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Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Spring Resolutions

I can’t be the only one who feels far more inspired to make changes in my life in the spring than in dreary January!  The return of the sun coupled with Nature’s effusion of energy always fill my mind with grand ideas, wild plans, and fresh hopes.  Also I have a smartphone now!  I have been loving the convenience of always having a camera in my pocket, not to mention the ease of being able to upload photos straight to the internet.  And I have been knitting some seriously awesome stuff, if I do say so myself!  For example, I participated in the recent Follow Your Arrow mystery KAL and hoo boy do I love my FO!

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It’s still a bit cool here but many afternoons have been warm enough for shirtsleeves and a magnificent shawl!  And this one is so dramatic, it’s equally cool with jeans and a tshirt or a fancy dress.  I modified the edging a little to add the slowly widening stripes…because I was running out of yarn!  I had way more than the required yardage to start, so I worked an extra repeat of the lace, which meant making adjustments to the knitted on edging which meant by the end I was cutting every spare inch off my colour changes to try and finish the last pink row (thinking of following in my footsteps? More details on my mods on my project page).

Follow Your Arrow was also my first MKAL. It was a large one, and one with a vibrant community. I know some people felt disappointed with the pattern, but I really think one has to be prepared for the unknown when embarking on a mystery KAL. Mystery, dudes. It’s right there in the title. I loved the experience – I got exactly what I was looking for: a shawl construction that I might never have chosen, but that I now get to experiment with, not just on the needles but in my wardrobe. The unique “kite” start surpassed my expectations and I am totally excited to knit another with a few different clue choices down the road (probably in a single colour, possibly in handspun)! All in all, I don’t know that I’m going to do a lot of MKALs, and for example you couldn’t pay me to do a sweater MKAL, but I had so much fun with this one I hereby resolve to do more in the future…as well as more blog posts!

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At a family dinner last night, I was reminded that I never updated about my Bundle-Up Bear Brigade post Christmas!  Shocking!

By the time I finally put away my bear bag (yes, I had a bag I carried around all month containing every relevant scrap I could collect as well as the pertinent needles & notions), I had knit 8 bears.  Sadly, since 6 of them went to other homes over the festive season, I don’t have a photo of them all together, but I think I’ve got pictures of all but the very last one (who I just discovered at the bottom of a project bag, finished except for her blank little face).  First up, here’s a picture comparing the regular and mini sizes (regular size bear went home with a friend’s toddler because babies deserve bears; yellow Noro suit belongs to the unfinished last bear).  I might be biased, but I rather prefer the teeny ones!

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Now I want you to notice in the following pictures the amazing crispness, clarity, and colour.  One of the awesome things about giving away the bears to various family members was that my mother-in-law was usually around, with her DSLR camera, and she was kind enough to let me use it.  I have hemmed and hawed for a long time about getting a DSLR – I know that part of the appeal is that I imagine I can make up for my artistic shortcomings with a fancier machine, and as such I’ve pushed myself to be content with my point-and-shoot and improve my skills instead.  But the pictures are just so much better.  So after I purchase the sweater quantity of Everything Old yarn I’m currently saving for, I’ll be starting a new camera fund, because – look!

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*Wistful sigh* …and now back to your regularly scheduled point-and-shoot update, under the jump.

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Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.

First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!

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More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.

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Universal BJD Toque Pattern

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Just what you’ve been waiting for: a simple sock yarn hat for ball-jointed dolls written in the same increments wigs are commonly sized by!   Written for every wig size from 3-4″ PukiPuki and similar teeny-tiny dolls, right up to the melon-headed 9-10″ large BJDs, the Universal Ball-Jointed Doll Toque is an easy beginner project or a great jumping-off point for advanced colourwork and funky stitch patterns – or just something quick to knit for a homecoming hat, swap gift, wig cap, etc.  The pattern features two different styles of brim, rolled or ribbed, and has been tested in all of the commonest wig sizes.

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The pattern is available as a free download through Ravelry, or you can get the PDF directly from my blog, here.  You may also want to check out my tutorial for micro-adjusting the sizes to accommodate in-between heads or unusual wigs.

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Happy knitting!  And remember, in the immortal words of REM: everybody hats sometimes; sometimes every brim is long, but now it’s time to knit along…

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MUST KNIT, NO TIME TO BLOG!

1. V-Junkie socks for G.  The same spiral pooling that was annoying me in the Mince Pie Mayhem pattern is working amazingly with the slipped stitches in V-Junkie.  There’s no way I’ll get these done by Christmas, though – just finishing the toe on #1 right now, though, so I’ll wrap that to put under the tree.

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2. More Christmas decor!  Bundle-up Bears from Mochimochi Land and the beginnings of a jingling garland of bells.  As always, the Mochimochi Land pattern is unbelievably adorable, and of course well written; I’ve knit 4 so far and hope to do a couple more before winter’s end, including one in the specified yarn weight (as usual, I saw a cute thing and had to make it smaller, using sock yarn instead of worsted weight).  Two of the bears (centre & right) were knit while visiting family, and they stayed with G’s twin cousins (age 8); the white bear has now joined my MIL’s collection of festive Barrista Bears!

