Knits I haven’t blogged

When we lived in England many moons ago, we used to frequently go on country walks at the weekend. It was a cheap way to have some fun and explore some new areas. Sometimes your path got blocked by cows and you had to turn around (true story), and sometimes it was fairly uneventful, but it was always nice to get out.

We haven’t really done as much walking since we’ve been back in America. There isn’t a whole Peak District in our backyard anymore, and we are in general much more dependent on the car.

But yesterday, we went back to our roots and drove to a state park for a walk to enjoy the last of fall. Normally, I would not say that the end of October is the end of fall here, but it has gotten very cold about 2-3 weeks earlier than usual. And the sun also seems to have deserted us.

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The colors were beautiful, and we really enjoyed our walk.

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Can you spot the ducks in the pond?

Since it’s chilly, I bundled up BK in a couple of knits that I haven’t blogged about yet.

The first is Little Honey. My lovely friend Kara gave me some leftover KnitPicks Comfy Fingering Weight from a dress she made her daughter. I had Little Honey on my favorites list already, and when I saw this yarn, I knew this was the pattern for that. I knit it pretty quickly because I was enjoying it so much. It’s also incredibly soft.

Little-Honey

My only regret on this is that I made the pockets very shallow. I kept lengthening it when I made it, so she would get more wear out of it, and then panicked at the end that it was too long, and truncated the pockets. It’s not a big deal, because she doesn’t actually want to use them for her hands.

And, the longevity plan worked, because I finished knitting this last year – and she wore it then, and it still fits this year!

The second is a “Top This” kit with a butterfly on top. I struggle with some of these kits because I don’t like the ones that only have a head on top – it really bothers me to see a bodiless dog or cat on top of a child. But once I saw my LYS had this sweet butterfly one – with a whole body – and it was pink and purple, I thought it was worth knitting BK one, since they’re cheap, quick and cheerful.

As she was wearing this, I was thinking that my main complaint with this is that the butterfly only attaches at the very bottom of his body, and it’s too floppy. It’s hard to keep laying just right. But then, BK started running and it was flapping and it looked like a butterfly trying to take off from her head. That made me laugh, so I forgave it.

The other thing I’m not super in love with this is how rough the metallic portion of the yarn is. However, the way it knit up, it’s above her ears, so she can’t really feel the scratchy bit on bare skin. But if you make one, I’d be mindful about which end you start from, because this could be an issue. I started from the opposite end of the skein at first, and it was going to make the ribbing itchy, so I ripped it out and went from the other end.

Our handwear on the walk was also worth mentioning. Mine because I still love these after knitting them 4 years ago (and the color looked great against the apple green of BK’s stroller), and BK’s because they are truly awesome. Nothing I knit will top these Turtle gloves, so I’m not going to try.

And, since it’s almost Halloween (hooray!!!), I’ll leave you with this creepy skull we passed on our walk. It thoroughly weirded me out, because it’s the only Halloween thing we saw, and it was covered in fake (I hope) blood.

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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!

Version 2

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.

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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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!

 

FO: Penguin Pillow

I know, I know, I said I don’t do Christmas knitting and yet here I am with my second knitted Christmas gift. This one was for BK, so it is a special one.

Mr Snips has a Penguin Pillow that I made him last year for Christmas. I briefly flirted with the idea of making the same for BK and giving it a different colored scarf, but I found the first one so tedious to knit that I didn’t fancy going down that road again.

When I found this Winslow pattern on Ravelry, I knew this was meant to be BK’s version of a Penguin Pillow.

I immediately had a color scheme in my mind, all readily available in my stash (how convenient! Despite having a good-sized stash, this almost never happens). I had 4 skeins of some lovely green (Cascade 220 Superwash) that I had bought to make a Sweet Pea sweater, back before I even knew whether I was having a girl or boy. Once I knew I was having a girl, I made other plans, partially so I didn’t have to knit all the bobbles on that pattern. I also had some cream left over from the sheep hat I made BK. And finally, I had one very special purple skein that was from my Three Irish Girls yarn club subscription a couple of years back. Not only did these colors call to me for being lovely, they also match BK’s room very well! I think that, though they are not traditional penguin colors, the pastel color scheme can grow with her. Besides, I really like purple and green for a Christmas theme!

So off I went. I elected to do the back first, because I thought it would be so boring that I really should trudge through that part first. I wanted to feel like I had the “fun” part left with the colorwork. I sailed through the back in about a week, mainly during mindless TV watching time.

Then I got to the “fun” side. First of all, I didn’t check my gauge before I started. I mean, it’s a pillow covering, it’s not like it’s high fashion. But my row gauge was apparently WAY off, and after knitting the suggested 30 rows, I realized I was at least 1/4” over the length I needed before I was to start the penguin chart.

Front view of Winslow

Well, no turning back, I said to myself. Forge on, Christmas is very near. I can make adjustments on the other side of the penguin if needed.

So I made the penguin. And sometime during that, I realized that this thing is honking huge and why does it need to be an 18” pillow, couldn’t I have adjusted and made it a 14”? And after measuring, yes I could have, but it was too late in the game to make that change.

