Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yarn Candy

I'm trying out a new yarn this week. This is Noro Karuta. Isn't the color amazing? 

After a few false starts, I think this is on its way to being a lovely cabled neckwarmer to match my new winter coat. I walk a little over a mile to work every day, so warm accessories are a must this time of year! I'm also anxiously awaiting the Snowfling Mittens kit that I ordered from Tanis Fiber Arts in the purple color combination to complete my winter accessories ensemble. 

We're getting quite a bit of rain today. If only it were a few degrees colder! Then it might have been snow. Oh well. I'll just keep dreaming of snow to go with my new winter knits. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Brownstone Sweater

Just wanted to pop by and share a photo of my dad in his Brownstone Sweater. 

I'm so thrilled that it fits! Doesn't he look handsome?!

Special thanks to my mom for taking the picture. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Knits for Christmas - Part 1

It's that time of year again and I've been busily knitting Christmas gifts for lots of friends and family. I've been absent from the blog for a while because of all the stealth knitting, but now the majority of critters and creations have gone on to their new homes so it's safe to share them with you! 

For Mom: A pair of slippers. 

Pattern: "Not-so-tiny slippers" by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky
Buttons: Wooden buttons from JoAnn Fabrics

I tried a new trick to make the slippers non-slip - Puffy Paint! 

For Dad: A Sweater.

Pattern: Brownstone  by Jared Flood
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in "Fog Hyatt"
Buttons: wooden buttons from Stitch Your Art Out (my LYS)

Here is the sweater while it was blocking. I haven't been able to get a picture with a live model yet! 

I also knit a few things for co-workers at work:

A herringbone neckwarmer:


I lined it with some fleece fabric!

Pattern: Herringbone Neck Warmer by Craig Rosenfeld
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica
Buttons: Purple Coconut buttons from JoAnn Fabrics

And some washcloths (paired with some fancy soap):

Pattern: Grandmother's Favorite by Traditional Design
Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie Multi

So that's a few of the knitted gifts this year. Next time, I'll be back to share pictures of the knitted toys.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Something New

Just recently, I finished my first stranded knitting project. For those of you who aren't familiar, stranded knitting (sometimes called Fair Isle knitting) is when you knit with two or more colors in the same row. The color that is not currently being knit is carried along the back of the work until you need to use it.

Several weeks ago I was asked to knit a Christmas stocking for one of the new babies in our family. I had knit a stocking for her brother, Nolan, several years ago. 

Here's Nolan's stocking, made in 2010. 

I thought about making something similar for Olivia, but I had been admiring some stocking patterns on Ravelry and really wanted to give it a try. 

And here is Olivia's stocking: 

I really like how the colors turned out. It was so much fun to knit each row and watch the pattern emerge. The pattern is "A NEW Family Portrait - A Collection of Three Christmas Stockings" by Dorene Delaney Giordano. Check out my Ravelry project page here

This stocking was knit with Cascade 220 Sport in Ruby and White. It was knit toe-up and started with a Turkish cast-on, which was also new for me, as well as a short-row heel. So learning lots of new things this time! 

I also wanted to share a little hat that went to my newest cousin, Elijah. 

Since he was born in October he needed a pumpkin hat. 

He looks pretty cute in it, too! It's a tiny bit big, but he'll grow into it. :) That's one of the great things about knitting for kids - eventually, it'll probably fit! 

Well, I should get back to my knitting. Christmas is coming!! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Finally Finished: Stockholm Scarf

After 3+ years of languishing in my Ravelry queue, my Stockholm Scarf is finally done! 

Isn't this the most gorgeous shade of purple? I used Cascade 220 Heathers in the "2421" colorway. I think I'm really going to enjoy wearing it this winter...actually I'm wearing it right now. We haven't turned on the heat in our house yet and it's a bit nippy in here right now. I put it on for our little photoshoot and haven't had the desire to take it off yet! 

I love the color - very subtle variations within the yarn. Enough that it adds interest but doesn't take away from the gorgeous stitch pattern. The pattern is designed by Julie Crawford of the Knitted Bliss blog. Her original version was knit flat and then seamed together. I followed modifications made to the pattern in order to knit it in the round. I'm always a fan of projects that are done the minute you bind off! 

