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I Have a Gauge Problem

February 12, 2011

Knitting books, patterns, bloggers, and teachers will always encourage you to test your gauge.  And I have to say shamefully that I never follow this rule of thumb. I’m a particularly loose knitter, so I really should start partaking in this important first step. I know that I should, but in the end laziness wins.

 

Cute cowl, no gauge testing required!

For a while I only knit scarves, hats, cowls, and the occasional set of mittens. Over the past year, however, I have jumped into larger, skillful projects and created some cute vests, sweaters, and socks. Because my knitting style is loose, I find myself picking up smaller needles than the pattern suggests to compensate. This has, to a degree, worked out quite well for me. But in the back of my mind I can hear the voice of my knitting conscience, “You’re just getting lucky! Check your gauge!”

 

There is a reason why this problem has turned into a post. I’m preparing to embark on the largest project I’ve started to date. The Yggdrasil Afghan pattern will be my best friend’s wedding gift. I am super excited about this blanket and plan on knitting it in this beautiful shade of blue cotton yarn from KnitPicks (super on sale!) This time I really should test my gauge.

In the end I have concluded, knitters are not lazy people. I must be more diligent! Has anyone else had a gauge problem and how did you train yourself to consistently check your gauge? Perhaps I continue to skip this step because I haven’t felt the repercussions of my carelessness?

 

-L

Never Fail Quail Pattern

February 7, 2011

S came back from Vogue Knitting Live with a lot of yarn, new experiences, and an awesome pattern book. We’re enjoying looking through its contents and pointing out interesting cables or twists. We talk about what piece they’d look good on and what would go where if we started designing a pattern.

While we had grandiose visions of sweater dresses covered in cables, in the end we took on some smaller projects. Here is my finalized version of the cap I created after falling in love with the simple but cute Quail Pattern. (Meanwhile, S is working on some impressive socks whose pattern should be up soon)!

To a degree, I struggled with creating this pattern because S kept commenting on my decreasing method. “You should be decreasing evenly around the hat!” she harped at me. My main goal was to keep the Quail pattern going as long as possible and I think the end result came out okay. My decreasing worked out, but if anyone has any thoughts on a better way to decrease I would love to learn. Hope you enjoy the pattern!

Happy Knitting, L

Never Fail Quail Cap Pattern

My first knitting event!

January 29, 2011

This past weekend was spent in NYC volunteering for the first Vogue Knitting Live event! A while back I saw an ad for VKL in a knitting magazine and thought, ‘It’s so close! And what a great opportunity to immerse myself further in the world of knitting.’ I have a friend who lives in Brooklyn so all that remained was to get the time off from work! Once all that was settled I was ready to go…. except for the snow! I had originally planned on a day of roaming around NYC (museums, LYS, food, etc) and instead it was spent on a bus stuck in traffic. At least I got to NYC in time for the volunteer orientation!

Friday I spent the day registering the many excited knitters who were taking classes. Occasionally, there was a famous designer/knitter sighting and I would do a double take, or sometimes smile and nod like I knew them. Such is the power of the VKL staff shirt and volunteer badge. One of the highlights on Friday night was the unveiling of the marketplace in all its glory…. so glorious that when it opened it took exactly 8 minutes before the last person in line got in.

Here’s a picture of the entrance to the marketplace, please forgive me for the blurry picture. Y’see as I was getting ready to take the picture, I realized Jared Flood was in my shot! Flabbergasted and star-struck I fumble the camera and took this sad photo. He is behind the volunteer. 😦

On Saturday I was scheduled at the beginner bar, a place where people could go and learn to knit. At first, I thought it was a bit odd. We were at an event specifically for knitters, surely that meant they could all knit. Boy, was I wrong! At one point I was teaching a little girl and a middle aged man! It was such an inspiring day where the teachers all shared different techniques with the class and each other, and our students walked away with their complimentary ball of Classic Elite Liberty wool and needles.

On Sunday I had my lecture “B is for Purl. A Brief History of Knitting Patterns.” taught by Franklin Habit. It combined two of my favorite things: knitting and history! After, I walked through the marketplace, grabbed way too much swag, and took my seat near the beginner bar (conveniently located near the runway for the knitwear fashion show)!

This whole weekend was so inspiring that I’ve created a new sock pattern for my Mom’s birthday. I am knitting with Sweet Georgia sock yarn which I have never knit with before. It is coming along quite nicely so stay tuned for pics!

My only complaint for this weekend was that I did not take nearly as many pictures as I should have. So I will leave you with my last picture but definitely a very exciting one… it is a giant knitted beluga whale!

– S

Reclaiming- Attempt 1.0

January 18, 2011
Comfy reclaimed sweater

Voila!

