Tag Archives: Susan Ashcroft

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 🙂

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A Month of Knitting: Part 2


For someone who complains about having no time to knit, I sure get a lot of it done! There is this space of time, usually when I am at my mother and father-in-law’s house that things just seem to get done. Most of the Instagram  pics I take are there, although my blanket tends to go where I go. If you are interested in seeing what I am doing in real time, I suggest Instagram – that seems the easiest way to keep up with knitting. Plus, there is always awesome eye candy there. 😉

Okay, so here we go.

Opal Socks.

Opal Socks.

Patons Socks

Patons Socks

Trevor and I's Matching Socks.

Trevor and I’s Matching Socks.

  • Pattern: All variations on The Knitmore Girl’s Vanilla Socks. (#sockswithsarah)
  • Yarn: Opal Bicolor in 5503 (being discontinued), Patons Kroy FX in Cameo Colors, Patons Kroy Stripes in Blue Gray Marl.
  • Verdict? : I love making socks, I just love it. These are my brainless knitting socks – I just cast on and go with it. Trevor finally got his first pair of socks and it chomping at the bit for a another pair – I am so happy to oblige!
Afterthought Heel

Afterthought Heel

  • Pattern: AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman
  • Yarn: Patons Kroy Stripes in Bramble Stripes
  • Verdict? : I love how the afterthought heel looks, but making it was a little unnerving. I didn’t do a true afterthought heel (where you…shiver….cut your knitting) but rather where you place waste yarn and join. The second sock went much smoother that the first, by then I had figured out that I needed to pick up more stitches to avoid any unsightly holes. I am going to wear these socks as much as possible before I do another pair – they just don’t seem a sturdy as a gusset. But the pattern itself was written very well and it was fun to try something new.
I like filters…teehee

I like filters…teehee

16 Cable Hat

16 Cable Hat

  • Pattern: 16 Sixteen Cable Hat by Circé Belles Boucles
  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Plum Heather
  • Verdict? : I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern. There are really only four cable rows (five if you do the slouchy, which I did) and the effect is so dramatic. I had purchased this pattern forever ago and *slouching with disgust* forgot about it. I was surfing patterns one night and was like “Why can’t I have money to buy this beautiful pattern! Blast!” – before I realized that I already owned the pattern. The hat took two days to make and as soon as I bound off I wanted to cast on again, and again, and again. Five stars to this pattern!
Love Train

Love Train

  • Pattern: Love train by Susan Ashcroft
  • Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids in Charcoal
  • Verdict? : Since this is the third Susan Ashcroft pattern I’ve made in a month there is obviously not enough good things to say about her stuff. I got this ebook from a friend who wanted two of the four shawls made for her. (I promised I would not take photos of her finished objects as she is claiming she made them herself 😉 ). The yarn wasn’t great, but it was far from bad. All in all this shawl, which is going to be a very merry Christmas present for ______ cost about $5.00. It is nice and stretchy and the yarn is very soft, not to shabby!
Mikado Cowl

Mikado Cowl

  • Pattern: Mikado Cowl by Susan Ashcroft (I am sensing a pattern here)(HA! PUN!)
  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft in Seafoam
  • Verdict?: LOVE! Just another Stitchnerd design that made me fingers sing. I actually made this in one day, I just kept thinking that I had to see it finished as soon as possible! I have already given this one to a friend and my Mom wants two more to give as Christmas presents. It’s a great deal – she buys the yarn and I get to knit the pattern and throw a card into her package.
25 Hexipuffs

25 Hexipuffs

  • Pattern: Beekeeper’s Quilt by Stephanie Dosen
  • Yarn: Oh so many….
  • Verdict? : Needs its own blog post.

So there is March’s finished objects. There are always other things chilling on my needles that I haven’t shown yet, but hopefully I will be back soon. The most important thing about blogging/knitting/spinning is that you can’t allow it to make you feel guilty – it’s here to be enjoyed. Friends and neighbors, I am going to try to remember that blogging is fun again and I hope to see you again soon.

A Month of Knitting: Part 1


It’s been over a month since I last posted, hard to believe given that I used to be so devoted to keeping up with it. The thing is, when time is precious you begin to…covet it. When I’m not working, with family or friends I want  to be knitting or spinning. It’s even stranger because as I am knitting I am actually thinking about writing about it. What to say, questions to ask, things to share – these things bubble in my mind and quickly as my needles navigate the fiber.

So in the interest of keeping up with the blog I am no longer going to pressure myself into doing it, I am going to let it be something that is enjoyable and not just another obligation. That being said, I cannot wait to share all the shenanigans that I’ve gotten into this past month. Hope your still reading friends and neighbors – and I hope it was worth the wait.

The Bend Hat

The Bend Hat

  • Project: The Bend Hat – Event Charity/Single Skein in Ravellenic Games
  • Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft – about 175 yards worth.
  • Verdict?: I really like the pattern, but the ribbing was a bit big for my taste. I will definitely make this again – just shorten the brim by half.
Cross Timbers

Cross Timbers

  • Pattern: Cross Timbers by Alexis Winslow
  • Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Plum Heather and Dark Gray
  • Verdict? : I really loved this for my first colorwork pattern. I did, however, block it till it screamed and it was still too tight. I used the largest amount of stitches called for, but if it doesn’t block for me (oh please let it block for me!) the I will know to add pattern repeats to make the circumference bigger. It still came out to 11” length wise so I don’t know if this is what’s suppose to happen or if I knitted too tightly – even though after watching I went up a needle size.
Gloria's Doctor Who Mitts

