Sunday, July 09, 2017

Classic Knit Shawls

Hey, everyone! It's time for another book review! Classic Knit Shawls is a collection of 20 beautiful shawl patterns from the Interweave archives, and like any good collection, the editors made it so difficult to choose a favorite. They're all just plain gorgeous! So my approach was to imagine I had infinite knitting time and plan out several of my top picks.


First, there's Junius by Corrina Ferguson. It's so cozy and wrap-up-able, don't you think? It calls for 960 yards of sport weight, which I do not have in stash, sadly, at least not all in one color. So if I were to knit this, I'm thinking I might create a manual gradient effect using four neutral hues of Classic Elite MountainTop Vail (Parchment, Sand, Adobe, and Camel).

Classic Knit Shawls

Next, I came across Diospyros by Andrea Jurgrau. This long, lacy, beaded stole feels so elegant. Though it doesn't quite meet the prescribed 800 yards, I would love to knit this up with my ball of Cascade Yarns Forest Hills in Silver, and maybe throw in these tiny pearl beads to add to that air of elegance.

Classic Knit Shawls

Then I turned (well, swiped) to the very next page and found Carol Feller's Orangery. I loved the way these colorful ripples felt playful and, at the time, still sophisticated by keeping the colors tonal. I'm sure I could mix and match a few different brands in my stash to make up the 1275 yards of fingering weight for this pattern, but since we're just daydreaming here, I would adore this shawl in a mix of pinks and oranges, like Manos del Uruguay Serena in Hummingbird, Flamingo, and Canyon. Unfortunately, I only have 510 yards of this sport weight yarn, so not even close. But I maintain it makes a gorgeous hypothetical shawl in my head.

Classic Knit Shawls

Corrina Ferguson had another winner in this collection with the Lale shawl. I thought its sweet floral motif would be fantastic in the Fern Green colorway of Louet Gems Fingering. Again, the weight is all wrong - the pattern calls for 675 yards of DK yarn - but with 924 yards of this fingering weight yarn, I bet I could work more repeats of the motif to scale it up a bit.

Classic Knit Shawls

And a second score for Andrea Jurgrau as well with The Purple Shawl. She must love beaded lace, huh? Not that I blame her. If I were to cast on right now, I would use my skein of Heavenly Fingering by The Uncommon Thread in their Azurite colorway. And it's spot on with 440 yards compared to the pattern's recommended 430. To offset the in-your-face blue, I'd keep it simple with little silver glass beads.

Classic Knit Shawls

Manda Shah's Trillium caught my eye also. It looks like the perfect autumn shawl, so I pulled out my Phoenix Rises gradient set of Luxe from The Unique Sheep. Unfortunately, I'd be short-changing myself again with only 600 yards of fingering weight, a good bit shy of the 770 yards needed to knit up this beauty, but hey, this is my fantasy world, so don't judge.

Classic Knit Shawls

Lastly, there was Emmylou, a third home run for Corrina Ferguson. She might be cheating with the orange though. She knows my weakness. To prove I am not a slave to my knitting urges, I would instead go with a pretty purple-red, Madelinetosh Sock in Sun Rose. I'm hoping the sample didn't use every last inch of that 400 yards though, so my 395 yards would still get the job done.

Classic Knit Shawls

Boy, if I could knit as fast as my imagination can, there'd be no stopping me!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wonder Woman Wrap

I've discovered something over the last few months. When life gets stressful, I knit. I don't sew. I don't cross-stitch. I don't really do any other crafts either. They're all fun, of course, but I guess they each take more energy or something. At the end of a looooong work day, all I want to do is sit on the couch and knit. Even if it's a new design that still requires brain power, I'm much more relaxed with yarn in my hands than anything else.

Wonder Woman Wrap

You know what else I've discovered? I'm pretty badass. Wonderful, in fact! And hey, so are you! I say we all knit ourselves a little affirmation accessory right away.

Wonder Woman WrapWonder Woman Wrap

I tried to keep this pattern as simple as possible so it would be accessible to a wide range of knitters. However, some fairly basic short-rows were required to get the logo right. With that said, I think an advanced beginner, or even an adventurous newbie, could still handle it.

