Saturday, September 26, 2015

Upcoming Knitting ~ To Keep Myself Inspired and Organized

October 1st will soon be upon us and this time of the year always makes me a little anxious.  For knitters, this begins the final stretch for any and all projects we want to get done before the end of the year.  For me, this is a self-imposed deadline.  I'm not knitting any holiday gifts this year (well, maybe - see Christmas stockings below), but I still have knitting projects I'd like to finish by the end of the year.

So, I'm posting my knitting list here to keep myself engaged, inspired, and on schedule :)

1.  First up - My Sport Weight Lace Scarf:  I blogged about my search for a lace scarf pattern months ago.  In the end, I didn't choose any that I mentioned and instead I'm knitting the Three Sisters Scarves #2 by Monica Steinbauer.  I love the mix of chevron with lace, particularly in this teal yarn (see above - not finished and unblocked).  This should look great with my fall jacket, thus creating project #2 on my list:

2.  I'm going to try to create some matching fingerless mitts to go with this scarf.  Stay tuned for the pattern in the coming months (but probably not before December).

3.  I need/want to make a doily to go under my ceramic Christmas tree that I put out during the holidays.  I'm going to use Madeline Nelson's Pi Washcloth pattern as a starting point for my knit doily.  This should be a quick knit (I hope).  I don't need anything fancy for my doily and I'm just going to use some leftover white acrylic yarn to knit it.  I might add some beads or buttons around the edge when I'm done.

Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan

4. I have 2 1/2 skeins of Berroco Vintage leftover from knitting my Vale cardigan.  As I mentioned before, I'm considering making the Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan to wear as more of a poncho.  But honestly, I'm not sure how much use I'd get out of a poncho, so I like the flexibility to wear this as a cowl too.  I really love the lace pattern in this design.

Tis The Season Stocking by Katie Weston

5.  Last year when we were at my parents for Christmas, my mother mentioned wanting some knit stockings to display during the holidays.  I'm hoping she's forgotten about this, or changed her mind, but I've also searched out some free stocking patterns on Ravelry.  I love the Tis The Season Stocking by Katie Weston and I can use some stash dk to knit it.  I'd make two stockings for my parents (each different) and I think Katie Weston's pattern will look great matched with this Drops Design stocking.

6.  Lastly, I never finished this striped short-sleeve top I started last spring (ugh).  I still don't love it, so I either need to to finish it in a way I like, or take it apart and knit something else.  Right now, I'm waiting for some inspiration and direction to hit.

I plan to post about some of these projects, so you can watch my progress!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

When Not to Knit a Sweater

If you read this blog at all, you know I love knitting sweaters as much as the next knitter.  But sometimes you can find a fabulous sweater all pre-made and perfect just waiting for you at the store!  This lightweight cardigan illustrates one of the points I made in my blog post about picking sweater patterns:  If you can buy it in a store, and you love it, why bother knitting it yourself?

I found this beige cardigan at Ross last week for $17.  It's a lightweight cotton that I find perfect for in between seasons.  It has this beautiful lace back that is right on trend right now, and is a perfect fit for me (though I could take a better photo of the back).  I love it!

So let's be honest:  I probably couldn't buy the yarn to knit this sweater for $17.  And it would certainly take more than $17 worth of my time to knit.  So the purchase of this cute cardigan was a great buy for me.  Check out more hints on choosing the perfect sweater pattern here.

Oh, and if you like my new Matryoshka doll necklace, check out my tutorial to make your own on my Hubpages!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vale Cardigan Sweater Update 4: Final Reveal & Last Thoughts

I finished my Vale Cardigan for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-a-long (#sskal15) with a few weeks to spare (hurrah!)  Though it's taken me a bit of time to get used to how this sweater looks on me, I do like it very much.


The cabling on this sweater is what I first fell in love with, and it is truly beautiful.  I particularly love how the cable design falls on the sleeves.  And the moss stitch creates a sturdy fabric that should be quite warm this winter.

I've posted my notes on my mods, knitting the back and front pieces, and the sleeves already, so I only have a few more comments:

1.  It took me a while to get used to the draping front pieces on this cardigan.  I think it might be a bit too much on me and makes my hips and chest wider.  I wonder if deleting 10 to 15 stitches from each of the front pieces would make the front not hang as much.  I know this would also make the lapels narrower.  It's an interesting idea for modification, but I have no plans to re-knit this sweater.

