Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Obsessions

January Obsessions
Can you believe it?  We are halfway through the summer.  Where in the world did July go??  Is it just me or did this month fly by in a complete and total blur?  In my mind it's still the beginning of summer!  Yikes!  Gotta get with the program!  I don't know what it is or how to even describe it, but I've been feeling a bit...meh...when it comes to knitting and any other crafty goodness for that matter.  I honestly haven't accomplished anything all month.  I think I've just been too tired to really be motivated or to feel any urgency in trying to complete anything.  All month I've been knitting and knitting with not much to show for all the work.  Some people say it's just the time of year and how summer doesn't really mesh well with knitters.  A few people think I've got possible knitting burnout.  I did, after all, finish a string of large projects.  But I don't think that's it, since I really do crave and relish the opportunities to knit for large amounts of time.  And even though I've been making lists galore of all the things I want to do, of all the things that need to get done and stuff, I still feel somewhat scatterbrained and like I'm trying to do too much all at once with the inability to concentrate on one task at a time. 

So what have I been doing all month?  Good question.  I don't even know myself.  Aside from researching and checking out preschools and daycares that can accomodate a child with special needs, I've been spending more time being outside than I have knitting.  I wish I could say I've been knitting the entire time whilst being outside, but sadly, no.  Maybe more knitting action will happen next month?  But for July, here are the 5 things I've been obsessed with all month long:

1. Cables

Hooray Cardigan - Cables

Just like in June, all July I've been craving cables.  The craving has been in full force even more so after reviewing Carol Feller's Celtic Cables class on Craftsy.  I haven't cast on anything just yet, I just can't seem to make up my mind as to what I should knit first.  Don't you just hate that?  So many projects, so little time!  At the moment I'm debating between Tanis Fiber Arts creator Tanis Lavallée's I Heart Aran pullover and Carol Feller's 100th pattern, Ravi cardigan.  What do you think?

2. Domestic Badass 

A Domestic Foot

I'm going to have to confess that I've stopped working on my Domestic Badass Pair of Socks for a little bit solely because I just don't want the knitting to end!  I just love this yarn by Everything Old so, so much! But can you blame me? Just look at that striping action! I have one sock almost finished and rest assured that I will not have even an inch of yarn leftover. You bet I'm going to try to use up every last centimeter of this yummy yarn!

3. Ball Mason Jars

Are you really surprised at all to see this one on the obsession list?  I started collecting jars a few years ago but it's only been recently that the collection has really started to grow.  The collection consists mainly of a lot of Atlas Mason jars (we make a lot of pasta dishes around here) but I've been lusting after Ball Mason jars.  What's the big deal you ask?  Well, even though the typical canning jars you see on the shelves are produced under the same manufacturer, I prefer the Ball jars over the Bernardin jars.  I haven't even seen the Kerr jars anywhere in Victoria.  All 3 brands are made under umbrella company Jarden, with Ball being sold mainly in the US, with Bernardin being the Canadian equivalent, and Kerr just floating between the 2.  I prefer the Ball over the Bernardin simply due to the fact that the Ball jars have the cup and ounce measurements etched into all their jars.  Ball is also the only company of the 3 that has the pint and half size.  I LOVE this size.  It is THE perfect size.  Not only is it nice and tall without being too chunky to hold, the wide mouth opening makes scrubbing out the jar a snap.  Sadly, this brand is rarely sold in Canada (just the Elite collection can be found), let alone this perfect size.  I have 2 of these jars, which is enough to satisfy me...for now.

4. Cuppow

Image via MisoCraftyKnits on Instagram

The Cuppow really goes hand in hand with the above mason jars.  I simply cannot get enough of my Cuppows and I use them on a regular basis.  I still think they are the best invention ever!  I just wish that the wide mouth version had a bigger spout that allows you to use a straw like the regular version does. 

5. Homemade Naturally Flavoured Water

I've mentioned it before but when I'm not downing strong black coffee or straight up Americanos, I'm chugging back ice cold water.  This summer though I've kicked it up a flavour notch by adding some sliced fruits before chilling (in mason jars, of course!).  Lemon slices are always a favourite stand by, but lately I've been loving orange slices, strawberry with mint, and kiwi!  I've given cucumber slices a try but have to say that I'm not a huge fan.  My sweet tooth prefers the fruit flavoured waters more.  I have a feeling this obsession isn't going to go away any time soon either!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Project 365 :: Week 21

Day 141 - July 22, 2012
Day 141 :: July 22, 2012
Life is just a mason jar of cherries...

Day 142 - July 23, 2012
Day 142 :: July 23, 2012
Homemade iced tea is always better with a cool looking paper straw!

