Monthly Archives: January 2017

Knitalong Afghan Progress

Last time, we talked about coming up a few yards short of a whole block.

Well, I did go get myself a set of size 6 dpns and I ripped out the old block and made the new block. I had plenty of yarn to spare and I got a nice looking block out of it.

P1020829 (2)

I am very, very pleased with the way this block turned out. I was looking so forward to block number two coming out and I couldn’t wait to cast on!

I was responding to comments on Thursday’s post when I got the email notification that block two had been released. I was so excited! I went to my email and opened this:

 

Kniterati Block 2

Oh.

It’s squirrels.

And acorns.

And Fair Isle color work.

Just…. *sigh* no.

I think the block is fine, especially if you’re someone who really likes squirrels. I just don’t think I want this one in my afghan. The color work poses a problem because you have to carry the yarn you’re not knitting with behind the fabric and catch it every few stitches. It’s possible to do a color work block or even a whole afghan in color work, but the floating unworked yarn in back is still prone to getting caught and it’s obvious which side is the wrong side (at least with the other block, you can display either side.)

That, and, I’m just not a big fan of squirrels.

I’m really hoping that Cascade didn’t lead off with their best block. I’m cautiously optimistic that the next block will be more of something I would like to do.

If not, I may end up making a whole bunch of block ones and just make an afghan from that. I’ll keep going with the knitalong and just knit a block whenever they release a new one!

In other news, I’ve finished a large, mostly surprise project for a friend who’s baby will be here any day now. I will show you photos of that soon.

Finishing that project has freed me up to finally get going on my Anni sweater. I’ve done a mere 25 rows, but if I can devote some time to it, I will see progress very quickly. Maybe I’ll get to wear it before the heat of the summer comes on!

Have a great week, friends!

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A few choice words

​Well.

No words. Or rather, many words that are not polite.

No words. Or rather, many words that are not polite.

I have about 40 more stitches to bind off and only about 3 inches of yarn.

I tried to knit faster to hopefully outrun the end of the yarn, but that didn’t work. (It never does.)

I don’t really have much choice but to reknit it. I could pull out the last few rounds and try to knit at a slightly tighter tension to use less yarn, but I feel like that will just end up with the same result.

This is Cascade Yarn’s Knitterati Afghan. It’s a 30-block afghan that is being published one block at a time this year. I am using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn, from my stash. I spent most of Saturday (in-between chasing kiddos and trying to keep them from hurting themselves) working on it.

The pattern calls for size 6 needles. Since it’s knit from the center out, you must use double pointed needles at the beginning. I don’t currently have any double pointed needles in size 6. I have 5s and I have 7s, but no 6s.

I really wanted to get started, so I decided to knit the whole thing on 7s. I considered using the 5s, but with worsted weight yarn, 5s make a really tight and somewhat stiff fabric.

I’m trying to decide how to go about it. Do I start on 5s, then switch to a circular 6 when I have enough stitches? Or do I start on 7s and then switch to the 6? Or do I wait until I can get some size 6 double pointed needles to redo it?

What would you do?

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Sideways

My apologies for missing last week’s post. Things got a little sideways and all of a sudden BOOM! it’s Monday and there’s no blog post written.

You see I typically write these posts ahead of time. Sometimes they are written the night before and sometimes they have been in process for weeks before they’re published. I don’t have any in the queue right now so if I don’t get the chance to sit down and think for a good chunk of time, nothing gets written.

Last weekend, I got to go pick up the yarn for my Anni sweater. It’s a gorgeous grayish light blue. I made my swatches, and I washed and blocked them.

Yes, you heard that right, I made swatches. And I washed them. And I blocked them.

It took a couple of evenings of knitting time to get the swatches made, but taking the time now to find gauge and see how the yarn will behave when wet will save me some frustration later (flashback to Hubby’s sweater last year.) I would really like to make a sweater that fits me and avoid having to make it twice.

So, I started using the recommended needle size for the pattern which is a US 4 (3.5mm). The pattern lists two gauge swatches, one in stockinette (which is plain knitting) and the other in the smocking pattern that is used around the bottom of the bodice. The pattern’s gauge section says the stockinette gauge is 24 stitches by 36 rows and should measure 4 inches. The smocking gauge is 30 stitches and 36 rows for 4 inches.I cast on 6 extra stitches in order to make the garter stitch edge you see in the photo below.

Pre-washed swatches.

Pre-washed swatches.

You can see that the pre-washed gauge is almost right on. But when washed and blocked: TADA! I got gauge on the first try. This means that I knit at the same tension as the pattern designer and I don’t have to change needle sizes in order to get the same result.

Post-blocking swatch size.

Post-blocking swatch size.

I have carefully measured myself, and carefully made and measured the swatches. I know what size I need to make in the pattern. Now I can get started. I have printed out the pattern and read through it, highlighting the instructions for the size I’m knitting. I’ve worked a few rows of the beginning, but I have other time-sensitive projects I need to finish before I can really work on this.

Just a side note, I am not a small person and I know this. I have been knitting long enough to know how much work is going to go into making myself a sweater with sock-weight yarn. I ordered two bags (10 skeins) of yarn to have enough to make the sweater in my size. If you’re a shop owner, and someone like me comes in to pick up yarn and tells you what their plans are for it, your next comment should not be, “That’s a lot of knitting.” Now, honestly, a fingering-weight sweater is a lot of knitting for any size person and that’s probably what she meant. I’ll assume that, anyway.

