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).

IMG_3084

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:

IMG_3051

IMG_3052

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:

img_1229

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

Now, hold my martini and watch this:

IMG_1270IMG_1257

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:

img_1972

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:

 

img_1971

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:

img_0035

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

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