WIPWed #43: Don’t Hurt Yourself

Here’s a public service announcement for the holiday knitting season: if you’ve been knitting so many gifts lately that your (insert weird place to feel pain here) is swollen and sore, then you should give yourself a rest. I might have had to take Monday night off from knitting because I might have overdone it a bit over the weekend — my knuckles were very unhappy. Oops. I’m trying not to feel anxious about the lost time but (taking a page from the Yarn Harlot) my knits-to-gift pile still looks like this:

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Yes, I realize there is only a week left. Oy.

That pile represents: a secret gift hidden in the pretty blue project bag, cheerful rainbow armwarmers, a pair of Miscreant cuffs I just started to compensate for the scarf I know I won’t be finishing in time (especially because I seem to have misplaced it somehow), a pair of stripey socks, a completely un-started soon-to-be hat, and a half-finished toddler vest. For those counting along, that’s 6 projects left to finish in the next 7 days. I think the reasons I’m not totally panicking right now are: 1) almost everything is well underway (except the hat), 2) I still have 2 nights of uninterrupted knitting before I travel this weekend, and 3) I’m doing a lot of traveling over the next week and travel time = knitting time. I think I’ll be spending at least 13 hours in some state of transit before all the gifts need to be given so that helps. Some details!

Simple Seaside Stripes:

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Knitpicks Felici Sport. Click for project page.

The key to (last-minute) gift knitting is to keep things simple. These socks are just 3×1 ribbing, it’s the colors that make them interesting. An afterthought heel also keeps the knitting simple: no stopping and stalling out to deal with a fiddly flap and gusset. Save all the fiddly bits for the last minute, when I’ll really be rushing, woohoo! (In retrospect, this might have been a bad plan.)

Bigger Dyvest:

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Malabrigo Rios, colorway Bobby Blue. Click for project page.

Like the adorable tiny one I finished earlier in the week, this vest is moving along at a good clip. It’s also largely the cause of my poor sore knuckles. However, I’m just about at the front/back split for the armholes and at least with the little one I got through that and the finishing in just a couple of nights, so I’m pretty confident this gift will be finished on time. I tend to prioritize gifts for the very young and the very old, everyone in between should be able to understand if I’m a bit late with a gift. (Right? Right.)

Bigger Miscreants:

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The Verdant Gryphon Codex. Click for project page.

I’m using leftovers from my mom’s Brazen shawl to knit a pair of cuffs. I’m actually not loving how this yarn is behaving in the slipped stitch rib patterning so this project might be frogged, in which case poor Mom will just have to wait a bit longer for her scarf and some other knits I have planned (more chemo caps and things of that nature). I finished the Little Miscreants I was working on earlier, though:

Madelinetosh DK, colorway Cathedral. Click for project page.

I think the pattern works best with a really spring, bouncy wool. It’s simple and quick but the nature of the fabric means it doesn’t have much stretch, so you want to give it as much as you can to start with by using a more elastic yarn. The other gift WIPs in the first photo haven’t been touched this week, except for the Fiasco’s secret gift, which you can see if you click here (RICHARD, DO NOT CLICK).

Phew! I’d chat more, but I need to keep knitting! Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis.

 

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The Cuteness!

I can’t even stand all the adorable-ness that I’m about to post. First, I went totally pom-pom crazy yesterday:

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A veritable pile of pom-pom ornaments.

Turns out pom-poms are kind of addicting to make. I now want to knit myself a big chunky hat with a gigantic pom-pom on top. I probably will.

Next, I finished a tiny baby vest that made the Fiasco actually say “it makes me wish we had a little one to put inside it!”:

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Malabrigo Rios, colorway Bobby Blue

This pattren, Dyvest, is one of the patterns eligble for the Indie Design #Giftalong that is going strong through the end of the month. (There is still time to sign up and join in with a quick knit or two! My superbulky Syrinx Shells cowl or the small size of my Dissipative cowl would be fast projects and are both eligible.) The Dyvest designer, Anjali M, has been super helpful answering my gauge/sizing questions, which I really appreciated. Having never knit a garment like this before I was/am a bit worried about fit but I think it will be ok. My little nephew measures about 19″ around the chest and this vest is 19″ around unstretched, and the fabric is plenty stretchy. A little more ease might have been better so he could wear it longer, but it also was looking really big on the needles already so I didn’t want something that would totally hang off of him right now, either. I modified the pattern slightly so that the ribbing would line up with the cable pattern of the vest, it was offset as written and that is one of my knitting OCD triggers. Overall it’s a nice pattern and I’ve cast on a matching one for his older brother. I can not wait to get pics of the two of them wearing them.

