Tag Archives: cables

April’s Month of Knitting


Holy cow. If ever there was a reason  to blog more (and there are so many reasons) it is that this month in review post takes forever to do! The strangest thing about my lack of blogging is that I find myself thinking about what I would write about quite often, it just seems my follow through is lacking. So friends and neighbors, here is to a new month and a new shot at getting more written. Until we see how that goes I would love to share with you what I’ve been up to this past month.

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  • Pattern: Alano Dakos’ Oak Grove Mitts
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
  • Verdict: Everything about this pattern is amazing. and the yarn…..oh the yarn!
Cafe Au Lait Mitts

Cafe Au Lait Mitts

  • Pattern: Cafe Au Lait Mitts by Paula McKeever
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
  • Verdict: I will make these mitts over and over and over again. There was enough yarn in the one skein of Malabrigo Arroyo to both sets of mitts – which makes me so happy. If you have a chance I give this pattern the MUST BUY seal of approval.
We. Must. FREE RAPUNZEL!

We. Must. FREE RAPUNZEL!

  • Pattern: Free Rapunzel by Tiny Owl Knits
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Hometown USA in New York White
  • Verdict: Obviously the hat is adorable, but working with this thick yarn and size 13US needles about did my little arthritic hand in. I love the pattern – it was easy to follow and so much fun to do – but I just don’t see myself doing it again. Plus, the hat is for a very niche audience. I gave it to Gloria who loved it but can’t think of anyone else who would be worth the pain. 😉
I LOOOVE these socks!

I LOOOVE these socks!

  • Pattern: Afterthought heel by Laura Linneman
  • Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Neon Now in 3 Blue Yellow Green
  • Verdict: I LOVE THESE SOCKS. I LOVE THIS YARN. I WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE IT IS MANDATORY TO HAVE A PAIR OF SOCKS LIKE THESE FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!! 🙂
Prince Charming Needs More Socks!

Prince Charming Needs More Socks!

  • Pattern: Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks – at least a variation on the basic pattern.
  • Yarn: Berraco Comfort Sock in Blue Grey
  • Verdict: I’ve made loads of Vanilla Socks so obviously the pattern is a go to. The yarn, well….it’s acrylic and I didn’t like working with it as well as wool. I felt like it was sliding all over my needles and the shaping on the instep didn’t feel as solid. This being said the socks turned out great and the hubby likes them better than wool – so there you go.
Diamonds

Diamonds

Dripping in Diamonds

Dripping in Diamonds

  • Pattern: Diamond NeckLace by Susan Ashcroft
  • Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink
  • Verdict: I love Susan Ashcroft and everything she does – this is no exception. This is going to be a perfect present for my Grandmother for Christmas. If you’re looking to try something in the round with some texture – this is an amazing pattern to try. The chart is very intuitive and easy to read and it knit up very quickly.
Sparkle!

Sparkle!

  • Pattern: #21 Cable-Accent Fingerless Mitts by Lori Steinberg
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Sequins in Amaretto
  • Verdict: I received the 60 More Quick Knits Sport Weight for a friend and realized, to my dismay, that the only sport weight I had was this Vanna’s Sequins that my Mom got for $0.97 at a Micheals sale. The yarn is actually not bad to work with if not for the sequins, but they grew on me. I also changed the pattern quite a bit to fit my needs (and common sense) and can’t wait to try this with a really crunchy wool.
Chemo Cap

Chemo Cap

  • Pattern: Just a sock yarn beanie with a basic decrease.
  • Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock Jacquards in Aqua Jacquard
  • Verdict: Chemo caps take about 5 hours from start to finish, and a printed yarn makes that work look like it took four times as much effort. Patons has a sock yarn beanie pattern that is a good place to start if your interested and it is very easy to change pretty much everything once you get a feel for how it should be constructed.
Holy Cowl!

Holy Cowl!

  • Pattern: Basket Weave and Ribs Cowl by My Noggin’ (that would be my brain)
  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Wedgewood
  • Verdict: Well, it came from my brain so I hope I’m happy with it! I have three skeins of this variegated yarn and needed something to break it up. The ribbing changes the texture enough so that the colors seem to pop – so for all three skeins I am going to try different variations on ribbing to see what I can get. The pattern used the entire 210 yards and it super warm.

YOU MADE IT TO THE END! THANK YOU!!!!

I have a lot of ongoing projects that I really, really want to talk about and I have a new passion that needs discussion. SPINNING! Here is to another month of trying to forget that I have too much to do and making time for the things I love. Cannot wait to catch up with all of you! And also, thanks for hanging in there 🙂

WIP Wednesday


So far the B.A.D.D doesn’t seem so bad….hardy-har-har. However this is going to be very short, as I hate discussing things I haven’t finished yet. It seems a little redundant, but I am trying to recover my blogging ability – I miss you guys when I’m not on the site.

1. Fiori Autunalli – It has been successfully frogged and is not sitting in time out until I can look at it without breaking a sweat.

Bad Lace… or Bad Knitter...

Bad Lace…
or Bad Knitter…

2. Jayashiri Pullover – I have actually pulled this out of hibernation! I am slowly putting the mileage on it and all I need is another two inches to do the bust increases. Who knows? This very large (oh goodness it is soooo large) pullover may actually happen.

Look! Progress!

Look! Progress!

And finally…

3. The Rose Tyler Doctor Who Fingerless Mittens – A FREE pattern on Ravelry, I thought that these would be perfect for my Doctor Who loving niece Gloria. I love this pattern, I love the mitts… I HATE purling in the round on size 1US needles! I am hoping to get them done before March. By the way, the picture is courtesy of ©Dana Berry because I want to do a blog post when they’re all finished!

