Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

23
Jul

Sometimes I Make Mistakes

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, WIP, yarn

Sometimes. Not often. But every once in a while, I screw up. I’m just kidding. If you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m kind of a disaster but I don’t like to focus on my faults and, when it comes to knitting, I’m pretty good at making a stumble look like a dance. Usually, I don’t screw up in a big way so I can gloss over it. Nobody has to know. But sometimes I just get myself into a mess and I make mistakes.

Coming off of a knitting high of some recent knit-related ass kicking, I dove right into the BT Men’s lookbook, ready for a new challenge. Like I said, I was immediately itching to make a Timberline for Jon before the release day was over, I’d ordered a box full of Shelter. Since the sweater was for Jon, I asked him to help me pick out a color. I want to make sure he wears this damn thing. He liked the color of the Slade cardigan so I ordered Cast Iron. (I really thought he’d want a cream colored cardigan but he wasn’t excited about that anymore. Boys, always changing their minds!)

The yarn came in two days! I never order just one skein and swatch until I like the yarn and then get the rest later. I am all about instant gratification. I want to swatch for a maximum of 15 minutes and then I want to GET KNITTING. I can’t wait. I am not patient. Knitting is not for the patient! So I ordered 15 skeins.

I started getting into the pattern. It’s 24 pages long (a full page of construction notes, three pages of charts, two pages of cast on instructions, etc). To say the very least, it’s intimidating. I’m not sure why but looking over the charts made me feel dizzy and tired and then laugh maniacally.

But I’m very confident. I can knit anything. I’ve never doubted myself when it comes to following a pattern. I’ve certainly ripped out and messed up before but I can’t remember the last time I looked at a pattern and thought, “I can’t do this.” So I dove right in.

Timberline swatch

I swatched a little bit and I started working up the sleeve and then my worst fears came true. Two things happened: I screwed up some of the cables and I hated the color. I was prepared to frog the piece. It’s not like I haven’t ripped out two days of work before. (We’ve all been there, right?)

So I decided I’d go back and do a bigger swatch to really get a good feeling of the cables. I was really breaking a sweat doing these cables. It was certainly a knitting work out. But the whole time I was looking at the piece thinking that I just wasn’t happy. I know this feeling. I can’t knit a whole sweater with this feeling. The yarn was just too dark to show off the details. It was nice but it wasn’t stunning. I don’t want to put in days and days of work and not get stunning as a result. I won’t even be motivated to finish it.

Last week I decided to exchange the yarn. I’m impatient so it’s super frustrating to have to wait even longer to begin but I think it’s for the best. I’m going to go with Long Johns. I think it would be a better color way, still masculine but bright enough for the cables to really shine. I think it’s the right thing to do.

I made a mistake. Luckily, it’s easy to fix but it’s still a bummer that I have to wait longer before I can get started on this sweater. It’s probably for the best. I have a few projects with loose ends that need tying up (pun intended) before I jump into a big commitment. And, besides, maybe next time I’ll be more careful before I jump in, do more research and really get a feel for the yarn before making a big purchase. And, as always, I need to trust my gut. Jon really liked the dark grey but I knew deep down that it wouldn’t be what I wanted. I’ve got to trust myself!

Do you like to admit your knitting mistakes?

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09
Jul

Famous Knits: Julia Gillard

Written by Sarah. Posted in famous knits, knits, life

Remember how Kate Middleton was looking for knitting tips when she picked up her new hobby? Perhaps she can look down under for some advice! Australia’s MP Julia Gillard is an avid knitter who is reportedly making a little stuffed kangaroo for the royal baby that’s due any day now!

Gillard, the first female Prime Minister, was photographed for The Australian Women’s Weekly with needles in her hands, surrounded by yarn! She says that she likes to knit for babies since she doesn’t have much time to complete big projects. It’s hard enough for me to squeeze in a few hours of stitching after work, I can’t imagine doing the same while running a country!

julia gillard

 

I’ve read some criticism of the spread, some speculate that the photographs were meant to draw in female voters while others go so far as to blame them for the results of last month’s election. There seems to be a lot of opinions on this and it makes me sad that there is controversy here. I won’t pretend that I’m up on Australian politics (I read her Wikipedia page) so I can’t say whether or not I could support Gillard (I mean, there’s definitely points for knitting. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t sway me). But I think it’s absolutely great that she is knitting and that she is open about that.

