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


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Knit Tip :: Cuff-Up Sleeves In The Round

Fall is definitely in the air. This past week I've been freezing my butt off. So long Summer, it has been a blast! At first I thought I was sick (ugh...again) because the sun was out and the afternoons were gorgeous, but the air has been incredibly crisp. I've spent the last few days living in my thickest hoodie while huddling under blankets (ok fine, I am sick again...stupid allergies!). With such chilly weather upon us I've found myself reaching for an old WIP that I haven't touched since the start of June: my Belfast Hoodie. And I totally understand why. It's cozy, it's warm, and it's halfway done. 


Even though I didn't leave myself any notes as to where I had left off, I was able to figure out fairly quickly that I had completed the body up to the point where I had to join the sleeves, and the sleeves themselves needed only a few more rows each before they were at the desired length. Sweet! 

Wait, did I say sleeves? As in plural? Yes, yes I did. These tips I'm about to share with you aren't new and I definitely didn't come up with them, they are ones that I've picked up over the years to help me avoid not only second sleeve syndrome but uneven sleeve lengths and wonky spacing of the increases. The feeling that the sleeves are knitting up lightning quick is an added bonus. 

This, my Friends, is how I knit my sleeves when the pattern requires that I knit them cuff up. I knit the sleeves Magic Loop, two at a time on different cables, and using two sets of interchangeable needle tips. For clarity: this is not like the two-at-a-time sock knitting method. It goes like this: I cast on the first sleeve as you normally would and knit the cuff, then I switch out the left hand needle with a tip that's a size or two smaller. Why? It makes moving the stitches onto the left needle so much easier and somewhat faster. Always make sure your right needle is still the correct size for your project, since that's the needle you knit onto and determines your gauge. I usually keep a needle gauge close by, just in case. Or, to make life even easier (and if you have the tools to do this), use a set of tips that are in a different colour from the ones you are using for the whole project. 

I set the cuff aside and then with a second cable, I attach the correct needle size first and cast on the second cuff before I screw on the smaller tip on the other end of the cable. That way I'm guaranteed to cast on using the right size needle. Then I knit the cuff as I did for the first sleeve. When the cuffs are done, I continue on by knitting sections: I knit x amount of rounds or inches and the first set of increases on the first sleeve, set it aside and knit the same on the second sleeve; I go back to the first sleeve and knit the next grouping of rounds or inches and the increases, set aside and knit the same on the second. I do this "sectional knitting" until the sleeves have reached the desired length and when I'm done, voilà! Both sleeves are knitted up and ready to go. 

I hope that all made sense!

♥ Happy Knitting! ♥

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's A #CraftyBlissChallenge

I love Instagram. 

I really, really do. 

I love seeing what people are knitting, sewing, and crafting. I love looking at pretty yarns and fabrics and discovering new yarn dyers. I love daydreaming and living vicariously through others as they travel the world. I follow not only knitters, crafters, dyers, yarn and fabric companies, but also foodies, fashion designers and bloggers, makeup artists, lifestyle bloggers, illustrators and artists, decorators and stylists (they usually have the most colourful and eye-catching photos that are just pure inspiration!), and yeah...there might be a cat account (or two) and Socality Barbie thrown in the mix too. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time on Instagram on a daily basis. 

I also love Instagram photo challenges. I find the prompts that people come up with intriguing. I'm completely fascinated with how people interpret a word or a phrase and make it their own, and maybe show you something different that you may not have thought of before. I love being inspired and seeing the world through different points of views. Don't you?

So what's up with all this Instagram talk? Well, I have something fun and exciting to share with you all: the super lovely Julie of Knitted Bliss and I are co-hosting a 10-day Instagram challenge!! A #CraftyBlissChallenge will commence on Friday, September 18th and will wrap up on Sunday, September 27th. Julie and I would love it if you could join us!

Don't have an Instagram account? What are you waiting for? It's free! Lost your knitting mojo? Haven't been inspired to pick up that WIP you cast on before the start of summer? Well don't worry, our prompts are broad and not knitting specific, which means anybody can join in on the fun! 

Check out the prompts:

Totally fun, right?

To participate: all you need to do is get creative, take photos, add captions (or not, it's up to you), tag them all with our special hashtag -  #CraftyBlissChallenge, and share. 
To make life easier on yourself, you can save the image above or bookmark this post in your web browser (or stop by Julie's blog post here) and come back every day of the challenge to help you remember the prompts.