© Dana Berry

© Dana Berry

So those are the big to-do’s on my knitting list. Of course there are also leg warmers, but for the life of me I cannot post another picture of leg warmers. So until next time, which I hope is soon, have a great hump day!

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express!


Since my last post was very word heavy, lets make this one picture heavy shall we? I tried to take pictures of the progress of my Hogwarts Express Shawl by Susan Ashcroft. It was a lovely gift from a friend for my birthday – no worries if your reading this, I will keep your identity safe. 🙂 I used Malabrigo Sock Yarn  (my first time working with Malabrigo – also a gift) in Cordovan. Any other information you would like to know about my project – or the minuscule tweaks I made with 440 yards of this luxurious yarn, click HERE.  Otherwise, let me let the pictures talk for themselves.

The Yarn was already caked.

The Yarn was already caked.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

The set-up with my yarn pet.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

Lovely, calming garter stitch.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

The yarn is oh so pretty.

Garter section is done

Garter section is done

The owls have eyes - all 34 of them!

The owls have eyes – all 34 of them!

Max does not like being stared at.

Max does not like being stared at.

Completed at 4am

Completed at 4am

I can't quit taking it's picture.

I can’t quit taking it’s picture.

On the bed in the basement

On the bed in the basement

Still pretty darn stunning

Still pretty darn stunning – and my favorite picture.

Friends and neighbors, I love this shawl!!

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The Things We Do For Love


I have been avoiding blogging for about a week, a silly thing I know but the lingering feeling of being a sellout has kept me from my desire to write about knitting. Here’s the back story.

Since January 1st, it has become evident that my family is in the weeds. Money is tighter than ever and the time to step up and do what needs to get done has come. I’ve been working at both jobs, but I’ve also 1) laid flooring 2) spent an entire weekend (about 21 hours total) stripping wallpaper 3) shoveled snow and 4) walked dogs. Pretty much any task that can help us out financially I’ve attacked headfirst. There is no such thing as doing a job that is below you, I don’t think that exists. If you do a job well, then there is no such thing as a bad job.

Unless you sell out….which I have.

I have been working, for months, on a cabled hat pattern. This secret little project of mine was what I had hoped would put me on the knitting designer map, or at least the Ravelry map. I’ve made this hat so many times it is mind-blowing – thank goodness for Halos of Hope and other charity organizations that take knitted items. I wrote the pattern for every weight of yarn (except bulky), I had sizing for babies, toddlers, young adults, men and women. The idea was to create a variation on the same pattern that could be worn by every member of a family – be it blood relatives or the family we’ve created for ourselves. The cable pattern was noticeably the same, but as you got older, and the hats got bigger, the cable pattern would continue to grow and change slightly. Pretentiously, I was thinking of the movie The Fountain and how the tree continues to grow and change (ehh…admitting that makes me feel all James Fracno-y). Finally, about a week ago I was ready to write the pattern in PDF form to get it all ready to go on Ravelry – then I had lunch with a friend.

My Pretentious Tree of Life

My Pretentious Tree of Life – Photo Credit IMDB – The Fountain 

My friend, who luckily doesn’t read knitting blogs, is a very successful lawyer in her part of the world. In-between being as young and successful as she is she’s also found time to have three kids – all by the ripe old age of 31. We went to lunch to catch up ( she offered to buy, who says no to that?) and went on … a little incessantly …. about how great her life was going. I just wanted to add a little to the conversation, so I pulled my newly printed pattern out of my bag and showed her my pattern.

I was excited, besides the people I had photographed in the hats and my husband, no one had seen the pattern. I told her how I each variation was just the cables growing – from baby to adult the pattern grew in complexity while still obviously matching the one before. I pitched her my idea, and she went for it.

In less than 10 minutes I somehow had manage to sell her the patterns for $100.00, agreed to make her entire family their hats, agreed to never photograph my work and never make the pattern available to the public. She wanted this family of hats for her family, no one else’s. If I hadn’t just come off a weekend of mind-numbing, hand-breaking paper removal I would have thought twice – but that’s not what happened.

I keep telling myself that the pattern may have never sold and that a hundred dollars is better than nothing – not that I totally believe that. I’ve told myself that I have created something unique and wonderful for her family, but since she paid twelve-hundred dollars for a stroller I doubt that these hats will ever register for her family as “special”. I’ve been tip-toeing around it ever since I did it, but I feel like a sellout. There, I said it – I am a sellout. But one hundred dollars pays for four co-pays for my father-in-laws doctor visits – so it is time to suck it the f*#k up.

I wonder, is it more that my ego has taken a hit? Or is there some feeling of intellectual theft under duress? Maybe I am just blowing smoke – more than less likely that’s all there is. Either way friends and neighbors, if I designed one thing I am (hopefully) sure I can design another.

Everyone Needs Some Eye Candy


Max loves knitted socks.

Max loves knitted socks.

Guess who showed up to work two hours early by accident? This kid! I am going to try to cram in a post while I have some real downtime, it’s actually pretty darn exciting! Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff.

~ Socks with Sarah Progress #sockswithsarah ~

I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles, one for myself and one for my Dad. I am working on my socks everyday – even if it is just a row or two. I find that knitting socks is my knitting happy place at the moment. Is it bad I want to finish my Dad’s socks just so I can work on my socks exclusively? I’m gonna go with no, it’ll help me sleep better at night.

Both socks are a variation on the Knitmore Vanilla Sock pattern. My Dad’s socks are Patons Kroy in Flax and mine are Patons Kroy Jacquards in Fiesta Jacquard.

My Dad's First Sock.

My Dad’s First Sock.

