Evie turned two this year. I was hoping to knit a poncho for her birthday and, while searching for yarns, I came across a knitted child’s Pinwheel Sweater* in the window of Natural Stitches and instantly fell in love with it. It seemed like the perfect little sweater for our transition from winter to spring. I was looking for a washable, lightweight yarn for the project and settled on Berrocco Vintage. I have never been a fan of Berroco yarn, but that is probably because all the freebies and giveaways I’ve gotten over the years seem to contain some kind of novelty yarn from Berroco. Vintage is a blend of acrylic and wool with a little nylon giving it a nice, soft, and light feel in a yarn that is washable. Each skein is 100 grams with many great colors to choose from.
I had nearly 100 grams of yarn leftover from the sweater and decided to knit a scarf for the scarf stash. I had always wanted to try illusion knitting and already had a pattern in my Ravelry favorites, so I thought I’d give it a try. Illusion knitting is much easier than I would have expected. Two alternate yarn rows are knit in either raised, purl stitches or recessed, knit stitches, or a combination of knit and purls in the same row, so that, when looked at from an angle, the purls stand out and your pattern appears. How appropriate, then, that Alice Bell designed a disappearing cat pattern and named it Wonderland Socks. For the scarf, the cat pattern was a bit difficult to see and make out. Perhaps because I was using a heavier yarn and the pattern traveled a farther distance. The cat and it’s curly tail only filled about 1/3 of the scarf, so I decided to make this one for my niece Sara and do her name in the illusion knitting. I think the thick letters are much better for the scarf and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see her name hidden in the scarf.
*Shelly Mackie’s Pinwheel Sweater pattern is available for free by logging in to Elann.com
February again, and time for the 6th annual Kon-O-Kwee knit camp weekend. If you haven’t been keeping up, the knit camp weekend is held each February at the beautiful YMCA lodge in Zelionople, just less than 1 hour north of the city. All of our meals are provided and we sleep dorm style with shared bathrooms for the weekend. Several areas are available to us to sit and knit, crochet, or spin. If one can set down the needles, the grounds are gorgeous for a nice walk in the snow.
This year I was part of the favors committee. It was a challenging job with a very small budget. That meant I had to get really creative. I took far too many trips to JoAnn Fabrics with coupons in hand for Susan Bates needle gauges and Deborah Norville’s Serenity sock yarn. I got some yarn deals through Knit Picks and Elann.com. Highland Alpaca provided some yummy yarn samples and discount coupons. I turned to eBay for some amazing deals, including a huge lot of rubber o-rings (for use in tattoo guns) to use as stitch markers. But the best favor, in my opinion, were the fabric needle cases.
With fabric from my stash and Lisa’s, I took to sewing 58 of these awesome needle organizers designed by my friend Susan. I love these cases for storing and organizing circular and double-pointed needles. The metal needle gauge fits perfectly in the larger pockets. Susan’s design includes a little notions pocket, but I left that out to save a little time (and sanity).
Every year there is an auction at camp and this year I got this awesome entrelac hat knit by Judy P. I thought I would give it to someone else as a gift, but once I tried it on, I knew it was mine, all mine!
Sadly, I had no projects in mind for the knit weekend and much of what I worked on has been ripped back. But the best part of this annual retreat is catching up with the many returning knitters anyway. It’s very inspiring to see all the fabulous knitting projects and the beautiful designs and yarns in the group. The project that had me rushing home to my stash was the Ten Stitch Twist using sock yarn. I absolutely love stash busting projects and can’t wait to get this started!
And just in time for Valentine’s Day.
I started this dress back in May and for some reason just stopped knitting it. I kept thinking about getting it out and finishing it, but then felt it would be daunting to try to figure out where I was in the pattern, so I kept putting it off. I’m thinking now that may have been the beginnings of my knitting funk and I was just struggling too much with this project. But I picked it up, flew through to the finish, and found it a really fun knit. No problems. Gorgeous. Funk over.
I started this dress for Evie in a size a little bigger hoping she’d get a lot of future use from it, but since I waited so long she may have outgrown it already. Which is a shame, because her mom picked the yarn color and everything. I’m sure some deserving little girl will come my way and I can pass it along if it doesn’t fit.
Did I mention this is Susan’s Jule Dress, recently published in Knitcircus’ Winter Issue? I am proud to say Susan is a friend of mine, and an amazing designer. You will find her designs in a number of publications, including Knitty and Interweave Knits! I could write a bunch more about Susan and her knits, but you should just read her blog, Handknits by Susan. The problem with knowing a designer and getting an early look at her designs is that you can’t say anything about it until the publication goes live. I’m sure it seems an even longer wait for designers.
A little something about the yarn: This is Knit Picks Shine in Hollyberry. While I’m a huge fan of Knit Picks, I am not a fan of this yarn. It is 60% pima cotton and 40% modal, very heavy, and fuzzes up quite a bit. Just from handling it to knit it a haze of fuzz has formed on this piece. I recommend you choose another yarn for your projects and leave the Shine alone.
And Happy Valentine’s Day, whatever that may mean for you.
The past 24 hours has dumped a lot of snow here. The predicted 5-8″ was quickly upgraded to 14-24″ once the heavy snow began. I cleared the walkway several times last night, but as soon as I was finished it seemed there was a new, fresh inch where I began. This morning another 8-10″ awaited me and my shovel as the snow kept falling. With the help of neighbors, we managed to clear most of the block by the time the snow slowed. The governor declared the state of Pennsylvania a disaster emergency. Some have lost power, trees are down, and many roads are impassable. But there is something beautiful happening here. I had a chance to see and talk to many of my neighbors. We worked together to clear the walkways of the elderly folk on the block. Everyone is in an excited state over the beauty and amount of the snow. We are amazed at its depth and in agreement that we are tied to our homes for a while. People have taken to the streets. Some walk dogs. Many donned skis and snowshoes. Families are taking strolls together. Neighbors are digging out and pushing cars. Some cars have been abandoned in the road. People gather around fallen trees and branches in awe. The sun is shining and the snow is glistening. It is truly a beautiful thing.
