Category: finished object

February Storm Socks

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Project: February Storm Socks

Pattern: Storm

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tweed in Indigo Heather

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For my February socks for Liesl’s sock challenge, I decided to give into dark, freezing Canadian winter and knit up some cabled, tweedy socks. I added this yarn to my stash during Knit Picks Cyber Monday sale because I had been envying tweed sock yarn for awhile, and horrible Canadian Februarys are the perfect time to break it out for a pair of warm winter socks.

Storm had been on my queue for awhile, so this project also allows me to make some progress with Emily’s Love your Library challenge (I’ve had a slow start on the challenge, but things are starting to pick up now). So that’s one project off the queue and using stash yarn, too!

Storm was easy to choose as my pattern because it’s free and it had a nice simplicity to it with ribbed cables that play well with the tweed flecks of the yarn without the two battling each other for attention. Plus, the cables add in a little bit of interest so the pattern never gets too boring, but it was very easy to memorize.

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The only thing I changed in the pattern was to work short row heels rather than the heel flap & gusset the pattern called for. I’m kind of in love with short row heels right now because they are so fast and don’t require me to work gusset decreases. And they work very well for ribbed socks patterns like this where you have built in stretch from the ribbed pattern and don’t need the extra space from the gusset.

I finished these socks just in time (I blame all the sweaters/cardigans that have been hogging my attention lately). I think for March I’ll go with some cheerier socks. Something that reminds me that spring actually will come. Soon. I hope.

Crew

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Project: Crew

Pattern: Crew by Amy Miller

Yarn: MadelineTosh tosh merino light in Medieval, Antler, and Charcoal

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After spending a weekend seaming and blocking, I finished my crew sweater early last week. And I’ve worn it three times since then (including right now). Because I love this thing! It fits really well, which I was a little nervous about because I chose to use a fingering weight yarn rather than the recommended sport weight. To compensate for the smaller yarn, I knit the sweater up a size. It’s meant to be worn with positive ease, so I figured it would give me a little wiggle room in the sizing without too much fuss or worry. And it worked out just fine. Better than fine. The fit is perfect and I didn’t have to modify a thing. I love it when a pattern works out.

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I have loved Amy Miller’s designs for awhile now (more than a few of them are on my Ravelry queue), and this design is beautiful. The sweater is knit in pieces and seamed together, so it can feel like a lot of stockinette while you work it. The stripes and raglan shaping help to keep things interesting, but I didn’t truly love this project until I started to see it come together with seaming. I made no modifications to the pattern. It was straight forward and easy to follow, and the dimensions worked out great for me. There is no waist shaping in sweater, but the way Amy has designed the front to narrow at from the armhole to the ribbing provides a flattering line on the front.

This sweater can be worked in so many great color combinations. And the buttons are just plain, straight-up, great details. I can’t recommend this project more highly. And the Madtosh is holding up to the wear (it is so comfortable and soft – perfect for close to the skin sweaters). I wish I could afford to make more sweaters from this yarn, but it’ll end up being a once in a while splurge for special pieces. If you have it in your budget, though, I recommend filling your shelves with loads and tons of fluffy soft merino wool sweaters.

Northern Neuk

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Project: Northern Neuk Sweater

Pattern: East Neuk Hoodie

Yarn: Cascade 220

I finished my Northern Neuk! And just in time, too, because it seems like every day we just get more and more snow and things have remained resoundingly chilly. But my Neuk keeps me cozy and warm, just like a thick guernsey-style sweater should.

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I enjoyed working on this sweater, even though it uses up a pile o’yarn. The yards feel like they go by quickly when working the different charted patterns. Almost everything is worked seamlessly, with just the sleeves having to be fit in afterwards, so I enjoyed learning how to make the front pouch and the hoodie without too much sewing! I also really like the asymmetry at the bottom hem – because bums need to be warm, too. But I think my favorite bit is the beautiful peek-a-boo of patterned stitching on the back that moves into the hood. I like the idea of having a little surprise of unexpected texture on the back, giving it a bit of interest so all the fun isn’t just on the front.

