Friday, March 28, 2014

You are an Obsession

Lace, lace, LACE! I am completely hooked. Like I-created-a-Pinterest-Board-of-100-shawls-I-want-to-knit hooked. My addiction was born designing and knitting Hojas y Bayas. After that, just a little bit of lace edging was not enough to feed the Lace Monster.

So I knit my first Haruni by the awesome Emily Ross. So. Much. Fun. And so satisfying to use just a few yards shy of my skein of Knit Picks Stroll Tonal! It was so surprisingly quick and used so little yarn I decided it was a perfect offering for The Circle School's Spring Fundraising Silent Auction.


While my first all-lace baby was on the blocking board, I cast on for shawl #2. Less than 2 weeks later, my second baby was born! She is also heading to the auction block.

This one is Passion Flowers by Marisa Hernandez

I'm already well into #3. And I just dyed some yarn for #4. CAN'T STOP!

So wish my babies luck in the silent auction...

Happy Knitting!




Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Pattern: Hojas y Bayas Shawlette


Hojas y Bayas is a perfect all-year-round, crescent-shaped shawl. It’s name means “Leaves and Berries” and the elegant lace repeat reminds you of outdoor goodness.  It uses less than 260 yards of fingering-weight yarn, has short rows with no wraps or turns, and is big enough to keep you warm yet small enough to stash in your purse for a restaurant or movie theater chill. It is the perfect showcase for Knit Picks Chroma Fingering or any delicious luxury yarn.




I recently  have been charmed by crescent-shaped shawls. They use almost no yarn at all yet serve as a substantial accessory. My first love was Annis by the fabulous Susanna IC. It was my first shawl in this brilliant shape, and my first time playing with beads and tiny crochet hooks. Super-fun!


This was my first time really writing lace charts. It was interesting to draw a picture in the charting software and then knit a swatch to see how it actually looked. I know I have a lot more to learn, but the experimentation was fun. I'm pretty tickled that if you squint a little it actually looks like leaves and berries!

I also want to shout out to the fabulous knitters from around the globe who have helped me test knit this pattern. You are an amazing bunch of mujeres!

So here it is. I hope you like it. Happy Knitting! And don't forget to check out the Useful Goodies for your Hojas y Bayas!

And of course, check out the handy-dandy button there for the clickin'!

Useful Goodies for your Hojas y Bayas

Here are some helpful tutorials and tips for knitting your fabulous and fun Hojas y Bayas Shawlette.

I-Cord Bind off

This is an excellent trick for your bag of them. I love the way an i-cord bind-off looks, especially in finer yarns. I am including a written and video tutorial. The written instructor uses ssk and the video instructor uses k2tbl – you can decide which you prefer. I used ssk and think my shawlette looks pretty snazzy.

I Cord Bind Off Video



Nupps

“Nupps” rhymes with “hoops”.  There are many ways to loop your nupp, but I will focus on 2. The first is the traditional Estonian way to do it, shown by Nancy Bush in this video. (If you are impatient like me you might fast forward about half-way through. But you might be more virtuous than I.)

Knitting Daily Nupp Video Tutorial


This is my chosen method, but I have a little tip to add. When you are about to purl your 7 nupp loops together on the wrong side, pull your left-hand needle to the right until it is hanging limply and those stitches about to be worked are sitting on the cord of your circular needle instead of on the needle tip itself. You now have vastly more space to slip that right needle through all of those loops and seal the deal on your nupp. You will of course have more distance to travel to get those 7 stitches off the left-hand needle, but it is worth it!

After watching this tutorial, I am anxious to give this technique a whirl next time I am knitting nupps. It requires extra equipment (a crochet hook) but looks quick and dirty!

Easy-Peasy Nupp! Video

No Wrap and Turn Short Rows

One of the perks of knitting a crescent-shaped shawl is the beauty of short rows without the hassle or wrapping and turning! One of the fabulous knitters who graciously tested this pattern told me her tip for short rows. (I still have to work out all the details, but it is worth sharing nonetheless.) The niftiness of this tip is it encourages reckless knitting! You don’t have to pay attention while you’re knitting your short rows because those markers are like little alarms that remind you to do what you’ve got to do. Thanks to Roberta for this one: After you turn your work, place a marker on the right-hand needle. Now you don’t have to pay attention to when you are arriving at your gap to close. On the knit side it is super-handy, because you knit up to the final stitch before the marker, slip the next stitch knit-wise, remove the marker, then slip the next stitch knit-wise and complete your ssk! How cool is that?

