Posts categorized "Quick knits"

More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  

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I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.

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And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.

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It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.

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I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  

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While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.

 


So maybe I can knit nice things

I'm happy to report two finished objects that I am rather pleased with.

I finally finished the Willow and Oz knee socks I started in October.

Randomly striped knee socks are definitely nifty, but these were a slog. I think it was the knitting with two balls of yarn. Not portable and a bit fiddly.

Emma loves them and that makes me happy. The colours are fantastic: Indigodragonfly merino sock in My world is all askew and Hootenanny: Well it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

And yesterday I finished something nice for me:

Sweetums fingerless mitts in beautiful Indigodragonfly merino silk. This is not a colour I would pick for myself. That the nice thing about clubs. They push you outside of your normal boundaries. Now that they're done I love them. The colour is so pretty (top photo is more accurate; it's hard to photograph your own hands).

These were the ones I stumbled on a few weeks back. Once I got over that it was smooth sailing and for a little bit I felt like I had my knitting groove back.

They're very warm and cozy. And sadly, still needed. Actually, it was too cold to wear them today.

I think I'm going to stick with some small things, it feels good to finish some pieces that I'm happy with.

 


Maybe I should just give up knitting (not really)

This winter has not been a great one for me knitting-wise.  I've made a few accessories that were just okay, but not much else, and I haven't had a project that really grabbed me.  

Well, I shouldn't say that because working on Oshima was pretty great.  Until it wasn't.  

I think I need a knitting win.

Knocking off a quick WIP was the plan last week.  The kids were at my Mom's for the March Break (and yes, it was fantastic), I had all of season two of House of Cards to watch and plenty of Indiodragonfly Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination one skein projects to choose from.  I got back to the Caulking arm/leg warmers and got to it.  

I finished the first one and dove into the second one.  Then I took a little break and started the Sweetums fingerless mitts.  All was good.

Until it wasn't.

Apparently I can't read.  I missed an entire line in the Sweetums pattern and didn't notice until 48 rows later when I couldn't figure out where to put the thumb.  I was silly enough to write to the designer and it wasn't until she explained it that I noticed I missed the line in the pattern.

While Sweetums was working itself out I finished both House of Cards and the second armwarmer.  Tried them on, did the photo shoot and then noticed something wasn't quite right.  

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The second armwarmer was a full repeat (8 sts) bigger than the first one.  (No I didn't write down what size I was making, who does that?!).

I actually turned off the tv and counted the repeats on the first one twice to confirm the number: 56.  When I was casting on, I distinctly remember doing the math in my head as I distributed the stitches on the dpns.  16 per needle.  Because 16x4 is totally 56.

Except it's 64.

Twelve inches, ripped out.  I casted it on properly and it's in the travel knitting pouch.  I'll get back to it.

Sweetums is coming along very nicely.  Almost done the first one.   

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I hope this goes smoothly now.  I'm tired of so many mess ups of the easy things that I've been doing most of my life like reading and counting.

 


Book Review: Knit Accessories

I have a healthy stash of oddballs and am genetically programmed to really feel the winter cold. I like hand knit accessories, to knit and to wear and am happy to see that Kate Atherley has written an excellent book filled with simple patterns and great tips.

Knitted Accessories: Essentials and Variations, the follow up to Kate's must have guide Beyond Knit & Purl, again uses her no-nonsense, easy to understand style guiding the knitter through projects to create useful accessories like scarves, cowls, hats, mitts, socks and legwarmers. A cold-weather intolerant person like me, she knows the importance of bundling up and offers all the patterns in various yarn weights, shows how each pattern looks in solid vs variegated yarns and provides tables and advice on creating one's own accessories using different yarn weights.

Throughout, Kate provides advice on how to tackle things like knitting in the round, getting the correct fit and how to knit for someone else when you might be unsure of her size.

These patterns are also a great starting point for a lazy person like me who doesn't want to think too much before diving in, but who might want to improvise a bit along the way. I can choose a basic pattern and add a different stitch or throw in a cable and make something pretty.

Knit accessories is a great edition to my library. I have it on my iPad which means its always with me. I highly recommend this book for both new and experienced knitters.

 


Christmas Knitting Round Up

December was sort of busy.  I got into a big fun groove of Christmas knitting.  I didn't really plan to make things for everyone but since I wasn't running I had all this TIME, so I just started making stuff.

(And I want to say a big thanks to everyone who commented about my back and my decision to take a break from running.  It's been 6 weeks and I'm still cranky about it.  Having your stories of finding new physical activities and of recovery really helped me).

