Monday, September 1, 2014

Louet Fall Collection: Emin by Anne Podlesak

Photo © Caro Sheridan
I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend; I am excited to be today's stop for the Louet Fall Collection Blog tour! If you haven't seen their new fall collection, click here to check it out on the Louet Blog. There are plenty of knit-worthy sweaters and accessories for fall (and even some crochet-worthy ones, too!).

When I signed up for the tour, I immediately went digging through my yarn stash to find all of my GEMS yarn - turns out, I have quite a bit of Sport on hand! As luck would have it, I had the exact same color of yarn shown for the Emin Cowl, Hat, and Mittens; it also happens to be one of my absolute favorite colors.

Though you probably noticed that all three pieces are listed separately on Ravelry, the actual pattern includes instructions to make all 3, making the $7.50 purchase price an absolute steal!

There are two size options for the cowl, and I made the smaller version, which is a close-fitting 20" circumference that will be great for layering under a scarf or wearing around the house. I ended up knitting the entire project in just 3 days; I'm sure folks who practice project monogamy could even finish it faster than that!

The smaller-sized cowl took less than a skein of yarn, and the larger size (40" circumference)  calls for two. Should you want to make a matching hat or mittens, you'll need 2 more skeins of yarn (one for the hat and one of the mittens).

The stitch pattern is charted and it's ideal for cabling without a cable needle, which I opted to do for my project. It was fairly easy to memorize and keep track of where I was in the chart simply by looking at my work, which is probably why it knit up so fast.

The only modification I made was in the cast-on; while the pattern calls for the long-tail cast-on, I opted to use the crochet cast-on because it more closely matches the bound-off edge (note: while pretty much every tutorials talks about using this cast-on provisionally with waste yarn, I highly recommend trying it with your actual yarn to create a nice, neat edge without using a ton of yarn!).

Given the circumference of the smaller size, however, it does seem like a stretchier cast-on such as the one called for is way more appropriate. I happen to have a pretty small head, so my finished cowl is quite easy to slip on and off, but I wouldn't recommend substituting a less stretchy cast-on if you are concerned about fit.

The stitch definition provided by the high twist of the GEMS yarn is quite striking, as you can see in the photo above. In addition to textured stitches, it's also great for colorwork and stripes, as I discovered with my own recent design in GEMS, the Chittery Chattery Socks.

If you're planning on gift knitting this holiday season, GEMS is a superwash yarn that is soft enough for next-to-skin wear, yet hard-wearing and pill resistant. You can find out more about GEMS here on the Louet blog!

Friday, August 29, 2014

FO Friday: New Free Crochet Pattern & Zoom Loom Turtle

I'm so excited to share my newest pattern with you today, which also happens to be my first-ever crochet pattern!

Ever since I got into crocheting amigurumi, I've been wanting to create a sister version of my knitted Button Bunnies pattern. After months (and maybe even years) of having this in my design queue, the Crochet Button Bunny is born! I used Maxima and Clasica yarns from Manos Del Uruguay, both of which are single-ply worsted weight yarns, which are ideal for crocheting - no splitting plies as you work. They're dyed in an array of beautiful colors at co-ops in Uruguay, and all Manos yarns are certified Fair Trade, which is pretty cool!

Click here to get the FREE pattern on the Knitter's Pride blog! 

My other FO this week is another Zoom Loom Turtle, which I made with destash yarn using the instructions from the DJE Handwovens Turtle Critter Kit. These fun kits were designed especially for use with Zoom Loom swatches, and there are several different animals you can choose from (view them all here)!

I did this project as part of the Zoom-Along hosted in the Woolery Ravelry group this month. I think this turtle turned out a bit better than my original one, because I actually followed the instructions this time (what a concept, I know!). As you can see, the first turtle I made is rather flat (although still cute), while my new turtle has a nice, round shell!

Thanks for joining me this week! I will be blogging on Monday as per usual, and I have an exciting post planned - so please come check it out next week! 

Have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Project Limbo

The exciting news of this week is that the Lory Shawl is finally starting to look like something. Specifically, a shawl!

I haven't done much on my Admiralty pillow, however. As you can see, I've only added one intarsia spoke section since last week:

This week is kind of a project limbo, as I am preparing for some events which start September 1, the first one being the FreshStitches Mystery CAL. I went stash diving for my CAL yarn:

I've also been prepping for next month's Chill Chaser Cardigan KAL by swatching....and swatching....and swatching some more:

Spud & Chloe Sweater in Manatee
As you can see, I had to go up a few needle sizes on my Nova Cubics needles before I achieved the correct gauge for this sweater with US #9 needles (the pattern calls for US#7, but I am kind of a tight knitter!).
Louet GEMS Worsted in Pewter & new Trendz needles from Knitter's Pride!
In addition to two big projects which I'll be starting next week, I'm test-knitting a sweater design (for someone else) and finishing up the final two patterns for my Conversation Socks ebook. Consequently, I'm trying not to start anything new until I finish something first!

