Sunday, November 15, 2015

Let The Gift Knitting Commence!

On the first day of November I waved and said "smell you later, selfish knitting!!" and officially started working on Christmas gift knitsI generally don't do Christmas knits (aside from the random last minute things here and there, like the Beer Mitt I made the Mister last year), as I find the holidays stressful enough. Not only do I not want to add to the stress levels by having to knit a crapton of things in a short period of time, but I really don't have that many knit-worthy family members. There's only so many hats, scarves, cowls, and mittens that a non-knitter can handle or want in their wardrobe. So I figured what's the point of knitting something if no one is actually going to enjoy that knit? 

As for my own immediate family, well, both the Mister and Kiddo are human-radiators and generally have a tendency to lose things. They've never asked for or shown any interest in anything involving knitwear. Ok, sometimes the Kiddo does ask for things, like a Pikachu hat or a red Alvin hoodie. But he'll completely forget about his request 5 minutes later and it even goes as far as him not recalling making such a request in the first place. Luckily I've never jumped on those requests and never made cast on attempts the second those requests were made. But then over the summer the Kiddo asked for "a yellow sweater with buttons". Repeatedly. Four months later and he's still asking for that cardigan. Alrighty then. Duly noted.

Then a few weeks ago the Mister and I were discussing our holiday plans. Were we going to stay on the island or head to the interior? What did we want for Christmas? What should we get the Kiddo? Has he even made any hints as to what he wanted? The more we discussed the more we realized that we didn't really need anything (although I want yarn, I certainly didn't need more) and the things we did need were big ticketed items that are meant more for the whole family and not just us as individuals. This brought us to what we wanted. Did we really want anything? All year we've been purging the house (we still are actually) and discovering that we have A LOT of stuff. This purging really made us think about and question the things we were bringing into the house. Like do I really need another tote bag (the answer: no) or package of locking stitch markers (yes!!)? Did the Mister need yet another beer growler (no) or set of earbuds (yes)? Did the Kiddo need more Angry Birds sets (oh, gosh no!!) or any non-Lego toys (nope!)?

So this year we decided that we are each going to give one gift to each person. Meaning: I will be knitting Christmas gifts this year. After all, Christmas knits means having to really think about the recipient and the perfect knit that they'd wear and (hopefully) appreciate. Very meaningful, right? I should have started sooner but I've decided that not only will I knit the Kiddo that yellow cardigan, but I will also knit the Mister a sweater as well. I haven't determined whether or not if I'll be knitting teacher appreciation gifts for the holidays or if I'll save those for the end of the school year. IF I do decide to knit all the gifts, that'll be 2 sweaters and 3 cowls or neckwear of 5.5 weeks. 


I guess I better get knitting!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wee Little Knits

This past weekend I made a quick day trip to Vancouver to attend a very dear friend's baby shower. The day before the shower I realized, as I was wrapping up the knits, that I hadn't blogged about any of the finished baby knits that I had worked on throughout the summer. Oops! Fortunately I like to use gift bags and tissue paper so it was no big deal to whip the knits back out and snap a few quick shots before it got too dark out. I also have to give myself kudos for remembering to take a photo of another sweet wee knit before it was gifted at the end of summer.

I'm only going to show the knits that I know for sure the recipients have seen (I don't think they read this blog anyway, so either way I think I'm safe), and because there's a few that have yet to be gifted because of buttons. Yes...the lack of finding the perfect buttons (and sewing them on!) gets me every.single.time. 

So without further ado, let the wee baby knits parade commence!

:: Sproutlette ::

I've been dying to knit the adorable Sproutlette dress ever since the day the pattern was released, but for a while there I had either no little girl to knit it for or the time to knit it for fun. But this time around I had no excuses as pretty much all of my pregnant friends decided to find out the gender of their baby ahead of time and all but two were having girls. 
It was go time.

The original plan was to knit this dress in a semi-tonal blue (I had the perfect yarn in the stash in mind) to lessen any overly girly-girly vibes this dress might have (there was quite a discussion about this amongst my friends), but as I was going through my stash to retrieve said blue skein I came upon an already wound cake of Dream In Color Smooshy in what I think is a pretty but not an overly girly colour (but one that both my camera and phone hates and refuses to capture correctly). My laziness got the better of me and I decided to just use the Smooshy instead since it was already wound and roaring to go. Besides, I'll most likely knit this pattern again, it's just too darn cute not to!

I'll straight up admit that I didn't swatch, I mean, it's a baby knit...and I know how my gauge is, so what's the point? I had knit the smallest size but halfway through the dress I realized that I should have gone the next size up as I still had a fair bit of yarn in my bowl. I made one unintentional mod (it was federal election time and I had cast on while watching the Canadian Leaders Debate) due to not paying attention and that was being two stitches short before the increases for the dress portion. It was an easy fix that didn't require ripping back and I don't think it affected the overall look of the dress.

I'm super pleased with how this dress turned out. I think it's so incredibly darling that I wish I had enough time to knit every wee little girl I know their own Sproutlette. For now this pattern will go back into the queue until after the holidays when I plan on continuing with the baby knits. And next time I'll for sure remember to knit the bigger size!

