A Scrappy Update

What to do with those leftover bits. We all have them in our stash: those remnants from pairs of socks or shawls that didn’t need the whole skein. I’ll be honest, for my Type A (plus plus) personality, these little balls of yarn, not big enough to make anything with, drive me a little crazy.

One way to use them up is my Sock Yarn Memory Blanket.  I started it in May 2016, and now it’s 25 squares big – not large at all considering how big I’d like for it to eventually be.

As of today, this is what it looks like:

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With the exception of two, every skein of fingering weight yarn from a completed project will be on this blanket. If you were to take a look at my WIPs and stash, I’ll be able to add many more squares. Because I’m a bit crazy detail-oriented, I’ve also started a journal for this project, and in it I’m adding the yarn tag with a snip of the yarn, noting where I bought it and what project I made with it.

Slowly but surely, this blanket is growing, and part of the excitement when finishing a new pair of socks or a shawl is not just the FO, but being able to add to the blanket.

Don’t discount those bits and bobs from skein remnants, because you never know when they might just come in handy. My latest shawl is a perfect example of this.

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The MC is a newly purchased skein of Sweetgeorgia, and the CC is left over Madelinetosh that I first used for a pair of Erica Leuder Socks.  A simple asymmetrical garter stitch shawl, but the contrast makes quite a statement.  For those keeping score at home, the pattern is Graphic Kerchief by Ce Persiano, with some modifications.

Summer always leads to a sporadic posting schedule, but I already know I’ll be offline next week. When I return, I’ll hopefully have completed projects, new WIPs, and new yarn to show off.

Happy knitting!

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Finding the Right Pattern

Sometimes, you just want a big, cozy, wooly sweater.


This Briggs and Little Yarn has been in my stash for well over two years, gifted to me by a friend who knows I’m a knitter. It sat in my stash because even though four skeins is a lot of yardage, it isn’t quite enough to make a sweater. A little over a year later, I bought this yarn from a craft fair, the fleece from a local farm.


The natural brown would compliment the natural grey of the Briggs and Little quite well. But still the yarns sat, unsure of how to take these two yarns and make a sweater. I could have alternated the colours of the sleeves and edging, but I wasn’t so keen on that. However, I had a stroke of inspiration.

If you’re in the ‘knitting world,’ you’ve of course heard all about Andrea Mowry’s Find Your Fade, a beautiful shawl made from five different colours of yarn.  It’s stunning for its size, construction, and originality.   Well, why couldn’t I find my fade with these complimentary yarns?  The basic idea is that you knit continuously with one colour, and when you’re ready to introduce the next, you knit a few rows of stripes, helping the colours ‘fade’ into each other. Find the right sweater pattern and fade the colours into each other.  Simple enough in theory.

Enter Fezziwig: a warm, cozy sweater designed by Melissa Schaschwary.  I have the yarn, I have the pattern, I have the general idea for how I’ll fade the two colours into each other.  And if it doesn’t work, I can always rip back, re-wind and it can keep my other stashed yarn company awaiting new inspiration.


Stay tuned.

The Mixed Wave Cowl, or the ongoing ramblings of how it was made

February 14, 2017

Made my way to LYS and purchased the Yarn Challenge kit. The yarns are lovely: red, taupe and beige. Now comes the hard part, what to make with it.

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February 15, 2017
4:30pm

Awesome! I’m so glad I found the Mixed Wave Cowl pattern on Ravelry. It’s perfect for this yarn, a fantastic way to truly highlight the three yarns of the Yarn Challenge.  I have the yarn, the needles, the pattern; I’m ready to cast on!

4:45pm

Okay, we’re cast on! Let me just read the pattern… oh… huh. Well, this is… huh. Okay, so it’s not written like other patterns. This designer’s put a lot of thought (and math) in this pattern. I’m impressed. Cool. I can do this… I think…

4:55pm

Gah, so that didn’t go as planned. Here’s a tip, Lisa. Read the whole pattern. Like, all details.  Let the frogging commence.

5:12pm

Frogging complete. Cast on complete. First row knit. Now onto short rows… wait… huh… I still can’t visualize what to do here. I get the general idea – you’re using short rows and alternate colours to create this really interesting and unique striped pattern. That I get. These instructions, though… Maybe it’s just because I’m not comfortable with the wrap and turn method. Yeah that’s it.