Wonder Woman WrapWonder Woman Wrap

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 86 inches
Height at center: 22in

MATERIALS
Color A: Lazy Cat Yarns Opulence [70% merino, 20% silk, 10% cashmere;
400m/437yd per 100g skein]; color: 102 Sweet Dreams; 1 skein
Color B: Hedgehog Fibres Sock [90% merino, 10% nylon;
400m/437yd per 100g skein]; color: Pollen; 1 skein
US #4/3.5mm circular needle
Tapestry needle
5 stitch markers

GAUGE
17 sts/33 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

Download the FREE pattern via Ravelry!

Wonder Woman Wrap

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Geode Shawl

Well, my work-life balance is still decidedly unbalanced lately. It turns out, when I finally sign off for the evening, all I want to do is Netflix and knit. Not so good for exercising my sewing machine, but I do feel like I'm putting a dent in my yarn stash at least. I'm not sure I am putting a dent in it, but I feel like I am. So there's that. And there's this: a new shawl design!

Geode Shawl

When the hard, cold, sharp beauty of nature meets the soft, warm, gentle touch of yarn, you may discover a desire to wrap yourself up in a little rock candy. This geode-inspired shawl is perfect for those gorgeous gradient yarns that are everywhere these days. Pick up one in a brightly colored hue for the interior crystals and another in a neutral grey or brown for the border.

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

A mix of simple lace, ripples, and garter stitch make this pattern a fairly easy yet interesting project perfect for those evenings on the couch after a long, hard day.

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Span: 54 inches
Height at center: 22in

MATERIALS
Color A: KnitWhits Freia Ombré Fingering [75% wool, 25% nylon;
294m/322yd per 75g skein]; color: Nightshade; 1 skein
Color B: Panorama Fiber Arts Socky Bombs [75% wool, 15% nylon, 10% tencel;
402m/440yd per 100g skein]; color: Grayscale; 1 skein
US 6/4mm needles
Tapestry needle
14 stitch markers

GAUGE
20 sts/28 rows = 4inches in stockinette stitch

Buy it now through Ravelry!

Geode ShawlGeode Shawl

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death Star

Oh, I am so behind in blogging, you guys. It's been a work- and fun-filled couple of months, and I promise to tell you all about it. In between it all, however, I did have time to whip a quick bit of knitted geekery for my brother's birthday gift. And you get to benefit as well! You can download the FREE PDF for this pattern from Ravelry!

Death Star

As many kids our age did, my brother and I grew up loving Star Wars, so a cuddly little Death Star ball seemed a perfectly appropriate present. I used some pale grey DK weight yarn I had on hand, but you can feel free to substitute as you like. If you use a different weight yarn, just increase or decrease your needle size accordingly to get a fairly dense fabric, so your filling doesn't poke through your stitches.

Death StarDeath Star

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS
Circumference = 12in/30cm
Height = 4in/10cm

MATERIALS
Plymouth Yarn Encore DK [75% acrylic, 25% wool;
150yds/137m per 50g skein]; Color: 466 Grey; 1 skein
US 1/2.25mm circular or double-pointed needles
Stuffing (fiber fill, waste yarn, etc.)
Tapestry needle

GAUGE
24 sts/32 rows = 4in/10cm in stockinette stitch

Download PDF through Ravelry!

Death Star

Friday, March 17, 2017

Kiss Me, I'm (at least a little bit) Irish

I wanted to make something new, and green of course, to wear for St. Patrick's Day today, but with little free time to sew during the week, I was limited in how much I could accomplish. Then I remembered this linen blend tunic from last autumn's clothes swap. It wasn't terrible, just a bit too big, and I wasn't a huge fan of the poofy sleeves. But the color, the lace accents, and the linen fabric will all be perfect for the Texas heat on the horizon.

St Patrick's Day Tunic - Before

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Don't Sweat It

As an inherently lazy person, I have been loving the recent "athleisure" style. Any fashion trend that makes it socially acceptable to wear sweatshirts in public is alright by me! This thrifted grey 4XL sweatshirt, however, was simply beyond my tolerance for frump. So comfy though!