Monday, August 25, 2014

What To Do If Your Stuffie Loses An Eye

Today I'm going to share my possibly-clever tip for bringing a stuffie back from the brink of a sad, one-eyed existence. Recently, one of my "couch monsters" (also known as cat beds in these parts) lost one of his safety eyes. It just popped out one day, quite randomly!
Two-eyed couch monster: those were the days!
I suppose it was bound to happen after years of having his face kneaded into the optimum sleeping conditions by certain feline companions. I couldn't locate the washer that was undoubtedly still located inside his body, and I wasn't about to perform some sort of crazy surgery to reinstall the safety eye. So, I dreamed up the perfect fix: Piratification (trademark pending).

I crocheted him an eye patch! How had I not thought of that sooner?! It was super simple to do - here's what I did:

Using a small amount of worsted-weight yarn and an E crochet hook (I am a crazy-loose crocheter; feel free to use whatever hook size works best for your yarn and crocheting style!) and starting with magic loop, ch 2. 

SC 6 sts in second stitch from hook.
Next rnd: *SC twice in 1 st, repeat from * 5 more times - 12 sts.

I stopped here, but you could make your eye patch slightly bigger by crocheting one more round like so: *SC twice in 1 st, repeat from * 11 more times - 24 sts.

I used the yarn ends to attach to the Monster's face, then kept embroidering the strings for the eye patch completely around to the back of Mr. Monster's head.

He has now happily returned to his post as the primary cat pillow, although I did catch him having a jolly good time recently...not to propagate that whole "drunken pirate" stereotype.

Arr, Matey! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

FO Friday: Chittery Chattery Socks

Chittery Chattery Socks in Louet GEMS Sport!
Since I don't have any FO's to share today (gasp!), I thought this would be a good day to introduce my next sock design from Conversation Socks!

The Chittery Chattery Socks are knit with Louet GEMS Sport, and while they look like they’d involve a lot of fancy footwork (or rather, colorwork), but they are actually quite simple! Single-round stripes and an easy-to-memorize stitch pattern are all you need to put your best foot forward. Be prepared to get a lot of questions about these socks, because they were very popular at my knitting group!

While the stitch pattern is simple (all you need to know is how to knit and purl), what makes these socks special is the exquisite and hard-wearing yarn I chose especially for this design, Louet GEMS Sport yarn. The tight spin of the yarn not only prevents pills, but it provides for crisp color definition within the design. Plus, it comes in a variety of wearable colors so that you can dream up your own unique color combinations to suit the whole family.

If you're just joining me, here's the deal: all 5 designs are written for sport weight yarn on US #3 needles; each pattern was created with the express purpose of being simple enough for knitting on-the-go, but interesting enough to keep you engaged. These patterns are perfect for your morning commute, knit night, or a trip out of town! They don't require huge, hard-to-follow charts or incredibly complicated techniques. Instead, they take the basic building blocks that the average knitter has at their disposal to create five designs the whole family will love. 

Your feet will look so fancy!

I'm giving everyone a chance to pre-order ALL FIVE sock designs for the low price of just $12.50. I'll be releasing the remaining two patterns as editing and layout is complete, and each time that I do, the pre-order price will increase until the final pattern is released. The full collection will then be for sale for the full price of $18.

You will receive the Chittery Chattery Socks pattern pictured above plus 2 more great designs for immediate download AND automatic updates for each subsequent pattern as they are published. 

Please do click here to follow my blog or sign up for my newsletter for up-to-the-minute updates on Conversation Socks!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Deja Vu

At first glance, it would seem like I've hardly made progress on any of my WIPs since last week. It kind of feels that way, too, but perhaps that's because I spent most of the weekend working on a project that I won't be able to share for another couple of weeks. At any rate, I did manage to start the second half of my Admiralty pillow for the Holla Knits KAL:

I also finished the second welt row on my Lory Shawl:

Finally, I just have to weave 3 more Zoom Loom squares before I can assemble my second turtle for the Woolery's zoom-along!

I ordered some yarn for new projects to start soon, but have managed to avoid startitis thus far. I have a feeling I'll be making my first attempt at crocheting a Lumpy Space Princess out of this yarn I just bought from Knit Picks, however!

To prepare, I've been watching a lot of LSP clips on YouTube (in addition to getting caught up on episodes each night). I think this one has the best. apology. ever:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Join #TeamLouet for Spinzilla this fall!

Spinner registration is open now for Spinzilla and we're saving a spot for you on #TeamLouet! Last year, we cracked the top 10 for most yardage spun together as a team, and this year we'd like to exceed our 2013 total and unseat Team Fancy Tiger Craft!

To join our team for 2014, just click here to register via the TNNA website. The cost is $10, and it goes to an excellent cause to foster the spinners of tomorrow!

If you have a Louet wheel or some Louet fiber, that is great -  however, it is not a requirement for joining our team, and you'll have plenty of chances to win Louet fiber during the competition itself! This year, we'll be introducing several new awards within our own team for categories such as spinning the most natural fibers, taking the prettiest finished skein photo, and most adventurous spinner.

This year, spinners who choose to ply their singles will receive a credit which counts towards their total yardage, which is a change I myself am pretty excited about since I had a limited number of bobbins (and ended up plying several projects during Spinzilla last year).

There is also a new event-wide category called the Monster Mile Club, where each spinner who spins a mile of yarn (1,760 yards) during the event is entered into a prize drawing!

I'll be sharing more details between now and October 6, when Spinzilla kicks off. Trust me,  you'll want to be a part of it all!