My row gauge was a bit off from the pattern, so I had to make small adjustments to how tall I worked the pouch and the hood. But other than that, I didn’t make any other modifications to the pattern and it came out fitting nicely. Perfect amount of positive ease so you can toss it on over another shirt, but I’m not completely lost in an oversized sweater.

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My only complaint with this project is the shaping of the hood. I don’t like it at all. The top of the hood is no way deep enough to be worn easily, so it sits far back on your head. And the body of the hood just feels oversized and slouchy (I told Andy I feel like a Jedi knight with my robes on because of how the hood falls around my face). The hood fits better when the buttons are done up, but it still just doesn’t feel deep enough to be worn comfortably. I had never made a hood before, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out until the whole thing was finished, but I would recommend increasing the depth if you know what you are doing. As it is, I wasn’t planning on wearing the hood much, so it’s not too much of a disappointment for me.

FO: Prairie Spring socks

Like much of North America, it’s been spectacularly, depressingly cold around here lately. The kind of cold where you put on at least three layers before heading out, smirking about how you’ve planned this outfit so well that no cold shall penetrate your shell. Until one gust of -30F wind hits you straight on in the face and you run for the closest heated area in your vicinity. It’s the kind of cold where you wish you could shirk all responsibility and never, ever, ever leave your warm, comfortable, perfect bed every again.  It’s the kind of cold that makes you very glad you on a lovely pair of woolen socks (or two or three).

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Project: Prairie Spring Socks
Pattern: Prairie Spring by devonshire Knots
Yarn: Knit Picks Hawthorne in Belmont

After a long-distance love affair with Tahnée’s socks, I had to make myself a pair. (In a blatent copycat moment), I was hoping to grab some graffiti yarn at the Boxing Day sale, but they didn’t have any in fingering weight, so I pulled some Knit Picks Hawthorne out of my stash and got to work over the holiday break.

Photo_Dec_29__12_45_38_PM_medium2These socks seemed to come together in no time at all. I worked these one-at-a-time because I knew the traveling stitches would give me a nightmarish headache if I tried to figure them out working two-at-a-time magic loop. I didn’t have even an inkling of second sock syndrome. The pattern is completely intuitive, and once you get started it is really hard to put them down.

2014-12-29 12.31.13I was a wee bit worried that the 72-stitch cast on would be too big for my feet, especially with my gauge being 1 stitch off, so I went with 64 stitches instead. But the twisted stitches make them super tight to get over my heels, so I would suggest sticking with the larger cast on and maybe adjusting the number of stitches on the foot if they are coming out too big down there. Other than that, I didn’t make any other modifications and I would definitely knit this pattern again.

I also enjoyed working with the Hawthorne yarn – it is a beautiful, budget friendly choice for hand dyed sock yarns like Malabrigo or MadTosh. And if you get it on sale (like I did with the cyber Monday sale this year), it is an amazing deal on decent quality yarn. I’m wishing I had stocked up on more skeins now (one in every color!).

Stay warm out there, everyone (except poor Australia and the koala bears) and enjoy your lovely knits.

Christmas gifts

Now that Christmas is past and everyone has received their goodies, I can share the finished items I made for gifts this year.

Project: Miss Cosmic Wonder
Pattern: Miss Winkle by Martina Behm
Yarn: MadTosh Merino Light in Cosmic Wonder
This was a gift for my sister, who is an artist at heart. I thought she would like the graffiti-like coloring of the MadTosh light (I know I love these splatter-dyed yarns). She lives in Austin, TX, so things don’t get too very cold for her. I though a squishy garter stitch scarf would be good for her – something she could get use out of when it’s cooler. And the loopy border makes the scarf interesting and funky, so it would make a nice accessory to wear to the office, as well.
Project: Song of the Sea scarf
Pattern: Song of the Sea by Louise Zass-Bangham
Yarn: Arucania Botany Lace in 2119
I had been saving this yarn for this specific scarf for awhile now, and it’s light enough that it works in warmer climates all year ’round, which is perfect for my grandma, who recently moved in with my parents in San Diego. She loved the infinity scarf I bought her last Christmas so much it was an easy decision to make one for her this year in a nice, bright turquoise. A simple something to keep out those cooler sea breezes while walking along the beach.
Project: Hitofude cardigan
Pattern: Hitofude cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu
Yarn: Ice Yarns Arctic Merino
Figuring out knits for people in warm climates is hard – all the go-to items (hats, mittens, scarves) are definitely out (unless they go skiing a lot, which my family does not). So, for my mom, I decided to make the beautiful Hitofude cardigan because it is perfectly light and drapey. It was a bigger project than I originally wanted to tackle, but it actually knit up quite quickly (though at times, the skirt of the sweater felt like it was going on forever!). I was a little worried about the length of the sweater, so I followed this modified chart for the skirt, and I think it came out great! I definitely want one of these for myself, now. Maybe I’ll work one up this spring…
Now that the holidays are over I can get back to all my selfish knitting… until next year. 