You have to be kind of a badass lady to help found Emily’s List Australia, lead the Labor Party and become the first female Prime Minister while being an unmarried, childless atheist. Showing that she is a yarnsmith makes her even more courageous. Because a lot of people saw those photos and balked at the idea of a woman knitting baby sweaters being their Prime Minister. The domestic arts have such a stigma, it’s really frustrating. Why should knitting be anything less than fishing or playing football or drinking beer? I doubt there would be so much criticism if she said she liked to take time off and play a few rounds of golf. Maybe the photos did cost her the election but I’m glad she wasn’t afraid to be herself or challenge stereotypes about women in so many ways.

Women can lean in and wear pant suits and run the world. But I think it’s important that while doing these things, we aren’t ashamed or afraid of being women. So we knit and we sew and we cook? In the western world, those things are considered feminine and things that are feminine are silly and undervalued and down-right disrespected. It’s time the world saw that some ass kicking and being a lady goes hand in hand.

Enjoy that stuffed animal, royal baby! It’s truly a special gift!

Would you do a knitting photo shoot if you were running for office? But seriously, what would you knit for the royal baby?

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21
Jun

FO: Poolside Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knits, lace, sweater, yarn

So I’m usually not so bad at getting photos of a FO. Most sweaters I finish and I immediately want to get them photographed. (Can I tell you a secret? I plan photo shoots long before my knits are finished! My neighborhood has so many spots that I can’t wait to use for backdrops.) This time I totally slacked off so I’ve had the Poolside test knit finished for a couple of months. I even wore it for my appearance on Nora Meets the Maker. But there are real legitimate photos now.

poolside

I’m actually glad that I waited to post photos. Since I’ve worn this garment a number of times since completing it, I’ve been able to get a feel for what I like and dislike. Especially since I was trying out something new by knitting with cotton. I now have a full report!

poolside 2

First off, this pattern is gorgeous. The lace is so beautiful. I still love looking at it and I get lots of compliments. Isabell Kraemer’s pattern was a breeze to knit up. It was great travel knitting even though a few times I lost track of my lace and messed up a some spots while I was trying to keep myself from having a panic attack on the plane but I can’t even tell where that happened anymore. I’d love to make another one in a different fiber just to see how it turns out.

I’m also really psyched about this color. It’s kind of purple but not really purple but also kind of grey. Not a color I’d normally choose for myself (really the only color I wear is blue and I’m trying to change that). I’m proud that I switched it up a lot with this project.

poolside 4

Now, to get onto the stuff that I’m not crazy about.

The cotton was a great challenge for me but I’m still not really sold. Sorry, cotton, I just don’t think that plant fibers are really my thing. (That being said, the Blue Sky Alpacas is probably the nicest cotton yarn I’ve felt.) I love that this garment is summery but it’s still heavy and feels like it’s slowly stretching out the more that I wear it. Also, the stitches are still super pronounced and I should definitely have followed the rules and joined new skeins at the beginnings of rows instead of right in the middle of the chest. I learned my lesson there.

I also thought that I was being smart and knit the sleeve edges in reverse stockinette stitch in the round (purling every row) instead of doing faux garter stitch in the round (alternating between knit and purl stitches) as the pattern called for. That was stupid. The reverse stockinette doesn’t look neat and flat like the bottom of the sweater, it is all rolled and bothers the crap out of me. You can really see it in the photo below. I could’ve gone back and ripped it out but I didn’t and probably never will because I tend to never look back. Call me lazy or stubborn, I will pretend it’s some kind of life philosophy.

poolside 3

All in all, I’m super happy with the garment as a comfy, loose spring piece. It’s feminine and cute but it lends itself to my anti-fussy, easy-to-wear wardrobe perfectly. Some of the fitting issues that I have with it, I think, are really in my head. Seeing photos of the garment, it looks nice and not baggy or stretched out. Does that ever happen to you?

So, what’s your verdict? Will you ever love knitting with cotton? What fiber would you use for this sweater?

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13
May

Mother-Daughter Knit-a-long!

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, holiday, knit-a-long, knits, sweater, WIP, yarn

You may have read about it on the twitter already but I have a cool announcement today! In honor of yesterday being Mother’s Day, I am working on a mother-daughter knit a long.

My mom taught me how to knit when I was in fourth grade (and then again when I wanted to get back into it when I was in high school). She is a great knitter. She made me so many things growing up and I’ve always been inspired by the way she picks up her needles to shoot off gifts for just about everyone that’s expecting. I come from a family of crafty women and I owe this blog and everything I’m doing now to their awesomeness.

