Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Start All The Things (Some More)

Over the weekend, I Finished. The. Snowflake. Cowl. Instead of starting a long term project (*coughcough Liathite *coughcough*), I decided to start some short(er) term projects instead. For instance, I realized that if I wanted to knit something for my nephew who turns 3 next month, I've got to get cracking. So I picked out a pattern from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi, which Tyler got me for Christmas, and started knitting one of the pieces I could make with the yarn I had on hand until the additional colors I ordered from Knit Picks arrived.
On Monday night, I cast on a new hat project for the Quince-along, which is a KAL I heard about on the Fawn Knits Podcast and is basically a chance to knit anything you want using Quince & Co yarns for a chance to win some prizes. Who doesn't like prizes?!There are more details on all that here on Ravelry. I unearthes a skein and a half of Osprey which has been lurking in my stash for several years now, and I'm making up a hat design using some stitch patterns from the Up, Down, All Around Stitch Dictionary, since apparently 2016 is the Year of the Hat. I just can't stop knitting them!
Also started this week: a super-secret project which I can't really tell you about, but I suppose I can show you the awesome yarn I get to use:
It's River Twist from Mountain Colors, and I picked it for this design because it really reminded me of handspun yarn. Apparently each ply of the yarn is spun in its dyed form, and then the yarn is plied together to create the very colorful skein you see here - if you are fan of the barber pole effect as I am, this yarn's for you!

Also, I am still working on those BFL Tortie Cat Socks - they are inching along! I really like the yarn and how it's knitting up in the pattern. The actual stitch pattern is a little fussy, though I have simplified it bit by cabling without a cable needle. It's still a little slow going when it's time to knit the cabled row, but to be honest, I am kind of liking that aspect. It forces me to slow down and enjoy the process....weird but true!
Bonus: we got something in the way of actual snow earlier this week!
That's all I have on the needles this week. If you need some more WIP inspiration, there are some great projects being shared over in the Holla Knits group - including some SpringTastic socks-in-progress!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mini Skein Packs - Special Edition!

I thought I'd try something new in my Etsy shop - in addition to my regular 10-skein sock yarn grab bags, I have curated a five-skein pack which includes hand-picked yarns and colorways; in essence, you will know exactly what you're getting ahead of time! I'll be putting together different series in limited edition which I'm dubbing the Pirate's Packs since I'll be packaging them in cute plastic bags with a Pirate ship printed on them.
Pirate's Pack #1 contains 10-yard skeins of each of the following:

  • Ancient Arts Yarn Reinvent, spun from reclaimed luxury fibers* & (autumnal hues)
  • Sincere Sheep Equity Fingering 100% Rambouillet (blue)
  • Anzula Squishy MCN in Seaside
  • O-Wool Organic Merino 2-ply in Evergreen
  • Manos del Uruguay Alegria Sock in Maiz - certified fair trade!

I am only making 6 of these packs, and once they are gone, I'll be putting together something different to list in my shop!

Also - all Pirate's Packs ship free to US addresses via USPS First Class; Canadian shipping is available at an additional cost.

Friday, February 5, 2016

FO Friday: Baby Force Awakens

After knitting a Force Awakens hat for my husband Tyler, I thought I'd take a crack at making a baby-sized version using fingering weight yarn and smaller needles - and I'm happy to report that it worked out quite well!
I used the same number of cast on stitches specified in the pattern to make this pint-sized version using three different fingering weight yarns in my stash. Here is Tyler's hat to give you a sense of scale:
ICYMI, the Force Awakens hat is a free pattern here on Ravelry.

May the Force be with you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Sensible Knitting

Welcome back to another edition of Stuck on Skinny Yarn. The baby version of the Force Awakens hat is off the needles, but I continue to make slow yet steady progress on the Alegria Hat and Snowflake Cowl - in fact, both will probably be off the needles in a week's time!
The Sensible BFL Socks also grew a few inches since last week: 
In light of finishing a project over the weekend, I decided it was probably ok to start another hat project, so long as it wasn't with fingering weight yarn. This sportweight handspun was calling my name - you might recognize it as the yarn which I used for the yoke of my Pennant Cardigan, spun from a gradient braid of Merino/Silk roving from Fiber Optic Yarns. 
Curiously, I have to cast on for my Liathite Cardigan yet. When I measured my gauge swatches, I was slightly off, and I am still trying to decide if I want to knit another swatch on a different size of needles, or if I want to do a little math and figure out which set of numbers would make the size I want based on the gauge I am actually getting. Either option sounds like a lot of work to me, and I'd really rather engage in brainless knitting for the time being, since I've been working extra hours during the week and things have been extra crazy. Perhaps this weekend I will sit down and figure things out....

