Friday, May 19, 2017

FO Friday: Handspun Aspen Cowl

Between launching a new free hat pattern and celebrating Tyler's birthday (which was on Wednesday), it's been a rather busy week. Also, I totally forgot to share my first guest post from the Interweave blog that went live last Friday - click here to check it out!

Anyway, in the midst of everything, I managed to squeeze in a quick photo shoot for this fun cowl that I recently knit with some of my handspun yarn:
I can't seem to find any record as to what this fiber is, or where I purchased it, since it was spun for a Tour de Fleece long before I stated to keep better records in my spinning notebook. BUT, I can at least tell you what pattern I used: the Aspen Cowl by Andi Javori (note: affiliate link).
This was a fairly easy knitting project, and it was fast, too - I just love patterns like that!. The stitch repeats were easy to "read" as I worked, so a lot of mistakes I would normally make were easily avoided just by taking a minute to count stitches or compare to the previous section.

I didn't do the best job of blocking the edges of the cowl because my favorite blocking tool, the Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers, were in use by a different project at the time. Also, I had to let it dry on the floor of my knitting room, and I kept finding it in slight disarray, no doubt from a certain cat who likes to run through the house a breakneck speed.
However, it lays quite nicely and is easy to wear, plus I love how the colors in the handspun yarn worked up! I had been digging through my bin to find something that would be a suitable substitution for the yarn that was called for in the pattern, and I wasn't totally sure that this skein would be a good match. I'm glad I gave it a try, because I think it turned out great. Two thumbs up!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Jinxproof Hat: Free For a Limited Time!

I'm really excited to introduce the Jinxproof Hat pattern with everyone today, because I've been working on it for what seems like for-EV-er! I started it over the holiday break, but it grew from being just a simple slip-stitch hat pattern in a chunky weight yarn to a choose-your-own-adventure short story that allows you to custom-make a hat based on your preferences and whatever yarn weight you have on hand (sport, worsted, or chunky).

The Jinxproof Hat is available for FREE now through June 15 to anyone who signs up for my newsletter, after which the pattern will be available for $6 in my Ravelry store (Note: if you already subscribe to my newsletter, an email with a free download link will be arriving in your inbox later today - I got your back!!).

I asked the kind folks at Briggs & Little Woolen Mill to supply the yarns for each hat sample. They're Canada's oldest mill and seriously the nicest people ever (full disclosure: I work with them in my day job at Stitchcraft Marketing). I wanted to spotlight their well-made, affordable yarns in a simple hat pattern that looks good on anyone. If you need help sourcing their yarns, I recommend googling "Briggs + Little" plus the name of the yarn you're looking for to find online retailers, or you can call or email them and they will gladly look up your nearest LYS (or take your order over the phone if there's no one nearby).

Here are the yarns and colors used in each of the three hat samples:

Sport Weight: 1 skein each Briggs & Little Lite n’ Fancy 
in Ocean Blue (Color A) and Cream (Color B)

Worsted Weight: 1 skein each Briggs & Little Heritage 
in Light Grey (Color A) and Grape (Color B)

Chunky Weight: 1 skein each Briggs & Little Super yarn 
in Jade (Color A) and Light Green (Color B)

The pattern features instructions that are color-coded your choice of 3 yarn weights; I also include lots of tips for making adjustments to the pattern to suit your own tastes. It's a bottom-up hat that is knit in the round using an easy-to-memorize slip-stitch pattern.

If you follow the instructions exactly, you will have a comfortable fit that doesn't give you crazy hat head; however, I know that some people really like a snugger-fitting hat, and that is completely doable by just going down a needle size from what's recommended in the pattern.

My sample knitting (who is a a superstar) knit TWO versions of the worsted weight size: one as written (the larger sample below) and another one following the same set of instructions but using a smaller needle size (the smaller sample below):

If you are nervous about signing up, don't worry - I don't send very many newsletters out, so I promise I'll only email you if there's something truly noteworthy (for example, when I have a new pattern!). If you decide you just want the pattern and don't want to be on my list, that's fine, too - just unsubscribe and enjoy your free pattern, my feelings won't be hurt!

I hope you'll share your Jinxproof Hats with me on Ravelry or on Instagram using the #JinxproofHat hashtag. Happy knitting!

Friday, May 12, 2017

FO Friday: A Potpourri of Projects

Last weekend, I finished a several crafty projects (all the better to start new ones, right?!). First, some fingerless mitts which used the leftover yarns from the Fade:

The pattern called for US 4 needles and fingering weight yarn, and I thought that might be a little too loose for my liking so I went down a needle size. I should have knit a few more rows to make up for the gauge difference, but that didn't occur to me til I had already grafted both mittens together. There was no way I was going to rip them back to knit a few more rows!

I also finally finished the destash scarf that's been on my loom for several weeks now. All it took was an afternoon baseball game to knock out the final 20 inches of weaving!
Since I was able to get the loom cleared off on Saturday, that left Sunday for warping a new project:

I'm using handspun for both the warp and the weft. The warp is a two-ply Louet Merino and I'll be weaving with a skein of Cloudlover Superwash Merino. I got a little crazy and decided to use the entire width of the heddle since I had so much yardage in both skeins, so I'm expecting a nice-sized wrap.

