Put it in a Sock, Santa

Short (and sad) story today…

Most of my knitting time this week got sucked up with…sigh…obligations. Ugh. Sometimes I need to remember that I share my life with another person, my HE – husband equivalent (a very lovely person, I might add) and that he needs my company and attention now and then. We had house stuff that needed doing and I could shirk my responsibilities no more. Hence, much of my “free” time this week was sucked up with chores and shopping. Yup, I had to adult.

Hence, mostly I accomplished only one cool thing this week – and started another cool thing. I can live with this because the cool thing I finished is this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty awesome, yes? Just a reminder from last week, this is the Hearthwarming Stocking from Knitpicks. I made one last year for my grandson’s first Christmas and this is for my granddaughter’s. I am plenty happy with how it turned out.

And since I just happened to have the tree up and lit, I thought I’d take the opportunity to show off a few knitted stockings from xmas past:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Christmas Stocking #1 by Lisabee Designs. My stocking is featured on the pattern page on Ravelry – most flattering. <blushblush>

While we’re on the subject:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is my own design. Before you go getting any ideas, I don’t have the pattern. I never wrote it down – I just made it. Essentially, it’s just a really big sock with some Aran cables on it. I made it for my HE (husband equivalent) because he’s half Irish. He likes it.

AND, just because I had to – here’s the lace covered ornament I finished last week in its native environment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s nice on the tree. I still might try another, when I get my “free” time back. Ha.

As for the cool thing I started, I’m not going to show it to you now.

WHAT??? I know, I know. Be patient – it will happen this week and I promise you’ll see it in next week’s post. I’m not usually a knitter of things cute, but this sucker be damned cute. You will most definitely agree when you see it.

One more thing:

Here’s an example of the magic of blocking your knits:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and after steam blocking. Blocking works, people. It’s worth the time and effort (which ain’t much for steam blocking, but you need a good iron). Stop arguing with me and just do it.

Aaaaaand, I lived happily ever after.

The end.

(Told you it was a short story)

Knicole

Full Disclosure 

I have a confession to make…

I made a mistake on a project this week and instead of frogging and starting over, I tried to cheat. I’m very ashamed.

Here’s what happened:

I started knitting my granddaughter’s first Christmas stocking (she’s almost 10 weeks old and she will NEED this stocking next month). I’m using the same pattern I used last year for her brother’s stocking, but I changed up most of the colors and decided to use different Fair Isle patterns in each segment.

This is last year’s:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see, the Hearthwarming Stocking is designed so that you can “plug and play” with a bunch of charts provided with the pattern. It’s a kinda sorta design-it-yourself deal – although you can buy the kit and make it exactly like the sample, if you’re not feeling brave.

Okay, so you’re working with new colors and new patterns – did you knit a swatch? (You rightly ask) Nope. Dove right in. Time’s a wastin’

Remember that adage “haste makes waste”? Me too, but I didn’t think it applied to me. After all, I’m experienced, aren’t I? I should be able to haste all I want.

Sigh. I made it as far as the afterthought heel set-up (this is sort of a toe up sock – the foot and leg are knit first, then the toe is picked up and knit down, and the middle of the sock opens up so you add the heel later. Hence, the “afterthought” label. I’ll show you when I get there), then realized that I had misread the chart and didn’t add the white into the charts where I was supposed to. It looked okay, but too dull.

I frogged back about 8 rows and reknit the last section with the white in it.

Here it is at that point:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the bits of white near my fingers? Brightens it up, don’t it? Yes, it does.

Then I thought I could duplicate stitch the white into the section near the scissors. I did about 6 stitches, realized it was complete folly, and bailed.

Then I thought I could pick up the gray row between the sections, frog from the bottom up to that row, and reknit that section back down. You can just see in the photo where I ran the needle through the gray stitches next to the first red row. Then I realized that all of the stitches would be off by 1/2 a stitch, because that’s how it works when you try to knit in the opposite direction.

Thennnnnn, I stared at it for a while and decided that it really needed some white in the 13 row chart, too. Yeah, it does so.

I whined. I grumped. I let go of the painstingagony  of wasting at least 4 hours of knitting time. ARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHH.

I frogged, leaving the first 5 rows intact. Then reknit, changing both the 13 row chart and second 11 row chart.

