Knitting Feeds

Nothing to see here

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 09/19/2018 - 21:54

Well, that sorted itself out rather nicely, didn’t it? I’m not feeling at all doomed at present. (This should be said cheerfully, so that the foreshadowing of another crisis I don’t see coming is as entertaining as possible.) A lovely knitter who had the yarn (Hi Brenda!) has sold me her big fat skein, and it is en route from her house to mine. She got it in the mail straightaway, and I’m still knitting what I’ve got, so unless there’s a customs thing as the yarn tries to cross the border… I should be okay. (We will recall that last time, I believe it was customs that exploded my whole plan, so I think that’s a good sign. Usually it’s a new emergency each time, and I’ve already done that one, so either this will be smooth sailing, or the fates are going to have to start getting really creative.)

I’m charging along at a good pace over here too, I spent the weekend teaching this past weekend at The Stitchery in Rhode Island, and had just the loveliest time, with the bonus of lots of time on planes and in the airport, and now I’ve just about got the middle of the blanket done, which means it’s time to start planning the border.  Someone asked me the other day how much planning of these blankets I do before I start knitting, and the answer is “rather less than you would hope.”  I do knit a swatch, and I do choose the stitch patterns I’m pretty sure I’ll use, or improvise them, if I can’t find what I like, and I do make charts (I use Stitchmastery these days.) I don’t come up with the exact way that those elements are going to go together – that part’s more… let’s call it loose.  When it comes to picking up the stitches all the way around the centre part, I don’t fake it. It’s way too important to get right, so I use the standard formula for figuring out how many to pick up.

I take my (washed and blocked) swatch, and measure my stitch and row gauge.

In this case, I’ve got six stitches to the inch, and 9 rows. To figure out how many stitches I’m going to pick up along the side, I turn that into a fraction (stitches/rows) which is 6/9, and then reduce the fraction, the simplest I can make this one is 2/3. That means that I’ll pick up 2 stitches for every 3 rows. Got it? I know the regular advice is to pick up 3/4 or 4/5 or 2/3, but my stitch and row gauge are different with every blanket and stitch pattern, and so I do the math. I get a much tidier result and it only takes a minute.  Then I give it a go along the side of the swatch to see if it works, before I pick up hundreds of them.**

Lo and behold, it did work.  That’s the perfect ratio, that edge lies there as flat as my first catastrophic go at vegan pancakes.  I don’t need to do any stitches along the cast on and bound off edges, because I’ll pick up stitches at a 1:1 ratio there – like always. (That’s the rule. 1:1 for stitches on top of stitches, and stitches/rows for along the sides.) Sometime when it comes up we’ll talk about what I do with a diagonal, but in the meantime, voila.

This blanket is going just fine.*

**Stop it. Don’t be superstitious.

**Please note that this system, diligently measuring, trying it on the swatch… all of that, is a system that I’ve settled on after a few blankets where I picked up 47465 stitches around the edges of the thing, and then realized after a few heartrendingly long rounds that it wasn’t right, and had to rip the whole thing out amid a flood of tears and whiskey while missing a deadline.  I’m pretty proud that I’ve given up and started doing the swatch and math after only 45 years of knitting, disappointment and sloth.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Strathen Raglan

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/17/2018 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Strethendrick Knitter Extraordinaire: Jennifer (Ravelry ID) Mods: Changed the boxy, oversized long sleeved sweater with drop shoulders into a closer-fitting raglan with short sleeves. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: The original sweater is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, but it’s a serious colourwork commitment and that can be

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Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 15:51
Two afghans are in the finishing stages. While I continue working on these tasks, it seemed like a good time to spend a moment talking about the backstory, or what things look like on the wrong side of my projects.

Lately, most projects have featured multiple colors, and numerous leftovers and partial skeins. This of course means there are always plenty of ends to weave. Now, it's a well-known fact finishing and end-weaving are not my greatest skill, and I've regularly confessed that with each project, I need to marshal all my patience and care to properly tackle this phase.

Most of the time, I choose to weave ends using a needle, because for me this gives the most polished and invisible results. Sometimes, I weave them as I go, but often, I simply wait until the end and handle them last, right before blocking.
Careful finishing is especially important, since I want scarves, shawls, afghans and home dec items to be tidy and attractive on both sides.

Because I'm slow, weaving ends takes a great deal of time and concentration. I've been experimenting, therefore, with other methods in an effort to reduce the number of ends and speed up the finishing process.

Herlacyn Heatwave is a good example. Each strip in this design produces 18 ends, for a total of 54 in the body, not counting seams and borders. Granted, there are many designs out there that produce far more, but facing that many ends in order to properly finish a project can be daunting.

