My youngest son and his girlfriend are expecting their first child! I’m very happy for them and am looking forward to holding a baby! You can probably expect to see me making more baby stuff, pretty soon. 🙂
I’ve been on a colorwork kick, again. It really is fun to do. I love watching the pattern emerge, row by row.
I decided that my sweetie needed a new cowl. And, since it needed to be thick, I decided to make it a Fair Isle thing. I used Red Heart Super saver for the decorative portion of the cowl.
I used the colorwork chart from the A carreaux pattern. I re-wrote the chart to make it repeatable and made it 80-stitches wide. Using the Alba cowl as a guide, I made the charted portion of the cowl 31 stitches and did 5 rounds of 2×2 rib on the top and bottom.
I wish that I would’ve put a couple of rows of garter stitch between the ribbing and the pattern. Because I didn’t, it looks like the ribbing is infiltrating the Fair Isle. Bah!
In order to make sure that the cowl was super-thick and warm, I decided to make a liner. For this, I used Red Heart Soft yarn. I made the liner 41 rows of gray. It was not tall enough. So, I added a few rounds of black Soft yarn to the top and bottom. I’m not sure what the bind off I did was, but I sewed the liner to the main cowl at the same time.
WordPress is being difficult and won’t let me upload a photo of the liner. That’s okay, it’s just plain stockinette in gray yarn with a little bit of black on the top and bottom. I’m sure your imagination can show you what it looks like.
I cast on a foundation chain of 80 stitches with a 6mm hook. I knit the body of the cowl with a 5mm knook. I also bound off with a 6mm hook.
Because I seem to very much enjoy color knitting, I decided to get a Norwegian Knitting Thimble. I have high hopes that this will make colorwork much easier.
I made a few baby blankets for an auction.
The first is the Textured Grid baby blanket. You can get the pattern at Bernat. I used TLC Baby in the colorway “Lovey”. I used approximately 3.75 skeins of yarn. This blanket took me an astounding 11 days to finish. Granted, I wasn’t working on it for several hours a day, but it still took a lot longer than I expected. It is 28″x36″.
The next blanket that I made was from the same pattern as my Mist Stole Curtains. The stitch pattern is a free Ravelry download. Get it here. This blanket took me 8 days to make. I used TLC Baby in the colorway “Girly Girl”. I used approximately 3.25 skeins of yarn. It is 25″x35″. I used these directions for the ruffle.
The third blanket was the FanTail Baby Blanket. This blanket took me 5 days to finish. I used Red Heart Soft in the “Off White” colorway. It is 28-inches square. It took almost 3 skeins of yarn. Because I wanted this blanket to be gender-neutral, I didn’t opt for the fancy border. You can get the pattern here. I didn’t notice that the bottom right corner was stretched out in the photo, until after I had delivered the blanket to the auctioneer. Doh!
Now I’m on a mission to make a cowl for my sweetheart…
I just realized that I never shared this project and it’s one that I’m very fond of!
I completed this wall-hanging last September.
I used a 5.5mm knook and Red Heart Super Saver in Macaw and black. I stranded the colors.
This is a chart that I’ve had for quite some time. I actually, initially, intended to do it in filet crochet. I never did that, but after getting started in colorwork, I decided to give this a try. You can get the chart here.
Followed this tutorial to make a swatch and then decided to make a cowl.
I couldn’t figure out how to make it in the round, so I made it flat and then sewed it together.
I followed the instruction from the tutorial, however, I started with 10 triangles. CO 80.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I didn’t expect this yarn to be so stripey. It is very nearly a self-striping yarn. It looks good in entrelac, I do believe. It reminds me of the Brach’s Neapolitan candy.
I used Red Heart Super Saver in Pink Camo and a 4.5mm knook.
My foundation chain is a bit tight. Next time I’ll cast on with a bigger hook.
It took me about 3 days to finish this, but I wasn’t working on it constantly.
Sorry friends, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I really haven’t been up to much, so I didn’t have much to post.
My nephew got married last month. Being that my sweetie and I are simple folk, we don’t often attend such important events. Naturally, we had to dress up! Yes, we were woefully overdressed (we usually are). But, we don’t get to get gussied up very often and we take advantage of it, whenever we can.
I’ve found a wonderfully-affordable place online to buy formal wear. The things are made in China, which I’m not too happy about, but they do a great job and dresses are very inexpensive. Inexpensive and quality are things that I need – if it has to come from China, so be it. For an extra $20 I can have the dresses custom made to my measurements. Big plus!