 

A hat for Craig

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He picked the yarn when we were visiting Kim and Ron of Indigodragonfly this summer.  It's hard to say no when your sweetie chooses a bright yarn and asks for you to knit something.

Simple watch cap.  A lot of ribbing.  Craig asked for it to be longer and it ended up too long.  It's pretty silly, but fine with the hem folded over. Seriously, I don't let him out like that.  

Pattern: Pismo Hat

Yarn: Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Zen and the Art of Clown Disposal

A hat for Emma

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She chose the pattern and the inner liner colour.  I didn't have anything suitable in the stash, so I picked up this stripey yarn.  Emma has a yellow pea coat, so it's a good match.

Pattern: Brimley

Yarn: Biscotte and Cie Gobelin and Tosh Dk

Mittens for Xander

He asked for mittens.  That's a quick and easy project.  I tried Elizabeth Zimmerman's mitred mittens. Very fun.  All from leftovers.

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Socks for Mom


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By request.  I've made my mother socks before and she's only really liked plain socks in a commercially spun wool/nylon yarn.  So that's what she got.

I used Kate Atherley's pattern from her new book: Beyond Knit and Purl.  I do better with a pattern than when I wing it.  This way I have some numbers written down!

Pattern: Classic Top Down Sock

Yarn: Opal Feelings

A Scarf for my Memere

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It's hard to buy a gift for your 86 year old grandmother.  A handknit cashmere scarf really does seem like the most appropriate thing.

She doesn't knit so it's extra special (and she brags about me to her friends!)

Pattern: Miss Otis Regrets (fabulous 1 skein project)

Yarn: Handmaiden Cashmere

Something for Charity

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This was a totally last minute crazy idea.  We have a charity auction at the President's holiday party to benefit a mental health initiative on campus.  This year donations were down and when the call came out, I decided to knit up a scarf.  In a weekend.

It's not so hard when you have a yummy 50/50 merino silk single in the stash.  It sold for enough money to make me feel good about the donation (I would have bought it myself if needed) and someone has something pretty.

I confess I'm not keen on the colours, but the knitting was lots of fun.

Pattern: Noro bias lace scarf 

Yarn: Schaeffer Helene


Someone loves his new sweater

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Alexander has been asking me to knit him a sweater pretty much since he grew out of this one I made when he was about 2.

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The kid has good taste.  He would pull Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting off the shelf and suggest patterns to me.  Complicated ones.  At 11 he's not a little kid at 5ft 3inches with feet bigger than my size 9.5 shoe size and since I suspect he's not done growing, I wasn't ready to jump into a full on aran sweater.  

So we negotiated.  I went through Ravelry and chose sweaters I was willing to knit and we narrowed it down.  Smart cookie I am, I went with aran to chunky weight yarn so it would be done fast.  He chose this pattern and I chose the Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky (on sale at Elann).  

A month later, a sweater for my baby.

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He loves it.  I love him for loving it.  

The only modifications were to sleeve and overall length.  

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The sweater is a man's small, and I think my gauge was a bit tight.  It fits me (in a sweater girl tight way) so when he outgrows it I will still have it for myself!

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Since I last blogged...

I caught a craptastically craptastic cold (I actually had it in the pictures of my finished Amused--hence the hat and pale face) and spent most of last week sick at home.

That wasn't all bad because a) I re-watched the complete two seasons and Christmas special of Downton Abbey (which I ADORE) and b) I knit a whole big bunch.

For example, I completed weeks 5and  6 of my Ella Reinvented coat, the cuffs and the collar.  I'm loving these ruffles! -even if they take FOREVER to bind off.  (It's a picot bind off, cast on 2, bind off 3, on a ruffle of a gabillion sts).

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And I finished my Grand Central Cowl (sorry about the crappy photos, sickness makes me lazy). 

 

The yarn is super squooshy Briar Rose Pilgrim. I love the deep jeweled colours.  Natalie's pattern is easy and fun and fast. I want to make another one.

 

I also got started on something new, Flavia from the Indigodragonfly Smartass Knitters/World Domination Club. The yarn is extra yummy Polwarth Silk. This stuff could become my desert island yarn. The pattern is a whole lot of moss stitch which suits me fine--I wanted some easy couch knitting.

This is my progress as of this morning. I got a whole lot of knitting done this weekend, but that's another post.


I'm knitting other stuff too!

The Ella coat is cooking along nicely, but when I'm not knitting that garment (especially once I'm done my weekly assignment) I'm working on some other very nice things too.