:: Dress Details ::
Pattern: Sproutlette by Tanis Lavallee

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy
Colour: Bubble Haze
Needles: Hiya Hiya Sharps Interchangeables in 3.25mm (US 3)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Sproutlette

:: It's A Hoot ::

Milo has quickly become one of my go-to baby patterns to whip up whenever I hear a baby announcement. I honestly cannot recommend this pattern enough. The pattern includes ten sizes (from newborn to 6 years) so you've got all ages covered, it's seamless, and the customization possibilities are seriously endless! If you don't believe me, check out this, this, this fun one, and this stunner

For this Milo I decided to do exactly what I did last time and that's stick with the pattern as is for the 6 month size and opted for a column of cute owl cables. And like previous Milos, I used Knit Picks City Tweed DK since I have about eight balls of it in the stash. I think both the colour and cable are neutral enough that no one will have a problem with it. Or, at least that's what I hope anyways!

:: Vest Details ::
Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed DK
Colour: Lemon Curd
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Fixed Circulars in 4mm (US 6)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits A World Full of Milos

:: Diamond Milo ::

See? I enjoyed the tweedy Milo so much that I had to cast on another. This time, to shake things up (and I'm not going to lie, to keep me interested) I went with a different yarn and a completely different take on the body altogether. I pulled out my favourite stitch dictionaries and this diamond eyelet pattern caught my eye. Luck was definitely on my side because I didn't need to do any increases or decreases in order to get the stitch pattern completely around. I had followed the measurements for the 9 month size and kept with the garter stitch hem to prevent any unwanted curling or flipping.

I'm chuffed to bits with how this vest turned out and think it's the best Milo I've made to date. I genuinely can't wait to cast on another and to try a different stitch pattern. I can see this becoming an obsession, and with the amount of baby announcements being made, it probably won't be a bad obsession. At least I'll be prepared for the next baby shower!

:: Vest Details ::
Pattern: Milo by Georgie Hallam
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash DK
Colour: Hush
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Fixed Circulars in 4mm (US 6)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits A World Full of Milos

:: Prairie Fire ::

When all the baby announcements were being made back in June, one of the first patterns to pop into my head was Prairie Fire by Tin Can Knits. I loved the look of the lace, the transition of stockinette to lace details on both the front and back, and the fact that the pattern is seamless in the round. A gorgeous knit with minimal finishing efforts? Count me in!  

I had one skein of Tosh DK in the Smokestack colourway leftover from my BlueSand Cardigan and at first I was just going to give it away to whoever wanted it at my knit night, cause really, what was I going to do with it? Yes, I could knit myself a hat, gloves, or a cowl. But in my mind I was kind of done with this colour. You know? Then I saw that Prairie Fire required a dk weight yarn and the fact that when I envisioned knitting this pattern I saw myself knitting it in grey...well, put two and two together and I've got a perfect marriage of pattern and yarn.

Since I only had the one skein I settled on staying on the safe side and knitting the smallest size, which meant that I was able to knit half of the pullover in one day. I wish I had remembered to take a photo of the back because I thought how the lace ended in the small of the back was such a beautiful and clever detail. I didn't do any mods cause really, there was no need for any. 

Like all the other Tin Can Knits patterns that I've knit, this pattern was super easy to read and follow. The sweater was very well received by the mother-to-be and I thoroughly enjoyed knitting this little beauty. Most likely I will be knitting this pattern again (I may already have some yarn picked out for it...) and so I give this pattern two very enthusiastic thumbs up (and thanks Travis Birkenstock for the quote!).

:: Details ::
Pattern: Prairie Fire by Tin Can Knits

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK
Colour: Smokestack
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel-Plated Fixed Circulars in 3.5mm (US 4) and 4mm (US 6)
Ravekry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Prairie Fire

Friday, October 23, 2015

Knit In Progress: ALL The Socks!!

Sometimes you just want to cast on ALLLLL the socks. At this time of year with Socktober in full swing, cooler weather knocking at your door, and winter just around the corner it's only natural to want to knit up some cozy socks. Right? Also, I figured that since I recently finished two pairs that it was only right to get more sock WIPs back on those empty needles...and then some! 

So I did.

Four new pairs, to be exact. Whatever, I'm not ashamed. I don't even care that there's only a little over a week left of October and the possibility of finishing even one of these pairs is extremely low. No big deal, I always have socks on the needles. Although I'll admit that Socktober and Halloween both being in the same month was my excuse for casting on as many socks as I did, especially the Halloween themed ones, without feeling the least bit guilty for it. Besides, with 4+ socks on the go there will never be a dull sock knitting moment! 

So, let's take a peek at what's being knit up on my sock needles:

First up, my Hissing Fauna stripey socks that I've dubbed Zipping Along because the first sock had knit up so quickly. I had actually started this pair back in September and they were my designated on-the-go purse knitting project. Until a few weeks ago when I just couldn't stop knitting on them. 

