FO: Ravenclaw Pride

Whew, 2017 was a doozy, wasn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but I was pretty excited at the prospect of starting anew in 2018. And of course I made a couple resolutions for this year; I’ve decided to keep a bullet journal to help keep me focused on tasks that need to be done, including posting regularly in this blog again.

So, for my first post of the New Year, I want to share an FO from the end of 2017 that I think is my favorite project ever!

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This was my first ever stranded knitting project, Hogwarts During the Holidays by Emily Gaynier. It’s a free pattern that includes color charts for every Hogwarts house. Of course I had to have one to show my Ravenclaw pride, but I enjoyed knitting this so much that I almost want to make the other houses just for fun.

For this project, I used Patons Classic Wool Worsted; one 100g skein of each color was enough to finish the hat, add a cute pom-pom on top, and still have a little left over. I also altered the pattern a little. It called for one of those tucked brims, but I added visible ribbing instead. I liked the way it looked and it made the hat a little slouchier, which I thought was cute.

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I was so excited to try stranded knitting for the first time in a project. I’ve done little swatches to practice the technique before so I had a little confidence in my ability by the time I started this project. It still came out better than I thought it would! Even the inside of the hat came out nice and neat!

If you are interested in stranded knitting, but aren’t sure where to start, I highly recommend the following videos:

VeryPink Knits Learn to Knit Fair Isle (3 part series)
Positioning the Yarns and Catching Long Floats by Knit Purl Hunter

I watched them when I was first dabbling in colorwork and again when I started to do this project. They really helped me wrap my head around what I was supposed to be doing.

I already have another couple projects lined up so I’ll be back soon with those!

Thanks for reading and happy new year! ❤

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I love duplicate stitch!

I’ve dabbled in colorwork a little bit in the past, knitting up little swatches of fair isle or striping, but I’ve never attempted to incorporate colorwork into a project. Colorwork kind of terrifies me, to be honest. I’m afraid to ruin a perfectly good project and hours of labor because I’ve made it halfway through a project only to realize that I miscounted my rows or stitches, my design is off, or some other knitting mishap like that. I know it’s silly to think that way because I’ll never make progress if I don’t try. Which is why I’ve decided stick my toes in the water and see how it feels.

In my last post, I showed off my first attempts at colorwork with my striped beanie and my Overwatch hat. And now I regret being afraid of colorwork all this time! It was much simpler than I first thought it would be, and there weren’t any major hiccups. Of course, I wasn’t doing anything super advanced, but still, through this experience, I think I’ve overcome my aversion.

Also, I’ve completely fallen in love with duplicate stitch! For those of you that aren’t familiar with the technique, it’s when you take a tapestry needle and make copies of (or duplicate) your knit stitches on top of your work using different colored yarn to make a design. It’s much simpler than intarsia or fair isle because you knit the item using just one color all the way through, then you come in later and add the design.

I’ve had a ton of fun coming up with ideas for designs, and the Overwatch hat was so popular that I got a request for a custom piece! I probably won’t do any more pieces like this because it’s just too time consuming, especially considering some of the other things going on in my life right now. But it came out great so I wanted to post it!

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The recipient chose the colors and told me the designs they wanted so I did the best I could. They seemed super pleased with the work.

I guess what I’m trying to say with this post is this: if you’ve never tried duplicate stitch before, you really ought to give it a shot. It’s amazing and the amount of things you can do with it is literally endless.

For anyone who wants to try it, you can find a great video tutorial by Knit Purl Hunter here.

Christmas 2016

Even though I told myself that I wouldn’t make handmade Christmas gifts this year, I ended up making some anyway. As before, I wanted to share them here since I’m really happy with how they came out.

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First, I made several bath poufs for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. I packaged them with some facial masks, bubble bath, and bath salts. Unfortunately, the bath pouf in the picture isn’t one of the ones I gifted. I didn’t have time to take pictures of them. It’s the same pattern though!

I kind of hate those plastic bath poufs that you buy at the store. It’s almost impossible to clean and rinse them out completely. Once they mold and start to smell, there’s nothing you can do except throw them away. (And they don’t even clean that well!)

These cotton poufs are awesome though! The texture of the yarn scrubs really well and leaves you feeling super clean. Once you’ve used it, you can just throw it into the wash and they’re clean and ready to go next time.

I guess the argument could be made that you could just make regular washcloths, but bath poufs are so fun! I had to make at least one. (But I really made four.)

The pattern is just called “Bath Pouf“, and I used one skein of cotton yarn for each pouf.

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I’ve been really keen to write a few hat patterns lately, so I decided to make some hats to become more familiar with their construction. This particular hat has been in my library on Ravelry for a while now. I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to it!

One of the coolest things about this pattern is the neat little pin-striping effect you get. I love finding new techniques for unique designs so I think I’ll be trying this on other projects!

The pattern is All Grown Up Striped Slouch hat.

I crocheted it with Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Heartland. The colors matched so well, and I feel like the difference in the fiber really added some interest!

Last but not least, my colorwork debut!

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My brother-in-law loves the game Overwatch so I knew exactly what to make for him for Christmas! And he loved it, yay! I know he loved it because he wore it out in public… I know, right!?

Clearly, this is my most successful gift to date!

The body of the hat was made using the pattern Siksak, but I made the design myself and stitched it on using duplicate stitch. It was my first time ever trying duplicate stitch, but I’m in love with it. I never want to knit anything plain ever again!

I used Caron Simply Soft for the whole thing. It came out so fluffy and warm!

All in all, everyone seemed pleased with their Christmas gifts. I was so relieved to see how well they were received.

So, friends, do you make gifts for Christmas? What do you think was the best and/or worst gift you ever gave? Looking forward to seeing your stories in the comments!

Let’s try some Fair Isle knitting!

During the holiday gift-knitting rush, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to learn this year in regards to needlework. Up until now, I’ve only knitted with one color and avoided all patterns that require anything with multiple colors. (Unless it’s made with variegated yarn and such.) The idea of knitting with multiple colors excited yet terrified me, so I ended up putting off Fair Isle and Intarsia in the past.

While I was visiting with my parents earlier this week, I got a wild hair and decided to try knitting a small swatch in the Fair Isle style. I even happened to have a couple balls of Sugar’n Cream in my bag! I thought back to the videos I watched on YouTube and dove right in. (I used this video and this video, in case anyone is interested.)

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I used the two-handed method where you hold one color Continental-style and the other English-style. It was actually pretty easy! I had this little swatch worked up in just a few minutes. It may not look that nice, but the fact that I have the technique down makes me very happy~

I’m currently making some long delayed socks for my dad, but once I finish, I really want to try making a hat with a colorwork design. I haven’t knitted a hat before so combining that fact with my lack of colorwork experience will make this my most complicated project to date. I can’t wait to get started on it!

Now that I have the basics of Fair Isle down, I think my next goal will be to try Intarsia. I’ve heard it’s even easier so I’m feeling positive about it. Can’t wait to see what I can make now that I have these skills down. 😉