To offset this, I've been trying to weave ends as I work. Above, you can see I'm picking up stitches for a seam, and at the same time, I'm weaving one of the yellow ends into the pickup (on the wrong side). 

I picked up the working yarn from behind the loose end, which traps the loose end between the working yarn and active stitch. The technique is quite simple, it just requires a bit of time and attention, and if you do it correctly, it's tidy on the back and invisible on the front.

Many knitters do this for just a few stitches which is easier, but I took a different approach. I left long tails, so the woven stitches would form a continuous (rather than interrupted) line along the edge of its matching triangle. This turns the necessity of weaving ends into a bit of a design feature, and on the wrong side, each triangle is bordered by wrapped stitches which imparts a look similar to applique.

Old habits die hard, so I'm still a bit sporadic and sometimes forget to integrate this basic step into my knitting. Other times, I simply choose to skip it, because in that instance, I prefer a more invisible approach. If your goal is to minimize the effort involved in finishing, however, weaving ends as you work is clearly the way to go.

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Back to the knitting...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 15:25
Hello there, loves! Happy Sunday. :) Thank you so much for all the well wishes. I am nearly at 100% now and could not be more grateful. While very little knitting happened, a few stitches were added to projects here and there. Most of last weekend and weeknights were spent... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Slow Learner

Yarn Harlot - Sun, 09/16/2018 - 15:00

I think I was just excited.  That’s the only explanation for where I find myself – a few days after the cast came off, and in some knitting trouble. After struggling with knitting for weeks, and only being able to manage big needles and yarn, not only was I really looking forward to pounding out some fine gauge knits, I was behind on an important project. My niece Savannah’s baby will be here soon, and so of course there should be a blanket – although there has already been a sweater, and as I’ve mentioned, this baby’s Grammy will be my sister-in-law Kelly, who is a fine knitter herself. Care must be taken not to bury this wee one in wool, though we can scarcely contain our excitement.  Not just a new baby, but a fall/winter baby! While the cast was on, I was planning, choosing stitch patterns, and getting yarn together. I went into the stash and flung yarn around with one hand until I came up with this.

It’s gorgeous, and I love it, and I thought to myself that it must be enough wool for a blanket. I mean, it’s a Ton of Wool.  I glanced at the yardage, saw that it had four digits, and felt great about it. (300g/1056 meters) I swatched,

I washed the swatch,

I loved it, I cast on…. I knit.  Now I’m about halfway through the body, the yarn is being eaten up at a shocking rate and it is rather completely clear to me that I don’t have nearly enough of this yarn to do what I want. Wait. Let me type that sentence again so that the problem is clearer.  I don’t have nearly enough of this discontinued yarn to do what I want.

I’m not really, really panic stricken (I mean, this happens with almost every blanket, I’m clearly not bright) because I’m knitting this blanket in the Shetland style, so the body is worked back and forth, the borders are picked up and knit around, and the edging is applied – that means that there’s a few points where I can change colour/yarn if I want to, so it I can see a way out. Still…

Anybody have some of this yarn kicking around?

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/14/2018 - 11:00

My mom and I are in New York City together, and today is her birthday- so Happy Birthday to my mom! If you want to keep up on our adventures, head on over to Instagram- my stories in particular will have lots of snaps. My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This opinion piece in

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

plain ol’ socks

Autumn Geisha - Wed, 09/12/2018 - 21:26
paintbox yarns fair isle :: storybook colorway
regia 4-fadig :: color 07200
We are finished with the second full week of school and I am happy to report that things are going pretty well. One thing that has helped tremendously is giving ourselves plenty of time to get ready in the morning by waking up a little earlier. My husband is an early bird who wakes up at 5am every morning to meditate, do yoga exercises and go kayaking before he has to start work. Me? I’m definitely a night owl and find early mornings quite painful. But not having to rush before getting the kid to school is a good thing for both him and me so I’m willing to wake up with the early birds, at least on school days. An added perk is having some extra time to relax and knit before seeing the kid off. My project of choice for early mornings is plain ol’ socks since they can be knit even while half asleep. It has taken a couple of years but I have finally come up with a recipe that fits great and is fun & relaxing to knit.

For my plain ol’ socks, I cast on 56 stitches with 2.5mm needles using the German Twisted/Old Norwegian cast on or 64 stitches using depends on the yarn. I like a pretty tight gauge for my socks, about 9 stitches per inch. Then I knit 2x2 rib for 20 rows. I knit the cuff + leg for about 5.5 to 6 inches before starting the Fish Lips Kiss heel which is my absolute favorite heel as far as fit goes. Also love how quick & easy it is to knit. I knit the foot for about 7.5 inches before starting the toe. My favorite new toe is similar to the umbrella toe by Kay Jones which can be found in her Drippity Drop Socks pattern except that I forgo the Kitchener stitches at the very end and just fasten off the few remaining stitches. Much simpler and neater for me and the resulting fit is perfect for my toes. And that’s all there is to it! Here’s an action shot:

Are you an early bird or night owl? What is your favorite easy knitting project?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Cast off

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 20:13

Happily, the title of this post is both a knitting situation, and the current situation of my left hand!

