Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Where Did November Go?

I can't believe that December 1 is tomorrow - where did this month go (or this year, for that matter)?! It's a good thing I am not relying heavily on myself to make gifts for everyone on my list this year - if that were the case, I would be panicking right about now. Instead, I am relying heavily on my Amazon Prime membership to get the job done, and there are only a few handmade gifts on my to-do list for this year. All in all, I am not feeling terribly stressed, at least not for this reason!

Over the weekend, I finished the first Berlin sock and started #2:


I also have been working on the Matchmaker shawl once more, now that the Curls 2 project is off the needles:


That reminds me - time is running out to enter my Curls 2 giveaway (details here if you missed how to enter). I'll be announcing the winner this Friday, Dec. 2!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Free Pattern: Quick Crochet Mitts

I have another free pattern out this month on the Knitter's Pride blog! You can whip up these Quick Crochet Mitts in just a few hours using the easy-to-follow instructions on this blog post.


I used a 20.00mm crochet hook and a skein of Briggs & Little Super to make this project, and you can probably get two more pairs of mitts out of the same skein - so it's not only fast, but also affordable! 


Friday, November 25, 2016

FO Friday: Perfidy

Fresh off the needles is my first project from Hunter Hammersen's newest book, Curls 2, which I reviewed at the start of this week (click here if you missed it). My giveaway to win a print copy of the book is still open, so be sure to check out this post to find out how you can enter!


I was really pleased with how this shawl turned out, and it was my first time knitting with Sweet Georgia's Bulletproof sock yarn. It's a very soft and luxurious yarn that also stands up well to a lot of frogging - which is good, because I ended up ripping out quite a bit of work along the way due to operator error (counting is hard, ok?!?).


The drape is really lovely, and the stitch definition is nice and crisp...but my favorite part is that I only have this much of the skein left over:


Being able to knit until you run out of yarn might be the true genius of the Curls patterns, other than the fact that they're generally easier to style than other shawl shapes. Now I just need to resist starting a new one this weekend....

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Whittling Down

The startitis mania has died down a bit (I hope) - over the weekend, I was able to focus on finishing my first project from Curls 2, which I reviewed earlier this week - click here if you missed it, there is also a giveaway!

Now I've set my sights on the Woolly Wormhead hat since it will probably the next project come off the needles.


Tyler's socks are coming along, too!


I haven't picked up most of my other projects in a while -  the bulky weight cardi (which would probably be done by now if I had been working on it regularly), stripey angora wrap, the matchmaker shawl, etc. etc....but perhaps I can give some of those projects my attention over the holiday weekend (if I can resist starting new projects, that is). 

Thanks for stopping by - wishing my US friends a safe & happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Curls 2 by Hunter Hammersen

Earlier this year, I was sent two copies of Curls 2, the newest book of shawl knitting patterns by Hunter Hammersen. One copy has already found a treasured place in my knitting library, but the second one will be given away to one lucky blog reader (keep reading to find out how you can enter).


If you're already familiar with the first Curls book (see my review here), then you already know the deal: each pattern is customizable for any yarn gauge or yardage, and they produce a shawl shape that is gentle curved on each end - it's probably best described as an asymmetrical shawl, because you begin with the smallest number of stitches and increase regularly clear up until you bind off.

Since each shawl is knit with the same formula, it's best to check out the Anatomy of a Curl section at the start of the book to help you understand the patterns themselves, which are mainly driven by the cleverly color coded charts and their accompanying color-coded schematics (all of which are explained clearly in this section of the book). This section is particularly handy if you want to modify any of the designs.

There are 14 designs total, each knit in gray yarn - I can recall the post on Hunter's blog where she shared several gray swatches and hinted at what was to come of them - I am pretty excited to see it carried through to completion, since I am also a lover of gray yarn. As far as I can tell, all of the pattern names are synonyms for one another, leaning towards some of the more fun/fanciful word choices (Taradiddle, Perfidy, Equivocation). By my count, there are 9 lacy patterns and 5 textured/cabled stitch patterns total.


As in the first Curls book, it looks like the patterns in this book are arranged from simplest to most complex. For the purposes of this review, I wanted to have at least one project knit from the book, and I had originally started Prevarication, which is the third pattern in the book. For some reason, I just couldn't get the hang of it, and it wasn't due to any shortcomings in the pattern; you know how sometimes you just can't stop messing something up despite your best efforts? That was me with this pattern - I think I've just been very distracted this fall in general...