So we’re knitting together! My mom requested that we knit the Stonecutters cardigan. Being a fan of Amy Christoffers must run in the family! I’m also very excited to knit one of Amy’s patterns for this because she’s a mom, too! I’m going to knit with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Wool Socks. My mom will cast on Berroco Brookstone Tweed in Marsh. It was awesome fun texting with my mom, debating over yarn choice and chatting on the phone about colors. We’ll have two matching garments that represent ourselves. It’s going to be really fun!

mothersdaykal

 

I am lucky to have such an amazing mother who has taught me so many things. Although she sometimes drive me crazy, she always makes me laugh. She always seems to have that random button or recipe that I need and I’m always learning from her.  I’ve always been in awe of how hilarious an creative she is. She is my number one fan and I can’t thank her enough for all of her support. I’m so excited to be part of her first KAL!

I’ll be updating here about my and my mom’s progress on our cardigans!

Have you ever knit with an important lady in your life?

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24
Apr

WIP: Poolside Test Knit

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, sweater, WIP

When I saw Isabell Kraemer’s Poolside top, I was bummed that the pattern hadn’t been released. It was one of those pieces that I instantly wanted to make. So I told her so and Isabell asked me if I’d like to test knit it. I love sneak peeks and previews so I was really excited to get in on the action ahead of time.

poolside test
I wasn’t going to post a WIP for this project but since the pattern’s been released, I wanted to take some quick photos to show off how beautiful it is. As you probably saw before, I’m using the Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I’m loving it. I got a lot of work done on it on my trip to Chicago. A few hours of plane knitting put a good dent in the project.

poolside test 2

The lace part of the body was so much fun to work on. I was worried about how it would hold up using the cotton yarn but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. I’m sure blocking will really make it smooth. I’m almost finished with the sleeves so I will have more updates for you soon!

What are your thoughts on cotton lace?

ps. Just a few days left to enter the Craftsy giveaway!

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02
Apr

Stashed: Yarns from the Second City

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, travel, yarn

Let me preface this post by saying that not all of these yarns were actually produced in Chicago. What I mean by the title of this post is that I bought these skeins while I was on my trip. I might’ve gone overboard. But I like to give my money to local yarn stores even when they’re not local to me. I want to help make sure that they stick around for my sister knitters! It’s my duty. Also, I was on vacation. And my mom always says that I can buy whatever I want when I’m on vacation. She’s smart.

stash chicago 2

On my second day in Chi-town, I visited Loopy Yarns. They have a whole room for hand dyed and hand painted yarns. That’s where I spent most of my time. I was really drawn to the Miss Babs yarns. I hadn’t seen any of it in person. All of the colorways were really gorgeous and unique. As is true for my form, I decided to get a skein of sock yarn. (As I’ve said before, I like to buy sock yarn when I’m buying stash enhancements since I can usually at least get a pair of socks out of it. There’s usually enough yardage for one pair so I don’t have to splurge on multiple skeins. I feel like I can buy a tasting, if you will, of yarns. And it actually gets used instead of just living in my stash for forever.) It’s a really soft merino yarn. Once I’d picked my favorite, about three other women came in and one after the other announced, “I heard you just got some Miss Babs! I’m here for the Miss Babs!” I knew I’d made the right choice. I think I might make Jon a pair of socks with this salmon color. I know what you’re thinking but I think pink socks look awesome on men! (Exhibits AB, and C.)

I was just going to stop at the skein of Miss Babs but in the sale section I saw this Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace. I had to buy it. (Also Jon said I should treat myself. He’s smart, too.) Aside from the price and it being a beautiful skein of silk and merino, Lorna’s Laces is based in Chicago so how could I not buy a Chicago yarn so close to the source? (Side note: I would have loved to have seen their studio but I’m not sure if they do any tours/visits. If I’m ever back I’ll have to explore that. Their yarns are so pretty, I’d love to just give them a high five.) I don’t really knit lacey lace things so I was hoping the yarn might inspire me. I’m thinking about making Jared Flood’s Rock Island shawl with it because that thing is gorrrrgeous and designed around this yarn.

stash chicago

When I visited Nina, I was having so much fun looking at all of their yarns that I almost forgot to buy something. I know that sounds silly but their shop felt more like an art gallery than a store (I mean that in the best way!) so I didn’t want to disturb any of the yarns. I was also having a post-brunch buzz (banana bread french toast is a thing, everyone, and it tastes as ridiculous as it sounds) so I was having a tough time deciding. All of their yarns are beautiful. For some reason I was really drawn to a basket of Schoppel (Skacel) merino sock yarn. I guess I have a thing for merino sock yarn. This is just a wide self-striping yarn in shades of blue and grey, nothing too crazy.