Courtyard beanie

Project: Courtyard beanie
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Charcoal and Turquoise
Pattern: Courtyard by Melissa Thompson
Sometimes I get so caught up in my bigger projects that I forget how satisfying and fun a quick knit can be. And how smaller projects are great for using up those partial skeins of yarn I insist upon hoarding. This hat is the epitome of a quick, satisfying knit. I started it Saturday night and finished it just before bed on Sunday (even though it meant pushing back bedtime an hour or so just because I wanted to wear the hat the next day).
When browsing patterns for hats on Ravelry, I started noticing a new (to me) trend in design: beautiful stitches traveling across a striped reverse stockinette background. And I loved it immediately. It is quite eye-catching and the result looks more complex than the pattern actually is. (Here are some of my other favorite hats with this design that I came across: Thermisto and Neon).
I ended up with Courtyard because I had worsted weight yarn I wanted to use up and I liked the shape. And it was great fun to knit (it would make a great last minute Christmas gift, if you don’t end up keeping it for yourself). My only modification to the pattern was to stick a pom pom on top, because it seemed like it needed one. And I’ve really wanted a pom pom hat for a while now, because I’m sort of a dork like that (I used this video tutorial for making the pompom).

Selbu modern

Ever since I decided to try my hand at adapting the Perianth pattern into a cardigan, I’ve been in a stranded knitting state of mind. I rationalized this take over of my mental state by telling myself that I should practice before I take on a whole cardigan. I haven’t really worked stranded knitting for a good while, and since I have to wait to start my Perianth cardigan anyway (hurry up mail!), why not take on a small project to get my stranded knitting mojo back. And heck, nothing beats a beautiful free pattern like the Selbu Modern
My Selbu Modern is knit with Knit Picks Palette yarn I had in my stash. I went with a safe and classic (for me) color combination, working with a light gray and purple. I can’t go wrong with purple – it’s guaranteed to be worn if it involves purple. Plus, it’ll match my winter coat, which, shockingly, is purple. 
The only modification I made was to work a corrugated ribbing, instead of the regular 1×1 ribbing suggested in the pattern. I’m firmly of the opinion that corrugated ribbing is beautiful, easy, and criminally underused. It makes any stranded project look even more impressive, but its so simple to do, so why not? Other than that, I stuck to the pattern completely, which was very easy to follow – a nice big chart and straight forward finishing instructions made this a really fun knit. 

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October socks

Monthly sock challenge: 1 out of 12
This month I decided to join Liesl at Buckaloo View in a monthly sock challenge – 12 socks in 12 months. Making socks was one of the main drivers in pushing me to learn how to knit in the first place, so I thought a nice way to mark my first full year of knitting would be to challenge myself to make one pair of socks for every month for the next year. (Secret second agenda disclosed, I can using it as an excuse, citing that I’m doing this to better myself and push myself as a knitter, so I must go buy some more sock yarn, right?)
My October entry to the sock challenge aren’t too very exciting, but I’m really feeling the vibe of selfstriping, plain, vanilla socks right now. It’s always nice to keep things easy on one project when you have other, more complicated, time constrained projects going on at the same time. The yarn is some Loops and Thread sock yarn I got on sale at Michael’s awhile ago. While digging through my sock yarn stash (which will shrink more than grow, I promise), the nice fall colors caught my eye. I’m not a giant fan of selfstriping socks that try to look like fair isle patterns, though, and this yarn isn’t really changing my stance on that right now, but it is a nice soft yarn with some cashmere in it which I got for a bargain, so I’ll try not to complain.