The yarn is by my lovely friend, Chantel of Mudpunch. This is my first time knitting with her yarn and I have nothing but good things to say about it - and I'm not saying that out of obligation because she's a friend, but because this yarn truly is a joy to knit with. The yarn itself has good twist and a nice thickness to it that you just know will produce long-wearing and long-lasting socks. Her colour transitions from one stripe to the other is absolutely amazing. Practically flawless. The colour saturation and vibrancy, stunning. It's quite obvious that great care and pride went into this yarn. Sometimes when I knit with self-striping yarn I find that the colour is a little...superficial, as in you can see so much of the yarn's true base colour underneath the dyed colour. Almost like the yarn didn't get the chance to soak in the dye long enough and so the end result is socks that look like they've already been washed a few times before you've even had the chance to wear them. Not the case with Mudpunch.

I'm a few stripes away from starting the ribbing on the second sock and a part of me wants to power through it so that I can get these socks onto my feet, while the other part of me wants to hold off and enjoy the knitting process and watching the stripes materialize with each stitch. Sounds crazy, I know. For now, this project is hanging out on my bedside table so that I can squeeze in a few stitches before it's lights out for the night.

Next up, the Regia Design Line by Arne & Carlos colourway that I've been obsessed with: Star Night. The first run sold out pretty fast and I was searching the Interwebs high and low for Canadian sources. I checked in with my LYS and discovered that they had plugged in another order and was waiting for their shipment to arrive. I had put my name down for a few balls and when it came in I went in pronto for fear that someone else would snatch them up. Another colourway from the line may have jumped into my shopping basket...I blame yarn fumes. 

I love this colourway so much that I couldn't resist casting on the first sock minutes after getting home from the yarn shop. This is my first time knitting with self-patterning sock yarn so I was a little nervous about my gauge. Usually I'm a tight knitter but have been making quite the conscious effort to knit more on the loose side. I have no idea why I thought I needed to be so loose because now the fabric of my sock is so relaxed and a lot stretchier than I'm accustomed to and I really hope this doesn't affect the longevity of the socks.

I had knit all the way to the heel before realizing that maybe I should have knit the toe and heel (and most likely the cuff too) in a contrasting colour, that way I could keep the faux fair isle pattern intact. Instead of stopping I had kept on knitting and before I knew it I had knit a gusset heel. I think it all looks just...ok. Which, to me, means it's time to stop knitting and really take a look at my sock and decide once and for all whether or not if I should continue or rip back. My gut is telling me to rip the whole thing and re-start with a contrasting toe and a smaller needle.

Hmmm...luckily I love this yarn and wouldn't mind having to knit with it again. And if I know myself by now, it's that I should listen to my knitterly gut...

Alright, and now for the Halloween-themed socks! 

The one above is Slutty Pumpkin by Nomadic Yarns. I bought this yarn around this time last year, along with a ball of the Halloweenie colourway (which I had promptly whipped up into a pair that I blogged about here). Aside from these being fall and Halloween related, I also wanted a super beyond mindless knit to have with me while road-tripping it with the Mister for a quick, romantic getaway up island.

Like all the other stripey socks that I've knit, I'm using the basic plain vanilla sock recipe that I use for self-striping yarns: toe-up, afterthought heel, knit for at least 6" for the leg and 2x2 ribbing until I get bored. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I had cast on the fourth sock a few hours after casting on the Slutty Pumpkin one. I've been hoarding my skein of Zombie BBQ by Lorna's Laces (Shepherd Sock base) for five years now and I thought it was simply time to finally knit it up. Actually, I pulled this skein out of 
stash over the summer and had it sitting by my bed as a gentle reminder to knit it up. For once this plan worked!

I knew the second I saw this yarn that I wanted to knit socks with it, and I knew that it was going to be knit in plain stockinette as I didn't want anything to take away from the colours. because of the generous yardage (435 yds, if you want to get all technical) I opted to go toe-up so that I could get the most out of the skein if I wanted to. I really lucked out that the colours started to stripe in its own cool way after the toe increases and didn't pool and flash like I thought it would. And once again when I got to the heel I hemmed and hawed over whether or not if I should do an afterthought heel to keep the striping intact or to just go for it and hope that a FLK would work out. There was only one way to tell and so I jumped in and tried my luck with a FLK heel. Guess what? It worked! After executing the heel the striping action continued without too much of a visual disruption! I am so incredibly pleased by this! I just hope that I'll have this luck on the second sock!

Because there was at least 8-10 hours of driving to and from our vacation getaway, I managed to get in a fair amount of knitting. I took care in making sure I stopped every now and then and stretched but even so it still means that for the next little while I'll have to take it easy. I don't want my CTS to flare up again. I made the executive decision to concentrate solely (HA! No pun intended!) on the Zombie BBQ socks, in hopes I'll be able to wear them Halloween day.  

Phew! That's a lot of socks. And I did buy some "souvenir yarn" during a quick stop in Nanaimo. Ok, fine...I used Ravelry's 'road trip planner' feature on their yarns page and found out that there was a few yarn shops along the way to our destination, but to make it bearable for the Mister I chose only one shop to stop at. So I got to visit Mad About Ewe and scored a few more skeins of Regia. It's taking all my willpower to not cast them on immediately!

