have to say it was the most perfect weather one could have for an outdoor wool festival.  It was sunny and cool enough to sport your knitwear but warm enough that you did not need a winter coat and not a drop of rain to be found.  I consider this a Rhinebeck miracle as I’m usually quite the weather curse.

I had read enough, listened to enough podcasts, and seen enough pictures to know that the actual festival would be totally overwhelming.  With that knowledge, I went with the intention of enjoying the people and the experience and, buying yarn when and where possible.  I was not interesting in stampeding for the Miss Babs booth or waiting in line for a mug from Jennie the Potter.  I was interested in spending the day with my knitting friends from home and meeting some of my internet friends IRL.  I absolutely wanted to see and touch the Miss Babs yarn and check out the pottery from Jennie but that was a secondary mission.

Words cannot express all that there is to see at the festival.  People of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds and all decked out in their finest knitwear.  I am not a sweater knitter and probably never will be so I chose to wear my 3 Color Cashmere Shawl.  I don’t remember wearing my knitwear in public and random people commenting on it but at Rhinebeck that happens all day.  The hot pink pop in my shawl was definitely an attention grabber!  While this might seem to breed a competition like atomsphere, it does not.  We all have a great appreciation of what went into each sweater, shawl, hat, etc.  And, I think as knitters, we know where our talents and interests are and so we focus on that.

During the course of the day I actually randomly ran into people I was hoping to see, another Rhinebeck miracle???  First I ran into Mary from Kino Knits and we were able to snap a quick picture.  Next I ran into my friend Laura who was from home but moved to Vermont earlier this year.  Late in the afternoon we also ran into another knitter from our LYS.  I coordinated meeting up with my friend Becky from the Knit Actually podcast.  We were both wearing pieces made from the same yarn so wanted to get a picture of our matching creations.  And then I hit the podcaster meetup where I was able to see Emily from the Knitting Butterflies podcast and meet up with Becky again.  I also got to meet Jen from the Commuter Knitter podcast, Claire from the NH Knits podcast, and I think a bunch more people but it was crazy at the meetup!!!  I hung out with Becky while she met some of her other listeners and we both met some podcasters and then we escaped.

I’ve been to other fiber festivals and they all have yarn, sheep, and knitters decked out in knitwear but there is definitely something different about Rhinebeck.  It’s almost like the knitting world stops for a weekend to honor the craft they love.  There is such a sense of joy and excitement as you wander through the tents and buildings.  There are long lines everywhere but no one is impatient or angry.  There are masses of people all looking at the same yarn but no one is trampled and I never saw anyone pushing or shoving or stealing yarn from anyone.  I think it’s easier to cart-jacked on Etsy then in person at Rhinebeck. Especially with all that is going on now in the US, it was extra nice to spend a day with people who were genuinely happy and spreading nothing but knitting goodness into the world.

 

Exciting News!

Big things happening here at Knitting-A-Round!!!    I’m now offering tech editing services!!!

I’ve been searching for the right place for my skills and it appears that would be tech editing.  I had been thinking about it for a few months and then I saw a post from Joeli on Instagram about a course for Tech Editing (You can find more info here)  This solved my major hurdle – which was how do I hold myself out as a tech editor when I don’t have special training or education.

I’ll be talking more about these endeavours in future weeks.  If you are a designer in search of trying a tech editor feel free to shoot me a message.  I’ll be at Rhinebeck with business cards and a coupon code so if you see me and want one stop and say hi!

 

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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September FO’s

I was listening to a recent episode of the Knitting Butterflies podcast and Emily was talking about her totals for Stash Dash.  She finished a smaller number of large projects in comparison to Boston Jen of the Down Cellar Studio podcast who finished a large number of small projects.  It does seem that knitters fall into one category or another and if I’ve learned nothing else from these monthly FO posts it’s that I’m a small project girl!  So, let’s get to it!

First up – I finished my test knit for Becky from the Knit Actually Podcast.  I talked about this last week so won’t go into the details.  I love it and I keep it in my purse so I always have a coffee sleeve handy, especially with the cooler weather arriving (maybe, still pretty hot here in Ohio!)

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Next, sticking with my theme of knitting love this month, I finished jar cover for a gift. One of my best partners in crime is moving this weekend, only 3 hours away but that’s much further than 5 minutes across town.  Of course, I decided a week before the going away party that I needed to knit something.  How else do we cope with feelings?

I had ordered (against my better judgment) more picture yarn from Artistic Yarn by Abi.  I swore off picture yarn after the snowmen socks but she came out with this totally cute panda yarn and my friend is quite the panda fan so I had to order it.  My thought was that it would make a good Christmas gift some Christmas but the move prompted me to get it out and use it now and to not wait.

I refuse to knit socks for anyone but me so I wanted to figure out something else I could make with the yarn.  I was thinking an ornament.  The picture is best worked over 60-64 stitches.  When I was searching Ravelry I came across the Americana Jar Cover by Jenn Sheelen.  It was perfect because it had the right number of stitches and was a manageable amount of knitting for the time I had.  The panda yarn came with a matching solid color for heels and toes so I used that to cast on and do the lace section at the top.  For this round of picture yarn knitting I went down to a size 1 needle.  I knit the snowmen socks on size 2’s.  I continue to understand the relation between gauge and needle size better the more I knit and I realized part of my problem might have been my needle size.

The pandas went much better.  Maybe it was the needle size, maybe it was just improved knitting.  I do know that I still really can’t adjust my tension which is usually a good thing but that is the suggested method for make the picture work.  Instead, I increase and decrease stitches in the green between pandas to make necessary adjustments.  Only having to do 2 repeats also was great.  It helped it seem like it went much faster!

Jenn just released some Halloween themed jar covers and I definitely want to knit those. The pattern was fun and I would love to get a jar and knit a bunch of them. She has versions in snowflakes, hearts, jack-o-lantern and the stars & stripes.  It would be a great seasonal decoration by switching out the cover each season.  My friend loved it and it was a great hit at the going away party.  She is not going to have much space where she is moving so I think this will provide a little bright spot in her world.

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Funny note – I had bought a jar at the dollar store and it was a little wide but I got the cover on it.  The night before the party I was at a craft store and found the jar in the picture which is perfect.  However, the cover had stretched out and I had a bit of a panic.  But, yea wool!  I wet it down and laid it flat to dry and then slipped it on the new jar and now the pandas don’t look like they had botox!!

Last, while I love the finished object I did not love the process of this project.  A friend saw a pair of hockey skate baby booties online somewhere and asked if I could knit her a pair.  I found two patterns on Ravelry – one was $5.75 and the other was free.  I preferred the look of the paid pattern and while it called for beginner level crochet I went with it.  Now, with all the talk of #fairfiberwage I definitely understand paying for patterns and have no problem with it.  But, especially when the pattern is almost $6, I expect to have no problems knitting it and that was not the case with these booties. I pulled out a couple sections of the knitting because the pattern was not clear.  When it came to the crochet section (basically this was the skate blade) I asked my crochet friends and they could not quite figure it out.

I decided to take a look at the free pattern to see if I could take the best parts from each and make a final product that I liked.  From the free pattern, I knit the skate blade.  I liked it but it was very one dimensional so I picked up along the cast on edge and mirrored the pattern, adding a few rows for the fold, and then folded it up and sewed it together so it had a little bulk.  The only other change I made was using a 2 stitch i-cord for the laces (it was going to a little Penguin fan so the laces are gold) instead of a single chain crochet or just yarn.

And now, I have to scramble to finish my Rhinebeck shawl (sorry, no sweaters for me!) but 3 weeks from today is the big day!!!!