Friday, August 4, 2017

For the Love of Mint Green

When I was in fifth grade, I remember that my favorite colors were black, white, and red, all together, sort of like Minnie Mouse, I guess? Favorite colors are an odd thing. Red is not at all my color now. Hasn't been for a long time. I'd be hard pressed to say which color, for certain, is my favorite, but lately (for a couple years or so) I've been all about emerald green, coral, metallic gold, and mint. Oh, mint. If I really had to pick, I think mint would be my favorite. No offence to all the other colors, but mint is just lovely.


See: my current sweater WIPs. Mint. Since the baby was born, I've sort of been taking a designing break. Little sleep = almost no creativity, plus I just don't have much for free time anymore- designing takes so very much time. I've been taking this opportunity to knit some things that have been in my queue for ages, and honestly it's been awesome. I can't remember the last time before baby that I had time to knit solely for pleasure. Right now I'm working on a Pomegranate in Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in... well, mint. I'm also making an October Cardigan from the latest Knitscene designed by my interwebs friend Jesie Ostermiller. For that one I splurged a little on some Malabrigo Rios in the minty color Water Green. It's wonderful to knit with, and there is zero pooling. I don't even have to alternate skeins- I sort of hate doing that. Love, love love how this is coming out.

Two sleeves and a back of my October Cardigan

When these two are done I might branch out and knit something that is not mint-colored. Or maybe not. I have some mint green sock yarn that's calling my name.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Toys for Elaina

 I've been making knitted toys for my baby during nap times. She only naps for 30-40 minutes at a time, which is super annoying, and not enough time to really get anything done.. so I knit toys. It's easy to get an arm and a tail knitted during a nap. So far, I've made this bear in a dress, a naked cat and a naked polar bear, and a dinosaur that I don't really care for.

The bears and the cat are patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits, and they are excellent patterns. I've never used a more thorough pattern. There are tons of pictures showing everything from how to make the eyes to how to make the tail curve. The cat pattern has like 10 different ways to make the head to end up with different cats. I love these patterns and I will surely make more dolls for Elaina.

This dinosaur: hmm. I have a book called Knit Your Own Dinosaur that I got in Portland last year. This one is whatever Brontosaurus is called now- I forget. It looks more like the Loch Ness Monster to me, and oh gosh was it fiddly, and not in a fun way. The two sides are knitted separately, along with the tummy. Then it all gets seamed together around some pipecleaners. The body has like no shaping, and the neck is weird. It's so long and skinny, and since you have to seam it top AND bottom it's super easy to torque it. I clearly did that in a few places because this poor beast looks like his neck has been broken a few times. Overall I'm not impressed with this pattern.

But I do like this bear.

I'm proud of myself for using entirely scraps and little leftover balls for these toys. The cat is Madelinetosh Vintage, so he fancy. The dinosaur and both bears are random Knit Picks yarns, and the dress is leftover sock yarn. Next I need to make some clothes for the two naked ones. I'm also thinking about using some leftover dishcloth cotton to make some rings for stacking. Finally, a use for the bins of leftover bits that I can't seem to throw away.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New Pattern: Sonoran Desert Bucket Bag

I have a new pattern out in the August issue of I Like Knitting! This is the Sonoran Desert Bucket Bag. It's a fairly simple intarsia pattern. The two intarsia panels are knitted flat and seamed together at the sides, then the live stitches at the bottom are worked in the round in garter stitch. The base of the bag is circular and is stabilized with some of that needlepoint mesh stuff (technical term.) Metal eyelets and rope handles make it look more polished.

For the sample, I used Cascade Avalon in White, Georgia Peach, Enamel Blue, and Tannin. I like this yarn for this pattern because it's a 50/50 cotton acrylic blend. Nobody wants to take a wool bag to the beach.

You can fit a ton of stuff in this bag. It would be great for the beach, or sightseeing, or maybe for kids' stuff for a day trip. Lots of options. You could also work it in a DK or sport weight and end up with more of a purse-sized bag.

To get the pattern, subscribe to I Like Knitting here, if you're not a subscriber already. It's pretty inexpensive for a year, and you get 30 patterns per issue, which is a ton, and 6 issues a year, which is also a ton. I wasn't a subscriber until this particular issue because this sweater caught my eye and I simply. must. make. it.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

New Pattern: Millington Cardigan

Last year, I was asked by Berroco Yarns to contribute to their Portfolio Volume 4, using a new yarn called Ultra Wool, a superwash worsted. My idea was one I've been tossing around in my head for awhile- a cardigan with integrated, fold-over pockets. I dislike knitting really long ribbed cardigan edging, and I almost always wear my cardigans open, and I like cables, so this ticks all my boxes. This is the Millington Cardigan.

The cardigan is knitted in pieces from the bottom up and seamed. The fronts start out really wide, then once they are knitted up past the pocket top, they get much, much narrower. Then when you seam the fronts to the back, you fold the pocket over the front and seam through both edges. The bottom band is picked up after seaming and closes up the pocket bottoms. The body and sleeve fabric is double moss stitch because I like texture.