Well, for least.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fresh Off The Needles: A Tale of Two Socks

It's Socktober!! So what better way to kickstart the month of sock knitting than to post about a few sock FOs? Both of these socks were knit throughout the months of August and September, just in time to free up some needles to cast on even more socks in October. YES!!

Ok, let's get back to the subjects of this post: the two new pairs of socks that have been added to my sock drawer. While both of these socks were knitted up using plain vanilla sock recipes, they are actually quite different from the other. How so? One was knit using the Portuguese style of knitting while the other was knit in my usual English "throwing" style. One is toe-up and the other is cuff-down. One has a traditional heel flap and the other an updated version of a short-row heel. And although the colourways look vastly different, they are actually both rainbows. Well, according to the labels, they are; one is a neon rainbow and the other is your typical rainbow. 

I can honestly say that I was not bored even once while having these two socks simultaneously on the needles! With the amount of sock WIPs that I seem to always have in my knitting basket and handbag, and the amount of sock yarn that I have in the stash, I'm considering switching up my knitting from time to time by making a conscious effort to cast on a cuff-down sock. I generally knit my socks toe-up because I'm never sure how long I want the leg to be at the time of casting on, especially when it comes to self-striping yarns.

Anyhoo, while I ponder the directional orientation of my sock knitting, take a look at my rainbow-esque socks:


I call this pair 'Portuguese Rainbow'. Named after both the knitting style and the fact that Regia named this colourway "Neon Rainbow" (from their Fluormania Color collection). This pair of socks were the very first pair that I've cast on this year. So crazy, I know! For the first half of the year I was dying to knit on socks but due to my CTS I just couldn't. I would try from time to time but a few stitches in my hands would protest. Not wanting to cause any further damage to my hands I just stopped sock knitting altogether. Then at the start of August my hands felt good enough to give sock knitting another go, after all, I was doing fine knitting with fingering weight yarns (albeit on bigger needles). A huge part of me was understandably quite nervous though, cause who likes having their hopes get dashed over and over again? So as a precaution I searched for different ways to hold your knitting and discovered the Portuguese style of knitting, 
which I talked more about in this post. I was so obsessed taken with this new technique that I decided to try my hand at knitting a pair of socks entirely in this style. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the end results!

I opted to do my usual toe-up plain vanilla sock formula for this pair, as the put-up for the skein is a generous 420m (460 yds) and I wasn't sure if I could eek out a pair of knee-highs. In the end I went with a mid-calf height because I didn't think I had enough yarn to go any taller due to how tight my gauge was. I knew going into these socks that Portuguese knitting yields a tighter gauge and I kid you not, these socks are seriously dense. We're talking bulletproof here. So tight that I had to add a few increases in the back before starting the cuff. I have a strong feeling that these socks will not only take a while to stretch out between washes, but they'll also be around for a very long time!

Due to the much tighter gauge, there wasn't much of a stretch to the fabric so I had to knit the foot a little longer than normal before knitting a Fish Lips Kiss heel, which was beyond easy and so quick to knit up in the Portuguese style. And the cuff? Oh my...yes!! Even if I was knitting English style, I would switch over to Portuguese for the ribbing. Once I got into a rhythm, knitting the cuff was so.insanely.easy. that I just kept going. I had to stop when I realized that the cuff was a little over 6cm (2.5 inches) tall!

I wasn't planning on making these socks completely identical, I was going to knit however the colours came out of the skein. The first sock, I started with the yarn straight off the skein and for the second I noticed that there was a few metres of lime green before it switched to a deep hot pink. So I cut out the lime and cast on for the second sock in the pink. Amazingly the pair came out quite matchy-matchy with absolutely no effort. This colourway is so eye-searing that my camera had a really, really hard time capturing the colours correctly, but trust me when I say that there's a deep pink that blends into red before the orange. 

Even though I didn't have enough yarn to make these knee-high socks, I still ended up with a good amount leftover, about 70m (78 yds). I love this yarn so much that I'm definitely keeping the leftovers with the idea of either using it in conjunction with black to make a stripe-y pair of socks or as the accent to a pair of Squircle. Whichever route I go with, I'm pretty sure I'll be happy anyways. I absolutely love these socks! They'll definitely be perfect for those dreary, dark winter days!

:: Toe-Up Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla toe-up sock recipe

Yarn: Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania
Colours: Neon Rainbow
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Portuguese Rainbow


Confession time: I didn't set out to knit a pair rainbow stripe-y socks. I had actually found this random rainbow tube-like WIP in my knitting basket. I have no idea when I had cast it on or what it was suppose to be. It looked like the beginnings of a sock as it was on my usual needle size that I use for socks and it had 64 stitches to it. I usually prefer toe-up for self-striping yarns but this started with an inch of 
ribbing and then had about two inches of plain stockinette knitted up. What was I thinking when I had cast this on? I could've just ripped out the tube but decided to just turn it into a sock anyways. Why waste the knitting that has already been put into it?