If you seek more guidance or goodies, or have a nifty tip you think I could have shared here, please let me know in the comments! Thanks! And Happy Knitting!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

All Season Sleep Sack o' Baby - New Pattern



Sack O’ is a safe, versatile sleep sack for a precious bundle o’ baby. It is safe because it is a blanket that your infant can wear, with no risk of suffocation. Made from a breathable cotton blend, it is great to layer for warmth when it’s chilly out and to bundle up baby just enough in the warmer months. It is completely seamless, knit from the bottom up, and is colorful without complex colorwork or countless ends to weave. It knits up quickly in worsted-weight yarn and is soft and easy to care for when made with a washable and dryable cotton blend.

And you can buy it here: 

Useful Goodies for your All Seasons Sleep Sack O' Baby

All Seasons Sleep Sack O' Baby uses some fun techniques that are handy to have in your knitting bag of tricks. Here are some linkies:

Magic Loop

I am pretty biased when it comes to knitting in the round. It is all about magic loop for this knitter. And for Sack O', I'm not even sure you could find double pointed needles big enough. Even if you could, I recommend using magic loop (or two circular needles). Because, unlike a sock or a sleeve that is perfectly cylindrical, the Sack O' “tube” is flat, with a front and a back, with half the stitches in front and half in back. It is very challenging to try to divide those cast-on stitches by 3 or 4 – it is almost physically impossible! Don’t do it!

For both the written and video links that follow, you want to ignore the instructions for casting on and dividing up stitches and the like. You won’t be casting on to knit an open “tube”. Instead, you will be casting on using Judy’s Magic Cast-On (see below) which starts you off with a “seam” at the “toe”. Your “tube” will be sealed at the bottom!

Knit Picks Magic Loop Written Tutorial




Judy’s Magic Cast-On

Truth be told, I hardly ever use video tutorials. When it comes to Judy’s Magic Cast-On, however, I was about to give up on toe-up socks for good after several attempts to use a written tutorial, when I was miraculously rescued by Cat Bordhi and her video tutorial. (I’ve included the link to Judy Becker’s article in Knitty.com in case you are smarter than I.)




Kitchener Stitch

The seamless seam! It's really not that hard, and a favorite of mine for baby garb - no irritating ridges and bumps.

Crab Stitch

This is just like single crochet, just in the wrong direction. It's not too hard, I promise. I know, some knitters run scared of the hook. If you really, really can't imagine picking up a crochet hook, you can pick up and knit one round and then cast it off. (Personally, that seems like a big hassle.)

Carrying Yarn Along the Edge While Knitting Stripes

I hate weaving in ends. This is a nifty trick to have vibrant color work without all the ends. It is a perfect technique for this project because you will be picking up stitches along the edges, hiding any mess left from twisting your colors.




Anything else I should include? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cooking With Glass (Beads)

I am pleased to report that have gotten my knitting mojo back! I signed up for an exciting lace-weight shawl test knit, and I am knitting with beads for the first time. SO MUCH FUN! And so much easier than making nupps. And so sparkly.

And educational. Did you know that the Czech people are known for glass production, including glass beads? I am not only knitting again, but I am knitting with the materials of my husband's people. It's like it was meant to be.

I am less pleased to report that I have definitely gotten my knitting ADD back along with my mojo. As soon as I finished my Sack O', I responsibly picked up the UFO I left hanging a year ago when I fell victim to my freak hand accident. It was a test knit for the fabulous Vera Sanon: Ricky for All Seasons. It is a summer top and would be incredibly reasonable for me to finish it at this time. And I started down that path. Until I was distracted by the shiny post on the Free Pattern Testers board. And the rest is, sadly, history.

But back to the happy: check it out! I'm cooking with glass!




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stick a Fork in It!

Drum roll please! Dum ta da dum! All Season Sleep Sack o' Baby is done, done, DONE! Done and done. Hecho. Cooked. Stick a fork in this baby. This Mama has a post-freakish-hand-injury FINISHED OBJECT. The real article. An FO of my very own.


Oh, what a relief! I have been feeling terribly guilty - this is the first knitted goody for Baby Isaac, who just turned 6 months. Hopefully I can make up for lost time!

In more exciting news, I wrote up the pattern and am now trying to recruit testers. Onward!

Happy Knitting!