Friday, August 8, 2014

Back again! With more FO's!

My fingers have been busy! Not only have I been cranking out FO's but I have been trying to use different needles so I can do a little write up on the ones I have tried and what about them I have found enjoyable or unenjoyable. This info will come in a later post when I get more testing down. 

First I will start off with my most recent FO because it is the one I am most excited about. Lately I have been having a difficult time finishing socks. My boyfriend's Level Up socks are still sitting around as a WIP (pathetically since JANUARY!) and the pair of Iron Man socks I had started for him as an in-between project has been frogged and will be restarted once his Level Up Socks are done.  There was nothing wrong with the Iron Man socks I just felt a bit overwhelmed with so much on the needles (3 socks, 2 blankets, and a shawl) and decided to change a few things about them. I will go into more info on them when start them again.At the time I was also working on a pair of socks for myself that was going to be one of my own designs however that got frogged three times. Each time I was just shy of knitting the toe. The first time I started them I was going with a zigzag design that was interrupted by a lacey circle. I was going to call them zig-zagging around town. The circle was suppose to represent the town...

I just wasn't feeling the design. I did chart it out incase I change my mind and decide to give it ago later. When I frogged back to the cuff I decided to just stick with the zigzags without the circles however I wasn't pleased with them either. The side panel stretched out to wide on my foot. I was going to redo it with a thinner panel or looser gauge but was to frustrated at this point and frogged them completely. I caked the yarn, hich is a GnomeAcres Skeiny Dunker in bungalow gnome, and put it back in my stash to be worked up later when I no longer get frustrated by just looking at the color.

I HATE being in a sock funk! I love knitting them and the fact that they aren't getting finished has been stressing me out a bit.  Socks are usually my go to knit when I need to keep my hands busy watching TV and not having a pair I was happy to knit on was driving me crazy! When I saw that Diane of the Knitabulls podcast is having a KAL going on this month for Bluemoon Fiber Arts's Socks that Rock yarn I felt lucky. This was going to be the project that got me going again! i could feel it! For her KAL you can use any of the STR sock yarn and knit anything you like. I have had some STR lightweight in my stash for a year and have never tried it so of course I cast on right away! How could wait and postpone the excitment! I couldn't! 

Sadly though I had a rough start. Finding a pattern I liked was a bit harder than anticipated. I cast on and knit partial cuffs about three times before I decided on a stitch count and pattern I liked. The STR is a bit thicker than my usual sock yarns so I needed a pattern that wouldn't have a lot of give when knit up. I like my socks on the tighter side and I didn't want to have to adjust any stitch counts. I just wanted to mindlessly knit on something that had a little bit of design to it.  Eventually I found the Retired-Spring Praire sock pattern by Sam Stevenson of Yummy Yarn studios in my queue and HAD to knit them....only problem was that Yummy Yarns is no longer in business. I did a little digging around and found that the pattern is now part of Devonshire Knots' pattern collection and can be purchased from their website. The pattern is now called Praire Spring (I did make sure to link both Rav pages to my project page). In a matter of seconds I had the pattern bought and downloaded waiting to be knit.

I absolutely love this pattern! The slip stitch effect is made by cabling a stitch....I'm not a fan of cabling and my Level Up socks are proof that. I always enjoy knitting and do enjoy knitting my Level Up Socks however cables are just too fiddly for me. So for this pattern I followed the notes of a fellow Raveler and knit into the second stitch of the cable before the first stitch (the one that gets held in front or back). This made the pattern a breeze to work up! The yarn also knit up fast because it is thicker. I didn't have to knit as many rows as I normally do for my foot which in turn gave me lots of left over yarn! I have about a 1/3 or 1/4 of the skein left. 

For those of you interested in how I knit them I just magic looped them on my size 1.5 Karbonz fixed circular needle and cast on 60 stitches for the cuff (2x2 ribbing) increasing to 64 during their set up round. For my heel I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel which has become my go to heel for all my socks. Once my heel was completed I decreased back down to 60 stitches for the foot and did a very basic slanted toe, grafting them closed when I had 12 stitches left on each needle tip. This really was the perfect pattern for the yarn choice. I know a few people who have experienced pooling issues with STR but this colorway worked up perfectly! I love how the colors stripe and pool and the fabric was nice and dense with a bit of give. They are super cozy and I can't wait until the weather gets cooler for me to wear them. They are definately a late Fall/Winter sock. I'm really getting excited for the cooler weather. Which leads into my next set of FO's.

