Saturday, September 27, 2014

Cotton Candy Cardigan: Crafting the Perfect Sweater
My favorite type of sweater is what I like to call "a classic cardigan."  I love cardigans that have kind of a classic 1950's shape, with tight ribbing at the hem, a flattering fit, and buttoning up the front with some interesting design around a crew neckline.

I came across this free Red Heart pattern, the Alice Blue Cardigan, and thought it was almost perfect.   Just one major problem:  the pattern's smallest size is a 36" chest which is a little too big for me.  So, now I have a new project - to alter this Alice Blue Cardigan into a great fitting "classic cardigan".

First up:  the yarn.  I fell in love with this Jojoland Splatter Dash merino dk yarn in a beautiful variegated pink-rose-lilac color.  This yarn is a little more pricey than I usually like to pay, but I wanted a pink cardigan and I love the subtle color change of this yarn that makes it a little more sophisticated and interesting than just your basic pink.

The plan:

1.  Change the rib hem to a tighter k2, p2 ribbing.

2.  Knit this cardi in one piece to armpits, then break into front and back pieces.

3.  Change the button band to garter stitch so I can knit it along with the rest of the sweater, instead of picking up stitches when I'm done.  I like to have as little finishing as possible.

4.  Cast on for my wider hips, but then add shaping to bring the chest down to 34".

5.  To narrow the chest, I'm going to have to omit one column of lace detail on each side of this cardigan.  I'm also going to probably raise the lace detail by not starting this design until I'm past my waist shaping.

I'll be posting my mods and photos as I go.  To be honest, I haven't figured out the calculations for the lace yet, so I've got some work ahead of me.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL: Wisterious

Ta-da!  I finished my Wisterious lace top in time for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater KAL, and I love the final results!!

I bought this Juniper Moon Findley Dappled (50% merino, 50% silk) for another project, but the gauge just wasn't working.  After a quick search through Ravelry, I found the wonderful Wisterious by Jennifer Dassau and my yarn (held double) was perfect for it.

Here are my notes:

1.  The sizes are a bit limited on this pattern.  I decided to make this top as a size 38, but only blocked it to about 36" around.  I think the fit is good and it will probably drape more with wear.

2.  You may remember that I wasn't confident that I was on gauge when I started.  The only fix for this was to trust and continue knitting down to where I joined the body under the underarms.  Then I tried on what I had to see if it was going to fit.  If it didn't, I had two choices:  1) cry; or 2) rip it out and start over in a larger size.  Luckily it fit.

3.  I only made a few modifications along the way.  I made the length of the top only 22" by doing only 2" of ribbing.  I was a little afraid that I would run out of yarn (silly - I have a fair amount left over).

4.  To accomodate my larger hips, I cast on an additional 28 stitches around before starting the rib border.  I also only went down one needle size for the bottom border hem.

5.  I was thinking of omitting the buttonholes and just sewing the buttons in place - but don't!  The neck opening is not large enough to fit your head without unbuttoning the neckline a bit, and making the buttonholes is super easy and super fun!

6.  Although the instructions don't mention it, I think you really need a set of dpns to do the armhole ribbing.  My smallest dpns were size #4, so that's what used.  I think they worked fine.  Because my ribbing wasn't as tight as the pattern called for, I omitted two rounds of the border.  Then I just bound off in pattern.

Love the finished top!  Thanks to the other ladies in this KAL for their vote of confidence on my coral/orange buttons.  I think they are the perfect choice :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Summer Sweater KAL: Wisterious Update

I haven't talked much about it, but I am still hard at work on my Wisterious Top for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-a-Long.  I'm actually pulling in to the home stretch - it doesn't look like much but I just have to do the sleeve edging and block it, and then I'm done!  I didn't think I was going to make the KAL deadline of Sept. 24, but I think I will pull it off :)

I've done only some minor modifications that I'll list when the top is blocked and finished.  I only have one decision left to make:  BUTTONS.  I love vintage buttons (someday I'll have to do a post about my collection of vintage buttons).  And one of the things that drew me to this knit top pattern was the cute button detail around the neckline and shoulders.

original pattern photo by Jennifer Dassau from Ravelry
So - decision time:

I have four good choices right now.  1) some little white buttons (on card) with cute detailing around the center (hard to see in photo), 2) these corally-orange buttons that I kinda really love, 3) these light blue buttons that are shiny on one side and more opaque on the other.  I could use these with either side facing up, or 4) these vintage pearl buttons with a shank that might work better with the buttonholes in my top.