Julie and I will be popping in daily to share our own photos and to check out what people are posting via the hashtag feed. Follow both of us on Instagram: Julie is @knittedblissjc and I'm @misocraftyknits to see our takes on the daily prompts (or to check out our feeds in general). If you don't have an Instagram account I hope you will still follow along on the challenge and see what everyone is posting.  

To make this even more fun, two randomly selected participants who have completed all 10 days of the challenge will be chosen to win some knitterly goodies. Who doesn't like goodies? Especially of the knitterly variety?? So remember to tag each photo with the hashtag #CraftyBlissChallenge so that Julie and I can see your photos and follow along on your challenge progress.

We hope you join us!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Random Friday

Lately my sleep has been crap (re: I'm not getting any shut eye) and as a result my brain has been absolute mush. I also have yet another sinus infection which has me feeling drained and grumpy. Man, I'm just a bag full of fun! Because of all this I've been feeling a bit discombobulated. Most of the time I surprise myself when I can form actual sentences that make sense. Or, at least I think they make sense.

On that note, here are a few random things on my mind that I can't stop thinking about:

♥ My hands have been feeling a little off lately so I've eased up a bit on the knitting. Only a bit though. I've switched up my knitting style a few times in hopes of relieving the discomfort but wasn't successful with that until I discovered and tried the Portuguese knitting style. 

♥ Originally, the first time I felt my hands start to tense up I switched over to Continental but after an hour my hands were worse off than when I had started. Apparently I like to hold my knitting with a death grip that exacerbates my hand pain. I honestly thought I would have to stop knitting for a while to let this episode of hand soreness pass. 

♥ I searched the Internet for different ways to hold your knitting, or to at least minimize hand movement and pain and that's when I came across several videos and tutorials for the Portuguese style of knitting. This is also when I learned about Andrea Wong, who seems to be the expert on the subject. Shortly after trying my hand at Portuguese knitting I discovered that Andrea also has a brand new Craftsy class for this very method of knitting! I'm extremely tempted to sign up for it.

♥ I wanted to try out this style of knitting because I had read that it's good for those with arthritis and CTS. I was really surprised that I was able to get into a groove with this style not even half an hour into my first attempt. I had kept at and even after three days of knitting my hands were feeling fine! I didn't even wake up with numbness or swelling! From time to time I've gone back to my usual throwing style (my gauge with Portuguese knitting is really tight and not really ready to be interchangeable with my throwing, so any projects that were started in English knitting will have to stay that style. For now) and can tell immediately that my hands can only go for short spurts of time before they start to cramp up. I wasn't intending on changing my knitting style but if this keeps up, I just might have too!

♥ I don't know if Portuguese knitting is faster, but I do know that it's very easy to get the hang of. Even purling is super easy! Actually, I want to purl!! How crazy is that?!? I've even read that some knitters who knit Portuguese will knit their garter in all purl stitches, or if they are knitting in the round they'll knit the item inside out so that they can purl the entire piece, all because purling is just so darn easy!

♥ To practice, I've cast on a new pair of plain vanilla socks in which I'm not allowed to knit a single stitch in either English or Continental styles. Just straight up Portuguese. So fair it's been going swimmingly well. I'm quite pleased.

♥ While I'm not 100% cold sheep, I've been trying to be pretty mindful of what yarns I do buy and bring into the stash. So often I forget about all the beauties that are chilling out in my stash and why I bought them in the first place. I've been trying to make more effort to knit from stash and to finally get around to appreciating and knitting up the yarns that I used to be so obsessed with.

♥ Speaking of obsessing over yarn, I'm currently dying to get my hands on the newest Regia line called Pair-fect. I don't know why since the end product would result in pretty much what you would get from using leftovers of self-striping yarn and a solid. I also can't get over Regia's Arne & Carlos line either. I'm seriously sitting on my hands trying to not to buy every single skein there is of the Star Night colourway! I love it so!

♥ I'm extremely tempted to sign up for the Joji Fall KAL. I haven't participated in a KAL in ages, mainly because I always had other obligations and now it's the uncertainty as to whether or not if I can follow through and finish due to my CTS. I'm still a little hesitant but I've been wanting to knit a Lemongrass for years and now is the perfect time to get motivated and get knitting!

♥ I really shouldn't be casting on anything new though. I wrote a list of all the WIPs that are piled up high in a basket beside me on the desk (there's at least seven...I'm almost too scared to open up some of the project bags beside the basket!). I told myself, "you can't cast on anything else until you get through this list!". Not to mention that I would like to get all those needles back.

♥ A lot of those WIPs are socks.