Day 143 - July 24, 2012
Day 143 :: July 24, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
Mason jar condensation

Day 144 - July 25, 2012
Day 144 :: July 25, 2012
Measurements in black and white

Day 145 - July 26, 2012
Day 145 :: July 26, 2012
Inspiration at the bottom of a glass jar

Day 146 - July 27, 2012
Day 146 :: July 27, 2012
I heart homemade iced coffee
I kinda cheated with this photo.  I had taken it with my DSLR but then sent it to my iPhone so that I could use an app to alter the photo a little

Day 147 - July 28, 2012
Day 147 :: July 28, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
Sipping a refreshing jar of ice cold water with cucumber slices while prepping dinner during our camping trip

Can you guess the theme of this week's photos?  If you guessed mason jars, you are absolutely right!!  I'm still pretty darn obsessed with mason jars and have been going through my little stash of jars that I've been collecting these past couple of years.  Most of them are small jam jars that will be re-used for when I ever get around to making and canning my own jam and a few will be reserved for the Munchkin to use for drinking purposes.  I don't see my love of using canning jars waning any time soon, especially now that I've got my hands on both the wide mouth and the regular version Cuppows.  If you don't know what a Cuppow is, it's an amazeballs of an invention that turns a canning jar into a travel mug!  Pure genius I tell you!  I simply cannot get enough of it!  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Getting Away

The little family and I have decided a few days ago to go camping this weekend.  We all had a bit of a rough week and so it will be nice to get away from it all, sit back, and enjoy some peace and quiet for a few days.  I can't wait, it's going to be fun!  So that means Sunday's Project 365 post will be late.  I won't be able to post it until sometime Monday evening or Tuesday morning...all depending on when we get back and how quickly we can get our week preparations done (y'know, the week's grocery shopping and such).  I'll have my iPhone with me but I really don't plan on checking my email or social media outlets - other than to post the odd photo on Instagram.  So if you send me an email, please be patient and know I'll get to it when I get back!

As excited as I am to go camping again, I'm a little bummed that I'll be missing out on some Olympics action.  Namely gymnastics.  I wonder if I can find a way to get online streaming to my phone?  In the meantime, I've got some knitting and marshmallows to pack!

Happy weekend!  ♥

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let The Games Begin!

Let The Games Begin!
Today both the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the Ravellenic Games kicks off!!  Who's planning on watching the opening ceremonies?  Who's planning on knitting up a storm in the next 2 weeks?  Is anyone planning on casting on something specifically for the Games?  Even though I'll be watching the Olympics (I'm a huge fan of gymnastics and hoping that this year I'll be able catch some rhythmic gymnastics...but no one ever televises them!), I won't really be participating in the Ravellenics on Ravelry.  To tell you the truth I was totally unprepared.  Time really snuck up on me (seriously, there's only a few days left of July?  What??) and it was only last night that I discovered that the Olympics was starting today!  Aiya!

So I'm not on a Ravellenic team nor do I have a special project ready to be cast on.  Instead, I plan on spending the next 2 weeks working away on some WIPs and decided unofficially this morning to knit as many hexipuffs as I can for my Beekeeper's Quilt.  Any bets as to how many I can knit in 2 weeks?  With the amount of time that I've had lately to dedicate to knitting, I'm going to say maybe a handful?  I guess we'll find out!

Let the Games begin!!

♥  Happy Knitting!  ♥

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Craftsy Class Review: Celtic Cables

Image via Craftsy
 I'm not sure if you've caught onto this or not, but I LOVE cables.  I really, really do.  I simply cannot get enough of them!  You probably wouldn't be able to tell that considering that the last string of FOs consisted of mainly straight up stockinette projects, but believe me when I say that I have an infinite love for cables.  I don't know what it is about cables, but I just can't seem to resist them...they are just so much fun to knit and once I get going, I just can't seem to stop.  They're just SO addicting!  And every time I finish a project that features cables, I always get this feeling of great satisfaction...and for some reason, I always feel oh so clever.  Tell me I'm not the only one!

I have to admit though, as strong as my love is for cables, I've only really dipped my toes in simple cable work.  You know, an 8-stitch horseshoe there, a lacy cable accent there...but nothing too intricate.  I've always wanted to dive into a project that consists of heavy duty cable work, something that has cables as the main part of the fabric...not just as a design feature.  But I've always held off.  I don't know, I think it's because I just don't get the chance (or the time!) where I can sit for a huge amount of time to fully delve and immerse myself in all the charts that are usually involved in something a lot more complicated that I'm used too.  I'll admit that my mommy brain was too scared to undertake a project that would require me to actually think and pay attention.  I hemmed and hawed and still couldn't make up my mind if I should just dive head first into a project chock-full of cables.  Then I got a sign.

A few weeks ago I got the wonderful opportunity to become part of Carol Feller's blog tour for her new Craftsy class, Celtic Cables!

I am so extremely excited and über happy to be a part of this blog tour, and am thrilled to bits to be the second stop of the tour!  

