My Knitting Life

Vacation Knitting

We flew the coop for Spring Break in a desperate attempt to feel more normal. We boarded a plane and went to visit kid #1 and hubby (and 2 doggies)…for once I only packed two knitting projects, a shawl and a pair of socks.

Souvenir Shawl knit with World Traveler by Beach Bunny Yarns

This shawl was a great traveling companion, easy and fast, especially on a size 6 (US) needle. It’s a great reminder of our family trip to Florida last summer! I dropped the kids off at the jet ski place (don’t worry, they’re adults LOL) and drove about 7 minutes to an awesome LYS in Ormond Beach, Florida, called She Sells Yarn. I’m always pleasantly surprised to find yarn shops in warm places. It was an hour well-spent—“spent” being the operative word!

The other project I brought was sock knitting for my brother. The last time I spoke with him on the phone he offhandedly said, “Hey, I need 5 more pairs of socks.” Ah, the uninformed comments and requests of non-knitters. I told him he could expect exactly two pairs this year, nothing fancy, no cables, twisted stitches, etc. So he’s getting (with love) plain pairs of socks.

No Frills Dude Sock
Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn and a 68 stitch leg, very similar to my Free on Ravelry 72-Stitch Sock Pattern

This is always my go-to sock yarn, lots of colors and long-wearing.

My Knitting Life

Travel Knitting

The most ridiculous thing happened while I was trying to bang out a sweater before Spring Break. I ran out of yarn with only about 23 rows to go at the bottom of the last sleeve. I quickly ordered more, but the package came more slowly than normal. The postman was pulling up to deliver the yarn as we were wheeling our suitcases to the airport train about two blocks away.

At this point, I thought I had enough yarn. (oh, and banging out a sweater is a thing in knitting circles LOL)

I had a brainiac idea that I should check with my LYS to see if they actually carried the yarn, Berroco Ultra Wool, and yup, they did (egg on face). Would you believe that the yarn I got here at my LYS was the same dye lot as the one I ordered from a shop one state away! But the dye lot wasn’t critical because I was combining it with a strand of mohair type yarn, Berroco Aerial Color. I finished the sweater two days before the other yarn arrived. I guess the joke is on me! I’ll use the excess yarn to knit some hats or something. Here’s the finished cardigan:

It’s cropped, neutral yet slightly variegated and it was oh, so warm for when we traveled back to the cold humidity of the Midwest. Is Kansas City considered the Midwest? Not sure…

I wore it everywhere!

Have you ever banged out a sweater? Suggestion: use big needles!

Home Projects Patterns · Knitting Patterns For Sale · My Knitting Life

Sofa Support

New furniture needs a pillow refresh. Handmade? Store-bought? I looked at the normal places and found pillows ranging from $50-$90 (ok, so it was Pottery Barn). I saw nothing that I loved, and at that price, it better be something that I love! Being pretty sure I could knit with better yarn and come up with a design that is more to my liking, I developed a pattern!

Click the link to buy the pattern–it’s only a buck!

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sofa-support

For this pattern you’ll need some bulky yarn, big needles, and some pillow forms.

This pattern is actually three pillow patterns in one. Pillow 1 (pictured right) starts from the narrow edge and the stripes of the yarn are a little wider.

Pillow #2 starts the knitting on the long edge to create thinner stripes.

Pillow #3 is a slightly smaller rectangle, knit from the short side.

All three…bright and pillowy!

All of the pillows are knit with a little bit of negative ease so they stretch nicely over the pillow forms.

I finished by adding those spicy little corner tassels! See the pattern for more instructions!

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sofa-support

My Knitting Life · Non-Knitting Projects

Making in the Quiet Days

I’ve been knitting through these quiet days, but I haven’t finished as many things as I thought I might. Yes, there has been knitting in the evenings, but also sewing, stitching, and general peaceful projects to try my hand at.

First, I’ll mention that I bought an embroidered wool skirt at a second hand store (4 years ago?!), not because I wanted the skirt, but because I wanted to turn it into something else. I finally settled on turning the skirt into a bucket bag. Wow! That’s a change, huh? Check out the pictures:

OK, so I cheated and bought some leather handles from Amazon ($15) even though it took a week for Amazon to ship because everyone was obsessing about toilet paper in March.