Anyway, I ended up frogging that and restarting Perfidy, which is the 5th pattern in the book - and while I did make a few mistakes here and there which I had to rip back and fix, on the whole, I had a lot more success with this design - here it is blocking:


I'll be sharing the finished photos this Friday once I get a chance to take modeled shots. I am super pleased with how it turned out, and I would definitely give Prevarication another try if I knew that I had a quiet month without travel/holidays/etc ahead of me; I think the internal pressure I put on myself to hurry up and finish the project for this review probably didn't help either, so I am not willing to give up on that pattern just yet. It's so pretty!

The other patterns in my queue are Equivocation:


...and Chicanery:

Trickery looks like it's earned its name a bit, by that texture is pretty hard to resist:


Here are some other things you need to know: each print copy of the book comes with a download code so you can get the PDF version. You also have the option to buy the PDF only, if you prefer.

It's available directly from Pantsville Press or via Ravelry and also on Amazon (perfect for adding to your holiday wish list)!

Giveaway Time! 

As promised, one lucky winner will get a print copy of Curls 2. To be eligible in the drawing, just leave a comment saying which pattern from the book you'd like to knit (see them all here); be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that I can contact you if you win.

I'd also appreciate it if you followed me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, though that is not a requirement for entry/ I also recommend signing up for my newsletter, which I send out only when there is something newsworthy (such as a new pattern or blog giveaway).

I'll randomly select a winning comment to announce here on my blog on Friday, December 2. Also, this contest is open to people worldwide. Good luck!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Free Pattern Friday

On Wednesday, I mentioned that I had 2 new free patterns that I'd neglected to share here. Oops! The first one is really more of a tutorial, and I'm afraid I missed the "timely" boat since Halloween is long since over:
You could just as easily make it in non-Halloween colors, or even a Winter/Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus palette, if you dared. Also, if anyone knows what constitutes a Festivus color palette, I'm all ears.

You can favorite/queue the pattern here on Ravelry, or visit the Hobium blog here for the free tutorial.

Next, I designed a chunky pair of knit mitts using Briggs & Little Super yarn and some truly enormous knitting needles:


You can favorite/queue the pattern here on Ravelry, or visit the Knitter's Pride blog here for the free pattern.


BONUS! There is a giveaway to win the yarn & needles for this project (pictured above) which is open through Midnight CST on 11/24/16 - click here to enter!

I've got two more patterns slated to come out this year in conjunction with other people, and I am also hoping to release one more hat pattern this year for last-minute holiday gift knitting emergencies. I promise I'll be a little bit better about sharing said patterns in a timely fashion when they come out.

Thanks for stopping by - have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WIP Wednesday: 9's a Crowd

I started a few projects since last week, but I promise that I had really good reason for doing so. For instance, I realized that I had just one gift knitting project I needed to make, and that time was running out to knit said project if I was going to ship it to the intended recipient prior to Christmas. Also, one of my Spinzilla prizes arrived - a custom set of Kollage needles from my team host, Louet North America, who is the new owner of this needle company. All signs pointed to starting a new project!

(note: close up shot to avoid spoiling the surprise)

Here's another photo of my fancy customized needles:


If you're a bit jealous, you don't have to be - you can get your own customized set in 2017!

I also started a hat because I wanted an instant gratification project - and Woolly Wormhead did a one-day promo last week offering a free pattern with a coupon code. I ended up buying an additional pattern along with this on in my small bid to pay it forward for her random act of kindness.


With the crazy political turmoil of last week, I was happy to have this vanilla sock to work on, which got a Fish Lips Kiss Heel in the last week. Soothing, simple knitting ALWAYS has my vote.


That leaves 6 other projects on the needles or hook which I am actively ignoring....I think I have set a personal best for active WIPs!

Consequently, I have no FO's to share this Friday, but I do have a few new (free!) patterns which recently came out on other channels that I forgot to blog about here, so I'll be sharing them with you later this week. See you then!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fiber Friday - Baseball & Knitting DO Mix!

These past few weeks have been more exciting than usual here in Chicago, and I've been trying like mad to get the goofy "Go Cubs Go" song out of my head. It's unavoidable here since the Cubs won the World Series (and, let's face it - for the entirety of the postseason).

While my parents were in town, we made the pilgrimage to Wrigleyville to get a taste of those wonderful postseason vibes. I'd heard that people had been leaving their well wishes in chalk on the brick walls surrounding Wrigley Field, and the rumors were true!


There was also an enterprising soul offering photo ops with Millie the Good Luck Goat (if you're not aware of all the crazy goat-related superstition previously held by Cubs fans, click here), which I couldn't resist. See! We're getting into knitting-related territory, so hang with me!


