One year later…

…Or close enough anyway.

Hello hello hello, everyone! It’s been entirely too long since I’ve updated. I’ve had so much going on this past year. Unfortunately a lot of it bad, which is why I’ve taken this unintentional, but sorely needed hiatus. Most things have been taken care of now, so I think I’m ready to jump back into blogging!

Today I want to share a project from my Christmas gift frenzy last year. I spent the last 6 months of 2018 (and a few months of 2019!) making gifts for all of T’s family and for some of our friends. I thought it’d be nice to share them a little at a time over the next few weeks.

Let’s start with my favorite gift project of 2018: Ravenclaw Quidditch Gloves by Jolene Meurer!

IMG_3866

As you can see, I opted for Slytherin colors over the original Ravenclaw as the person I gifted these to prefers Slytherin. Do not be alarmed! I’ve already bought the yarn necessary for knitting a Ravenclaw pair for myself. 😉

These gloves were supposed to be just a quick project, but I had to make some major alterations to get them to fit and look right. I followed the directions as written in the pattern the first time and ended up scrapping that glove entirely. It was way too small, and the glove pulled awkwardly toward the thumb, making them uncomfortable to wear.

For those of you who may want to make gloves closer to what I made, I’ve listed my alterations/choices below!

  • Knit Chart B at least 5 times. If you want a longer glove than in my pictures, 6 times should be adequate. (The pattern recommends 4 – 5, but 4 is so short that it will ride up onto your palms. Or it did for me.)
  • After knitting Chart D/C, knit Chart B once more.
  • When working the thumb portion, I slipped the 9 sts onto a scrap piece of yarn and followed the chart until the next round. When I reached the thumb gap in the next round, I CO 9 sts and continued according to pattern for the rows afterwards.

IMG_3858

The main thing that helped with the fit of the glove was including Chart B between Chart C/D and Chart A. The weird pulling in the thumb seemed to be caused by the shortness between the top ribbing and the thumb hole. Even if you don’t follow any of the other alterations, I would highly recommend that one.

Also, it’s probably just a lack of understanding on my part, but I didn’t know what she meant with her instructions for the thumb holes. I ended up substituting my own method that made sense for me. If anyone else decides to make these gloves and understands what she was going for, leave me a comment and teach me your ways! 😀

I’ll definitely be back to post the version that I’m making for myself. I’m thinking I’ll go for the film version blue/silver, and I’ll make the stripes a bit larger! Until then, I’ll be back soon to share more 2018 holiday projects!

Thanks for reading! xx

Advertisements

You spin me right round

With all the talk of the Tour de Fleece lately, I thought now would be a good time to share some of my spinning adventures. I wrote an entry quite a while back sharing my experience with building a DIY spindle. I couldn’t wait to give it a try, so I went to Knit Picks and grabbed a pack of their Bare Wool of the Andes roving.

IMG_2308-2

My first spinning attempts were awful. I ended up with a blobby, unusable mess that couldn’t have been salvaged even if I wanted to try. I was a little discouraged so I shoved my roving and spindle into the back of the closet. I knew I’d eventually be bitten by the bug and want to try again so I let myself forget about it for a few months. Sure enough, I saw some handspun yarn on Instagram and that was the inspiration I needed to break out the roving and spindle again. The thing that amazed me the most with this second attempt was that, despite not working on it for months, it was actually okay! I guess the months of letting the spinning knowledge stew in my brain really helped? (Does that even make sense?)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my first spinning attempt. (I threw it away to run away from the failure, ha ha!) The second attempt was definitely better though! It was thicker than I wanted, sure, but it was more consistent. Once I got the hang of it, all I wanted to do was keep spinning. In fact, I spun half of what I had before I even noticed!

IMG_2828-2

Eventually, I went online and bought a new spindle. I suspect that my little DIY spindle isn’t balanced very well so I wanted to try something that was professionally made. It was a little overwhelming looking at all of the spindles available, but I finally decided on a Schacht Hi-Lo spindle. I liked that I had the option of spinning high or low whorl, and it had good ratings. I used up the last half of my roving the first day it arrived, and it was my best spin yet, though it wasn’t great by any means. But you know what, that’s fine. It was just cool to know that I’m capable of getting better at this after that terrifying first attempt.

My latest goal is to try plying my little pile of singles into a finished yarn. I’m also wanting to give dyeing a try so I’ve been doing a lot of reading on that. I think my first attempt will be dip dyeing, but I’m really excited at the prospect of handpainted yarn. It’ll be a while before I’m feeling confident enough to try that, but until then, I’m going to have a lot of fun spinning my own special yarns.

IMG_2829-2
Close up of my latest spin

I’ll definitely be back to talk about my plying and dyeing attempts, but until then feel free to leave me a comment and let me know if you’ve ever tried handspinning or dyeing your own yarn. I’d love to hear any stories you have about your first attempts.

See you next time! ❤

WIP: First ever sweater

IT’S HAPPENING!