I had asked the bride about color restrictions and preferences, she had none. So, I was left to my own devices. After much consideration, I decided to go with a sage-green chiffon affair. It has a lovely black lace band at the hem and a pleated skirt. The bodice is simple, plain and sleeveless. I thought that would be fine for an end-of-May wedding in the high desert.
The dress arrived and I made a couple of observations… First, the color was not what I expected. I knew I was taking a chance (because computer monitors don’t always show colors accurately) but this was bad. And I waited too long to order, so I didn’t have time to have another dress made (and I really couldn’t afford it, regardless).
The dress turned out to be a very-bright spring green. This is soooo not my color! In the color analysis world, I’m a Cool Summer. This dress screamed Soft Summer – fairly opposite of colors that look good on me. Well, nothing to be done for it, I had to live with it.
The second observation that I made about the dress was that I made a big mistake when I sent them my measurements. The company doesn’t automatically factor in ease. They will make the dress in whatever measurements you send them. Last time I ordered from them (for my son’s wedding) I gave them the perfect measurements (unfortunately, I couldn’t remember much ease I added in). This time, I factored in too much ease. The measurements I gave them were 2-inches bigger than my actual measurements, all over. Bad, bad idea. I was swimming in the thing.
So, I had a chartreuse tent to wear to the wedding. My sweetie was going to look sharp (he really cleans up nice and looks great in his suit) and I was going to look awful. What to do?
I decided that I needed to make a wrap. A wrap could be made in a cool color, to help balance out the poor color choice against my face and it would cover me up a bit. Hopefully this would detract from the ill fit of the dress.
I took a look at my handy-dandy color wheel and decided that an aquamarine wrap would be lovely. I love the Red Heart Soft Baby Steps Aquamarine yarn. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in my local stores. At this point, I have three weeks before the wedding day. Definitely not enough time to order the yarn online and then get it crocheted up. Ugh.
I went with my second choice, which is Red Heart Super Saver in the color Soft White. For you crafters who are also into color analysis, RHSS Soft White is a match for our Cool Summer white.
I went to Ravelry and looked at hundreds of different shawl patterns. It needed to be crochet (for the sake of speed), it needed to be rectangle (again, for the sake of speed) and it needed to be lacy. Nothing struck my fancy. After searching the internet, I ran across something called “delta crochet”. I thought it looked really neat. I had an idea percolating…
I’m not really a good designer. I’ve designed a few simple things, but nothing fancy. But, I had this idea for the wrap… I found a delta crochet group on Ravelry and bounced my ideas off of them. They were enormously helpful and supportive.
I did some swatching to learn the technique. I changed the way that delta blossoms are made, to make them look the way I wanted them to. I designed my chart and started crocheting.
Three weeks after I created my initial chart, I was finished. Unfortunately, the wrap wasn’t growing in length as fast as the chart implied that it would and I had to add to it.
Delta crochet is done in a series of up-pointing and down-pointing triangles. It looks similar to v-stitch crochet, but v-stitches are stacked v upon v. With delta stitches, you make a triangle going in one direction on the first pass and then on the second pass, you make the triangle go in the opposite direction.
This alternating triangle pattern produces a hexagonal mesh. Like filet, you can also fill in the triangles with stitches, to make solid triangles – I didn’t do this with my shawl. The blossoms are a little tricky. I will admit, it took much hair pulling and bad word saying before I finally got it. And then I went and changed the way they’re done, because I didn’t like the final look. I much prefer my way of doing it.
I wanted the mesh field to look like it had flowers scattered across it. Because my brain is attuned to symmetry, I have a hard time coming up with randomness. I did a google search for a random scatter generator. I used that as the basis for the pattern and then added blossoms here and there, as I wanted.
I found the edging here. It turned out to be a bit more ruffly than I wanted, but I could live with it.
After blocking (by way of the washer and dryer) the piece measures 28-inches wide and 72-inches long. I used just over three skeins of yarn. It took me nine days to crochet, though the entire process took about three weeks.
In my opinion, the chains are a bit long. My next delta project will utilize 3-stitch chains, rather than the 4-stitch chains that I used this time.
