Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sugarbunny Hat

The concept of Special Reserve yarn is so enticing... I couldn't resist adding some Sugarbunny yarn to my stash. I have never knit with angora before, and I wanted to see what it was like.

I selected the Amanda Hat for this yarn. I wanted to make a textured hat that would be warm, but wouldn't be as heavy duty as my other hats.

I tested size 8 needles (my first trial of the clear zepher needles) but the gauge was too loose for my liking. I decided to knit the hat on size 7 needles.

The first round of "lace" I was slipping stitches with yarn in front, and this looked really loose. I checked from slipping p wise with yarn in back - to see if it looked better or not. It looked better when I started doing it correctly... but the gaps were so big that I knew the hat wouldn't be as warm as I wanted. I therefore frogged it and started over.

Sugarbunny yarn is so soft that it is amazing to knit with. The fabric has such a nice drape, I would love to use this yarn to make a sweater.

The decreases begin in 7 stitch repeats. Since I cast on 93 stitches, there is a remainder of two stitches. To make things simpler, I decreased two stitches in the first K round of the last garter stitch section (approximately on either side of the hat.) This way, I could start with K5, K2tog across without dealing with remaining stitches.

There were still 26 stitches where the pattern would have me break the yarn and pull through stitches. Instead I:
  • K 1 round
  • K2tog across (13 sts)
  • K 1 round
  • K2tog across until last stitch, K1 (7 sts)

This is a really nice hat. It is a little shorter than I usually like my hats, but it makes it more of a fashion hat than a keep warm hat. The yarn bled onto my figure while I was knitting, so this isn't a hat I would want to wear in the snow anyway!

This hat only too 1 ball (40 g) of sugarbunny). I still have a ball left... I see mittens in my future!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Test Knit Zombie Sheep

This is my first test knit ever! When I saw the Zombie Sheep knitting pattern, I knew that it would make a good surprise for Keith.

I knit the Zombie with Wool of the Andes Scraps in multiple colors on size 6 and 8 knitting needles (where directed.) Initially I wanted to make it mini by using fingering weight Palette, but I quickly discovered that I didn't have enough yardage of the handdyed colors.

Notes while knitting Pattern
  • I knit the sheep’s body with the Bramble and Cobblestone Heathers held double. Gauge on size 8 needles over garter stitch - 16 sts/ 4”. I didn't have enough of the grey yarns to make the whole body, so there are some stripes formed by miscellaneous grey heather WOTA.
  • 1.75” = 10 rows (+ CO edge, so do 11 rows for front legs.)
  • 4” = 24 rows (not including any CO/BO rows)
  • 1.25” of head = 8 rows in green (1 strand)
  • foot: 6 rows then BO.

There weren't details from how to sew up the body, so I took detailed pictures. The designer even asked me for permission to include these in the final pattern (I gave permission.) How did I do it?
  1. Sew up the inside of the legs with RS facing
  2. Sew up the inside of the head with the WS facing (starting at the nose)
  3. Sew up the body of the body with RS facing, leaving the sheep butt to sew it closed.

  4. I sewed up the butt, and then stitched in a circle and cinched the back closed.
The body looks a bit lumpy, very much like an undead monster!
I got so excited taking pictures of my newly formed sheep body that I almost forgot to knit the ears! I added these before embroidering the face so I could try to make the face as skewed as possible.

Lock your doors. Disable your stairs... There is a zombie Sheep in the house.

INDY, NOOOOOO! Leave it! Run and save yourself!

Oh no, you better click away before they start multiplying... I see ZS (zombie sheep) has his eyes on my entrelac sheep...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ginkgo Shawl

I am loving making shawls. This is the Ginkgo Shoulderette in Clover Palette Yarn on size 7 knitting needles. I was almost done binding off when I ran out of wool. The third ball started at 49 g, and was still at 49 g when I was all done. 98 g of yarn were consumed in this shawl. When on Raverly I say that this project used under 2 balls of yarn, I mean that it used under 100g.

In the middle of the bindoff when I ran out of the second ball.

I was rushing to cast on so I could have a project while watching TV shows on my computer with Keith, so I didn't have time to figure something new out! I can understand the cast on directions, but my result was so messy I began this shawl as I did the Rough Sea Shawl (casting on 5 sts with long tail cast on.) Cast on 5 sts with long tail cast on. I can see how the Ginnko directions would look better, but I didn't mind the way it loked on the other shawl and it felt so messy as I was trying to pick up stitches here. Because of this modification I didn't start counting my rows until I was at the RS with 7 sts.

The rough sea shawl had 110 rows before the lace (231 sts), and this shawl has 76 rows (159 sts) before lace. There is more lace on this shawl, but I think I will want to make it bigger before starting the lace. I decided to make the larger version by knitting the stockinette until row 106 and then starting the lace. (I have a third ball of clover so I am not worried about running out of yarn.

