Friday, December 30, 2016

FO Friday: Muratura Hat KAL

I finished this hat just under the wire, the Muratura KAL ends on New Year's Eve! I found this lovely skein of Harrisville Highland in my stash and thought it would make a lovely hat. The slight tweediness was perfect for the textured stitches!
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This is my first time knitting a hat sideways, and I have to say that I was a bit skeptical - but it turned out rather nicely and it even fits my head! I'll try to get a modeled shot to share on Instagram, but for now, here is a flat lay FO photo to tide you over:
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Wishing everyone a safe, happy & healthy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Superpower is Losing Mittens

Of the two mitten projects I've finished most recently, I've already lost mates for both somehow. I know, I know - it's quite the talent.

The first pair of mittens were knit back in October for the Great Northern KAL - click here for a refresher if you missed this one

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The second pair I finished earlier this month and didn't get a chance to share a proper photograph here on the blog... in fact, they didn't even get blocked before I started using them and promptly lost one of the pair. All I have to prove that the knitting is done is this photo from Instagram:

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If those mittens look a little strange, it's because I used this pattern to keep the index finger free from the rest of the fingers, switching to Silverspun yarn for the tips of the thumbs and index fingers. The idea was that I could wear them when playing Pokemon Go in colder temperatures, an idea that wold have been AMAZING if I hadn't already lost its mate!

So, now I have these two orphaned mittens which I guess I'll be wearing together until I can muster the enthusiasm to knit them mates (again). On the plus side, I have enough yarn left over from each projects to do so, it's just a question of putting in the time (again). The key word here is (again) - as anyone with Second Sock Syndrome knows, that can be quite a hump to get over.

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Clearly, I need to make myself a very long i-cord to run through the sleeves of my winter coat, attaching either end to my mittens just as I would for a small child, because I just can't seem to keep track of the darn things. If anyone has a more elegant (and/or less embarrassing) solution, I'm all ears! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

FO Friday: Stitchable Sweaters

A while back, I spotted these adorable sweater ornaments on Instagram and couldn't resist buying a bunch to stitch for holiday gifts. I'm not much of an embroiderer, but I managed to work through the stack, slowly but surely. And from the front, they look pretty lovely, right?
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Well, looks can be deceiving - the back of each ornament is total spaghetti! I have a lot to learn about managing multiple colors of floss, apparently.
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Luckily, a little bit of hot glue and some felt was all I needed to fix things up:
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These were pretty much the only handmade holiday gifts I gave this year, if you can believe it. I think I'm going to make some more for next year!

Wishing you a safe & happy holiday this weekend, whatever you celebrate. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WIP Wednesday: I Started A Hat

Over the weekend, I finished my Pokemon hunting gloves and I was so excited to finished a project that I started a new hat project....as one does, right?

I'd had this skein of yarn from Harrisville Designs in my stash for a really long time; it's long since lost the label but I believe it's Highland? Anyway, it seemed like the perfect choice for the Woolly Wormhead KAL that's happening right now (there are prizes!!).

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Since the hat is knit sideways, I actually broke out a pair of straight needles  (if you're wondering, they are Zing from KnitPro) for the occasion instead of my usual interchangeables. While I'm not normally a fan of straight needles, sometimes it is nice to mix things up a bit, and I am enjoying the change of pace. So far, so good anyway!


Monday, December 19, 2016

One-Hour (Or Less!) Yarn-Wrapped Wreath

I love making projects to add to our holiday decorations each year, but lately I've found myself short on crafting time. Luckily, this project can be completed in under an hour, making it a great last-minute addition to your festive decor! You can make it in virtually any size you like and customize the look by varying the felt shapes you choose.

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Supplies: 
1 skein Kartopu Alpaca Polo in Claret
Several die-cut felt pieces in holiday shapes - I used pre-cut holly leaves/berries and a felt snowflake ornament**
Fabric Glue or Hot Glue
Scissors
Marker
Tapestry needle
Small sandwich plate (the one I used was 8.5 inches in diameter)
Small bowl (the one I used was 4.5 inches in diameter - make sure that you can pass your yarn through an opening of this size)
Cardboard (to fit largest size of plate/bowl)

**A note about the felt pieces: Between now and the time I was planning this project a few months ago, the place where I sourced these felt elements has discontinued making them. Bummer, right? After a quick google, I did find a few promising places to check out, though it should be noted that I have not used any of their items or shopped their site, so I can't speak to the quality/customer service of any of these businesses. Busy Little Bird has several holiday-ish shapes (snowflakes, holly (some assembly required), reindeer, and Christmas lights. Craft Dept. also has several options (snowflakes, ornaments, Santas, etc.). 