It turned out that the weather went bad on us. The outdoor wedding was held on a day that was quite cold and raining. And though I felt like I was wrapped in a blanket, I was still freezing. Thankfully, I was smart enough to wear pantyhose.
I threw away the chart that I created for this project, so I can’t share the pattern with you. However, if you would like to try to reverse-engineer it, I would be happy to help.
The Birthday Girl has now seen photos of her presents, so I can finally share them with you! She loves them, thankfully. I’m always a little worried when I make things for people…
I bought 4 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in the Amor Intenso colorway, in a destash on ravelry. I got a great deal for some gorgeous yarn. Unfortunately, it is pure Merino wool and subject to felting. Since I’m not a hand wash, lay flat to dry kind of person, I knew this lovely yarn wouldn’t be used to make things for myself.
My sister is probably the most knitworthy person that I know. She takes such good care of things. She doesn’t mind hand washing stuff. And she’s also a yarn lover, herself. So, she appreciates the effort that goes into hand knitting or crocheting things. I knew that the yarn would be made into things for her.
Because she and I have differing tastes, I had to show her the yarn (to make sure she liked it). I also had to ask her what she wanted me to make and I asked for some pattern suggestions. I know, I know, it takes all the surprise out of the gifts… But, I wanted her to have things that she would like and enjoy using.
She suggested that I make her a hat, or some fingerless mitts, or a hooded scarf. She sent me two pattern suggestions: one for a crocheted hat and one for a crocheted hooded scarf. Unfortunately, both patterns were poorly written – so, I had to scratch those off the list. But, I did have a good idea of the style that she was looking for, which was helpful.
She enjoys crocheting, but she really isn’t into knitting. She knows how to knit, but she really doesn’t enjoy it. So, I wanted to make her at least one thing that was hand knit. After much research and several false starts (going through patterns that weren’t well written – many that I paid for!), I finally settled on three patterns – one for a crocheted hat, one for knit fingerless mitts and one for a knit scarf.
The first thing I made was the Combination Summer Hat. It is mostly crocheted and free. I modified the pattern to make it a little bit longer than the pattern called for. My sister has dreadlocks and I wanted to be sure that this would cover them well. As you can see, it has a k1p1 rib band. The stretchy ribbing helps keep it securely on the head.
The body of this hat was crocheted with a 6.5mm (K) hook. I then knit 9 rounds of k1p1 rib with a 5.5mm knook. I intended to do 10+ rounds of rib. But, by the time I got to the 9th round, I had lost my will to live and decided to quit while I was ahead. This hat took less than a skein of yarn. The color in this photo is wrong. There really isn’t any purple in this yarn – it’s more of a burgundy. Very difficult yarn to photograph. This hat took me a few hours to make. I finished it in an evening.
The next thing I made was a pair of fingerless mitts. Again, I went through a few patterns before I found one that was both simple and well-written. I settled on the Doppelbock Mitts pattern. This pattern set me back 5 bucks, but it was totally worth it to me. The pattern is very easy to memorize and I think it would be easy to customize. I made them to pattern, but it’s so simple, if you want to make them larger (or smaller) that would be easily accomplished. As an aside, I absolutely LOVE the texture of this fabric. It is a slip-stitch pattern that reminds me of the eye-of-partridge. And I’m not sure if it’s just the yarn, or the pattern, or a combination of the two, but these mitts are very thick and squishy.
The color is a little better in these pictures, but not much… Still too purple. Anyhoo… These are made bottom-up, so you’re starting from the cuff. I used a 4.5mm knook for the cuff and body and the ribbing at the fingers was made with a 4mm knook. In hindsight, I wish that I had used the 4mm knook for the bottom cuff, too. Lesson learned. I used less than a skein of yarn for the pair. Again, these didn’t take long to make. It took me a day to make one, so two days for the pair. But it was a fun knit, not boring at all.
Again, much research went into the scarf pattern. The pattern that she sent me was pretty holey and I just didn’t think that would be very good. We get pretty cold here and I thought that a solid fabric would be best. I took away about half the mesh from her hat (the pattern she chose was pretty much all mesh) and figured I could probably get away with taking the mesh from her scarf, as well. I wanted a solid fabric, but it needed to have some texture… Plain stockinette, or garter, or ribbing, wasn’t going to do.
I finally settled on the Surco Scarf pattern. Here’s the pattern page on ravelry, if you’re interested. This pattern was free and with – essentially – only two rows, it’s super easy. I really like the texture and the fact that it lays completely flat.