The snow is so thick and wet that it stands on its own, filling in gaps between branches and fences.
The heavy snow hangs on branches causing weak ones to snap. Close call!
The car will stay in the garage and off the roads for a while.
I have this strange notion that somehow, if I knit fast enough, I can knit through my stash. I found a skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease yesterday while searching for something non-yarn related. I grabbed it and started knitting. A day later I have another hat. This pattern is MJ Kim’s Claudia. It’s a sweet, fast knit (as most hats are), and the washable heathered wool is pretty nice too.
I have been in a knitting frenzy. You should know this probably means I’m avoiding doing something else. Knitting is a great way to procrastinate without feeling quite so guilty! I just finished Sarah Webster’s Challenger Hat pattern.
I used up some Lion Wool from my stash. I love this color: Lemongrass. The hat is the first one that really fits me. I think I make my own hats too small and then never wear them. Lesson learned. This was a pretty easy, straight forward pattern. I did modify the top just a little to keep the ribbing pattern to the end. The original pattern calls for the last few rounds to be done in stockinette. I did a double decrease then purl 1 on those rounds (slip st, k2tog, psso) until about 9 stitches were left. The biggest pain in the ass working this hat is that my needles are all over the place and I could only find 4 dpns, which meant stitches were constantly falling off the ends and needed to be picked up.
I finished and blocked this scarf and finally had a chance to photograph it. This is Catherine Ryan’s Pioneer Braid Scarf pattern.
I am obsessed with the Regia Designer Line sock yarn, especially since the LYS has it on sale 40% off. It’s funny, after doing the previous Lizard Ridge inspired scarf, I told a friend to look for patterns with slipped stitches to really show off the colors in this yarn. I think, instead, short rows are the way to go. The nice, long color runs in this yarn really hold up for the width of a scarf. I have one more set of Designer Line skeins and am desperately looking for another short row pattern to make it in. I may come up with my own short row design for this particular color way.
Also recently completed is the Caryll McConnell’s Wavy Wimple using another skein of Deborah Norville’s Serenity sock yarn.
I didn’t bother to do a swatch for this pattern figuring I could find someone, somewhere that it’ll fit. So the wimple is not a true wimple, but more of a cowl – and I’m keeping it for myself. The wavy lace pattern is beautiful and uncommon and the cowl is stretchy and warm. Of course a solid yarn would show off the pattern better, but I’m trying to find quick, one skein projects to share. I still think this is incredibly nice yarn for being so inexpensive. Since it’s available at JoAnn fabrics it can easily be found by any knitter. This color way is my favorite, it’s called “Chili”. I love the nice long stripes of pink and grayish/greenish white.
So many more projects in mind, but, of course, I’ll eventually have to get to those things I’ve been avoiding. Yeah, ha ha.
Soup and Stitches Sundays have been going strong. At yesterday’s soup I started these fingerless mitts by Weezalana. This was a really fun, easy, and quick free pattern found on her blog, Knittywhipped. I needed a pattern that used only one skein of yarn and this took very little. The yarn is Deborah Norville’s Serenity Sock Yarn. I have been buying up this yarn with coupons from JoAnn’s for favors for our upcoming knitting weekend. I am surprised with how nice this inexpensive sock yarn is. And the colorways are really fun.
Sunday night I finished the scarf. I’m really happy with how it turned out. After blocking, the scarf seems much bigger and softer. It is also very light, but should be nice and warm. The pattern is adapted from the Lizard Ridge pattern by Laura Aylor. You may remember it from Xavia’s blanket. The yarn is Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett. It’s the same yarn I used for Amelia’s Baby Surprise Jacket, but in a different colorway.
I am thinking that I’ll knit a bunch of scarves throughout the year and then at Christmas I’ll let everyone pick one. I’m not sure how I’ll do that. Have a “pick your scarf” party? Give everyone a coupon? Do one of those swap the gift games? I sometimes have a hard time trying to find the right yarn and pattern for gifts, especially for men. It’s much easier to knit something and let it find it’s owner. I recently read on someone’s blog (I forget whose) that the knitter will sometimes knit something with no particular person in mind and the first person to show an interest in it gets it! Isn’t that fun?
I’m a long time member of a Sunday knitting group. This group originally started back in 2005 or 2006 by a Pitt grad student. It has gone through many changes in its lifetime. The venues have changed. The times have changed. The people have certainly changed. These days we are reduced to a get together if two people can agree on a time and place to meet. The one constant is that we always meet on Sundays. The holidays have been hectic and there hasn’t been much of a turnout at the weekly knits. So today we decided to meet for “Soup and Stitches Sunday”. I put a pot of soup in the slow cooker this morning. When the others arrived we had a nice spread of breads, snacks, and desserts to go with our soup. It was great to see everyone and hear about each others’ holidays and travels. There are two new pet owners in our group and a new aunt. Seems like a long time since we were all together.
Wow, the past few months have been busy ones. There were two trips to Florida and three holidays since my last post. But now all that is in the past and regular blogging can resume. I am posting this brief update to show you a little teaser of what’s currently on my needles. I took this picture at the coffee shop during my Sunday knitting group. Got a great deal on Regia Designer yarn at the LYS and jumped right into this scarf. I’ll post pictures of the finished scarf once it’s done.
Happy New Year!