And, I finally found time to ply together two 4oz singles of Polwarth from Bee Mice Elf that I'd recently spun I bought both braids a month or two ago with the intention of plying them together, but when I spun them into singles they didn't look like they'd go together so well. I decided to try plying them together despite this fact because most of what I think won't work usually ends up looking amazing....and I am quite pleased with the results!

That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by. Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Sleeve Party

This week is all about knitting sleeves! I finished the body of my Rockling Cardigan and started on the sleeves; usually I prefer two-at-a-time, but I just couldn't fathom doing that while managing several giant balls of the bulky yarn I'm knitting with. So, against my better judgement, I am knitting the sleeves one at a time on DPNs - but on the plus side, I finally get to give my Sirka Row Counter a proper test drive!
I'll share more about the Sirka on a later post once I've used it more, but so far I am totally digging it.

Last weekend, I started a baby sweater for one of the few people I will accept commission work from at this point (hint: they are all very closely related to me by blood). I'm knitting a pattern I've used before (Seed Stitch Yoke Cardi) from one of my favorite baby knitting books, 60 Quick Baby Knits. Since a few of my friends are also expecting later this spring/summer, I am hoping this motivates me to knit some more baby stuff already!
I am still working on the handspun cowl from last week, it's gotten just a little bit longer since then:
It's kind of crazy to have the Fade finally off the needles. I need to resist the urge to start another long-term project in its place, since I'd really like to finish the Rockling Cardigan by the end of this month - a task I think is quite doable, but only if I don't get distracted by too many new projects between now and then.

Thanks for stopping by, see you back here on Friday when I share some of my most recently finished projects!

Friday, May 5, 2017

I Finished My Fade!

Shout it from the mountaintops: my Find Your Fade shawl is officially done! Look at how gargantuan this thing is:


I started it on January 2 of this year after being inspired by all of the beautiful color combinations I'd seen posted on Instagram, and realizing that I could probably find 7 skeins of sock yarn within my own stash to make one for myself.

Sure enough, I dove into my stash and found exactly what I needed! Here are the yarns I ended up using, in order:


  1. Koigu KPPPM - Black/White/Grey (they just have color numbers instead of names)
  2. Ancient Arts 80/20 Merino/Nylon Fingering - Russian Blue
  3. Fleur de Fiber Asbury Sock - Dirty Martini
  4. Susquehanna Knitting Company Sparkle Sock - Winter Waves
  5. Hazel Knits Artisan Sock - Aquarius
  6. Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stopper - Drama Queen
  7. Koigu KPPPM - Black/Purple
I'm hoping this becomes my go-to shawl in the fall - or maybe even the spring since it's been on the chillier side here in Chicago. I find small shawls difficult to style sometimes, so the blanket-like size of FYF is definitely appealing.


I'll be sharing more photos on my Ravelry project page and Instagram, if you're interested!

I call this one "shawl monster."

Also, I have quite a bit of yarn left over from most of the skeins, so I'll be adding them to my sock yarn mini skein grab bags here on Etsy! If you enter "Fade me!" in the comments at check out, I will be sure to include some of these yarn colors when you place an order (while they last, of course).

Thanks for stopping by, have a crafty weekend! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

WIP Wednesday: Staying Focused

I've been focusing on the Rockling Cardigan since it's my oldest WIP currently on the needles. I am almost finished with the body of the sweater - last night, I started the final section of ribbing before bind off!


I'm also working on the second destash sideways mitt with my leftover Fade yarn. Currently, it looks like a mess of spaghetti, especially since the first mitt is still on the needles while I figure out a way to graft the ends together and leave a spot for the thumb...a detail I'd neglected to think about when I decided to sub in a provisional cast on. Oops!


One new WIP is joining the mix this week: I started a cowl project with some chunky handspun yarn using the Aspen Cowl pattern by Andi Javori, which you can find here in the Interweave store. (note: affiliate link).


I still have the same project on the loom as last week and I've only added about 10 inches, so there's not much to report on the weaving front. Here's hoping I can find some time to weave this week, because I have so many more weaving project ideas I want to try. So far that's the only downside of weaving - you can only have as many projects in progress as you have looms!

I do have my finished Fade to show off, hope to see you back here this Friday!

Friday, April 28, 2017

FO Friday: Totally Tubular

It seems like forever since I've finished a pair of socks, especially since I've been working on this particular pair since the end of January.


I purchased this dyed-to-order color inspired by Monet's Waterlilies on the Otter sock base from The Fawn and the Fox on etsy. I knew I was going to knit myself a pair of plain vanilla socks with it (pattern is from my brain), with the intention of adding an afterthought heel until I discovered that the heel-less socks fit me quite well.


It took me a long time to decide what to do (put in the afterthought heels or wear them as tube socks?), but someone in my knitting group suggested that I do a little test drive to see if the heel-less sock was comfortable, or if it would move around in my shoes as I walked as tube socks tend to do.

Last week, I finally remembered to do this little experiment, and I wore one of the socks while running errands. It passed the test, so I decided to take out the placeholder yarn and graft the live stitches together to make these into (official) tube socks.


I'm not sure that tube socks will be my new go-to for sock knitting, and I'm curious to see how the socks wear over the heels since they will be stretched a little thin - but it was fun to try something out of the norm, and I'm pretty excited about my new socks!