Knitty Keen

Knitting, knitting, and some more knitting

It’s not like riding a bike October 21, 2014

If you don’t use a skill, you start to forget things.  I used to knit all the time, 2 hours a stretch and then some most days, and my work showed it: nice even stitches and nary a mistake to be seen.  Then I got sick at the beginning of the year.  The first project I knit, one of the prototypes for a soon to be released pattern, confounded me until I finally figured out what the problem was.  It’s still not perfect, I have to play around with gauge, but I got through it.  The second project I knit, the Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit Along Shawl, went fairly well.  The charts weren’t complicated and I probably had to fix a few mistakes but all in all I was satisfied with the end result (it still has yet to be blocked).  The third project I worked on was the Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit Along.  With this one all hell broke loose.  I had to use multiple life lines because I kept making mistakes on the charts.  I had to use a highlighter so I could keep track of where I was in the chart.  Right now it’s sleeping because I have to frog four rows to correct a mistake I made.  There was at least one aborted attempt at knitting a sock that I just couldn’t concentrate on.

I decided I liked the look of a shawl that someone in my knitting group made and offered to test it for her.  I read what I thought were the important parts of the instructions and got to the last section of knitting the shawl before I realized I had done it completely wrong.  I frogged it and started over but kept making simple mistakes so it’s just as well she didn’t use it in her pattern launch.  That brings us up to Christmas knitting and my first project on the needles, Color Affection.  After reading through all the mods people made to the shawl, I decided that I was going to use yarn overs in the borders and knit front and back rather than the make one left and right that the pattern called for.  I set to work, got a few rows in, screwed up and frogged it.  Started again thinking I had the pattern in my mind and things seemed to be going well except that my gauge was all over the place.  I’m a tight knitter usually and was trying to knit loosely so there were these patches of really loose stitches all over the place.  It’ll come out in blocking I told myself.  I was two rows away from finishing the first section when I thought it would be a good time to count my stitches.  My count came out to be 29 too many stitches and an even number to boot.  I reread the instructions and found out I was supposed to be doing double increases on one row and single increases on the next three rows.  I just finished frogging it.  I am using Tosh Merino Light and if you’ve ever had to frog it you know what a PITA it is.

Up until I stopped to count stitches I thought I was doing really well.  The gauge differences would work out a bit in blocking and it’s intended recipient probably wouldn’t notice them anyway.  I was happy.  I was finally knitting something and enjoying it.  Having to frog all that work has been a huge blow to me.  I’m going to have to dig out my row counter or keep a note pad near by so I can keep track of the increases.  My concentration is shot now and it will probably take me a few days to really get back into knitting it again.  This is not a complicated pattern.  I posses all the skills necessary to complete it and complete it well, it’s just that I keep making simple mistakes with big consequences.  I have a sock swatch that I have to measure and I’m almost afraid to do it wondering that even if I got gauge could I maintain it?

I know I should count myself lucky that I had that time when all things knitting went well for me.  I’ve had legitimate reasons for why I haven’t been able to knit much this past year but those reasons aren’t gone yet and I’m going to have to resort to using tools I thought I had completely outgrown.  It’ll get done and to the best of my ability, but it’s going to take a while for me to get back to where I was in my prime.  Thus endeth my, “Oh woe with me,” post and my hubris that I could just pick up where I left off.

 

’tis the Season October 16, 2014

…for warm, wooly knitting.  Here are a few of my patterns available as free downloads from the Knitty Keen Ravelry Store that should help keep you warm in the coming months.

 

Knot Cap

knotcap

This is a simple knit hat with a unique design in that it’s knit from the top down.  It includes sizing from preemie to child with several brim options.  It’s a quick knit and the perfect thing to keep your little one’s head warm in the cold weather.

 

Neck Warmer Cowl

neckwarmer

 

Yet another fast and easy knit sure to bring warmth all winter long.  It’s a simple stitch pattern, just enough to keep it interesting and a perfect size for people who don’t like the bulk of scarves or larger cowls.