I'm leaning towards at least starting out with the coral-orange buttons.  I can always change them if I don't like them later.  But I'd love to hear what YOU think?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Favorites: Amazing Knit Cake

from Inspired by Cake!/
How cool is this knitting-themed cake, made by Inspired by Cake!

For more "craft-inspired" cakes, check out this link on CraftGossip of cakes for those who sew, quilt, knit, or crochet. My personal favorite is the white cake with the dress form on top, and the cascade of sewing notions down the side.  But they are all pretty amazing :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

We Have a Winner...And Some More Good News!

And the winner of the free copy of my Mosaic Blanket pattern and three (3) skeins of yarn is...Mary D!  Congratulations to Mary!  I'll send out your prize package soon!!

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered my giveaway!  It was my first free giveaway and I learned a lot.  It was great to hear everyone's feedback on my knitting patterns and tutorials.  This is very helpful as I think about new patterns for the future.  It was also fun to see everyone's email addresses (there are some really cute addresses out there) and find some new blogs to check out.  Thanks again to everyone who stopped by!

And more good news - 3 of my patterns have been published in the 2015 Knitting Pattern Daily Calendar by Accord Publishing.  This is my first time having my patterns in print, and I'm pretty excited.  I'm not sure where this calendar is available (other than Amazon), but I'll pass on more information when I have it.

Thanks again everyone!  I appreciate you stopping by!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Sweater KAL: Beginning with Helpful Hints

It's that wonderful time of year again:  time for Very Shannon's Summer Sweater KAL (knit-a-long).  I participated last year in Shannon's Summer Sweater KAL and really enjoyed it.  If you've never joined a KAL, it's a great way to try or finish a knitting project that's been lurching in your heart or mind (or maybe in the back of your closet).

"Wisterious" © Jennifer Dassau
This year, I've selected the lacy and light Wisterious pattern by Jennifer Dassau.  I must admit the thing I love most about this pattern is the little button detail on the shoulders - I have the perfect vintage buttons already picked out for my top.

But before I get to the buttons, I have a lot of knitting to do:

I'm using Juniper Moon's Findley Dappled lace weight yarn (50% merino, 50% silk) in Cloudbank (held double) for this top, and for the first time in a long time, I'm not sure of my gauge (sad face).  I did a swatch, but had a beast of a time counting my stitches.  I went with a larger size to give the top some positive ease, and I think (and hope) it will work out when blocked.

But here's a helpful hint:  you might notice the ziploc bags in my photo.  I saw this on Pinterest - Since I'm working with two balls of yarn as I knit with my yarn held double, I put each ball in a baggie to keep my yarn from getting tangled.  I just pricked a little hole in the bottom corner of each bag, and ran my yarn through the hole.  The bags are big enough for each ball to move and spin freely, but it keeps them separate and neat.  So far, it's working like a charm!

I'll keep you posted on my KAL!  In the meantime, don't forget to enter my Mosaic Blanket and Yarn Giveaway!!  I'd love to have loads more people enter!  The fun ends on Friday, August 8th at midnight EST.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shawl project: Scraptastic Ombrellone

So happy with my latest knitting project!  This is the wonderful Ombrellone by Melinda Vermeer.

I started this out with just the light purple and darker purple color striping, but I thought it looked too much like 7-year-olds girl's bedroom.  So, I changed the pattern a bit using some of my stash:  I frogged what I had and began again with some KnitPicks Swish DK in my new favorite color, Sugar Plum.  Then changing the pattern, I started my stripes on Row 24 with some Naturally Caron Country in gray.  I continued with these stripes to Row 37.  On Row 38, I switched from the light purple to dark purple stripes (Ella Rae Classics Heather) and continued with the gray.  Then on Row 56, I switched the gray to KnitPicks Swish DK in Lost Lake Heather (green) with the purple.  LOVE this green!

Sadly, I didn't have enough of the Lost Lake to do the full border, so I had to end with Row 83.  I think the border is still wide enough and it looks fine.  I did lose a little length though by not making the border as wide as the pattern stated.

To bind off, I used a semi-stretchy stitch on the next RS row.  To do this:

Knit the 1st stitch. Then,

1.  Slip next st to the right side needle knitwise.

2.  With these two stitches on the right needle, knit them together tbl.

3. Knit the next st.

4.  Bind off next st as normail.

Continue working through steps 1-4 until you have 1 st left.  Then cut your yarn and pull it through the last st.  Ta-da!

  Don't forget to enter my free giveaway, ending on August 8!!