I was at the fracture clinic this afternoon, and the Doctor (who I now find far less annoying than I did a few weeks ago) said that I could do without the cast, and that my hand is now cleared for “light duty”.  I asked a few questions about what that meant, and while there are definitely still some limits, the big things I’ve been missing are back – typing, and KNITTING.

In fact, when I asked him if I could knit (rather “a lot”) he said “please do, as much as you can, it’s good for you.” Knitting is wondrously, finally, as I have always dreamed – doctor’s orders. (We will, for the moment, gloss over the difference between what he surely thinks is a lot of knitting, and what I think is a lot of knitting. I feel like if there were limits he would have said something.) I am going to knit, and type and holy cats I think I will eat something you need a knife and fork to manage, and right after that I’m going to wash my hair with two hands, and then I’m going to tie my shoes. Repeatedly.

This news couldn’t come at a better time, since this morning I got just about to the end of Love and Darkness, and was (really ironically) finding it really difficult to cast off with a cast on.

Cast off!

Let the wild knitting rumpus begin!

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: One Tree Mitts

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/10/2018 - 11:00

Original Pattern: One Tree Heel Socks Knitter Extraordinaire: Joan(Ravelry ID) Mods: Changed the original fingering weight sock design to a worsted weight fingerless mitt, and flipped the design upside down. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome:  Fingerless mitt season is coming, and these mitts are a perfect example

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Quick blog post...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/09/2018 - 15:24
Happy Sunday! Today has me feeling not so great, so this is going to be a quick post. You know you are not feeling good when you don't feel like knitting. :( I am going to rest up today and pray this goes away. I was supposed to draw for... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 15:22

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Austin Kleon’s perspective on when strangers on the internet criticize him. This was hilarious- especially the burrito one. Another funny find- ridiculous book title anagrams. Goats like it when you smile at them. Omg I want a pet goat! Ae you a night owl? Maybe your sleeping habits

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

hello september

Autumn Geisha - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 22:52
Hi friends! Today was the first day of school for the kid. It’s been a fun and relaxing summer but I think that we were both ready for school to start again. He’s excited to be in eighth grade this year and I am hoping that the transition from vacation mode to school will be a smooth one.

We had a long holiday weekend here in the States and I spent it chilling out at home with my two guys. We were basically couch potatoes all weekend. I treated myself to three new cast ons. The first one will be a pair of scrappy Halloween socks for the #monstersockkal2018 on instagram.

This is actually my second attempt because the first one was judged not spooky enough by the kid. Who knew that he had such strong opinions on Halloween monster socks?!? Where were the zombies, blood & guts he asked. Well, his ideal Halloween would be more along the lines of the Exorcist while mine would be Jasper the Ghost. So in the end we compromised and went with skulls & crossbones.

I also started a new blanket for the Harry Potter Blanket KAL hosted by Adelaide Cottage and the Knitting Broomstick. The pattern is the Giant Square Scrap Blanket and it’s a fun one. I am currently knitting with a gorgeous mini-skein set by Adelaide Cottage inspired by the colors of the HP books. Don’t you think that she did such an awesome job interpreting the covers? Looking forward to listening to the books & watching the movies while working on the blanket. It’s a yearlong KAL so there’s plenty of time to join in. This will be my sixth blanket on the go but that’s ok. Blankets make such comforting and cozy knitting.

And lastly...more socks! It’s been a while since my last pair of Felici socks and I was drawn to this pretty colorway. The pattern (ifthen socks) works so well with self-striping yarn. Even though the colors totally scream Spring, I am enjoying knitting on them nonetheless. In fact, all of my current wips are bringing me so much joy. I hope that your projects are doing the same for you! What are you knitting on right now?
Categories: Knitting Feeds

August: Book Reviews

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:00

I just noticed that I accidentally skipped July’s book reviews! Blame it on summer vacation mode, but I hope you did a lot of reading over the summer, things that made you feel like you saw something of the world, be it the external world or the interior, psychological one. My reading list sort of

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Modification Monday: Lil’ Parachutey Top

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:00

Original Pattern: Parachutey Knitter Extraordinaire: AnMiwe (Ravelry ID) Mods: Changed the original oversized layering tank top to a tie-back halter crop top.  Details on her modifications can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Those hot weather summer knits are few and far between, but I love AnMiwe’s modified top to

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

August loves...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 15:01
Happy Sunday, love! Hello there! Hopefully, for those of you in the U.S. you are celebrating Labor day with a long weekend- which means more knit time, right? Or maybe time with your family. ;) This weekend has been very lovely quite a bit of knitting happened. Jesse (oocha) is... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Celebrate the Fruits of Our Labor

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 10:30
In the US, this is Labor Day weekend, a three-day national holiday recognizing the millions of hardworking Americans whose labor keeps the economy humming. 
It seems fitting, therefore, that the afghan that's been consuming my knitting attention is red, white and blue. Last weekend, I was working to fix a frustrating fubar. Because I'd skipped several stitches in the seaming process, the two strips didn't line up as intended. You can clearly see these problems below.

