Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sock yarn blanket and the joys of sock yarn!

So I started working on a sock yarn blanket, but because I am new to the sock world I didn't have enough scraps. I recently purchased a Madeline Tosh Tea Cake sampler (adorable!), but have finished it. TIme for more bits and pieces!

I found this lovely shop on Etsy, MermaidKnitting. For a few dollars she'll send you a sampler or 'bits and pieces' of about 18 different colors of yarn by Rhichard Devrieze, all wrapped up in a cute 4" x 6" bag. Each piece is enough for one or two squares for my blanket. Apparently this guy used to be a colorist for Koigu - it really shows! The Peppino merino yarn is super soft, and the colors are so vibrant that I couldn't put this stuff down (I've almost knit all of it up already!!). I plan on buying a lot more of this stuff - so pretty! 

Shades of teal

Love this one! 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Super long post about socks and sock yarn

I finally finished my very first pair of socks! After much anxiety about using teeny tiny DPNs, several choice angry words when mistakes were made and ripped out, and about 4 weeks, they were done. These beauties are WAY too big for me, but I will wear them proudly around the house anyway. Super duper warm and soft. Had a ton of this skein of yarn left over, which I will use up in a monster project (keep reading...).
Here is a close-up of this lovely yarn in the sunshine - it is like a muted rainbow, mostly a dusky gray-violet with some lighter purple, jungle greens, twilight blues, and even a touch of dusty rose. Lovely! 

Next order of business - I finished a lovely shawl in a pattern called "Dissent," using Zauberball in 'Tropical Fish' and a soft gray. I say the Zauberball yarn used in another project and just fell in love with the colorway - it reminds me of the tropical fish I saw snorkeling on my honeymoon. Gorgeous! This pattern is super fun and uses short rows, which was new to me - fun and soft. My kitty seems to have claimed it. "Dissent" is exactly the right word to describe her when I try to move her off of it so I can use it! 
You want me to move, human? Think again.

So what do I do with all of those lovely little bits of leftover sock and fingering-weight yarn? I'm so glad you asked! Enter: the Blankie! This is a lovely addictive creation which literally hundreds of ravelers worldwide have begun. It is a super-cute way to use up those little bits (and give you an excuse to buy new ones...), making a long-term project that you simply can't put down! Each little tiny square takes about 20 min, and 9 yards of yarn. Easy peasy! The only modification I am using is to use stockinette instead of garter stitch, since I like the way it shows off the subtleties of the yarn's colors, and I am blocking them as I go. So far up to over 40 squares (I calculate close to 800+ will be needed...), and going strong! 

Like I said, this new project gives me an excuse to think about buying new yarn! I'm planning the sock yarn blanket to be in mostly greens, blues, purples, and neutrals. Imagine my delight when I discovered Madeline Tosh Tea Cakes, an absolutely adorable idea from my favorite online yarn store, Jimmy Beans Wool. 20-yard mini balls of Madeline Tosh merino light sock yarn (which is sinfully soft and a delight to work with), in 12 color-coordinated shades named for various herbal teas! 
I picked Berry Blackcurrant, which comes with the following shades: Baltic, Baroque Violet, Begonia Leaf, Bloomsbury, Denim, Heuchera, Ink, Spectrum, Sugar Plum, Thunderstorm, Vishnu, and Well Water. They are even packed in a little pastry box, and a pack of tea and a biscotti cookie comes with it! Is this not the cutest idea you've ever seen? They even have them in shades of green, pink, and browns. Love. Got it in the mail today (two day shipping, love me some Jimmy Beans!), and I swear it felt like I was getting a super special present, like it was my birthday or something. Yes, I am a yarn dork. And I love it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Something vaguely sock-like

So after about three weeks, I turned this gorgeous Smooshy Dream in Color yarn into something that almost resembles a sock! This yarn is super soft and easy to work with, and I've already cast on the second sock. Hopefully this one won't take as long. :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Knit Picks!

Lots of excitement!

I started on my first ever pair of socks recently. This is a LOT of firsts - first time using a needle that small (2.5! Eeek!), first time attempting ANYTHING with dpns (eewww), first time using a fingering-weight yarn ... let's just say that there was a lot of anxiety before and angst during this project. I'm about 80% through one sock, and it is lovely!

I chose to make the Fitwell sock in Smooshy yarn by Dream in Color on a friend's suggestion - she makes a lot of socks, so I asked her what she recommended for my first pair. :) I'll post picks when I'm done with at least one sock! 

