Cladonia Is Off the Needles

My Cladonia shawl is off the needles!!  And, not a single cat tried to sleep on it as it was blocking on the floor.  Providing them with a wool cat bed has seemed to curbed the appeal of my fresh knitting.  Yay!

IMG_8461 copyThis shawl is quite big.  I modified the pattern to enlarge it so I could use up more of the yarn.  Instructions for the increase in size are available on project pages from other knitters on Ravelry.

My youngest daughter loved this shawl so much that she dyed her own sock blank and now I’ve got another Cladonia on my needles.

IMG_8459She wants the lace at the bottom to be in white.  I’m excited to knit this up and work through the different color sections of the sock blank.  And, I hope she’ll use the shawl or at least tuck it away to use in the future.  🙂

Here are some more beauty shots of my newest FO:

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“Cat Basket” is a FO and a New Shawl WIP

IMG_8356The “Cat Basket” is finished!  The pic above shows the basket before felting.  It’s sitting on 24″ x 12″ tiles to give it some scale to the size.  It was quite huge.  It’s knitted with a bulky yarn held double.

After felting, the size became a little bit more reasonable and fits my cat very well.

IMG_8362Of course, neither cat would use the bed until it was placed on the cat tree. But, since it’s relocation from floor to cat tree, there has been a little bit of tussling to see who gets to use the bed.

The pattern is Dog Basket by DROPS design.  The only mods I made were to sew under the edges.  It’s suppose to stand on its own but it looked a little wonky.  Tucking the edges under just looked better to me and it creates a pretty bowl shape.

Next up on my needles is a shawl called Cladonia.  It uses fingering weight yarn on US size 7 needles.

IMG_8378This shawl will be striped with a lacy edge.  The plan is to use black for the lace edging.  I’ve chosen to use a sock blank with the solid black to add a little bit of color interest into the shawl.  And, I’m adding a few extra repeats to the lace pattern to increase the size a bit.  I’m finding that I like the larger sizes in shawls.  It’s just so cozy to have lots of squishy merino fabric to wrap around your shoulders and arms!

Dog Beds for Cats and Baby Sweaters

IMG_8328My Archangel shawl is fixed!!  Last week, I shared that I picked a super stretchy bind off which ruined the structural integrity of my shawl.  It wasn’t pretty.  A crochet hook and a quick crochet chain down the bind off took care of the too-stretchy edge that I made.  The little extra heft at the edge doesn’t detract from the beauty of the design at all.

Next, I cast on for a Sproutlette baby dress.  If you’re confused by the picture below, I totally cannot follow directions and ended up with a shirt instead of a dress.  The [k3, Kf&b until 3 sts remain, K3] turned into [k3, kf&b]* *repeat in my mind.  Needless to say, I didn’t have enough stitches for a flowy skirt so I salvaged the project and turned it into a shirt.  I also omitted the front lacy leaf panel because I thought it would fight with the variegated yarn. IMG_8320 copyIMG_8323 copyI grabbed some polymer clay to create a tiny little button.  Supposedly, polymer clay holds up well in the wash.  I really hope so!  I’ve ordered some adorable hand-made polymer clay buttons from Etsy.  If you want to see ridiculous cuteness in the form of buttons, check out digitsdesigns and TessaAnn on Etsy!

This little dress is intended for my soon-to-be-born niece.  I’m hoping to have it in the mail sometime this week.

A week or so ago, my friend, Becky, informed me of a mega sale on New Zealand wool yarns and I couldn’t resist and bought 7 huge 250g hanks of super bulk yarn.  I’ve been really wanting to make a cat bed for the 2 animals that stalk my wet knitting.  Extra anti-cat pins are about the only thing that will keep them off of blocking wet wool.  So, this super-discounted yarn was the perfect opportunity to provide my felines with wool specifically intended for their use!