2.  I do love my choice to knit this cardigan in Berroco Vintage.  I've knit with Vintage before and it seemed a slight bit scratchy.  However, this batch/color is rather snuggly and doesn't seem to have that itch quotient.  And I really love this Dungaree color.  It's the perfect medium blue to go with so many things in my closet.

And it's a good thing I like the color - I have about 550 yards left after knitting my Vale Cardigan.  I'm thinking about knitting the Standing Stones Cowl by Andee Fagan with the remainder.

I been thinking about knitting a poncho and I love how this design can be worn as a cowl or poncho.

Looking forward to cooler temperatures and wearing my new Vale Cardigan :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{FREE} Knitting Articles, Tutorials, & Advice

I've pulled together some of my favorite knitting articles, information, and tutorials and posted links to all of them on my Hubpages.  Check out all these knitting goodies and visit often as I add more resources and links!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sweater Update 3: Vale Cardigan Sleeves - Count Your Stitches & Check Your Math

So I've finished both sleeves for my Vale Cardigan.  Usually I don't have much to say about knitting sleeves - they are what they are.  But this time, I have a few notes to share:

 1.  After going back and forth on making the sleeves longer or not, I decided to knit them as written in the pattern.  I just decided to trust Norah Gaughan's brilliance and style, and go with what she had designed.  This worked out great.  On me, the sleeves uncuffed are almost full length.  And when I fold up the cuff, the sleeves are the perfect 3/4 length.  I think this will work beautifully.  The sleeves, are however, a bit snug.  I blocked them to the proper size and I hope with wear, they might loosen up some.

One of the reasons why I decided to knit the sleeves as written is I really loved the way the cables laid out on the model shot, with the full loop hitting in the middle of the upper arm.  I definitely wanted my sleeves to look the same and decided not to mess with the pattern.  I think the cable design is something to think about before you change the length of the sleeves.

2.  Just an FYI - I found some mistakes with the sleeve directions.  I made the second smallest size and found the errors there.  I didn't check to see if the errors affected other sizes too.

For my size, you cast on 42 stitches.  The directions say that after doing the ribbing and the increases to create the cable panel, you should 6 stitches left.  This isn't true - you have 12 stitches left, which centers the cable pattern on the sleeves as it should be.

Second issue:  The next direction starts the set up row.  You're told to purl 13 sts before starting the cable pattern, but you only have 12 sts to work with.  This is obviously a mistake, but you need an odd number of sts for the moss design.  I remedied this by doing a quick increase on this row before hitting the cable panel.  I did a knit front and back while working a knit stitch in the moss pattern.  My increased stitch then became the purl stitch I needed, and I just continued working in pattern.  I did this on both sides of the cable panel to make the 52 sts I needed.

3.  I thought about knitting my sleeves in the round.  I didn't do it, but I think you can.  I would suggest casting on two more stitches than the pattern calls for, to keep your k2, p2 ribbing in pattern, then do 1 less increase along the length of your sleeve.

So, I've completed the knitting on this sweater and have seamed the pieces.  Finished shots of the full sweater to be posted soon, along with my final thoughts and comments!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sweater Project Update 2: Vale Cardigan Back Section & Fronts

I've finished the back and front sides of my Vale sweater for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-Along.  I think I'm right on track to finish this cardigan by the end of the KAL on Sept 8.  I'm excited to have this sweater complete in time for Fall.  I think I'm really going to love it and get a lot of wear out of it.

And because I'm a nice person (sort of), I thought I'd put all my notes for knitting the back and front pieces in one post in case they help someone else :)  So here we go:

the back of my Vale sweater

1.  As I said in my previous post, this sweater can look a little different depending on the size you make.  The smaller sizes have only three columns of cables across the back, instead of the four shown in the model shot.  I really like the sample sweater, so this was a little disappointing, but I understand that this would change depending on the size of the garment.

2.  Be sure to knit your swatch in moss stitch, not Stst.  I had knit my back piece up pass the underarms when I measured and realized it was going to be a bit small.  When I looked back at the directions, I had realized my swatch was off, which threw off my sizing.