But can I make a confession here?  For the longest time I didn't really understand what Craftsy was all about.  I knew they offered online classes and workshops for various kinds of crafts, helped promote indie designers, showcased craft projects of all kinds, and offered deals on yarns and fabrics.  But I didn't really understand what Craftsy was all about.  I just didn't get it.  Before I became a part of the Celtic Cables Blog Tour, I took a good look around Craftsy and found Carol Feller's free mini-class, Short Rows.  I signed up and after 10 minutes into the class I got it.  I'm still in awe of how amazing Craftsy's platform is!  In that first 10 minutes I was able to watch the first 5 minutes uninterrupted before the Munchkin puttered over to see what I was up to.  I was able to stop the class, make the Munchkin a snack, come back and continue on watching the class where I had left off!  Amazeballs.  Just when I thought I was already getting lost in the class, I looked over at the side bar and noticed that another knitter had asked the very same question that I was thinking!  Yup.  Awesomeness.  And now getting the chance to review Carol's Celtic Cables class on Craftsy?  Double awesomeness.

When I started watching Celtic Cables I really wasn't quite sure what to expect, mainly because I've never taken a proper knitting class before.  I couldn't believe all the topics that Carol touched on and was simply amazed as to how thorough she was on each subject.  And the best part of the class (aside from gaining a lot of knitterly knowledge)?  You can walk away with a beautiful cardigan full of celtic cable yumminess by the end of the course!

Image courtesy of Carol Feller

Gorgeous, right?  You can knit that.  You can!  In the Celtic Cables class Carol will show you step-by-step just how to knit your very own custom fit Portulaca cardigan.  Containing well over 6 hours of knitterly instruction (and yes, I watched every single second.  It was great!) Carol will start out the class by talking you through and showing you how to properly measure your body and explains the difference between actual measurements and garment ease - which is great for beginners and knitters who are trying their hand at knitting a garment for themselves for the first time.

Carol will then teach you about gauge and why you need to knit a swatch for each cable section.  Don't worry if you've never knit a cable before, Carol will show you how to read and follow charts, how to block cabled work, and how to knit all the different cables that are featured in the Portulaca cardigan!  I absolutely LOVED how the video displays the row of the cable pattern that Carol is knitting below the actual video and highlights each stitch that was being knit so that you can accurately follow along.  Yay for visual learning!  As if that wasn't awesome enough, Carol offers some fantastic tips of how to keep track of where you are in a chart and shows you how to knit with and without a cable needle, which truly excited me.  I actually had to stop the class, grab some leftover yarn and needles and cast on a little swatch so that I could give it a try!

I've knit quite a few cardigans in my knitting life and am still trying to figure out how to get my knits to fit properly.  So it was right up my alley when Carol went into detail about pattern schematics and did a break down to show you how to get a custom fit.  But if you're anything like me and aren't brave enough (yet!) and don't trust your knitterly math, don't worry, Carol also explains other ways of creating a better fit that won't have you re-calculating the entire pattern.  I know I'll definitely be using this new found knowledge in future projects!  Wow, can you believe this?  So much valuable information already and we haven't even cast on yet for the actual cardigan!

Images courtesy of Carol Feller

Speaking of cast ons, I learned a brand new way of how to cast on for when you start your garment with ribbing.  I SO can't wait to try this new technique out on my next project!  I also learned a bind off that I had never even heard about before.  Is it weird to say that my jaw dropped when I watched Carol do this bind off?  Cause it did.  Another technique to add to my knitting bag of tricks!  Again, I can't wait to try it out on a future project!  As I continued to watch the rest of the class I started to feel like I was no longer taking an online course.  Maybe it's Carol's soothing accent and relaxing tone of voice (if she was at all nervous, she really didn't show it!) or maybe it's because I was in the comforts of my own home with my feet up, knitting in my lap, and cup of tea beside me but after a while I felt like I was sitting with a friend who was guiding me on how to create a beautiful piece of wearable art. As you learn about shaping (waist, raglan, and neck), sleeves, button bands, and finishings, you'll also get some handy tips and explanations as to why Carol did things the way she did. I loved that. Sometimes when I knit a pattern I truly wonder why the designer chose this method over that one in how a garment is constructed. So I really liked the little tidbits of the designer's thought process.

I also really appreciated the fact that Carol understood that no two knitters are alike and even though she gave explanations of the techniques she chose to use in her design, she constantly encourages you to experiment and to try out different methods to find out what works best for you so that you can "own your knitting" and personalize it even further.  Heck, she even supports you to try different cable patterns and if you don't like one of the cables featured in Portulaca she shows you how to sub in a cable pattern that you do like into the cardigan instead!  How awesome is that?  Another thing that I love?  That after each lesson Carol encourages you to ask questions, to leave comments, to post progress photos, to share your modifications, and most importantly to leave yourself little notes as to where you are in your knitting (or in the class). After all, we all know just how easy it is to get completely caught up in your knitting!!  

