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Posts Tagged ‘Knitting and Crochet’

Here in Minnesota mother nature has it in for us. She really does. She likes to tease us with a few days of 50s and 60s, followed by a week of heavy wet snow, high winds, and temps in the 20s and 30s. Rinse and repeat.

The only place in my world where spring has officially come to stay is on my Ravelry queue.

Green Apple, by Amy Palmer

The Summer issue of KnitScene is going to land in my mail box any day now and it’s this pattern that has me on tenterhooks. This drapey, crisscross backed tank tickles all my warm weather knitting pleasure centers. Wearable simplicity in the front,  serious drama in the back.

The pattern calls for Berroco Folio™, an alpaca/rayon blend. I’ll have to keep that in mind when choosing a yarn. Nothing with too much structure. I need fiber that just wants to hang and slither.

Photo by Knitscene/Harper Point Photography. Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Reflectance by Inna M.

Can you tell I have a thing for dramatic details? Number two in my list is a luxurious silk top knitted in lace weight yarn. And just look at that sophisticated use of color work. I mean really, look at it. That’s what I call a killer detail. It just makes the pattern sing.

Here’s one more thing to love. It’s a free pattern! The original was in Russian, but thankfully for me, there is an English translation. Here’s hoping the translation is well done, because I really, really, really want to knit this top.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Serendipity (the cardigan and the pullover) by Jodie Gordon Lucas

I honestly don’t know which one of these I like more, the cardigan or the pullover.  Both feature a cunning octagon design and approachable raglan sleeves.

And get this: Both patterns are written such that you can use any yarn weight you choose. The pattern comes with worksheets that will guide you through calculations based on your yarn weight, gauge, size, etc…

I know, I know. Technically such worksheets shouldn’t be necessary and knitters should be able and willing to do their own calculations. But I appreciate a designer who’s willing to help her users along. This sort of pattern could be a good confidence-builder for a knitter who isn’t sure if they’re ready to do the math.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

Seaboard by Tanis Lavallee

An airy, lightweight tank. Perfect for someone with a small bust (like me) and toned arms to show off (which are on my to-do list). If only knitting built arm muscle. Maybe if i did it while standing and wearing wrist weights.

This pattern calls for lace weight merino. Excellent! I have some lovely stuff in my stash just begging to become this tank.

Used with permission. As seen on Ravelry.

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I’ve been meaning to blog about my new Raspberry Stripes Cardigan. But this cardigan just doesn’t want to hold still. All it wants to do is go out to dinner, attend a concert, go for a walk, and even do chores around the house. Couldn’t get near it with a camera.

I love its drapey simplicity

The pattern is Caramel by Isabell Kraemer. The basic cardigan is pretty simple, but it has spawned all sorts of wild and inspiring variations.

My inspiration for this particular color combination came from memories of my recent visit to Eugene, OR. If you go there, you must buy the berries. Ever seen three colors of raspberries in one stall? Each stripe of this cardigan is the color of one type of natural raspberry: red, black (purple) and golden.

Yarns Used:

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After several months of no spinning, I’m back with a vengeance. And before I’m allowed to spin any new singles, I’ve tasked myself with plying the singles I’ve already spun. I need to free up some bobbins. Perhaps not the most artistically inspiring mission statement. But sometimes pretty things spring from necessity.

First came this 2-ply blue merino. 886 yards. One strand of tonal blue. One strand of a more variegated fiber in ocean colors.

blue merino cropped

 

Next came this rainbow Corriedale from Gale’s Art. I spun these fine singles for a class last summer, then never used them. I split the roving into thin strips so I would have lots of short color repeats. I spun the singles chain-ply to retain the stripes. 606 yards.It looks vaguely Koigu-ish.

colored corriedale cropped

Last of all came this golden brown BFL/silk. The singles had been sitting on the bobbin for a long time waiting for inspiration to strike. But I’d never been able to find something else appropriate to ply with them. So I decided the best thing to do was to ply them with themselves (chain ply) and move on.

BFL silk cropped

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Tried a new experiment this week. I had a bunch of hand carded Corriedale left over from a previous spinning project. I decided to try spinning it worsted.

I know, I know. Why go to all that effort to card it by hand only to ruin it by spinning it the wrong way?

I don’t think I ruined it.

Right now a problem I have with my worsted spinning is keeping it from getting too dense. Sometimes a gal wants to knit a hat that won’t drown her if she falls into the lake.

