Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lots to Show!

I know it’s been a bit since my last blog and I apologize for that. I had quite a bit of projects on the needles and when I finished one I was always close to finishing another and wanted to put the blogging off until I could blog about them all at once. I probably should have blogged sooner as I have a lot to show you and I don't really know where to begin! I suppose I will start with the cutest first....

I finished the puppy my sister asked me to make for her co-worker. He was made using Knit Picks Chromo in Bittersweet (brown) and Natural (white) from Barbara Prime's (a.k.a Fuzzymitten) Pupster pattern. For those of you who have not tried out one of her toy patterns I highly recommend you do. She is one of my favorite toy designers. Her designs are simple and cute and I find her patterns are rather easy to follow. She does not go into full blown details when it comes to stuff and finishing but I find that it’s pretty self explanatory especially if you have knit toys before. This little guy did give me a bit of trouble when it came to putting him together (no fault of the pattern's), usually I seam the head and embroider the face on first and the rest of the toy just comes to life from there. This pupster took a bit longer to show his personality and it made putting him together a bit slower and more tedious then my norm. I think he came out rather cute in the end. I worked on him slowly throughout a week. Each night I just relaxed in front of the TV with him and knit a couple pieces up. I was in no rush to get him finished and just took my time. I finished him just in time to go to his new home.

Once I was finished him I worked on the Castle Pullover by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and the Lonely Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (both found on ravelry). As you can imagine these two projects were ongoing and took me a while to finish. I finished my sweater the last weekend in October and I finished the shawl last night and set it to block this morning. Prior to now I have never attempted a shawl or a sweater and am very proud of myself for accomplishing two projects that I had let intimidate and scare me off in the past and also for finishing them and not giving up or letting them hibernate.

I am in love with the sweater. It fits me perfectly and looks great on. I used Malabrigo Worsted in Damasked Rose and Taupe (contrasting color). I used about 4.5 balls of the Damasked Rose and .5 balls of the Taupe. I learned quite a bit while knitting it. I learned to be patient and trust the pattern. Whenever I was unsure about how things were turning out or got frustrated I would put the sweater aside and sleep on it for a couple days or even a week before actually frogging back. I wanted to be sure before I did anything I would regret later on. There were several instances of frogging back huge sections but it was well worth it in the end. I am glad I took the time to think problems through and to trust the design before I tried to alter or frog. I would absolutely recommend this pattern for a first time sweater. It is knit top down so I was able to try it on as I went. Also I liked that it started off so simple then got more complex after I parted for the sleeves. If I had to keep a design going while working the raglan shaping I might have become overwhelmed and stopped knitting it. By the time I got to the lace design I was a lot more confident in what I was doing and was ready to conquer something else. I did have some issues at first with the lace design and being off on my stitch count however I ended up placing stitch markers after each design repeat (every 9 stitches) and from there it was smooth sailing. If my stitch count was off I knew it had to be due to an error on the previous lace row in the same section of stitches so it made finding my errors and fixing them a lot easier. I will be doing this in the future with lacey designs. After the first lace repeat I got a little panicked that the sweater was going to be two wide as my gauge had change a lot more than I had expected, I decided to keep going as it measured the same width as one of my favorite stored bought sweater. I am so glad I did because I just love the fit!

As for the shawl, it’s gorgeous. I love the design and the color I used. It was knit with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in the Wine Tasting color way. It is made up of deep reds and burgundies and really does look like a glass of wine. I used a size 8 US needle and probably should have gone up to a size 9 for a looser gauge but I am still very happy with how it turned out. I used just over 1 skein of yarn. The pattern was also a good beginner pattern. It is made up 3 charts (a, b, & c) and once I got the symbols down I flew through the first chart. Once I was on chart B the troubles began. It’s probably because I tried knitting it while I was tired- never a good idea when your pattern requires concentration. Once I moved on to chart C I had no issues and once again flew through the pattern. I have never done a picot bind off before which is what this pattern required but with a little help from YouTube I had no issues with it. This is another design I would recommend if anyone wants to knit a shawl, it looks great when blocked and is free on Ravelry.

While I was taking breaks from all that lace knitting required in the shawl and sweater I worked on a basic pair of socks for Halloween and a basic pair of mittens. The socks were made using 2 skeins of Knit picks Felci self-striping yarn in their Spooky colorway and the mittens are knit with GnomeAcres yarn in her Pumpkin Spice Latte colorway- perfect for the fall! I didn’t use a pattern for either project, the socks are your basic stockinette sock with an afterthought heel and 2x2 ribbed cuff and the mittens are the same. I did watch Kelley’s mitten class tutorial videos on Knit picks and followed along with what she said. These were my first mittens so the right mitt is a bit funky. I picked up stitches for the thumb to close the gap and found that my thumb was way too wide and then had to do some major decreasing. I fixed this on the left mitt I added less increases to the thumb and instead of picking up stitches to close the gap I just sewed it up in my finishing.

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