I knitted some socks too. Two pairs. From 100 grams of the main yarn. To squeak out two pairs, I used some contrasting yarn for the cuff, heels, and toes for the larger pair. I just made a stockinette stitch leg and used the Arne and Carlos afterthought heel to show off the yarn and to just get this yarn out of my stash! Someone at church passed this yarn on to me. Thanks!

The pair on left is top down and 64 stitches; the pair on the right is toe up and 68 stitches.

I hope you have found some peaceful quiet times during this pandemic to relax and work with your hands!

Free Knitting Patterns · Free Sock Patterns · My Knitting Life

Chilly November Legwarmers

So. Cold. Here.

The last part of October gave us temperatures in the teens and twenties! Time to pick up the knitting game a little bit more to stay warm. I came up with these leg-warmers with cables and ribbing, both of which help to keep the leg-warmers in place. They’re a fast knit because there is very little shaping. AND if you know how to cable without a cable needle, you’ll get warm legs even more quickly! Enjoy this free pattern, but remember to abide by the rules of copyright.

chilly november legwarmers

My Knitting Life

Poems and Puzzles Dress

It’s been cold and rainy here in the valleys of the mountain west, while a few thousand feet above us in elevation ski resorts have had a banner year of snow, a whopping 700+ inches!!! We did have one warm spell, and my feet were hopeful that winter was over because they were clad in sandals. During those few warm days, I was knitting a summer sweater.

But the cold has settled in again and I’ve changed back to winter knitting. I’m knitting a dress, something I haven’t done in a LONG time! When I lived overseas in a house that was very chilly, I knitted a bulky dress. This time I’m knitting a fingering weight dress which, of course, is taking much longer, but it is keeping me warm as it gets longer and the cold sticks around.

This dress pattern is from Justyna Lorkowska called Hanke dress. It’s an above the knee dress in fingering weight yarn. Fingering weight and dress = a ton of knitting. At least I can read and binge watch something while I’m working on this dress.

The yarn is called Poems Puzzle by Wisdom Yarns. WAIT! That’s a super-bulky yarn! Yes, it’s a chain yarn and the suggested needle size is from 11 up to 50. What gives? Well…

I bought a batch of Poems Puzzle yarn on eBay along with a Vogue Knitting magazine containing a cowl pattern using 4 skeins of the yarn. BUT, the cowl was to be sewn, not knitted together. Uh, no.

So I stared at the yarn and then decided to unravel it. To my surprise, each skein of the Puzzle yarn became 200 grams of Wisdom’s Poems Sock yarn…over 800 yards. With 4 skeins of the Puzzle yarn, I figure I’ve got 3200 yards of yarn! That’s how I settled on a dress.

My hope is to get the body of the dress finished before the warm weather sets in (3 days away!) and I still have about 9 inches to knit. I’ll give it my best shot, especially since school is winding down and after-school meetings are at a minimum.

Burning question: is this my favorite yarn? No, not by a long shot. But it’s what I had and I think this will be a colorful way to celebrate the dead of winter.

My Knitting Life

Fast and Easy Blocking

I need to finish this project in a hurry, but it is in serious need of blocking. Here’s a trick I do whenever I don’t want to plunge my project pieces into water and wait 36 hours for them to dry.

Put a towel (or two) on the floor, smooth it out, and then pin your pieces out to the dimensions listed in the pattern. Pin, pin, pin. (I was seriously hoping the squares on the towel were 1″ square, but that would have been too easy!)

Take a spray bottle and mist the pieces to your satisfaction. It’s not necessary to soak them, but they should be something between slightly wet and fairly wet. (Sorry, describing degrees of wetness is not my forte!)

I pinned and misted these around 4:30pm this afternoon, and hope to be able to sew the seams and do the finishing starting tonight or early tomorrow morning. What pattern is this, you ask? It’s Lexie (link takes you to Ravelry) by Elsebeth Lavold. If you like this yarn, you can buy it here: Quixotic Fiber You need 3 or 4 skeins depending on the size. I’m sure this LYS would appreciate your business!