 

Joe Schmoe Men’s Fingerless Gloves

josschmoefingerlessmitts

For the man in your life who values the simple things, these fingerless mitts are a must.  Sized for a men’s medium/large and using fingering weight yarn, they’ll provide warmth without the bulk of worsted.  Instructions include a variation to have a longer finger cuff.

 

Thanks for looking.  Coming soon (at last) will be my snowman ornament pattern so keep an eye out.  TTFN!

 

Where has all my mojo gone? Long time passing. October 8, 2014

I’ve been sick for much of the summer and the beginning of fall so knitting just has not been happening.  I am now ready to start my holiday knitting and pray I have enough time to get what I want done.  Here’s what’s been doing.

 

Scrappy (or not so Scrappy) Shawl

Here’s a picture of the finished object from the pattern page on Ravelry.  There are several and definitely worth a look.

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I was supposed to be a tester for this pattern and while I gave input, I misread the instructions and did it the wrong way, then I did it the wrong way again, and finally I got it right.  Here’s my meager shawl.

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I’m still going to be plugging away at it but Christmas knitting is on the horizon so it may take a back seat for a while along with my sleeping Hitchhiker and Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit-a-long.

 

Magic Yarn Ball Swap

I was treated very kindly as always and got some marvelous yarns.  Two skeins of Malabrigo Lace in Sealing Wax, A skein of Tosh Sock in Gossamer, mini skeins for my sock yarn blanket, and some other goodies as well.

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Christmas Knitting

As usual I have probably bitten off more than I can chew and some of these will be new year’s presents, but who is keeping count?

Color Affection for someone.  Here’s the finished object.

Color Affection Shawl

Here are the colors I’m using in Tosh Merino Light – Nutmeg, Golden Hickory, and Oak.

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And two mystery projects because I don’t know if their intended recipients read here or not.

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I also have matching sweaters I want to make my kids and a sock yarn monkey I want to make for my nephew.  We’ll see how much I can get done.  I’ll be knitting a gauge swatch for one of the mystery gifts tomorrow.  If you haven’t already, like my page on Facebook and keep up with what’s on the needles. TTFN!

 

Long Time No See March 12, 2014

It has indeed been a while since I’ve posted anything.  I have actually been knitting, but not nearly as much as I’d like to be.  I have two shawls waiting to be blocked, another one on the needles, a sock that I’ve barely started and as soon as I get my replacement size 6 needle, I’m going to be casting on for Color Affection.

The first shawl that is waiting to be blocked is an original design called Flirty.  My husband got me a beautiful skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Coquette for Christmas.  I had made a little shawlette out of some Noro Silk Garden Sock (surprisingly in the colorway that comes up when you click the link) years ago.  I played yardage chicken with it and finished it with only six inches to spare.  I always intended to do something with it but I never actually wrote down a pattern.  When I opened my Christmas present I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.

tosh merino light cocquette

Flirty is a wide but short shawl with a ruffled edge, just long enough to tie at your throat to keep your neck warm.  I’m planning on getting some blocking done in the beginning of next week so I’ll post pics then.

The second shawl I’ve been working on is Follow Your Arrow Mystery Knit-a-long.  A Mystery knit-a-long is one where you get individual “clues” or pieces of the pattern and you have no idea how the pattern is actually going to turn out.  My knitting board was doing it as a knit-a-long so I decided to jump in.  I was worried about making gauge for some reason so I knit it on US Size 5 (4.25mm) needles instead of the recommended US Size 6 (4.5mm) needles.  I went to my LYS and found the most wonderful color of Tosh Merino Light, Whiskey Barrel.  Here’s an in progress shot.

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I actually ordered blocking wires which just came this week to block this one since I really want it to come out looking right.

The third shawl which is currently on the needles is the Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit-a-long.  Well, it was The Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit-a-long.  I was getting ready to link the project page on Ravelry and the first thing I noticed is that the price was only $3.00 and I was a bit miffed because I paid $7.00 since the knit-a-long had already started when I jumped in.  There’s a lengthy explanation and I don’t know if my original pattern is any good any more.  I’m going to have to do some digging on the Ravelry forums to find out what is going on.  I bought the new pattern, but I don’t know if I want to do it any more.  This is incredibly annoying.  Here’s the in-progress shot (and this week’s WIP Wednesday) from the original pattern.  I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking about this*(see update below).