I just finished a baby sweater for a co-worker due any time now.  It's a great, easy little pattern found here.  I used Dream in Colour Classy in Good Luck Jade.  It's for a boy and I loved the slightly camo-look of the yarn.  

I should have put something beside the sweater for scale--it's a newborn to two month size.  So CUTE!  I can't wait to see the baby in it.

I'm also working on another sweater for me (though Emma is greedily eyeing it).  It's Amused from Knitty and it was a lovely fit with some Briar Rose Abundance I've had in the stash from a few Rhinebecks ago. While this isn't the best photo (hard to photography myself and this yarn is tricky to capture), it does show that I'm making progress.

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Since I took this photo, I got to the bottom ribbing portion.  Only 3 more inches to go on the body and then to the sleeves.  The 4 sts to the inch gauge is nice and speedy.  I like the design a lot--sort of like a done up cardigan.  I'm also considering some modifications to the collar including some buttons so I can seal myself up against the cold if need be.  I'll see if that's possible.

While I would like to knit all of the things all of the time, I can't do that...but at least I'm makind a dent and having fun doing it.


End of 2011 Knitting Frenzy

I don't have a lot of unfinished knitted things taking up space in my yarn credenza (yep, I have my own yarn storage furniture), but there are a few things I want to get off the needles by the end of the year.  I like the idea of knocking down my stash a few kilometres (I love the downloadable excel spreadsheet on Ravelry!) and also having a relatively clean slate for the new year so I can cast on a whole bunch of new things.

I also don't do a lot of Christmas knitting, but always cave at the last minute and decide to make a few things.

This year I wove a scarf for my brother Mike.  He made a request on his birthday, went through the stash with me and well, said it would complement his rather expensive hipster coat--how can a big sister refuse?

I didn't get good photos as I finished it a few hours before we had our Christmas celebration.  But here's Mike happy with his scarf.

The warp was Indigodragonfly sock in Shadows and Fog and leftovers of Bugga and Tanis.  Yum.

I also decided to knit both kids socks for Christmas.  My children have size 9 feet.  Not my best plan.  I realized I wouldn't finish Emma's so I'll shoot for her birthday in January.  The pattern is Tiara from Indigodragonfly and the yarn is MCN in Now accepting applications for Minions.  It was a Smart-Ass/World Domination One Skein club offering in 2010.  Here's the first sock.  Not bad being 50% of the way there.

I did manage to finish Xander's sock.  I used the Velodrome pattern by Natalie Selles and Socks that Rock Lightweight in a one-off colourway.  It was a tight timeline--I finished them December 24th at 8pm.  The funniest part was him not noticing while I knit them in the car on the way to Mom's!

They were put on the second after he opened them--the finest compliment one can give a knitter.

With all that Christmas knitting out of the way, I decided something for me was in order. I went with the easy win: Momentum Cowl in vintage stash Colinette Point 5. Started at lunch on Christmas, was done before bed. Emma is stealing borrowing it for now.

Now that those things are out of the way, my plan is to finish that Tiara sock and finally finish the Hanami Stole I started in 2009. Probably not doable in the next 2 days, but it's good to have goals!


Baby Surprise

One of the great things about hanging out at a fabulous knit shop is the friendships you form and the ways you get to celebrate those friendships.  At Lettuce Knit, our knit-pal Jenn is having her second baby and of course, that's a great excuse to knit up super cute baby clothes.  

For me it was a chance to finally knit an EZ Baby Surprise Jacket.  I've never done one before, I bought Knitting Workshop a few years ago so I would have the pattern, and then I completely forgot about it.  I also didn't get organized enough to knit something until 2 weeks before the shower, so something tiny was also on the menu.

What a fun pattern.  It really is a surprise for the knitter, since the pattern has none of the usual benchmarks that tell you it's a sweater as opposed to a hat or socks.  You know, things like sleeves or any sense of what the heck the shape is going to be.  So I just did what the pattern told me, and waited for it to become a jacket.

Can you see it?

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How about now?

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I decided to skip the button holes and leave it as an open jacket.  I can always add a tie if Jenn would prefer it.  I did an i-cord bind off to add a little something to the edges, and even used the i-cord to seam together the jacket at the shoulders.  I picked up stitches from both edges and knit them together with the last stitch of the i-cord.  I really like the effect of i-cord with handpainted yarn.  The Socks that Rock Midweight was the perfect yarn to use (the colour is a rare gem--nice and gender neutral and perfect for an autumn baby).

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I can't wait to meet the baby and see him/her in this sweater!