I made it to here today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is better. I’m happy now. BUT I STILL LOST HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS OF KNITTING TIME AND I’M NOT OVER IT.

Harrumph. Let’s move on.

Cast on:

Of course, the stocking above. But also I did this reasonably, fairly, kind of exciting thing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I designed this all by myself! I guess all that messing around last week with the cowl gave me knitting superpowers or something and suddenly I’m not all squeamish about making stuff up. I’m calling it the S’Cute Hat, cuz it’s cute. I posted the pic on the Knitting group on Facebook and lots and lots of folks are all “gimme that pattern, please!” So, I’ll knit a few more samples, write it up, post it to this site, and it will be my first freebie design.

Cool, right? Are you as stoked as I am? I knew you were.

Cast off:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viola! A Triplet Basket. I loooooove this project. It’s just the bomb. Can’t you just see it all stuffed with yarn? I knew you could.

Now I want to knit one loosely and see what happens if I felt it a bit. Not too much, though. I want to keep the texture, but just blur it and tighten it up.

Just for fun, here’s how the bottom looks:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A groovy spiral happened. Couldn’t have done that on purpose if I tried.

 

Also, I finished the painful and not-fast-or-fun-to-knit Snowball Ornament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s knit on double-pointed needles (don’t try to magic loop it – trust me on this one) up to the midpoint, then the ornament is tucked inside the rest of the LACE is knit on 4 dpns with the ball in place. This is a very fiddly and frustrating process. The ball tried and succeeded in escaping several times. And the worst part…I had laddering between the needles because it’s almost impossible to pull straight things tight together on a round ball. Go figure. I may give it one more try and see if it gets any easier/better, but I wouldn’t lay money on it.

 

Wipping:

The Alison Pullover and Mason’s Hat got no love this week. They are snoozin’ while I finish stuff with shipping deadlines.

That’s it kids. Have a great week and catch you on the flip side!

Knicole

Swatch This…

This week I didn’t cast off and complete anything, and I was feeling sad and unaccomlished.

Then I started compiling my projects for the post this week, and holy crap!…I got A LOT done this week, including a whole design process. Yup, I designed something.

No, it’s not knit yet, but I have plan and it’s purty darn cool, if I do say so meself. As a bonus, most of a design for something completely different magically appeared during the first design, but I’ll get into that shortly in the exciting new project category: In Contemplation.

There’s a theory out there that knitters fall into one of two camps – process knitters or product knitters. I’ve never been able to decide to which camp I belong.  Maybe what I need is a Cosmo-style “What Kind of Knitter are You?” test. Where’s one of those in-your-face facebook tests when you need it? Huh, where!?

On the one hand, I choose to knit things because I reallyreallyreally want to wear/use/gift the finished item, otherwise, why would I be knitting it? So, that makes me a product knitter, right? Not exactly, becaaaaaaause…

On the other hand, I also bliss out when I’m challenged by new techniques, so sometimes I’ll just knit a swatch or two of this or that or two-color brioche or mosaic whatever, and doing that fills me with happy and inspiration. So that makes me a process knitter, yes?

Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe I’m a prodess knitter (Prod(uct)+(proc)ess) – I love all aspects of knitting equally and can’t/won’t play favorites.

Here was my “prodess” for this week:


In Contemplation:
Last week, I teased you with a shot of these two fingering yarns that were earmarked for a cowl design.

The almost glowiness of the multicolored yarn made me think of stained glass, so I went on the hunt for a slip stitch color pattern that would showcase the multi with a frame or outline of the tonal purple.

I also wanted to border the main body color work section with the tonal purple, so I needed to find a stitch that would echo the shape or feel of the color work section.

Here is swatch one:

The border stitch is made up of little round clusters, but as you can see, they sort of just smush together and there’s not much stitch definition in the dark, tonal purple. The color work is a complex honeycomb-type stitch done with short rows. It was okay, but poofy circles of color weren’t really turning my crank.

Now swatch two:

This time I simplified the border to a garter and slip stitch combo. Much happier with the definition and body provided by the garter stitch. The color work section is a slip stitch basket weave. Sadly, the tonal purple is all blendy blenderson into the multi, so the pattern is completely lost. Boo. I really liked the pattern, though, so now I was on a mission to find a new solid color that would contrast better with the multi.