 

~ A Very Berry Fascination ~

After my husband spied my newly organized stash, he asked me a simple question; “Why do you only make one thing in each color when you have multiple balls?”. After I quit giggling from the multiple balls comment I couldn’t come up with a good answer. Does “I am so sick of that color when I am finished that I just have to get another” work?

Well, no. It really doesn’t.

So I took on the challenge of taking two balls (teehee) of Red Heart Soft in Berry – which has a whopping 256 yards per ball – and decided I was going to knit through both. I started with the Twisted Toque from 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens. I liked the pattern; the errata was small, the hat was easy to make and virtually brainless, which is a plus these days. I will say that the length measurements given were a bit long though, so long that I ended up folding the brim just to make the hat work.

Another 4am FO.

Another 4am FO.

 

The second project was from the same book, kinda. The pattern was Mock Cable Wristers and I hated this pattern. There is a vividly fierce hatred of how this pattern was written – so I changed it. I elongated the cuffs so they were 4″ and more of a gauntlet style, I changed the position of the thumb. I changed the purl increases, I added a thumb, I added length to create fingerless mitts, I did Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-On and Bind-Off. Basically, I stripped the pattern to the bare bolts and started over.

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This took a full ball and about 20 yards of the second – leaving me to figure out what to do with the remaining 236 yards. I decided I wanted a long cowl to go with the revamped mitts. I wrote the pattern (which I will be making available for FREE on Ravelry just as soon as I get it done). I took the basic concept of the faux cables and just fiddled with the stitches. I wanted them to pop out at you a bit, and I wanted the cowl to be nice and wide and a little less dense than the cable on the mitts.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

That took care of both balls (teehee). Now I am just so ready to get my finger on a new color that it is eating me alive!

Oh yeah – I finished the mitts from last week. Side note: that horrible join blocked out really nicely. I would have taken a picture but they were out the door and into someone else’s home very quickly.

That blocked out … seriously!

That blocked out … seriously!

So that’s it for me today friends and neighbors. I have week 2 of my 52 weeks of new experiences all ready to go – I just need to find the time to write it. Who knows, maybe I can show up to work early again and get it hammered out. Happy Thursday blogger buddies!

 

 

 

Week #1 of 52 Week Challenge & Some Finished Objects


First Glove….From a Chart!

First Glove….From a Chart!

Oh how my hubby had no idea what he was doing when he picked out his favorite pattern out of my newly acquired book. 60 Quick Knits was a Christmas present this year from my dad, his adorable opinion on knitting is that it all should be quick! I am actually really enjoying it so far, just remember to check Ravelry for errata – I have found a lot of entires that were just a little off. So this is the Cabled-Cuff Mitten Pattern, knitted with Patons Worsted Wool. So where did I learn something new this week? I learned (try not to gasp) how to read a chart!

~ You Couldn’t Read a Chart Before this Past Week? ~

Well, no. I have no problem following a chart in the round, at least in the past few months – but a chart knitted flat – akin to bamboo shards under my fingernails. I hated the idea that one symbol having two meanings, I just couldn’t understand why on earth they couldn’t just make a “knit as written” chart.

When they hubby pointed to the mittens that he liked the best, I saw that flat chart and cringed. I’m not gonna lie, the first 7 rounds were….difficult. I pushed through and by the end of the first repeat I finally understood the purpose. I was getting the hang of it after the second repeat and by the third I was gladly going left to right, right to left and realizing that there was a ligament reason for making a chart this way. Final thoughts – YEA FOR FINALLY BEING ABLE TO READ A CHART!

~ How About Some Finished Objects! ~

Christmas, birthdays, New Year’s …. blah blah blah…. has slowed my FO list down quite a bit. However, I still feel like sharing.

It may not be super interesting to look at, but this is a custom order for a new customer. Her sister-in-law went to school in Jamaica where her school colors where purple and gold. I took one of my stitch dictionaries and found a way to combine a standard rib with a zig-zag. I know that it would show better on smaller needles and s solid color, but it actually turned out really well. I added a slip-stitch border to keep the sides nice and clean and she was very pleased. *Dramatically wiping my brow!*

SInce WordPress isn’t letting me preview the post – and I cannot remember which order I put these in – please just roll with me.

  1. The three (rather boring/ rather repetitive) things I have been commissioned to do this week is  20 dishcloth – 10 Christmas Colors and 10 Pink (these are not done yet).
  2. Another Christmas Stocking – which is actually quite nice, but you’ve already seen a gazillion pictures of them. Sorry friends and neighbors.
  3. AND of course, a few ruffles. I have an order for 5 OSU Buckeye Ruffle Scarves – all done *insert deep sigh of relief*
Yea Cabes and Bobbles!

Yea Cables and Bobbles!

This is yet another concoction of the genius that is 60 Quick Knits – with some big changes on my part. The pattern is the Bobbles & Cables Cap by Suvi Simola and is a decent pattern. I changed the 1. The cast-on 2. The bobbles (which I made bigger) 3. The cable progression was continued another round 4. and I slightly felted the hat when I was finished (no pic of that yet…because I suck).

I made the hat larger and longer to felt the pattern because it does wonderful things to bobbles and finicky cables. It tightens everything up and gives is a delicious fit. I made the cap with Ella Rae Classic Superwash in Kiwi and chucked in into the dryer. The result? Pretty amazing – slight felting give the hat a denser feel and makes the bobbles seem more natural and less like a hanging hemorrhoid 😉

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

I need a Post-Felt Picture….bad Rachel.

