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!