Friday, October 13, 2017

Too cute, can't deal.

I finished the new Unicorn Hoodie for Elaina.

I simply cannot. One of my husband's aunts sent us this dress after she was born and this is the first time I've put it on her. Of course it's perfect with her new unicorn hoodie. I just about died when I got her dressed up. She must have known she looked adorable because she sat there and let me take a bajillion photos of her.

I wanted to make a new unicorn hoodie anyway, since I lost my original in the flood, but what sealed the deal is this Be Sweet Magic Ball yarn in the candy-colored Pastelicious. Is this not the most perfect unicorn yarn you've ever seen? I couldn't have come up with a better yarn for a unicorn mane and tail if I'd designed it myself. It comes in 48 colors, so should you want to also make a unicorn for your little one, you can make whatever color unicorn your heart desires. My heart is apparently candy colored.

The Magic Ball yarn is about 95 yards of a bunch of coordinating bits- mohair, regular yarn, metallic stuff, ribbon- just tied together in approximately equal lengths. I separated out the different bits so that I could make the mane and tail just the way I wanted. The only bit I didn't use was the blue ribbon, because I just didn't think it would fit with what I was going for.

Once I had each bit untied and wound up into a ball, I just cut appropriate lengths and made the mane and tail according to my pattern. I've got enough left over from one skein that I'm thinking of making her either a unicorn hobby horse (unicorn head on a stick) or a stuffed unicorn toy, or maybe even both. I've got a thing with unicorns, can you tell?

For the body of the sweater, I used some leftover Happy-Go-Lucky HGL Worsted in Salt Silo- the yarn I used for my Blowing Snow cardigan for Midwestern Knits. The horn and hooves are Knit Picks Swish. I wish the horn was smaller. I wrote this pattern with only one size of horn, despite the sweater going from 6 months to 12 years. Kind of a derp now that I have more experience, so I went back and fixed that in the pattern. I actually made quite a few changes to the pattern while knitting this version, including bringing it up to my current style sheet.

 While this yarn was 100% perfect for what I wanted it for, I don't think I'd enjoy knitting with it, especially the ribbon part. However, to each her own, and if you would like to knit with it, there are three patterns written specifically for this yarn: the Magic Scarf, Magic Cowl, and Magic Ball Hat.

Thank you to Be Sweet for providing this yarn to me for review. All opinions are my own, as always.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Knitscene Winter 2017

I got my copy of Knitscene Winter 2017 in the mail the other day, which was totally exciting because I've got two patterns in it! I've got a cowl and a sweater in the Hygge section (that's a Danish word meaning "cozy living," sort of, and it's pronounced HUE-guh, like the sound an old-fashioned car horn makes, which is totally adorable.)

This is the Dejlig Sweater, and I think it might be my most favorite sweater design that I've done. It's an idea I kicked around in my head for like a year before it became real.

I will admit that I got inspiration for this sweater from an episode of Pretty Little Liars. Don't judge. Everyone has that one show. One of the characters was wearing this great sweater with exposed seams, and I got obsessed. It took me a minute to figure out how to expose seams in a stockinette sweater, but I worked it out, and ta da! Here is it and I LOVE IT. I love the curved side seams, and the integrated kangaroo pocket, and the slight hi-low hem. It's cozy and warm and I can't wait to get it back.

I actually finished this sample the day I went into labor. Maybe somehow my body knew that I needed to get this done before the baby came? But yeah, I finished it at like 4 pm, made dinner, we decided for certain on the baby's name, then not 15 minutes later I was having contractions 5 minutes apart. Elaina came the next morning. It was actually kind of nice that she came when she did because I got to try this sweater on before I sent it off to Knitscene- I didn't think that was going to happen. Glad it did, because this fits me perfectly and it was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be and I'd like it back, please.

I also have a cowl pattern in this issue- the Kostbar Cowl. This one is pure and simple comfort knitting. I knocked out the sample in like two days because I liked knitting it so much.

Easy lace, worked in the round, no edgings, Malabrigo Worsted. What's not to like. 