Desolation of Smaug Clue 1

The yarn is Tosh Merino Light in the Envy colorway — my birthday present from my husband.  He’s done a great job picking out yarn colors for me this year.  Interesting story about the yarn.  I told him I wanted sock yarn for my birthday.  He went to one of the LYS’s in the area and asked the clerk to show him some sock yarn.  The clerk went on to tell him that sock yarn wasn’t really for socks and steered him towards the Tosh Merino Light.  Now, I love Tosh Merino Light, but sock yarn it isn’t.  Who ever this person was she has no business working in a yarn store.  I’ve told him to go to the other LYS from now on since their staff seems more knowledgeable.

There’s the sock, but that’s really waiting room and bus knitting so it’ll get done when it gets done.  The next big thing on the agenda is Color Affection.

Color Affection Shawl

In these colors…

Tosh Merino Light Color Affection Colors

This is my, “I quit smoking for a month.” (it’s now two!) present to myself.  I love the colors and as soon as I get my replacement needle for Knit Picks, I’m going to cast on.  It’s all done in garter stitch so it’s perfect for doing at night when the kids are in bed and I’m watching TV with my husband.

That’s about it for now.  I should have two finished objects the beginning of next week so keep an eye out for the next post.  TTFN!

UPDATE:  It turns out there are TWO Desolation of Smaug Mystery Knit-a-longs.  Here’s the link to the one I’m doing – The Desolation of Smaug.  So now I own both patterns and I don’t have to frog again.

 

The best laid plans December 27, 2013

I was so ready to get my snowman pattern together to publish it at long last but it was not meant to be this year.  A mix of life, school and illness saw to that and by the time I was ready it really was too late to do it for this season.  I’m thinking of doing a Christmas in July thing this year and publishing it then but we’ll see.  Regardless, it’ll be ready to go up by the beginning of November next year for sure.

My needles haven’t been completely idle this season even though I didn’t get as much knitting done as I’d have liked to.  Here’s what did happen.

Dunloe Hat

Dunloe Hat 1 Dunloe Hat 2

This is a very nifty pattern designed by one of the ladies on my Facebook knitting group.  Dunloe is a slouch hat knit with fingering weight yarn.  I’ve had this skein of Dream in Color Smooshy from Hidden River Yarns in my stash since last winter, thinking I’d knit myself some socks from it when I decided I needed a new hat and used it for Dunloe instead.  It’s hard to see in my pictures, but there’s a six-stranded braid that grows out of the ribbing at the brim.  I haven’t blocked it yet to make the cables stand out more because it’s huge on my ginormous head already.  I followed the advice of the ladies on my board and used the regular size, but doing the body of the hat on US Size 3 (3.25mm) needles instead of the US Size 2 (2.75mm) needles called for in the pattern.  It’s more than roomy enough to accommodate my hair clip, which is nice and the brim is snug enough that it isn’t going anywhere unlike my Noro Slouch Hat that I made last year that always feels like it’s going to fall off.  It was a fun knit, easy to do without a cable needle, and took me a week to make.

Swallow Tail Shawl

Swallow Tail Shawl

 

I knit this the summer when my youngest was about 6 months old in between nursing sessions five years ago.  I’d always intended to give it to my mom but this year I actually dug it out and got it blocked so I could give it to her for Christmas.  It was a major miracle that the moths hadn’t gotten to it, the worst that happened was the yarn yellowed a bit.  It’s the Swallow Tail Shawl done in some merino/alpaca/silk blend lace weight for which I’ve long since lost the ball band for.  I remember it being a fun knit and it gave me my first taste of Estonian lace with the lily of the valley pattern at the bottom of the shawl.  It’s also reminded me that I need to get blocking wires if I’m going to be doing any more lace knitting (which I hope I shall since I have a whole cone of lace weight from my trip to NYC).

