Friday, November 11, 2011

For the love of purple...

I can't say how much I love purple. Any shade is gorgeous to me. Blue and pink aren't far behind, which is funny, because they make purple! My wedding colors were purple as well. My stash of purple yarn is enormous, and it keeps growing. I even have thought about creating a blanket with my left over purple yarns.

Purple has been a desired color for hundreds of years.  It is known as the color of royalty, wealth, and Christ which is displayed during the Advent season.  In Japan purple is known as the color of death.

My most recent finished project is the Norie hat by Gudrun Johnston of The Shetland Trader.   The pattern is modeled by the lovely Ysolda Teague with photography done by Jared Flood.  What an awesome creative trio!  It is a simple slouchy style hat with sections of stockinette stitch and Cat's paws lace.  Many people who have knit this, have only done three pattern repeats for a less slouchy look, but I chose to go with the full four, and modify the decrease section.  I was a little worried when I blocked it, but a quick stint in the dryer and it is perfect!  To make the modifications in the decrease sections, I purl one row, knit one row, and decrease the specified number of stitches, then repeat until I could tie off.  I did this because it was getting a little long for my taste, but I still wanted four repeats of the pattern.

I have been wanting this hat for so long. It is what inspired me to buy her book. (BTW everything in there is beautiful!) The hunt for the perfect yarn commenced as soon as the book arrived several months ago. I finally found the perfect yarn at the Estes Park Wool Market in June. It is by Creatively Dyed Yarn, Voodoo 2 in the colorway Aim. The yardage is amazing at 350 yards. I have enough left over to do Alana Dakos' Oak Grove mitts. The fiber combination is quite unusual. It is 80% wool, 10% bamboo, and 10% Seacell which makes for a springy and dense yarn with a luminescent quality. The color gradations are perfect for this hat, and showcase the stitch definition and lace panels nicely.  You could even make some thick socks or a small shawl with one hank.  Now that it is cold outside, I thought it was high time to finish this.  (It is really a quick knit once I actually dedicated a little time to it.)  Enjoy the pictures!

Celebrate Color

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am bugged!

I have written about my love of Rebecca Danger's monsters and the Ravelry Danger Crafts group.  Our most recent knitting swap was a Halloween swap.  The monsters could be cute cuddly monsters in costume or scary zombies and vampires.  My swap partner has two little girls, so I wanted to make something cute and not scary.

I chose Gabby the Garden monster as the pattern and made two of them dressed up as a bumble bee and as a lady bug.  I thought it was perfect that Gabby, who lives in the garden would choose to be her favorite garden bugs.  For the bumble bee, I added yellow and black stripes to the belly, black feet, antennas, and cute little white wings.  For the lady bug, I knit the entire monster in red except for the feet which are black.  Lady bugs have black tummies but this monster is in costume so red it is.  I stitched the outline of wings on the back with black spots sewn on, and antennas.  My son loved them so much he didn't want to let them go, but they went to a loving home.

Celebrate Color

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Holy Cowl!

When I first started to knit, I made a lot of scarves with simple constructions and simple pattern repeats.  Instead of wearing them like a scarf draped around my neck, I would always wrap it in a circle around my neck like a cowl.  I even wear my shawls like a cowl.  That started my love affair for cowls.  Since September, I have finished two cowls and a shawl, I have one cowl on the needles, and one cowl design in progress.  It is better than wearing a necklace because they keep you warm, and help to finish any outfit.  Even better, they take minimal amount of yarn for a small neck warmer.

Here is one of my recent creations that I am entering in Celebrate Color contest.

The Chalet Brioche Cowl by Melinda VerMeer
It is a fast cowl and a very satisfying knit created with the Brioche stitch which I have never done.  I used Malabrigo Chunky yarn, which created a fabulously soft and squishy fabric.   I made a slight modification to create a more tapered shape so the cowl would sit tighter at my neck.  I simply changed my needle size to US 10 at the top ribbing, size 10-1/2 for half of the body, and size 11 for the remainder of the body.  I also love the color Polar Morn because it is very soothing and makes me think of the cooler months to come, and well, it matches my eyes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Danger! Danger!