Okay friends and neighbors, that’s all for me today. I will be back with more on my sock stashing, thanks to Knitting Sarah and her #sockswithsarah year-long Sock KAL. I am working the instep on my fourth pair of socks – pretty epic! I need to finish those mittens (yea for reading charts!) and I’ve unearthed my Fiori Autunnali and my Jayashri Pullover. Until next time – remember, if the gimp can try it you can too! 🙂

The Last Birthday of My 20s & Finished Objects


My 29th birthday was actually December 27th, but I resisted the urge to post that day. We found out a friend has stage 4 cancer and I didn’t want it to be a whiny, self-indulgent post. Things have settled a bit and that means it is time to get back on the blogging horse. Let’s start with what I’ve finished since my last post, it’s my birthday (weekend) and I will post how I want to! 😉

 ~ Some Finished Objects ~

1) The first one is yet another Christmas Stocking. You’ve seen pictures of them in my last post so I won’t bore you again.

A Shameless Seflie.

A Shameless Seflie.

2) This is the Podcaster Cowl by Susan Ashcroft. I made it with Lions Brand Vanna’s Choice Worsted in Dusty Green. I LOVE this cowl! It has been a while since I’ve done a pattern that has a written, 24 row repeat (which I thought would be annoying but wasn’t at all) so I was a bit slow going at first – until I saw the first leaf come together. When that leaf popped out at me I was off, I couldn’t wait to get to the next leaf, before I knew it I’d been up for 22 hours and my cowl was done. All things considered I don’t look too scary in that picture. Also, this cowl in a worsted, slightly variegated Malabrigo would be breathtakingly beautiful!

Legwarmers are great for watching movies - and keeping your legs warm.

Legwarmers are great for watching movies – and keeping your legs warm.

3) Obviously, these are leg warmers ;). For whatever reason my Mom loves leg warmers and is demanding them in high quantities. She’s not making a (horrible) fashion statement, her legs just get really cold when she is driving our out in the weather. T

This is my own little tube design. The top is a 1by1 rib that goes over the knee and will stay there securely. I balloon out the calf section because she has big calves (a floor nurse for 30 years has given her very strong legs) and the ankle is a decreased section in 2by2 rib so it will fit securely across her ankle. The finished decisions are; thigh 16″, calf 20″, ankle 12.4″ and the total length is just over 20″. They are not pretty, but what the Mom wants…the Mom gets!

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Chemo hat design pattern.

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Designing cable-y goodness.

This is the really similar to the cabled hat I made for my first custom order – I just took out the cables I didn’t like and replaced them with new ones. As a result, the hat doesn’t have any weird bulges or gaps. Who wants that on their head? It’s made with Red Heart Soft Yarn in Aqua Verde. I did the pattern on 4.0mm and 4.5mm needles (US 6 and US 7) up to 6″ and then began the decrease. As you can see, it is really tight on my head – which means it’ll be perfect for someone with no hair. The color has a bit of a sheen to it and I really like the color ….  all in all pretty happy with it.

~ My Sock in Progress ~

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Magic Loop CAN be Magical!

This is my own, weird sock formula – meaning I am stealing bits from all sorts of sock patterns until it fits me just right. Sometimes I feel like Goldie Locks trying to make a sock…. Anyway, the yarn is Patons Socks Yarn in Aqua Jacquard. My plan when I finished my “perfect” sock was to knit it in something a little more expensive, but I actually really like this yarn. I’ve been wearing (and washing) my first two pairs of socks all month-long and they look just like they did when they came off the needles – so why mess with something that works? Higher end sock yarn will come, but for now my Patons and I are very happy.

Also, for the first time in my entire knitting history, I am using magic loop – Huzzah! I went on YouTube and found a video I liked and off I went. I think the 40″ cord is a little fiddley (I found it sifting through my destroyed yarn stash after the pipe bursts, no idea what I had it for) but I am getting the hang of it. I am really looking forward to turning the instep, I just haven’t picked up those stitches since turning the heel. Also, with long, pointy needles I 1) don’t break them and 2) can knit backwards on the heel turn – something I’ve been dying to put into practice.

~ My Birthday ~

This post is getting pretty long, so thank you for hanging in there. I guess, from a knitting perspective, the best way to get what you want for your birthday is make a list. Non knitters have no clue what to get you, and how could they? So, to avoid getting two bags of yarn that someone got for $2.00 at a yard sale and thought it was priceless, make a list 😉

One more amazing thing friends and neighbors! I did get an AMAZING birthday present from a near and dear friend of mine that I am dying to brag about. May I present….MY NEW YARN PET!

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Almost 1,000 words and time to sign off. Have a great rest of your weekend and I hope to see you all really, really soon!

Knitting Panic Monster & Finished Objects


Max admonishing me for not knitting my sock.

Max admonishing me for not knitting my sock.

I was sitting in a waiting room today, mindlessly knitting on a project when it struck me….I appear to be suffering from knitting ADHD. Usually, my best brainwaves happen in the shower – years of showering in the dark, preparing to make my body think it is nighttime and thus time to think, removes all the fuzz from my brain. But sitting in this waiting room today it just hit me: I am afraid to finish my big projects because I am afraid I am going to muck them up.

This is silly. My Panic Monster may be in fine form lately but I refuse to be beaten by the means of that little bugger. So going home I told my husband I was going to finish two projects today – turns out I finished three. 🙂

Sock 1 of 2.

Sock 1 of 2.

So this is the first sock of my third pair. I am no longer really following a pattern – just taking bits and pieces from a lot of patterns to find something that I like. Despite doing the toe decreases a little wonkily the sock fits like a dream! I also really like Patons Jacquards – this on is the Aqua Jacquard, and working with size 2.25mm needles really isn’t that scary.

The Boneyard Shawl is FINISHED!!!!

The Boneyard Shawl is FINISHED!!!!

