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! ❤

FO: Stitch Sampler Shawl

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Seriously, I’ve had this thing washed and blocked for ages, but I just haven’t had the time to take/post pictures of it yet! With the summer temperatures still stubbornly hanging in there, I didn’t dare wrap up in its squishy warmth. Instead, I draped it over some furniture, hoping to still catch the beautiful stitch variations.

I think this is probably one of my favorite projects to date. I enjoyed the heck out of this yarn, and the different stitches really kept it interesting. My finished piece measured a whopping 66″ x 16″. It was supposed to be close to 60″ x 13″, but I think the extra length and width just makes it that much more cozy.

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Hopefully the weather will start to cool down soon. I just can’t wait to wrap up in this smooshy baby and read a book or drink some tea.

Heck, why not both?

Yarn: Caron Cakes in Chocolate Mint
Pattern: Stitch Sampler Shawl

WIP: Stitch Sampler Shawl

Technically, this should be an FO, I guess, but I have yet to weave in the ends and block it. We’ll just call it a WIP until I get all of that sorted out and get some good pictures of it completely finished. 😉

The whole thing started when I found some Caron Cakes at Michael’s in this great colorway. I bought two at 100g per cake without thinking about what I could make to use all that yarn. Eventually I decided on a shawl, something larger and cozier than my last one. After scouring Ravelry for a couple hours, I found the perfect pattern: Stitch Sampler Shawl by On This Day Designs!

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This pattern was so much fun to knit! It uses 4 or 5 different stitches, which keeps it interesting, and all of the stitches look great together. I really love how the striping of the yarn looks with the striping effect of the stitches as well! I decided not to be OCD and neglected to match the striping up to the beginning of each row. I wanted a sort of wabi-sabi look, I guess. (Or it could’ve been laziness…?)

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The pattern calls for Aran weight yarn, which is what Caron Cakes is supposed to be, and there was no gauge listed. It’s supposed to block out to 60″ x 13″, but I suspect that mine is at least that large unblocked. I got what I wanted though! Large and cozy~

Cooler weather should be rolling in next month, I hope. I can’t wait to wrap up in this on a crisp fall morning while drinking hot tea on my porch~

tl;dr

Yarn: Caron Cakes in Chocolate Mint
Pattern: Stitch Sampler Shawl by On This Day Designs

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.

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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!

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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.