When will I Learn?

Seems there’s this thing that happens when you’ve been knitting for, well, ever – you start to believe that the rules don’t apply to you.

The latest issue of Knitscene has a most charming polarbearsnowflake hat. 

All the cute, right? 

I showed the pattern to my knitting group at work yesterday and they challenged me to have it knit (and a poncho pattern also in the mag) before next week’s class. Not one to back down from a knitting challenge, I happily accepted. I knew I had the yarn at hand and that it was just a relatively simple hat, in a bulky yarn, with a bit of stranded colorwork. Easy peasy. In fact, I found appropriate yarns for two lovely colorways – I could really show off and knit them both! I cast on with great gusto, assuming I’d have both hats done by the end of the following day.

Round 1: Cast on with cable method, as instructed and whipped through the 1″ of ribbing. Did an increase round and the started the bear chart. At the end of the first chart round, I realized that I had failed to read the instructions correctly and found myself two stitches short. Ripped back and did the second increase round.

Round 2: Got halfway up the bear chart and didn’t like the way my stranding looked. A lot of the carries were showing through to the front. I tried to evaluate what the issue was and decided that I must be catching the floats too frequently. Looked at the instructions, and sure enough they said to catch the floats every 4 stitches (I was doing every 2). Ripped back to the start of the chart and tried again.

Round 3: Got to the top of the chart where the crown decreases begin. Realized that the body of the hat seemed awfully shallow. Noticed a tiny chart for a checker pattern, just about the bear chart on the page I had copied for notes and markups. Flipped back a page in the magazine and realized that I had completely missed knitting the checker pattern before starting the bear chart. Ripped back to the first increase round above the ribbing.

Round 4: Success! Along with paying better attention to all those other issues, I also switched from magic loop to regular circular knitting. My tension improved immensely.  Still love magic loop, but interesting to know that going full circ could solve tension issues. 


It’s  a really cute hat, as you can see, but it is truly aptly named at Bearly There – it’s very small. I think it would suit someone with a petite head. I felt a bit like I was wearing a kid’s hat when I tried it on. 

I’m going to try the pattern again in a super bulky (Knitpicks Biggo), on a larger needle (8mm) and expect to get a larger, more substantial hat without having to do any changes to the pattern. Here’s the yarns:


I love the idea of the sky blue and fuzzy white. So wintery pretty.

Stay tuned and READ YOUR PATTERN and PAY ATTENTION. (Sorry, felt like I needed to be firm about this – mostly yelling at myself)

Knit well,

Knicoleknits

Urges and Acquisitions 

This is kinda sorta-ish the second part of summer vacation post.

So, while we were travelling by map around BC and Alberta this summer, we happened upon (okay, deliberately sought out) some retail establishments that carried my favorite products, yarn, and yarn related stuff. I also scooped a few choice items at Vancouver’s Knit City in early October…aaaaaaand, I succumbed to Craftsy’s clever marketing and did some damage there as well.

Starting with the road trip acquisitions…

In Dawson Creek, British Columbia, there is the most charming of multipurpose type stores called Faking Sanity. It’s the kind of place you could stay in all day, if you were the variety of human who likes cheap (used, inexpensive, perfectly readable) books, deliciously fresh baked food, yarn and yarny-related things, and a few special jeweleries. It was at this very location that I stumbled upon a brand of yarn that I had been drooling over on the Interweb, but hadn’t seen in person. Here is their fab blog: faking sanity

If you’re a Canadian knitter, you need to know about this. Fleece Artist has created a series of yarns and colorways based on Canada’s national parks. It is, surprise surprise, called the National Parks Collection. Faking Sanity didn’t have a sample of every available colorway, but they did have enough to hurt my brain in the process of narrowing down my selection.

Here’s what I settled on:


Fundy, New Brunswick and Kluane, Yukon. The Kluane one is dyed to represent the “rippling curtains of the Aurora Borealis.” I only bought one skein of each, but they have a decent 400 meters per, so there are many possibilities…of course shawls or cowls, but I’m also intrigued by the idea of using them as cardigan fronts or wide bands on a solid base. I’m sure you’ll see these pop up again in a later post, as I contemplate their respective fates.

The Fundy one is fairly close to a limited edition Zen Yarn Garden ART WALK series colorway called Tree in Autumn, based on an Emily Carr painting. I’ve been coveting this yarn since I first laid eyes on it, but hesitated to purchase it right away – GIANT mistake. It’s sold out everywhere. Sad sad me. Here’s what it looked like:


It’s soooooo dreamy. I reallyreallyreally want some. Sigh. Anywhoo…I digress.