These patterns are available on Ravelry if you don't get Knitscene in the mail, or you can get the entire digital issue here

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bad Choices?

I'm not much of a knitalong person. I do what I want, when I want and that includes knitting. But for whatever reason, I decided to join in on Berroco's knitalong for Portfolio Vol. 4. I'm making Thea Colman's Clover Club Hat with two colors of Berroco Ultra Wool and some pink Vintage.

I knew even before I started knitting that there wasn't enough contrast between the pink and the teal... but I started anyway, and got all the way through the first and second colors before I had to admit to myself that I don't love this. It's not the pattern- the pattern is amazing. I think I was trying to be too thrifty by only using leftovers, and it's just not a great combo. 

The teal and the taupe-y color look great together, of course. It's just the pink. I went to my LYS and they don't carry this yarn, so I'd have to order it and I don't want to order one skein. I mean, I don't want to try to order just one skein but end up ordering like 6 different single skeins of yarn because I want free shipping. I'm trying to stash down. I know myself. 

So what to do? Rip it out and find something else that will work instead of pink? Carry on since I'm almost done with the hat anyway? Stuff it in a project bag and forget about it for 2 years? Open to suggestions. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Pattern // Aleyska Mittens

I talked about these mittens a bit the other day when I talked (gushed) about the yarn I used to knit them, but I figured they deserve their own post.

After winding up my new ball of Alegria Grande I decided that the yarn wanted to be mittens. Being me, I had to design some new ones instead of knit one of the 84523578 mitten patterns already out there. I found a cable pattern I loved in one of my beloved stitch dictionaries and here we are. Aleyska mittens

They're written for three sizes- adult small, medium, and large. The small fits my hands perfectly and my palm is 7.25" around above my thumb. I know we've been over this before, but I love knitting worsted weight mittens. They are so fast. 

I'd recommend doing magic loop if you're going to knit these. You don't want to be working the cable pattern between double points- what a mess. 

Want to make a pair? You can get the pattern on Ravelry for $5. BUT WAIT! Until September 21st you can use coupon code FALLYALL to get them for 40% off. It was fall-ish outside the other day. Football is back. Fall is here as far as I'm concerned, even if the high is 90 F today. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Replacement Unicorn.

We lost a lot when the house flooded last year. Most of the furniture, an awful lot of my yarn and fabric, tons of books. Probably the things that make me saddest, though, are my high school yearbook and my handknits. I had a box of handknits under my sewing table. The box would have floated except that the table held it down, so it filled up with water and sat there for two days. Again, this would have been fine- people don't realize just how much you really can save from a flood- except that one sweater in that box bled dark blue dye all over everything else, and that's not fixable. I don't care about the blue sweater. Never liked it anyway. But the original unicorn hoodie was in there, and that I lament. 

So cute.

So, I'm making a new one for the baby. I'm using leftover yarn from my Blowing Snow cardigan from Midwestern Knits, and some Knit Picks Swish for the hooves. Not sure yet on the horn. I might so the same yarn as the hooves, but I do like a metallic horn. Dilemmas. 

For the mane and tail I've got the perfect yarn. It's called Magic Ball and it's a mix of mohair, ribbon, and yarn in the perfect sugary unicorn colors. I can't wait to get this thing done because it's gonna be adorable.

Right? That is the most unicorn-y unicorn yarn I've ever seen. So perfect.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review // Manos Del Uruguay Alegria Grande

Possible new favorite yarn:

I was lucky enough to receive a skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande for a blog review. I squealed when I opened the package. It is GORGEOUS. The color is rich and deep and nearly impossible to capture in a photograph. I picked out Tahiti, but there are tons of other semi-solids, and a bunch of what they call "space dyes", which are really cool variegated colors- I'm partial to Orquidea. Check out all of the colors here

Alegria Grande is a worsted-weight version of fingering-weight Alegria. It's basically worsted-weight sock yarn- 197 yards per skein, 75% superwash merino, 25% polyamide (nylon). The yarn is actually made in Uruguay (it would be disappointing if it wasn't, given the name) and the tags are each signed by the artisan who made the yarn. It's also certified Fair Trade, which is a pretty hard label to get. I think that's pretty cool in this world of "made in China" mass-produced crap. I always like to know where my clothes and my food come from.