Directions: 

1. Use plate and bowl to trace wreath shape with marker.

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2. Cut out wreath shape; I recommend using some pretty good scissors, because these tiny child-safe ones I used were not super great for dealing with stiff cardboard. I got a hand cramp!

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Tip: Don't worry if the edges are a little rough, the yarn will hide a lot of imperfections.

3. Begin wrapping yarn around the cardboard, positioning starter tail like so:

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4. This will secure the starting end of your yarn so that you don't have to weave it in later. Continue around the shape of the wreath, wrapping several times to fully cover cardboard. Yes, it's a little boring and repetitive, but totally worth it!

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Tip: Try winding your yarn into a more manageable cake (for this size, I only used about half of the ball of yarn).

5. When you get to the end, cut a long tail, and then thread on a large blunt tipped tapestry needle.

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6. Weave it through the yarn on the back of the wreath like so:

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7. Then weave the yarn back the opposite way to secure like so:

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8. Cut yarn end. Now it's time for the fun part! Position your felt pieces wherever you'd like them, then glue on with fabric glue (or hot glue, if preferred). I used the snowflake ornament to also double as a hanger at the top!

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Tip: I used a LOT of fabric glue (as in, way more than I thought was necessary) and then applied gentle pressure for about 30 seconds for each piece.

9. Allow to dry overnight under a heavy book.

10. Hang and enjoy!

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If you like this tutorial, don't forget to pin it to Pinterest!


I have one more quick holiday project to share with you over on the Hobium International blog (who supplied the yarn for this tutorial) - click here for step-by-step instructions to crochet this Sparkly Star Garland!

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You can also queue/favorite this pattern here on Ravelry.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Knitting & Un-Knitting

My main project continues to be the Pokemon Hunting mittens, because I really don't want to lose my fingers to frostbite, but obviously I am not going to stop playing Pokemon Go just because it's cold out. I mean, this week's update includes Pikachu in Santa Hats! Come on!
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Anyway, I realized on Saturday morning that I had mis-read the pattern and didn't work P2 before and after the gusset stitch markers. OOPS! It was an easy (if not time consuming) fix to drop all of the stitches down and use a crochet hook to pick them back up the other way.
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But then I knit all of the thumb increases and realized that my tiny thumb did not need quite so many stitches....and I ripped back a bit to modify the pattern to use less thumb stitches than written.
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On the plus side, they are coming along - yesterday I finished the index finger and started the mitten part for the rest of the fingers!
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Honestly, if I weren't so sick of ripping back, I would probably go all the way back to the ribbed cuff and decrease a few stitches when switching to the stockinette stitch, since I have very small wrists. See how wide that section is between the cuff and the thumb? Despite that, I think these will still fit fine, though there might be a big of slouchiness/extra fabric around the wrist.

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And in other news, tonight is the launch party for my new hat pattern in the 1 Knit 1 Kit Club! The Zopfmuster Hat is designed especially for multicolored hand-dyed yarns and is knit with 1 skein of Mountain Colors River Twist, shown here in the Spring Creek colorway. If you pre-ordered and selected in-store pickup, drop by between 6:30 - 8:30PM tonight at Knit 1 (3856 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613). I'd love to see you there!

You can favorite/queue the pattern here on Ravelry, and if you knit the project, be sure to share your projects on social media using the #ZopfmusterHat and #1knit1chicago hashtags!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Not Much to See Here

Still working on the usual suspects, although I did start some mittens for myself last night.

I know, I know - I said I was going to finish a bunch of projects before starting more. But then these beautiful wooden mitten blockers arrived:

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I bought them here on etsy - be warned, there is a longer-than-usual lead time since Susan B. Anderson shared her blockers on her podcast, but it's worth the patience!

