Some Kino Knits Love

With any given luck, Mary and I are hanging out at Rhinebeck right now so while I’m gone here’s a little blog post I wrote for her ūüôā

I first started listening to the Kino Knits podcast about a year ago.  I quickly became a fan and worked my through the back episodes.  I also joined the Ravelry group so I could enter contests and keep up on all things Kino Knits.  When Mary put out a call for test knitters I was in!!

The first test knit I did was for the Rybka (Wee Fishie) pattern.  With Mary being in Africa, her e-mails often arrived early in the morning.  She sent out on the call on what ended up being a very snowy day at my house, perfect for settling in for a long day of knitting.  Note Рthis project did not take up an entire day of snowy knitting, unless I had made an entire school of wee fishies.  It’s a quick knit and I love that you can use whatever scrap yarn you have hanging around.  I think it’s cute on its own as a little gift or I could see knitting a number of them and making some type of bunting or mobile or other decoration.  I used worsted weight and it still came out in a wee size so using sock yarn would totally make them easy to use for decorative purposes.

20160409_132157

I just finished another test knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for Mary last month.  The pattern is not released yet so I won’t go into a lot of details but here’s my brief preview.  They are designed for a long gradient.  I happened to have a lot of extra gradient yarn that I had intended for another project.  In the end, that turned out to be a bad yarn/pattern combo.  So I was happy to put it use in a much better yarn/pattern combo.  It was perfect for these mitts.  While I usually find mitts with sock yarn to be a slog, I felt this really kept moving with the pattern stitch and with the work of involving the thumb which was a little different than I had used in the past.  Keep your eye out for this one, especially if you love all the great gradients that are out there right now.

I love the Kino Knits patterns because they are easy, yet interesting and I always learn something new, which for me is the perfect recipe for a good pattern.¬† The Rybka used Judy‚Äôs Magic Cast on, a new to me cast on so it took me a few minutes to get that down.¬† She also uses a slightly different version of increasing stitches than I‚Äôve previously used.¬† Even with all that I think it took me a couple of hours, at most, to knit up.¬† The mitts have a very interesting stitch pattern that was new to me.¬† Again, it‚Äôs a fairly easy pattern once you get it down but it‚Äôs nice to be doing something just a little different.¬† I think this is something you can see in all her patterns ‚Äď she tries to make them just a little more interesting.¬† If you‚Äôre tired of knitting just plain socks, cowls, or hats check out her Ravelry store for something to spice up your knitting!!!

What’s on my Needles This Weekend

Well this weekend I’m working on a test knit but there’s a bit more to the story. ¬†My friend Becky from the Knit Actually podcast hosts an event called Knit Knosh which sounds like so much fun! ¬†She combines wine tastings, with food, and a little yarn tasting (aka a mini skein) from 4 local indie dyers. ¬†I was explaining this to my non-knitting friends last night and they thought you actually tasted the yarn, sigh, non-knitters what are you going to to do???

Anyway, Becky came up with a quick little pattern for a coffee cup sleeve to give out at the event that would use a mini skein. ¬†I have some mini skeins but haven’t decided what exactly I want to do with them so instead checked my scraps. ¬†I keep larger leftovers in a clear bin and smaller bits and bobs in a clear vase. ¬†I found a mini skein’s worth of a mystery rainbow yarn that had been around for awhile. ¬†When I was still a newer knitter I did not quite understand the importance of keeping ball bands which makes for a lot of mystery yarn in my stash. ¬†But I thought I might have made a scarf with it and lucky for me I had put it in Ravelry. ¬†The yarn is Crystal Palace Sausalito which is a fingering weight 4 ply yarn that is 80% merino and 20% nylon so it was perfect for this project!

I also found the scarf and started to remember how it came to be. ¬†Ravelry tells me I made this in 2011 so I’m amazed at how far my knitting and knowledge of yarns has come in 5 years and even though I still sometimes struggle with techniques or counting I know that I’m so much improved. ¬†I attribute this to my blogging, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, Ravelry, and just generally delving deeper into the knitting world.

My LYS had stocked this new yarn and I love anything rainbow. ¬†I wanted to see how it would knit up so I bought a skein. ¬†I realize now that I could have just looked it up on Ravelry to see it but I just didn’t know that back then. ¬†There was a free pattern for a scarf that went with the yarn so that’s what I did with it. ¬†(It did not help that the skein only had 198 yards on it).

But when I look it at now I think it’s either an overly large necklace or a too small scarf – it’s just weird. ¬†I may have to find a small child who may enjoy a rainbow scarf.

The other thing that bothers me about this is the way it stretches out the color repeats of the yarn. ¬†Considering it was put out by the yarn company I would think they would want to make the yarn look great. ¬†It’s just too long for the way the colors are dyed, in my opinion. ¬†It just kind of makes the colors all blend together and are not as rainbow as I might have hoped. ¬†It’s knit long ways instead of across which really stretches those colors out. ¬†It may even look better if it were knit the other way.