Hence, swatch three:

Stained glass is what I was going for and what is stained glass outlined with? Black, of course! Now, I was cooking with gas. This was definitely the effect I was going for. It’s going to work, but…I have a lot of that black bamboo fingering, and I really don’t want to waste an inch of that multi and I won’t use it all in the type of cowl shape I like, soooooo…This swatch is now the beginning of cardigan pattern. Something along the lines of this:

This is only a very rough idea, because my drawing skills are weaker than a kitten with the flu. But you get the gist.

Now, after that little diversion, back to the cowl design. I like the stitches I landed on, but I decided to make two changes: yarn weight and color.

After mucking about in my stash for a while, I settled on a combo that were frogged from a failed double-knit hat (it looked good, but I was never going to wear it).

Yeah, yeah, I know you want to see the failed hat, so here it is:

Like I said, It looked pretty good, but it wasn’t going to be wearable for a number of reasons (don’t argue, it’s true). But the yarns are nice and contrasty, yes?

 

 

 

 

So, without giving too much away, here’s a preview of the future cowl:

 

 

Stay tuned!

Now, back to our previously scheduled programming…


 

 

 

Cast on:

With all that swatching and contemplation, you wouldn’t have thought I’d actually cast on new projects, but you’d be wrong !

In my search for the perfect small hand-crafted xmas gift, I cam across this Snowball Ornament Knitting Kit from Craftsy. Frustratingly, the clear plastic ornament doesn’t come with the kit, so I spent a small fortune buying up a box of 36 of them on Amazon, anticipating that I would knit up a zillion of these to hand out willy-nilly this xmas season. I may have jumped the gun. This is neither a quick nor easy knitting project. The lace pattern is complex and fiddly, and working with mohair is tedious. I’ve gone as far as I can with my ersatz clover-leaf magic loop technique. Now I’m waiting on some double-points I ordered, so I can finish the top half of the knitting, which is done with the ball in place. Yeah. Crazy, right?

By the way, the yarn above is not the Kidsilk Haze that comes with the kit. I had this Bergere de France mohair on hand and thought I’d give it a go. I think the kidsilk will be nicer, i.e. Lighter, finer, shinier. Hopefully the needles will show up in my mailbox and I’ll have a finished sample next week.

 

Now, for something REALLY quick and impressive (at least so far):



I started this knitted basket this afternoon – mere hours ago. Not bad, eh? This is Cascade Magnum super bulky wool that I got on a super sale on Craftsy a couple years ago. I’ve been using it to demo arm knitting, but when I saw this Triplet Baskets pattern, I thought it would be perfect. It’s working up duper quickly (obviously), but not without a cost…the reccommended needle size for this yarn is 10-12mm…I’m knitting with a 6.5mm. The fabric is nice and super dense for good structure, but it requires a fair bit of hand and muscle power to knit this tight. I might try the next one on an 8mm and see what happens – if only to save my strength for all the other xmas knitting. But never mind…the result is totes worth it. Bet I have a nice nested stack for you by next week – whoo hoo!


Cast off:

Not. One. Thing.


Wipping:

The Mason’s Hat is coming along nicely, although it has turned out to be another un-quick project – it’s all ribbed…even the cabled crown. Lotsandlotsandlots of stitches. Ribbed cables are wicked cool, though – double-sided deliciousness. And the Alison Pullover is a few inches longer, working its way towards the bust increase section. Row by row by row…

I had also planned to talk about my shopping trip to Valley Yarn (my fav LYS) yesterday, but that’s a whole other post in itself. The results of that trip will appear over the next several posts, as bags o’ yarn I left with become adorable knitted things.

How’s your gift knitting coming? Leave a comment, and let me know 🙂

See you in week!

Knicole

The Big What If…

In case you’ve been hanging out under a rock recently…Christmas is coming.

Those three little words evoke varying degrees of terror in many folks, but they make knitters want to curl up in the fetal position under a bulky-knit blanket.

We want to knit warm, cozy, pretty, squishy, and charming knits for everyone we know. Of course,  less than two months out, we know this is impossible, and so begins the process of deciding who will receive the coveted hand knits on Christmas morning and who will get a *gasp* STORE BOUGHT gift. It’s Sophie’s choice, people – believe it.