Gloria’s Doctor Who Mitts

  • Pattern: Rose Tyler’s Fingerless Mittens by Dana Berry
  • Yarn: Zitron Trekking 6 fach 6 ply in 1806 Blue Grey
  • Verdict? : I really enjoyed this pattern. The chart was well written and the mitts look just like the ones from Doctor Who (except not pink – Gloria would hate pink). When I make them again for myself, I am going to knit the back section instead of purling. I don’t think that it will change the integrity of the pattern and I hate purling in the round on such small needles.
Leaves on the Line

Leaves on the Line

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  • Pattern: Leave on the Line by Susan Ashcroft
  • Yarn: Casscade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in Fall (9801)
  • Verdict? : I LOVE Susan Ashcroft! If I had the funds I would buy every pattern she has ever written and make them all at least four times. The idea of measuring your yarn for a pattern is freaking ingenious. You get the most out of your expensive skein of yarn. I cannot wait to give this to my Aunt Kathy!!
Purl Ridge Cowl

Purl Ridge Cowl

  • Purl Ridge Cowl by Stephen West
  • Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Midnight in Misty
  • Verdict? : Great pattern – totally brainless and ends up looking far more intricate that it actually is. It is also a great stash-busting project and I will be making loads of these for the holidays.

So here is part one. There was a lot more knitting going on than I thought, so breaking it up seemed the best idea. I hope your still there friends and neighbors – I know I’ve been a crummy blogger but I am at least going to try to get caught up with your blogs. Missing your blogs is like missing a friend, it hurts and it’s super annoying!

 

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 Incredibly Heartbreaking Story of How I Came By My First Skein of Malabrigo


Has there every been a time in your life that you really, truly wished there were hidden cameras recording the moment for posterity? Well on January 29th such a day happened to me at my new Local Yarn Store. I want to share with you the story as close to verbatim as I can, because the incredible oddness of it was blessedly unique.

~Setting the Stage~

I was sitting at a long table at the front of the shop. I had come in for a bar of Lo-lo to Go (which was 75% off) but remained lingering – throughly content to fondle the yarn and work on my pattern.

A woman comes in through the back entrance with a cake of (yummy) yarn in her hand. The weather is crummy, we are actually just a few hours from getting 10.5″ of more snow and she was obviously in a hurry. Here is the conversations that ensued. 

  • Woman: I would like to return this please. I don’t have the tags but I remember what it is and I should be in your system.
  • Clerk: I am so sorry but we cannot accept returns on yarn that has been caked.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk:  I wish that there was something I could do but there is no way to inventory it.
  • Woman: ….
  • Clerk: If you’d like I can suggest a pattern for you to…
  • Woman: I only buy one project worth of yarn at a time and I decided not to do a project with sock yarn. I am going to use worsted yarn, so I cannot use this.
  • Clerk: (makes desperate eye contact with yours truly) I am sure that we can modify the pattern you are doing so you can use sock yarn. Let me have a look, Rachel – what do you think.
  • Me: I love modifying things!

I walk over to the checkout counter and the strap on my purse breaks, spilling the contents of my purse all over the floor. I laugh but the woman is looking at me strangely, strangely enough that it actually makes  me nervous. The clerk is pulling up the pattern on Ravelry when the woman turns her full attention to me….

  • Woman: What’s your name?
  • Me: Rachel, what’s yo….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a stash?
  • Me: Um, yes I d…(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you knit with sock yarn?
  • Me: Yes. (I have temporarily given up on more than one word answers)
  • Woman: Do you like this yarn?
  • Me: Yes, it’s lovel….(cut off)
  • Woman: Do you have a project that could use this yarn to the best of it’s abilities?
  • Me: Um…
  • Woman: A pattern. Do you have one planned?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Woman: What is it?
  • Me: The Hogwarts Express Shawl
  • Woman: And who is it by?
  • Me: Susan Ashcroft.
  • Woman: When did you buy the pattern?
  • Me: I didn’t. It was a gift for my birthday from a very dear f….(cut off).
  • Woman: When was your birthday?
  • Me: December 27th…? (at this point I wasn’t sure)
  • Woman: Let me see your queue.

At this point the store clerk is staring at me with open mouth amazement. She hands me her iPad and I pull up my queue. There was the message from my gifter and the pattern.

  • Woman: Here you are. (She’s handing me the freaking cake)
  • Me: I cannot just take this, at least let me buy your worsted yarn (I didn’t have the money for this, but I was flummoxed and I did owe her one).
  • Woman: Do I look poor to you?
  • Me: Uhhh…No. (she didn’t – but then neither do I)
  • Woman: I can afford my own yarn thank you. Here are the specifications on the yarn (she pulls a scrap of paper out of her purse). Just do me a favor.
  • Me: Uhh….anything!
  • Woman: Let this be your next finished project. Go home and cast it on, and use it. I hate languishing yarn.
  • Me: Okay…

At this point she turns back to the befuddled store clerk and lists, which such precise clarity the yarn brand/weight/name/quantity that she needs. The clerk all but runs away to go get the items the woman asked for, leaving me alone with the woman. I was planning on thanking her again and giving her my Ravelry name so she could see the FO when she said….

  • Woman: My daughter was on Xanax.

I am confused, then I realize that when my purse spilled open my own anti-anxiety medication bottle fell out of my purse – she must have seen it.

  • Woman: She committed suicide several years ago when she quit taking her medicine. She lost her job and lost interest in everything she did – I didn’t notice.
  • Me: I am so sorry….
  • Woman: Can you do me one more favor?
  • Me: Anything.
  • Woman: Tell the people you love to pay attention if you cannot list, on the spot, something you are passionate about. To pay attention if you quit doing something you so obviously love. Tell them to pay attention.
  • Me: I promise.

Friends and neighbors, thank you for letting me share this story.

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!