It was only a matter of time before I started some mittens, and ever since I started playing Pokemon Go I've been wanting to knit this pattern, using some Silverspun for the index and thumb tips and the super-warm 100% yak sport from Bijou Basin Ranch for the rest of the mittens. Very late last night, I gave in to temptation and cast on:

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Check out that awesome project bag that my friend Lauren had custom made from Hopkins Studio!

Also seeing some action this week is my Matchmaker shawl:

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It's highly unlikely that I will have a finished project to share this Friday, so I will see you back here next Monday to share something else fun (it's a surprise)!

Monday, December 5, 2016

1 Knit 1 Chicago Kit Club: Zopfmuster Hat

Just in time for last-minute gift knitting, I have a new hat pattern coming out this month, and it's available exclusively at Knit 1 Chicago!

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The Zopfmuster Hat is designed especially for multicolored hand-dyed yarns and is knit with 1 skein of Mountain Colors River Twist, shown here in the Spring Creek colorway. For more pattern info, check out the Ravelry pattern page here.

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The large cable motif won’t get lost even in the craziest of colorways, and it’ll keep you interested as you knit. You can make the beanie style hat as shown here, but you could also add some pattern repeats to make a slouchier version thanks to the generous yardage in River Twist. Fun fact: Zopfmuster is the German word for cable stitch!

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The launch party for this kit is Wednesday, December 14th 6:30 - 8:30PM at Knit 1 (3856 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60613) - please drop by to say hello!

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You can preorder your kit here online; Knit 1 offers in-store pick up, but they will also ship to you if you aren't located in the Chicagoland area. You can favorite/queue the pattern here on Ravelry, and if you knit the project, be sure to share your projects on social media using the #ZopfmusterHat and #1knit1chicago hashtags!


Friday, December 2, 2016

FO Friday: Adiantum Hat & Curls 2 Winner

Last weekend, I finished the Adiantum hat by Woolly Wormhead:

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I used a skein of yarn that had been lurking in my stash for a while; I think I won it in a Holla Knits giveaway, it's a lovely blend of alpaca and silk from Hampden Hills:

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I'm a big fan of using stitch markers to keep track of a repeating pattern so that I don't get lost as I knit across the round - it always speeds things up and decreases the chances of getting way off pattern but not noticing it til I've knit all the way across the round. And you can't argue with the results - perfection!

Silk/alpaca knit slouchy hat.


Also, congratulations to Laurpud, who won a copy of Curls 2 in my recent giveaway - I'll be in touch to arrange delivery of your prize. Be sure to check out my full review of the book if you missed it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Where Did November Go?

I can't believe that December 1 is tomorrow - where did this month go (or this year, for that matter)?! It's a good thing I am not relying heavily on myself to make gifts for everyone on my list this year - if that were the case, I would be panicking right about now. Instead, I am relying heavily on my Amazon Prime membership to get the job done, and there are only a few handmade gifts on my to-do list for this year. All in all, I am not feeling terribly stressed, at least not for this reason!

Over the weekend, I finished the first Berlin sock and started #2:

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I also have been working on the Matchmaker shawl once more, now that the Curls 2 project is off the needles:

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That reminds me - time is running out to enter my Curls 2 giveaway (details here if you missed how to enter). I'll be announcing the winner this Friday, Dec. 2!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Free Pattern: Quick Crochet Mitts

I have another free pattern out this month on the Knitter's Pride blog! You can whip up these Quick Crochet Mitts in just a few hours using the easy-to-follow instructions on this blog post.

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I used a 20.00mm crochet hook and a skein of Briggs & Little Super to make this project, and you can probably get two more pairs of mitts out of the same skein - so it's not only fast, but also affordable! 

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Friday, November 25, 2016

FO Friday: Perfidy

Fresh off the needles is my first project from Hunter Hammersen's newest book, Curls 2, which I reviewed at the start of this week (click here if you missed it). My giveaway to win a print copy of the book is still open, so be sure to check out this post to find out how you can enter!

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I was really pleased with how this shawl turned out, and it was my first time knitting with Sweet Georgia's Bulletproof sock yarn. It's a very soft and luxurious yarn that also stands up well to a lot of frogging - which is good, because I ended up ripping out quite a bit of work along the way due to operator error (counting is hard, ok?!?).