Image courtesy of Carol Feller

Just when you think the class is over and your cardigan is almost finished (I thought it was so cute that you can see and hear the excitement of the prospect of having a finished garment in Carol's voice at the end of the last lesson), you get an awesome "bonus" lesson on how to fix your mistakes in cables without having to rip up all your hard work and how to tighten up stitches around your cables and ribbing.  An unmentioned bonus: the Portulaca pattern is currently only being offered through this class!  You won't be able to find this pattern in any book or even Ravelry!

I didn't think I would include an interview with this review, but after watching the course I just had to ask Carol a few questions.  I thought I would somehow incorporate the answers into my post but I think Carol's answers are perfect the way they are.  In case you still aren't sure you can do cables or take this class, I asked Carol the following questions:

What skill level does a knitter need in order to take the class?
To do this class a knitter has to have a basic grasp of knitting (knit and purl), increasing, decreasing, and reading a pattern.  However, the most important skill is patience and a little bit of fearlessness!  I met a knitter recently whose first garment was a cabled cardigan from my book, Contemporary Irish Knits and she had no problems!  You do of course, need the basics but if you're willing to take your time and possibly watch the trickier sections a few times on the video, then I really believe that this is something most knitters can tackle!

Miso Crafty Knits Note: If you haven't checked out Contemporary Irish Knits yet, you must!  So many delicious cables all jammed into one book...I seriously want to knit every pattern!

What would you like knitters to know about your class?
I really enjoy knitting cables and I hope this love of cabled knitting transfers through in my online class.  I've packed a lot of information into the 12 lessons of this class and it will probably be necessary for newer knitters to watch some sections several times.  That has to be one of the best things about the Craftsy platform, because the videos are online you watch them any time, on any computer as often as you'd like.  Also, the classes are fully interactive, you just write a comment at a particular place on the video and either I or other knitters can reply.  If there's a particular place in the video that you need more explanation on you only need to ask!

What do you hope knitters will gain from your class (such as a better understanding of cables, how to incorporate cables into their knitting, etc)?
There are a few key skills that I hope knitters will take away from this class.  The first skill set relegates to cables.  In the class knitters will work through the basics of cables, reading a cable chart, the mechanics of actually working a cable, and how to correct mis-crossed cables.  
The second set of skills deals with knitting a garment that fits.  Knitters will learn how to measure themselves as accurately as possible and knit their gauge swatches.  With the body measurements and swatches done knitters will use the schematic as a guide to figure out what, if any, modifications they'll need to make to get the best fit possible.  Doing all this by yourself for the first time can be intimidating but having a class situation that you work at your own pace makes learning cables and fitting your cardigan much more manageable and fun!

Thanks Carol!!  ♥

If you're itching to learn how to knit cables or want to learn how to knit your first cardigan, I highly recommend this class. Interested?  Sign up for Carol Feller's Celtic Cables class and you'll get the class for 33% off by either clicking on the banner above or by using this link.  Seriously, that makes this course only $28. That's not even $5 an hour!  And that's including the price of the pattern!  What a steal!  Sign up, you won't regret it. And if you do take the class, please, come back here and let me know what you think!

While you're at it, check out Carol's free mini-class:

For more information about Carol Feller:

Want to follow along the Celtic Cables Blog Tour?  Check out the dates here:

Happy Cable Knitting!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fresh Off The Needles: Akoya

Akoya 2
Today is my Monday, and I thought what better way to start the week than to show you all another FO?  Yay!  Another FO!  Happy happy, joy joy!!  Oohh...I just totally dated myself there.  Ouch.  I'm getting old.  Anyhoo, this here is my darling Akoya cardigan.  I am seriously in love with this cardigan and even more so in love with the designer, Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches (I just heard some of you gasp...yes, this is not a Veera Välimäki design!).  I honestly cannot say enough nice things about this pattern.  It was such a joy to knit and I truly was sad when I had bound off the last stitch of the entire project.  The pattern was so very well written that not once did I get confused or questioned what the designer wanted me to do.  I thoroughly appreciated that stitch counts were constantly given throughout, they really made me confident in knowing that I was on the right track.  My confidence levels were boosted even more when I actually got the correct stitch count each time too!  To say that I highly recommend this pattern is quite the understatement!  

I know I say this for pretty much every project I've knit (except for Nuvem), but Akoya really did fly off the needles.  If I hadn't taken a week or so off to knit on other things, I think I could have finished this project in less than a month.  Oh yeah...it was just that enjoyable of a knit which makes it fly that much faster.  I learned from previous cable experiences to mark off each cable section, repeat, and side seam with stitch markers so that I could keep track of what I was doing and where abouts I was in the pattern.  The trellis lace at the center front really helped to break up the monotony of the stockinette body, so much so that I was taken by surprise when I had reached the 14" mark.  

