FO: Playful Stripes Cardigan

This post actually started last spring, and I never finished it. And the story actually starts in summer 2015, when I visited my LYS and picked up a lovely color palette of stripe-y goodness for this cardigan. While knitting it during the winter (2015 and into 2016), BK requested the addition of green. And now, many months later, I present to you a finished Playful Stripes Cardigan!

I have loved this pattern for quite a while. I also have Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf, and this pattern is featured on Annie in the book, and for some time, I’ve felt BK should have all the sweaters in this book. Now she has this one, and the Wee Wildflower, which I finished a long time ago (but forgot to blog). Both Wildflowers and Playful Stripes were knit with Venezia Sport, a yummy blend that includes silk, which is wonderful against the skin, though a bit splitty when knitting. The contrast stripes on this one are primarily Cascade 220 Sport, but the green I bought later is HiKoo.

The only thing I was not over the moon about with this sweater was the button band. I had to add quite a bit of length to this sweater for it to even begin to fit my tall daughter, and even though I picked up more stitches along the button band than the pattern called for, it still wasn’t enough for the length I knitted. Therefore, it stretched out near the bottom (which is sort of visible in the photo below) and resulted in a very bizarre curve.

But – don’t look at that part! Look at the pretty stripes!

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Yes, it’s headless because I don’t share full pictures of my kiddo. This is at an Easter egg hunt in 2016, just days after I finished the cardigan.

I didn’t have any time for re-knitting, as my goal was for this to be an Easter sweater in 2016. I made it – with just about 4 days to spare, and it debuted at a Saturday Easter Egg hunt, which was very chilly.

Easter, however, was sunny, glorious and very warm… and sadly, there was no sweater wearing.

I didn’t take exact notes on my modifications, but I know I added A LOT of length to this, and just kind of kept measuring against BK as I went. I also lengthened the sleeves, and I thought they would be miles long, but they are JUST RIGHT.

The buttons are from my stash, and I bought them at a yarn show when BK was a tiny infant (like maybe less than 2 months old?) and they have been marinating in the stash and waiting for the perfect project. This was it!

After letting her wear this for the majority of 2016, I decided I couldn’t live with the wonky button band. There was no way I could keep the three bottom buttons of the sweater closed because of the way the band curved in and it was irritating to follow her around trying to re-button the bottom ones all day. I also started thinking about what I would think when we went to pull this out of our “keepers” box one day and how I would be so sad about this beautiful sweater I made, because I would be too ashamed to put it on a future granddaughter because of the crazy button band.

So a few weeks ago, I ripped both sides of the button band out. Then I reknit one side, and it was still crazy. So I ripped it out again. I gave it a firm blocking, and then reknit both button bands again. So one sweater, 5 button bands. 😛

However, I am so much happier with it now that I can’t believe I waited a year to re-knit the button band! And luckily, it still fits her really well, so she will get wear out of the new-and-improved version.

WIP: Passage and new knitting needles!

My LYS recently had a sample of Passage hanging up in the store. I’ve always secretly wanted something with a little batwing to it, but thought I’d look silly in it. Since there was an actual sample, I was able to try it on and see how it looked, and it turned out that I loved it! So I was sold.

I’m using some repurposed Venenzia Sport. I had completed a Wildflower for myself in this yarn, and hated it once I got it on my body. I could see all the imperfections in it, and the neckline looked terrible on me (which I should have known it wouldn’t be flattering on me before I cast on, but I foolishly went ahead anyway). The one time I wore it out of the house was for 5 minutes at knit night to show everyone how much I hated it. Then I unraveled all of it and wound it back into balls.

The yarn was so kinked when I started this new project that my knitting looked like I had done it completely and totally drunk (which I unfortunately was not). So I followed these instructions on how to reuse yarn. I soaked each skein for nearly an hour, and it still didn’t relax as much as I thought it should, but it actually seems to be knitting up OK after it has dried thoroughly.

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This is also the first project that I have used my new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles. I saw them a while ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and fell in love with them. I finally bought myself the large set last month. So far, I love them! I was a little worried about them being acrylic because I usually use metal needles, but it isn’t bothering me at all. They are really pleasant to knit with, and I’m finding an enormous amount of joy in knitting with these lovely bright red needles! Though I have to say, I can’t wait to make a project that requires one of the pink needles. I may have to plan my next project around that. 🙂 I also have my eye on the 16” set because I want to use them all the time. I might just be a sucker for these beautiful colors.

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And finally, we ended up with an unexpected nap time this weekend (those happen so rarely these days!), and we decided it was time for tea. I took mine with a side of knitting Passage, and Mr Snips took his with a side of making an R2D2. Someone at work gave it to him, and it’s turned out to be a rather labor intensive process of glueing together a zillion pieces of paper. He’s determined to finish it to make it the world’s most impressive centerpiece at BK’s birthday party (she’s pretty hardcore into Star Wars), and I think he’s secretly enjoying it. It was really lovely to have a crafty break together.