So, I had a thought…what if…

…what if…

I didn’t knit ANY gifts this year.  None. Not one. How liberating would that be? All my knitting time between now and December 25 all to myself. No pressure. No stress. No one left out.

No way.

I lived in the fantasy land of a hand-knit free xmas for all of about five minutes. I moved out about 30 seconds after picking up Interweave Knits Holiday edition 2016. My super sweet two-month old granddaughter needs a stocking (her 13 month old brother got his last year), and I already have a list of adorable things I want to make for other family members. And then there are co-workers…

Needless to say, as fast as you can say “Paypal,” I was online and ordering up a storm of patterns, yarn, and kits. Now I have my work cut out for me, but I’m confident I can manage my time…if I don’t get too distracted by new non-xmas projects.

Here’s my week:

Cast on:

The first batch of yarn I ordered for xmas gifts arrived last week, so my needles leapt into action (see the finished mitts below). This is the start of Carol Feller’s Mason’s Hat from this year’s Interweave Knits Holiday edition.

I was a bit concerned about whether the Cloudborn Fibres Wool Worsted Twist yarn I ordered from Craftsy was going to work for this pattern. It is a super high twist yarn and doesn’t have the soft loftiness of the Donegal tweed used for the sample. It’s so twisted, in fact, that it almost looks more like a DK than a worsted. I made a feeble attempt at knitting a swatch, but quickly bailed, as the swatch needed to be knit in the round and the gauge is measured over the cable pattern, so knitting the swatch was going to be almost as much work as knitting the hat itself.

I decided to just dive in, knowing that the ribbing would tell the story of this yarn pretty quickly. After almost 3″ into the cuff, I’m pleasantly surprised. Despite the high twist, this yarn fills out nicely when knit and I think it’s going to be a sturdy fabric with great stitch definition. Should get this done by next weekend.


Cast off:

These were actually cast on and off this week. First xmas gift…DONE. *applause applause* Thank you 🙂

These are the Traverse Mitts by Sarah Gomez, also from IK Holiday 2016.

But I’m not thrilled. The gloves were designed for sport weight yarn and that’s what I used, but the Harrisville Designs sport the designer used must be a bit heavier than the Nature Spun sport that I ordered from Craftsy. The gloves look fine, but despite making the largest size, they seem a bit skimpy. Since they really only took a day to knit, I may whip up a second pair in the Cloudborn worsted above (I have lots of it – I bought enough to do a cabled scarf that I’ve decided not to knit). Stay tuned.

 

Here’s the finished Tin Can Knits Hunter Hat that I had wipping last week.

It’s so sweet with the matching Gramps Cardigan, I almost need insulin. Got to get these smooshy delights into the mail this week.

I can’t speak highly enough about the Cascade 220 Superwash. It’s so soft. One of these days, I’ll test its washabilty and report back, but it is lovely to knit with and has an excellent hand.


Aaaaaand…done! Podster Gloves all done and veryvery wearable. Just in time for extra dark and extra rain this week. Ugh. At least I have wonderful glovies to wear! Yay!

 

 

Wipping:

Got a few more sets of waist decreases done on this oh so pretty Alison Pullover. I’m sneaking in a bit of knitting on this between xmas gifts. It moves along pretty quickly on the 5mm needles, so maybe, just maybe I’ll get to wear it before the end of the year.

 

 

Nope. Not a WIP yet, but will be soon.

I started watching Laura Nelkin’s Craftsy class, Design Your Own Cowl, and after watching the first couple lessons, I am wicked inspired to play along.

I picked these two fingering weight yarns from my stash. The scrumptious multi-colored Rhichard Devrieze yarn I bought at Knit City, and a Neighborhood Fibre Co. Rustic Fingering that I bought at VK Live in Seattle a few years ago. It was part of sweater kit that I decided I didn’t want to make, but blends perfectly with the Devrieze yarn.

I’ve scoured my stitch dictionaries and found a cool color work honey comb stitch for the body and a coordinating texture stitch for the borders. I’ll start swatching this week (maybe even tonight, because…because.) and see if it looks like it does in my head.

I’m designing – go me!

That’s all the news that’s fit to print this week.

Have a great week and knit lots and lots – it’s fun…and good for you! (Not many things you can THAT about)

Cheers, Knicoleknits