Also, I discovered Knit Picks. Dangerous. I ordered like a box of fingering-weight yarn to make a couple of shawls and scarves (Ravelry is also dangerous... I think I've already got about 100 things on my queue... ). Here is the box of beauties -- aren't they gorgeous?
And then, of course, the box got commandeered by the resident yarn inspector ...

I can't bring myself to throw this box away. She sleeps in it and it keeps her away from all of my lovely new yarns, so I think it's a fair trade.

Currently have 5 projects on the needles- my socks, an Aranami shawl, wrist warmers, a linen stitch scrap blanket, and a large wavy afghan. The Oscars should give me a good few hours to work on them! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cable pillow! & my cat!

 I used this pattern, along with the yarn and needles my DH got me for Christmas. I wasn't sure what to do with the lovely aran yarns, but I saw this pattern on Ravelry and couldn't resist! (Plus my house can't hold any more blankets!).

I followed the pattern and did 3 repeats of the 20 row pattern. I added another panel of stockinette in the light shade behind the cable panel, as the pattern let the white filler pillow really show. I also did an I-cord border to cover up the seems. Pretty proud of myself. :)
I-cord border

Plain back panel in stockinette

For comparison. :) This is my VERY large 16lb Maine Coon mix. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Linen Stitch Scrap-fest!

I absolutely fell in love with linen stitch while viewing The Malabrigo Scarf on Ravelry. The gorgeous way the colors play together, and the small amounts of yarn required per row, made me realize what an excellent stash-buster this project would be.

I have a large tote full of scraps of acrylic yarn that I've wound into neat little balls, keeping the smaller ones aside in another bag so I don't lose them in the abyss of the tote. It's used up a lot of my yarn already- I am looking forward to replenishing my stash when all of this Red Heart and Caron yarn is gone! :)

The linen stitch is SUPER easy. I cast on 360 stitches on size 9, 60" circular needles. The recommended needle for most of the yarns I am using is an 8, but after trying some swatches (this is a super dense stitch!), size 9 gave me the look I wanted without being too stiff. Looking back on it, I probably should have used a 10! If you are contemplating this stitch in ANYTHING, swatch it up a bit and size your needles up - it can get tight!

My color logic is as follows: stitch yarn each row; do two rows of colored yarn followed by a row of a neutral. Try not to let the colors clash too badly. ;)

"Wrong" side

So far I have maybe a foot knitted up. It is a great easy stitch to play with while catching up on movies (*cough* Harry Potter marathon) and so fun to pick out a new color for each row. It really does keep it from being monotonous (like my chevron afghan is becoming...). I can't wait to see how this looks when it is done - my DH calls it my confetti blanket! :)

 In case you are new to knitting, linen stitch is done as follows: Cast on an even number of stitches, preferably on circular needles (will explain why later)

1. *Knit 1, slip one as if to purl. Repeat ad inifinitum. ;)

Row 2 can proceed one of two ways:

2.1: *Purl 1, slip one as if to purl. Repeat. 
2.2: Slide all stitches to the other end, and *Slip one as if to purl, knit 1, and repeat, and you will only ever have to knit on the 'right' side. :) For me, knitting is way more fun that purling. Don't know why. I like the 2.2 version of this stitch personally, but the other way may work as well. 

I am doing a twisted fringe which I will elaborate on later for the edges. Very fun. 

That's it! Enjoy! :)

Confetti Blanket progress so far! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Firstly, I realize it's been a  very, very long time between updates. However, since I doubt anyone is reading this blog anyway, I guess I don't have to apologize. :)

I have been furiously busy! First, let me show you what 17 donated Chemo Caps (and one very curious kitty) looks like. I donated to Knots of Love. If you are interested in donating Chemo Caps, premie caps, or baby blankets, it is an amazing nation-wide site. Check it out. I think I will be taking a break from caps for awhile, since I have a few more giant projects lined up!

Here is my other newly-completed project, loosely based on the Ron Weasley Blanket. I've been knitting squares of left-over worsted and DK weight yarns for what feels like years, and finally realized I had enough for a VERY large blanket (big enough for a twin-sized bed, or a large cozy couch throw!). I cast on 30 stitches on size 8 needles, and cast off when it was square (they ended up being about 6 3/4" on each side). I am kind of in love with this blanket. It is super soft and cozy, big enough for me and my DH to snuggle under together on the couch. :)

Isn't this gorgeous!? 

I've also made some awesome progress on my Knitted Zig Zag Afghan.  It is almsot 50% done. Very soft and warm. I am in loved with Red Heart Soft yarns after this.

I calculated my number of stitched when I cast on to be approximately 90" wide. I thought it was going to be narrow, but it is almost 96" wide. Perfect for our queen-sized bed.