In Rough Sea, first ball ran out at row 97. In this project, I ran out in the middle of row 99. It is so nice to see consistency!

By my calculations, I thought (turns out wrongly) that there should be 215 sts after row 106. I appear had 219?!? I thought I had two extra stitches on each side, so I decreased 1 st on each side of the center (P3tog through back loop, p3, P2tog) of row 106. Then I look at the chart closer... the 7*15+2 stitches per side does NOT include the garter stitch border. There is an extra two stitches at the end before the repeats start... So I had to undo those extra decreases. This is why you should always double check the chart!

I did the double decrease as Slip 2, K1, Pass both slipped stitches over (S2KP.) As directed in the pattern, I switched to size 8 needles for row 34 and the bind off:
"k2, insert left needle into front of these 2 sts (leave right needle in position) and k2tog. *One st remaining on right needle. K1, insert left needle into front of these 2 sts (leave right needle in position) and k2tog. Repeat from * until all sts are bound off."
I soaked the shawl for 30 min before blocking. I couldn't wait to see it all pinned out! I'm not sure I love the way I blocked it, but I didn't really have any more space on the blocking board.

The shawl before (left) and after (right) blocking.

The ginkgo leaves.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Luxe Cowl

When I first saw the Luxe Accessories Kit from KnitPicks, I could barely contain myself. I am on a "yarn diet" where I am trying to use up my stash, but I couldn't resist the yummy fibers and Rebecca colors. I realized that the cowl wasn't purple but a pink before purchasing, but I still really wanted the pattern and it made more sense to buy the kit than to purchase the components separately.

This cowl is so simple, but stunning. I love the way the two yarns (Capra DK in Regal and Aloft Lace in Fairy Tale) play off of each other. I knit the cowl on size 8 needles. The zigzags are formed by simple increases and decreases.

The final grafting was a little difficult with this project. First, There were only a few rows of Capra in that section, so it made it difficult to see things. I think I ended up pulling the kitchener stitch too tight, so it is almost invisible but thankfully it still LOOKS perfect!

The cowl consumed 18 g of each yarn, which is not what I would have expected! It is worth noting that Aloft comes with 25 g/ball, so there is not quite enough to make another cowl (but can't you envision making one of these cowls using multiple different colors of aloft?)

I spray blocked the cowl. It really didn't require much blocking, but I wanted to give it a little finishing.

Stay tuned for the construction of the other Luxe accessories!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Skein Patterns: Crochet Made Simple

I frequently see a beautiful ball of yarn at the yarn store and purchase it without a project in mind. I often don't consider the yardage and that I will need to use it for a small project. (I am getting much better at this now that I have been keeping track of yards consumed in each of my projects!) This is why One Skein knitting books are so important. I have read and reviewed many different one skein knitting and crochet books, but I have never seen a free eBook dedicated to small single skein projects. Imagine my excitement when I was asked to look at the AllFreeCrochet eBook One Skein Patterns: Crochet Made Simple!

Now before I look in this book let me be critical. When I look at one skein patterns, I am hoping to see projects using 50-100g (100-250 yards) of yarn, depending on weight. These are the single skeins that people have laying around that are hard to use up.

The (Full) Patterns Include:
  • A One Skein Wrap - uses Caron International One Pound (454 g - 812 yds): 1 skein
  • How to Crochet a Simple Centerpiece - uses Bernat Softee Chunky (100g - 180 yards): 1 Skein
  • One Skein Wrap (different from A One Skein Wrap above) - uses Caron International One Pound (454 g - 812 yds): 1 skein
  • Cute Bunny - uses Caron International One Pound (454 g - 812 yds): 1 skein
I started writing up about the Crocheted Scarflette (a very cute pattern but isn't a one skein project as shown due to two colors, but I suppose without the scalloped edge you could complete it in a single skein) and how this pattern isn't in the eBook but is linked to from the eBook when I realized that there are 3 patterns linked to outside sources. These patterns are still free, and only one of them requires an account for you to download the pattern.

Patterns Linked to in this eBook
  • Crocheted Scarflette - uses Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds (85g/ 123 yards per skein... 150-190 yards used in this project according to Ravelry page.) Available as free Ravelry Download
  • Asymmetric Scarf Using One Skein - Uses one skein Lion Brand Homespun (approx. 6 oz, 185 yds) - Available for free on FaveCrafts.com
  • Kid's Earflap Hat - One skein Caron Simply Soft (85 g, 157 yards) Available for free at allicrafts.blogspot.com.
These patterns are very cute, but I am very confused by their inclusion in the eBook. I really like the Asymmetric Scarf Using One Skein. I think that it is a great single skein project and deserves recognition as such. For all of my confusion, I am not complaining about this because this is a free eBook!

Here is my complaint: three of the four full patterns in the eBook require a 1 lb skein of yarn. When you have 1 lb (454 g - 812 yds) of yarn, there are many projects you could complete. Did I enjoy the patterns in this eBook? Absolutely. Are these one skein projects? Yes, they just don't help with the 50-100g single skeins I have in my yarn stash.