So I haven't posted anything for the summer.  It has been a busy one, but isn't always busy when you have kids?

I haven't really completed anything significant in the knitting realm, but I have really been enjoying knitting toys.  Especially monsters and critters by Rebecca Danger of Danger Crafts.  Here are a few of my finished ones, but there will be a few more completed soon.

I am a member of the Danger Craft group on Ravelry, which I think is my favorite group.  Every couple of months or so they hold a knitting swap, where you knit a monster or critter for someone and they knit one for you.  Along with the toy, you also get little treats to go along with the package.  The first swap I participated in was the "Color Theme" swap, where everything in the swap had to be one color.  That was a little challenging but a lot of fun.  Although my kids have taken over the monkey I received, it still felt pretty special to receive a handmade gift from a perfect stranger.  I just signed up for their "Bump in the Night" swap, which is a Halloween theme.  I already have the creative juices flowing on this one.

This groups reminds me that there is always a little kid in me, even though I will be turning @!*&^%$ soon.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Lately I have been starting a lot of projects, but not a whole lot of finishing.  Sometimes it feels great to start a much anticipated project, and another, and another, and another.  You get the picture.  Sometimes it's nice to knit for knit's sake.

I have been knitting many warm season items, and will get some of them done in time to enjoy.  I have particularly been in love with stripes.  They are easy and very satisfying to knit.  There are many popular patterns to support the stripes craze.

What's on my needles:

1.  Featherweight Cardigan by Knitbot

2.  Daybreak by Stephen West

3.  Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos

4.  Baby Sorbet Beret by Knitterlydesigns (my personal design to be available for download soon)
    Made this quick little hat and matching booties for a baby shower gift.  I will be sizing this for different ages and publish as a PDF to be available soon.  This is a super quick knit!

This is a free pattern.

6.  Autumn Vines Beret by Alana Dakos

What is your favorite stripey project?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Let's Play!

Now that I have kids, I have grown a real love for knitted toys.  It is quick, a great stash buster, and makes a kid (or kid at heart smile).  I have made a few toys for my kids, and I plan on many more.  I have included pictures and links to a few of my favorite.  If you type in "toys" on Ravelry when you are searching for patterns, the choices are endless.

I absolutely LOVE Danger Crafts' monsters by Rebecca Danger.  This is Daphne and Delilah.  She has a few free patterns, many single patterns for purchase, and a new book.

I also LOVE anything by Susan B. Andersen, who wrote the "Itty Bitty Toys" "Itty Bitty Hats" "Itty Bitty Nursery" and most recently "Spud and Chloe's at the Farm."

Here are some more cute toys from her that are on my list.

There is a tennis ball in this frog.  Ingenious!

What kid wouldn't love these puppies.

The toys that I will be starting next are from a small independent publisher in Colorado.  It is a husband and wife team.  He does the illustrations, and she writes the stories...and the patterns.  Yes, there are patterns for the toys and clothes in the stories.  This is such a fabulous concept because it connects my knitting to my children.  These books are available through Etsy and they will ship internationally.

Freddie's Blanket

Phoebe's Sweater

There are just so many toys to knit.  If you have some stash to bust, and need some practice with double pointed needles, check them out.  I even learned how to use the Magic Loop method from Danger Crafts.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oh so Effortless!

Over a week ago I finished my " Effortless Cardigan" by Hannah Fettig.  It is very easy, but a whole lot of stockinette stitch.  I love the result and I wear the sweater all of the time.  My only complaint is because of the weight of the front panels, it can stretch out a bit.  I also need the perfect shawl pin to keep it closed.  I'm hoping my mom makes one for me.  Ahem...hint hint mom

Please check out my Ravelry page for this project.  I made a few minor changes to the sweater.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A little bit of history repeating

I am mostly a self-taught knitter, but when I was a kid, I wanted my mom to teach me to knit because I saw she was doing it.   