Monday, February 1, 2016

Holla Knits SpringTastic Socks KAL Kickoff!

The 3rd Annual Holla Knits KAL starts TODAY and runs through April 30, 2016! I'm heading up the project KAL for my own pattern, the SpringTastic Socks - but you you can knit any Holla Knits pattern (or patterns!) to be eligible for tons of great prizes over the next three months. Whether you like to knit accessories, or are looking to start your next sweater, there is something for everyone (click here to read more on the Holla Knits blog).
If you'd like to join the Spring-Tastic Socks KAL, check out the thread here on Ravelry - and don't forget to use the #hkkal and #springtasticsocks hashtags on your social media posts! For those of you who purchased the SpringTastic Socks pattern prior to today, your names have been automatically entered in a drawing for a skein of sock yarn - I'll be announcing the winner ASAP and will update this blog post accordingly. If you are just now discovering this KAL, don't worry - there are plenty more prizes up for grabs! 
These ankle-length socks combine easy eyelet lace with cables to create a fun-to-knit sock that is also quite fast - all the better so you can wear them right away! Even if you aren't the fastest sock knitter in the world, I am quite sure that you can finish a pair by the close of the KAL on April 30. 
If you are new to knitting socks, I highly recommend purchasing the entire issue of Holla Knits in which the pattern originally appeared so that you can also read my sock-knitting primer for beginners! In this article, I explain all of the terminology associated with sock-knitting, plus I give an overview of the various types of constructions and where you can make adjustments to fit your exact foot measurements as you knit. You can also purchase individual PDF downloads of the SpringTastic Socks here on Ravelry and here on the KnitPicks website

I look forward to seeing your sock projects!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sweater Swatching

While I'm really enjoying all of these instant-gratification projects, I think it's time to start another sweater. I've had the yarn to knit the Liathite Hoody in my stash for exactly a year now, and I think it's the perfect antidote to my current sock yarn projects on the needle, since it's knit with Berroco Vintage Chunky. I find that varying my yarn weight/needle size from project to project really helps stave off hand or wrist pain. Since I don't have any FOs to share this week, I thought I would share the two swatches I finished recently for this project:
Like most people, swatching isn't my favorite thing, but I know it's a necessary evil if I want my sweater to fit. Of course, even swatching isn't always foolproof - I have been spot on for gauge for sweater projects, yet still had a too-big-or-too-small finished sweater. Think about it: you're basing everything off a small swatch of fabric, which kind of makes sense, but in the grand scheme of a larger garment, the size and weight of said garment can play a pretty big role in the final gauge. That's not to say that you should skip the swatching step entirely - it's still good to see what happens to the swatch once you wash it - did it bloom or stay the same? While you still might have variations when it's all said and done, it can get you closer in the ballpark at least! There was a pretty interesting blog post about swatching here on the Ancient Arts Yarn blog which also tackles this topic if you want to read more.

At any rate, I tried to knit larger swatches than I would normally be inclined to do, in the vain hope that this would close that swatch-to-garment gap. Will it work? I sure hope so, but there's only one way to find out for sure!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Stuck on Skinny Yarn

Another WIP Wednesday, and here I am with only fingering weight yarn projects on the needles. So much for mixing things up in terms of yarn weight and needle size! The good news is that I am closing in on the Xanadu Snowflake Cowl - I passed the halfway point over the weekend! It pretty much looks the same as last week (only a little longer), so I will spare you the same photo, but you can see it on my Ravelry page on on my earlier post this week where I shared some of the tips that have sped up this knitting process for me, click here if you missed it).

Of course, I did finally cave and cast on for a pair of socks with the Tortoiseshell yarn I was eyeing last week. I decided to give two-at-a-time magic loop socks another go, and I am using the stitch pattern from Knowledge of What Was Sensible, which is one of the sock patterns from Hunter Hammersen's Fine Things for Plain Occasions. I'm making a few modifications along the way, which includes an afterthought heel so that I can knit these on the go without having to worry about heel flaps and gusset decreases. Basically, these socks are almost the complete opposite of the the approach I usually take to sock knitting (which is: one-at-a-time on DPNs with a heel flap and gusset, for anyone keeping track) - however, I am still sticking to top-down for the time being...no need to get too crazy.
Another new project I started was a baby hat version of the Force Awakens hat, which is for a friend of ours who recently had a baby yet still found time to go see the new Star Wars movie (I don't know about you, but I find that impressive). I'm using a hodgepodge of sock yarn from my stash and size 2 needles with the same cast on number in the pattern.
Lastly, the Alegria sock yarn hat continues to chug along, I added at least an inch or two since last week thanks to several meetings wherein I could sneak in some stitches.
Thanks for stopping by this week!