I’ve cast on a pattern called Dog Basket.  It requires you to hold 2 bulky yarns at once.  The picture below is deceiving… this thing is HUGE.  I’m hoping that it will shrink a bit when I felt it so it doesn’t cover the ENTIRE living room floor when it’s finished.  🙂

IMG_8327 IMG_8325And, I’ve dyed many new yarns for my Etsy shop.  I show a couple in the video above… but here’s a sneak peak at another one…IMG_8281

A Little Something Different

My newest finished object is called Archangel by Aliza Nevarie.  It’s knit on size 6 needles with a Classic Elite yarn.  Mountain Top- Vail.  It was such an interesting construction!  You start knitting in garter stitch from the bottom up and then bind off and turn the corner to pick up the edge to then knit from the top down for the lace!  And, I LOVE the lace on this one!

If you watch the video, I cover the fact that I screwed up the bind off edge and used a much-too-stretchy bind off.  I’m planning on going back over the edge with a crochet hook and a crochet chain to strengthen the edge and put some structure back into the shawl.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what’s up next on my needles.  I’m leaning towards a baby dress, a cat cocoon, or another shawl.  🙂

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Color Affection

coloraffectionbMy color affection shawl is off the needles and blocked.  Knitted with fingering weight yarn, size 6 needles and miles of garter stitch, it’s so squishy and stretchy.  I knit the pattern as written.  Many knitters advise you to include an extra YO at each end and then drop the YO to give a little more stretch to the edge.  I kinda like the tight edge.  It helps keep the shawl up and around my shoulders and neck.  However, the tight edge made blocking the shawl a bit challenging.

You can see in my pic that the shape of my shawl looks a little different than many of the project pics on Ravelry.  I’m not sure how the other knitters got a perfect crescent shape.  Maybe I introduced some type of knitting error that effected the shape?  Nonetheless, I love the new shawl.  I wore it around my shoulders last night and it was warm and wonderful.  If I was a little more put-together today, I would have included pics of it actually on a human body.  But, it’s just not one of those days.  🙂

I’m not sure what will be up next on my needles.  I’ve got some souvenir yarn from my DC trip that I might make into another summer wrap.  Socks are also a possibility.  Maybe a little shrug?  I’ve also thought about going through Ravlery and knitting all of the most popular patterns to see what all the fuss is about.  So far, I’ve knitted the Hitchhiker shawl, the Turn a Square hat and now the Color Affection shawl and they’ve all been successes!

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Fresh Off the Needles

cowlblockMy lacy cowl/capelet is blocking.  I cast off while at my daughter’s robotics competition in DC this weekend.  Sitting elbow-to-elbow in a large arena with blaring music, cheering, and horns for three days just about sent me over the edge.  It was such a relief when the noise ended and we were in the car heading back towards Richmond.

The before-and-after blocking of lacy pieces is one of my favorite parts of knitting.  I had my shriveled up piece of knitting in the sink and on my blocking mat before I ever unpacked our suitcases.  🙂

cowlcowlblock2During some down time, I talked my hubby into visiting some of the local yarn shops.  Knitters are awesome!  I had some great conversation and found a few things to take home.

stashenhancement My hubby picked out a beautiful tweed yarn for a scarf.  I picked out the super soft grey alpaca blend for a summer wrap.  And, the cone of sparkly lurex will add a little bling to a knitted project.  (I found some Becky!!)

Currently on my needles is another lacy cowl project.  blankknit2This cowl uses the bee stitch again with yarn from a dyed sock blank.  While the sock blanks are beautiful, I find knitting from them magnifies the beauty of the coloration.  I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

BlankKnitFor years, I’ve knitted on needles from Knit Picks.  They have been work horses and have stood up to the hours and hours of knitting but I’ve been itching to try out a “luxury” needle.  I found a set of ChiaoGoo interchangeables in an Etsy shop at a great price and ordered them.  My newest cowl is on these needles and I’ve got to say that the difference is noticeable.  The joins are smoother.  They feel better in my hands.  The cable has a better feel.  Not to say that there is anything wrong with my Knit Picks needles, but the ChaioGoos are definitely a delight to knit with!

needlesI’m looking forward to trying on the freshly blocked cowl/capelet tomorrow for fit.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that it works out and will be wearable.