I really liked that the tag has this big red warning that says, “Stricken kann suchtig machen!” which is German for “Knitting can be addictive!” Now you tell me!

All in all, I’m really happy with my yarn purchases. I don’t buy post cards or magnets or anything (I was looking for local honey but no luck!) so these are perfect souvenirs!

What kind of souvenirs do you like to buy when you travel? (My mom’s favorite is playing cards!)

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27
Mar

Equality for All!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, life, want

I think knitting can and should be political but I try not to do that too much here. This is a happy place for yarn and socks. But I can’t be happy making socks until justice has been served. I don’t know how the SCOTUS will rule but I can only join in with my friends around the country who agree that it’s time for marriage equality. While there is still a lot of work to be done to make this country truly equal for everyone, it hurts me to see so many of my best friends living without some very basic rights.

My parents come from different faiths. While it’s hard to compare their marriage to current events, I’ve always felt a kinship with those who are not in traditional relationships. I learned from my mom and dad early on that family doesn’t have a strict definition as long as there is love.

equality

I made this little rainbow to show support for marriage equality in my own, yarny way. Let’s spread the love.

Knitters for equality!

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22
Mar

Unleavened Skeins

Written by Sarah. Posted in holiday, knits, that gif post, yarn

Passover is beginning soon. Are you getting prepared? It’s one of the most important Jewish holidays and it’s one of my favorites for these reasons: a) the story is epic, b) the Rugrats made a really good  holiday episode, c) you’re supposed to drink a lot (like, a lot, guys), and d) it’s supposed to be very personal. It’s the story of how our ancestors escaped slavery in Egypt. And when I was a kid, I wanted to be an Egyptologist so the whole Jews building pyramids thing was pretty exciting.

Here’s the story of Passover and my ancestors (I imagine they look like me but with way more epic eye make up).

We were slaves in Egypt. It sucked. Moses came and was all, LET MY PEOPLE GO which is probably the best catchphrase ever. The Pharaoh was all like, “No Way, Jose.” Then the ten plagues happened, yadda yadda yadda.

When the Pharaoh told the Israelites that they were free to leave Egypt, they left as fast as they could. They knew he was kind of a fickle bitch and was constantly changing his mind. Like, one day he would be like, “Guys, this is where I the pyramid should go,” and then halfway through building it, he’d be all, “I think it would actually look better over there. Don’t you think it’d look better over there?” And then they’d have to go and start all over again.

So when the Jews were freed, they hauled ass out of there. They packed up so quickly, they didn’t even wait for their bread dough to rise! That’s why we eat matzah. (Don’t have any idea what the geflite fish is all about. Don’t ask.) My ancestors packed up so quickly that they didn’t even wait to finish all of their WIPs! They just took whatever stash yarn they could carry and GTFO. Moses was all like, “Um, I don’t think you’re going to need a scarf in the desert” but they were all like, “It’s not a scarf, it’s a 10 Commandments cozy. By the way, did anyone pack stitch markers? I left all of my notions in Egypt.”

Then, the whole Egyptian army showed up because the Pharaoh had changed his mind (so predictable, this guy!) and so they were all like chasing the Jews to the sea. My ancestors were like, “Oh crap, I don’t think salt water is very good for wool.” But Moses was all, “Guys, don’t worry. I have a plan.” And, guess what. He OPENED UP THE SEA so everyone would just walk across. I know, crazy right? And when they got to the other side, all of the Egyptians drowned and the day was saved.

And somebody was like, “Hey did anybody bring a map?” and my ancestors were like, “I have a pattern for a nemes. Would that help?” And Moses was all like “OMG WE’RE GONA BE IN THIS DESERT FOREVS.”

The end.

passover

Lion Brand Alpine Wool in Oatmeal

Anyway, the point of this story is that, just as we eat unleavened matzahs to commemorate our ancestors time in Egypt, I will knit with matzah-like yarns to commemorate my ancestors who were probably walking around the desert like, “Are we there yet? I’m hot. Golden donkey? How about a golden sheep? Maybe it can send more yarn.”

This unleavened yarn will probably make you a lot less constipated than matzah.

Happy Passover!

ps. If you stuck it out and read this whole story, you’re a real champ. It was ridiculous but I made myself laugh.

