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!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mosaic Afghan Blanket: FREE Yarn and Knitting Pattern Giveaway!!

It's time for my first giveaway!!  One lucky person will win (drum roll please):
  • A hardcopy of my Mosaic Baby Blanket or Lap Afghan knitting pattern (more photos on Ravelry -pattern includes directions for both the baby blanket and the adult-sized afghan), and
  • One skein each:  Caron Simply Soft worsted weight yarn in Persimmon (not quite as deep a color as pictured below), Country Peach, and Off White - 3 skeins total - enough yarn to knit your choice of afghan!

This yarn includes a pretty coral colored skein (not really as orangey as shown here), a soft peach color, and an off-white neutral.  I think these colors would make a cheerful baby blanket or lap afghan.  But, you could also swap out one of the colors and change the color combination.  You could take out one of these colors and add a denim blue to make a great blanket suited for a boy - or add a pretty lilac color for a lovely girl's blanket.  Or swap one of the colors for a dark emerald green to make a rich design of mosaic color.  You can use them however you choose!

How to enter my Mosaic Blanket Pattern and Yarn Giveaway:

1.  Go to my Hubpages knitting pattern and craft tutorial website and check out all my knitting patterns.  Links to these patterns are also on the right-hand side of this blog.

2.  Come back to this page and tell me your favorite of my knitting patterns, or your favorite of my craft tutorials in the comments below.

3.  Be sure to leave your name and a valid email address for me to contact you.

Giveaway will end on Friday, August 8, 2014 at midnight EST.  Official rules and regulations:

1.  This giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only.

2.  Only one entry per person please.

3.  Winner will be chosen by random selection.  Please be sure to include your email address.  I will contact the winner and give that person one week to respond with their address.  If I don't get any response by the end of that week, I will pick another winner.

That's it!  Good luck!!  Remember, this free giveaway ends on Friday, August 8, 2014 at midnight e.s.t.

Not feeling lucky?  I you can buy my Mosaic Baby Blanket and Lap Afghan knitting pattern for only $3 on Ravelry!  Thanks!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Favorites: Sugar Plum Cowl Update

I'm thrilled to show off my Tanner Cowl from New American Knits by Amy Christoffers.  (Please excuse the loose ends in my photos - I was so excited to share it that I haven't trimmed them yet!)  I really can't say enough about how much I love this finished cowl, but I'll try :)

1.  I love the color - Sugar Plum in Knit Picks Swish DK.  All the details are here in my first post, but I think the color is perfect with this design and I can see myself wearing this cowl in the Fall right through to Spring.  So pretty.

2.  This design is so beautiful.  The lace pattern is very interesting - geometric and intricate without being too fussy.  I did end up shortening the width of my cowl by stopping with Row 48 on the chart.  This seems to be a good place to stop if you want a cowl that isn't quite so wide.  The resulting pattern isn't symmetrical, but it is balanced and you capture enough of the design to be interesting.  My finished cowl after blocking is about 7 1/2 " wide by 44" around.  This will be perfect to wear both as a neckwarmer and as an accessory to wear throughout the day.

That pretty much sums it up.  Again, LOVE IT!  Can't wait until the temps drop down and I can start wearing it :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

{Knitting Book Review} New American Knits by Amy Christoffers

Generally, I try not to buy too many knitting books.  They're all so pretty and tempting but truly, how many patterns are you really going to knit out of any one book?  But anyway, at a moment of weakness (which I won't get in to), I purchased "New American Knits" by Amy Christoffers.

I've only had the book for a couple of weeks, but it features some really great patterns .  I particularly like the Rockwell Hat (which would be great for those random skeins of dk yarn I have in my stash), the Moses Hoodie (which I love but I'm afraid of putting in zippers), the Nevelson Lace Pullover (gorgeous!), and the Benton Cardigan (this has my name written all over it).