The color in these photos are the closest yet. Again, this was really easy to do. But, it’s more-or-less k2p1 rib. Which, after a while, becomes emotionally painful for me to make. After making the hat and the mitts, I had two full skeins and two partial skeins of yarn leftover. I had initially intended to use it all up on the scarf. After I got the first full skein knit up, I had some slight inklings of doubt. I then finished one of the partial skeins and realized that there was no way it was going to happen. I was so bored that I actually started crocheting a sweater. I decided that I would finish up the other partial skein of yarn and call it good. That’s what I did. It’s long enough to wrap twice around the neck. And I left the final yarn tail long, just in case she decides that she wants to make it a long cowl and sew the ends together. I made this using a 4.5mm knook. It took me a bit over 16 hours to make.
I decided that I would also gift to her the final full skein of yarn that I have left. I really have no use for it, myself, and I think she will enjoy using it to make herself something. I am going to go see her this weekend and give them to her then.
I realize that it has been a while since I’ve written.
As soon as I was finished with my friend’s hooded scarf, in January, I cast on for some gifts for my sister. She has a birthday coming up soon.
I won’t post photos, because I don’t know whether or not she looks at this blog. I will say, however, that I have made her a pair of knit fingerless mitts, a crocheted hat and I am currently working on a knit scarf. I love them all and I hope that she does, too.
To break up the monotony of the scarf, I’ve started a crocheted sweater for myself. The instructions (not really a pattern, per se) can be found here: The Laughing Willow and the Ravelry pattern page can be found by clicking here.
Santa was good to me, Christmas last, and I got a lot of Red Heart Super Saver yarn in the Pink Camo colorway. I love the color of that yarn… It’s pretty, feminine and has a bit of a romantic feel to me. And it matches my summer bedspread, perfectly. So, this is what I’m using for the sweater.
I have plans for another crocheted sweater, as well, but I don’t have the yarn I want for that. I’ll have to acquire some.
I’m not sure why I’ve been having such an urge to make sweaters… I think it may have something to do with the fact that I think that, as a yarn crafter, I really shouldn’t be running around in ratty sweatshirts all the time.
So, watch this space! I should be posting some photos in the next few weeks!
Another dear friend of mine just celebrated her birthday. She is one of the kindest, sweetest, women I know. She has done so much for us.
In her younger years, she collected goats. She moved a very large herd (at least 150 head) from San Clemente Island (off the coast of California) to Central Oregon. I didn’t know her then, but I know for a fact that she loved her goats very much.
Whenever something causes us to have to leave the farm for a few days, she always steps right up and offers to take care of our critters and our crops. Of course, she absolutely loves my goats. But, really, who doesn’t???
At any rate… She is getting older – I believe she is on the upside of 70 now. Years of hard work have taken its toll on her. She lives a mountain-woman lifestyle and it has been very physically demanding. It’s beginning to show. A stubborn woman (well, she is a Capricorn!) she refuses to let us help her with any of the things she needs to get done around her homestead.
I had to try to think of something for her birthday… Something that really showed how much I care for her. It had to be something that she couldn’t refuse and she couldn’t give back. Therefore, I knew it had to be handmade.
My friend has the most beautiful eyes. They are large, round, and a lovely, dove grey. I’ve never known anyone with grey eyes before. Time has given her lovely silver hair, which one can tell was once very dark.
I found some lovely grey yarn, at Knit Picks. It is part of their Swish line, which is 100% superwash Merino wool. The color I chose matches her eyes. It’s called Dove Heather. Once I decided on the yarn, I started hunting for a pattern.
It took me a few months to find the right pattern for her. I knew that I wanted to make something for her to wear. It needed to be something to help her stay warm. I thought about hats and scarves and gloves and cowls. I just had a heck of a time settling on something!
Finally, while perusing Ravelry, I found it. The perfect pattern! The Lacy Hooded Scarf seemed like the perfect thing! It had enough solid parts to keep her hair dry and enough lace to keep it feminine. Despite her rough lifestyle, she is very much, 100% feminine.
I ordered the yarn and ordered the pattern.
I really thought that it would only take me about a week to make this scarf. The pattern was simple enough. I really thought it was going to be a breeze. I thought wrong! I gave myself one month of lead time, before her birthday. Working on this, day and night, it took me 24 days. There were a few days that I seriously didn’t think I would get it finished in time.