5:14pm

I still don’t get it. There are over 100 people who have this in their Ravelry projects. What do their notes say…

5:18pm

So many of these project notes say “Just do it.” “Trust the designer.” “It all makes sense once you get going.” Yeah, I’m not buying it… Maybe this will be clearer after dinner… mmm… food…

6:03pm

Just do it, huh… okay, here goes… Wrap and turn abandoned, going with German Short Row method instead, a tried, tested and understood method. Maybe that will help…

7:54pm

Well whaddya know? Those Ravelers and the designer were right… just do it. I’m doing it, and a few repeats in and it looks like it’s supposed to look! Maybe all that math the designer did actually makes sense… almost foiled by math once again, but not this time!

February 17, 2017

A day off work and four hour car ride = lots of knitting time. Mixed Wave Cowl, let’s do this. I’m actually feeling so confident with this pattern, a pattern that only a few short days ago I had no faith in, that I’m now able to work it without referring to the written directions. Lesson learned: read all instructions. Trust the designer. Trust other Ravelers.

February 20, 2017

Mixed Wave Cowl grows, both in length and in my overall love for it.

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March 6, 2017

And grows…

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March 7, 2017

4:40pm

Couch, knitting, Law and Order. I see you, Mixed Wave Cowl.

6:35pm

Break out the measuring tape. 55cm! I’m at the right place in my pattern to justify casting off. It is 5cm shorter than the recommended length but it’ll stretch.

6:42pm

Stupid provisional cast on. Grumble grumble.

7:55pm

So this happened:

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Why yes, that is the cowl, grafted, ends woven, and blocking!

I’m sorry I ever doubted you, designer. The initial frustrations I felt three weeks ago was worth pushing through to get this as the final result.

March 8, 2017

4:34pm

Just trying it on for good measure. Yup, still in love with the final result. So much cowl love.

Garterlac Baby Blanket

I love entrelac.  One of my first posts on this humble little blog was all about my love for this technique. It may SEEM daunting, challenging even, but oh, it’s not. The small squares knit up fairly quickly making it a very satisfying technique because you feel like you’re making quick progress. Long story short, entrelac is fun. Give it a try.

A number of months ago, I was lurking on the Ravelry forums, and I added my two cents* regarding making a ‘garterlac’ baby blanket.  I put my needles to work with making such a blanket in early 2015. I didn’t really re-invent any wheels when I improvised this project, but someone encouraged me to write the pattern out, so here is my pattern.  Please note, it has NOT been test knit or edited or anything else fancy. These are my ramblings of a pattern I ad-libbed two years ago.

Credit must be passed along to Criminy Jickets as I followed his basic garterlac construction from his Garterlac Dishcloth, a wonderful intro to the Entrelac technique, and one can never have too many dishcloths. When I’ve used the wording from the Garterlac Dishcloth, it is denoted with the text in italics.

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Materials
Bernat Baby Blanket, 10 skeins (or 800m of super bulky yarn)
Size 9mm needles (US 13) – I used a circular needle of 80cm because the blanket gets BIG

Finished measurements
(approx): 4’ x 3’

Construction
The construction of this blanket consists of:

(1) Bottom row of triangles (blue yarn)
(2) Row of two side triangles and nine middle squares (white yarn)
(3) Row of 10 squares (blue yarn)
(4) Top row of triangles (blue yarn)

And in between (1) and (4) is a varying number of (2) and (3) repeated, ending with a (2)

 

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On my example, photo above, I repeated row (2) SEVEN times, and I repeated row (3) SIX times.

My example resulted in the cast on and cast off edges being the sides. Once you understand the basic construction of entrelac, you can adjust this structure for your purposes (i.e., if you cast on a smaller amount of stitches, you could work more rows (2) and (3) and essentially get a blanket with the same dimensions).

Each square is made with 8 stitches being worked.