11474926796_8640bc545cThis, friends and neighbors, is my finished Boneyard Shawl! It is a free pattern on Ravelry by Stephen West (he was the one who designed the Dustland Hat, which is awesome) and I love it! I should be embarrassed to show a picture of it before it’s bath and block, but I am so excited that I finally finished it. I did the Russian Lace Bind Off for Cast On, Bind Off which is gloriously stretchy, and the yarn is Bernat Mosaic in Aura. I don’t really like this yarn to be honest, but the color progression is lovely, so I will forgive it. Again, it was another long-term project that was languishing in my cabinet, just waiting for me to put in a couple of hours and finish it.

My Design!

My Design!

This super bulky, cabled cowl is one of the first of (hopefully many) my designs. I geared up my noggin, picked up some sticks and string and let it rip 😉

It was knitted on size 15US needles with Lions Brand Hometown USA in Little Rock Granite. It may be acrylic yarn but it knit up really nicely, and more importantly handles the two cable needles and 9 stitch cable really well. The only problem I’ve encountered is the seaming, everything lines up perfectly but there is that little row where the sewing shows – if you’re looking. Which…I am.

I would really like to write-up the pattern but don’t think I should until I figure out the seam – what would be the point of putting it out there without a way to finish it seamlessly? Hmm….I find the whole thing a little baffling.

One day, three projects and I feel like attacking everything in my knitting cabinet. I was fortunate that my WIP cabinet is in our den, if it was still in the basement the burst pipe would have taken all this work. Now I just have to tackle that sweater….and with that friends and neighbors, I will leave you with my thoughts on that!

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Photo Heavy Custom Order Progress!


This order came in from a nurse who works with my Mom. She is a hunter who wanted 1. Something warm 2. Something aqua (I suppose so she won’t get confused for a deer) and that was all….the design was all mine!

** The Scarf **

Now the pictures are not great….or even good, but I had to do a quick job so I could get it to my Mom’s and out for delivery. The stitch pattern makes it look like rib on one side and a basket weave on the other. Simple and fun, easy to knit and super easy to memorize. Which is great, because it was about 82″ long.

** THE BEANIE **

10126777146_aed6f77051So I found the idea for this pattern on Ravelry, it’s called Claudia and it was perfect. I just decided that I wanted to make it mine.

I changed the cast-on edge for the ribbing. I elongated and doubled the band so it was super thick, gotta stay warm for hunting. I kept the trellis cable the same but again elongated the body by about another inch. The customer (I need to call her something else, customer sounds sooo pretentious) has a lot of hair and needed a hat that would fit over her hair being pulled up. To finish, I did a super long decrease – adding another inch and changing the stitch pattern for the finishing. It looks a little silly on the dummy head but it fits like a dream!

I am really happy with how it turned out. It hadn’t had a bath or been blocked when I took the pics, I did that my Mom’s house, but you get the basic idea. It blocked out far less pointy and the stitches really popped when it was stretched. I tried on the hat before I washed it and I will most assuredly be making this for myself in the near future.

So that’s it for me friends and neighbors, how about you….any projects you are just dying to get on your needles/hook/sewing machine/ etc.? I want to hear!

My First Real Big, Bad Frogging Experience


If you’ve perused this blog lately, this photo may look familiar to you. . . .

20131004-052842.jpgNice huh? Well, not anymore!

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The brioche stitch is something I have never done before, so of course I thought I would try it for the custom order. I am looking at this particular order as a great learning experience, so why not try something new…and throw in a cable…and use two strands of yarn…

This is not easy, I am not sure why but it just isn’t. The pattern base is set up knitting the first and last stitch and in-between knitting (sl1, yo, k2tog). This shouldn’t be difficult, but for some reason I was dropping stitches left and right and then left again. I threw in a lifeline and thought “Hey! We’re in business!”

I had almost five feet (yes – 5 feet…:() when my lifeline broke while I was working a cable. I spent about…oh, I dunno, 2 hours wrestling with trying to get it back on the needles. I loved the look, I loved feel and I didn’t want to let it go. It was the moment I accepted defeat that I pulled out my niddy-noddy and used it for something that just shattered my knitting soul.

10092860745_fc80d50bcfAnd so I frogged two days and five feet of work. I didn’t shed a tear – but I cursed like a drunk sailer on leave discovering they’ve landed in a place with no women. I am re-knitting the yarn in a straight brioche to get the rhythm of it, then I am going back to this pattern and I am going to knit the (censored) out of it!

I do want to share, in my defense, the factors that may have contributed to the utter failure of this scarf:

  1. I was using two strands held together for thickness.
  2. The two strands are acrylic (as asked for by the customer – sever allergies).
  3. My cable needle was too small to hold all those stitches.
  4. I was using plastic needles, so everything was slippery – and NOT in a good way.
  5. I used a frayed piece of leftover yarn as my lifeline.
  6. I bit off more than I could chew.

So I’ve learned my lesson friends and neighbors, don’t knit off more than you can chew. Ambition and learning is great don’t get me wrong, but some times you have to start at the very beginning to get a handle on it. Has this every happened to you? Have you tried to skip the necessary learning steps and made a massive mistake? Or on the way more optimistic hand did it work for you?

Cannot wait to hear from you, and thanks for reading – it still blows my mind that you do! 🙂

Custom Order Progress Update! Three Very Ambitious Hats!