I also couldn’t leave Faking sanity without this:

They told me to put potpourri in it, but come on – the instructions are right there on the fronnt, so my favorite color of linen blend yarn resides therein. It’s like a whaddayacallit – a knitting talisman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Dawson Creek, we rolled east to Edmonton. Now, Edmonton is a lovely city with many appealing attributes, but the best….BY FAR…is River City Yarns.

I positively loooooove this store. The very helpful, talented, and patient staff endulged me as I asked a million questions and wanted to see EVERY sample in the store.

Two samples in particular captured my imagination and I immediately popped the exact yarns and colors in my basket. This is what I saw: Tin Can Knits Wenlock and Gramps in a work sock colorway:

I’ve already whipped up the little red top:

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It was a dream to knit. I took it to work to show it off and absolutely everyone asked me to make them one in their size. I swear I could have a second career just knitting this sweater in all sizes for the whole world. The little gramps will be coming up shortly for my now 2-year-old grandson. He’s going to rock that sweater.

Of course, many other things had a party in my shopping basket at River City, but at some point, this blog post has to end.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Every year, Vancouver’s Knit City grows into a more and more exciting knitty place to be.  I attended the most enlightening and educational 3 hour lecture from Stephanie Pearl MacPhee. Seriously, she is my knitting hero. Every time I think I’m starting to know a lot about knitting, I think about her and realize I’m still a student with a lot to learn. Which is good, because learning new stuff, especially new knitting stuff, is super exciting.

I didn’t have a lot of time to scope out the market place, so I had to make every purchase count. This amazing colorway that I bought at Valley Yarn’s booth (my fav LYS) is definitely the highlight:

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The pic of the chickens is the inspiration for the colorway – it’s called Kim’s Barn. The yarn is Killarney Sock by The Blue Brick. Gorgeous, right? Worth every penny. I just want to carry it around with me and stare at it. Yarn infatuation…who knew?

Finally, I recently bought a couple of sweater kits from Craftsy (crazy good sales lately). They have really upped their game in the packaging department. Check this out:

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Nice, eh? Printed pattern, quality wrapping. Very appealing. They used to just send you the yarn randomly stuffed in a box, and you had to print the electronic pattern yourself. I found that by the time the yarn showed up, I had completely forgotten what pattern it was for. Didn’t have much “kit” vibe, more like you were just buying stuff to make a project. This new put up is a big improvement.

Okay then, that should be more than enough to make for my conspicuous absence lately. Next week, I’ll tell you all about my shiny new project rotation system.

Keep your needles tuned and polished!

Knicoleknits

Knit-Ventures from First Vacation

I love a good road trip. The scenery, the tunes and audiobooks, the snacking and stops for ice cream…all good stuff. But the very, very best part of road-surfing one’s way through a vacation? The primo knitting time. Hours and hours of uninterrupted, guilt-free knitting. Pure bliss.

This year, our main vacation ended up split into two segments – First Vacation and Second Vacation – with two working days dividing them. As I write this, we’re a few days into Second Vacation, but this post is all about First Vacation knit-ventures.

Over a 12 day trip, the wheels of our car rotated their way over 4,000 kilometers of highway. As you can imagine, I got a fair bit of sh- I mean, stuff done. I packed several projects for the 12 days away, at least 5 of which were spent mainly holed up in the car.

On our first leg, from Vancouver up to the Okanagan, I whipped up two terribly cute hats for the tiny grand-type people who were on the agenda to visit during the trip. Well over a year ago, I bought these DMC Top This! kits, which have been languishing in a cupboard waiting patiently for the right timing. Lucky for them, I recognized their car-knitting potential and tossed them in the bag.

Super adorable, yes? And are they soft? Oh, yes siree, Bob, they are. And are they quick? Soooo quick, they would make your head spin – less than two hours a pop. Pretty big bang for one’s buck. In fact, such a big bang that I’ve ordered 9 more kits from Amazon. Nope, not a typo – NINE more: bunny, kitty, giraffe, monkey, owl, bear, frog, penguin, and butterfly.

One tip, in the event my enthusiasm is contagious…they fit small. Little giraffe-head over there is wearing the adult small (two sizes provided in the ball band pattern – toddler and adult small) and it barely fits him – he’ll be two in a couple weeks. The baby (she’s almost a year) is wearing the toddler size. Hopefully, it fits her for the coming winter.