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18
Mar

Cotton Yarn

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, yarn

Friday, I had a box of yarn waiting for me when I got home. It feels like Christmas when yarn is delivered, even if I know what’s in the package. I just can’t wait to rip it open and wind it up and then hide it from my boyfriend before he yells, “More yarn!?” as if he thinks I have “enough yarn.”

I can’t tell you much about what I’m making with it (I’m test knitting a pattern that I’m really enjoying so far) but I can tell you about the yarn!

blue sky

I’ve got a bunch of Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Dyed Cotton. (Isn’t my yarn bowl pretty!? It was a gift from Jon’s brother and his fiancee. I’d never wanted one before but I’m a fan now!) I really love the color of this yarn. It actually looks like a building that I always look at out our living room window, kind of grey but a little purple too.

blue sky cotton

This year I’m all about mixing it up. I’m trying to work with new fibers and brands. I never knit with cotton. The test knit I’m making is more of a spring-time pattern (think 3/4 sleeve) so I decided that using this 100% organic cotton might suit it well. I honestly have never really liked cotton yarns, though I have to admit I haven’t worked with them that often. I love Blue Sky Alpacas, though. Their yarns always seem to take things to the next level. Like their Techno yarn which is thick and bulky but somehow also light and fluffy! I hoped that I’d find a similar surprise from this yarn.

And I have to say that I’m enjoying working with the skinny dyed cotton. I’m not a cotton convert yet but I like that it’s lightweight with a nice drape like some bamboo yarns I’ve worked with. It seems to hold its shape without being stiff like other cottons I’ve used before. The only thing I’ve had trouble with (which is not exclusive to this yarn, just the nature of cotton) is how fibrous it feels. It makes it a little tough to work with and sometimes I’m catching some of the ply of the yarn with some stitches. Okay, the other thing that makes it not my favorite is that it’s not soft the way that alpaca or silk or merino is. It’s different.

I can’t wait to work with this yarn more. The pattern is going to get much more exciting. And I can’t wait to reveal it to you!

Do you like cotton yarns? What’s your favorite fiber?

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13
Mar

FO: Fluted Cowl

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, FO, gift, knits

I don’t often knit for other people. That probably sounds selfish but every sweater pattern I like, I want to wear. I’ve also found it tough to make sure things fit for someone who isn’t standing in front of me. Mostly, I like to wear the things that I put time into. I should really break that habit since I’m a process knitter. I could really be working on anything for anybody and be happy. But I mainly knit for myself.

Well I made this cowl and it wasn’t for me.

fluted cowl

A few weeks ago, Jon’s grandmother saw a hat that I made (pattern coming soon!) and she just loved it. She was asking me a bunch of questions about it. She also asked me to give her a recipe for cookies that I’d baked and I was just so flattered that Jon’s grandmother who makes that delicious Israeli coffee meringue cake was asking me for a recipe, I just about died. After she left, Jon turned to me and said, “You should really knit something for my grandma. She’d really like it. Her birthday’s coming up. I can buy the yarn.”

To which I replied, OKAY. (I mean, he’s such a good boychick, am I right?!)

fluted cowl 2

I had a few ideas in mind but I needed something that was simple and quick since I had about a week to make the whole thing. I decided on the Purl Bee Fluted Cowl which is freaking gorgeous. (I love the drama of the sample on their site!) And I used Purl Soho’s new Supersoft Merino which is the squooshiest, softest, most delicious yarn ever. (You can probably tell that since the photos where I’m modeling it it just looks like a big blob of yarn porn. It’s fantastic.) This is the second thing I’ve knit with the peacock colorway. It’s fantastic.

fluted cowl 3

It took me a long time to get used to the stitch pattern but it’s simple. It’s hard to tell where you left off just by looking at it. I think most of my trouble came knitting on size 17 needles. (And then I went back to knitting my colorwork sweater on size 3s and, boy, were my hands confused! It’s like after you ride a bike for a really long time and then try walking but your legs still want to pedal.) I decided to cast on 128 stitches for a shorter cowl since I didn’t have time to make the longer version. Shorter seemed more practical, too. I was terrified I’d twist the stitches when I joined in the round. But I didn’t! I really love how both sides are different but work together. I really want to make one for myself. It’s so soft and warm!

Happy birthday to Jon’s grandmother! I hope she wears the cowl in good health (as my grandpa would say).

Do you like to knit for other people or yourself? Have you tried out the Super Soft Merino?

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