I also wanted to see how spinning the same prepared fiber would behave with this other technique. Really see it, not just believe in the physics of it.

Here are my results.

2015/01/img_2693.jpg

Plump but not poofy three ply. Sturdy but not heavy. I wouldn’t knit socks with it. But a sweater would work. And in the aforementioned lake scenario I probably wouldn’t drown.

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It’s hard to conceal my ire. I was so proud of how this Reverb cardigan was turning out. The purple yarn was lovely. The pattern was easy to follow. I knew the cardigan would look super-hip on, and would go with most of my wardrobe. But the button band betrayed me.

I don’t have any experience with button bands. So far, I’ve managed to avoid knitting cardigans that require buttons. I pretended that I preferred the open look. But the truth is, I was afraid of the button band. And now I know I was right. Button bands are pure evil.

  • Button bands stretch unpredictably and throw off your measurements. 4 inches between button holes. Oops, looks like you have 5. 5 is ok right?
  • Button bands lull you into thinking five buttons will do…until you try on the cardigan and realize you really need seven.
  • Button bands keep you from appreciating your brand new very pretty cardigan because something is just slightly “off”.
  • Button bands are so hard to satisfy. Put the button too far to one side, and the whole thing stretches like a scallop. Which would be nice if that was something I wanted. An artistic statement, prehaps. But it’s NOT.
  • Button bands wait until you have the cardigan all blocked, with the ends woven in, to speak up and tell you something is wrong.
  • Button bands remind you that your stomach is not as flat and firm as your dress dummy’s stomach. They’re rude little buggers.

Stupid riggin’, friggin’ button band.

Here’s the cardigan. You can see the issues I’m talking about.

I guess it’s time to remove the button bands, reknit them, and do the finishing all over again.

But not now. Not today. Today I shake my fist at the universe.

Tomorrow I’ll take apart my cardigan.

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I said I wouldn’t overdo it this Christmas. You know, with the whole knitting thing. Last Christmas I made myself a little crazy and I swore I wasn’t going to do that to myself this year.

But somehow I can’t seem to stop myself from knitting hats. They’re so cute. They’re so quick. They’re like little woolly potato chips.  (Okay, that sounds pretty gross. Did anyone else just image an old sticky potato chip found in your cardigan pocket?)

It all started with my husband’s Christmas hat. He gets a new one every year.

Made from handspun yarn.

Made from handspun yarn.

 

I’m hoping this is going to be our “thing.” When he’s 80 he’s going to have a mountain of hats. He has this habit of not losing things. At some point, that may become a problem. Maybe senility will kick in and help us out with the hat problem.

  • Anyway, it started out with my husband’s Christmas hat.
  • Then I knitted a couple more because I had some scrap yarn in my stash that was just right for hats.
  • Then I decided to knit a hat for my niece. I knitted that hat like I was a jazz musician. Total improv cables. It turned out great.
  • Then I realized my new little nephew needed a hat too, so I cast one on. He may need multiple hats. Babies lose hats all the time, right?

This is a troubling hat trend.

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I was sorting my Ravelry projects page the other night and came to a startling realization: in the last few years I’ve knitted myself a LOT of sweaters. The hand-knit side of my winter wardrobe is getting pretty respectable. Without trying too hard, I could probably wear hand-knits every single day. This brings me to an important question: what should I do with my commercial sweaters?

I’m wearing my commercial woolens less and less often. I have a few favorites, and a few special-purpose items (like my Icebreaker winter running gear). But most of my mountain of winter woolens don’t get much wear anymore. Why wear the turtleneck you bought on sale at TJ Maxx when you can wear the similar, but much more special sweater you knitted while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.

Here’s the thing though: there’s a certain security in owning a set of sweaters I don’t care that much about. My hand knits are specialspecialspecial.  I wear them gently and wash them with care. My commercial sweaters…I don’t actively try to be destructive toward them…but if a cat snags a claw in them and make a hole, or if I get a molasses stain on the sleeve, it doesn’t matter so much. The only thing I have invested is money .

I’ve come to a critical, woolen juncture, just as many knitters have before me. There’s only so much storage space in my home for sweaters. If I want to go on knitting sweaters, I need to start getting rid of some. Stuff comes in, stuff goes out. Donate them, unravel them, whatever. They need to move along.

Am I ready to start jettisoning some of these commercial sweaters? Am I ready to depend on my knitting skills to outfit me for my real life?

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