Finished Shirtie! (FO)

Completed Kelso sweater
Standard

Wow – I thought I’d never finish knitting this hooded, short-sleeved sweater!

I started knitting the Kelso sweater in May, so it took almost 6 months to complete. Now that I say that out loud, I’m surprised I knit my first sweater in less than a year.

Knitted Kelso sweater

Yeah, I’m using a remote control. What of it?

Knitting this was pretty fun. The lace panel in the middle uses the SAME pattern repeat every row (knit or purl), so it’s very easy to remember.

There is some seaming to do, which I was dreading because everyone talks about how awful seaming is, but I actually found it to be a bit fun to watch the mattress stitch zip up the sides of the sweater. I also learned how to do the kitchener stitch for the top of the hood!

I do wish that I’d knit a smaller size. I chose the 46″ size based on my bust size, adding 4″ for ease and it’s a bit swimmy in here. After reading Knit to Flatter and Knit Wear Love by Amy Herzog (the sweater queen, IMO), I now know that I should knit sweaters based on my upper torso size, adding darts where needed to increase sizing where things are a bit bigger. That would have meant making a 38″ instead of 46″ sweater.

The hoodie helps a lot to make this sweater look cute at a bigger size. Without it, it might just look like a big, frumpy shirt.

Sweater

Does this sweater make my bookshelves look big?

My only gripe with this pattern is that it called for 8 balls of yarn and I only needed 5.25 of them to finish the sweater at the size I chose. Maybe I knit weird but I swear I met gauge!

On to the yarn. I knit this using Knit Pick’s Palette. I absolutely LOVE the colors available in this yarn base. It’s 100% wool and 100% stinky when wet. Luckily the smell goes away after a bit, otherwise this sweater would be in the trash. I didn’t particularly love or hate knitting with the yarn, but it is a very nice match to this pattern.

Woohoo! Now I can cast on something else! Or perhaps I should finish that shawl… or sock.

Hooded shirt/sweater

Girl, look at that hoodie. I work out!

Advertisements

Making your own change

Link

Nothing is going to change unless each individual person chooses to change and I’m an individual person so I have to choose to change.

After realizing that she, as an individual, could do something about global warming and the overuse of resources on earth, Jen of Make Do and Mend challenged herself and her family to a year of acquiring nothing new with lots of re-using, mending, and ‘making do’.

This quote resonated with me because I recently had a similar epiphany to Jen’s. Until earlier this year, I felt helpless about issues like factory farming and animal rights. Each time that I guiltily ate a hamburger, I would tell myself that not spending $5-20 per week on meat would go unnoticed by a factory farm business, and plus, I donate to the ASPCA, Audubon Society, Humane Society, and the World Wildlife Federation (isn’t that enough??). But for some reason, this year, I realized that I didn’t need to feel guilty, I could just do something about it. I stopped eating meat and started educating myself and my family on what meat and animal products are humanely farmed, how to tell and where to buy them. I feel better about my decisions and although I realize that changing my own habits isn’t going to change the world, I know it’s a start. As Ghandi supposedly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I would highly recommend a listen to Kate’s interview with Jen on A Playful Day podcast. It’s inspiring to hear the journey of a self-professed not-so-crafty person making do with what they’ve got to make a change in their lives.

Listen to the interview on A Playful Day podcast.

Cozy Knits & Crochet

Cozy Knits and Crochet Patterns
Standard

Here I sit, in my home in central Florida with the A/C blasting. It’s 88°F outside but I’m pretending there is a slight chill to the air. Drinking a pumpkin spice latte and scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see photo after photo celebrating the beginning of a new season—my favorite season—Autumn.

Autumn doesn’t seem to show up here until mid-November most years, so it is with much jealousy I have put together this set of cozy knitting and (one, sorry hookers) crochet patterns. They remind me of fireplaces, warm cups of hot cocoa, and colorful fallen leaves.

To those of you living a bit farther away from the equator than me, enjoy your chunky, cowled, and cabled sweaters! Put on those bulky, scrunchy socks and a matching pair of wrist  warmers, curl up in your coziest chair and get knitting (or hooking)!

A Blanket for Seriously Cold People

A Blanket for Seriously Cold People by Sylvia Bo Bilvia

Not sure you could get any cozier, wrapped in this chunky, ribbed blanket designed by Sylvia Bo Bilvia.