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I have knit 2 jingle bells so far – it’s a long-term project, knitting a few every year out of my recent sock yarn scraps.  My eventual plan is to make a vertical hanging strand, along the lines of a rain chain.

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3. Train Toque for The Nannee.  I knit this while away from home as well, so I’m not sure if the pattern is actually really large or if my gauge was off.  Either way, I ended up decreasing the number of stitches I cast on by about 15% and I still think the toque will be quite roomy for this particular little man.   Instead of repeating the 3 cars in the pattern (engine, car, and caboose), I made a longer train (engine, 3 cars, and caboose).  I also added earflaps ’cause his folks are from the Prairies and they are concerned about cold extremities.  Hope they are well-positioned – I decided to wing it, but they look approximately right.

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4. Carol Service Cowl.  Left over beads!  Left over yarn (from my Angelus shawl)!  An awesome cowl pattern that’s been sitting in my library for a little while!  Do you think I can get it done in time to wear it before Christmas?  I don’t know!  But I’m sure going to try!

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Okay, enough blogging, back to knitting!

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OMG DEARLI IS DONE.  Now that it’s November, I’ve finally finished my summer sweater, aw yeah!

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It took over a week to block that ruffle.  Now I never want to wash the thing for fear of having to block it again (I am pretty sure I could get it down to about 5 days now that I understand it’s imperative to block a section upon waking and before bed, not just once per day).  But I’m sure it will happen because, as I suspected, I LOVE THIS CARDIGAN.

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I went for a modern/urban and yet Mori-girl inspired look today.  I’d really love to super-Mori-style this with a big fluffy hat, a pair of loose leggings over the tights, and maybe a long scarf…but these were the pieces I actually own.  Seriously thinking about knitting a hat, though.  Like, now.

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All my hard work shaping and re-shaping the body paid off.  The shoulders aren’t quite perfect (although some of that awkward pooch is from blocking and should fade after a couple wearings), but can I just say how much I dig the turned cuffs?  I love how smooth and simple they are, providing a super-subtle contrast to the excitement of the ruffle.  They’re also really comfy!

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And check out the cute purse I got for $2!  It’s pretty small (I usually go for big sack purses), but so cute, and just right for this outfit.  Only problem is, I can barely stuff my next knitting project inside it and still have room for wallet & phone!  What’s the next project?  Oh, you know, just yet another sweater…!

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When it grows up, it’s going to be a sweater I heard about from the gals over at the Just One More Row Podcast: Wanda Nell, a cardigan with such small yardage it can be knit from about 300g of fingering weight yarn – perfect for 2-3 skeins of indie-dyed sock yarn you might have impulse bought without thinking what you would use them for!  I actually bought this yarn specifically for the cardi when I was at Knit City; it’s Sweet Georgia Tough Love, and I am totally loving the subtle tonal variation, as well as the incredibly funky mix of grey and pink.  Hey, maybe I can do this colour pairing thing after all!  Since it’s a top-down seamless raglan, it feels like it’s clipping along quite nicely right now, though it will slow down by the time I get to the main body.

I’ve also been getting to know Tamar (my wheel), spinning away at the alpaca I picked up at Fibrations.  Here’s about 2.5 oz of mixed natural-coloured alpaca, spun up “que sera sera” style to approximately fingering weight 2-ply. It really turned out quite even considering how little I was trying to spin it accurately – I am starting to get the hang of this wheel thing!  I have one more “practice” bump of fibre to spin, and then I think I will be ready to spin something I really care about (I totally agree that life is to short to spin crummy fibre just because you’re learning, but I also believe there’s value in learning on middle-of-the-road stuff and saving your totally dreamy indie-dyer batts from heaven until you have a modicum of skill)!

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It’s soft and floofy as alpaca ought to be, but it does have a little vegetable matter still stuck in, despite my best efforts to remove it.  I am thinking it will either be a hat (see above post re: Mori girl style) or perhaps a möbius cowl.  I only have a little under 300 yards, though, so although I was dreaming of being able to do both, I think I’ll have to choose just one.  Time to start pattern diving!  Any favourite hat patterns out there, especially for gals with bangs they don’t like to compress?

P.S. I totally found the white balance setting on my camera!  I feel like a total doofus that it took me almost 2 years, but holy crow did that make a difference in how accurately I was able to photograph colours!  Live and learn, eh?  Maybe now I’ll be able to take indoor photos and have them look decent too, who even knows?!?

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Angelus at last!

Finally!!!  Today I can share with you the project that bumped Dearli off the needles last month (not literally, though it almost did as they are written for the same size…)!  I present…

The Angelus Shawl, by Emma Galati of Everything Old Fibre!!!

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Oh yeah, it’s awesome!  More pics and prattle under the jump!

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