Sweatshirt Refit - Before

Monday, March 06, 2017

Garter Stitch Revival

I was recently given a copy of Garter Stitch Revival and fell hard for several of its patterns. I loved the concept of the entire collection - taking the most basic of stitch patterns and using it to add texture, to highlight unusual construction methods, to play a supporting role alongside more fanciful stitches.

Garter Stitch Revival

It was that last category that really caught my eye in the form of Jesse Ksanznak's Boardwalk Brioche Cowl. I had never attempted the brioche stitch before and had been itching to give it a try. Alternating small sections of two-color brioche with small sections of striped garter stitch sounded like the perfect way to dip my toes into a new technique. And who doesn't love a reversible fabric?

Zombrioche CowlZombrioche Cowl

I searched my stash for suitable worsted but came up empty handed. So I resorted to a couple sport-weight yarns leftover from other projects - Madelinetosh Pashmina in Tern and Cascade 220 Superwash Sport in Kelly Green. To account for the thinner yarn, I used a needle two sizes smaller than recommended and cast on enough extra stitches for another pattern repeat.

Zombrioche Cowl

I thoroughly enjoyed working up this pattern, and the notes in the book walked me through the brioche stitch step by step and made it very easy to learn.

Zombrioche Cowl

I also enjoyed playing with different ways to style this cowl. How do you like the turned up, Pharaoh collar look? It probably wouldn't stay like that on a human person anyway, but it's fun to experiment with Rosy during photo shoots.

Zombrioche CowlZombrioche Cowl

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Hello, it's me

Hey guys. So, I've been MIA for a while, I know. I feel like I say this at least once a year, but the blog was beginning to feel like a second job instead of a hobby, and I just needed to get away from it for a while. I received some very sweet messages from several of you in the meantime though, asking where I was, how I was. I really appreciate your concern and thoughtfulness.

As I feared at the time, I think I pushed myself too hard last summer with the Refashion Runway and The Refashioners back-to-back like that. Until this past weekend, I hadn't even touched my sewing machine since September. Even that striped sweater I shared with you in December was actually refashioned back in August as a back-up plan for the RR tunic challenge. But fear not! I busted out the serger and sewing machine on Saturday, so I'll have some stuff (albeit it simple, baby steps stuff) to show you very soon.

While my sewing creativity seems to wax and wane, my knitting juices are always flowing. Maybe it's the necessity for more creative vision and problem solving that is inherent to refashioning. I mean, if you're trying to recycling existing materials, then you're obviously limited by those materials. Whereas, with knitting, that yarn could be virtually anything you want it to be. Plus, I have a backlog of things I want to knit, so I never run out of ideas.

My tiny baby niece was born in December, five weeks premature. She progressed so well though and escaped the NICU after only two weeks, wearing a hand-knit ensemble, naturally. Then there were holidays gifts for her older brothers: a reversible, double-knit Space Invaders cowl for the 12-year-old and for the 6-year-old, a scaled-down, elongated, scarf version of my Apatosaurus Shawl with added leg nubbins for extra dino-likeness. Their father, my brother, got a viking hat to match his majestic facial hair. He's not really as threatening as he looks here, I swear.

Baby Surprise Jacket, Hat, and SocksSpace Invader Cowl
DinoscarfViking Helmet

In January, I raided my stash for pink yarn and sent thirteen hats to Washington for the Women's March. I even made another, in a slightly different style, for myself and wore it to our local demonstration. Then there was some sporty, spirit knitting in the form of a simple green hat for the hubs to wear to Dallas Stars games and a pair of socks for my mom in the school colors of the university where she works.

PussyhatsNeon Hat of Pinkness
Dallas Stars HatSchool Spirit Socks

I did a little selfish knitting too. A friend gave me some Shibui Silk Cloud, which is a marvelous mix of silk and mohair. I used the three colors to work up a Gradient cowl, by working with three strands and changing out one color at a time for a slow color change effect. And I just completed a pair of U-Turn socks this weekend using one skein of Schoppel Wolle's Crazy Zauberball.

Gradient CowlGradient Cowl
U-Turn SocksU-Turn Socks

I also took comfort in a little political cross-stitching (patterns by Subversive Cross Stitch) and an original design, inspired by our sweet doofus, Laika.

This is not normalNevertheless, She Persisted
So BonedSo Boned

So that's what I've been up to lately. I promise to be back again soon.