Finally, I started the sweetest little cuffs/wristwarmers:

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Madelinetosh DK, colorway Cathedral

The pattern is Miscreant by Hunter Hammersen. I love the ruffly eyelet so much! After the first few rows the cuffs are just a simple slipped stitch rib pattern so they go quickly. I couldn’t find my size 4 needles so ran out and bought some Karbonz needles, I really like them! I’m usually anti-metal because they are too heavy and cold, I much prefer wood or bamboo, but these needles feel like a nice balance between the two. Lightweight and warm to the touch but with substantial and decently-pointy metal tips.

Ok, that’s enough cuteness from me for now. Must keep knitting xmas gifts!

IS #51: Holiday Pom-Poms

Happy 10-more-days-til-Christmas! I’m moving right along with my holiday gift knitting list, mostly by doing things like crossing out “handknit socks” and replacing them with “purchased alpaca socks” instead. (I am actually getting a ton of knitting done, too, more on that later in the week.) Another time-saving stroke of brilliance was when I crossed out “handknit tree ornaments” and replaced it with “pom-pom ornaments”!

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Seriously, how cute are these?!

I saw this photo (I have no recollection of where I found it originally) and was totally inspired to try my hand at pom-pom ornaments, myself. I ran out to JoAnn’s, grabbed a jumbo Clover pom-pom maker and some red, green, white/sparkly, and silver/sparkly yarns, and got to work. I was initially really confused by the little contraption so here’s a short mini-tutorial.

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Steps 1, 2, & 3.

Step 1: The pom-pom maker has 4 arms (blue parts) that swing out, 2 on each side. Wrap your yarn around 2 of the arms on each side. Wrap a lot more yarn than you think you need to get a nice, full pom-pom. (My first one was so sad and skimpy.)

Step 2: Keeping the arms folded in, snip along the groove between the arms to cut the yarn for your pom-pom.

Step 3: Admire how nice the neat little pom-pom sandwich looks against the fabric of your pajama pants (classy).

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Steps 4, 5, & 6.

Step 4: Loop a fairly strong piece of string or yarn through the groove that runs between the arms and tie a knot to secure the pom-pom. I worked out a little method I like: tie once tightly, wrap the yarn back around the other side, tie another tight knot, then wrap back around the other side and tie a double knot to finish (kind of like when you secure a package with twine). Then tie a knot in the ends of your dangling yarn so the pom-pom can be hung.

Step 5: Open the arms of the little contraption.

Step 6: Pop the front and back pieces of the contraption apart, releasing the pom-pom. Fluff it up and trim any stray bits of yarn to neaten it up.

DONE! The 6 of those took me maybe 45 minutes to make. Experiment with different color combinations, wrapping 2 or 3 different yarns at once, or different colors on each side. Go pom-pom crazy!

Lee Meredith recently posted about a pom-pom book and a pom-pom wreath she made on her blog. After making these little ornaments, I could totally see making more pom-pom projects. If you want to be not lazy and actually knit something for your tree, check out the lovely tree-topper that Audry of the Bear Ears blog knit for her tree. And if you want to be super awesome, take a look at the hand-sewn felt ornaments and handmade chocolate holiday cards (yup!) by Joanna at the Knitlit Twit blog. Have you seen any neat holiday projects? Please share and/or link along to your own Inspiration Saturday post in the comments!

IS

WIPWed #42: The Rush

It’s that time, folks: 14 more days until Christmas! My gift knitting suffered a bit this year while I took time out to knit my mom’s kick-cancer’s-butt shawl and chemo cap so I fell behind more than I thought I would, considering the head start I got with the Malabrigo Stockpile in October. This means that there are no less than 9 projects I am still hoping to finish before Christmas and 4 I’d like to finish shortly thereafter. (Are you laughing yet???) The 9 consist of: 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair of cuffs, 2 hats, 1 headband, 1 pair of mitts, and 2 toddler-sized vests. The 4 shortly-thereafter projects are a scarf, a pair of mitts, and baby-sized hat and mittens. It sounds rather insane but I’m still at the point where I think it is possible, even though I work full time and have a busy weekend coming up. We’ll see! Onto the WIPs of choice this week…

Novelty:

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Feza Yarns Alp Light. Click for Ravelry project page.

Only for my mother would I knit with novelty yarn composed entirely of browns and oranges! We saw this crazy yarn at a great yarn store when I was on Long Island (Infinite Yarns) which is basically composed of different novelty yarns knotted together so that when you knit it, you get a really funky scarf. I’m knitting a simple *k3, p1* rib to help combat the curling of plain stockinette. My mom fell in love with the sample and all thoughts of the socks I was knitting her for Christmas flew out the window. A scarf will be much faster, but still she’ll probably get this one half-finished as it was such a late-in-the-game decision.