Free Knitting Patterns

Off Piste Cable Sweater

A few years ago I bought a 6 skein set of gradient yarn at a fiber festival in Idaho Falls. Those skeins sat around and I admired them, but now in my motivated state to knit up the yarn that I have, I started to knit this yarn in a few patterns, but none of them seemed right. So I decided to just start knitting a sweater, without having a pattern. You can find the link below to this pattern. It’s really more of a formula for making a top down sweater.

Off Piste Cable Sweater Link:

off piste cable sweater pattern

Interested in this yarn? I bought it from Blue Savannah. Check out her offerings on Etsy!

Baby Patterns · Non-Knitting Projects

Houndstooth Heaven

Subtitled: How to Upcycle a Sweater

I was in a thrift store a few years back and saw what I affectionately call an “oops” sweater. You know, the kind of sweater where someone didn’t believe the “dry clean only” directions?! In fact, I found three of them, so I bought them with the well-meaning intention of doing something fabulous with them. Several years later I am just getting around to working with them. Here are all the items I made with one sweater:

20180103_161809

Much of the sweater body went to make a custom computer case with leather details (I also bought a leather skirt at the thrift store that day–smile). Actually, I finished this right after buying the sweater. The sweater sleeves went to make some water bottle covers and coffee travel cozies. And my feet are showing off the me-sized slippers. I modified a pattern from Purl Soho (here’s the LINK) by sandwiching some plastic canvas between the bottom pieces, blanket stitching it all together, and then adding a back strap. Instant warmth! Or, maybe several hours of sewing and then the warmth.

As for those sweet little baby slippers, I used another pattern from Purl Soho (Felt Baby Slippers). I cut out the pattern pieces with my pinking shearers, pinned them together, and then hand sewed them with sock yarn and a running stitch. Maybe 2 hours tops to complete. You can also check out this patternLINK for baby shoes.

Yeah, I’m not going to be doing this again, except for the baby slippers because they’re so cute! And to be honest, I feel like a super-dork in my slippers, but a warm super-dork!

20180103_161925-220180103_162032-220180103_161854-2

My Knitting Life

End of an Era (or, It’s Not Done Until You’ve Blogged About it)

Blanket on chair

Here I present the end of an era. It’s the end because I started this leftover sock yarn blanket in the fall of 2008. After almost 9 years, a lot of changes have happened. It’s inevitable. The kids grew up, we moved almost across the country, went from a house to a condo, and now we own e-bikes, for crying out loud! Change happens! It is time to knit other things. Or, finish other things, because of the way my year went, with teaching almost a full schedule at school, and then throwing teaching 3 graduate classes for SLC teachers on top of that! I have about 5 projects that are mostly finished, but need a little more attention.
Back to this blanket-afghan-throw thingie. I wasn’t sure how big I was going to make it; I was just enjoying the process. But 8.5 years later, I’ve decided to finish. And by finish, I mean, squaring it off, not adding any height or width to it, and most importantly, edging it in i-cord! The edging, you see, is like a stopper; it prevents me from adding more rows. Smart, huh? Done.

Blanket on wall

But at the end of this crazy-sock- leftovers-turned-into-a-blanket era, I have a crazy urge to come up with something else “scrappy” because I’ve still got a small tub of sock-yarn leftovers. Maybe in a year I will have a new pattern to show.
I briefly entertained the idea of putting this on Etsy for a ridiculous sum of money. I was thinking something over $2500, just to see if anyone would “bite.” But that’s cheap. Way too cheap. I calculated my labor at $10/hr (hey, I’m a skilled knitter!), 30 minutes per block which takes into account tucking in loose ends and knitting the i-cord edging. So, with 380 blocks @ 30 minutes per block, that’s 190 hours. Multiply that by the $10 per hour, and the labor cost on this blanket is around $1900.  That doesn’t include the yarn. And it takes a lot of sock knitting to accumulate a great variety of yarn. (That was my excuse, anyway). So, the next time someone knits something for you, they don’t do it to save money or time. They do it because they LOVE you!

For now I’ll just sit on my balcony on cool mornings and enjoy the warmth of this throw.