Cowl/Capelette Progress

capeletteprogressI’ve made some progress on my cowl/capelette in the past few days despite fighting a cold, working on new yarns for my Etsy shop, and performing the normal daily grind of activities that we all have to face.  I love the colors in this yarn but I’m still worried that it obscures the stitch pattern a bit.  I’m on the “bee stitch” portion of the capelette and I’m really enjoying this one!  The bees are created by increasing YOs that are dropped on subsequent rows.  Then, when you have 4 stacked sets of dropped YOs, you knit under them all which separates the wings and creates the little bee body.  You can find the basic bee stitch on knittingfool.com.  Although, I’ll share my modified version when my cowl is completed.

capelettestitchesAs I mentioned, I’ve been working on new yarns for my Etsy shop (and my personal stash!)  🙂  This time, I’ve dyed yarn blanks in a variety of colorways and methods.  Some are semi-striped, some have more of a gradient effect and some are just randomly splashed with bold spots of color.  While I’m going to enjoy knitting my cowl/capelette, I’ve got my mind going over ideas for my next project that will incorporate one of these new yarns.

yarnblanks2If you are new to yarn blanks, they are basically machine knitted fingering weight yarns.  (It’s much easier to dye yarns in gradient colorways using the yarn blank instead of tying off sections of a skein.)  You can knit directly from the sock blank and unravel it as you knit or you can unravel it and wind it into a ball and then knit from the ball.  The end result is a beautifully unique garment.  I am envisioning a shawl knitted from one of the all-over dyed blanks and some socks from one of the stripe-ier blanks.  I’ve named the new line “Watercolors” because they look like watercolor paintings to me.  🙂

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Next Up – A Lacy Capelette/Cowl

capeletdesign2After a lot of swatching and thinking, I’ve settled on my next project.  It’s going to be a lace-weight capelette that uses a couple of my favorite new stitches: the bee stitch and the fir stitch.  I’m hoping that the capelette will double as a long cowl when draped around the neck and then become a lacy wrap when pulled down over the shoulders.  As always, I’m casting on with my fingers crossed that things will work out in the end.  I’ve never made a capelette and I’ve actually never knitted a garment with lace-weight yarn.

I’ve selected a variegated yarn from my newest yarn line- Delight which is a silk/merino blend that is super soft.  I’m hoping that the stitch pattern and the color changes won’t fight with each other too much in the finished product.

capeletstitI’m planning on using the fir stitch at both ends to give a pretty scalloped edge and the bee stitch in the center portion of the capelette.  The bee stitch must be knitted from the bottom up so that part is settled.

beestitchIn other news, I found a pin on Pinterest that suggested putting out your little yarn ends for the birds.  I’ve put mine out in a suet cage and I’m hoping to see some colorful nests around the neighborhood.  So far, I haven’t seen any takers of my colorful fluff.  🙂

YarnEdns

Lace Weight Design Ideas

LaceDesign3With a lace-weight swatch in hand, it’s back to the drawing board.  The warmer weather and a new yarn line have me inspired to knit something light and airy to throw over a camisole or tank.  Cotton yarns are hard on my fingers so I’ve been avoiding their use even though I have a sweater-quantity stash of sport weight cotton in a beautiful baby blue.  Fingering-weight wools just feel a little too warm for summer so I’m thinking of using a silk/merino blend lace-weight.

The stitch pattern is still up in the air but I have settled on using a US size 4 needle with the lacy yarn.  The fabric produced on the larger needles is light and airy but dense enough to seem like fabric.  However, I haven’t decided on whether I want to knit a shrug or lacy tank.

LaceDesignI foresee a few more days of swatching before the next project is settled upon.  Then, I just need to select which colorway I want to use.  Here’s a peek at all the lace-weight silk/merino blends that I’ve recently added to my Etsy shop.  I’m thinking of using one of the sunnier colorways.

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KaBloom Sock Pattern

pdfbuttonA colorful hand painted yarn combined with a flowery stitch creates a field of flowers down the front of these socks.  Construction is toe-up and on 2 circular needles.