Little Dyvest:

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Malabrigo Rios, colorway Bobby Blue. Click for Ravelry project page.

This sweet little thing will be a vest for my youngest nephew, Logan. I’m planning a matching one for his older brother, too. The pattern is Dyvest by Anjali M and is eligible for the #Giftalong KALs and prizes that are still going on through the end of the month. I really love the cabling on this, simple yet effective.

Simple Seaside Socks:

KnitPicks Felici Sport. Click for Ravelry project page.

This, folks, is one of the oldest WIPs I have! I started these socks three years ago back in 2010. Then I realized that I liked gusset heels and lost the motivation to finish this afterthought heel pair. However, having half-finished pairs of socks lying around is really great come gift-giving time, so these have been resurrected and I’m almost halfway through the second sock. Woohoo!

Icy Adiri:

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Bittersweet Woolery Ingenue, colorway Iceling. Click for Ravelry project page.

And another hat FO! This is for a gift, it came out beautifully soft and drapey even though I didn’t really love the yarn while I was knitting it. I worked an extra repeat to get enough length as my gauge must have been tighter with thinner yarn. I’m a bit upset because I noticed this when I was finishing up the hat:

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Gasp! A mis-crossed cable! Little bastard…

The third cable from the bottom on the right hand side is crossed the wrong way. Oh well. Here’s hoping that the recipient doesn’t care because I have about a dozen other people waiting for knitted gifts so fiddling around to fix that one little blip is just not a feasible option!

That’s all I have this week! Check out more WIPs and perhaps some more frantic gift-knitting at Tamis Amis.

P.S. The Fiasco and I went to go see Straight No Chaser (an awesome a capella group) perform the other day. Here’s the perfect frantic theme song to accompany hurried holiday knitting: The Christmas Can-Can. Enjoy!

 

Thankfulness

I hope those celebrating Thanksgiving are having a great time with family and friends today! I’m starting my day slowly with a little bit of knitting while my wonderful Fiasco cooks breakfast for my family. (Yes, I am so very thankful for him.)

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That’s the North Wind hat pattern by Felicia Lo (sorry no links as I am on my phone) knit with Verdant Gryphon Mondegreen in my new favorite color: Slow Motion Walter, Fire Engine Guy.

I gave my mom her kick-cancer’s-butt shawl yesterday and it looks fabulous on her:
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Horrible train lighting and all, she looks wonderful and I’m so happy with the way the shawl turned out.

Today’s theme: being grateful for the little things. Wishing you all the best!

Some Promised FOs

I’ve been remiss about getting photos of my finished projects in daylight (stupid winter/busy schedules) so here are a bunch all in a row!

Copycat Cowl:

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Verdant Gryphon Codex, colorway Jah Music. Click for project page.

I finally got a picture of my new favorite cowl! I totally copied another Raveler’s idea of combining the luxurious Codex yarn with this super-simple-yet-gorgeous pattern (Ingot by Lisa Mutch). The BFL/silk yarn knit at a really loose gauge makes a lovely, fluid fabric. I made mine a little larger than the pattern calls for and I think it’s the perfect size to wear either long or doubled up. Gryphon herself admired it when I wore it to Stitches East!

Purple Dissipative:

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Malabrigo Twist, colorways Zinc and Grapes. Click for project page.

I finished my first #Giftalong project! This is my own pattern, Dissipative, knit in one of my all-time-favorite yarns and new favorite color combination. I love how well the texture shows up in the semi-solid gray. It will be hard to gift this one away!

Camp Out Mitts:

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Ella Rae Lace Merino Chunky. Click for project page.

These mitts didn’t even make it to the blog before I was finished with them (there are two now, I promise). This is a modified version of the Camp Out Fingerless Mitts pattern by Tante Ehm. It’s a simple, free pattern that I customized for thicker yarn and sizing preferences. I have to admit that I’m not in love with the thumb. I tried picking up stitches to add more length to it but it kept looking awkward and pulling too tightly because of the cast on stitches. I’m going to explore this kind of mitt construction later and try to come up with a thumb I like better. This yarn, by the way, is awesome. It was my first time knitting with it and it has such a great plump, beefy feel to it. It makes a nice, thick fabric that I know will keep the recipient’s hands cozy.

Brazen:

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Verdant Gryphon Codex, colorway Ullikana. Click for project page.