The pattern is a 16-row repeat. As such, it was too long for me to memorize. Also, it’s worked from the bottom up – so it gets wider, the further along you go. You work the two halves separately and then sew them together.
I knit this using a 4.5mm knook. The yarn is a DK weight yarn. It took a scant few yards shy of 5 balls of yarn for this project. I was terrified that I would run out of yarn. I didn’t have enough time to order, receive and knit another ball before the big day arrived.
In addition to this being the most complicated lace pattern that I’ve ever knit, I had another first with this pattern. I learned the Russian join, for joining yarn ends. I must say, I really like that join! It takes a bit more yarn than I care for; but it is a nice, secure join and there are no ends to weave in! In the future, when I am joining ends without changing colors, I am definitely going to use that join.
For the most part, I’m very happy with how this scarf turned out. There are a few things that I’m not entirely happy with though…
I wish that I had added a few more garter stitches on the sides than was called for in the pattern. There aren’t enough and because it’s stockinette, it curls. Though, in retrospect, if I had done that, I would have surely run out of yarn.
Also, I’ve never worked with superwash Merino before. When researching how to block it, I learned that it should be machine washed and dried. I did this and it pilled significantly. Thankfully, it didn’t felt.
The pattern calls for using a visible seam, on the outside of the scarf. So, I did a crochet slip stitch seam. It’s a heavier seam than I like.
Lastly, I hit a snag near the end of the pattern itself. Thankfully, I was able to wing it and finish up.
Even with all the (minor) things that I’m not happy with… The recipient cried when she received it.
And to me, that makes it all worth it.
It’s not very often that my sweetheart requests that I make something for him. So, when he does, I jump to it.
A few years ago, I bought him a pair of snow boots. He wasn’t with me at the time, so he couldn’t try them on. As it turns out, they were a bit too big. But, he desperately needed the boots, so I didn’t exchange them. He has been wearing them, uncomfortably, with heavy socks. This has not been ideal.
He requested that I make him some boot socks. These were to be worn over the top of another pair of heavy socks (to help take up some of the slack inside the boots). He wanted them to be made from yarn that was a combination of wool and cotton (another reason they would be worn over other socks, is because he is sensitive to wool and can’t have it against his skin). He also said he wanted them to be made from “fluffier” yarn; he meant thick yarn, rather than sock yarn.
I had been looking for some yarn that met those characteristics and I found some. It was going to be rather expensive, but he’s worth it. Then, I was on Ravelry one day and I saw that a gal in one of my groups was destashing several balls of yarn that would be perfect (and for a great price). I swooped in, quickly!
The yarn is Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran. It is a DK weight yarn in the colorway Peacock (a lovely teal-ish color). The yarn is soft and squishy. It would be very comfy made into a sweater or something like that. If you can wear wool, I would suggest you get some of that yarn. The only bad thing about it is that it’s hand wash/lay flat to dry. I did a test to see how easily it felts… It felts very easily. But, these socks won’t really get dirty, so hand washing is fine.
The pattern that I used to make the socks is the Mash-Up Magic Toe-Up Socks (Recipe). You can download the pattern on Ravelry or click here to go to her personal website.
Before I had made this pair of socks, I had only ever made two other socks (not a pair). The first one was a baby sock and the second one was made using the above pattern/recipe. It made a perfectly-fitting sock and I decided that it would likely be my go-to pattern for sock making.
My knitting tool of choice is a knook, so that’s what I used to make these. The yarn calls for a size 7 needle, but I wanted it to be a bit firmer of a fabric, so I went with a size 6 (4mm). It did make a firmer fabric, as I’d hoped, but it’s still not terribly stiff or anything. The squishiness of this yarn makes it very forgiving.
Each sock took one-yard shy of one ball of yarn. The socks are a bit shorter than he wanted, but they do the job that they were intended to do. They keep his feet much warmer and they take up quite a bit of slack inside his boots.
I did a crochet cast on. Primary stitch count was 40. The heel flap is a columnar slip stitch heel. I did 19 rounds of a K2, P2 rib for the cuff. And I did a Russian bind off. They fit perfectly. He says that he’s never had, in his whole life, a pair of socks that fit so well.
It took me a day to make one sock, but I’m a slow knitter.
I’ve started a pair of regular socks (using sock yarn) for myself. I’ll write a post about those, once they’re finished.