Again, I wasn't planning on making these identical but they turned out that way in the end. I love it when that happens! For the first sock when I got to the heel I simply used the other end of the ball to start a standard heel flap and once I got to the point where I could go back to knitting in the round again I continued on with the end I was originally knitting with. I didn't use the entire ball of yarn for the first sock so when I cast on the second sock where the first sock left off and the stripe just happen to already be at green, just like the first. When I got to the heel, I literally grabbed the second ball and it was already at green. Totally awesome! It's like the planets had aligned just to make this happen. The magic of sock always keeps me coming back for more!

So, aside from that confessional tidbit, there's not much more to say about these plain vanilla socks and I really don't want to rant for the sake of creating filler or to make this post long. So I won't.

:: Leg-Down Sock Details ::
Pattern: My own plain vanilla sock cuff-down recipe

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colours: Rainbow
Needles: HiyaHiya Sharps Fixed Circulars in 2.25mm (US 1)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Reading Rainbow Socks

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A #CraftyBlissChallenge :: Recap

A few of my own photos for the challenge!

It's been almost two weeks since the end of the #CraftyBlissChallenge on Instagram and now it's time to do a little recap and announce a few winners! 

First off, I would like to say a massive thank you to all the people who participated in the challenge. I really had no idea what to expect going in as a co-host and quite honestly I was a little nervous that no one would participate. So imagine my surprise to discover that 71 people had finished the challenge from start to finish! Wow!! Julie and I are so pleased with the levels of participation and how much fun everyone was having. I loved seeing all the photos people were posting (and sometimes posting more than one photo for a prompt, which I couldn't blame them for doing!!) but most of all I was incredibly happy to see people commenting on each other's photos, getting inspired, and finding new knitters and makers to follow.

Here's a refresher on what the daily prompts were:

At the top of this post is a collage of some of the photos I contributed to the challenge. Can you guess which photo goes to which prompt? I'll confess that I was planning on taking a bunch of photos before the start of the challenge to make life easier and not so stressful for myself, and so that I could spend more time checking out everyone else's photos. But then life got in the way and I ran out of time and that plan didn't happen, which I think worked out for the best as I found myself having to be more creative under the tight time frames. I guess I do work better under pressure! Of my own photos my most favourite and the one that I'm most proud of is Day 2's "What are you crafting now" prompt, in which I took a close up photo of myself knitting. My project was a blob of knitted fabric and no matter how I laid it out or styled it, the project just wasn't photogenic at all. I sat on my couch glaring at my project trying to think of what I could do to make it more pleasing to the eye. I decided a selfie of sorts was going to have to happen. It took quite a few photos (ok, A LOT) before I had the shot I was looking for. I won't go into great detail but let's oust say it became an elaborate set-up that involved a stack of knitting books (my makeshift tripod), a bag of rice (to hold onto my phone on top of the stack of books), a tablet (in camera mode so that I could see what the phone's camera was looking at), and my headphones (to act as a camera remote). Phew! So much craziness for one photo! But hey, you can't see me clicking my "remote" behind my knitting, can you? Selfie that doesn't look like a selfie success!!

The prompt that I had the hardest time with: Riot of Colour. I had an idea of what I wanted but didn't have the means to execute it. I pulled out a tonne of yarn, I surveyed my art supplies, I scanned my kiddo's the end, my phone decided for me. How? I took a photo of the Crayon Melt that I had made seven years ago, applied a filter, then wasn't sure if I wanted to post that photo. I thought I had closed down the app but seconds later saw that Instagram posted the photo for me anyways. Oops! Oh well. It was time to move on anyways. 

Out of all the prompts, Cozy was my favourite. Maybe it was all those photos of yarn...or all the knit wear...or the gorgeous quilts...or this insanely cute baby:

SO adorable! Super cute babies in hand knits? Melts my heart every.single.time. I might be a little biased with this cutie though, as this wee one's mother is a friend of mine. But even if she wasn't, this photo would be hands-down, my absolute favourite. I think I creep the Mister out with how much I look at this photo and squeal. Just so darn cute!

Anyhoo...a few more favourite photos:

Obviously I loved seeing all the knitty and yarn photos but I really liked and enjoyed seeing people post non-knitting related things, such as baking sprinkles like Julie's photo for the first prompt (I must find those sprinkles locally!!); other crafty endeavours like @knittingsarah 's colourful origami top; and personal artwork like @danielle_gallo_jones's amazing portrait of her with her then high school sweetheart now turned husband, that she drew in high school - I simply adore it! 

Also, guilty pleasure: I liked seeing everyone's knitty stuff from the "In The Bag" prompt. I've never claimed to be a monogamous knitter and regardless of what my Instagram account may make me appear to be like, my knitting bags and areas are not at all neat and organized. So it was really nice to see that other's had either stacks or rows of project bags, coffee tables or ends-of-the-couch cluttered with knitting and knitting paraphernalia, and handbags turned knitting bags turned my-entire-life-is-in-this-bag bags crammed full of stuff.