Last but not least is my mom’s kick-cancer’s-butt shawl. This is another simple, free pattern (Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower Yarn) that really shines in a gorgeous yarn. I modified mine a bit by adding another section to make it larger. I love it this size and wear the one I knit for myself a couple of years ago all the time

So there you have all the FO’s I’ve been waiting to show off! What’s your favorite simple pattern? What kinds of knits do you come back to again and again?

IS #47: Giftalong Awesomeness, Part 2

Remember how last week we went through the Pinterest boards for the first 4 categories of Giftalong patterns being offered for sale by independent designers? Well this week we’re going to finish up with the boards of the remaining 5 categories! (So  many KALs, so little time!)

From the Socks and Foot Things board, I especially love the Flocked Socks pattern by Sara Morris:

Copyright fyberduck. Click for pattern page.

They have such wonderful texture and the garter section accents are really well designed. I love how the cuff detail repeats near the toe and the garter side panels split at the gusset. I love them so much, in fact, that I just cast these on! I have to say, too, that the pattern is beautifully laid-out and clearly written. I appreciate when a designer pays attention to such details.

There are so many beauties on the Garments board, but here’s the one I chose to share:

Copyright Jettshin. Click for pattern page.

This is Ink designed by Hanna Maciejewska and it is just gorgeous. However, I can almost guarantee that you will never see me knit a tunic-length, fingering-weight, reverse-stockinette stitch cardigan. I would never, ever finish it. I will continue to admire such things politely from afar, though.

There is faaaar too much cuteness on the Baby and Child board, but I did manage to choose one pattern I loved:

Copyright affiknity. Click for pattern page.

This is the Dyvest pattern by Anjali M and it is just a perfect, handsome little boy’s vest. The way the cable detail splits along the neckline is lovely.

Ok, just kidding, I couldn’t choose just one. Here’s my favorite little girl knit:

Copyright emmylouhelmuth. Click for pattern page.

The colors! The stripes! The garter squishiness! The cabled trim! Love, love, love. This is Camden by Kristen Fanning.

There are a lot of… interesting things on the Non-Wearables board, mostly toys and non-traditional accessories of some kind. I particularly liked the elegant little bag:

Copyright kateclysm. Click for pattern page.

This is the Anya Bangle Bag by Kate Vanover. I love the stitch pattern and how simply the bag seems to be constructed. I also think the matching beads give a great subtle glimmer.

The final board is the Projects-Not-Otherwise-Specificed group of patterns, which are all really pretty interesting. I help moderate this KAL in the Giftalong group and I love seeing what unique projects people are casting on (lots of jewelry so far). Here’s my pattern pick:

Copyright leethal. Click for pattern page.

Can I just say that I did not know that I absolutely needed a handknit light switch cover until I saw this Garter Strip pattern by Lee Meredith? Because now I definitely know that I do… on all of the light switches, everywhere!

Alright, that’s all of them! Remember to stop by the group, check out the participating designers (including myself!), snag some great patterns for 25% off (until November 15th!) and then join one of the many KALs for the chance to win prizes through the end of December. There’s a fun Desginer Hunt question game and lots of random drawings, so come play along!

What’s been inspiring you this week? Seen any #Giftalong patterns you just need to knit? Feel free to share a link to your own blog post in a comment below!

 

IS #46: Giftalong Awesomeness, Part 1

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard a little bit about the Independent Designer’s #Giftalong promotion happening on Ravelry, right? Over 170 designers are offering a variety of their patterns for sale for 25% off with the code ‘giftalong’ until November 15th. After choosing some new pretties to knit, you can join in one of the item-specific KALs and be eligible to win a ton of great prizes! For this event, all of my paid patterns are eligible.

giftalong

Top: Dissipative cowl, Beribboned hat (x2)
Bottom: Fiasco socks, Huacaya hat, Syrinx Shells cowl

I will almost definitely be joining in knitting a Huacaya hat (mmmm alpaca loveliness!) and a Dissipative cowl. But I also wanted to highlight a few other great patterns. A group of amazing volunteers went through Ravelry and pinned every single eligible pattern to item-specific Pinterest boards. They pinned over 2000 patterns so everyone could scroll through them easily! How amazing is that? I’ve gone through the boards and chosen just one pattern from each board that I think is extra awesome from a designer I was unfamiliar with to share today. (I will likely be doing this throughout the week. Or maybe for the rest of my life, there are so many!)

From the Hats and Head Things board, I picked the Adiri Slouchy Hat by Julia Trice.

Copyright mbwd. Click for pattern page.

It’s a lovely little DK-weight slouchy hat that involves both lace and texture, two of my favorite things. I’m coveting it pretty hard right now.