This is the sweater my mom made me when I was about 5 or 6 years old presently being modeled by my son.
She is left handed and I am right handed so it was a bit of a challenge, not to mention I had a very short attention span being a mere 8 years old.  I learned to cast on and knit back and forth, and that was all I could manage.  I had no idea what casting off meant, so I would just slide all of the stitches off of the needle and that was it, my project was complete.  I created a beautiful work of art, or so I thought.

 Many of the women and men in my family are incredible crafters and artists, so it is in my blood to create.  So much so, I went to college and got my BFA in photography, and now I obsessively knit.

This is my Great Grandma's basket that I now use.
I have created little knits for my children that I hope someday they will cherish.

Scott's first baby sweater

Laurel's first baby sweater

Scott & Laurel's baby blankets

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ooooh! Spring...well almost.

Now that February is over, and we have been in the 50's and 60's for the past few days, it has me thinking of flowers, green grass, pedicures (my toes look like they have been hibernating all winter), and Spring projects.

I am still very slowly working on my Effortless cardigan by Hannah Fettig, and finishing some booties for my daughter to wear to her baptism.  (Her toes are still hibernating.)  I am trying to stay focused so I can wear the sweater before the weather gets too warm, but it so pretty I will probably wear it anyway.  I have been collecting colorful skeins of yarns, and I can't wait to use them on my warm weather projects.  My favorite picks are actually sock yarn, and no, they are not for socks. 

1.  I will be making another "Cream & Sugar Cowl" by Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting in Madelinetosh Sock in shades of blue that remind me of the sky.

2.  I will also be making her "Cloudy Day Beret" in Buckingham by Bristol Yarn Gallery in a pale gray.  It is not a bright and Spring-like color, but since it is Alpaca and Silk, and it is a fingering weight yarn, it will produce a light and airy hat that can be worn through the warmer Spring days.

3.  I also hope to start Hannah Fettig's "Wispy Cardigan" in Malabrigo Lace in the Applewood colorway.  Also, if you like Hannah's stuff, check out her kits.  They are going away and she is selling them for 30% off.  You must go to her site to get the discount code before you purchase through Etsy.

4.  I plan to start Ysolda Teague's "Damson" shawl in Pagewood Farm's Yukon sock weight yarn in the Lilac colorway.

These are just a few projects in my queue, but I am sure there will be many more gifts, toys, and accessories to be made, plus two patterns of my own I am hoping to finish soon.

Here is a bouquet of flowers for you.  Maybe they'll inspire your Spring pallet.  Please leave me a comment below and let me know what your Spring projects will be.  Maybe I can post a picture of your finished projects.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Swatch it!

There are so many patterns out there that call for many beautiful yarns, but sometimes you want to use a different yarn than the pattern calls for.  So what do you do?  1. You should try match up the wpi (wraps per inch) so bring your ruler when you are shopping for yarn.  Ravelry is a very helpful site when looking for yarns because they often list the wpi on the yarn info page. 2. Find a similar fiber to ensure proper drape.  3. Finally create a gauge swatch according to pattern, and change needle size to reach the recommended gauge.  I can't say I have always been the best at swatching, but I am trying to be better.

As many of you may know, two DK weight yarns are not necessarily the same weight.  I recently realized that when selecting a yarn for Hannah Fettig's "Effortless" cardigan.  The pattern calls for Madelinetosh DK, but she suggests to select a worsted weight yarn as a substitution.  I went Ravelry cruising and found that Malabrigo Rios would be a suitable sub.  Once I swatched it, I realized that it measured the same as the pattern recommendation.  The yarn is luscious and the drape is perfect, not to mention that it is machine washable.  Here is my swatch.  Aren't the colors gorgeous?

Weight charts are helpful to determine weight, but I highly recommend to use the yards to weight ratio and wpi when trying to substitute yarn for a pattern.