Now that the challenge is over I have to admit that I'm feeling a little sad. I kind of miss having a daily creative push that really made me think outside the box...of yarn. So much that I do on a regular basis is centered around knitting that it was so refreshing to have to go outside of it every now and then. Also, having the #CraftyBlissChallenge hashtag created a little side community and it was really nice to chat with new-to-me people. Anyone else felt like that? Well, Julie and I chatted about it and we're thinking of maybe having another challenge sometime in the spring! How fun would that be? And with spring, our brains will be just itching to get out and be more creative! What do you think?

Alright, I said there would be winners too, didn't I? As I had mentioned before, Julie and I had talked about picking a winner each via random number generator from the pot of those who completed the full 10 days of the challenge to receive a little surprise. So here are our winners:

@demelomonica - Julie will be in touch you
@noodlknits - look out for an Instagram direct message from me!

Thank you so much to all the participates of this challenge!! We hope you'll join us again for the next one!! And thank you to all the participates who gave me their permission to use their photos for this post!! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits :: Review & Giveaway!

The weather here on the island has been absolutely gorgeous, yet quite deceiving. So often I let the clear blue skies and beautiful sunshine lead me to believe that it'll be warm and somewhat summery outside, when in reality it's oh so crisp and I'm freezing my buns off. Then there's the part where if you're in the sun for too long you're sweating and overly hot but the second you hit a shaded area you get slapped with the cold air and you're shivering to the core. Or at least that's how I've been. So needless to say I've been pouring through all the patterns on Ravelry and in my queue trying to find suitable knits to remedy this situation.

The only criteria that I had for such knits was that they had to be warm and quick to knit. Lucky for me, I didn't have to search long or hard because just as I was about to embark on my search I was sent a copy of the recently released Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits by Jen Geigley. Thank you, Jen!! What perfect timing!! 

I honestly can't describe this book any better than Jen, so let me quote her on what the book is about: 

"Weekend is a collection of 12 simple, modern knits for women, men and children. Knits you can live in on the weekend; knits you can create in a weekend."


Each design in Weekend is not only contemporary, but also stylish casual pieces that are wearable. They're all whipped up using either bulky or super bulky yarns, which knit up lightning quick. Most of these knits would also be excellent choices for last minute gift knitting or for gift giving in general. There are 4 scarves (one of them is a hooded scarf), 3 hats, 3 cowls, 1 pullover, and 1 kimono style sweater jacket. Without a doubt, there's something for everyone. 

I absolutely love everything about this book: the overall look, the photography, and how it was styled. It's seriously beautiful. I've been following Jen for years via her blog and Instagram and I could tell from the very first glimpse that this book displays Jen's aesthetics in every aspect through and though. It's clean, modern, and simple. Jen is a minimalist at heart and you can see that in not only the designs, but in the colour palette, the backdrops, and how all the models' are styled and showcasing each piece. I also love how throughout the book you can feel and see that there's a touch of a badassness going on, which to me, is so very Jen and I think comes from her love of alt, metal, and punk rock music!


I've narrowed down my favourites and I'm hoping to cast on at least one of them very soon. I can't tell you how excited I am to know that I'll be able to cast on and bind off one of these patterns within the same weekend, and I'm so ecstatic at the thought that I will be able to actually wear these knits before winter even comes rolling around!! 

Right off the bat I immediately fell in love with Undone (pictured above), the classic raglan pullover that's been updated with the simple detail of two zippers at the bottom sides. I can see myself living in this cozy, oversized sweater all fall and winter long; it would pair up perfectly with leggings and skinny jeans tucked into boots. This sweater is bound to become a go-to wardrobe staple. I'm seriously entertaining the idea of knitting up a few of these pullovers because I could really use one in a light grey, a dark grey, and maybe even a black in my capsule-like wardrobe. The fact that this pattern would take a weekend to knit up makes it even more appealing! And totally possible to accomplish!

Little Earthquakes

Another instant favourite: Little Earthquakes. As far as I can remember, all my life I've been drawn to anything giant and bulky (especially when paired with sleek and asymmetrical!). I truly love the look of a gigantic, oversized cowl and have been meaning to knit myself one for ages but have never been able to figure out what exactly I wanted that cowl to look like. When I saw Little Earthquakes I knew that this is what I've been looking for. What sealed the deal for me was a singular sentence in the design notes: "pull it up over your head and you've got an instant, giant hood to keep your ears and face warm". I've been known to use a cowl as a hood or headband on numerous occasions when out and about. For either warmth or for protection in the rain; regardless of whether or not if the cowl is big enough to be worn on my head. So to read that description? It's like the Universe is telling me that I should knit it!


A design that immediately caught my eye and one that I can't stop looking at is Debut. First, it exudes comfort and a contemporary chicness; second, it's named after Jen's favourite Björk album, which also happens to be my favourite Björk album too; and third, I have exactly 4 skeins of Cascade Magnum, the yarn called for in the pattern, in my stash to knit this bad boy up. NOW. I can already picture myself throwing this on as I head out the door to pick up the Munchkin from school, wearing it out on a lazy Sunday as I enjoy the afternoon with dear friends over coffee and croissants (and a bit of knitting!), and even wearing it as a jacket while I jolt around town running errands.