Akoya - Side

I was surprised again when I had finished the sleeves in the same quick manner.  I honestly thought that once I was done the lace and yummy cable part, I would have to force myself to carry on and get the boring stockinette portion completed.  But you know what?  I didn't have to force myself to do anything, I actually wanted to hurry up and get the sleeves done.  My motivation:

Akoya - Shoulder

Yup.  The gorgeous cables on the chest were begging me to knit the sleeves faster so that I could join the whole shebang together.  One of the things that I love about knitting a bottom up cardigan or top is knowing that once I join the sleeves to the body or once I get past the armpits, it won't be much longer until the project is finished and will be off the needles.  And this project was no different.  If I thought knitting the body and the sleeves were fast, the yoke had knit up even faster!

Akoya - Chest

I totally blame the cables.  They were just so much fun to knit.  And addicting too.  I just couldn't stop knitting, I just had to see how the cables were going to build up!  And once they were done I felt oh so clever.  Man, I love cables.  I really, really do.  I think I need to knit more projects featuring cables.  I just get such a high from having to use a cable needle and get all giddy when I get to the part when I have to cross a cable.  Is that weird?  Tell me I'm not the only one!

Akoya - Chest 2

Once those front cables were done it was decrease city from there on in, which meant the rest of the knitting would go by quickly.  So of course I couldn't put the cardigan down until I had bound off all but the last stitch of the neck line.  I know some people hate it, but I actually love picking up stitches.  This experience is made even better when the designer tells you how many stitches need to be picked up and it actually works.  I did have some trouble with the button hole band, but that was all purely my fault and not at all because of the pattern.  I should have known better than to try to pick up stitches at 2am in the morning when I was completely exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open.  I should have also stayed away the next morning when I made a few more attempts.  But I'm annoyingly stubborn and 4 tries later I finally got it right.  Lucky for me the left button band was easy peasy and was knit right the first time!

Now, don't go thinking that all the fun is only on the front of the cardigan.  Those lovely cables that you see above the bottom ribbing is also featured on the back.  So simple and yet so elegant...

Akoya - Back

I had made only 1 modification to the entire pattern, and that was to go down a needle size for the trellis lace and cable on the sleeves.  Before casting on this project I had perused the projects on Ravelry to see if anyone had any problems with the pattern and if anyone made any major mods.  The only one that really stuck out was the advice to use smaller needles on the lace and cable portion to prevent that area from bulging out too much...especially in an area where you don't want any excess bulges...but I had totally forgotten about this advice until after I had finished the body (of course!).  But I remembered on the sleeves.  I think switching to a smaller needle worked beautifully.  The lace section doesn't puff out and I think the little bit of negative ease really helped to stretch the lace out enough to show off the design.

Akoya - Sleeves

When I first thought about casting on this pattern I had initially wanted something bright but after some thought I opted to go with a neutral colour.  The design is so elegant I thought that using anything overly colourful would take the attention away from the cables and lace.  I kinda doubted myself for a while there after knitting the ribbing on the hem, thinking that maybe I was playing it too safe and was taking the boring route, but now that this project is done I'm glad that I decided to stick with the grey.

Akoya - Hem

The yarn, in case any of you were wondering, is SweetGeorgia Yarns' Tough Love Sock (are you surprised?) in the colourway Slate.  I had bought this yarn a few years ago when my SweetGeorgia obsession began.  I'll admit, when I got it home I had regretted purchasing a sweaters worth because I really didn't think I would want to knit or wear a garment in such a neutral colour.  Ha!  Who knew that years later I would become obsessed with obtaining every single grey skein of yarn there is on the market??  Even though I absolutely LOVE colour and am drawn to bold and bright, I'm also drawn to the various shades of grey.  It just goes with everything.  To me, grey is the new black.  And Slate is not just any plain ol' grey, it has this beautiful blue undertone to it.  In some light it's like a steely blue.  I've already paired up and made several outfits using Akoya with what I have in my wardrobe and reckon that once fall rolls around this cardigan is going to get a lot of use.  Even though we haven't had much of a summer here in Victoria yet, is it wrong to admit that I can't wait for fall so that I could wear this cardigan?

Akoya 3

Cardigan Details:
Pattern: Akoya by Carol Feller
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Slate
Needles: Signature Needle Arts Circular in 3.25mm (US 3) and 3.5mm (US 4)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Akoya

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Project 365 :: Week 20

Day 134 - July 15, 2012
Day 134 :: July 15, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
After a trying day with the Munchkin, Brett and I took the Munchkin for a drive, hoping it would calm him down a bit.  To cheer me up, Brett took me to the spot where city workers had fixed and painted the road with tar in a heart shape

Day 135 - July 16, 2012
Day 135 :: July 16, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
Pretty much summed up the feeling of the day

Day 136 - July 17, 2012
Day 136 :: July 17, 2012
The 2D Lion mask from the Munchkin's Wizard of Oz book and mask box set

Day 137 - July 18, 2012
Day 137 :: July 18, 2012
Funky paper straws and mason jars...pretty much sums up what the summer is like around here

Day 138 - July 19, 2012
Day 138 :: July 19, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
Beautiful wrought iron work 

Day 139 - July 20, 2012
Day 139 :: July 20, 2012
Taken with my iPhone
My mason jar and Cuppow love continues

Day 140 - July 21, 2012
Day 140 :: July 21, 2012
Cherry tomatoes, oh how I love thee!  You are just so, so incredibly delicious when mixed in a caprese salad.  Mmmmm...

