Thursday, November 13, 2014

Having a Ball: Christmas Ornaments Made with Yarn

Yes, it's getting to be that time of year - when most knitters turn their creative minds to holiday knitting.  For me, the first project to tackle is my decoration for my knitting group's annual ornament exchange.

This year, I started playing around with yarn - layering it inside Christmas balls, wrapping it around Christmas balls, and turning Christmas balls into yarn balls.  I came up with four different designs, and I'm not sure which one to use for my ornament exchange:

Want to make your own yarn ornaments?  Check out my Hubpages for the directions for all four designs!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Christmas Knitting: Tiny Sweater Ornaments

It's time for my knitting group's annual ornament exchange, and since I'm not getting anywhere with my current knitting project, I've become intrigued by little knitted sweater patterns.

This time of the year, lots of yarn companies release FREE patterns for little sweater ornaments.  I've already have plans for my submission for this year's ornament exchange (more later), but I wanted to share some of these little patterns for little sweaters:

First up, these little cuties from Berroco, available for download here.  I love the little fair isle sweater and hat.  These would be great for dressing up stocking stuffers like little toys or candy canes.

Vogue Knitting also has a free pattern for this sweater garland (available here).  This would be a fun way to use up some scrap yarn while making a colorful garland for your tree or mantle.  These sweaters could also be knit as separate items to use as ornaments.

Red Heart has this charming cardigan pattern, which would also be great for doll attire.  You can find it on their website.

And a lot of sweet knitters have shared their patterns for little sweaters for free on Ravelry or on their blogs.  Ravelry has a lot of patterns to choose from.  Here are just a few:

Emily of Greens and Jeans has a tiny raglan design that can be modified in a number of ways.

Lori of Bird's Eye View also has a sweet little pattern that would look great in variegated yarn or using an array of scraps.

And Linda at Natural Suburbia has this adorable Christmas Tree Sweater.  Such a great idea!

Hope you find something here to use to decorate your own holidays with!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Adventures in Making: "Fall Leaves" DIY Challenge

I'm excited that my Changing Leaves Cowl knitting pattern was chosen for the October DIY Challenge by the crafty blog, Adventures in Making.  The theme for this handmade challenge was "Fall Leaves".

Head on over to Adventures in Making to see the other autumn-inspired craft choices.  If you want my free knitting pattern for my "Changing Leaves Cowl or Scarf, visit my Hubpages!  Thanks!

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 :)