Aviatrix Hat

Aviatrix Hat

 

This is the Aviatrix Hat knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in Plaid Blanket in the 3-6 month size.  It was an incredibly easy knit, only taking me two days to finish which probably would have only been one it I worked on it more.  I really like the pattern and the way the yarn looks in it.  I didn’t do a gauge swatch but winged it with US size 6 (4.0mm) and US Size 7 (4.5mm) needles.  This yarn grows a lot when it’s blocked and I definitely hit gauge after I blocked it.

Snowman Ornament

Snowman Ornament

 

This was the only one I actually got finished this year because I just ran out of steam once OI realized the pattern wasn’t going to be published this year.  I actually knit the hat and scarf Christmas morning, because it isn’t Christmas unless you are still knitting an hour before you are supposed to be somewhere.

I hope everyone had a happy holiday.  I have to weave in the ends of the Oaklet Shawl this weekend so I can add that to my list of 2013 knitting before the year ends.  All in all it wasn’t a bad year.  I have definitely been more productive in the past, but considering what I’ve been dealing with I’m happy I got done what I did.

 

 

Radio Silence November 27, 2013

I’ve been working on school and house stuff so I haven’t been making the time to knit.  Here’s what’s in the works.  For those following me on Facebook some of this is old news but there’s something new at the end.

Rainbow Sock Yarn Baby Blanket of DOOM action shot

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It took me a while to muster up the courage to try and patch the blanket again, but I finally did it and it doesn’t look too bad.  The back is going to be messy after it’s washed because of the way I wove in the ends but it shouldn’t be too bad.

Rainbow Baby Surprise Jacket

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I did the pattern as written and didn’t extend the arms although in hindsight I wish I had (truth be told I forgot how I did it with the last BSJ I mad e for my now five year-old).  I did an I-cord bind off and I should have gone up a needle size so the fit is a bit better.  I’ll remember for next time.

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Snowmen!  I’ve been sitting on this pattern for five years now and it’s finally going to go public next week.  Here’s an in progress shot.

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School is almost over and I’ll be plugging away this weekend so I can get good pictures and put up some finished ornaments in my Etsy shop.  I’m also planning on selling this as a kit to make two snowmen including fiber fill so keep a look out for that as well.

That’s all that’s doing at the moment.  I’ll be posting more as Christmas knitting kicks into high gear.

 

Blanket Woes October 4, 2013

Now that it’s been gifted I can finally let the cat out of the bag and reveal two parts of the sooper seekrit project.  The main project, a rainbow sock yarn blanket, has been in the works for four months.  Here’s a pic of it pre-washing and blocking.

sock yarn blanket

I’ve been calling it the Sock Yarn Rainbow Baby Blanket of DOOM these past few months.  If you’ve ever made one of these before, it’s not a task for the faint of heart, each one of those squares takes 30-40 minutes to knit.  The first snafu happened when Thing 1 decided he would help me out by trimming all of the ends from the top squares and the beginning and end pieces of the crochet border, all waiting to be woven in.  I got some good advice on one of my knitting boards and reinforced the top of each square with a new piece of yarn.  With baited breath, I put it in the washing machine and prayed that my fixes would hold.  When it came out of the wash, a corner of one of the internal squares had come unraveled due to what I can only guess was a weak spot in the yarn.  I was devastated.  The morning of the shower had me looking up instructions on how to darn a hole and I made a passable patch, one that was glaringly obvious to me but something everyone else had to look for.  I took the blanket home with me after the shower so I could put it through the wash again to make sure the patch held.  You can see where this is going — it separated on one side.  I must not have gone in deep enough on that side so now I have to fix it again.  It’s currently drying on my banister and I’m hoping I can do the fix tonight.

On a happier note, part two of the project did turn out all right.

pumpkin hat

The green vine lost some of its spring in washing, but that’s an easy fix.  She loved both of the gifts and part three is waiting to have ends sewn in and to be blocked and washed.  Once that’s been gifted, I’ll post pics.

I seem to have some bad knitting mojo going on right now.  Between the hole in the blanket, the almost three inches of shawl I had to frog because I was going to run out of yarn before I finished it to a ladder – yes a ladder – in a sock I’ve been playing around with since the summer it has not been a good couple of weeks in knitting.  Here’s hoping things will get better.

 

 
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