Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Baby it's getting cold outside

The trees are changing, the rain has settled in, and the air is brisk. Winter is on its way. What do you like about this time of year? I like that it's not too cold yet, but it's cool enough to start pulling out the headwear, maybe some fingerless mitts, or even a cowl or two.

As a matter of fact, I saw today two of my co-workers sporting neckwear. One had mysteriously received a hand knit scarf (which she came to my cubicle to thank me); I laughed and said it wasn't me who gave it to her, but it was obviously someone who knew her well, because it was in her favorite color (purple) and it just so happened to match her outfit today. I myself have just started my gift giving knitting so I haven't had any time to finish a scarf yet.

The other co-worker had on a pretty mustard colored cowl that her mom made for her last year. It was a very nice pattern and I remember admiring it last year when I saw her wear it for the first time. This co-worker's mom is a great knitter and she knits so fast. She made a lovely turquoise colored cable scarf too last year, but didn't have time to make a matching hat, so my co-worker asked me if I would make one to go with her scarf. She bought the yarn, I showed her some designs, she picked one and I knitted it for her. She loved it and wore them together to work and they complimented each other so well. The hat design she picked was this kind of swirl pattern beret called Reverie designed by Amy Swenson in the Knitty Spring 2009 edition. You can see three examples of this beret on my Hats page.

I'm currently working on a cowl for a friend in a worsted weight yarn in a pink and white blended color. I got the yarn from another friend who decided to give up on a scarf she had started several years ago. I frogged the garter stitch scarf and decided to make the Mesh Cowl (designed by Sarah Bass) that I found in 60 Quick Knits from America's Yarn Shops. It's a quick and easy pattern and I've nearly completed it. I can't wait to give it to my friend, she loves all things pink so I'm sure this will be a great addition to her wardrobe.

When I'm done with this cowl, I'll finish the UW reversible cup coaster that I designed.

I got inspired after I finished a 12th Man Seahawks reversible cup coaster that I designed and made last month.

I used double knitting (here you will find tons of videos on how to double knit) technique which for the 12th Man coaster was a little difficult because I had to work the pattern backwards on the opposite side. But it came out pretty good.

I'd like to make some more fingerless mitts this year to give as gifts. I've found a few patterns I like but I would like to know if you have a favorite pattern you like to use when you make fingerless mitts. What do you like about this pattern? How many pairs of fingerless mitts have you made using this pattern? Looking forward to hearing from all you knitters and crocheters out there.

Happy knitting!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's that time again...Holiday Knitting

I love this time of year when the trees start to change color and there is a briskness in the air, not too cold yet, but you know the colder weather is coming.

It's also the time of year when I like to get started on my holiday knitting. Earlier this year I had hit a knitting slump that lasted until about early August. I'm now actually looking forward to knitting this holiday season. Taking that break was what I needed and it has now motivated me to make some gifts for family and friends and not struggle to complete product knitting that I have to have ready for a show. I can finally get to some of my long awaited projects that have been sitting on needles begging to be finished and some new ones I've discovered that I'm itching to try.

I wasn't totally without knitting these last few months. I took a break and didn't participate in any spring shows, or Farmer's Markets over the summer, therefore, I wasn't knitting to meet some deadline or to keep up with product. I just knitted for the pure enjoyment of knitting and I really did start to enjoy it again.

I wanted to make something that was fun and frivolous, so I searched and searched until I came across a pattern by Kimberly Kwon who has so many fun designs to choose from, but I settled on the Stash Busting Monster, because it didn't call for a lot of yarn and I had some yarn I wanted to use that I purchased at a summer garage sale. It was really nice quality yarn (Zitron Noblesse) that only cost $1.50 a skein, but there was only two skeins of it. Not letting that deter me from my goal I headed to my LYS to find two more colors of this same yarn, unfortunately, they only had one color, so I picked that up and substituted another brand (Austermann Alpaca Silk) in red for the face, hands, and feet. I also came across some unique buttons to sew to the front of my monster. In no time at all I had my little monster done, so meet Buttons, he's a little smaller than the pattern suggested due to the yarn weight I used, but I still think he's really cute.

One of my favorite patterns that I tried was the Caribou Bear from the Caribou Critters pattern, by CiD Hanscom. The pattern called for Caribou yarn which was very soft and fluffy and you stranded it together with a DK weight yarn called Simplicity, both by Hikoo by Skacel. I hit a few rough spots along the way due to the long eyelash strands of the Caribou wrapping around my needles as I was knitting, but the end result was well worth it, which is Harry who is sporting his very own WSU colored scarf (he's a big Cougars fan!)

I also had some fun making the Pint Sized Pines by Julie Tarsha, which uses wine bottle corks as the base of the tree. I had intended to make these last year to give as gifts, but I hadn't collected enough wine bottle corks, so with help from friends who were happy to save their corks for me over the holidays last year, I have a nice colledtion of corks to make these to give as gifts.

My first attempt came out really well, but looked kind of plain because I used a solid colored yarn, so my next attempt I added beads along the way and I got a totally different look.

Solid green that I used kind of made the tree
look unfinished.
Adding some beads gave it a more
finished look - like a decorated
Christmas tree.

I've made two of the beaded versions of the Pint Sized Pines. I really like that they look like little decorated Christmas trees. I'm going to make more to give as gifts for my co-workers. I like giving handmade items and they are always appreciated by the recipients.

I designed my own adult headbands after seeing a really awesome one worn by one of my knit buddies at knit night. She told me she used a bookmark pattern and added i-cord ties to the ends! That was such a clever idea so I decided to give it a try, but instead of using a bookmark pattern I searched through my pattern books and found two designs in The Knitter's Bible that I liked and gave it a shot.

This one is called the Vine Pattern

This one is called the Dainty Chevron Pattern
I added i-cords ties on the ends and there you have it and easy peasy headband you can tie behind your head so you can make it as tight or as loose as you want. These will probably be Christmas gifts for two of my nieces. They will be unique headband that none of their friends will have!

I also finally finished the gingham dress that I started last year to go with the knitted doll I completed last November to give to my grandniece for Christmas. But I didn't have any clothes made for the little doll, so I held off on sending her to my grandniece Tatiana. But her dress is done and I will be adding some shoes and maybe another skirt and sweater, so that Tatiana can have fun dressing and undressing her.
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