Tag Archives: knitting

Slowly now

My design work moves at a much slower pace these days. But my imagination is still simmering and occasionally things pop out. A couple of my recent finished projects may someday get written up (like the waistcoat and this hat.)

In progress right now I have an awesome pair of socks.

2016-06-29_07-09-44

They use a simple slip stitch pattern which makes the fabric dense and cushy (perfect for socks) and at the same time it mixes up highly variegated colors (perfect for sock yarns)

2016-06-29_07-09-30

I’ve got a bigger project on the needles too, it’s starting with four inches of gorgeous corrugated ribbing:

2016-06-29_07-11-42

The yarn is from the Unique Sheep and I’m using a gradience set for the colorwork. I love the way it’s looking!

2016-06-29_07-11-30

Moving on

Big changes, my pretty and loyal rooster has gone home. He’s back at the farm where he hatched. I’m so glad he recovered, he was even back to crowing before we sent him home. I’m sure he was lonely here by himself. I miss eating our own eggs. And I miss watching the silly birds run around. But given the uncertainty in our future housing it just makes sense, not having chickens right now. Windsor clearly misses them too, she keeps talking about our sick rooster going to another farm to get better.

Not having to worry about the free ranging flock will make our next project easier.

2016-05-19_06-20-07

The landscaper is putting in our lawn, over the leach field we installed last winter. He’ll also scrape up all those brambles and saplings. We’re finally putting in the wildflowers we intended to plant over five years ago (apparently I could have a tag for blog posts of large earthmoving equipment in my front yard.)

2016-05-19_06-20-18

And my pretty sunflower kitchen has been normalized.

We’ve had our house on the market since November, and if we don’t sell in the next month we’ve decided to rent it out and find a place to rent ourselves. We need to move before next winter. Wish us luck.

2016-05-19_06-28-55

Oh. And I knit a whole sock! More on that later.

Custom Colorwork Techniques

Stephannie Tallent has a new class on Craftsy that I’m excited to share with you all! Custom Colorwork Techniques is more than just a class on fingerless mitts* – it’s a primer for designing your own mitts with your own trims, colorwork patterns, and sizes.

colorwork mitts class

Stephannie has tech edited some of my patterns, published another in her Hitch book, and is an all-around awesome designer. So when she offered to let me view the class so I could recommend it to you all I jumped on the chance! Especially since I’m also getting to share at 50% off link with you!

The class is broken up into six videos each with its own focus. This class is not for absolute beginners, Steph assumes you know how to knit, purl, increase, etc… and if you’re comfortable with some basic chart reading and math that’d be helpful too. But with lessons including a chart reading refresher and how to use either the provided worksheet handout, or build a worksheet in excel, this class will help you make perfectly beautiful AND perfectly fitted fingerless mitts.

Steph’s style of teaching is approachable and conversational. One of the things I love about Craftsy classes is that they feel much more like a one-on-one lesson with a friend than sitting in a big classroom with lots of other students. This class is perfect in that it covers everything from my favorite increases (the lifted ones are the most invisible) to my favorite gusset-style (offset thumb gussets!). And she’s even provided a charted template so you can free-form design across the whole mitt – thumb gusset too! While the excel portion was mostly review for me I love the lesson on choosing colors; including complementary colors and a couple of tricks for checking the contrast between two yarns (that’s the part that trips me up the most when I start a new colorwork design.)

The Craftsy platform is designed for hosting craft classes, and its perfect for it. I love the note-taking feature, and the ability to check your notes later without having to scroll through the video. The 30 second replay allows you to re-watch the directions for something quickly and easily. You can ask questions of the teacher and get a direct answer, or you can just review other people’s questions and the teacher’s answers to them. The integrated project pages will even let you see what your classmates are working on!

Have I piqued your interest? Here’s the link for 50% off Steph’s class! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

*Although I love mitts enough that would be fine!


(Please note that I did receive this class free for review purposes. However my opinions are my own, I won’t review something I don’t truly enjoy and think that you will like.)