From the Scarves and Cowls board, check out the Windowpane Scarf by April Reis.

Copyright orangegiraffe. Click for pattern page.

I love that amazing cut-out effect! It looks like regular cables transition into some i-cord braiding. So clever and unique!

From the Mitts and Arm Things board, I totally love Two Hands Make a Snowflake by Mari Chiba.

Copyright Mari Chiba. Click for pattern page.

Admittedly, that is my favorite color combination ever, but I also think the mitts are really nifty. I love how the snowflakes line up on the pair plus the tops flip back into fingerless gloves. I think I need them!

It was really difficult to choose something from the Shawls and Stoles board, they’re all so beauitful! But I picked this Spring is Sprung poncho by Mary C. Gildersleeve because it was really unique.

Copyright Mary C. Gildersleeve. Click for pattern page.

I’ve yet to see many fingering-weight poncho patterns and this one is really lovely. The stitches patterns flow nicely and the color choices are gorgeous!

Phew! I know I said I’d post one item from every board but there are NINE BOARDS and looking at so much prettiness at one time is overwhelming! Let’s save the remaining five for next week, shall we? What new-to-you designers or patterns have you discovered? Do you think you’ll join in any of the gift-alongs? What’s been inspiring you this week? Leave a link or a comment below and let us know!

WIPWed #35: Knit-a-long’s Everywhere!

Guess what, guys? It’s October! That means it’s time for Malabrigo October Stockpile on the Malabrigo Junkies board! That means there are KALs and contests and plans and schemes to stockpile as many one-skein knits for holiday gift-giving as possible. Also, lots of lovely Mal Junkie designers offer discounts off their patterns (myself included: 20% off any of mine until the end of the month with code “MalStock13”) so there really is no excuse not to join in on the fun. Hence, I have a new WIP:

Striped Comfort:

IMG_5112Thanks to a wickedly long morning meeting, I’m nearly finished already! (I love bulky hats.) The pattern is my free Giving Comfort knit in Malabrigo Chunky Mariposa and Bobby Blue leftovers. I changed color on the knit/purl rows specifically to get that dashed look along the blue stripe. The color combo is a little wacky but I think my niece will like it!

October is also apparently all about socks (Socktober!) on Cassy’s blog and I can’t say I disagree, with most of my holiday gift recipients wanting socks this year it seems like I’m destined to participate. Goodness knows I have enough SIPs to finish up! Hence, my second WIP.

Ribby & Blue:

IMG_5108This pattern is coming out of my head. The yarn is BMFA Socks that Rock Heavyweight in a fabulous, fabulous mistake colorway. I love how the swirl of the colors is interacting with the swirl of the rib pattern. Fun!

Finally, we have Light Blue Sea:

This WIP has obviously not gotten very far yet, but it will become a Deep Sea Wanderer cowl so I can join in with Audry’s KAL on Ravelry.

Phew! Is that enough KALs for you? Check out other WIPs this week by visiting Tamis Amis.

Finished-Object-Friday #6

Welcome to FO Friday, the final holiday gift edition! These were the last two stragglers of holiday presents that I finished just in time to gift by Christmas. (Sorry, Mom, I promise you’ll get your cuffs soon!)

Super Quick Hat:

Cascade 220 Superwash

I know this hat doesn’t look finished, but it is. I cast this on Christmas Eve night and finished it in the car on the way from Long Island to Connecticut on Christmas Day, whew! I actually wove in the ends just before walking in the door. Thankfully, it was a quick knit: worsted weight yarn held double on size 10 needles. I did a basic 3×3 waffle knit pattern, one of my favorites for hats, with a few stripes thrown in because I was running out of yarn. Easy peasy!

Beach-y Beribboned:

Cephalopod Yarns Traveller, colorway San Francisco Bay

After knitting three pairs of my Beribboned Wrists pattern over the last couple of months, I just realized I was adding a couple of extra rounds in between the yarnover rounds that the ribbons go through, woops! No wonder they were coming out so long… but that’s ok. I knit them for tall, thin teenagers who can pull off fingerless mitts that lace nearly all the way up their forearms, see:

Why is she hiding her beautiful face?!

Gorgeous! Here’s another great picture of happy knitwear recipients:

Stylin’.

I love my little cousins. 🙂 They really adore getting handmade gifts and it just warms my knitterly heart to no end. Now that the holidays are over, all of my knitting attention will be given to a couple of design deadlines I need to finish up. Then Mom’s cuffs. THEN THINGS FOR ME. (If I can drag myself away from my new wheel, that is…)

Happy Friday, everyone!