Perfect Autumn Sweaters

Top Left: Lanvad by Justyna Lorkowska Top Middle: Eddy by Amy Herzog Top Right: Cardiff Coat by Jennifer Wood Bottom Left: Coffee tunic by Mira Saarentaus Bottom Middle: Lila by Carrie Bostick Hoge Bottom Right: Frontiersman by Martin Storey

Cozy Accessories

Top Left: Hooded Cowl with Buttons by Melissa Grice (Crochet) Top Left Middle: Woodland Hoodlet by Tiny Owl Knits Top Left Bottom: Cosy gloves by Anna NikipirowiczTop Right: Cup of Cocoa Slouch Socks by Heather Walpole Bottom Left: Cosy Scarf by Marie Wallin Bottom Right: Slouchy Socks by Gwen Bortner

If you want to get even cozier, I have created the Get Cozy! bundle on Ravelry and will continue to add cozy, comfy knits and crochet projects to it.

Favorite the Get Cozy! bundle on Ravelry and maybe new patterns will pop up in your Pattern Highlights (is that how Ravelry works?).

Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall 2015 Lookbook

Willamette Scarf from the Brooklyn Tweed Lookbook
Standard

Brooklyn Tweed released their gorgeous Fall 2015 Lookbook today and it’s focused around one of my favorite things: The Pacific Northwest! Since they’ve moved their offices to Portland, I guess they’re feeling a bit inspired. I know the feeling.

The lookbook is beautiful and makes me want to pack up my needles and knit in Oregon somewhere.

Brooklyn Tweed's Quarry in Lazulite colorway

Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry in Lazulite colorway

They have also released a new line of yarn: Quarry – a beautiful, bulky yarn that comes in the loveliest, earthy colorways! I’m a sucker for roving-style yarn and this one is sourced from Targhee-Columbia sheep in Wyoming, dyed in Philadelphia and spun in New Hampshire, keeping the process all in the US. It will definitely have a spot on my holiday wishlist!

30MinKnits Challenge

#30MinKnits Challenge
Standard

I’m challenging you all to knit for 30 minutes-a-day for 30 days!

Wait, why…?

I think many of us knitters, fast or slow, have gone through patches of knit-neglect. Our UFOs (unfinished objects) start piling up in a corner. We look back at the past few weeks and realize we haven’t knit at all or have only knit a couple of times and, with regret, we exclaim,

“If only I’d just knit for a few minutes every day, I’d be done with that project already!”

I want to gift myself with 30 minutes a day of knitting so I can…

  • Start and finish that second sock
  • Finish that beautiful red shawl I’ll never wear
  • Finish the shirtie I really want to wear
  • Finish the annual temperature scarf I started… in 2013

And I want you to gift 30 minutes to yourself as well! If you have unfinished knits or haven’t picked up your needles for a while, join me!

How the heck am I going to find 30 minutes?

  • If you’re a morning person, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual for 30 days, grab your cup of coffee (or tea!), settle in somewhere comfy and knit.
  • Knit between bites during lunch!
  • Knit at stoplights on your way to work. (Okay, that might be dangerous…)
  • Watching TV? Multitask and knit!
  • When you find yourself mindlessly surfing Facebook, Reddit, Ravelry, or anything else on the internet, put down your phone and pick up your needles.
  • Be mindful of your time – are you doing something you’ll regret not having done tomorrow? If not, knit!
  • Knit on the toilet…? (We’re heading into creepy territory.)
  • Knit in bed, right before you go to sleep because you almost forgot you were doing the 30MinKnits challenge!

Alright, I’m in. What are the rules?

Just a few… and I’m not going to be that picky. This challenge is a gift to you — you, the knitter, who wants to finish that UFO over there (and there, and there). Do what you can, when you can, but be nice to yourself and give yourself the time to do what you really want to do!

  • Work on whatever project you’d like for at least 30 minutes per day for 30 days in a row. That’s 30 minutes of actual knitting time, not Ravelry browsing or stash fondling to figure out what you want to knit.
  • When you want to, share your progress with everyone using the #30MinKnits hashtag on Instagram (or wherever you’d like).
  • Knit happy!