Despite my complaint of semantics, I really enjoyed the patterns in this eBook. There are two one skein wraps in this book, A One Skein Wrap and One Skein Wrap. I prefer the "A" pattern because it reminds me a bit of snowflakes. The "A-less" wrap has scalloped pattern that is a little less modern, although still really cute. The Simple Crochet Centerpiece is rustic and ruffled and reminds me of a bit of coral. I know that rustic and ruffles don't usually go together, but you can do a lot with this pattern depending on your yarn choice. The centerpiece pattern is accompanied by two videos. Finally, the Cute Bunny is completely irresistible. There are long floppy ears that go to the bunny's hips. This is so cute that I want to go find a lb of yarn and a crochet hook!

When I finish this book, I am feeling very excited. Sure, I am critical over what I consider a single skein project, but that is because of the way the eBook is titled. If I were to focus on the "Crochet Made Simple" aspect of the title, I now have an arsenal of simple, beautiful crochet patterns that I (a crochet beginner) would feel comfortable beginning. I am very happy to have access to such a cute free eBook!

Get free crochet patterns, ideas & special offers + a FREE ebook, “One Skein Patterns: Crochet Made Simple.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lace Alphabets

Alphabet Knitting Charts are amazing for when you want to work in colorwork, but what happens when you want to spell things out in lace? Unfortunately I have been unable to find any free lace knitting charts, but I did find some patterns for sale that include lace knitting alphabets. (Prices are valid as of 4/1/2012)
Lace alphabets are more complicated than colorwork ones because you have to consider increases and decreases along with YO's that form the letters. There is definitely a market for the design of lace alphabets. Do you know of any patterns that contain lace letters?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

9 Easy Knitting Projects for Mom

Happy Mother's Day! I have always believed that handmade crafts and cards are the perfect way to show your mother that you love her. I was thrilled when my friends at Prime Publishing asked me to take a look at AllFreeKnitting's latest eBook, 9 Easy Knitting Projects for Mom.

This free eBook contains adult knitting patterns that would be perfect to cast on for your mother. The 9 patterns include three scarves, one shawl, two clutches, a hat, a pair of socks and a pair of legwarmers. The Sashay Awhile Scarf is a romantic ruffle scarf - a perfect warm weather knit. This is also a good opportunity to try out the popular ribbon yarns that are hitting the scene. The One Shoulder Shawl is a simple lace patternt aht would be great for beginners. Try using luxury yarns to dress it up, or if your mom is more casual then it would work great more of a workhorse yarn for daily use. The Entrelac Clutch is darling, and a stashbuster, too! The yoga socks weren't what I expected, as they are socks without a heal or a toe. If you like the pattern and wanted to adapt them to classic socks it wouldn't be yard, but these look super cozy.

There are many Mother's Day knitting patterns out there, but I think that "9 Easy Knitting Projects for Mom" will have a lasting place in my virtual knitting library. Don't forget to call your mom today!

Get free knitting patterns, ideas & special offers + a FREE ebook, “9 Easy Knitting Projects for Mom.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dressed Up Elly

I have fallen in love with knitting shawls. I have joined the Ravelry group 12 Shawls in 2012, so I now have a new goal! When I saw the Elly Dressed Up shawl pattern I knew that it would go perfectly with some yarn and beads that I had in my stash.

I knit this shawl with size 7 knitting needles (using plastic round needles that I inherited from my grandma.) The project consumed 68 g of Navy Palette (fingering weight) yarn.

I wasn't sure if I had enough beads, since the pattern specifes the number and beads are purchased by weight. According to beadstuff, are ~12 size 6/0 beads per gram, making my 3/4 oz (21.27 g) package having over 200 beads. Perfect!

Notes while knitting the pattern
  • I used the twisted loop cast on method and then added a purl row before starting the lace chart. This is a super stretchy cast on and it will help me conserve yarn.
  • After beads inserted on WS rows, I did a centered double decrease rather than the S1, K2tog, PSSO was written. This way the bead is centered. (I walso use a P sttich to insert the bead on WS rows.)
  • After the 24 lace rows I have 60 g of wool left.
  • I did the short rows without adding wraps.
  • Instead of having 1 sts at the end on each side after short rows, there are 2 sts remaining at each end. On the K round I knit to the end of the row to include those 2 sts, slipped the first stitch and purled back to finish the short rows (this way nothing was left hanging.) Then I could bind off.

I really need a larger blocking board. It was a bit cramped when I tried to block this shawlette. It would help if I could stagger the blocks some, but the way the corners fit together prevent this.

I will never change balls of yarn in the middle of a shawl ever again. I didn't show a picture, but if you hold the shawl up to the light you can see the woven ends through the cloth. Thankfully you do not see this when wearing the shawl!