If you’d like to make a pair for yourself, here’s the spill:

KaBloomSm3Skill Level– Beginner/Intermediate
Finished Measurements– 7.25” around, 9″ long (sole), and 12.5” toe to cuff.
Yarn– 300 yds of fingering weight yarn (shown here in Cloud 9 found in my Etsy shop.)
Gauge– 8 stitches per inch and 11 rpi in stockinette with US size 2 needle

DIRECTIONS
Toe
Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, cast on 28 stitches (14 per needle.)
Note: If you are unfamiliar with this cast on, you can find many helpful video tutorials on youtube.
Set Up Round: Knit across both needles.
Note: The cast-on loops on needle #2 are twisted.  On the first round only, knit them through the back of the loops to untwist them.  After this round, the stitches are worked normally.
Increase Round 1: On first needle (INSTEP), k1, m1R, knit across needle until 1 st remains, m1L, k1. On second needle (SOLE), k1, m1R, knit across needle until 1 st remains, m1L, k1.
Even Round: k all sts across both needles.
Repeat previous two rounds 6 more times. 56 sts (28 per needle)
Foot
Set Up Round: On first needle (INSTEP), k across until 1 st remains, M1L, k1. On second needle (SOLE), k all sts. 57 sts (29 on first needle, 28 on second needle.)
Pattern Round: On first needle (INSTEP), work Flower Stitch. On second needle (SOLE), k all sts.
Repeat Pattern Round a total of 38 times. Piece will measure about 4.75 inches from cast on.

KaBloomSm2Gusset
Increase Round: On first needle, work all sts in established pattern.  On second needle, k1, m1R, knit across needle
until 1 st remains, m1L, k1.
Even Round: On first needle, work all sts in established pattern. On second needle, k all sts.
Repeat these two rounds a total of 14 times. 85 sts (29 on first needle, 56 on second needle)

Heel Cup
Note: The heel cup will only be worked on the second needle.
Set Up: K across first needle (INSTEP), maintaining established pattern. On second needle (SOLE), k14, pm, k27, slip 1, bring yarn to right side to wrap stich, pm on left needle, slip st back to left needle. Turn work.
WS: Bring yarn to front of work, p to 1 st before marker, sl1, bring yarn to back of work to wrap st, slip st back to left needle.  Turn work.
RS: Bring yarn to back of work, k to 2 sts before previously wrapped st, slip 1, bring yarn to front of work, slip st back to left needle. Turn work.
WS: Bring yarn to front of work, p to 2 sts before previously wrapped st, slip 1, bring yarn to back of work, slip st back to left
needle. Turn work.
Repeat last two rows until only 4 sts remain between wrapped sts, ending having completed a RS row. Turn work.

KaBloomSm4Heel Flap
WS: purl across, lifting wraps and purling them together with their sts as you come to them until 1 st before marker. Sl1, remove marker, slip sts back to left needle and p2tog.  Turn work.
RS: Sl1, k across, lifting the wraps and knitting them together with their sts until 1 st before marker, sl1, remove marker, move st back to left needle, lift wrap and knit together with its st and the next st. Turn work.
WS: Sl1, p across until 1 st before gap, p2tog. Turn work.
RS: Sl1, [k1, sl1] repeating until 2 st before gap, k1, k2tog. Turn work.
Repeat these 2 rows until you have used up all of the gusset stitches and 28 stitches remain on the second needle.
You will now resume knitting in the round across both needles.

Leg
Note: To close any gaps between heel and instep, pick up a st in the gap where the instep sts meet the heel flap and knit together with the first st on the next needle.
Even Round: Work across first needle in established pattern.  K all sts on second needle.
Repeat Even Round a total of 40 times or until sock is about 1” less than desired height.

Cuff
Set Up Round: On first needle, *k2, p2 *repeat until 2 sts remain, p2tog. On second needle, *k2, p2 *repeat to end of needle.
Ribbing Round: *k2, p2 *repeat until end of round.
Repeat Ribbing Round 9 times total.
Bind off with preferred stretchy bind off method. Weave in ends.

KaBloomSm5Flower Stitch
Round 1: K all sts
Round 2: *Make Flower, k1 *repeat until 2 sts remain on needle, k2.
Round 3: K all sts
Round 4: K2, *Make Flower, K1 *repeat until end of needle, ending with Make Flower.
Make Flower: K3tog, leave sts on left needle, YO, K3tog into the same 3 sts, drop from left needle.

ABBREVIATIONS
k – knit
p – purl
sl1- Slip one stitch purlwise
p2tog- Purl 2 stitches together
k2tog- Knit 2 stitch together
k3tog – Knit 3 stitches together
YO – Yarn over
st(s) – Stitch(es)