Knitting with this yarn was a joy. The color is glorious and it's so soft. Great stitch definition, too. It's hard to say for certain because I made mittens and not a sweater, but I think the drape on this yarn would be really nice. The only thing- it's a little slippery, probably because of the nylon content. I used metal needles and the stitches slipped off a few times, but I bet if you used wooden needles that wouldn't happen.

I designed some mittens with this yarn- more on that in another blog post. I've got enough yarn left over that I think I will knit some baby mittens for Elaina- the old fashioned kind that are connected by a string that goes through the arms of a coat. Then she can't lose them, and I get to knit a bunch of i-cord. Love. 

Thank you to Fairmount Fibers, the North American Distributor of Manos del Uruguay yarns for providing this yarn to me for review. Opinions are my own!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


The Berroco giveaway is now closed, and the random number generator says comment #9 is the winner, and that's Lacey Marie! Send me an email at emily.ringelman @ gmail DOT com with your contact info!

Thanks everyone for commenting!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Vanilla is the New Black

Miss Babs Cosmic Sock Yarn

I came to a realization recently. There's a not-small chance that the world could end soon, so why not just knit with the good yarn?
"What's the point," I asked myself, "in holding onto it if we might all die in a fiery inferno because of some aggressive tweets?"
"No point at all," I answered. So I finally wound up this Miss Babs sock yarn that I bought at Stitches West back in 2013, when we still lived in California. I've had this yarn hanging on a hook above my sewing machine for literally years, because the color is so gorgeous that it seemed a shame to hide it away in a yarn bin. I think this yarn is discontinued now- it's Cosmic hand-painted sock yarn, and the color is called Impatiens.

One lonely sock

It's been a long time since I knitted a pair of socks. I think the last pair I actually finished was in 2016. I finished this sock above (Down the Rabbit Hole) around Christmas time. I started the second sock but HATED knitting it- these are mirrored socks and the first one was a bit annoying to knit, because you have to keep shifting stitches around the needles, but the second one was intolerable because the twists go the other way, and it was proving too fiddly to be worth it. So I put them away but now that they're out for photos maybe I'll just make the second sock the same as the first and be done with them.

But back to the new socks. These are Vanilla is the New Black. I do love knitting mostly stockinette socks- don't know why, I just do- so these were right up my alley. The heel doesn't fit as well as my usual heel flap heels, but it's ok. They were fun, I love the yarn, done.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Berroco Giveaway!!

I wrote about my new pattern the Millington Cardigan in Berroco's Portfolio Vol. 4 awhile ago, but let's talk about it some more.

This design is a bit outside my usual wheelhouse, because it's knitted in pieces from the bottom up and seamed. Who am I? I love me a top-down seamless sweater, but there was something really satisfying about completing each piece. Also it's way more portable to knit a sweater in pieces! I think the biggest reason I decided to do pieces was that I wanted the background fabric to be moss stitch, and I knew that it would be really complex to write that as a top-down sweater without just saying "do your best to keep in pattern around the sleeve caps."

But really, this one, for me, is all about those pockets. Several years ago, while watching Trueblood, I sketched a cardigan that Sookie was wearing as a future design idea, because it had these cool fold-over, integrated pockets. Design inspiration comes from random places.

So finally, many years later, I've got my fold-over pocket cardigan. I hope you love it as much as I do.

I'm thrilled to say that I am giving away a copy of the book (which is awesome, I want to make like everything in this collection) and enough Ultra Wool to make the Millington Cardigan in your size!! Thanks, Berroco! To enter to win, leave a comment and tell me what you think about the collection, or your best tips for getting a reluctant baby to take a bottle, or a reflection on Hurricane Harvey, or whatever. I'll randomly pick a winner on Tuesday September 5th Giveaway is now closed, thanks! and Berroco will send you book + yarn. Unfortunately I have to restrict this contest to the US only, please and thank you!

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.