I feel so lucky to be working on this custom order. You know, having quoted such a low price (all my fault) has really taken a lot of the pressure off. Which is strange, because this is some of the most intricate knitting I’ve done it a while. Wanna see? I wanna share!! (the last one may be my favorite!♥)

** Fancy Cables for a 3 Year Old **

 

9879546385_b0428e52fe_oThis toddler-sized cabled hat was…ridiculous, but in the best way possible! Every section has a new cable to look at, which as a knitter is always a bonus for me. The yarn may be 100% acrylic, but a little guy is going to be wearing it, so my guilt is minimal. Also, despite the rumors, after it is washed – it really is much softer. Plus, I’m only charging $5.00 a hat. 🙂

 

** RIBS AND CABLES TO GROW IN TO **

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This is probably the least interesting of all the hats I’ve been making. Following the same idea I followed with the Honeycomb Hat, I picked a rib stitch and a cable stitch and let my needles fly. I even used the same decrease. There is an odd sense of satisfaction with creating something all on your own, although I am sure some other knitter has already done it. Either way, it is another hat off my needles.

** THE BABY HAT I WOULD MAKE FOR MY (IMAGINARY) BABY **

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There are a million reasons that I am in love with this patchwork knitted hat. I love the color changes. I love that all eight panels are different. I love the little fluff at the top of that hat that you get with a simple running stitch. More than anything I love how this hat told my knitting story.

You start with the garter stitch, the first thing you learn as a knitter. Moving on to stockinette and then seed stitch. These were my go to’s for probably my first whole year of knitting (I had a limited imagination, as well as very limited time to learn). The next panel is actually the wrong side of twisted ribbing, the first thing I every really messed up as a knitter. The whole hat was inside out and I didn’t notice! So I went back and learn the basic rib stitch to allow my confidence to grow back. After getting a handle on how knits and purls changed texture I added the basket weave stitch to my go-to dishcloth pattern. With my confidence reignited I went back to the twisted rib stitch, this time correctly! To finish it off was learning the basic cable – and it’s all history after that.

I will fully admit that this hat made me cry a little. Goofy, I know. I just imagined myself pregnant, knitting a hat like this to bring Trevor and I’s baby home in. I don’t know if that will ever happen (although I am a bit of a pessimist where this is concerned), but a hat that shows knitting progression just felt like life progressing. The thought that our lives will progress without a child can quite literally take my breath away. However, I will gladly take giving it to someone else, letting them bring home a baby in a hat made with unconditional love.

End of diatribe.

Well that’s it for me friends and neighbors, although I may have blown my blogging load and it’s only Monday! How about you, where are you getting your knitting/blogging inspiration this week?

My First Custom Order!


First, here is are the pictures of that adorable baby hat I whipped up for my Dad’s friend.

Secondly, here is a the finished product of my Baby Sophisticate Sweater. I am super proud of this little guy – I cannot wait to gift it!

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Progress…

Finished!

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

You’ve heard it here first friends and neighbors, I have received my first custom order! Best part, it is not a “custom order” for ruffles! I have been presented with the opportunity to make five hats and two scarves in whatever fashion I want! It has been so exciting so far, I’ve been in every stitch dictionary and design book that I own – or my local library can provide.

There is never a downside to an order, but there is a way to self-sabatage your business. I quoted the lowest price that I could think of (thinking that they would say no! you are far to talented!). Seriously, what goes through my head, I’ll never know! Either way, this is the first opportunity to really knit my heart out and show off what I can do.

The hats are for three children: ages six, three and 5 months. The hat and scarves combinations are for two adult females. This is what I’ve done so far. I created a hat for a three year old from a circular needle stitch pattern book complete with the easiest hat closure possible.

By the way...it's actually purple.

By the way…it’s actually purple.

I am thinking of putting the pattern on my Ravelry page, but it just seems like that pattern would be a little to obvious. So I will see what you think! Here is the pattern:

** FREE PATTERN **

→ For worsted-weight yarn – going down to baby weight you will need to find the correct gauge (for me it was increasing by 32 stitches and going down a needle size).

→ CO 88 stitches (any multiple of 8 will work) on size 6US (4mm) needles – 16″ Circular
→ K1, P1 across for 8 rounds.
→ Switch to size 7US (4.5mm) 16″ circular needles.

Repeat the following 12 rounds three (3) times. (this was how long it took me to get my height)

  1. Knit
  2. Knit
  3. Knit
  4. Knit
  5. *4st. Left Cable, 4st. Right Cable* rep. till end of round. (front to back cable pattern)
  6. Knit
  7. Knit
  8. Knit
  9. Knit
  10. Knit
  11. *4st Right Cable, 4st. Left Cable* rep. till end of round. (back to front cable pattern)
  12. Knit
  • 4st. Left Cable – 2sts on cable needle, hold front, knit two stitches from left needle, knit 2sts off cable needle.
  • 4st. Right Cable – 2sts on cable needle, hold back, knit two stitches from left needle, knit 2sts off cable needle.

→ Switch to DPNs when needed.

  1. *K2, K2tog* rep. till end of round.
  2. Knit
  3. *K1, K2tog* rep. till end of round.
  4. Knit
  5. *K2tog* rep. till end of round.
  6. Cut 12″ tail and sew up remaining stitches tightly to avoid a hole.

Simple! Too simple to put on my page though? I dunno – child sizes with worsted weight yarn is almost always between 82-92 stitches and the cable is just following a book. Well, I am very pleased with how it turned out.

So along with the KAL, I have a custom order and tons of ruffles. I’ve gotta say, I am really in my happy place right now! What about you friends and neighbors? What gets you into your happy place?

Knitting Emergency and Attack of the Panic Monster!


Beware friends and neighbors, there is about the be a full on attack from the Panic Monster….

This is Why You Don't Buy Cheap Needles

This is Why You Don’t Buy Cheap Needles

Now, I know this may have happened to many of you out there, but this has never happened to me. I am sitting, drinking my coffee and working a round of particularly demanding cables when BOOM! there goes my needle off the cord. Stitches are flying, cables are unraveling and my mind has just jumped into OCD Panic Monster mode.

