A Me Topper

IMG_20170104_153919.jpgI’m not a designer, but I do love this little hat I came up with. Actually, it’s mostly a stitch pattern. And I love the concept, but am still warming to this color combo.

For worsted I cast on 80 with #6, for fingering 132 with #2. Then I increase by 8 after my brim (between 1.5 & 3″ of rib of choice).

And then add a contrast color every other row. K1P1 around, next row knit, P1K1 around, next row knit. Repeat until decreases.

 

Advertisements

Sherlock Knits – A review

a1ts7zabhul

As a long time fan of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes in its many different iterations, I was excited to hear about Sherlock Knits from Slate Falls Press!

Know who wasn’t? Maggie Chug & Georgie Pug. They mostly sleep through mysteries, book or television. Come to think of it, they like to sleep through my knitting, too. But having them in side-by-side beds is a bit of an accomplishment in their relationship.

IMG_20161223_100156.jpg

Back to the matter at hand, one of the first times I heard mention of Sherlock Knits was over on the Knitmore Girls podcast (always a good listen and honest reviews to boot!), who also happen to be big fans of Joanna Johnson. And I’ll admit, I, too, own Phoebe’s Sweater. So Joanna is known for good tales & sweet knits. When I saw the call on her Instagram to review a copy, I jumped at the opportunity.

The pattern collection, released just this month, features 10 patterns ranging from accessories to household items all the way to a full cardigan. It retails for $12.95 on Etsy or Amazon for the hard copy.

0024_medium2IMG_20161223_100213.jpgAnd, if like me, you prefer to buy single patterns instead of an entire book, each of the patterns can be purchased separately; including Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Cozy, which could be a good first steeking project for those worried about the technique (raises hand). The oranges keep reminding me of my tree out back, ready to burst; that’s a California winter.
0100_medium2.JPGMy current thought is to convince my sister that next year’s Holiday Hats should be a series of Deer Stalkers. Think she’ll buy in? The familiar, classic styling is knit in a worsted weight yarn for a relatively quick knit in one of the most unforgettable styles. I’m also working on my husband, but he’s not really a hat guy.

In addition to the patterns, there are excerpts from the Original Sherlock tomes as well as illustrations, which I understand are by Laurel Johnson, who I believe is Joanna’s daughter.

While there are no noveau fashions, the patterns all have a timeless, classic feel; something fun to knit and a good little book to hearken to a favorite classic in both literature and cinema.

B0108_medium2TW – Slate Falls is hosting a Knit-a-long for the Scotland Yard Vest featured in the book!  Houndstooth, oh my! (sorry, my review came too late for the pattern to be free. But the prizes look awesome.)

A Kool Way to Dye

Like a lot of sock knitters, I have the odd ball of bits and pieces left over. You wouldn’t think so considering I wear a US women’s 11, but I favor short socks. I love Monster Socks, basically mix up the colors any way you like. There are patterns written just to help you use up leftovers!

The Monster group I follow kept suggesting the LOSY  hat pattern. And I thought, why not!

img_20161209_130447

I wasn’t sure at first. But the white, pink, red, brown started to grow on me and reminded me of peppermint bark.

img_20161210_134910

But then I blocked it and it bled, of course. Bleh. It looked terrible

img_20161210_135007

So I bought 3 kool aid packets in Cherry, boiled up some water, and dunked the hat.

img_20161210_141216

It gently boiled away for a few minutes.

img_20161210_143720

And the resulting color was really gorgeous!

img_20161210_170750

Unfortunately the hat was made with superwash wool that was totally de-sproinged and the hat was HUGE. I’m trying to figure out what to do with the yarn.

Dull but Adorable

Life has caught up with me and blogging has fallen off a bit. But I have still been crafting – knitting, specifically! My sister actually picked the Conversationalist  hat pattern for her holiday card hats. But her SiL had a baby this year! So we now need 8 kids hats. And being me, I also decided to knit one for her sister and husband. And while the hat is darling, it’s not the most exciting knit. Or the most exciting progress photos.

 

Embroidery, Mr. Robot

IMG_20160309_103055661_HDR

Way back in March I reviewed a few books from the library. Specifically, I looked at the Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Embroidery. After thinking about it, checking it out, thinking, needing to reference it, I finally bought it from Amazon.

And usually after I do that the books sit on the shelf untouched. Not this one!

IMG_20160712_134040.jpg

First I referenced it to add an embellishment to the required class project in my 3 week sewing course. Day one was mostly listening plus starting this bag, identical to everyone else’s. My little trio of flowers should help distinguish my finished project. Plus, so cute!

IMG_20160715_200359

Then, because every knitter feels a compulsion in their DNA to clothe babies, I had to make a baby beanie for a blogging acquaintance. After frogging a baby hat knit on the wrong yarn, I knit up a simple grey beanie. And after searching Pinterest for line drawings, referring to my new favorite book, and pulling out the floss – Ta Da! Adorable baby boy gift.

Twisted stitches bust my britches

I know I’ve mentioned this, but I knit in an Eastern European style. Which means I knit and purl through the back loop. Pretty sure I “unvented” it (Thanks, Elizabeth Zimmerman) based on the fact that I’d been crocheting since I was six.

Unfortunately for me, since I was mostly self taught, I didn’t have someone around to point out that my stockinette in the round looked different than my stockinette knit flat. It took close to two years for me to be able to look at my knitting to know what I was doing and sort out what the problem was (this was right at the start of Ravelry and I wasn’t much in to forums) and then to figure out how to wrap the yarn so that my stitches looked the same in the round as they did flat.

I loved each of these socks. But you can see the ridges on every pair, a very tell-tale sign of twisted rib. It’s especially obvious in the green sock pic as the camera sort of reverberates over the color.

Compared to these more recent socks. Smoother, more even stitches that lay flat.

Which is not to say that you never want twisted stitches. More and more designers are using them intentionally. I generally avoid them, even as a design element. But had to carefully work them in my Plicate hats by Hunter Hammerson.

Talk about a tough sell, I have to re-seat each stitch in order to get the proper ridge/twist that the designer is looking for (love this hat, btw, a favorite no matter how I do it).

Done intentionally a twisted stitch can be an attention grabbing design detail. Done unintentionally, particularly in fair isle, it makes your work look unprofessional and like you jumped into designing/selling before really knowing your craft because you haven’t been able to “read” your knitting well enough to know you are doing it wrong.

 

Cancer

Yet again, I find myself knitting out of sadness 😦 This time it’s not a family member, or even someone I’m close to. An acquaintance from the past is dealing with cancer in the worst possible way – through her toddler daughter.

I can’t imagine. My mind hits a roadblock and won’t even go there.

And 8 years and 1,100 miles have taken us from friends to friendly acquaintances who send holiday cards. That’s fine. Relationships changes. They ebb & the flow with time.

But tragedy, unfortunately, pulls us together and I felt obliged, as many knitters do, to work out my emotions, to show my support, through sticks and strings.

Here’s my hat for Violet, who will spend the next 6 months taking chemotherapy for abdominal cancer.barleyred (1)