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FO: Feathernest raglan

Project: Feathernest raglan 
I actually finished this sweater weeks ago, but have been very lazy about photographing it and getting things ready to blog. Since then, I have worn this sweater numerous times. This was a really fun knit for me. I’ve already talked a bit about how I was unsure about it at first – would the patterned stitches be too bulky? Is the color right for this pattern? Well, when all is said and done, I think it’s perfect and I love the finished project. I wear it all the time now that the weather has turned cooler here in Toronto. One of my favorite things about this sweater is the fit. I usually have issues with topdown raglans being a bit baggy in the underarm because of the number of increases I need to do to fit my bust. I guess I’m just not regularly proportioned in that aspect – small shoulders for my boob size. But this sweater fits great in every aspect and when you have something that is snuggly and fits great, you never want to take it off. My other favorite thing about this sweater is that it is interesting to look at – the texture is splendid and eye catching while not being overwhelming. Have I mentioned that I love this sweater?
Pattern: Feathernest raglan by Amy Miller
I thought this was a great design and a great pattern. I really like that the design took a traditional knitting technique, guernsey, and used it to make a very modern jumper. Many people in the their project pages had complained that this was a bit of a tricky pattern, and I suppose it can be, but I had no trouble with it at all. The hardest thing to figure out is the increases along the raglan – the increases are meant to be done in the chevron stitch pattern, so you have to keep track of where you are on the chart so you make your increase stitch in the proper knit or purl. I simply used a pencil to mark an arrow where my pattern was starting in each round, then I knew to move one stitch further to make my increase properly. I did the same for the waist shaping and sleeve decreases, and I had no issues at all making sure I stayed in the pattern. I will say that it requires you to pay attention while knitting, but that’s good for the brain cells. 
Yarn: Cascade 220 in colorway 8906
I bought this yarn only because it was on sale. It wasn’t really a color I am generally drawn to for larger projects, but I went ahead and bought enough to make a sweater. Just in case. Well, it’s a great color. For winter, it’s a nice bright blue to cheer up any gray days, but it also will work well for cool spring mornings. This is my first time using Cascade 220 for a sweater and I love it. It is soft, warm, not scratchy, and is a pleasure to knit with. Now I can see why it’s been a staple in the knitting community for so long. I will gladly use it again (and I plan to very soon!).

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A splash of crochet

Guys, it’s October. When did that happen? (Yesterday, technically, I know, but I’m in denial.) I love you, October, but I am not ready for you. I still need summer because if it’s still summer, than I still have a chance of accomplishing all the things I needed to get done at work this summer. This summer felt like was running on this hamster wheel, around and around, working and working but not really every seeming to get any place. It was just one thing after another… but now I think I’m finally getting somewhere. Somewhere good and productive and even a little bit hopeful (things will get done, I will get results, I will finish this darn project/degree/chapter of my life). So maybe all I really needed was a little October.

I decided with the arrival of October, fall decorating could begin. Phase 1: Halloween. (Even though Thanksgiving comes before Halloween here in Canada, it’s just wrong in my American mind. I can’t let go of proper November Thanksgiving, so the less spooky, harvest-y fall decorations always come after Halloween. Sorry, Canada, it’s nothing personal.) I had the mantle set up, but was just a little unhappy with it – something was missing. So I pulled out some discarded acrylic yarn in great fall shades and crocheted myself a little fall garland of colorful leaves and circles yesterday. I think my crochet hooks were delighted to see the light of day. And I remembered just how fast crochet can be. It was a nice quick project that I could pack in my bag in the morning and hang up proudly by the time I got home in the evening. It’s nothing terribly special and breathtaking (and the leaves are curling a bit wonky even after I tried to flatten them under a textbook…), but Andy said he actually liked it (he almost never compliments anything unless I prod him about it), so I’m happy.

Happy fall everyone!

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