Friday, April 29, 2016

Springtastic

Guys, I just knit the most textured, cabledy socks I've ever seen.  They're Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter's Springtastic Socks.  Ah, my need to make something "more" has been completely satisfied.  The lower cuff also meant I could finish before the end of the Holla Knits KAL 2016.




Details:  I planned to use size US 0 needles since this pattern required a larger cast on than I normally use, but I couldn't find them.  So I used my 1s and thought "tightly" through mental gritted teeth while I worked.

 

I followed the pattern completely except I left a few more stitches at the toe for binding off.  I don't know if it would make a difference, but these socks seemed to make a more pointed toe than I have.  my feet seem almost straight across.  The fit is perfect, so I'm thinking it was a good call.

The yarn was Let's Stay Home on the The Fawn & the Fox's Raven base.  I think I've already mentioned that I was unsure about using a busier yarn for these, but I loved the results.



Though I'm glad I chose this pattern for this yarn, looking at the stockinette portion makes me think it would make a great pair of vanilla socks.


If you think mine were chock full of stuff knitter's like, check out all of the variegated, lengthened, striped, and modified pairs on the Ravelry thread.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sunset Shawl

This pattern is called the Simple Spring Shawl, by Michelle Krause, but mine looks more Sunset than Spring.

I have never used a variegated yarn for a shawl or scarf before this, so I wasn't sure about all the pooling and such that I hear other knitter's talk about.  I'm so glad I tried it.




Isn't this the most gorgeous sunset?  Must be all the chemicals in the air.

This is a side to side knit and crescent shaped, so the placement of colors was really consistent throughout the shawl.  The garter stitch is like a textural striping that looks really good with this colorway.   It also keept the lace-bordered from feeling too formal or frilly.


Details:  I used size 5 needles and Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn Co.'s Comfort Sock in the Muchier Muchness colorway.  It was my first installment from their 2016 Yarn Club and such a beautiful mix of earthy red, brown, and orange.  I really don't have many knits in those colors, so I was excited to cast on for something that could be seen.  In other words, I didn't want to knit a sock.


Michelle Krause's pattern is very easy to follow and went along so smoothly that I did an extra increasing section... which led to an extra decreasing section... which meant I'd need just a fraction of another skein of this colorway.  Thankfully Ashley had a few extra skeins reserved for club members who ran short.


I only needed a fraction of that skein to finish my shawl, so it looks like I'll get that pair of socks in the Muchier Muchness colorway after all.


And of course here's my selfie version of the shawl so I could post on instagram- not unlike Lucille Bluth's latest driver's license pic.


I have already received my other club shipments for the Winter Club, now I'm into the Spring club.  Take a look:

Off with Her Head would make a lovely shawl or beret:


Alice, which I'm thinking I might use for a Monkey Socks:


and Queenie, which is exactly the color combo I've been looking for in sock yarn:


I am also dying to use their Stellar colorway for one of my Box o Sox projects.  Ah, as soon as I get thru the next two knit-alongs, I'm devoting a few weeks to socks only.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thing to Wear Cardigan and Process Vs Product

This is my Thing to Wear Cardigan, by Allyson Dykhuizen, from Holla Knits Winter 2015.  You know, the one with the knitted Fair Isle Pants.  It's kimono-inspired, graphic, and a completely interesting knit.




It was also my first time to use Malabrigo Rios.  I don't know how many times I've looked at their colorways on Webs, but never bought any.  When I decided to try it, I knew I wanted a Plomo and Paris Nights combo.  Working on that upper back panel was so much fun.


I waffled back and forth over whether I should knit the large kimono sleeves or use Allyson's later mods to make a fitted sleeve.  In the end, I went with the visual interest of the larger sleeve and am glad I did.


Details:  I made the second size, 40", using size US 3 needles to get gauge.  It required 6 skeins of the main color and 1 of the contrast.  I have enough left of each for a color block hat.


I have so enjoyed taking part in this KAL.  Like so many Holla Knits patterns, this was a fun challenge.  You know how knitters often describe themselves as either process or product knitters?  Well, I like both.  In the end, though, I probably prefer the final product to interesting process.  That's why I so appreciate the Holla Knits patterns.  They're the best of both worlds.  If I scroll through my projects page, I consistently see the most interesting knits as being from HK.


I never got bored knitting this cardigan, not even when knitting the sleeves, ginormous sleeves.  When I asked you guys if you thought I should knit the regular or wide version of sleeves, most of you said you'd prefer the fitted version, as the designer did.  But, I don't know, these don't bother me at all.  I did knit them to the pattern's specifications, knowing I could always block them longer for my monkey arms.  But I don't know if I will.

One thing I do want to fiddle with, though, is the length of the entire garment.  I blocked it to the pattern dimensions to try that out first.  But, I feel confident I can get another inch in length if I block more aggressively.  I usually like more length, but wasn't sure if I'd need it, given the different construction.


So, I'm really happy with this little cardigan.  It's all relaxed and flowy and looks good both pinned or open.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, flickr, and ello)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Cleaning

I've been quiet here for a few weeks to do some Spring cleaning.  It's all part of that taking time to do things that are good for me, while balancing ever-changing family life.  I am pleased that my grandmother's home is on the market, my house is (mostly) organized, I've made time to get outdoors every day, my backyard looks nice again, and my son is in driver's ed.  All good things, but it hasn't left personal creative pursuits.

