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Monday, January 12, 2015

welcome to the flock

I first saw this wee sheepie cardigan on the Yarn Harlot's blog and just knew I had to make one for our little guy. Stranded colorwork and a fairly fine gauge meant that there was no way I was making a teensy size, since if it's that labor-intensive, it ought to fit for quite a while.

pattern: welcome to the flock, by Julia Farwell-Clay
yarn: knit picks capra, pesto, cream, and black
needles: US 2 (2.75mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)
size: 24 months

toddler-approved! the perfect attire for rearranging Grandma's snowman family
Love the pattern and the cozy little cardigan! The Capra DK-weight cashmere/merino-blend yarn was super soft to knit and looked absolutely gorgeous at first. As I had feared, it does pill. In fact, it pills a LOT. Very disappointing, as it's already beginning to look ratty. I'll need to dig out the sweater shaver and see what I can do.

Also, I knit this yarn at a tighter gauge than I'd like -- next time I'd use a thinner yarn. The buttons aren't ideal (a little thin and flimsy), but I realized that I had better sew on some buttons asap so that Erik could wear it as long as possible. So, in a nutshell: great pattern, super cute result, but I wish I had used better materials.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

keeping cozy

 Old Man Winter is making his presence known here in Chicago. Brrrr! Temps below zero, windchills in the -20s. At least we have sunshine and a nice coating of snow! It's hot cocoa and mitten season at last.

I knit these cozy mittens for my soon-to-be sister-in-law for Christmas (yay!). They're from Martha Stewart's website, and you get the feeling that the designer or editor wasn't familiar with standard knitting patterns -- very odd instructions, abbreviations, and formatting, but the mittens themselves were fun to knit. Clever construction. You knit them flat, and you start with the thumb and work the mitten sideways, if that makes sense. There's a bit of origami at the end, and you finish up with a crochet seam. You're supposed to crochet around the cuffs, too, but I was down to the wire for holiday gifts, so that didn't happen.

pattern: cozy mittens, Martha Stewart Living
yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers
needles: Brittany US 6 (4.0) birchwood straights

I recommend the pattern if you want to try something different, don't like fiddling around with DPNs for mittens, and don't mind some unusual directions!

P.S. Here's a photo from the Martha Stewart website that shows the construction:

Sunday, January 04, 2015

faerie ring

Wishing you peace and joy in 2015! The holidays were a whirlwind of activity -- we did our usual Upper Midwest tour, made more intense by a busy toddler, plus an extra weekend trip to Milwaukee for a family baby shower (well worth packing up the car again). December was quite a productive month knitting-wise, so there's plenty to catch up on.

This super soft and cozy faerie ring shawlette finally received a blocking and was given to a dear friend for her birthday.

Emily wears it well and looks quite glamorous! I usually scrunch up my shawlettes and wear them as scarves -- she really knows how to bring it.

pattern: faerie ring shawl, by Mariam Riddle
yarn: fleece artist cashlana  (discontinued), topaz
needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)

Lovely lace edging, and an easy pattern! I don’t like the instructions for the beginning, though -- I ended up with an odd-looking large hole that I jury-rigged when weaving in ends. I think the designer has updated the pattern and improved the directions now.

Monday, December 22, 2014

happy holidays

Wishing you holidays filled with peace, joy, love, and warmth.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

matchy matchy

Saturday night I dug out some cardigans that I had knit for Erik that needed just a few finishing touches, and we settled in for our annual viewing of Elf. Many belly laughs later, Erik had a new cardigan to wear! It will fit him for approximately five minutes, so I wish that I had sewn on the buttons sooner, but that's how it goes.

pattern: antler, by alexa ludeman, tin can knits
yarn: cascade 220 heathers, 9451, Lake Chelan Heather, 2 skeins
needles: US 5 and 7 Clover bamboo circs
size: 2-4 years

The pattern is easy to knit and went very quickly. The sleeves are way too long as written -- I shortened them a tad, but should have shortened them by at least another 2 inches. Erik is tall, but his height is all in his torso (not in his arms) -- if I were to knit this again, I'd lengthen the body of the cardigan, too.
The yarn is leftover from my Drops cardigan, which I just love and wear all the time. So cozy and comfy!
Plenty is left on my to-knit list before the holidays, some quick and easy -- a Minnesota Vikings hat (turn a square in purple and gold), a Chunkeanie, maybe a pair of these crazy-looking Cozy Mittens (the construction looks neat) -- and one that will be a real stretch, a Big Lebowski-inspired cardigan for Paul. There are still gifts to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, and decorating to finish, but we're enjoying the season and doing things like the St. Lucia festival at the Swedish American Museum, the holiday El train, and relaxing by the lights of the Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

busy little elf

I've been a busy little elf with the gift knitting lately. Somehow my knitting productivity has increased dramatically -- I credit the decreased sunlight and chilly temperatures. Cuddling up with a cat, some tea, and my knitting seems like the perfect activity.

yarn: plucky knitter merino cashmere nylon fingering, 
Tracy Lord Haven, 1 skein
needles: US 5 Clover bamboo circs

Brilliant pattern -- very easy lace, it made for perfect travel knitting while we were in Door County last month. You're essentially just knitting a scarf, then seaming the ends together. Next time I would use a provisional cast-on, then work a three-needle bind-off. The yarn is soft and squooshy, and I love the color. This is a birthday gift for my mother-in-law, though I'd really like to keep it for myself. Confessions of a selfish knitter!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the mad hatter strikes again

Erik is sporting a new handknit hat these days. It is going to fit his large head (ninety-fifth percentile!) for approximately five minutes, so I'm not waiting for Christmas for him to wear it.  Stranded colorwork is my knitting bĂȘte noire, so I'm glad to finally make some progress.
pattern: sheep may safely graze, by caoua coffee, adapted for a hat
yarn: patons classic wool merino, leaf green, 1/2 skein
knitpicks swish worsted, grey, 1/4 skein
needles: US 4 + US 7 circs + DPNs

I was inspired by blanchn's beautiful adaptation of a sock pattern. I love bighorn sheep! I folowed blanchn's notes and cast on 72 stitches, using US 4 needles for the 1x1 ribbing, then I switched to size 7 since I wanted a larger hat. The ribbing's a little tight -- I'd use US 5 next time. I followed her notes other than that, and it turned out super cute. I wish I had used cream yarn for the sheep for more contrast, but Erik hasn't complained.

Lots of hats off the needles lately! I've already blogged about the Saint Anthony cable hats and the Milanese lace topper, but new to the collection are Barnwood, Magnolia, and Betsy.

Magnolia (above) and Betsy (below) are essentially the same stitch pattern -- a nice lace pattern that has an almost cabled look. Magnolia is a free pattern for worsted weight yarn, whereas you have to pay for Betsy, which is written for chunky yarn. The crown decreases are very different. I ran out of yarn on Magnolia and had to do some improvising on the decreases, so it's not quite as pretty as it could have been. The perils of stashbusting! The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Bobby Blue.

I had plenty of yarn for Betsy (more of the lovely Orange Flower Twist HW yarn that I also used for two Saint Anthony cable hats), so I followed the pattern as written. Barnwood still needs to be blocked, so full details another time.