The coffee sleeve has a much smaller circumference and I think really makes the color repeats shine so much more. ¬†I love the chevrons that Becky added in and I think I’m going to love the finished object.

20160910_150154

It’s hard to believe this is even the same yarn. ¬†I’m so glad I found this particular scrap and was able to look back and see how far I’ve come in knowing about yarn, color, and pattern selection. ¬†The gradient look that is going to result from this pattern is really going to make me happy. ¬†And, when I get frustrated with my knitting I will remember this and know that it’s all part of the process.

What’s (not) on My Needles This Weekend?

I had another post prepared for today but last night I did something I’ve never done before – I frogged an entire project. ¬†I felt compelled to share what all went wrong.

This was a test knit I was doing for Jessie of Yarn Over New York.  I had seen pictures of the poncho she designed on Instagram so when she put out a call for test knitters I signed up! She used Noro for her poncho and it looks amazing (check out her page!) and I have a ton of laceweight Noro that I got on sale in a buying frenzy many years ago that I thought I would use (stash busting!).  The pattern calls for fingering weight so I planned on holding two strands together but then got worried the colors would get muddied due to the way Noro is dyed and rejected using the Noro.

So, despite my yarn diet I decided to order some yarn I had seen on Instagram and fell in love with (yes, the moral of this story is that Instagram is evil ūüôā ). ¬†The yarn is from Julianna’s Fibre on Etsy and is her Lucid Dream Sock Yarn in I Smell Snow. ¬†I love it and it is completely outside of my usual color box.

20160209_191703

I happily cast on and started knitting. Before I go further I have to say that I love the pattern and it’s a really fun knit with a lot of garter stitch and some really fun construction so I definitely recommend the pattern to everyone when it comes out. ¬†Everything from here on out is on me. ¬†The poncho is built in tiers so there is some connecting of stitches which you need to be careful not to twist. ¬†Ugh! ¬†Yep, twisted those stitches. ¬†I didn’t want to undo everything I had done so I made up my own version of a steek. ¬†I did a little crochet and then cut my stitches and flipped the piece that was attached wrong. ¬†It seemed to be holding but what I didn’t like was all that blue. ¬†The yarn does some striping if knit into socks or other smaller projects. ¬†With the long rows I was knitting there was some stripe but not much so it was a lot.

At this point, I decided to add in another yarn. ¬†I picked up a skein of Hedgehog Fibers Boombox at my LYS and powered on. ¬†But it still wasn’t working so I decided to start over. ¬†I used a new skein of my I Smell Snow and added in two contrast colors so that I would manually be striping it.

Last night I realized two things – 1. I was never going to finish knitting it by the deadline and 2. I was halfway through my yarn and not even close to halfway done knitting. ¬†That’s when I frogged. ¬†Also, I was hating the way it was knitting up and I was seeing all the other ones that other testers knit and I loved theirs. ¬†I had chosen the wrong yarn for this project. ¬†It really calls for something that has long color changes like the Noro or Chroma from KnitPicks would be good too. ¬†The color blocking I was doing was not really working and was looking a little more patchwork than I liked, especially for a poncho.

I’m very much looking forward to the socks I will knit with my I Smell Snow (and, in fact, they will be the next pair cast on). ¬†And, with all this knitting and frogging the yarn held up really well so that’s a big plus! ¬†Sadly, I need to enter all this yarn to my Yarn In/Yarn Out list. ¬†The good news was my McGyver steek held up and made it challenging to frog. Here is the last picture of my test knit before frogging and after frogging.

I have apologized profusely to Jessie (and, just to be fair, offered to pay for the pattern).  I still intend to knit one of these but not until I find the right yarn.  Lesson learned!

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

As usual, the needles are full this weekend. ¬†I’ve spent most of the week working on a test knit (a cool poncho) and a commissioned piece (my 5th mermaid lapghan!). ¬†I’m not too far into the test knit so I will hold off talking about that until I get further in and I have nothing new to say about the mermaid lapghan, I can almost knit that in my sleep at this point!

The other project that I got some rounds in on this week was my purse socks. ¬†Over the last six weeks I’ve had quite a bit of dental work done, at least for me. ¬†Let’s just say I’m not a good patient (for any medical professional). ¬†The first appointment was supposed to be a quick check and ended up lasting 3 hours. ¬†I had not brought any knitting and by the end I think both me and the dentist needed a drink. ¬†So on Monday I went prepared – socks in bag. ¬†I knit in the waiting room and I knit once they took me back to start the work. They even let me knit while¬†the Novocaine sunk in. ¬†Turned out my dentist got a learn how to crochet book for Christmas and was trying to teach herself crochet. ¬†And, yes, she did know the difference between knitting and crocheting!