I did, however, take the Spring cleaning fever to my knitting basket and finished up a few lingering projects, including my Thing to Wear Cardigan.


I decided to go with the full kimono sleeve, as you can see, and I really like it.  I mainly worked on it while sitting on our patio, since the garden is weeded and planted and things aren't as depressing out there.  I park myself outside, wearing a big hat and try to knit an hour or so a day.



There are lots of green and blooming things this year, just not vegetables (other than lettuces).  They require more water and care than I feel like I can give this year, so I'm sticking with easy maintenance plants.  That leaves me with all of the herbs I like to cook with, fragrant lavender, ground cover that is sun tolerant, some vines, and a few more succulents to add to the patio.  I also planted some things I can use for soap, tea, or yarn dying- like chamomile and marigolds.  Oh and spinach and lettuce.  




My little buddy helped me as I worked the sleeve and neckline edging of my Morning Mist tee, another newly finished WIP.  Here he takes an uncharacteristic break from barking at neighboring cats and dogs.  I think he might actually be mellowing a bit. 

 Guys, this Morning Mist turned out fantastic in Lindy Chain!


I have also started my third pair of socks for the Box o Sox KAL, which will also be another entry in the Holla Knits KAL 2016.  They're Springtastic Socks, by Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter, and are such a great mix of cables and texture.  It's everything fun in a sock, all at once- a perfect followup to having knit plain stockinette for several projects.

I'm loving the spring-y colors of this The Fawn & the Fox sock yarn in the Let's Stay Home colorway.



I wouldn't normally think to knit in these delicate pastel colors, but I'm glad I chose them for this.  It is a short sock, the kind that would look great with clogs or something.


And so now we're all caught up, knitting-wise.  With these three things, plus a shawl off of the needles, I am getting closer to my goal of not being a scattered crafter.  

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr, and kollabora)

Did I mention I am taking part in the Tops, Tanks, and Tees KAL too?  and a test knit?  Hey, this is an improvement.  I'll only have four things on the needles and one sweater waiting in the wings.  as with my home, I have my own particular version of clean.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

His and Hers Slippers

I finally knit my husband a pair of socks. Sort of.  They're his and her matching Inniskór slippers from Chelsea Berkompas' book The Wool Project.


Now we're matchy matchy twins- every husband's dream.  Only, he wasn't around for photos, so I improvised.


I like the way the design is complimented by the Lopi.  It's all kinds of rustic and warm.
He really does like them.  Sadly, it's now flip flop weather, but our barely worn slippers will be waiting for us next winter.   That's one knit that is always welcome in a house on piers.


I've already mentioned how much I like working with Lopi.   It feels sheepy and "real," if you know what I mean.  I may have used an Icelandic wool once before for a newsboy-style cap I gave a relative.  It was in my earlier knitting days, pre-revelry, so I have no photo of it and am not sure.


For my Inniskór, I followed the pattern exactly.  Using size US 8 and 9 needles, I went through only  1 1/4 balls of Lopi.  That gave me the idea of making a cuff-less pair for my husband.  I didn't really think 1 ball would suffice, but I began anyway.  It really is a two day project, so the next day I ordered a third ball.

I love that magic moment when the sole starts to look like the sole.


The details: For both pairs of slippers,  I used US size 8 and 9 needles and Ístex Álafoss Lopi wool.


For my pair:  I only needed 1.5 balls of Lopi, at the most, for a size medium.  When it was time to seam up the sole, I used mattress stitch, joining the very edge of each side, as below.  I usually use the first horizontal bars, next to an edge to seam with.  But that left a little seam underfoot.  So, for this slipper, I ran my yarn through stitches on the very outside of the piece.  Maybe that's the correct way to use mattress stitch and I never realized it.  But I thought it was worth mentioning.


My toggles were made of horn and ordered via Amazon.  Of course, I forgot to use Prime, which was the whole point of ordering on Amazon, and so I have waited until now to finish mine.


For His pair:

My husband has yeti feet, so I fiddled with the pattern to approximate a men's US size 12/13.  So I cast on the recommended amount for all sizes.  I knit as directed until the end of the sole, where I added two rows in pattern.  So the first was a sl1, knit even and the second was an increase row.

After joining in the round, I knit one more even row than directed.

On the next round: I added 2 stitches to the first knit only portion for the largest size, then 1 stitch to the next portion.

Repeat decrease round 6 times total.

Continue following directions for largest size until toe shaping.  At toe shaping, continue those shaping rows until you have 2 more stitches than required by largest size in the pattern.

After last pattern row for ankle, knit 3 rounds even while maintaining the k,p, k, p pattern on top of the foot.

For bind off: CO 3 stitches and do an I-Cord bind off around ankle.  To close up an I-Cord BO I like to Kitchener my last 3 stitches with 3 stitches I pick up from the first ones I cast on for the bind off.  Does that make sense?  It always looks cleaner than when I do it any other way.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, flickr, and maybe ello?)

These were knit for The Wool Project KAL on instagram, with designer Chelsea Berkompas.  Check out the other beautiful projects, some hand dyed,  and all the different breeds used here.