I also realized that intarsia is messy. I had never done intarsia, just fair isle, and I found the mess of bobbins and small bits of yarn for the eyes and everything to be totally tedious and tangled. I was also trying to knit from both sides of the purple yarn to make sure I didn’t waste any of it, because I had plans to knit BK a hat with the leftovers – the color was too lush to spend on just a penguin! And into the deep abyss of twisted yarn I went. It was horrible.

When I finally came out the other side and got to go down to one strand of green, I nearly cried with happiness. To adjust for my size miscalculation, I only knit 20 rows of the suggested 32 of green after I finished the penguin. Yes, I know this makes it uneven, but he’s charted on purpose to be a little uneven, so what’s a bit more?

Back view of Winslow pillow

Little fingers love these flower buttons!

 

I finished this project on Christmas Eve Eve (that would be the 23rd), and wrapped it as quickly as I could to have it done and dusted.

But the best part is that BK’s reaction was absolutely the best one a 19-month-old could give me. She hugged it, brought it to me, sat down and snuggled with me and the pillow and said “Thank you, Mommy” three times like her little heart was just full of gratitude. She then gleefully suggested we put it on the couch – which is hands down her favorite place in our house. I nearly cried with happiness. That lovely moment was worth all the horrid mess, and I would do it again in an instant.

FO: Ahoy Princess Beret

I don’t really do Christmas knitting. After the Dishcloth Debacle of 2010, I don’t really do Christmas knitting.

Well, I say that, but I do some. Last year, I made Mr Snips a Penguin Pillow (totally charming, but BORING to knit), and a year or two before that, I made my Mom and Dad a throw blanket for their new home, and once I made my Mom a shawl… I guess it happens sometimes.

But it has to be a special person and a special project to get me to commit to deadline knitting.

My niece has had a very rough year. And the only way I can think to show her that I think about her every day, and that I am proud of her, and that I am always rooting for her, is to knit her something.

She’s still in college and has a lot of long walks to class, so I thought a hat may be the most useful for the winter months.

I picked out this hot pint/reddish color for her for two reasons: 1) her school color is red and 2) I thought it would look amazing against her very dark brown hair. I had admired this Ahoy Princess pattern for some time, and thought it was the right time to finally knit it.

I hemmed and hawed quite a bit on what version to knit, since the pattern gives you a choice of intricate or simple cables and a choice to add some more repeats to make a slouchy hat. I was really thinking I wanted intricate and slouchy, but I did not trust I’d have enough yarn. I only had 200 yards, and the pattern called for 190 for the regular adult non-slouchy version. I told myself that I’m always a yardage coward, that I always have tons left over because I make a conservative choice out of fear that I’ll run out of yarn. Be bold, I told myself. Go slouchy! But I couldn’t muster up the courage and stuck to my cowardly ways and THANK GOODNESS. Do you see how much yarn I have left?! Hardly any.

yarn leftover from my Ahoy Princess beret

This color is so hard to capture – both red and pink. This is probably the best picture for being true to color.

 

And really, I think it has enough slouch in it as it is. I think any more may have been too much. But hey, I’m not really down with the kids any more (I’m a mom! I’m in my thirties! When did this happen?!?!) so maybe extra slouchy would have been cool, too.

So… final result was intricate cables and the regular non-slouchy version. I really love it a WHOLE LOT.

Finished Ahoy Princess beret

This was my first time using Madelinetosh yarn. It was crazy soft and lush to knit. However, when I gave it a Soak, all of my water instantly went hot pink, and it also dyed the towel I dried it in. I’ve had other yarns bleed before, but I’ve never had them permanently stain my towel before. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s such a vivid red, and I don’t do much vivid red, or if it’s something specific to MadTosh. Regardless, the final product still looks and feels amazing, so I guess I’ll give it a pass.

2nd photo of Ahoy Princess

FO: Fall in a Ball Shawl

You guys! I finished my Fall in a Ball shawl before fall was over!

Fall in a Ball shawl close-upI know, I’m surprised, too.

That was my goal though. My big goal was to have it finished by Halloween; my fall-back goal was to be able to wear it for Thanksgiving. And I blew both of those deadlines out of the water! I finished it a week ago Friday, and put it in to Soak immediately. It was fully blocked and dry in time for work on Monday.

I wore it all week like this:

How I've been wearing Fall in a Ball

I LOOOOOVE it. It makes me feel so seasonal, and happy.

Fall in a Ball Shawl back view

The yarn is Dream in Color’s September club colorway (I told you about how I fell for it here) and I knit with size 7 needles. The pattern is Bella Vista. I followed the pattern exactly.

Life has been… hectic, so I’m feeling pretty great about having this done in less than a month. This is the busy season for Mr Snips at work, which has thrown our schedules off quite a bit. We’ve been helped immensely by my mom and dad (BK and I owe them A LOT for all the help), but knitting time is still at a super premium.

Things are finally slowing down now, just in time for the leaves to be in their absolute most amazing fall glory. We’ve had a couple of days of fantastic weather, and I’m hoping we get to hold on to this perfect autumn weather for another week. Bring on Halloween!