I returned on Friday for the appointment. ¬†I had my trusty knitting bag in hand. ¬†And, I think it helped. ¬†I think I was much more relaxed on both of these visits (that’s not saying much but any improvement is a step in the right direction). ¬†Even just holding my knitting while they worked (if only I could have continued during all the drilling) seemed to help keep me calm. ¬†It kind of worked like a security blanket. ¬†My dentist caught on during Friday’s visit and talked about her efforts to learn crochet while she was drilling. Smart woman – keep me distracted!

20160213_100258

There are so many articles that document the health benefits of knitting. ¬†I know when I read them I think – of course! ¬†But, it’s another thing to actually experience it firsthand. Bonus – got the cuff done on sock 2!

20160213_100358

Here’s the other really cool part of this story. ¬†By the end of Friday’s appointment I was sharing the number to my LYS so my dentist could call and arrange a private crochet lesson. ¬†She was also showing me her Pinterest page and asking me to make her a hat for the baby she is expecting in August. ¬†She had found a picture of a baby who was wearing a hat shaped like a tooth with a big smile on it. ¬†It is adorable and perfect for a dentist’s baby! ¬†It was crocheted but she doubted she would get up both the skill and time to crochet it before the baby arrived.

I came home and checked Ravely and there were no knit tooth hats. ¬†So, I put the picture up on Facebook and asked my knitting friends if anyone had ideas on converting it to a knit pattern so I could make one for her. ¬†My friend who has the blog Wool Forward¬†is a hat genius. ¬†If you check out her blog you will see her 30 hats in 30 days project which was amazing!! ¬†She is going to work on it for me which is awesome! ¬†The thing she pointed out (which I always wondered) is why so many of these cute, shaped hats (a lot of them are used as photo props) are crocheted. ¬†Marie explained that it is because the crochet fabric comes out stiffer than knitting. And that is the exact problem when I’ve tried knitting a hat that I originally saw in a crochet version. ¬†But she loves a challenge so stay tuned!

 

Tiny Roar

One of last month’s FO was my second test knit and I’m happy to say the pattern was released this week on Ravelry!! ¬†So, I thought I would talk a little about the project and I hope you all will go check it out!

The designer of the bonnet is Mimi from Eskimimi Makes¬†(she is also the awesome organizer of Knit & Crochet Blog Week!) and it’s called the Tiny Roar Lion Bonnet.

I made the 4-6 month size and used Knit Picks Palette to get the proper gauge. ¬†It’s a fun knit and the stitch Mimi uses for the lion mane is really interesting and I think could be used many different ways. ¬†The pattern provides a link to a video she did demonstrating the stitch. ¬†While I’m not usually a video learner I did watch the video and found it to be really helpful. ¬†I’ll admit the mane does take a long time but the effort is worth it and the rest of the bonnet knits up quite quick. ¬†This would make a great gift as it is cute and playful and warm too! ¬†You can find the pattern on Eskimimi Makes¬†(where you can check out some of her other patterns and also her new Knitulator which helps you spread increases or decreases across stitches) or on Ravelry¬†(where you can see her cute model of the hat)

This was my second test knit and I really enjoy working on these.  I love that they force me to swatch and work on gauge and also read all the instructions (properly)  And, in this case, I got to learn a fun new stitch as well!!

Off the Needles in September

I managed to get a few things off the needles this month!!

First up is another Canyon Cowl. ¬†This is the pattern by Heidi May and was one of the cowls that was sweeping Facebook and Pinterest like a virus a few months ago. ¬†I’ve made three and will discuss all the details in an upcoming post.

Pattern: Canyon Cowl by Heidi May Yarn: Cascade 128 Superwash Color: Really Red

Pattern: Canyon Cowl by Heidi May
Yarn: Cascade 128 Superwash
Color: Really Red

In another fit of viral knitting projects I also finished the Mermaid Blanket. ¬†I had a request for one and decided to try out this knit pattern because I don’t crochet and the picture floating around social media is a crochet version. ¬†I love how it turned out and it was a super fun and super quick knit. ¬†This one is being donated as a raffle prize for the organization I work with in El Salvador. ¬†Our benefit is next weekend here in Cleveland and I hope someone will be very excited to take it home!

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Kids and Teens by Angie Hartley Yarn: Lion Brand Lion's Pride Woolspun Colors: Aquamarine and Violet

Pattern: Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Kids and Teens by Angie Hartley
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion’s Pride Woolspun
Colors: Aquamarine and Violet

And, lastly, I completed my second test knit. ¬†So far, loving the test knitting and am hoping to continue to grow my test knit portfolio. ¬†The pattern has not yet been released so as per usual I will blog more in depth about it once it has been released. ¬†I will say it was for Mimi over at Eskimimi Makes¬†who puts together Knit and Crochet Blog Week each year. ¬†It’s a super cute pattern. ¬†The release has been delayed while she has been giving birth and caring for her adorable new son! Here’s a sneak peak!

IMG_20150911_222707 (1)

Still have a ton of stuff on the needles to we’ll see what happens in October!!

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.

20150821_185753

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.

20150821_185645 20150821_185445 20150821_185433

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!!