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New yarn

I’ve picked up a few beautiful skeins recently that I wanted to share with you.

So… no surprise… I found a yarn shop while we were in Sedona. Knit Wits was a super lovely shop. I could have stayed much longer than I did, but I did stay long enough to pick out this absolutely beautiful purple yarn from Mary Gavan, who is a local dyer. I was asking Mr. Snips which color he liked best and he said, “It depends. Do you know what you’re going to knit with it yet?” And I laughed and said, “Of course I don’t. I just want it!” Since then though, I’ve been thinking of a plan – it may end up being a French Cancan, which has been in my queue for a long time. But then I saw this loose-gauge sweater pattern last week… and I might be swayed. We’ll see where I land!

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The color is lighter and brighter in person. Trust me, it’s beautiful.

Also, my friend Heather from BaH Yarns had a trunk show near me a couple of weeks ago, and I snatched these two absolutely awesome skeins of “Cowabunga” (in fact, I may have talked her into dying it)! One is fingering weight (the slightly deeper color to the left) and one is DK – the slight color differences are because of the base – but I think they are both equally gorgeous.

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My little girl is a HUGE TMNT fan, and I promised her some winter accessories out of the DK skein (hat, mitts, cowl – I’m a bit undecided at the moment). The fingering weight skein is all for me, though. I couldn’t resist having my own very special TMNT project, because I’m pretty fond of the Turtles myself. We’ll be full of Turtle Power by fall for sure!

What’s new?

Well, now that we’re approaching spring (I won’t say it’s here yet, it snowed yesterday!), it’s time for some new starts and some updates!

I’ve got a few projects on the go right now. Recently, Mr. Snips and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona for a little winter sunshine and relaxation, and I took two knitting projects with me.

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One is this super simple striped cowl. I bought these two skeins of yarn (Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in Spangled Cotinga and Squid Ink) because I fell in love with them at my LYS. Though I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, I knew I had to have them. Then I found this pattern was a nice way to showcase the beautiful colors, and it is terrific mindless TV knitting! I opted to make more stripes than the pattern called for, because I wanted to use every bit of the yarn. I’m not sure it’s going to work out quite perfectly equal… but we’ll see once I cross the finish line on this. Here’s a photo of when I was working on it at our lovely little hotel, which had its own fireplace. It was a little chilly while we were there, and the fireplace was the perfect touch! Plus, it made such a cozy atmosphere for reading and knitting.

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The other was digging into my skein of Brenda and Heather Yarns in Who’s Socks. I LOOOOOVE this yarn. I’m a little biased, because Heather is my friend, but she and Brenda are making really beautiful yarns that I just can’t resist. And, this yarn is Doctor Who themed, so what’s not to love?! I originally thought I would make mittens out of this so I could see it more often on my hands than my feet, but I finally settled on Jaywalker because I thought the stripes would look awesome in this pattern. And I was right! Here they are on our beautiful drive back to the airport.Jaywalker

Fun fact – I joined Ravelry because of this pattern! Back in the dark ages (I think 2007?), I was searching for knitting patterns online and came across Ravelry. It was during the time you had to request access and wait. I saw the Jaywalkers on the home page of Ravelry, and knew I had to sign up – I wanted to knit those!! I had never made a sock before, and honestly, it was a little beyond my skill level at the time. But shortly afterwards, I started one. It took me six months to do the first sock. Mostly because I was terrified of the heel turn and stuffed it in a closet for four of those months. And since I had no experience with sock yarn, I used way too much on the first one, and the second one had to be a lot shorter. I took a picture for Ravelry with my legs crossed in hopes no one could see the discrepancy. Lol. Because I for sure was not taking out a whole sock’s worth of work! This was also in the days before I had an LYS, and I didn’t have much “in real life” support (my mom isn’t a sock knitter). I wouldn’t even think twice about trying a new technique now, not just because I’m more experienced, but also because I know so many great knitters I know I could get help with anything.

So now we’re home, I’m knitting along on these two things a couple of others… and I’m looking forward to my next vacation. 🙂

 

FO: Baby Pirate Hat

My cousin is expecting her first baby in June, and though I don’t think she’s super familiar with handknit gifts, I couldn’t resist the urge to make her something.

And then, I was flipping through 60 Quick Knits for Babies and saw the Pirate Hat. I knew right away that it was perfect. For one, it had skulls on it (she has a chair with skulls on it in her house!). I knew it would look nice in black and grey, which aside from having Cascade 220 Superwash in those colors in my stash, also matches the baby’s nursery colors. There was also the added bonus that a hat was small enough to be manageable for me, and something the baby is less likely to be sick on (though nothing is impossible!), which means little handknit care required from a tired new momma.

So I cast on!

Shortly after taking this Instagram photo of my knitting, I realized that my hat did not look like the picture. Why is that? Because the picture is seed stitch and my hat is 1×1 ribbing! Imagine that. IMG_2951

So anyway… I thought about leaving it and moving on, but then I realized that the ear flaps had a seed stitch border… so tinking it was. I tinked back 5 rows and picked up the seed stitch, and we were off to the races again!