I've finally have come to terms that I will be taking quite a few photos with my iPhone, since it really is much easier to tote around than my DSLR.  And I'm ok with that.  I will try to make a conscious effort to take more photos with my camera though, but won't be hard on myself for taking some with my iPhone.  After all, I absolutely heart the apps I use and am still obsessed with Instagram (if you're into it, you can follow me, I'm MisoCraftyKnits).  I've also discovered a new app called Pinstagram (its layout is very Pinterest like) that I quite like, it's a great app to view Instagram photos on.  Yeah, I don't see this obsession dying down any time soon.  It really is a great way to visually document your life...even if you take photos of nothing but knitting, yarn, mason jars, and the beverages you consume.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Waiting...

Sock Progress
Wow, it's Friday already?!  Did the week fly by or what?  I honestly didn't accomplish anything this week.  Nada.  Although, you probably wouldn't think so considering that I just showed you 2 FOs this week.  I have another 2 FOs to show you too, but it'll have to wait...I need to find the cable to my camera so that I can upload the photos onto my computer.  I should really organize all these cables and cords that's under the desk...

Anyhoo, I did do some knitting on my Badass pair of socks but take a look at the photo above.  That's where I'm at.  See that trail of yarn on my shin?  Yeah, that's what's left of my yarn for that sock.  Sad face.  I won't be getting knee high socks on this skein alone.  The "glass is half full" side of this is that my legs aren't so short that one skein of sock yarn will suffice for a pair of knee highs.  Cool beans.  But get this, I went and scoured the city for a skein of black sock yarn.  Nothing special, just straight up black.  It could be semi-solid, no bigs.  As long as there was no other colour thrown into the mix.  And you know what?  No where in the city was there a skein of black sock yarn to be had.  I kid you not.  I guess no one ever wants to knit black socks...or with black yarn in general.  There's charcoal and dark greys, but no black.  Lucky for me, my awesome friend (and dyer of Domestic Badass) Em of Everything Old has come to my rescue and has dyed up a skein of semi-solid black yarn for me.  I can't wait for knit night tonight to get it from her, now I can finish my socks!  

Aside from the socks, I really haven't been knitting as much as I would like to this week.  I've just been too mentally exhausted this week to do more than stockinette.  LIfe with a toddler can do that to you sometimes.  I've been kinda working on a long forgotten WIP, and by kinda I mean I've been trying to find the paper pattern that had all my notes on it and where I was in the knitting.  A major downside of having one too many WIPs on the go is that you spend just as much time trying to sort out where you're at in the pattern!  I've also been working on a secret knitting project that I hope to share with you soon...ish.  Hint: fall is coming, and with fall comes the cool(er) weather and gift giving holidays and occasions!

I'm hoping to get a lot of knitting accomplished this weekend (I need to free up some of these cables and needles!), especially during the major cleanup that I will be doing on the computers.  My poor iMac has been über sluggish lately.  I couldn't remember the last time I cleaned out the vents (most likely, never) and when I checked them out a few days ago I discovered that an inch of compact dust was jammed into the vent!  No wonder my poor Mac was making so much noise and heating up a storm, it couldn't breath properly!  And then last night I got a dialog box saying that I didn't have any storage room left.  Really?  How could we have filled up 500GB already?  Oh yeah...cause there's over 200GB worth of photos and another 200GB of movies on the computer!  Yikes!!  Time to clean out the hard drive and back some stuff up!  While I'm at it I might as well clean up the laptop too.  No wonder the external hard drive was collecting dust, I wasn't using it!  I have a feeling this is going to take a few nights...

Oh well, more knitting time, right?

Happy weekend knitting!  ♥

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fresh Off The Needles: A Folded Riptide

Folded Riptide 4
How crazy is this?  Two FO posts in a row??  Have I gone mad??  Ummm...maybe.  But when I tell you that this project is also made from a Veera Välimäki pattern and knit in SweetGeorgia Yarns just like the last FO, you'll definitely think I've gone bonkers.  Meh, what can I say?  I'm nothing if not consistent and somewhat predictable in my knitterly ways.

I had previously mentioned that I had cast on Veera Välimäki's Folded back in May when I needed something small and mindless to bring with me to Vancouver for the Dyeing to Get Some Colour workshop.  I was knitting on it here and there, and when I needed a break from Buckwheat.  It wasn't until I had finished Buckwheat that I was able to give Folded my undivided attention.  Considering that I was picking away at it between other projects, I'm still pretty darn impressed with myself that I managed to knit this pullover up within a month.  More impressive still - it fits!!  Yay for knitterly instincts and double yay that my plan of not knitting a gauge swatch beforehand didn't backfire on me!!  I'm all über smiley faced about that!