Next to socks, the project that I’ve been looking forward to the most since I started knitting has definitely been a sweater. I absolutely love bundling up in a nice, squishy sweater. And what could be better than wearing one that’s handknit!?

I wanted to start with a complicated pattern like the Jamestown pullover I mentioned in this post waaaaay back in 2016, but once the time came, I decided it’d be better if I used a simpler pattern until I figured out the basics. Enter Cropped Boatneck Sweater by Vi Bui!

IMG_3472-02

I’ve finished the body of the sweater, and I’m more than halfway through the first sleeve now! In this pattern, the body is worked in two panels, front and back, and each sleeve is knit separate from the body and attached later. I know there are ways to make sweaters with no seams, but I thought that making each part of the sweater first and sewing them together would be a good way to help me understand the structure of a sweater before I try more complicated patterns.

One of my favorite things about this project is the yarn I chose. I loved working with Caron Cakes yarn in my Stitch Sampler Shawl, so I grabbed two skeins of Caron’s Big Cakes for my sweater project. The colorway is Pistachio Macaron, and it’s working up so nice!

IMG_3476-01

I knew that this was the perfect colorway for my project as soon as I saw it. It has all of my favorite colors, and I really love the way that it’s speckled throughout, especially in the grey sections! It’s also super soft, and since this pattern is knit on large needles, it has wonderful drape~

This yarn is also self-striping so when I worked the front panel of the body, I just let the yarn do its thing, but when I worked the back panel, I matched the stripes myself. It required a little bit of extra work, but I’m very happy with how it’s working out. I’m doing the same thing with the sleeves so hopefully it looks nice. -fingers crossed-

IMG_3466-01

Besides this, I have two other projects on my needles at the moment. This one has had my complete attention though. I can’t wait to finish it up, sew it together, and show it off! It’s too hot to wear it much now, but once fall comes around, I’m never going to take it off.

 

tl;dr

Yarn: Caron Big Cakes in Pistachio Macaron
Pattern: Cropped Boatneck Sweater by Vi Bui

A tale of two winders

Another three months gone! Time just keeps slipping by without me noticing, it seems, but I’m hoping these periods of blogging silence will soon be at an end. There are a lot of things going on in my life at the moment, but I’m taking steps to allow myself enough time to write again, even if it’s just a short post or two a week.

This week, I wanted to share some pictures and info about a recent order I placed with Knit Picks. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re an awesome online store that sells yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, and tons of other handy tools for yarn-minded individuals. I’ve ordered a ton from them in the past, and I can tell you with utmost sincerity that I’ve never been disappointed in an item I’ve bought from them.

Let me show you what I got this time!

A new hand winder! When I first started knitting and crocheting enough to need one, I bought a crappy Loops & Threads winder at Michael’s. That sucker was $30, but luckily I had a 50% off coupon at the time. Let me tell you, that thing has given me such a headache! It’s just not a great design, and I can’t tell you how many times T has teased me for mumbling angrily in the corner as I attempt to wind my yarn up into pretty little cakes.

I took the time to test out my new winder before writing this entry, and it’s far superior to the Loops & Threads winder in many ways. For one, the little dootybob that holds the yarn is stationary in the Knit Picks winder. The Loops & Threads one swings back and forth, which causes the yarn to fall off the front or back of the cake that you’re trying to wind. (If you’re really unlucky, it’ll get stuck in the wheel! Ouch!)

Another thing I noticed that made it way better for me is the Knit Picks winder has this particular way of rotating that winds the cake up all nice and neat with this pretty sort of criss-cross pattern. It seems like it winds tighter and neater than the Loops & Threads winder.

Last but not least, the Knit Picks winder was super affordable at $20 (plus shipping). You can get the Loops & Threads one for cheaper using a coupon as I did, but at the end of the day, I really wish I had just paid the extra $5 and gone for the Knit Picks brand. It would’ve saved me a ton of time and headache.

IMG_2705-01

Next, I decided to splurge and buy a swift! If you don’t know what a swift is, it’s a tool for holding yarn that you’ve bought by the hank (or spun yourself) as you wind it. It expands using a mechanism similar to an umbrella, and it spins freely to allow you to easily wind your yarn without worrying about tangling.

I’ve been hand-spinning quite a bit recently, and I have a couple hanks of yarn ready to be wound. I’ve put it off until now because I was afraid of knotting all my hard work up, but it won’t be a problem with this swift around!

IMG_2695-01Lastly, Knit Picks was having a special where you get a free hank of yarn if you spend $50 or more. I chose this beautiful lace weight yarn. The line is Shadow and the color is Tidepool Heather. It’s 100% merino wool, and it’s amazingly soft. I can’t wait to make something with this. I have a project picked out, but it’ll have to wait until I finish some of my current WIPs.

(Also, I was not paid by Knit Picks, or anyone else for that matter, to write this post. I just really loved the stuff I bought and wanted to share. 🙂 )

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!

img_2648

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.