Thursday, October 30, 2014

In which we can't finish a set.

Look at this nonsense: that's two complete, DIFFERENT socks. Who am I? This is not a thing I do! I'm such a monogamous sock knitter- finish one, immediately cast on for the second just so that things like this never, never happen. No single socks in my world. But after I finished the blue one (Jaywalker by Grumperina) I didn't have it in me to start the second one. That sock has 72 stitches, people. My usual sock has 60, so that 72 stitch business felt like it took forever. For-ev-ver. Plus it was sort of fiddly, and that's not how I like my socks. Sock + yarn went into a project bag and into my knitting basket while I knitted other things. I admit that I felt guilty about it. It haunts me from the knitting basket.

Other things like... this totally goofy self-patterning sock. I bought the yarn with the intent of making it into socks for my brother for his birthday, but when the yarn showed up it was, well, girly. That pink and purple did not look like that online. So socks for me it is. This is my first time using self-patterning yarn, and I think that maybe it's just not my thing. Kinda goofy. When I was knitting this sock, hubbs told me repeatedly that it was weird. Thanks dear, I know... This sock has also been shoved into a project bag and stuffed in the knitting basket, because when I was about 2 inches in to the sock I realized that I needed the needles for a promised design that I am sort of behind on. So I knitted like the wind to free up the needles, and the second goofy sock will just have to wait.

And just for funsies, here's a sneak peak of a three-pattern ebook that should be ready for release in 2 or 3 weeks. Eeeee! I worked hard on this so I'm excited to show you the designs! Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Pattern: Gather Ye Rosebuds Hat

When I was in high school, my friends and I went through a big Dead Poets Society phase. I'm not sure why; it's not exactly a happy-go-lucky, high-school-girl type movie. Despite that... the message of the movie is something that I try to live by: carpe diem, which is Latin for "sieze the day." Since Robin Williams died, I don't know why, but this movie has been in my head a lot, especially the scene where his character first introduces the idea of carpe diem with the Robert Herrick poem that begins "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." Probably a fitting, if morbid, thing to think about after someone has died too soon. This has taken a turn for the serious. Back to the not serious: I designed a hat that reminds me of rosebuds, and that poem, and carpe diem. 

This is, you guessed it, the Gather Ye Rosebuds hat. The rosebuds are formed by increasing a bunch of stitches into one stitch, then gradually decreasing them away. The stems are formed with twisted stitches to make them more distinct. Once you've worked a few rounds of the rosebud pattern, you'll find that it's pretty intuitive to knit, and you likely won't even need the chart anymore.

The hat takes about 180 yards of worsted or aran weight yarn. I used Dream in Color Classy, my favorite worsted. I find that Classy knits up more like a heavy worsted or an aran than a true worsted, but that might just be me. This colorway is called Punky Fuchsia. Gosh, I love the colors of DIC yarn. It's always so hard to choose one because I want them all. I topped the sort-of slouchy hat with a big pompom because that's just what I do.

One size, approximately 18” finished circumference. The stitch pattern is extremely stretchy and will stretch to fit most heads.

Dream in Color Classy, Color: Punky Fuchsia: 1 skein, or approximately 180 yards of worsted or aran weight yarn

…{recommended needles}…
US 8 16 inch circular needle and dpns

20 sts and 26 rows = 4 inches in Twisted Rib

Want to make one for yourself? Get it for $4 on Ravelry here, no account needed. 
For the first two weeks it will be 25% off, no coupon code needed! The sale will end October 28th. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Christmas gifts for the win!

I have declared this the year of no panic/no drama holidays. I admit that I have the luxury of doing so because a) I work from home, and can flex my time however I want, and b) we plan to stay home for Christmas, which I always find less stressful and way easier, planning-wise. Last year did not go the way I wanted. Too much stress. BUT: this year, I'm not doing the holidays that way. I will be on top of things, I will not overplan or take on too many tasks (ahem handmade and calligraphied Christmas cards), and I will start my gift knitting early.