I’ll be starting this challenge on September 1st and I hope you’ll join me.

Making sense of variegated yarn

Making sense of variegated yarn
Standard

I have a problem.

Every time I walk into a yarn store I become enamored with hand-painted yarn. My pupils dilate, I grab a skein and cuddle it to my face, naming it Fluffy and promising to bring it home to be made into something amazingly beautiful.

I have done this many times… my yarn stash is full of skeins like this beauty:

Manos del Uruguay - Alegria

Manos del Uruguay, Alegria in Agave colorway

I bought this Manos del Uruguay skein while in Alaska (read about our Alaskan adventures on Off to Earth) because it reminded me of the aurora.

Whenever I get settled in at home after buying such a skein, I log into Ravelry and check out what’s been made with the yarn.

And I’m almost always disappointed.

Manos del Uruguay Alegria shawl

A pattern featuring the Manos del Uruguay Alegria yarn. I know some people love the way this coloring looks, but I can’t stand it. 

The way these beautiful skeins knit up into a barfy, disorganized mess makes me want to cry. In my head, I always imagine a finished knit that gradually fades from one color to another, like the skein, even though I know it won’t happen! What I’m really looking for is a gradient yarn, like these, but I keep buying variegated yarns instead.

If you’re like me, then perhaps you’ll find this Ravelry bundle of knitting patterns for variegated yarns to be helpful! I’ve found a few things seem to make variegated yarns look a bit more organized:

A small number of rows in the variegated yarn color separated by a solid color. The separation of color lets your eyes make sense of the color changes in small sections, giving a sense of organization. Each bubble in the sock below is kind of like a tiny window.

Sunnydayknitter's Stained Glass Bubble Socks

Sunnydayknitter’s Stained Glass Bubble Socks

Patterns to try for this effect:

Tall or dropped stitches. Taller stitches seem to give the colors some room to breath and the color changes don’t seem as abrupt. I didn’t see any examples, but I imagine treble stitch crochet would look pretty awesome as well.

Frazzledknitter's Drop Stitch Scarf

Frazzledknitter’s Drop Stitch Scarf

Patterns to try for this effect:

Linen stitch. The exact opposite of long/dropped stitches, the way colors mesh in a tight linen stitch seems more pleasing than stockinette / garter stitch.

Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf Pattern

Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf Pattern

Patterns to try for this effect:

Plan the pooling of your colors to create a pattern. I’ve thought about tackling the task of planned pooling for a while now. Planned pooling allows you to create a pattern using a variegated yarn using a bit of math. I’m not sure I’m totally up for all of the planning this entails since I usually like to wing it, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Color pooling on knit shawl

Really cool pooling occurring on this shawl made by Karla Stuebing

Learn about The Art and Science of Planned Pooling by Karla Stuebing.

Do you have any go-to patterns for variegated yarn?

The Crochet Project: Curated beautiful, wearable crochet

The Crochet Project - Curated beautiful, wearable crochet
Standard

I heard about The Crochet Project on a recent podcast episode of A Playful Day (another interesting and fun podcast to subscribe to).

The Crochet Project is a collection of crochet patterns for wearable items that I actually want to wear. The only things I’ve crocheted are amigurumi (stuffed animals), baby hats and one scarf. I’ve never been drawn to the stiff “drape” (if you can call it that) of a crocheted garment which is why I started knitting in the first place. Knitting just looks better worn.

Joanne Scrace and Kat Goldin are hoping to bring crochet’s reputation closer to knitting’s with The Crochet Project. Every year, they create and seek out beautiful, modern crochet patterns for wearable items (hats, shawls, scarves, socks, sweaters and shirts) that are made with natural fibers (another hard-to-find aspect in Crochet Land). They collect these patterns together and release them for sale on their website.

Kate of A Playful Day has been interviewing many women makers in her podcast; Joanne and Kat were interviewed on the podcast about a month ago. If you want to hear more about The Crochet Project and their journeys in making, that podcast episode is a good place to start.

If you want to pick up your hook, I noticed their Alchemilla shawl pattern (top right of the featured image above) is available to download for free!

Have you seen any drool-worthy crocheted wearables lately?


Check out The Crochet Project

The Crochet Project Website

On Facebook

On Twitter

And Ravelry, of course