For a clean edge, I did knitted-on i-cord all around the pocket edges, up the fronts, and across the back neck. I do love me some i-cord.

I can't wait to get this sample back! I love love love how this design turned out and I'm so happy Berroco asked me to contribute. Made me feel legit.

Get the pattern on Ravelry here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Pattern: Carmine Pullover

I've been working on this pattern for AGES. I finished the sample at Christmas, at my mom's house, because I gave it to her as a gift, mostly because I was pregnant and knew it would be a year before I could wear it, but also because she really loves red. Then I took the photos when she came for a pre-baby visit in February. I finally got the pattern written in April, and here we are. I know I've said it like a million times but babies! They take up so much time.

Carmine is a decently simple pullover pattern. It's worked bottom up, in the round, to the armholes, then split and worked back and forth. The sleeves are also worked from the bottom up in the round. The sleeves are set in to the armholes, which is not something I usually do, but for this pattern, it's what worked. The body and sleeves both start with twisted ribbing that then starts to travel together until all the ribbing is contained in a triangle of twisted stitches.

Cascade Venezia is a lovely wool/silk blend with a really pretty sheen. I would recommend using whatever needles you like to use with splitty yarns (for me that's addi turbos with really sharp tips), because the way this yarn is plied means that it's easy to split stitches.

If you want to knit this sweater I'd recommend really, really liking twisted ribbing. There's a lot of it. I personally love to knit through the back of stitches, but as established, I'm a bit of an odd duck.

Ladies’ XS (S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X)
Finished Bust: 36 (38, 40, 43, 47, 50, 55)”
Shown in size M (40”), with approximately 2” of positive ease at the bust.

Yarn Requirements: 
Cascade Venezia Worsted; 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 10) skeins

Get the pattern on Ravelry here!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Kraemer Yarns // Baby Deer Hoodie

 Look at this deer hoodie that I made for Elaina. I die.

While I was still pregnant, I was offered some yarn from Kraemer Yarns to review for le blog. I knew right away that I wanted to make a baby deer hoodie for my baby. I don't know why I was seized with such a specific desire. Pregnancy is weird. I also decided that the best course of action was to design this thing as I went. Also unsure why that was a good idea. Sleep deprivation + very limited knitting time does not have the best outcome. The armholes are a bit small, and the hood had to get a little sewing machine surgery. Ah well. It's adorable anyway.

I used Tatamy DK in Birch and First Tooth, and Tatamy DK Tweed in Carnation. I think DK is perfect for baby clothes because it's lightweight, but doesn't take a lifetime to knit (like fingering, for example.) I ain't got time for fingering-weight sweaters. :) This yarn is actually awesome for our climate, because it's a cotton/acrylic blend, so there's a real chance one could wear a knitted item and not burn up. Sometimes knitting with cotton yarn is not that much fun (ie it sucks) but this yarn never felt like knitting with cotton. I really liked it! I could see making me-sized things with this yarn, especially because it comes in so many great colors. Also a good reason to make more things with this yarn: the company spins the yarn in Pennsylvania, and they source materials from the US whenever possible. I'm sure I've talked about my issues with fast fashion and sweat shops before, so I won't harp on it again, but I'll just say that I'm a big fan of US-based yarn/fabric/clothing.

I'm thinking of writing up this pattern, but I might wait until munchkin sleeps better at night so that I can sleep better at night so that I can use my brain again. I sent a pattern that I'd written since the baby was born to my tech editor the other day, and she sent it back because I'd forgotten to include armholes. Yeah. No sleep = dumb.

Thank you to Kraemer Yarns for providing this yarn for my review. My own opinions. Please excuse any weirdness due to sleep deprivation.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A sweater for me

Front on the needles, back done and folded.

Right before I had my baby- like, the evening before I went into labor- I started a sweater for me. I had a sweater quantity of Knit Picks Swish on hand, which is rare for me- most of the time I don't have a single sweater quantity. I mostly have single skeins which is not a good way to buy yarn, but I keep doing it. I've had KleverKnits's Camden pullover in my Ravelry queue for ages, and the yarn/pattern combo seemed like a good match so I went for it.

Cat fur. Always cat fur.

I am making some modifications. I'm cabling every 6th row instead of every 4th, just to save time. I also reversed the direction of the cables to make it easier to cable without a cable needle, because that's how I roll these days. I'm lengthening the body because as written, 15" to the armholes is too short for me. I'm going with 16.5". I also might lengthen the armholes, but I'm not sure because I'm not there yet. I'm definitely going to pick up stitches around the armholes and knit the sleeves top-down, because any time I can avoid a seam I'm doing that.

A week or two ago the baby started going to bed at around 8 instead of around 10, so I've finally had some time to myself. I finished the back a couple days ago and I've made decent progress on the front so far. I'm hopeful that this sweater will be done by mid-June-ish so that I can start something else. I was looking around my craft room just now and... I've got a lot of yarn. Everything looks cluttered, and I dislike clutter. I want to knit down some stash. (Same applies to fabric and sewing- too much stash, not nearly enough time.)