Summit vest

Hot off the press!* We have the summer 2016 issue of Interweave Knits: and I’m in it! I’m psyched to see my Summit Vest is in good company (check it out On Ravelry, where you can favorite and queue it as always)

interweave knits

When I saw the summer call included a theme for “mountain house” I just knew I had to submit. An entire story line in a summer issue about living in the mountains and needing a sweater once in a while? Sign. Me. Up. Working with the new editor, Meghan, was a pleasure and I love her eye for details. This issue is cohesive and beautiful.

interweave knits

I love this vest (easy for me to say). The cable and lace pattern is one that I’ve wanted to use in a garment forever. Integrating the ribbing with the chart took a bit of tweaking. So when you cast on follow those setup rows carefully. But once the ribbing is established it flows naturally into the charts and the body of the garment.

interweave knits

The body of the sweater switches to stockinette while the charts continue up the front and the ribbing continues at the sides to provide some stretchy fitting to the garment. The pattern keeps on going right up the hood and meets at the very crown of the head.

cable close up

This is not my first time designing with Imperial Yarns and I love their Columbia base every time I work with it. You all know I love single source yarns and sustainable family farms. This yarn is also woolly, bouncy, but still soft and squeezable. I highly recommend it!

*well, sort of – the print magazines won’t even be on the news stands until the 16th! But the patterns and the electronic version are on Interweave’s site already. Isn’t living in the future fun?

Still in progress

Hi, how you doing? How’s the weather where you are? Weather isn’t just a topic for small talk here, maple syrup season is big business and when we don’t have enough snow (we don’t) the trees don’t make as much sap. And when we don’t get the cold nights and warm days (we aren’t, it was 62F overnight) the sap doesn’t rise and fall the way it needs to for sugaring. In short the weather is seriously bipolar and while it doesn’t affect me personally, I can feel it in the community.

It’s also the opposite problem from the one we had back in 2013 when I was trying to arrange a photo shoot in the Sugarbush of Sterling for the Saccharum vest. These photos? With the model shivering and the snow in the background:

2016-04-01_09-25-31

They were taken the second week in April. The sap had barely begun to run, and when it finally warmed up it went too fast. I can tell you, the sugar makers of New England are not pleased with this climate change thing.

Ok, but all that was depressing enough, lets have a peak at my vest in progress to cheer us all up:

2016-04-01_09-25-31

You can barely tell, but I’m done with the tree branch chart. From here on the back is simple 2×2 ribbing which creates the canopy of the trees. I’m also ready to divide for the fronts, so I’m hoping from here it’ll be smooth sailing. Maybe I’ll have a finished vest by the end of the KAL (which is 4/8, not 4/1 – phew)

I also want to show off my button hole modification. Instead of toggles or multiple buttons I decided I wanted one big button for closure. So instead of using the leaf eyelets as they are I modified one leaf:

2016-04-01_09-25-13

Instead of a pair of YOs I worked a double yo paired with a k3tog on the row before. Then I just knit the two loops of the double YO to keep the stitch count the same. I still don’t know which of my singleton buttons I’ll be featuring. I’ll let future-Becky decide that.

FO with a pompom!

As promised, pretty finished photos of the bunny hat! As always, you can check out extra photos and favorite the project over on Ravelry.

bunny adjust

So nicknamed because the gray yarn I used for the MC is a 60% angora blend I picked up at VT Sheep and Wool festival, I think it was 2013 (I have vague memories of buying this skein while hugely pregnant.)

The additional colors are all from Sunday Knits, either her merino/angora or her merino/cashmere blend. So this hat is warm and soft, even though it’s not bulky at all. The stitch pattern incorporates regular 2-strand colorwork and some fun knit and purl patterns in the trim which help the motifs stand out.

bunny pattern

I finished the hat and had an awkward amount of leftover yarn. Not enough for another accessory. But too much to just give up on. So the pompom seemed like an obvious choice. Oh boy do those things suck up a lot of yarn! Especially when you’re making one as gloriously large as this.

bunny pompom

It’s my first real pompom so it’s not perfectly round or perfectly trimmed. I wanted a piebald effect, using the same colors as the colorwork, so I wrapped each color in separate chunks, making sure to focus mainly on the main gray with splashes of the other colors here and there. At least that part worked well and gave exactly the effect I wanted!

bunny other side

WIP roundup

Phew. It’s been ten days since I posted, don’t know how that happened. Let’s have a round up of what’s on, and off, the needles.

This bunny soft angora hat is done, complete with my first giant pompom! Actually, it was done weeks ago, I’m planning a full post for it just as soon as I get the good photos off the good camera.

Finished pompom!

After finishing that hat I cast on for a thick, cozy pair of mitts:

2016-03-18_09-29-14

Also done, except for the weaving in of the ends. And I still need to take photos. Soon my pretties, soon enough.