To give myself a little more room in the hips, I cast on again with a #9 needle, and changed to #8 on row 4 of the cable chart.  I knit most of the chart with the size #8, then to tighten up the chest and shoulders, I changed to a #7 about an inch before starting my underarm decreases.

3.   I've lengthened this cardigan a bit too, which I hope I like in the end.  I've added about 1 1/2 inches to the length by starting my underarm shaping at 13 inches instead of at 11 1/2 inches.   

4.  I think the beginning of the charts for both the back and the fronts is a little confusing.  When starting the cable charts (for both the back and front pieces), you need to use Row 1 of the charts TWICE as your set up row (once as the right side, then once as the wrong side).  This will make sense when you knit the pattern.  By using Row 1 twice, it sets you up to do the rest of the charts with the even rows being the right side of your work.

5.  This is a picky thing that might only bother me - but try to pay attention to the cable chart when it comes time to bind off for the shoulder shaping.  I didn't want to end the cable chart and bind off in a weird place where I was halfway through a pointy arrow or something in the design.  I thought this might would look even weirder when I seamed my front and back pieces together.  So when I was a few inches from binding off, I looked at the pattern and chose a point just after doing a cable cross on one of the arrow designs to begin my binding off.  This way, at the shoulders, I'll have two points coming together.

my Vale progress - overlapping the pieces as if they were seamed


I followed my notes from above for the front pieces too, so the cable pattern and my decreases would match up.  I only have a few additional notes:

1.   I think there's a mistake on the directions for the decreases on the side seams of the two front pieces.  The directions say you should start the decreases on Row 20 for the back portion.  But the directions for each front piece say you should start the decrease FOR THE SIDE SEAMS on Row 2.  I chose to ignore this and did my side decreases on the same rows as my back decreases so they match up.

2.  Because I lengthen my cardigan by an 1 1/2 inches, I had to adjust where I started shaping the front lapels too.  I honestly don't remember how I figured this out, but I shifted them up about an 1 and 1/2 inches.

3.  This is another weird thing that happens depending on the size you make:  after doing your shoulder shaping for the front pieces, the directions say to "work straight"  to create the neck band.  I think in the larger sizes, this will have you knitting moss stitch for 13 sts and then garter stitch to maintain the neck edging, which is fine and looks good.  However, in my smaller size, this would have me continuing only half of my cable, moss stitch for a few sts, then continuing my garter edge (see the tippy top of my photo above at the shoulder bind off).  This would look very strange as it wraps around the back of my neck.

So for the smaller sizes, this leaves you with two choices:  after finishing your shoulder shaping, you can purl the next 9 sts (which would continue the background of the cable column) then do your few moss sts and then maintain the garter edge.  Or you can switch to moss st for all 13 sts and then do garter st for your edge.  I think either choice is fine.  You just need to decide and stick with it for both front pieces.

I went with switching to moss st for all 13 sts.  After looking at the pattern photos, where they continued the moss st from the front, and other finished projects on Ravelry, this seemed like a good choice.  I thought purl, then moss, then garter might be a bit busy for the neck band when seen from the back.  But honestly, most people would never notice this detail.

And an update on my buttons decision:  After going back and forth on adding buttons to the upper part of the front pieces, I decided against it.  For my size, it just won't work.  To make my decision, I laid out my sweater pieces as if they were seamed (I did this just before I started my underarm decreases on my right piece) to see where I might place my buttons.  As you can see in the photo, I'd have to place my buttons in the middle of my column of cables to have it match up with the right hand edge.  So that's out.  I'm secretly happy.  I didn't really want to figure out how to add buttons in just the right place so that they looked like they belonged there.

So now I begin my sleeves - 3/4 length or long sleeves?  I can't decide.  But I'll let you know :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Free Knitting Patterns: All in One Place

I was an industrious little blogger the other day and put links to all my free knitting patterns in one location on my Hubpages.  Here you will find links to free patterns for accessories, household items, knitted jewelry, and baby items (including my Color Field Baby Blanket).

I'll be adding more patterns as I have them.  Please check out this free pattern page, pin it, and share it with your friends!