Serves you right for buying cheap needles Rachel. This wouldn’t have happened with nicer needles. How are you planning on fixing your epic failure here? Hmm…you probably don’t know how to. Best to just frog the whole hat and start over, you’ll never figure it out.

– Panic Monster

So, sitting here I am faced with a dilemma, do I try to figure out how to get the stitches back on the needled or do I frog? Well, first I needed to pace the house a bit to calm down…then do the dishes…then clean the bath tub… After doing so I managed to save all the stitches in the goofiest fashion ever.

Needles and Cords Held Together...sans Harmony.

Needles and Cords Held Together…sans Harmony.

After saving the stitches and ensuring they were back on the needles/cord correctly I felt pretty good about myself.

Then came my next problem.

The needles I was using were a size 3, and I don’t have another pair of size 3 needles. Usually the idea – even in this situation – of going out to buy new needles would have been delightful, but there has been a stop put on:

  • Buying new yarn.
  • Buying new tools.
  • Buying new books.
  • Buying anything that isn’t absolutely necessary!

So…cannot afford to buy new needles, big deal right? Well, yes. It is a big deal. It makes me feel so small knowing that I cannot afford to buy something so simple as a new pair of needles to fix my project. I was so enjoying doing this hat and now the only way to finish it is to put it on a pair of size 4 needles and pray that you cannot tell the difference in the gauge. I am crestfallen, 28 years old and I cannot afford to buy a new pair of needles.

Back on the Needles. Just on the Wrong Size.

Back on the Needles. Just on the Wrong Size.

I keep reminding myself that this is bullshit (pardon my language), and temporary. I don’t have cancer, no one has died, and money isn’t everything. I’ve never even really considered it a big thing – but then we’ve always both had jobs. I just wish the store would sell something or I could get a part-time job where I could bring in some extra money. I feel like I am letting my husband down, and it is a wicked bad feeling. I just never expected to be financially responsible for so many people (my niece (kinda), my mother and father in law, my husband and myself…and Max).

GET A GRIP RACHEL!

Okay…I’m back. So the hat is on bigger needles, the world will continue to turn and I am strung so tightly that gauge shouldn’t be an issue ;). So, I will hopefully finish this hat today so I can post about it tomorrow with the new stitch pattern. Until then, please enjoy the newest bird that has come to visit our feeder.

Footloose and Fancy Free Bird. Lucky Bastard! (Again, sorry about the language).

Footloose and Fancy Free Bird. Lucky Bastard! (Again, sorry about the language).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Distractions


As anyone who has been made redundant, or has lived with someone who has lost their job you’ll understand that it can make someone quite jittery. As good as a mood as I’ve been it, it has been a bit hard to keep my focus on just one thing – my mind is a tad jumpy these days. I am combating all this with a few simple (or lots of not so simple, depending on how you look at it) things to keep my mind busy.

˜From My iPod to My Ears˜

  • In audiobook world I am listening to Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. I always wanted to read this book, but the epic tome is over 1,400 pages long and more than a little daunting. When I found the audiobook at the library I was delighted to see that the narrator was well-known and well-respected, so I snatched it up. Twenty-nine, yes 29 CDs later he was all queued up for my listening pleasure – which so far it has been.
  • The xx are my go to band for pumping me up. I know all the words to every song, both on xx and Coexist. Sometimes you need to sing out loud – in some cases very loud – to relieve unwanted stress. I just try to be careful that I am not causing anyone else any stress with my singing! *Blushing*
  • The Complete Goldberg Variations on Bach by Glenn Gould is another one of those things that I just couldn’t live without knowing it exists. Spanning several decades (1955-1981) the recordings are fantastic, you can hear Gould talking in the background (which doesn’t take me out of the moment) and the music is divine. I can do anything with this playing in the background – if anything it helps me concentrate. I am so glad I grew up with a next door neighbor that played in the symphony, I’m a total classical music whore! (Yup, try to reconcile that statement in your mind 😉

˜On My Bedside Table˜

If you thought I was monogamous with my knitting, you should see how many books I balance at any given time!

  • Platform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt was recommended to me when I first opened my Etsy shop ( I dearly wish I could remember the blogger). Non fiction that reads like a college text-book, it outlines the best ways to start a business – and more importantly how to be successful in this endeavor. Mine is highlighted, bookmarked, written in, post-it-ed and anything else you can imagine. I like going back and rereading certain sections when I feel it is necessary.
  • Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris is also non-fiction, but of the short (and mind-blowingly hysterical) essay style. This is great to read before bed when you know you won’t be able to log serious reading time. Just read an essay, wipe the tears from your eyes from laughing too hard and turn out the light.
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin is something I never expected to get into. I was at a baby shower for a friend of mine (she’s on her fourth baby by the way) and she ranted and raved about how good these books are. So I figured if someone with four kids had time to read, and enjoy, these books then I should give it a go. So far it is actually quite enjoyable – I just hope it keeps it up, once I start a series it is a OCD thing that I have to finish it. This means if it sucks, I suck it up. So….fingers crossed!

˜On My Knitting Needles˜

So many projects, so many different gauges and techniques needed – I love variety. If I had to knit just one thing at a time my poor head would explode, I need the option to change routes when A) my hand is sore B) I simply cannot do another cable or color change or C) I want to watch a movie at the same time.