So what IS on the needles? I’ve got my saccharum vest. The knit along is going full steam and a couple of vests are almost done! I’m almost to the cables, and with a couple of weeks left I’m not really behind, yet.

2016-03-18_09-31-28

But we’ll see how that goes. Because I’m currently distracted by these pretty, pretty socks.

2016-03-18_02-24-59

The yarn is doing the heavy lifting on this project, drawing me in and holding me captive. But I also can’t get over the slip stitch pattern (which you can’t see here, sorry) and how perfectly it breaks up any pooling or flashing. It’s also making the fabric thicker and cozier than average. Perfect for socks.

Saccharum redux

I’ve been steadily working away at my very own Saccharum vest since the start of the month, and it’s making excellent progress!

2016-03-08_01-56-54

I’m eight or nine inches in (I’ve forgotten already) and right now I’m working even until 12.5 inches (so that’s why I’ve forgotten, clearly). I love the simple leaf detail that is the main feature of this part of the vest. It gives plenty of time to get that repeat memorized before throwing the complicated tree cables into the mix.

2016-03-08_01-56-40

There are quite a few other Saccharums growing over in the Ravelry KALs right now (pural, because the wonderful Peace Fleece group has joined in again!) If you’re on Ravelry you can check out all the leafy goodness right here.

The official KAL ends in four weeks, but the thread in my group won’t be going anywhere. So there’s plenty of time for late-joiners if you’re interested!

leafy

Remember the green leafy thing I was knitting? My streak of having more knitting time than computer time continues! This was finished almost two weeks ago, but I’m only just getting to share it with you.

full back

This is a thing of my own design, and I don’t even know exactly what it is. A vest, maybe? But with those cap sleeves that doesn’t sound right. A top? Not exactly, I think of those as summer wear. A cap sleeved cardigan? I guess that’s the closest so far, it’ll have to work.

front full

But “cap sleeved cardigan” is such a long term for a cozy and simple garment. The entire body is knit straight up with no shaping. Since it opens at the front this works perfectly. The front edges don’t quite meet at the hips, but overlap at the button point under the bust.

shoulder

There’s some negative ease at the full bust, but that just helps show off the lace. And it can be worn open easily too.

front unbuttoned

The cap sleeves are created quickly with underarm bind off on one row followed by cast-ons for the caps on the next row. I worked up to the end of that repeat of the chart, then started the yoke decreases.

shoulder close

I admit to being nervous about running out of yarn while I worked those looong yoke rows. But it turned out just fine. I decreased at the yoke and then my plan was to work seed stitch for another inch, or until I ran out of yarn, whatever came first.

back close

Instead I worked and inch and felt it needed something more. I added just a couple short rows across the back to raise the collar up on that side – an addition I’m really glad I had yarn for. After a couple more rows I knew the neckline was the right height and it was time to bind off.

back open

I took some pretty close notes on this one, but who knows if I’ll have time, or still feel inspired by it later, when I have time to write and grade it. Maybe it’ll just be a one-off for myself. Who knows? There are even more photos on Ravelry, if you’re curious.

(and I’ve cast on for another garment already. Don’t look now, but I’m knitting up a storm these days).

Bernie!

Back in 2008 the Yarn Harlot issued a challenge: could knitters everywhere try and get heads of state to hold a sock?

“Perhaps its because I think that politics sometimes does more harm that good in the world,or perhaps it is that the image of a person out to promote their own purposes being asked to momentarily have to serve ours – frankly, just charming. Perhaps it is simply the juxtaposition of a candidate for Head of State holding a sock is just so wholesome, that I am amused to no end. Perhaps it is simply that there is a part of me that really enjoys seeing powerful people befuddled and confused by a handknit….”

2016-02-29_08-03-53

Note that this is not a new photo. At the time of the last election I didn’t get near any candidates. But I did happen to find myself flying economy one row in front of my state congressman, Bernie Sanders. So I asked him to hold my sock (I mean, I was on a plane, of course I happened to be knitting socks)

He was very gracious and seemed fairly comfortable holding a half knit sock. I don’t know if he, or anyone in his family, knits. But we do live in Vermont where it gets quite cold, so we have a lot of knitters…

Tomorrow is primary day in Vermont and I’ll be going down to the town hall to vote for Bernie. But I’m also going to keep Stephanie’s point in mind and make a donation to charity. Because politics can get ugly, but if we all think about how to serve others I think we can counteract that. I hope that’s something we can all agree is worthwhile.