♥ Maybe I should change that rule and say no more casting on socks. But sweaters are totally fine. After all, sweater weather is almost upon us.

♥ Nevermind. I just found two sweaters WIPs.

♥ I better stop looking for WIPs. 

♥ Happy Weekend! ♥

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review :: Sockupied Fall 2015

I'll probably get flogged to death with wet acrylic boucle yarn but I'll say it anyways: Fall is just around the corner. Or, if you're a GoT fan then it's probably better to say Winter is Coming. I don't know if it's because the nights have started to get nippier (at least in my part of town), or if it's because I've been school supply shopping and slowly trying to get the Munchkin back into school mode but lately I've been thinking a lot about warm woollies and socks. Lots of socks. So when the opportunity to review the fall issue of Sockupied popped up, you bet I said "heck yeah, sign me up!!". Do you really think I would turn down the chance to look at, chat about, and most likely queue up a few sock patterns? Of course not! Bring on ALLLLL the socks! 

In case you're not familiar with Sockupied (and if the name doesn't give it away), it's an interactive e-magazine that focuses exclusively on nothing but socks! Each issue contains five or six sock patterns (all of which are also available in a printable PDF format via a simple click), sock related articles, tutorials, tips, videos, and galleries. I have several issues stored away on the Sockupied app on my tablet. I love the layouts, the ease in which I can quickly scan the magazine, and if I want to check out the pattern in its entirety I can with a simple tap. In this particular issue there are six brand new and beautiful sock patterns, a short interview with featured designer, Debbie O'Neill, and a really fascinating article about the sock history of the Russian Empire. Unfortunately for me I couldn't read the whole article as I received the PDF version of the eMag to review and can only assume that the rest of the article was one of the many interactive parts of this issue.

Anyhoo, let's get to the real reason why we're here: the patterns. Like the majority of knitters out there, I determine whether or not if I'm going to buy a knitting magazine based off of how many patterns I like and would consider knitting. Sockupied Fall 2015 retails for $11.99 USD (which would be about $16-17 CDN, depending on how much crappier/better the exchange is) and if you divide that by the six patterns, that would make each pattern $2 USD each! That's such a steal! I would definitely knit three (four, if I had the guts to do colourwork on socks) of these patterns and so I would definitely add this issue to my shopping cart.

But I'm not sure if this issue is for everyone. I did take note that this issue contains four top-down patterns, one toe-up, and one that has instructions for both construction methods. I could see this as being a potential "deal-breaker" for sock knitters who knit exclusively one way or the other as to whether they'd purchase this issue or not. I know there are a lot of knitters out there that are steadfast top-down/toe-up sock knitters and would therefore turn down any pattern that wasn't written for their preferred method. Some knitters like the challenge of converting a pattern to fit their style and some just want to knit the pattern as written. I'm pretty neutral on the subject and so it doesn't bother me either way, but for those of you who do have a strong preference, take note: Yay for top-down sock knitters, boo for toe-up.

As for pattern difficulty, well, I'm not one to say whether or not if a fellow knitter can or cannot knit a particular design because in my opinion it's all about what the knitter can, or think they can, knit. With that said I think the majority of new sock knitters might find most of these patterns a bit intimidating. 

Hominy by Marie Godsey

There is one pattern in the lot that is highlighted as being 'good for beginners', the Hominy Socks by Marie Godsey (pictured above), which I can agree with as the pattern is simple and uses straight up knit and purl stitches and basic decreases. My only problem with this pattern is that it's written in only one size. I think I'm experienced enough to know how to work around that but a newbie sock knitter might not even know where to begin. Or worse yet, knit the socks as written, have the finished sock not fit, the knitter blaming themselves for why the sock doesn't fit, and therefore might not want to knit another sock again. No! That thought makes me shudder!! I think it's odd that this pattern is written in only one size when all the other patterns contain at least three sizes, why not this one as well? Although the size given would be tight on my feet, I'd still knit this. 

Electrostatic Lines 

One of my favourite socks in this issue is the cover pattern, the Electrostatic Lines Socks by Jennifer Raymond. These socks contain qualities that I love: a funky zig zag design, knee high, and the endless colour pairing possibilities...ooohh!! You just know I'm thinking hot pink and grey!! These socks are such eye-catchers and look like a lot of fun - both to wear and to knit. But like I said earlier, I don't know if I have the guts to try my hand at colourwork on socks just yet, but if I did I take solace in knowing that this pattern is knit toe-up and I can keep trying them on to figure out which charts I needed to use to fit my calves. I hope you don't take my lack of self-confidence in colourwork as any indication of the pattern's difficulty level because really, reading over the instructions, if you can knit a basic sock that fits you well and you know how to read a chart, then you can knit these socks. I just seem to freeze and doubt myself when it comes to floats in my knitting and my need to yank on the working yarn a lot.