And with that bit, I’m off. Have a great week, friends!

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Onward!

Hello, 2017. Let’s be friends, shall we?

I’m excited for knitting this year. I have plans for a couple of challenges, my typical knitting for the year and Christmas gifts.

First, my challenges:

  • A sweater for myself in fingering weight yarn
    Fingering weight yarn is what’s typically used for socks. It’s a smaller yarn than what I’ve used for sweaters in the past, but it will make a tighter fabric, so it will be cozy. The smaller size yarn also means smaller stitches and LOTS more knitting. I’m planning to make Anni with Cascade Heritage in the denim colorway. I ordered the yarn last Monday and it should be here in a week or two. Then I can wind the first ball and start swatching!
  • Pi Shawl
    I put my Evenstar shawl on hold for the holidays while I did all my Christmas knitting. It’s been sitting in my yarn bowl, patiently waiting on me to pick it up again. I’ve been focusing on some smaller projects these last few weeks, to give my brain a break after the holidays. I have a hat to finish first, but then I will start working on it again.
  • Write patterns for my designs
    I love knitting, I really do, and it’s something I like to do to make a little extra money. However, I’m not the kind of person who can just sit down and crank out a dozen of the same thing at a time to sell. I just finished mittens for the boys and by the time I was working on the 4th mitten, I was SO BORED with it. It took so much discipline for me to just finish it. This is why my Etsy shop is so bare. I love making custom items, and I am happy to make anything you want, but I am definitely a project knitter.I also like to come up with new ideas. I almost never follow a pattern exactly since I like to put my own twist on things. Sometimes this doesn’t work out so well, but usually the changes aren’t drastic. I have a few items that I’ve designed that I would like to write the pattern for and put them up for sale. There are a couple of stocking patterns, a hat pattern and some fingerless mittens.It’s a little intimidating to think of putting my ideas out there for sale. What if no one buys them? What if people buy them but think the pattern is awful? Will anyone think my idea is worth paying a couple of dollars for? I know lots of people who will only make things if the pattern is free. I do love free patterns, too, but I am happy to pay for a pattern that I really like. However, nobody’s buying my patterns if they’re not out there for sale, either!

(Mental note: revisit this post at the end of the year and see how far these challenges have come.)

Next, I have some specific projects I want to make.

    • Elephant crochet wall art for Lollypop
      This pattern is for a rug, but there are a couple of people who have made it out of cotton yarn to make it a doily instead. (Or, according to their Ravelry project pages, they’ve started it.) I want to do that and frame it to hang on his wall. I need to find the yarn for it – I want a silver color and that is difficult to find in the cotton crochet thread – and I have no idea how much yarn it will take or what size it will ultimately be.

 

    • Halloween costumes for the boys
      Maybe Jellybean will decide to be something other than a lion this year. Maybe Lollypop will not grow out of the Halloween costume before I get it finished this year. Hopefully I can make costumes that they will enjoy.When I made the lion costume in 2015, I intentionally made it much larger than Jellybean needed. The plan was for it to be a dress-up play costume throughout the year. That has actually been the case, and it’s so fun when he comes out with his lion costume on. Once Jellybean outgrows it, Lollypop will be able to have fun in it for years, too.

 

  • Winter sweaters for the boys
    It’s become an annual tradition. It’s working on the assumption that they will outgrow the sweater I made this year by the time it gets cold next year. I actually didn’t have to make Jellybean the red sweater with pockets and a zipper for this winter. His blue sweater from last winter still fits him pretty well. But when he asks me for a red sweater with a hood, how can I say no?Then there’s Lollypop, who actually almost outgrew his winter sweater this year before I even finished it. I had to add some quick-thinking cuffs for his arms to be covered. I will have to time and size his sweater just right next winter. He’s 8 ½ months and is already starting to outgrow some 12 month clothes! This is not something I expected, given all his issues in his first couple of months of life.Sometimes I question myself for making winter sweaters every year. I certainly don’t have to. There are perfectly good jackets and coats available in the stores that I would be less heartbroken if they got dirty or torn. It would be much easier not to put that pressure on myself and just knit what I want to. But Jellybean asked for a specific sweater this year, and I really think he is proud to wear what I make him. The time is coming, way sooner than I probably expect, where he won’t want to wear handmade costumes, mittens, hats, or jackets. He’ll want to be the popular superhero for Halloween, he’ll want the same coat and hat that everyone else does, and handmade stuff will be just SO UNCOOL. But that time is not here yet. Even if his red sweater with the pockets, hood and zipper gets torn or stained, I can fix it and wash it, and if it’s beyond repair, then at least I know it was loved. I will make sweaters for my boys for as long as they want me to. (And maybe even longer.)

There are other, less specific things that I want to do with my knitting time this year. I have friends who are having babies. There’s Christmas and birthdays to think about. I really enjoyed knitting the toys for Christmas gifts, so I think there will be lots more of those to come. Plus, I bought a 3lb. bag of stuffing, so that’s gotta go somewhere!

I am still open and available for custom knitting. I am happy to make whatever you can think of. I do cut off custom orders in November, so I can get my own Christmas gifts finished, so it’s important to think about it early. If you have an idea that you want me to consider, please send me a message and we can talk about it!

Have a great week, friends!

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