Next in the cruising queue was getting caught up on my Cascade Knitterati KAL afghan blocks. I’ll give the whole run down of this KAL experience in a future post, but for now I’ll just say that I whipped through blocks 17 and 18 and got a good start on block 19. No pics for these because they’re not blocked yet, but here’s a teaser sampling of my completed blocks so far:

Pretty cool, right? Anyway, more on this year-long monster project anon…

Also in the travel mix was a determined effort to finish this “summer” sweater that I started, like, back in May or something  – ha! I’ll be lucky if I get two weeks of summer wear out of it. It’s a nifty little pattern that I snagged out of one of those British knitting mags (can’t recall which one at the moment – I’ve been knitting from photos of the pattern pages).

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The yarns are Katia Cotton Comfort (white) and Schoppel Wolle Zauberball (green/gray gradient). I’m really loving how it’s coming together and the stretch in the Cotton Comfort means that it will hold its shape well. I should have finished this on the last trip, but I failed to bring extra yarn and ran out before I could finish the sleeves. Sigh. So, here I am on second vacation, still plugging away at the sleeves. I’ll give you more deets on the process and such when I post the finished object.

There was one more gem I tucked into the bag, for insurance in case I blew through all the other knitting. I’ve been craving another shawl knit after my New York Shawl turned out so deliciously. I never posted the finished work, did I? This be it, in all its magnificent glory:

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I’m madly in love with it. I drag it everywhere with me. It’s my desk cozy, when the A/C gets to be a bit overzealous.

At any rate, one good shawl deserves another, so here’s what I have planned for my new love:IMG_3085

Two gorgeous fingerings from my stash plus a garter/mosaic/lace design = a thing of beauty – at least, that’s what the swatch is suggesting. Perhaps I’ll get to this later in Second Vacation, while we are languishing at a lush B&B on Vancouver Island.

Of course, I have much more “catch-up” knitting to share since I last posted back in April, which I intend to do over the next week or so, while I’m still a free agent.

In the meantime, knit well and often, and let me know about your vacation knit-ventures.

Cheers,

Knicoleknits

Mr. Q meets Ms. Stash

I think we can all agree that Ravelry is a handy-dandy tool for managing our knitterly holdings (yarn) and desires (queue and favorites). So handy, in fact, that I can tell you with absolute accuracy that I have 127 musthaveknitwantnow projects in my queue and 175 yarnalicious entries in my stash.

Surely I need not more yarn or patterns or projects added to said lists. But I do need, I do, I do, I do (and stop calling me Shirley).

Like many other knitters (c’mon, fess up – I know you’re out there), I continue to add to my yarn stash aka curated collection on a regular basis. And preeeeety much every day, I see more projects I want to knit. Just this morning I downloaded the VK Early Spring 2017 edition to my iPad – this baby is so fresh, it’s not even up on the VK website OR Ravelry yet. There are two patterns there that I. Want. To. Knit…NOW. See how it happens? In a needle-click, 127 becomes 129.

I want to use up my stash…I really do…at least some of it…before I buy more…well, before I buy much more.

So, with all those dreamy projects in my queue and all those scrumptious yarns in my stash, this should be a piece of red velvet cake, right? Yeah, riiiiight.

Examples, anyone? Of course.

Here’s #1 in my Rav queue: Amy Herzog’s Cable Front Pullover from VK’s Late Winter 2017.

Herzog - cable front pullover Get this – I HAD the yarn for this. I had the exact yarn the pattern called for. I even made a note in that notey space when I added the project telling myself that I had the exact yarn in my stash.

I used it. I’m knitting with it right now. Am I knitting this? Nope. Am I knitting anything in my queue with it? Nope. I’m knitting Harvest Cardigan by Tin Can Knits. (I’ll show it off when it’s done.)

But never minding that bit of foolishness, among those 175 yarns, there must be something else that would do the job. Something the right weight (aran), right color (flattering for me), and right amount (approx 1600 meters).

No dice. Not enough yardage in anything either aran or worsted weight.

Next!