The true delight came when we walked around to the main marquee on Clark & Addison:


No, I don't mean that - though seeing those words is absolutely amazing....but on our way, we passed a really awesome crocheted yarn bomb that kind of stole the show:


My other favorite thing was all of the Bill Murray love (and the Wu-Tang W!):



So, full disclosure - I am not normally a Cubs fan, though I've been rooting for them in the postseason this could I not, I've called Chicago home for the past 11 years - and it doesn't hurt that they have a former KC Royal on their roster, Ben Zobrist. But I am, first and foremost, a Royals fan - when I was a kid, I grew up watching them with my family (I grew up in KC) and I do remember when they won the World Series in 1985, and I did have quite an impressive collection of baseball cards (which are probably somewhere in my parents' attic still). After the baseball strike and all of the doping scandals, I totally lost interest....I think a lot of us did.

Over the last couple of years, I've gotten back into baseball; the Royals making it to the World Series twice in a row (and winning it all in 2015) came at a time when I desperately needed to find some non-knitting interests. I still remember finishing the sleeves for this sweater the night that the Royals won it all in Game 5. It never gets old to see grown men jump up and down like it's Christmas.

I haven't lived in Kansas City since I was in my early twenties, but I still enjoy rooting for my hometown team, though I am psyched for the Cubs and pretty happy that they won (sorry, Cleveland fans, but the Indians really beat up the Royals this it was a bit satisfying to see a little karma payback in the WS). And as much as I love living and breathing yarn and fiber 24/7, for my own personal sanity, it's really best if I allow myself to spend time enjoying non-yarny pursuits since my job and my main hobby are virtually one and the same.

If you're not a "sports ball" fan, I applaud you for sticking with me for the entirety of this post (assuming you made it down this far). Your reward is one of my favorite scenes from the IT Crowd, which probably describes how you are feeling right now:

Don't worry, I used to feel the same way! Thanks for indulging me, next week I'll be back to the yarn/fiber/knitting content I know you want to see!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WIP Wed: Monotonous Monogamy

Same projects, different week! I haven't been knitting as much since last Wednesday due to two factors: 1) I finally gave in and started playing Pokemon Go, and I've been walking around catching Pokemon and breathing fresh air more than I usually do (and thus my knitting time has been reduced). 2) my parents were in town last weekend and we did a lot of running around the city, but I can't say I did very much knitting along the way.


So, the progress I made on all of my WIPS is marginal at best. I won't bore you with too many of the details, other to say that I noticed a few can't-live-with-them mistakes in the restarted Curl & had to rip back 12 rows, which means that I am basically at the same exact place as last week on that project....and all of my other WIPs are basically in a stasis since last week.

This weekend looks to be very quiet & mellow & (I hope!) full of uninterrupted knitting time. Next week's WIP update should be way more interesting!

Friday, November 4, 2016

FO Friday: Inherited Knitting

In September when my grandmother passed away, and I inherited a garter stitch scarf that she had started but never finished.  She was just barely one-fourth of the way through, so I had quite a ways to go to finish what she started. Since I'm not really a rectangular scarf knitter these days, I was worried that I would let this languish, so I decided to keep it in my office so that I could sneak in a few rows during conference calls or whenever my laptop was restarting. 

This ended up being a good idea, because less than two months later, it's off the needles! I'm not sure who I'll be gifting it to just yet; I'm even toying with the idea of keeping it for myself (more than a few Instagram peeps have cast their vote in favor of this and we all know that the internet is never wrong). 


I'm a little sad to have finished this since it was a nice way to connect with her daily as I knit on it, but I do have plenty of mementos in my house which remind me of her on a daily basis, unfinished knitting project or no.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WIP Wednesday: One Last Trip for 2016

I took 3 projects with me on this past weekend's trip to visit my nephews in Portland: First, I started a new pair of socks using one of the skeins of yarn I bought in Berlin earlier this year and some 9" Nova Platina fixed circs. No pattern needed, just a 2x2 cuff and plain vanilla stockinette the rest of the way. I'm just about ready to start the heel, I just need to decide between OMG or Fish Lips Kiss. 


This ended up being my main project, though I did also log some time on my Tibetan Dream matchmaker - on the plane ride home I broke into the second color:


I also had the seraphim stripes project as a backup, though it didn't see much action, and though my home projects have been progressing steadily, they aren't noticeably different from the last time I shared them. Instead, I'll share this photo of me with both of my awesome nephews!