This is actually a rather large cowl - I'm wearing it wrapped around my neck twice. It had such a nice, squishy feel to it. I'm thinking that it will continue to get softer over time. 

I also finished another project but it's a stealthy knit (Christmas present) so I'll just give you a little peek. 

Cute, right?! These critters are always such fun to knit but I get the most joy out of watching our little people open them at Christmas time. I always have such a tough time waiting until December! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Behind the Scenes

Fall is just speeding by. I can't believe that we're into the first week of October already! I feel like I just wrote about my knit-worthy husband's birthday and turned around to find that a month had passed. 

But then I happen upon a tree like this, and autumn seems to be everywhere. My walks home are now filled with the wonderful sound of leaves crunching under my feet and I've been having a great time watching the squirrels run around with their acorns.

I saw these purple berries on my walk through campus to work this morning. I have no idea what plant it is - the amazing color just caught my eye!

There has been a lot of knitting going on here - just not much I can share publicly right now. Stealthy Christmas knitting is in full swing, which makes posting any interesting knitting pictures a bit tricky. However, I did manage to sneak in a little charity knitting. These mittens were knit last weekend. (Thank goodness for worsted-weight yarn! It's amazing how much you can get done.)

I recently became a member of the Centre County Knitters Guild. One of their goals is to do knitting for the community, so they knit hats, mittens/gloves and scarves and then donate them to local organizations. These organizations then distribute the knitted items to those who need them. I decided to do some stash-busting and used some yarn that I've had languishing in a box. The local organizations require the knitted items to be machine-washable, so this was the perfect time to use some of my acrylic blends. 

I got inspired and knit a hat to make a set. 

As you can see, my model was thrilled! 

Actually, he's just quite silly - and a sweetheart for modeling winter things that he doesn't even get to keep! :) 

Mitten information:
Pattern: Waiting for Winter Mittens by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids (exact colors unknown - the ball bands disappeared long ago)

Hat information:
Pattern: Quick-Knit Hat by Cynthia Spencer
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Last Day of Summer

It's the last day of summer. (Not officially, I know, but I've always thought of September 1st as the first day of Fall with school starting, etc.) I can't believe how fast the time has gone. Sorry it's taken me so long to come back to the blog. I have been knitting - but I'm working on a bigger stealth project (a sweater!) and I haven't had much other knitting to share. 

Today is also my hubby's birthday. He has always been such a wonderful supporter of my knitting - even goes to work and shows off the socks I made him! (Note: he's very "knit-worthy." Being willing to wear, and proudly display, handknits definitely earns him more handknit socks in the future. I did knit him one sweater, but he doesn't get cold like I do, so the socks see much more use throughout the year.) 

Of course, there's one place he thinks I shouldn't knit - during Penn State games at Beaver Stadium. I've never actually checked into the rules about this, but I'd imagine that since we're not allowed to bring bags into the stadium, that would make transporting my knitting a little tricky. Oh well. Happy Birthday to the most wonderful man I ever met! 

During ArtsFest last month, I finally found a yarn bowl I loved. It's a wonderful dark purple color and was made by a local artist, Jason Bloom, from Julian, PA.

There's a little sneak peak of my stealth project! I'm hoping to finish this project sometime over the long weekend so hopefully I'll have some not-so-secret knitting to share with you soon. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Business Casual Socks

The Business Casual socks for Rob are done! These took me about six weeks to complete, which is pretty good for me when it comes to socks. I just love the tiny cables and I think the yarn went well with the pattern. 

The tonal quality of the yarn created a little bit of striping as well as some subtle color variation. I especially liked how the cables changed color every other stitch. 

Pattern: Business Casual Socks by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Thunderhead colorway
Needles: Size 2 bamboo dpns
Size: Large

I've started knitting a pair of socks for myself using Susan B. Anderson's free pattern, "How I Knit My Socks." They're just basic stockinette socks but I really enjoy using them for travel knitting and for those times when I'm too tired to knit anything that requires a lot of concentration. I'm using my last hank of Stroll Tonal Fingering in the Pacific colorway. This particular skein is knitting up in a nice stripe pattern. I'm finding that these stripes stand out a bit more than in the other two colors of the same yarn I've used recently. I much prefer striping to large sections of color pooling so I'm hoping that it continues. I'm still in the leg section so I'm interested in seeing how things change after knitting the heel. 