Directions:
Cast on 80 stitches

Row (1)

Bottom Triangle:
K 1, turn, K 1, turn.
K 2, turn, K 2, turn.
K 3, turn, K 3, turn.
K 4, turn, K 4, turn.
K 5, turn, K 5, turn.
K 6, turn, K 6, turn.
K 7, turn, K 7, turn.
K 8, do not turn

Repeat the steps for ‘Bottom Triangle’ 9 more times (10 triangles created total). Turn.

Row (2)

Increasing Side Triangle:
K 1, turn, K-FB, turn.
K 1, SKP, turn, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 2, SKP, turn, K 1, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 3, SKP, turn, K 2, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 4, SKP, turn, K 3, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 5, SKP, turn, K 4, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 6, SKP, turn, K 5, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 7, SKP, do not turn.

You will now knit 9 squares

Square directions:
Pick up 8 stitches along the side of the previous row, turn. 
* K 8, turn, K 7, SKP, turn. *
Repeat between the *s another seven times, but do not turn at the end of the eighth repeat.

Decreasing Side Triangle:
Pick up 8 stitches along the side of the previous row, turn, K 8, turn.
K 6, K2tog, turn, K 7, turn.
K 5, K2tog, turn, K 6, turn.
K 4, K2tog, turn, K 5, turn.
K 3, K2tog, turn, K 4, turn.
K 2, K2tog, turn, K 3, turn.
K 1, K2tog, turn, K 2, turn.
K2tog, turn.

You are left with one stitch on the left hand needle.

Row (3)

Transfer the one stitch to the right-hand needle. Pick up a further 7 stitches down the side of the previous row so you have 8 stitches in total, turn, and continue with the directions for Square.  Make 10 squares.

Repeat Row (2) SEVEN times and Row (3) SIX times, or until you’ve reached your desired width, ending with a Row (2)

Row (4)

Top Triangle:
Pick up 7 stitches along the side of the previous row, turn.
K 6, K2tog, turn, K 6, SKP, turn.
K 5, K2tog, turn, K 5, SKP, turn.
K 4, K2tog, turn, K 4, SKP, turn.
K 3, K2tog, turn, K 3, SKP, turn.
K 2, K2tog, turn, K 2, SKP, turn.
K 1, K2tog, turn, K 1, SKP, turn.
K2tog, turn, SKP. K 1 and pass the second stitch on the right-hand needle over the first

Repeat the directions for Top Triangle 9 more times, until all stitches have been bound off.

Weave in ends.

Block if appropriate for the yarn.


*hmmm… we no longer have pennies in Canada that I could have contributed…. I added my five cent piece, then?

Hagrid Was A Knitter

I have read the Harry Potter series more times than I can count. I’m always at some point in the series as it’s a series I can pick up and return to at any point. There is something so comforting about a familiar book. Ultimately I know Harry will win, but I follow the heroes along, laugh with them and mourn with them.

Case in point, a few days ago, I finished Deathly Hallow and immediately started Philosopher’s Stone.  Even having read PS countless times, and it is arguably the simplest book in the series, I will still notice little details that I may have skimmed past in previous readings, like this one:

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“People stared more than ever on the train.  Hagrid took up two seats and sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.”

Yes, Hagrid was a knitter.  How this detail escaped me before, I’m not sure, but it jumped out at me this time!

This isn’t the only instance of knitting being mentioned through the series.  Mrs Weasley was infamous for knitting the Weasley jumpers, sweaters gifted to the Weasley children, and Harry also, every Christmas, much to Ron’s chagrin.  In Order of the Phoenix, Hermione was using magic to speed up her knitting of hats in an attempt to free the Hogwarts House Elves, and perhaps my favourite mention of knitting in the Harry Potter series was Dumbledore’s proclamation of his love for knitting patterns in Half-Blood Prince.

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My love for this book series has understandably crept into my knitting.  A few years ago, my co-worker commissioned two House scarfs, and I happy obliged.

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Year 1-2, left, and Year 3-4, right

I used the basic pattern structure of the Year 3-4 scarf to improvise my own Hogwarts House Hand Warmers. Yes, I’m Hufflepuff and Proud!

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As well, I’ve long proclaimed my love for Erica Lueder’s Harry Potter inspired patterns on my blog.  Her Hermione Every Day Socks are well known and often top the ‘Hot Right Now’ search on Ravelry, but I highly encourage you to check out her other patterns, most of which were inspired in one way or another by a Harry Potter character.