For those of you who have read my earlier blog entries you know that I always say I am going to knit myself some winter gear and other than my Pumpkin Spice mittens never do. Whenever the colder weather kicks in I never want to knit or feel motivated to actually knit that scarf or hat. It's weird you would think the cold weather would actually prompt winter knitting but not for me, it doesn't. Instead I picked up my needles on a super warm and sunny weekend to crank these babies out. The best and most exciting part of these two FO's is that I went Stash Diving! My 2014 Stash Down has been a complete bust so far, that's why I haven't blogged about it since my Stash Down post. It started off going well but then I just kept on buying! First I justified my purchases because they were within my allowances/rules I set up and because they were needed for baby blankets I got asked to make. Then my Rhinebeck trip fell through.....since that meant I wouldn't be buying yarn then I just kept on buying more yarn now and it was a slippery slope from there. 

After I completed my Nana Blanket though I decided to take a break from blanket making and tried to use up some of my deep stash, and I have! I started by using up two skeins i purchased when I first learned to knit to make a couple baby sweaters that I will show off right after my Winter FO's. I was so excited that I used up old stash that I couldn't stop! I grabbed a skein of Biggo from Knitpicks that has been taking up way to much room in my stash and whipped out a Feather and Fan Cowl in a matter of hours!
(Sorry for the crappy picture quality)

Then I grabbed some matching Swish Dk in Truffle that I've had for atleast 4 years and made a hat! 

The cowl is a very basic design that I didn't use a pattern for. I just cast on 20 stitches worked a tradition feather and fan design (k2tog x 3, yo knit 1 x 6, k2tog x3)  and joined it into a loop using a modified three needle bind off. I basically kept the bind off end stitches live, folded the cast on edge up to the bind off so that the wrong side was facing me and knit into a live stitch as well as a cast on edge stitch at a time binding off as I went across. It's the same method you might use to create a folded hem in a sweater. It worked out great! If you are looking at the right side of my work you can't even tell where the join is. There is no break in the pattern design at all. The only way you can tell is if you were to touch the area ( the join is a bit bulkier) or to look at the wrong side of my work.

The hat is a pattern by Jane Tanner called Spiralini Hat. I love it! It used up two full skeins and worked up fast. I did a wider cuff than the pattern called for incase I wanted to fold it up. I also wanted the ribbing to completely cover my ears. The hat is nice and slouchy and when the cuff is folded has a much closer fit so I can wear it loose or tight. Seriously go knit this hat! I had a lot of fun with it. 

Last but not least I have two baby sweaters. Right after my last post I cast on another Baby Vertebrae by Kelly Brooker. 

I am addicted to this pattern its such a fast knit and is great for stash busting those odd skeins of yarn you have laying around. My first one took just a bit more than 50g of Fingering weight. For this one I used one skein of Bernat Satin Sport (70g/180 yds) in their Meadow colorway. I went with shorter sleeves because the yarn is now discontinued and I didn't want to run out. I did modify the pattern slightly but nothing major. I changed the ribbed hems and collar to garter stitch and added a strip of garter stitch under the arms to break up the stockinette. I knit this and my cowl in one weekend. Like it said its a fast knit. The only part that takes time and concentration is when you pick up the collar stitches. 

The following week a friend of mine gave birth to her son 6 weeks early and as a gift I wanted to send her the hat I showed in my previous post... but of course it had to have a matching sweater! So I quickly found a second Baby Vertebrae on my needles.

Unfortunately I don't actually think the sweater and hat will fit the lil guy at the same time. The hat has very little give and the sweater has a ton of give. I wanted the sweater to be bigger though so that he could grow into it and that it would hopefully be a good fit for the cooler weather.  I'm hoping the hat will still get some use by then but I'm not so sure it will. I used up some more discontinued yarn from my stash. I bought this skein and the Bernat Satin Sport at the same time which was probably atleast 6 or 7 years ago. The hat and sweater are knit from one skein of Moda Dea Cherish in Tangerine. This was the never-ending skein of yarn! It never looked like it was getting smaller until I got to the sleeves and collar. I have just enough yarn left  that I can use to make more snowmen ornaments this Christmas. 

Right now I have several WIP's and some spinning which I'm not really going to talk about now. I'm not far enough into them to have decent pictures but when I am I will do a short WIP post.

Oh and I almost forgot! I did some crafting that wasn't knitting! I made a birthday outfit for a friend's daughter!

We took a plain white tee shirt and used some no sew fabric glue to add details. The number 1 and the Minnie head were made using those precut felt squares you can pick up at Michael's or Joann's for 40 cents. The letters were some felt stickers we picked up. Then we used some ribbon to make the bow and some tulle (which was on sale) for the tutu. It was super easy to make and is completely adorable. I can't wait to see her daughter wearing it! I kind of want to make my self a tutu now too. Maybe I will make one for Halloween. I can wear an orange v-neck with leggings with a green tutu and dress as a pumpkin girl.....hmmm the possibilities.

Well that's all for now, thanks for taking the time to read my blog! Maybe one day I will turn it into a podcast. My boyfriend suggested it and said he would be more than willing to do all the techy stuff...I'm not so sure though. 

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