The picture you see here is the finished product of my first reclaiming project! Here is the story of my journey to get the end result…

I had this sweater that I got a long time ago at TJMaxx. I loved it to bits, it was a creme color, super soft, very warm and comfy. I decided I was going to try and take it apart so I could turn it into something that I would wear (I’ve lost some weight…yay New Years Resolutions)! The yarn was in good shape so I thought, why not have a go at this reclaiming business?

What was my main inspiration? I have been working on organizing a small ‘History of Fiber’ exhibit for the museum I work at. During the depression and World Wars clothing your soldiers and providing assistance toward the war effort was paramount in showing your support and hopefully inspiring the men. I am a thrifty person and saving money and materials was generally the main goal of reclaiming yarn.

Perhaps when you see somebody with a knitted item on you think, like I do, that you like their piece but maybe would do something differently. Modifying patterns is a way you make it your own and was the main appeal for me in this project. I got to take something that I loved, but no longer looked flattering on me, and turn it into something that I’d wear again.

I decided to use this pattern. It was simple and easy to adapt (the yarn I was using was a bit thicker than the yarn for the pattern). Since it was knit from the top- down, it was easy to make it fit me like a glove. Since I am one of those women some might say has “huge tracts of land” I had to knit a bit more to accommodate my shape. A little decreased for my waist, a little increased for my hips, and a bottom primarily in ribbing got this sweater dress looking just how I’d hoped.

The experience was tons of fun but a bit infuriating at the beginning since this was a cheap sweater and seamed by a machine. I think this aggravation, however, was due more to my inexperience with taking apart a store bought item than the job done by the machine. Though some challenges did arise, the project was an overall success. It has inspired me to try reclaiming more often so I can continue to enjoy the sweaters I own but update their style a bit!

– S

Madeline’s Cable Mockery Pattern

January 9, 2011

Caps, beanies, berets. When winter is upon us all I ever think about is keeping my head warm. Maybe it’s because Mom always said if your head is warm, so is the rest of you. Those motherly tips never seem to leave me (Thanks Mom!).  

I wanted a beret that had the illusion of cables but without the chunkiness cables add to a hat. This pattern is simple, based largely on the eyelet mock cable design, and no cable needle is need to create the twists. It’s knit over 110 stitches and then quickly decreased over 6 rounds to get the slouchy effect.

I like the hat so much I knit one for my sister for Christmas. Thought others might also enjoy the pattern so I wrote it up and put it on the web for all. Happy knitting!

MadelinesCableMockery

Beautiful Noro Silk Scarf

January 6, 2011

As mentioned in a previous post, I had to post pictures of the Noro scarf I was knitting my boyfriend for Christmas.  This scarf is based on the pattern from Jared Flood (see his blog) where he knits together two skeins of Noro Silk Garden to create a gorgeous piece. I adapted his version only by alternating the colors with one skein of Noro Silk and a navy blue skein from Cascade Yarns.

My boyfriend is not one for color. In fact, he continues to call many of my outfits outlandish (I’d call myself stylish, thank you! :-P). This Christmas I decided to break him out of his monochromatic shell with this scarf. He needs more color in his life and this scarf is a beautiful accessory. Adding in the navy blue skein was my consideration of his attitude toward color. I paired the Noro yarn with the blue in an attempt to keep the colors somewhat subdued.

As most knitters have said after completing this scarf, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever knit. The colors are so lovely and the photos cannot do it justice. After it was wrapped up for Christmas day I kept thinking about the piece. I had a secret hope that the color would, in fact, be too much for him. He would be polite but in the end it would be mine, all mine! Has this happened to you? When you finish knitting a gift but love it so much it becomes difficult to part with? To my surprise he liked it and has already showed it off to coworkers. Success! And I already have plans to begin a second scarf, this one for myself.

-L

Frantic Christmas knitting!

December 20, 2010

I love Christmas! I especially love knitting things for people for Christmas. But it should be known to you now that I am a HUGE procrastinator. Every year I say, I’m going to start early. A yarn store nearby had a sale during Columbus Day weekend (In October for those of you not from the New England area) so I went with my friend to pick out yarn for my projects for this Christmas. Happily I made my way home where I promptly put my bag of yarn in my yarn corner and left it for about a month. So much for starting early! There have been some hold-ups, however, I have made progress and am confident that I will finish my Christmas knitting on time. For my mom I made the Jewels cardigan which I absolutely loved knitting. I had some yarn in my stash that was perfect for it, I can’t wait to give it to her. For my Aunt I made her the Envy cowl and I added some great buttons. These both are projects that went really quickly and the cables add a nice touch to each project. For my uncle I have made a hat, just a basic ribbed hat. Here are the pics! Hope you enjoy and good luck with the upcoming season!

-S