This past week, I slowly, steadily and carefully, tackled the seam one section at a time. True confessions, it took me all week to accomplish this feat. (Did I mention slowly?)

The reworked seam is much, much better. It's not perfect, but there are no missed stitches and the color blocks line up properly. (The angled shot below may make that difficult to see, so you'll have to trust me on this.)

Right now, this WIP is spread out on the work table, partly so I can admire the fruit of my labor and partly so I can figure out how to finish the edges. I've always intended to add a border of some sort, but right now, I'm having an intense internal debate. Should I take a minimalist approach and add a one-row edging to stop the curl and stabilize the edges? Or, should I work a deeper border for a more traditional approach?

If you have thoughts or preferences, I'd love your feedback. While I contemplate these weighty matters, I'll be weaving ends in preparation for finishing. 

Meanwhile, wherever you are, take time to celebrate the fruits of your labor, and if you're in the US, have a relaxing, enjoyable Labor Day!


Roundup | Red, White & Blue
Spotlight | Red, White & Blue Holidays

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 13:16

I passed my motorcycle course! I’m very excited, and did really well on the test. The next step is to actually get a bike. I’m looking at Vespas, and while I know I can get similar looking european-style bikes, my heart really is set on a (of course, more expensive) Vespa. But I also have

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

I’m going to make it

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 21:52

Sitting across from Jen in the restaurant, she admired the glorious colours of my arm.  The bruising is starting to fade, but still impressive. Then Jen looked at me, leaned back and she asked if I could knit. This is a full week after the accident -I think she was afraid to ask me before that, and I get it, I’m a little edgy. I pulled my knitting out of my bag  (I’m still dutifully carrying it around, though I can only manage a row or two before I get a weird cramp from holding it strangely) and spread it on the table in front of her.

She took it all in. Big needles, big yarn, it’s actually very pretty (pattern – Love and Darkness) and then a look of horror slowly dawned on her face, and she said “Is this it? In a week? Is this all you’ve knit in a week?” I nodded, and Jen slumped back in her chair. “Wow.” She looked at the knitting again. “Two more weeks?”

Two more weeks.  Back at the fracture clinic on Monday, I’d stomped in with an attitude that I’d hoped would be convincing. I’d tried to sit there looking exactly like someone who should have their cast off immediately, and during the x-ray I’d confidently said “I think it’s going to look great.”  When the doctor said that he wanted to leave the cast on two more weeks, I realized my bravado had been a failure.  Two. More. Weeks.

Sigh. On the upside, today I tied my shoes, and figured out I can drive a car.

Two. More. Weeks.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Day of the Socks

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 11:00

Original Patterns: Elske and Calavera Mittens Knitter Extraordinaire: Matkailijakirppu  (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Matkailijakirppu combined the Elske sock pattern and lengthened them, incorporating the Day of the Dead Skull designs from the Calvera mittens. Details and great photos can be found on her project page here. What Makes This Awesome: Mitten and sock patterns are great opportunities

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Small Mistake, Big Consequences

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/26/2018 - 17:00
The first rule of blogging about knitting is this: Do NOT crow when a project's going well. Because if you do, all too soon you'll be back at the keyboard eating crow and confessing something (or everything) has gone woefully awry. 

Last week, I was wallowing in the pleasures of working on a project that was moving forward at a fast (for me) pace. In a handful of weeks it progressed from casting on the first strip to finishing all the strips and starting the seaming process. 

The first seam went together easily, without a hiccup and with each section lining up as intended. 
The second seam did not, and it's my own fault. It was late after a long, demanding work day, but I decided to push ahead and finish the final seam. It was a bad call, and the orange stitch marker marks the spot.

Somehow, someway, I'd managed to skip not one but several stitches during the three-needle bindoff, and that small mistake had big consequences. If you look at the picture above, you can see it. The left corner of the upper white triangle is supposed to align with the right corner of the red section, but clearly it doesn't.

The only way to fix an error of this magnitude is to frog it and redo it. So that's where things stand. I've ripped out the bindoff and the stitches are sitting there ready to be returned to the needles, so I can try again.
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