In the midst of all these beautiful patterns, I found a real winner - the Tanner Cowl - and immediately cast on.  I love the intricate details and lace in this design and how it folds in the photo in the book.  The pattern calls for worsted weight, but I had some Knit Picks Swish DK in my stash in this sweet Sugar Plum color (love!).  I chose to use a size #7 needle to use with my smaller gauge yarn.  I assume the overall size of my cowl will also be smaller, but I think it will still be large enough to wrap around my neck twice.  I might need to give it an aggressive block to make this happen.

The pattern uses pretty basic stitches, but does require a fair bit of attention and concentration.  I found that putting stitch markers between each 28 st repeat really helped, though you have to move them on certain rows (as instructed in the directions).  Still I've missed a couple of yarnovers while not paying enough attention, and had to make them up in the next row.  Luckily, I think the overall pattern is pretty forgiving, and no one will notice a missed eyelet here and there.

One note:  I *think* there is a mistake in the chart on row 39.  I think the first st should be another "move the beginning of the round marker, slip stitch, k2tog, pass slipped st over" thingy, otherwise you'll have too many stitches.

I'm planning to shorten my cowl width-wise, and only follow the chart to row 48.  My cowl design will not be symmetrical, but no one will notice.  And in my warm weather climate, I don't need a cowl that is 10 inches or so wide.

All in all, I love how my Tanner Cowl is coming out and I'm eyeing my next project from this book!

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Field of Flowers Tote was Chosen as Craftys Award Finalist!!

I guess I should be a little more subtle or humble about sharing this, but I'm just too excited :)  The Craftys Awards are an online contest for the best craft submissions.  This was the first year of the contest and submissions were accepted in a variety of categories:  knitting & crochet, sewing & quilting, jewelry-making, home decor, and a number of other categories.

I submitted a few of my craft tutorials, and my Field of Flowers Knitted Tote was chosen as one of the ten finalists in the knitting & crochet category.  And I'm just thrilled!

Unfortunately, my tote was not chosen as the winner, but that's okay.  I'm still happy just to be chosen as a finalist.  The winner was a knit wedding dress that is truly amazing.  Congratulations to Stephanie Klose for her beautiful dress - and congratulations to all the 2014 Craftys Award winners!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

{Hand} Dye-ing for Something to Knit

I recently had the opportunity to take a yarn hand-dyeing workshop at a LYS, Yarn and Y'all.

The workshop was a lot of fun and I wish I had taken photos of the yarn dyeing process, but I was too busy enjoying myself to remember to take pictures.

We started out with about 440 yards of undyed merino wool in sock weight.  I told myself that I was going to use browns and blues for my yarn, and stay away from my favorites, purples and greens.  I wanted to create something different than what I usually buy.

photos taken from different sides on different days
But as you can see, I ended up still gravitating toward my usual pinks, purples, and greens.
And the yarn looks total different when balled
Despite falling back into my comfort zone, I'm still very happy with my resulting yarn.  Now, to pick something to knit with it!  I decided I wanted to make scarf or narrow shawl from my hand-dyed yarn.  I was thinking of something light and loose with lots of eyelets or a loose weave.  Here are my favorite choices:

Frisson:  I love the simple geometry of this shawlette.  This pattern is really what I had in mind when I thought about using my hand-colored yarn.

Hallayo:  This scarf pattern has been in my queue for a while.  I love this design, but really wanted to make more of a shawl than a scarf.

Sea Line Shawl:  This is your basic feather-and-fan design, but I think it would be pretty with the colors in my yarn.

Margosha Shawlette:  I'm leaning toward this pattern.  It has the eyelets and open weave that I was looking for.  I like the crescent shape of the design.  And I like how the short-row edging creates a little ruffle.

Which one do you think I should make?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Free Knitting Pattern: Pinwheel Basket

I love baskets for decorating and organizing things, and this knitted basket pattern is one of my favorites.  I had this pattern on my Hubpages for a while, but I haven't posted a link on this blog until now.  This is a quick, fun knit that uses Zoë Scheffy's free Pinwheel Coasters pattern for the base, then builds up the sides using a lattice pattern in two colors.  All the directions are on my Hubpages.

Just as an FYI - you won't find this pattern in Ravelry.  Since it uses part of Zoë's pattern, I felt uncomfortable posting and taking credit for this pattern there.