#3 in queue is a pretty open weavey summer-type shawl: Stella by Janina Kallio

Specs: Fingering, 343 meters of main color, 217 meters of contrast color. My notes say I was gonna frog my Penrose Tile shawl for this, which is weird because I really like that shawl, especially after I re-worked the cast off edge so it’s nice and stretchy. So, back to shopping in the ole stash-a-roni…

Now, I have alotalotalot of fingering yarn (53 stash entries). Mostly single skeins, but that’s cool because fingering usually has good yardage and so one skein of each color would almost certainly suffice. Buuuuuutttttt…I had a b*tch of a time finding a combo I liked. Here’s what I came up with that maybe possibly might be inspiring:

The blue Rustic Fingering for the main and the grey Spud & Chloe for the contrast. It’s a smidge dark, but with all the open mesh work, I don’t think it would end up looking too heavy.

So, okay, but I’m not jumping up and down.

After scouring my queue for an inspiring pairing, I came across this little number (specifically #81 in my queue), which I am pretty keen to crack open – and it’s even seasonal (unlike the aran sweater I’m smack in the middle of…in April).

This is Sel Gris by Claudia Eisenkolb.

Sel Gris

It’s a simple silhouette, with a bit of interesting detail, but I wanted a nice clean palette on which to paint with a blend of Shi Bui Linen and Schachenmayr Tahiti gradient:

The Tahiti knits up like this:

Before and After Scarf

 

So I expect it to be spectacularly fresh and summery blended with the white linen.

(P.S. – this is my Before and After Scarf)

I could carry on with this exercise for hours, but it’s my bedtime now (seriously, it is).

How would you pair up your stash and queue?

 

I hope your weekend is full of chocolate eggs, fuzzy bunnies, and lots and lots of knitting!

I’ll have a little Easter treat for you (calorie-free) by the end of the weekend.

Knit well,

Knicoleknits

The Unbearable Cuteness of Baby Knits

Tiny shawl collar cardigans, wee work socks, miniature sweater vests. Yup – super cutey cute cuteness. There’s no denying it. I’m as guilty as anyone of scrolling through a highway of Pinterest posts, saving, queuing, liking, and cooing over dozens and dozens of sweet little baby knitted stuffs.

AND I now have two, not one, but TWO, precious little grandchildren…cute as bugs in a rug, tugging at my heart strings (especially the ones attached to my internal knitting needles).

So why oh why do I hesitate to knit baby stuff?

I know. You are at this very moment emphatically telling my blog post that I HAVE knit baby things. In fact, more than a few. But really, the honest truth is that I could have knit waaaaaay more than I have. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more.

Despite all the purchased and queued patterns, despite the pretty stacks of woolly skeins, something thwarts my motivation to actually cast on and knit. However, after writing and rewriting this post, and a smidge of self analysis, I may have sussed it out. I think, maybe, possibly, perhaps, I don’t, way down deep in my heart, believe that knitting baby things is really worthy of my time. There, I said it. (I’m going to get mail over this)

Here’s my (admittedly lame) argument. While baby things are cute, take small amounts of yarn, and are mostly reasonably quick knits, how practical are they really?

Babies grow fast. Unfreakingbelieveably fast.  Even if I make stuff a size or two bigger than the current size of the baby, realistically the baby will only wear the item a handful of times before it can’t anymore. And, I also have a sneaking suspicion that the adult recipients of the baby knits I gift are reluctant to even let the little drooly, spit-uppy nibbling wear the semi-precious hand knit – despite my insistence that it’s at least, in part, machine washable.

I don’t know. My pragmatic side just can’t get onside with using up all that precious knitting time for something that, while appreciated, is so briefly useful. Ya hear me?

However, having said all that, there is the unbearable cuteness factor. Watch how perfectly decent knitting is transformed when wrapped around a bouncing bundle of joy:

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Purl Soho’s Clean + Simple Baby Dress and the Meredith Baby Cardigan. Nice, yes?

Now, hold my martini and watch this:

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Infinitely more cute, right? And besides, so maybe it only gets worn once or twice…

I’ll have these photos forever.

Cheers,

Knicoleknits

Feelin’ Surprisingly Chill

I’m pretty sure I should be freaking out with anxiety-itis about now, but…nope.

Believe it or not, I’ve got things under control. Never mind that I just cast on my final Xmas gift today – I’ve got it in hand (literally – it’s a pair of fingerless gloves).

Last week, however, was a different story. Hence, the missed post last Sunday. Oh wells. I feel a smidge guilty about it, but the sky didn’t fall, so…we move on.