Although Debut is knit in pieces, I think I can pull it off since it's just sewing together straight edge pieces. I greatly appreciate the thorough seaming instructions in the pattern as I never know what method(s) to use or where to even start. I really like that Jen included the two seaming techniques used in the pattern. So often the instructions will say something along the lines of "sew pieces together" but rarely recommend what kind of seaming technique to use and where. 


After reading and thoroughly going through each and every pattern in this book, I think knitters of all levels would enjoy Weekend. The patterns are clearly written in a clean layout and the designs are simple and fast. A beginner would be able to knit any of these designs and yield a beautiful item that they could wear instantaneously and be proud of, while an advance knitter would enjoy an instant gratification project (and still be darn proud!).

To view all of the patterns from Weekend please check out the book's websiteDying to get your hands on a copy of Weekend? Look no further! There are several ways to get one:

     :: Jen's website (for a hard copy which also comes with a free PDF copy!) 
     :: Amazon
     :: Ravelry for PDF eBook and individual patterns 

For more information on Jen Geigley please check out the following links:

Now, do you want a chance to WIN a copy of Weekend? Of course you do!! Jen has generously offered to giveaway a PDF eBook copy to one lucky reader, and that reader can be you!! Thank you SO much Jen for letting me be a part of your book release party and for giving me the chance to host a giveaway for your fabulous eBook!! ♥

Left - Valhalla :: Right - Minnie

** Giveaway is now closed! **
** Thank you to all who have entered! **

One lucky reader will receive an eBook copy of Weekend: Simple, Modern Knits

:: Giveaway is open to everyone (yay!)
:: Giveaway is open until MondayOctober 5, 2015 at 11:59pm PST
:: All comments must include a valid email address or Ravelry ID so that I can contact you if you are the winner
:: Winner will be chosen via random number generator and will be contacted within 48 hours after giveaway ends

Leave a comment telling me which pattern is your favourite. Don't forget to also include your email or Ravelry ID with your comment, because how else can I get a hold of you if you are the lucky winner?

Good luck!!

♥ Happy Knitting! ♥

* Please note: all photos in this post are © Joelle Blanchard, Joey Leaming, and Geof Fischer and are used with permission.

:: Disclaimer :: 
I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post.  I received no monetary compensation for my review.  I was sent a copy of the eBook for review purposes in exchange for posting the review.  The opinions I've written are my own and I will not be receiving any commissions from any of the links provided in this post.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Off The Needles: Harvest Cardigan

I've been really slacking off on blogging about my FOs, which I'm sure you've all noticed. You also know I've been casting on a bunch of things left and right, and you know that I've been knitting away on all these projects, but rarely have you ever seen a post about something that has actually been finishedTrust me when I say that I have been finishing stuff. Sort of. It's been taking me forever (still) to either weave in ends or to get around to photographing them. A few weeks ago the weather got pretty chilly and as I was shoving my arm through the sleeve of a new and unworn (!!) hand knit cardigan, I froze. I realized that I haven't blogged about this finished cardigan (omg, I just checked and it was finished a year ago!!) and therefore didn't have any photographic proof of its FO status. Pictures or it didn't happen, right?

So I got the tripod all set up, I hunted down my camera's remote, I gave my hand knit a quick once over to ensure there were no creases or unsightly wrinkles, and then I spent at least an hour trying to get a few decent shots of the cardigan. Let me tell you, taking photos of yourself is no easy feat. Especially when you're a perfectionist and you're trying to ensure that all the little things don't get overlooked. Little details like a flipped up hem, stray hairs, visible bra straps, bunched up fabric, t-shirts sticking out unevenly from under the hem of the sweater, super visible camera remotes (they're hard to hide, I know!), and crooked necklines, to name a few, really bug me. Yes, I'm very particular. When I see these things my eyes just can't move on and I get fixated on those spots. Heck, the unevenness of the neckline in the photo above sort of bugs me (notice how one side of my black v-neck is more visible than the other?), but I'm trying not to beat myself up too much over it. I know I'm probably the only one to notice and I totally get that. Not everyone is overly nit picky like I am. I wish I wasn't that nit picky myself!

Anyhoo, let me show you my newest hand knit that has been getting a lot of wear since this photo shoot, my Harvest Cardigan:

This cardigan was seriously the easiest garment I've knit in a long time. It was so easy that I didn't even bother to print out the pattern or keep notes. I messed up on the increases along the collar but that was due to my own personal preferences and had nothing to do with the pattern itself. The only so-called "hard" part of this entire knit was the alternating of skeins. As I had mentioned in this post (which is probably the one and only time I blogged about this cardigan) I was using two different dye lots that were quite noticeably distinct from one another and it forced me to not only have to alternate skeins but to plan ahead and save some of the brighter, more vibrant yarn so that I could incorporate them in the sleeves and the hem. 