A Walk in the Woods by Debbie O'Neill

And then there's A Walk in the Woods Socks by featured designer, Debbie O'Neill. This design really caught my eye and piqued my interest. The cuff, the lace, the asymmetrical lace detail on the instep, and again the knee high length...all together makes for a gorgeous sock. The cuff, which is comprised of two different rib patterns, is so pretty and one that I have never seen before on a sock really intrigues me. And let's talk about the fact that the lace pattern mirror each other. Yes! Be still my heart! The pattern includes three sizes and each size has its own chart for both feet for the instep and leg. My only concern is that judging from the pattern the amount of stitches you cast on for the leg is only a couple of stitches more than that for the foot, and let me tell you, 68 stitches for my calf is definitely not enough. I don't think it would be too hard to fix that though. This sock is just so pretty that I'm willing to give it a go! 

Gladys Thompson by Kate Atherley

Another one of my favourite patterns is the Sockupied exclusive, Gladys Thompson Socks by Kate Atherley (pictured above). This pattern was actually slated for her newest book, Custom Socks (which I am dying to get my hands on!!), but was cut out due to lack of space. You won't be able to find the pattern for these beautiful socks anywhere else but in this issue! 

These gorgeous socks were inspired by classic Gansey stitch patterns and was named after the knitter/author/historian who first published the Guernsey and Jersey patterns. Best of all, the pattern includes instructions for both top-down and toe-up versions, which you can also see in the photo above!! So awesome. I really appreciate it when the designer and/or publication show that in their sample and photos. I absolutely love how textured and cozy these socks look. They just demand that you wear them all throughout front of the fireplace...whilst knitting away on an equally cozy sweater. I also love that this pattern comes in six sizes, with the largest being 24 cm (9.5") foot circumference. With a variety in sizes mixed with the neutral looking stitch patterns, this design could be knit up for men too. I also love the suggestion of knitting one sock top-down and the other toe-up to avoid knitting the same sock twice. Perfect for those who suffer from Second Sock Syndrome!

Left: Riband Socks by Heidi Nick
Right: Checkers by Mone Dräger

The other two patterns in the issue are Riband Socks by Heidi Nick and Checkers by Mone Dräger (pictured above). Normally I'm all about the cables but for some reason the Riband Socks just aren't doing it for me. I'm not sure if it's because of the colour choices or because one of the pairs look ill-fitting in the samples shown, but I'm not really sold on this pattern. I think the cables are lost within the variegated colourway, and while the pink colour makes me giddy with joy, I can't get over how it looks a little...slouchy.

As for Checkers, I think these socks are fun and cool looking but the construction of them just isn't my cup of tea. There's a lot going on here: you're knitting them in the round before you start knitting them flat, there's a lot of picking up of stitches, and of course, the stranded colourwork to keep mindful of for the front of the leg. As someone who likes to try their sock WIP on several times during the knitting process, I don't think you'd get a chance to try this design on until you're more than halfway through knitting the sock. If you're a very experienced sock knitter, or a process knitter, or even just a very confident knitter, I'm sure this pattern would be right up your alley.

At the end of the issue there's a handy glossary for instructions on how to execute Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, Judy's Magic Cast-On, Turkish Cast-on, the short-rows version and increases used in these patterns, and of course, the Kitchener Stitch. I don't know about you, but no matter how many times I've done the Kitchener Stitch, I still need to look it up on how to get it going. Every.single.time!

So, my overall thoughts on Sockupied Fall 2015: I totally dig it! I've already queued up a few of the patterns and am thinking of what I have in the stash to knit them in. I think if you're a sock knitter and/or are wanting to go beyond plain vanilla, it's definitely worth checking this issue out!

Which of these socks do you like? Have you been thinking about socks lately too? Or do you never stop thinking about them? I for one always have thoughts of socks going on in the back of my mind. I just wish I had the time (and the healthy hands!!) to knit all the socks I daydream about!

♥ Happy Knitting! ♥

** Please note: all photos in this post are courtesy and © Sockupied/Harper Point Photography and are used with permission

:: Disclaimer ::
I am not affiliated with the company or designers mentioned in this post. I received no monetary compensation from said company or designers for my review. I was sent a digital copy of the issue 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 the links provided in this post or from any of the links provided.
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