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The drape is really lovely, and the stitch definition is nice and crisp...but my favorite part is that I only have this much of the skein left over:

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Being able to knit until you run out of yarn might be the true genius of the Curls patterns, other than the fact that they're generally easier to style than other shawl shapes. Now I just need to resist starting a new one this weekend....

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Whittling Down

The startitis mania has died down a bit (I hope) - over the weekend, I was able to focus on finishing my first project from Curls 2, which I reviewed earlier this week - click here if you missed it, there is also a giveaway!

Now I've set my sights on the Woolly Wormhead hat since it will probably the next project come off the needles.

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Tyler's socks are coming along, too!

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I haven't picked up most of my other projects in a while -  the bulky weight cardi (which would probably be done by now if I had been working on it regularly), stripey angora wrap, the matchmaker shawl, etc. etc....but perhaps I can give some of those projects my attention over the holiday weekend (if I can resist starting new projects, that is). 

Thanks for stopping by - wishing my US friends a safe & happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Curls 2 by Hunter Hammersen

Earlier this year, I was sent two copies of Curls 2, the newest book of shawl knitting patterns by Hunter Hammersen. One copy has already found a treasured place in my knitting library, but the second one will be given away to one lucky blog reader (keep reading to find out how you can enter).

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If you're already familiar with the first Curls book (see my review here), then you already know the deal: each pattern is customizable for any yarn gauge or yardage, and they produce a shawl shape that is gentle curved on each end - it's probably best described as an asymmetrical shawl, because you begin with the smallest number of stitches and increase regularly clear up until you bind off.

Since each shawl is knit with the same formula, it's best to check out the Anatomy of a Curl section at the start of the book to help you understand the patterns themselves, which are mainly driven by the cleverly color coded charts and their accompanying color-coded schematics (all of which are explained clearly in this section of the book). This section is particularly handy if you want to modify any of the designs.

There are 14 designs total, each knit in gray yarn - I can recall the post on Hunter's blog where she shared several gray swatches and hinted at what was to come of them - I am pretty excited to see it carried through to completion, since I am also a lover of gray yarn. As far as I can tell, all of the pattern names are synonyms for one another, leaning towards some of the more fun/fanciful word choices (Taradiddle, Perfidy, Equivocation). By my count, there are 9 lacy patterns and 5 textured/cabled stitch patterns total.

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As in the first Curls book, it looks like the patterns in this book are arranged from simplest to most complex. For the purposes of this review, I wanted to have at least one project knit from the book, and I had originally started Prevarication, which is the third pattern in the book. For some reason, I just couldn't get the hang of it, and it wasn't due to any shortcomings in the pattern; you know how sometimes you just can't stop messing something up despite your best efforts? That was me with this pattern - I think I've just been very distracted this fall in general...

Anyway, I ended up frogging that and restarting Perfidy, which is the 5th pattern in the book - and while I did make a few mistakes here and there which I had to rip back and fix, on the whole, I had a lot more success with this design - here it is blocking:

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I'll be sharing the finished photos this Friday once I get a chance to take modeled shots. I am super pleased with how it turned out, and I would definitely give Prevarication another try if I knew that I had a quiet month without travel/holidays/etc ahead of me; I think the internal pressure I put on myself to hurry up and finish the project for this review probably didn't help either, so I am not willing to give up on that pattern just yet. It's so pretty!

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The other patterns in my queue are Equivocation:

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...and Chicanery:

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Trickery looks like it's earned its name a bit, by that texture is pretty hard to resist:

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Here are some other things you need to know: each print copy of the book comes with a download code so you can get the PDF version. You also have the option to buy the PDF only, if you prefer.

It's available directly from Pantsville Press or via Ravelry and also on Amazon (perfect for adding to your holiday wish list)!


Giveaway Time! 


As promised, one lucky winner will get a print copy of Curls 2. To be eligible in the drawing, just leave a comment saying which pattern from the book you'd like to knit (see them all here); be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that I can contact you if you win.

I'd also appreciate it if you followed me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, though that is not a requirement for entry/ I also recommend signing up for my newsletter, which I send out only when there is something newsworthy (such as a new pattern or blog giveaway).

I'll randomly select a winning comment to announce here on my blog on Friday, December 2. Also, this contest is open to people worldwide. Good luck!