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.)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Little Baby Things

I have made very, very few things for the baby. As a maker, I feel a little bit bad about that, but at the same time, I had no space to sew for the majority of my pregnancy (our apartment was little and sucky), and also, I admit that I don't really see the point in sewing baby clothes when they a) spit up and poop on them, then b) grow out of them in about 6 minutes. Two things I did make: a little quilt and an even littler blanket.

I got a charm pack of Moda fabrics in Bismarck, North Dakota when we were there at Christmas. I've never used a charm pack before but it was actually really great. Cutting out pieces for quilts is my least favorite part of quilting, so it was super nice to have that done already. I ordered a bit of white-ish coordinating fabric to go with all those bright colors and made half-square triangles. Then I looked at Pinterest until I liked something, and bam. Baby quilt. It's the perfect size for tummy time or just as a mat on the floor. I'm not sure it's big enough to be used as a napping quilt or anything, but that's ok. I still like it.

I knitted this baby blanket on autopilot. I don't know what my thought process was like, but I must have been pretty mentally worn out when I knitted this because it's tiny. Like... almost unusably tiny. I had more yarn, so that's not the problem. I don't know. Whatever. I'll give it to the baby and we'll see what happens.

The pattern is Umaro by Jared Flood and I've had it in my Ravelry library for years. Probably six years. The yarn is Knit Picks Brava bulky and I got it during the Cyber Monday sale this past year. I'm not sure why. Must have been cheap. I do love the color, but I generally don't knit with 100% acrylic. Ah well. Now it's a tiny baby blanket.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winner and a baby!

Well, you guessed it, I had the baby. Elaina James Ringelman was born on Wednesday, March 8th at 6:40 am after about 11 hours of really, really hard labor, including an epidural that didn't work. So fun. She's got a full head of hair and is totally adorable. I have no idea which way is up but I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.

Book winner! Thanks for all the advice, mamas. My random number generator, ie my husband, says that #2 is the winner, so I'll be contacting Lee on Ravelry. Thanks all!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Knit Picks Pattern and Giveaway!

Nearly a month ago (oops) I had a new pattern in the Knit Picks collection called Briar Rose. It's nine lovely patterns that are all sort of cottage-y, like something that would be in the living room in a fairy tale house. My pattern is the Ruffled Pillow, and it's pretty easy. It uses seven colors of Palette (which if you're like me, you've totally got that lying around in your stash.) It's a stockinette pillow base worked in the round, and simple ruffles that you knit then sew onto the front of the pillow.

I have an extra copy of the book. Want to win it? Leave me a comment about this pattern, or the collection, or how happy knitting makes you, or give me some advice about having a baby, because this thing is coming out in the next 18 days whether she wants to or not. I'll pick a winner at random on or around March 7th (I say around just in case the baby comes before then) and I'll send off the book so you can knit your own fairy tale living room decor. Please don't forget to leave me a way to contact you if you win!

Quick life update: We are back into our house after the flood last August. We're the only people living on our street so far, which is sort of eerie, but good I guess? But at the same time I feel guilty that we get to live in our house and no one else does. We totally got priority because of my pregnancy, so I shouldn't feel bad at all, but women. We're weird.

My due date is March 11th, so if I go radio silent for awhile that's why. I *fingerscrossed* hope that this baby is easy so that I can still knit, sew, blog, tweet, whatever, but who knows and we'll see. Eeeee!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Ultimate Labor of Love

What started as a silly idea based on a targeted Facebook ad is now reality. I'm so proud of this sweater. I sketched out a basic idea, ordered some yarn that I thought would be the right colors, and pretty much just knitted by the seat of my pants, charting the next section when necessary. I'm pretty sure that my success is due more to blind luck than anything, and I don't think I could pull off something like this again.

But- I did! And I love it! The Star Wars Sweater was my husband's Christmas present, and he loves it too. It's a bottom-up circular-yoked pullover. Not my usual method for constructing sweaters, but I thought it would be the best option given that I was flying blind and had charted nothing before casting on. I started with the sleeves. He said he wanted a section of plain sleeve in the middle, so I thought that the sleeve would be a true gauge swatch- some colorwork, some stockinette. At the bottoms of the sleeves I just did some simple patterning. Up around the biceps I did stormtroopers! I stranded the stormtroopers, then came in with duplicate stitch for the darker parts. Much easier than either stranding with three colors or doing intarsia in the round on a small circumference.

The body was a little more complex. He wanted two things: alternating rebel alliance and imperial symbols, and a tie-fighter/X-wing battle in front of the Deathstar. Ok, no big deal. (Internal panic.)

I learned how to do intarsia in the round for the symbols around the bottom. It's a handy technique to have in your back pocket, but I don't think I'll be making a habit out of doing it. That section took me longer than anything else to knit. So many tiny balls of yarn, constantly getting tangled. I reminded him several times of how lucky he is to have a wife who would tackle such a project.

For the fight scene, I taped together a bunch of graph paper and sketched out what I wanted it to look like, then converted that to stitches, colored everything with colored pencils, and knitted the crap out of that section. I love it. It has perspective, and depth, and it's just cool. Luckily he wanted the back of that section to be just plain, so I got a tiny break. I worked that portion in intarsia in the round, as well.

After all that intarsia the yoke was easy. Simple patterning, stranding with two colors, done. I played a bit of yarn chicken with the navy but I won. Good thing too, because I didn't finish this sweater until we were already at my parents' house for Christmas. Had to do the finishing and blocking two days before Christmas. He really wanted to wear the sweater to go to see the new movie, and of course he wanted to do that before Christmas day, so I had to employ a complex series of fans and drying racks to get it dry before the movie. Also, that navy yarn ran dye like you wouldn't believe. Luckily I had a stack of color-catching laundry sheets, and I think that prevented any bleed onto the white yarn. I would have cried so hard if the whole thing ended up vaguely blue, after all that work.

I'm thinking of writing this up as a pattern. I charted all of those designs myself, and dang it I worked hard on this, so I want other people to be able to knit one, too. Thoughts? I think it will be a LOT of charting, since all of mine are on graph paper still. But I'd really love to see more of these in the world.

Details: I used Cascade 220 for the navy and the lighter blue. It took 4 skeins of navy. The white, light gray, dark gray, red, and green are Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. WotA is slightly thinner than 220, but not enough to make a difference in the finished sweater.

Chest is about 38", so I think this would be a Men's S/M.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Design in I Like Knitting!

Just popping in quickly to say that I started out 2017 on the right foot with a design published the very first day of the year! My Hearts & Arrows Hat is in the February issue of the digital magazine I Like Knitting.

While this hat does say "let's all celebrate Valentine's Day" a bit to me, you could easily make it less so by using a monochrome palette, or maybe using a variegated sock yarn for the hearts? I think there are a lot of options here. 

It's written for three sizes of adult heads. The pattern is fairly easy to work if you're familiar with stranded colorwork. 

Yarn is Cascade 220 Fingering. The hat uses less than one skein of each color, making it both economical and a great use of leftover fingering from other colorwork projects!

Check it out on Ravelry here