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Left to right: Hermione’s Every Day Sock; Weasley Rib; Devil Snare Sock

I have another Erica Lueder pattern on my needles right now, and I’m a few rounds plus the toe away from being finished the pair.  I can’t wait to show pictures of the finished socks.  The pattern was tedious to follow, but my goodness the finished fabric is beautiful. Totally worth it.

Also on my needles is the Time Turner Shawl by Elizabeth Saxton.  Saxton describes the lace as being reminiscent of Hermione’s time turner from Prisoner of Azkaban, and when looking for a pattern to truly highlight my stunning Manos yarn, I knew this was the one.

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Are you a Harry Potter fan? Can you add any Harry Potter inspired patterns to this (working) list?

A Few Finished Objects

Last week, I wrote how I had a major case of start-itis – symptoms of which include being unable to stop casting on new projects, despite how many WIPs a person has on the go. This start-itis isn’t showing signs of being cured, having started three new projects last week.  Seriously, I can’t stop finding new patterns and going through my stash to see what I can use.

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The good thing about so many projects on the go is that I was able to finish three objects last week.  The first were these Cableship socks.  I started them in October as a knit-a-long by KnitPurl Hunter.  The first sock was finished early November, but this second one was put into hibernation until after Christmas knitting was complete.  In the week after Christmas, I struggled my way through Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a few weeks later, I was able to wear the newly finished pair of socks.

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Also finished was a slouchy hat for my dad. Fun story -the wool is 100% Peruvian Alpaca, and we ventured to a local Alpaca farm to by the yarn. My goodness, alpacas must be some of the freaking cutest animals around. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by a herd (is that right, herd?) of Border Collies who were obviously working dogs, and we also got a peak at their pigs. They had to be the fattest pigs I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s the story of they yarn for this hat.  Dad received it yesterday. It fits and he’s happy.

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Finally, on Friday, I bought yarn and cast on a Pussyhat.  Have you heard of this? If not, I HIGHLY recommend heading over to their website and reading more about this movement. In a nutshell, there will be a women’s march on Washington on January 21, and marchers are encouraged to wear these knit hats, the name taken as both a play on on the word pussycat and as reference to how the US President-Elect brags about sexually assaulting women. As stated on their Ravelry page:

The PussyHat Project aims to:

  1. Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
  2. Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent them- selves and support women’s rights.

A Facebook friend of my sister’s asked for a hat to be made, and I happily obliged.  It knit up VERY quickly; I cast on Friday evening and by Sunday I had it finished and ready for my sister to give to the recipient.

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Please visit their website and read more about this initiative.

 

Knit all the projects!

I have a major case of start-itis.  I can’t stop casting on. This is very unusual for me, because as a product knitter, I usually have no more than three projects on the go, determined to see them through to the end. But after the holidays ended, I can’t stop looking at patterns and starting new projects.


Considering all things, I was fairly on top of my holiday knitting this year.  I made three things for three recipients, the first was a sweater for my mother, which was finished early October.  Grandma received a Sontag, and this was finished early November. The knitting crunch hit in late November when I decided to make my Grandad a pair of socks.  I made the Harvest Festival pattern which created this lovely pattern texture to the fabric, but it was certainly more fiddly than a pair of vanilla socks. For just shy of a month, my knitting energy was dedicated exclusively to these socks.  I hit my goal and finished them three days before Christmas.

Perhaps these socks are the reason for my knitting enthusiasm.  Most of December was spent on one pair of socks, so now I’m itching to try new patterns, to use yarn that’s been stashed for months and newly purchased yarn (because it was just so pretty and wanted to come home with me). Despite having six projects actively on the go, I can’t stop thinking of other patterns, looking for the right one to use on my new Manos del Uruguay or my stashed IndigoDragonfly. I also want to make new gloves for me and gloves as a gift (because it’s Canada, and ’tis the season), and I know a few people who are expecting little ones this year and who doesn’t love knitting for babies! Long story short, I want to knit all the things. A few rows here, an odd round there, and sure enough they’ll all get done.