Believe it or not, there are only 156 days until Christmas. I know, I know, some of you prefer not to think about Christmas in the middle of July - but for this knitter it's important to get an early start on some presents so that I'm not spending every waking minute in December knitting in order to get everything finished on time! 

Last year I knit quite a few of my Christmas presents for our friends and family and I'd like to be able to do something similar this year if time allows. It's especially fun to knit special toys for the little people in our family! So for those out there reading this, do you have special rules for who you knit for for Christmas such as only the kids or maybe only those who've specially requested something? How do you keep things manageable? Do you create a Christmas spreadsheet like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot)? I'd love to know!

I also picked up the latest issue of Vogue Knitting - the Early Fall edition and I am loving some of the sweater patterns. I especially want to knit #24 - the Fox Pullover. The great thing about this v-neck sweater is the little colorwork fox. I think it's just adorable. I've never done colorwork in a sweater before so I think it would be a good challenge. There are so many great sweater patterns out there for Fall that it's hard to choose just one or two to make for myself. Does anyone else have this problem? I feel like my Ravelry queue is growing exponentially right now. 

I'll leave you with a picture of some of the yarn for my first stealth project for Christmas 2013. 

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heather Heathers in the Fog Hyatt colorway
Purchased online from Jimmy Beans Wool, Reno, Nevada

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Knitting Spot

I'm back! We had a crazy weekend of moving into our new home and then I spent the next week sifting through the boxes. There's still a few boxes to unpack (mostly books) but I got sidelined by a nasty cold this week. I'm going to have to get used to a whole new set of germs at my new library! Anyway, I'm feeling quite a bit better today (which probably had something to do with the three-hour nap I took this afternoon) so I thought I'd share pictures of a new favorite knitting spot.

There's a little pond behind the alumni building on campus that I discovered on a walk one day.

Below the bridge I found a nice bench to sit and knit and while I was there a duck came to visit! 

He stood right by my feet for several minutes - long enough for me to find my camera in my bag and get a few pictures. I'm sure he was hoping for a treat, but I didn't have anything to share.

There he goes in search of someone with more than yarn in their bag. Ducks just don't know good sock yarn when they see it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FO: Sproutlette Dress

I have a finished object to share with you today! This is the Sproutlette Dress by Tanis Lavallee. 

Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Melon Bomb
Size: 0-6 months
Needle size: US 3

I also made these little Mary Jane slippers to match. 

Pattern: Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Melon Bomb 
Buttons: From my button jar! 

I mailed both the dress & shoes to Hawaii where my cousin and his wife are expecting a little girl in July. They've received the package, so now it's safe to share with the rest of you! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Thirty years ago, my dad and I celebrated our first Father's Day together. (Yes, my birthday is in June and my dad is wearing a coat - we were in Alaska. I imagine it was chilly.)

We liked to do the same things...

A few years ago he walked me down the isle. 

And he even wears the things I knit for him! 

In my book, that's pretty awesome. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad. 


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Big Crazy Week

It's been a big, crazy week for me. I started a new job, moved into a hotel, and turned 30.

These are the beautiful flowers my husband brought me for my birthday! They really brighten up the hotel room. :)

I'm really excited about my new job and we found a cute little house in a great neighborhood, too. The only unfortunate thing is that the house isn't available until June 22 - hence, the hotel. Normally it wouldn't be my first choice to stay at a hotel for 3 weeks, but there weren't a lot of other options.

I've also managed to fit a little knitting into the week as well. I finished a little bear hat that a friend's mom had asked me to make it for her. 

Pattern: #37 Bear Hat by Jacqueline van Dillen from the book "60 More Quick Baby Knits"
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Sport in mink heather, cocoa, and winter night
Needles: US 5

A few things about the pattern - the hat is knit flat. The front and back are knit separately and then sewn together, which I thought was a bit strange. If I were to make this hat again, I would definitely change the pattern to be knit in the round. It would be so much faster! 

The ears and long ties were picked up and knit directly onto the hat. That part went fairly well. I also found the embroidery instructions to be a bit strange, but made it through nonetheless. It actually looks quite close to the picture, despite the fact that I couldn't find two of the three colors in the recommended yarn. I ended up just finding something close from Knit Picks instead. I think the blue I used is a bit darker than the sample, but other than that I'd say it's pretty close. 