I have to say that I’ve pretty much decided colorwork is my jam. I love it so much! I love working from the charts, I love working in the round, I love watching the pattern develop… it is just crazy addictive for me. Every time I do a colorwork project, I think that everything I knit should be like this. I JUST LOVE IT.

So this tiny hat (sized for 6 months only in the pattern) almost flew off my needles. I could not get enough of it. I took lots of pictures of it and put it on Instagram. I was so pleased with myself and my hat that I could not get over it.

Then, I made pom poms. That wasn’t so bad, but I really winged it and just wrapped the yarn around my fingers and sort of improvised it. It worked well enough. I thought a lot about the Mason Dixon post about pom poms and trimmed more than I thought I should. It was good advice.

And then it was over. And I was a little sad. Such a fun, addictive, bite-sized project. It was SO MUCH FUN to make. I hope the baby can feel my good vibes every time he wears it. I know BK was feeling the good vibes when she (sort of – while continuing to try to play) modeled it for me. Look at those curls!!!

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Ten on Tuesday: Keep calm and knit on

Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic from Carole Knits is 10 things you do to calm down.

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A few of my favorite calming things – including my current WIP.

  1. Knit. I’m not sure if she does it on purpose, but I think knitting has been an answer to every Ten on Tuesday I’ve ever participated in (with maybe the exception of the one about shoes. I don’t have special knitting shoes.). Anyway, getting in a couple of rows is sure to take the edge off almost anything.
  2. Go to Starbucks and order a tall, soy, no water, extra hot, Chai latte. If things are super dire, a grande. But this is most definitely my comfort drink.
  3. Make a cup of tea. This is an interesting one for me. I’d almost always pick coffee over tea, but the process of making tea is actually really calming. I didn’t know that until I moved to England. We used to communally make tea in my office (if you wanted one, you went round and asked everyone else and then usually commenced a rather large tea-making operation). But the process of putting the kettle on to boil, digging out tea bags, sweeteners and milk, and waiting for the tea to steep really gives you some calm time. Once my office got an instant hot water thing, it got way less relaxing. But I have an electric kettle at home, so I can still get the benefit somewhere!
  4. Take some deep breaths.
  5. Do yoga. Every time I do yoga, I am always surprised at how good it feels and the calm I feel afterwards.
  6. Read. Getting lost in someone else’s words crowds out the space in my mind where I have an annoying internal dialogue that could be keeping me from being calm.
  7. Eat chocolate. Sometime emotional eating is the way forward.
  8. Find a way to get some alone time. A few minutes in a room by myself can do wonders.
  9. Listen to music. Sometimes the right song is all you need.
  10. Take a cat nap. I am a master at 10 minute naps. And they work. For pretty much everything!

FO: Reindeer wish you a happy new year!

I LOVE reindeer. Just love them. They are the main theme of my holiday decor, to be honest. I think it stems from my obsession with the 1964 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. It is tied for my favorite Christmas movie (original Miracle on 34th Street is the other). And nothing says Christmas quite like Santa’s support staff. 🙂

So even though I had a couple of projects on the needles that I planned to take to England when we went in mid-December (a Playful Stripes cardigan and Adrift fingerless mitts), my plans changed rapidly the day before we left when Ravelry displayed Donder and Blitzen in my pattern highlights. Reindeer, hearts, colorwork – I was already on board. I knew immediately that I had just what I wanted in my stash already, and it happened to be very similar to an already completed project. I had grey left over from my somewhat ill-fated Wildflower cardigan in Cascade Venezia, and some pink that I had been hoarding dyed by my good friend Mary Ann from A Good Yarn a few years ago.

I cast on in JFK airport during our layover, and powered through the ribbing. Then I attempted (and failed miserably) to sleep on the plane. Once I hit the colorwork at my in-laws house, I thought I was going so fast, I should have packed a few other projects. That progress slowed down significantly during the week, as we had activities of some sort nearly all day. So on the plane ride home, I didn’t watch any movies and just buckled down on this sucker. I wanted it done before Christmas, and we were flying on December 21. And I finished it! Boom!

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Then we got home, and it was nearly tropical. I didn’t even get to wear it before Christmas. 😦

But I’ve worn it once since then. Even though I would normally celebrate this strangely warm weather, having a lovely finished hat I can’t wear is making me a bit irritated. I guess you can’t have it all!

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These are unblocked shots, because honestly, if I wait to block it before taking pictures, the pictures will never get done! So here it is. I LOVE IT.

I love it so much I’ve started another one for BK. Though I’ve made so many foolish errors on the colorwork it’s unbelievable, so progress has been slow. I would like to blame it on the few mods I’ve made to the chart to make the hat more shallow for her little head, but that’s not been the real issue. I just need to focus! Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with a wee coordinating one!

And happy new year! Wishing everyone a fantastic 2016, filled with joy and fun!