  • Men’s Cabled Beanie – This one is great because every row is different, no repeats on this baby. I tend to gravitate to this pattern when I need a solid distraction from the world. Just me, my needles and my counting.
  • Roman Pillar Baby Blanket – This is a 6 row repeat that I just can’t seem to finish – it’s like I develop ADD the moment I pick up the needles. Luckily, there is only 7 more inches to go. I just need to push through.
  • Length Wise Linen Stitch Scarf – Nice and neat, easy to repeat. I like working on this sucker when I am watching TV or find my mind is a little distracted. It is also great to work on in the car when going to see my mother and father-in-law.
  • The Fault in Our Stars Scarf – I have no idea what I was thinking when I casted on seventy (70) stitches in the round for this scarf. All I know is that Gloria and I loved the idea, wanted it made and so shall it be. I just have no clue how long it is going to take, knitting endlessly in the round can be really tedious.
  • Another OSU Buckeye Hat – You guessed it, a family member asked me to make them (for free…grr…) the hat I have on my Etsy shop site. Since I have no backbone – and I was in a spectacular mood this week, I relented. I am just hoping for good word of mouth at this point.

˜In Which I List Everything Else I Do to Keep From Pulling My Hair Out˜

  • Learning to spin.
  • Working – Have I ever mentioned my job? Eh, it’s not really worth mentioning.
  • Playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf – OCD porn I tell you! Collect things, cross them off lists….amazing. Plus, Gloria loves it so when I play too much or too long I just send it to her house.
  • Cleaning the house.
  • Organizing my workroom.
  • Cooking all sorts of new things, within our budget of course.
  • Long walks.
  • Taking/Editing loads of photographs.
  • Gardening and drying fresh herbs.
  • And of course…Making Lists.

I think that may be all I have to start this Monday morning with a bang. I sincerely hope I haven’t bored you into a coma. It feels good to write, to share – cathartic is the wrong word but the best I can come up with at the moment.

So, friends and neighbors, what do you do to keep yourselves busy? I love new ideas!

Slouchy Hats & My Happy Places


Sometimes I search out comfort, things that resonate in my mind as safe and inviting. Tea with orange blossom honey, my grandmother’s lemon meringue pie or even better, a good book.

There are some books that just holding them brings back a flood of memories and a sensation of falling into a time when life was just less complicated. The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss was the first romance book I ever read and it was enjoyed by the fireplace because we had lost power to the blizzard that took over the entire midwest that year. Perfect setting for romance I might add. When my grandfather was dying, I turned to The Stand by Stephen King. It may seem an odd choice, it’s content largely based around life and death, but the characters being so rich, so familiar brought ease to my troubled mind.

Certain things just bring us back to a place where we can be fearless, where we can handle anything. I am a lucky girl, because I can add knitting to the list of happy places.

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My Happy Place Hat

For the life of me, I have no idea where this pattern came from. I have looked through all my books, magazines and scoured knitting websites looking for its origin. All I have is a pattern my scrawl to go by – Bonus for you because I am going to put it at the bottom of the page though!

This was the first hat I made in the round, the first project that had cables in it and the knitted object I have made the most. I have made dozens of these hats, they fly off my needles and into my friends and families hands like hotcakes. Even my niece wanted her own, which made me giddy. So, when I am stressed or need to feel like a superhero, I do this pattern.

As an added bonus to saving time knitting, I spent more time with Photoshop than I think is healthy. I have all the books I can handle and have been playing around with it all night. So you get to see the fruits of my labor, misguided and goofy as they may be. This is the best way to learn I suppose, trying things over and over till you feel you got it down. I am most certainly not there yet, but hey….step in the right direction.

Sure, it’s amateur hour here at All Night Knits but who cares? It was fun to play around with the filters, concentrations, hues, saturation, blah blah blah…yada yada yada. I was working my way through an instructional book and it built up my confidence – a bit. Either way, it feel like a step in the right direction

* * * * * * * *

The Pattern

(If you find this pattern’s origin, please contact me and let me know. I want to acknowledge its creator and thank them for years of fantastic knitting!)

Needles: Sizes 9US and 11US

Yarn: Worsted

The Cables: C3 over 3 Left: Slip 3 Sts. onto cable needle, hold in back, K3, K3 from cable needle.        C3 over3 Right: Slip 3 Sts. onto cable needle, hold in front, K3, K3 from cable needle.

With size 9 Needles, Cast on 72 Stitches (long tail cast on). Join in the round and Place stitch marker.

Knit 5 rows in 1by 1 (K1,P1) .

Change to size 11 Needles and work cable pattern as follows:

-Rounds 1-4, 6-10 and 12: Knit

-Round 5: *C3 over 3 Left, K3. Repeat from * till end of round.

-Round 11: * K3, C3 over 3 Right. Repeat from * till end of round.

Work rounds 1-12 1(one) time as written above.

-Next round (increasing round): *K2, M1. Repeat from * to end of round.

-Work rows 2-12 of cable pattern one time, then work rows 1-6 one time.

-Next round Being Decreasing: *K7, K2tog, K7, SSK. Repeat from * to end of round.

-Next round: *K6, K2tog, K6, SSK. Repeat from * to end of round.

-Next round: *K5, K2tog, K5, SSK. Repeat from * to end of round.

– Next round: Work row 11 from Cable Pattern the work one round even.

-Next round: K10, K2tog till end of round.

-Next round: K9, K2tog till end of round.

-Next round: K8, K2tog till end of round

-Next round: K7, K2tog till end of round.

Continue in this manner decreasing your knit stitches by one until you K2tog across the round, Leaving you with 6 sts.

Cut a long tail and weave through live stitches twice. Pull tight and weave in the ends.

Block lightly over a plate or pie tin by lightly misting the hat.

* * * * * * * *

So there it is friends and neighbors, I hope you enjoy the pattern as much as I did. I wonder, is there anyone out there reading this that has a happy place? Found in either a place, food, book, pattern or the multitude of things I didn’t list? Please share if you would like to, I would love to listen!