Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wonderful or Whack-a-doodle (or Wonderfully Whack-a-doodle)?

So here's my latest knitting project and attempt at using up some of my leftover yarn:  The Cadeau Cowl by Wei S. Leong (free pattern).  I've called it a cowl, but I'm not really sure what it is.  A ruff?  Small capelet, maybe?  Whatever it is, I'm not sure it's really me.

Honestly, I think it's a beautiful pattern.  The way the cables intertwine is really interesting and makes this item very unique.  I could see possibly wearing this cowl/capelet over a strapless dress for a special occasion if you were uncomfortable showing so much skin or wanted to keep your shoulders warm.  With the right outfit, I think it could look really sweet.

But for me - I'm not sure.  One, I made the larger size and I think it may be too big for my shoulders.  And two, this color, though pretty, might be a little too bright for me and this item.  Maybe if I knit it again in a neutral, like a gray color?  Then maybe it wouldn't look so out of place?  Still not sure.

I'll think about it over the Christmas holidays.  Wishing you a exciting holiday, too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Update on "Knit the Bridge"

These are the types of stories that make me proud to be a knitter :)

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that creative and cat-loving knitter Marty Ressler has taken some of the leftover knitted panels from the Knit the Bridge project and crafted them into pet beds for cats at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.


What a great idea!  I love projects that reuse and recycle materials and this is one of the best ideas I've heard.  As amazing and breathtaking as the Knit the Bridge was, this reuse of the yarn and panels is a beautiful end to an inspiring story! 

In this season of giving, hopefully this story will inspire all of us to think creatively and find ways to help out in our communities!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Knitted Christmas Ornaments

Last night was our knitting group's second annual ornament exchange.  The rules of our exchange are that each person must craft an ornament.  The decoration does not need to be knitted, but it does have to be handmade.  Last year, I tried my hand at needle felting and made this little reindeer

I didn't really have any ideas for this year until I saw a little stuffed sheep pattern in the Spring/Summer 2013 issue of Noro Knitting Magazine.  Once I saw this pattern, I knew that I could turn it into my ornament :)

I made two sheep, one for the ornament exchange and one for me :)  In the process, I made a number of modifications to this pattern:

1.  The smallest needles I have are #4's, so that's what I had to work with.  I found that using my #4's with sock yarn created a knitted material that was too loose and showed the fiber fill through the loose weave.  So instead, I used some stash Caron Simply Soft for the body of my sheep (natural for the white one and sticks and stones for the brownish one) and my #4's.

2.  For the belly, the head, and the legs I used some leftover sock yarn.  This yarn isn't very pretty, but added some fun, funky color to my sheep.  I followed the directions as written for the belly, then switched to the Caron Simply Soft for the body.

3.  I was afraid that the sheep was going to be too boxy, so after the last cluster round of the body repeats, I did a decrease row - I did a k2tog every 7th st (knitting the 7th and 8th sts together).  This decreased 8 sts from the body.  This gave me 2 less sts for the head (which I think actually looks better).

4.  I graphed the back together with the sts I had, then switched back to my sock yarn for the head.  I followed the directions for the head, but changed the ears.  Instead of knitting separate ears, I made a set of three looped sts on each side of the head, echoing the cluster stitch in the body.  I like how these purple "ears" look.

5.  Lastly, I couldn't seem to pick up sts on the belly with my larger needles to start the legs.  So instead, I cast on 6 sts and knit my i-cord legs separately.  I left about an 8 inch tail when I cast on and made each leg (i-cord) about an 1 1/2 inches long, then I bound off.  I cut my yarn leaving about a 30 inch tail.  I used a tapestry needle and the 8 inch cast on tail to stitch the legs to the body.  Then I used the 30 inch tail at the end of the legs to wrap around each one.

6.  I didn't bother with the face details because they would have gotten lost in my striped sock yarn head.  Instead, I added a little yarn detail and bell around the neck :)

The overall size is a little larger than the pattern, about 5 1/2" in length, but I think they're pretty cute!  And in exchange, I got this beautiful embroidered snowflake ornament by expert knitter AND quilter Dagmar.

I love it!  I'm thrilled to have a sample of her handiwork!!  All and all, we had a great time (again) with our ornament exchange :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

New FREE Knitting Pattern: Sweet Cables Baby Blanket

As part of my "recession knitting" plan to use up some of my stash yarn, I've posted a new free knitting pattern:  Sweet Cables Baby Blanket.

This blanket or afghan knits up quickly using bulky or chunky yarn.  The pattern features alternating cables with a little bit of lace - perfect for keeping that little one warm and cozy :)

This pattern is available on my Hubpage.  The directions include two separate cable charts, one for each cable.  These charts are included with the directions, but I've also posted the charts here, laid out on one page.

You should be able to click on this chart, save it, then re-size it for printing.  Let me know if you have any problems :)