Even though this pullover fits well and like it's suppose to, I think I could've gone down a size smaller still.  I don't know...maybe it's because most of the pullovers and cardigans that I've knit so far are form fitting with negative to no ease and that I'm used to knitting that kind of garment.  So to try on, to see, and to feel this project be a little on the looser side made me feel a little...off.  Does that sound weird?  Does that make any sense to any one else?  Don't get me wrong, this pullover is sooo comfy.  I've worn it a few times now (a plus for the cool West Coast weather?) and each time I have a hard time taking it off.  Yes, it's just THAT comfortable!

As for the knitting side of things, well, what can I say?  Straight up easy peasy.  For some people all that stockinette in the round might be extremely boring.  But I found that it was perfect for travelling, watching TV, socializing at knit night, listening to audiobooks (trust me, trying to knit anything other than stockinette while listening to The Game of Thrones, just isn't do-able!), and most of all, perfect for those space cadet mornings when you are so beyond tired that you just sit at the kitchen table staring at nothing in particular while automatically bringing your coffee cup to your mouth all while your kiddo is calling out "MOM!  MOM!  MOOOOOM!!!" non-stop and your husband keeps going on and on about boring work politics.  Perfect, I tell you.  And who doesn't like having simple stockinette on the needles to turn to from time to time when they're also working on something complicated?

Folded Riptide - Shoulder

Don't let those darling pleats on the chest scare you either.  They might sound and look crazy hard to do, but they're not.  They're a little fiddly but they're actually pretty darn fun to do.  I did find that using DPNs a few sizes smaller to hold the sets of stitches really helped and didn't make the knitting feel overly tight as you try to manipulate the fabric.  Now, while 99.9% of this pattern consists of mindless knitting, the pleats will be the only thing where you'll actually have to concentrate.  Or at least, it was for me.  Who knows, I could have been brain dead the day I did the pleats, but I did have to give them my undivided attention to make sure I had them going in the right direction (of course I took an Instagram photo!).

I had knit my pullover according to the pattern with the only mod being that I shortened the lengths of the body and sleeves.  I did have to fudge the last row of short rows at the back neck because the pattern doesn't really explain clearly how you're suppose to pick up those last extra stitches.  I don't think you can tell and I really don't think it makes a difference if an extra row was knit since the neck is pretty open and wide.  Actually, if I were to knit this again (and yes, this pattern is going right back into the queue!) I would close up the neck a little more.  The way it is now looks nice and flattering but what you don't see is how my bra straps will start to show.  If you move the straps so that they don't show, they just end up sliding down and off my shoulders.  A bit annoying, for sure, but nothing that a tank top underneath can't fix!

Folded Riptide - Hem

I think I would also try knitting the smallest size for the body and maybe omit the waist shaping.  Or maybe space out the shaping more than what the pattern calls for.  As you can see in the photo above I've got "hip flaps" happening.  This also happened on my Hooray Cardigan.  Note to self: the next time you knit a Veera Välimäki pattern remember to watch out for possible hip flap action!  

Hey, have I ever told you just how much I love SweetGeorgia Yarns' Riptide colourway??  I seriously want a cardigan, a jacket, everything...all made in this colour.  I love it to the point of obsession.  The pullover did bleed a little on my fingers during knitting and a little in the water while it soaked, but I remember Felicia saying that Riptide was one of the most saturated colourways in the SweetGeorgia line up.  I also remembered from both my own experience and from hearing other dyers say it, but blues sometimes don't completely exhaust during the dye process and usually tends to bleed anyways because of the excess dye.  I had a hard time trying to capture this colourway because my photos kept coming out too dark and couldn't pick up the lighter cyan bits (that caused me glee every time I got to knit that bit).

Folded Riptide 2

I definitely plan on knitting this pattern again.  I know I say that about every pattern I've knit thus far, and really, other than socks and accessories, have you seen me knit a pattern twice?  There's just so many other awesome patterns in my queue that I want to knit up that sometimes knitting a pattern that I had just knit doesn't seem as exciting as one that I have yet to knit.  But this time, this time is different.  Aside from Buckwheat, the garments that I knit are generally cardigans.  Sometimes (ok, a lot of the time) I feel lazy and don't want to go on a hunt for a clean shirt/tank top to wear under a cardigan.  Sometimes I just want to throw on a top and not worry about it.  Not to say that Moms can't be fashionable or anything, but since becoming a Mom I've become a jeans and t-shirt or jeans and a tank with a cardigan on top kind of girl.  Dresses and skirts just aren't in the cards for me right now, since I get overly paranoid about having to bend over, carry, or chase the Munchkin and exposing my girly part to the world.  Not to mention that going down a slide in a skirt just isn't fun.  I suppose I could wear long skirts and dresses but I'm short in stature (I'm 5 feet and a bit....I highly emphasis the bit part) and find that calf and maxi lengths make me look even more squat.