I decided to alternate my skeins on the right side of the fabric on the left front after the garter band section so that the yarn-line you get from alternating skeins could be somewhat camouflaged along the garter edge. I think it looks quite tidy and not at all noticeable. As for the sleeves, I did the alternating at the beginning of the row so that the line would be along the inside of the arm and would hopefully look like a seam if turned inside out.

When I first cast on this project I had every intention of making this a low-hip length cardigan. Or at least low enough on the butt so that I could pair this with leggings and not feel there. I ended up knitting way past my planned length simply because I had more yarn than I thought I would at that point, and I couldn't bare the thought of letting the yarn go to waste. I wouldn't have had enough leftover to knit even a hat and didn't like the idea of the leftovers just sitting in my leftovers bin. I love this colourway too much to do that to it! So I kept on knitting. The finished length is a few inches below my butt, which wouldn't be too bad if it weren't for the fact that this cardigan is heavy. And the yarn is superwash. You know what that all means. This bad boy is eventually going to g-r-o-w. 

The new plan: throw the cardigan into the dryer after every wash and hope that it'll shrink back up each time. Or hopefully an adequate amount so that it'll still look decent enough to wear in public. A part of me is glad that I had continued on knitting because the length really added to the coziness of the cardigan, but the other part of me wishes that I hadn't. Only because if I had planned on making the cardigan as long as I did I would have added in some waist shaping in the back. I've always felt like my body shape was more of a rectangle (and this could all be in my head) and think that adding the shaping in the back would have put my self-conscious brain at ease. I included the photo of my backside (shown above, and trust me, this was not an easy photo to take!) to show you what I mean. So often I've read posts and articles where the author talks about certain details but fails to actually show a photo of it. Also, you never get the back view of garments. What's up with that?   

As for the rest of the cardigan, I didn't do anything drastic in terms of modifying the pattern. Just a few little details for a cleaner look. Such as slipping the first stitch purl-wise with the yarn in front (then brought to the back to knit the second stitch) for a nicer, more interesting edge - it looks braided! I also used the Icelandic Bind Off method on the cuffs and hem because I absolutely love that it blends in and matches the fabric of the garter so beautifully AND it's also quite stretchy without the rippling effect that other stretchy bind offs give. I had also fiddled around a little with the last few stitches of the hem on the bind off to give the corner a cleaner and more crisp shape. Seeing that it has been a year since finishing this cardigan, I can't recall the exact details and obviously I didn't leave myself any notes, but most likely I had bound off two stitches together at the end to neaten the edge. I probably didn't leave myself a note about this because neatening the edge is something that I always do when binding off anything that's been knit flat.

Because someone will ask, when I bind off in the round I usually follow one of the TechKnitter's methods (which you can read about here). I would say that 90% of the time I follow the 'good method', unless the designer has you starting and ending the bind off on the front of the sweater (why, designers, why?? Grrr!!) like on the collar, where it would be quite visible. That's when I'd buckle up and give the 'excellent method' a go.

Oh! The sleeves! Now that I think about it, I did modify the sleeves a little to fit my meaty T-Rex arms. I picked up extra stitches to prevent gaps but didn't decrease them immediately as I figured my thicker biceps could use the room those extra two stitches provided. I also started the decreases three inches sooner and most likely had cut out a few rounds between each decrease round. This all might bite me in the butt in the end and the sleeves could very well stretch out in all ways like a mofo due to that superwash yarn situation, but for now they've been looking and working out great.

There's only one thing about this cardigan that I have an issue with, which has absolutely nothing to do with the pattern but more my own hang-ups and body failings. I seem to love and want to pull off this open-front type garment. I own a few store bought sweaters in this style and used to (still do?) have a few patterns in my queue that are similar, like Hitofude, Snowbird, Featherweight, and Effortless, and they all have one thing in common: I can't really wear them properly. I really want to, that's the thing. But in reality, they just don't work well with me. I'm not sure what it is, maybe my shoulders are too petite? Maybe I have too much of a slope from my neck to the shoulder bone? Whatever it is, the results are always the same. The cardigan tends to fall off my shoulders. I think I spend a fair amount of time tugging and re-arranging the garment than necessary. For something that's suppose to be simple and effortless to wear, I'm making it complicated and difficult. 

And yet I keep on trying to make it work. Tim Gunn, you have failed me on this one.

My original plan was to purchase a leather closure similar to these beautiful JUL Designs ones but didn't like how stark of a contrast the black was against the grey. For a while I used a shawl pin but I'm just not that elegant enough to wear one. That, and either I keep poking myself or the pin would just fall out. Nonetheless, I've been wearing this cardigan a lot these past few weeks and I suspect it'll remain in heavy rotation in my wardrobe for the rest of the season. I'll continue to look for a form of closure but in the meantime I've been using the strap of my handbag to keep the fronts overlapped a little while out and about. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

:: Cardigan Details ::
Pattern: Harvest by Tin Can Knits

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage
Colour: Steam Age
Needles: Knit Picks Rainbow Wood Interchangeable Circulars in 4.5mm (US 7) and 5.5mm (US 9)
Ravlery Link: MisoCraftyKnits Harvest


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