You may recall that I accidentally made my mother-in-law a pair of socks way back in July. Well, I decided to roll with that and purposely make my father-in-law a pair of socks in October. I started the first sock in September, but I had issues. I'm using yarn I got from someone on Ravelry. She said it was Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, but this skein had no tag. I trusted. I knitted a sock on my faithful, if sort of old and sad, set of size 2 sock needles. I got to the toe and ran out of yarn. I ordered a complimentary colored yarn from Knit Picks to do the toes. I knitted the toe. I finally gave in to the nagging thought in my mind that something was wrong. That sock was practically made of iron. It was rigid. The yarn is clearly much thicker than fingering weight, and I just didn't want to admit it. I'm thinking that it's actually DK? Regardless... I had to rip out an entire finished sock. That's hard. Very soul crushing. I'm glad I did it, though, because when I reknitted the sock with size 3 needles and 8 fewer stitches, they came out perfectly. No toe yarn needed. Luckily for me, not too long ago Knitter's Pride sent me this amazing sock needle set- sizes 0 to 3, all in the same zippered case, so I switched from my old sad size 2 set (which are not that pointy anymore and I definitely sat on one and bent it at some point) to my fancy new size 3 set. These needles are super cool- the tips are metal, but the middle part is coated with a grippy black stuff that helps the stitches not slide off the needle. I admit it took me awhile to get used to knitting with these but once I got a handle on it, I loved it. Totally worth it. (And can we say perfect knitting gift for the knitter in your life?)

Since I knitted the first sock with frogged yarn, it got a little wonky looking. Yes, I could have properly soaked the yarn and hung it to dry to prevent that, but since these are a gift, I knew I'd be blocking them anyway. (I don't generally block my own socks once I finish them; straight off the needles and onto the feet.) See that wonkiness? Tons of uneven stitches. Once again, luckily for me, Knitter's Pride also sent me a set of sock blockers to try out, and all I can say is how have I been a sock knitter without these? I only wish I had about 8 sets, because I tend to wash all of my socks at once, then lay them out to dry.

See how nice the socks look now? Perfectly ready for gift-giving. Speaking of that... is it going too far if I start wrapping things for Christmas now, and putting them away in the closet? Whatever, I'm doing it. Less stress! More time for holiday parties!

Full disclosure: Knitter's Pride sent me the sock needle set and the sock blockers for free in exchange for a review, but my thoughts about them are my own.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Red Barn Yarn Name The Yarn Contest!

I know, I know, tons of blog tours lately. This is the last one for awhile, I promise! I'm the last stop on the blog tour for the Red Barn Yarn Name that Yarn! Contest. Red Barn Yarn, a California yarn company known for really vibrant hand-painted yarn, together with Love of Knitting Magazine, is running a contest to name their newest yarn: a 2-ply worsted weight yarn spun from 45% merino, 40% alpaca, and 15% mohair, with 225 yards per skein. The company sent me a skein to check out in a very classic blue called "Chambray". Pretty, right? 

Like the tag says, the yarn needs a name, and that's where you come in. If you want to enter the contest, please send your yarn name and inspiration to with the subject line "NAME THIS YARN CONTEST SUBMISSION".  (I hope it doesn't need to be said, but keep it PG, please.) And it's a contest, so of course there are prizes: 

Grand Prize: 1 year subscription to Love of Knitting Magazine; a sweater’s worth of the as-yet-unnamed yarn (7 skeins, 1575 yards), and a special tag with the winner's name on it for the first year of sales following this promotion.  

Second & Third Place Runners-Up: 1 year subscription to Love of Knitting Magazine and 2 skeins of the as-yet-unnamed yarn (enough to make a shawl).

The contest closes on November 15th, so get your entries in by that date. They will announce the winner on November 25th.

You can also get a free sample of the yarn to check out if you email, and they are willing to ship worldwide. I know there's a limited number of samples per blog stop, but I'm not sure how many, or what they mean by "sample", so I really have no helpful information. Typical, eh? But hey, give it a shot, see what you get.

So... what should I make with this yarn? I am tossing around the idea of making a bunch of these stars to give as Christmas gifts, or maybe a cabled kindle cover for travel? Or should I make a hat or a pair of mittens and put them in my Christmas gifts box and figure out who it's for later? I just don't know. I've had the yarn sitting next to my computer for days now, and I'm still unsure what it wants to be. Just tell me, yarn! Jeez.