So you see, this pattern is perfect for my wardrobe.  It would be so easy to always have this pattern on the needles and since it's knitting to a certain length, there's no row counting or fancy detail to keep track of.  I can already envision having a Folded in a fun Kelly green, a deep red (MadTosh's Tart comes to mind!), a reddy-purple (like Venetian by MadTosh), and I would definitely get a ton of wear if I had a Folded in a smokey grey...Yeah, you can see where this is going!  The wheels are turning already...and I'm itching to cast on another one now!  But should I?  

Folded Riptide 3

Pullover Details:
Pattern: Folded by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Riptide
Needles: Signature Needle Arts Circular in 3.5mm (US 4) and 4.5mm (US 7)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits A Folded Riptide

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fresh Off The Needles: Buckwheat

Buckwheat - New 3
Hello new week, what better way to start you off than to show an FO?  Yes, I quite like that idea.  So let's get to it, shall we?  Chop, chop!  This here is my Buckwheat pullover.  I finished this pullover last month and even though the finishing on it was very minimal, I had a really hard time getting pictures of it.  By the time Brett got home it would be too late and the lighting in our house would be horrendous.  I still can't find the remote to my camera, and I can no longer take photos in the place where I usually take photos because after 3 years we finally put our headboard back on our bed (we kinda feel like adults!).  The search for a new backdrop is on.  For now, it'll have to be outside...with a background that, in hindsight, I now think compromises the actual colour of the yarn.  Meh.  Lately, I just can't win.

I really don't have much to say about this project that I haven't already said in this post.  The pattern is pretty straight forward knitting-wise.  The only areas of issue were the sizing (again, look at this post) and having to re-knit pretty much the whole thing over again in a smaller size.  Oh, and the shoulder shaping.  The knitting was pretty relaxed, as stockinette in the round should be.  I've never knit the type of short-rows the pattern calls for and was at first unsure if I should continue on or just switch to my usual method.  I decided to stick with it and actually really like the outcome.  No holes, no weird little random bars, just an overall really nice looking shaping.  But the shaping itself...hmmm...

Buckwheat - Shoulder

While I was knitting the shoulders I kept questioning the weird "bunching" I was getting but thought I would plow through and just trust Miss Veera...and hoped that a good blocking would sort it all out.  Well, post blocking and the shoulders do look better.  From the front.  But if you look closely from behind you can see some funkiness going on.  To me it looks like the shaping was made for someone who has slender and somewhat boney shoulders with prominent clavicle bones.  I, on the other hand, have round and thick shoulders and I know there's clavicle bones in there somewhere cause you need them, but you can't see mine!

Buckwheat - Back

I was a really bad knitter in this project though...I didn't alternate skeins...shhhhh!  I don't think you can tell too much, but there is noticeable pooling action happening on the chest.  Can you spot it?  I'm still surprised that this entire project only took a little over 2 skeins to knit up!  Seriously, I only dipped into the third skein to knit one of the neckbands.  I am in no way losing weight or getting skinny, so I have no idea why I'm using less yarn all of a sudden.  Maybe I'm shrinking in height already?  I did just have a birthday and therefore am a year older, maybe I lost an inch in height?

Buckwheat - hem

The lighting in my house has been quite off lately, trying to nail the colour of the pullover has been quite the test of my photography skills (which I think I failed at).  My photos were coming out too brown, too grey, too blue, or too drab.  I tried using different colour backgrounds but my camera kept picking up the different hues within the yarn.  The photos you see in this post was the best that I could get, but it still has a bit too much cyan in there.  The one and only photo I got from this "photo shoot" that came close to the actual colour was this one:

Buckwheat - Back 2

I thought this pattern was quite an easy knit and I think any newbie or knitter dipping their toes in the garment department could knit this up with no problems.  I would love to knit this again and can already pick out the yarns I have in my stash that would make wonderful Buckwheats.  I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you how much of a fan I am of Veera Välimäki's designs, but she has so many others that I'm just dying to knit up that knitting a second will just have to wait.  

I think this design is a classic and would make a great addition to anyone's wardrobe.  I think the boatneck is very flattering and looks wonderful on all body shapes.  I wouldn't make any modifications to the pattern the next go-around, other than to change the shoulder shaping a little at the back to avoid the funky bunching that I got.

So...who else has this in their queue?  Or better yet, who has knit this up already?  Did anyone else get weird shoulder action too?

Buckwheat - New

Pullover Details:
Pattern: Buckwheat by Veera Välimäki
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock
Colour: Cypress
Needles: HiyaHiya and Knit Picks Nickel Plated Fixed Circulars in 3mm (US 2.5) and Signature Needle Arts Circular in 4mm (US 6)
Ravelry Link: MisoCraftyKnits Buckwheat
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