Here’s a few things I’ve been up to in the last fortnight:

Last year, my Wicked Step-Mother (aka WSM, and not a wicked bone in her body) gave me a variation of this ornament. Actually, she gave me two.

As I placed them on the tree this year, and marveled at their kniterly perfection, I realized that I could most certainlylikelypostively figure out how to duplicate them, AND that they would make perfect gifts for my knitter students at the office – especially since I had purchased a giant box full of blank ornaments intended for the lacy ones I feebly attempted a couple posts back.  Realizing I would need the tiny needles, which, after careful inspection, I realized were merely fancy toothpicks, I called on my buddy Amazon and ordered up 360 of the little suckers.

I was set!

That is, until I dug through my stash and found…nothing worthy. I wanted sparkly. I wanted fluffy. I needed fingering weight-ish. Didn’t exist. Yes, I could have shopped, but there really wasn’t time for that. So, I dug a bit deeper and found some Xmasy colors in a box of leftovers, repurposed the ball of Kidsilk Haze I bought to make the lace ornaments, and, by way of a flash of inspiration, scavanged my cross stitch supplies and found some gold, bronze, and silver blending filament.

For about two seconds, I contemplated knitting directly on the toothpicks. Nopeity-nope: too small, too rough, too short. Sheer madness. Turns out my 2.5 mm Addi Lace circs were parfait. So, with one strand each of the color, the Haze, and the blending filament, I went to town. A couple of fumbly attempts later, I had it down. Much to my delight, the little suckers only take about 20 mins from start to finish. Whoop whoop! Four days later, I had finished 20 of them.


They were such a hit with my studientos, that I’ve made four more since for some muggles (non-knitters) who gushed over them.

I lurve them very much. I’ll crank out a few for myself, when I’ve got time.

 

 

 

The cuteness is a little overwheming, I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND, I have something for the Cast Off department that’s been lingering in WIPPING for some while:

The Mason’s hat is Ta-Da!

I was having my doubts – it was taking forever to knit in 2×2 rib, and it seemed like it was going to be waaaaay toooo big. I just wasn’t sure I was feeling it.

Then, something magical happened…as I worked the crown shaping, it all came together and I started to like it, and like it some more, and the like it reallyreally a lot.

It’s ribby, squooshy, cabley deliciousness. However, heed this warning: THIS IS NOT A QUICK KNIT. Be certain that the recipient is worthy before committing to gifting this project.

As a bonus, the crown looks pretty cool, amiright?

Now, I just need to finish the Traverse mitts in the same yarn (this be what I cast on today) and I’m done this stellar gift! Wheee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s actually more, but I big time need to get back to my needles tonight. Tick tock and all.

Hope you all have a super duper Merry Christmas, for those who celebrate such a thing, or a peaceful, relaxing day off, for those who don’t.

Next post will be tardy, as Sunday falls on Christmas Day, but I’ll do my best to get to it Boxing Day-ish.

I hope Santa brings you yarn xo

Cheers,

Knicoleknits

Brace yourself…

I made some ultra cute stuff this week. Seriously…you’re going to die.

I won’t even bother with a bunch of pre amble. Words can’t.

Here’s the knitted one:

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This is Pug With Anorak by Barbara Prime from her book, Fuzzy Knits. Bursting at the seams with so much adorable, it should be illegal. I even managed to accidentally make articulated arms and legs. That’s why he poses like a supermodel.

I took him to work last week to show my students and couldn’t let him out of my sight. Peoples were agog. They either wanted to steal him or buy him. I respectfully declined both options.

I will be sending him to a new home soon, but he has many friends in that amazing book, so some of them may end up adopted by moi, myself, and I. And, of course, I see many a sweet toy in my grandbaby’s futures. They are most worthy.

Now, this is the not-knitted one:

 

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I bought this fluffy little needle felted hedgehog Dimensions kit on Amazon. There is something so very satisfying about the speed and repeated stabbing involved in needle felting. Inevitable finger punctures aside, I really dig manipulating raw wool roving into cool things. About a million years ago (okay, three or fourish), I made these little otter buddies:

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I get happy just looking at them hugging their orangey starfish. don’t you? Next time you need a quick fix of adorable, try needle felting. It’s da bomb.

All other WIP projects played hookey while I was in critter creation mode this week, so this is the end of my report.

I hope you had a great week too, and your shopping and/or holiday knitting is getting done without <too> much stress and angst.

THAT day is coming closer…and closer…and closer…

Keep clicking,

Knicoleknits