This week I've been working on a new pair of Business Casual socks for Rob. His other pair got a bit felted even though I knit them using superwash yarn. Hopefully this pair will hold up better. I'm using the Stroll Tonal Fingering Weight yarn in the Thunderhead colorway. I'm on the third repeat of the pattern (out of four) for the leg of the sock. I think it's turning out quite nicely so far. 

Today I made my first visit to Stitch Your Art Out in Pine Grove Mills. As far as I can tell, it's the closest local yarn shop to my new home. It's actually both a yarn and fabric store. I'm not usually much of a fabric person (sewing isn't really my thing) but they did have a lot of nice items. I may actually purchase some fabric to make a little skirt around the bathroom sink in our new house. The space under the sink is totally open and that would create a little extra storage space. One challenge will be to find a fabric color that will coordinate with the sink's rather bright shade of turquoise! (Ah, the joys of a rental.) Their yarn selection was very nice with a good variety of brands. I found a nice ball of "Painted Desert" sock yarn to take home with me. It's 100% superwash wool in a very nice blue and purple combination. I'm excited to see how it looks in sock form! It's supposed to be a bit colder and snowier in our new home, so I'll need lots of warm socks soon! 

Stay tuned for more yarn adventures. I'm off to read a little more of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

FO: Bobble Sheep Pillow

I finally finished the Bobble Sheep Pillow! I think it turned out pretty cute, although it blends in a bit with my couch so I may have to find it another place to live.

Pattern: Bobble Sheep Pillow by Purl Soho
Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky in the 6106 colorway (gray) & Cascade 220 in black
Needles: Size 3 & 10

The bobbles were time consuming to make but other than that they were pretty easy. It was the head and feet that were difficult. The way the stitches were picked up and arranged on the needles made it really awkward to knit. The leg stitches were arranged in a rectangle with just one stitch on each short end. After a while I decided to rearrange the stitches to make it a little easier. I just added some extra stitch markers so I knew where each round began. I really should have done that sooner! 

Check out my Ravelry project page here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Just a little cupcake

Hi there! Just checking in to say hello and show off this tiny cupcake hat.

Pattern: A combination of several different hat patterns
Size: 6-12 months, approximately
Yarn: Worsted, Cascade 220 in cream & red, Bernat Satin Solids in light pink
Needles: size 5 circulars and dpns

I've knit this hat several times before, but this time I tweaked my routine to make the hat a bit smaller. My niece has a hat very similar to this, but that one fit her at 1-2 years and was knit with size 7 needles. This particular hat was knit with size 5 needles.  The bottom part of the hat is very stretchy due to the k2, p2 rib so there can be quite a bit of wiggle room as far as sizing. Simply changing the needle size and knitting to 5-1/2 inches (rather than 6 inches as I usually do) before beginning the decreases at the top seemed to do the trick. 

I just love the ruffle edging - I think it really adds a lot to this little hat! To create this sweet ruffle edge, pick up and knit every other stitch at the point where the cupcake turns to frosting (in this case, where the cream meets the pink). Then, knit one round. Round 2: kfb in every stitch. Round 3: Knit every stitch. Round 4: kfb in every stitch. Round 5: Knit every stitch. Bind off. This creates a very easy ruffle around the edge of the cupcake! Doesn't it look yummy?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Knitting Club

I feel like I've been saying goodbye to people for weeks now - customers, coworkers, friends, etc. But I knew tonight would probably be the hardest because Tuesday nights are for Teen Knitting Club at the Library. We've been meeting for about three years and many of the girls who came during the first few weeks still attend on a fairly regular basis. Some I taught to knit and others came already knowing the basics. But I think I can definitely say that we all learned something from each other one way or another.

Here is a picture of our group that was taken in the summer of 2010. Notice some of the square knitting pieces around the table?

Here we are in 2013 - the squares finally became an afghan! Isn't it huge?! The blanket is great because everyone knit at least a square or two (which explains why the gauge is a little different in some of the squares). But that's what makes it unique.

I will forever treasure the time I got to spend with this unique group of girls. I feel honored that they let me be a part of their lives every Tuesday night for the past three years. Definitely going to miss them!