Downton Pullover weekend update

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Knitting Trials

I’ve been trying to finish sleeve #2 this weekend.  I thought for sure I could have it done by this evening.

But then this…

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Do you see the problem? Notice the taupe yarn.  Yeah.  That’s all that’s left.  Except for the yarn I used to swatch with.

I guess you could say I’ve hit a speed bump.

Before I began this project, I made sure to purchase an EXTRA SKEIN of each color!!!!  I had read a review on Ravelry saying that they needed more than the recommend amount. So I followed that suggestion knowing I needed to swatch anyways.

Having a little extra was just plain smart.

Good thing. Or I’d have run out with only half this sleeve complete instead of being very nearly finished with it.

I will be leaving notes on my Ravelry project about this for sure!!!

So the lesson of the day is: ALWAYS BUY MORE YARN THAN THE PATTERN RECOMMENDS. 

(For larger projects like sweaters at least–you do NOT want to run out!)

On a side note:  Did you see my new yarn bowl in the photo?!?!  I bought it from my dear friend, Patty. (The same potter friend who gave me my first yarn bowl.)  I just HAD to have this one too!  The kitties are simply adorable, aren’t they?!

The Fix

As mentioned above, I had my swatch. As every good knitter knows, you don’t start a sweater without knitting, washing, and blocking a swatch first. (Some knitters would say you should swatch for any project, but I don’t usually swatch for small ones.)  For the Downton Pullover, my swatch was about 4.5″ by 7″ using the honeycomb pattern.  Within my swatch I had tested three different needle sizes using the method I learned from reading this post on Ann Budd’s blog.

(And of course I didn’t think to take a picture of my swatch until I had it ripped out. It would have been nice to show you. Oh well. )

Anyways, I sat down and, with the help of my very sweet and kind husband (who has had to put up with a rather cranky wife this afternoon-evening), I got the swatch ripped out and wound into two little balls of yarn–one teal and one with the taupe yarn I desperately need in order to finish my sleeve!

I then tried a steam iron method to relax the kinks from the yarn, but it just wasn’t enough. In fact, I couldn’t see much difference at all.

So I got my yarn ready for the soak method.

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I wound it into a small skein on my yarn swift and tied it in two places with scrap yarn.

Using some cool–but not cold–water in my bathroom sink, I soaked the yarn for about 15 minutes.

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At the moment it is hung on a clothes hanger and is drip-drying in our shower.

I hope it’s dry by tomorrow.

I really want to get this sleeve done!!

My new rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy more yarn! (The hubby’s gonna love that one!)

Before you go, answer this:  Have you ever ran out of materials mid-project? Tell me all about it in the comments. We shall commiserate!

Blog Launch, 100 Facebook Likes, and a Giveaway!

Blog Launch

That’s right! I’m officially launching my blog!

My mission:  To expand my own knitting knowledge and share with you what I’ve learned along the way.

In honor of this new start I’ve decided to give one lucky winner a pair of Katelyn mitts, hand-knit by yours truly.

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Katelyn Mitts, Ladies’ S/M
Hand-knit with 100% Peruvian Highland wool

This is the short version with 3 leaves.  They’re very cute and perfect for springtime! The coloring is off a bit in my photo…I just couldn’t get the lighting right. It probably didn’t help that I was trying to photograph dark green mitts on a dark brown ottoman. 🙂  I think the actual color is a lovely shade of deep moss green. Very woodsy.

100 Facebook Likes

This past week my Facebook page reached 100 likes! It’s so fun to see the numbers rising again thanks to Blogelina‘s blog networking! By the way, I’ve learned a lot in her Blogging Basics Class this month! I’m working on my weekly blogging goals as I try and figure out exactly what I’m doing now that I have a self-hosted WordPress blog.

In honor of all my Facebook “fans,” I’ve decided to give another lucky winner a pair of my Early Morning Mitts, also hand-knit by yours truly.

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Early Morning Mitts, Ladies’ S/M
Hand-knit with 100% Peruvian Highland wool

This is a long version of my soon-to-be-published-on-Ravelry Early Morning Mitts pattern. They come up just past mid-forearm on me. This makes them arm warmers too! 🙂 The marine blue color has a gray undertone to it that doesn’t show in my photo. Reminds me of the Pacific Coast along Washington and Oregon.

But that’s not all folks!

I really like odd numbers.  So even though two is my husband’s favorite number, I can’t just stop at two prizes.

Therefore, my Grand Prize winner will receive this lovely hand-knit Moss Stitch Cowl. (Do I need to say I made it myself? I didn’t think so.)

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Moss Stitch Cowl or Infinity Scarf, one size
Hand-knit with 100% “Superwash” Merino Wool

This cowl or infinity scarf is a beautiful example of moss stitch.  I love the doeskin heather colorway…you might call it a light taupe. Wear it like a scarf tucked under your jacket, pin it to the side with a pretty brooch, or wrap around your neck for the cowl-like look.

Giveaway Details and Rules:
  • Enter to win one of these three awesome hand-knit gift-prizes in the widget at the bottom of this post.
  • Be sure to leave a comment on this post to validate your entries. I moderate all comments, so I’ll know if you don’t!
  • Giveaway ends at midnight CST on May 2, 2013.
  • The winning names will be drawn on May 3rd. I will announce the winners in a blog post, and winners will also be notified via email.
  • If a prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

Best of luck and best wishes to you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just a note

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Did you know Google Reader is going bye-bye?  I just found out a few weeks ago. It seems we only have until July 1st to switch to another RSS Feed Reader.

Have you heard of Bloglovin? At the same time I learned that my Google Reader will be no more, I also found Bloglovin!

So I’m writing this quick post to “claim” my blog on Bloglovin. And to let you know if you haven’t already found a new Reader, you might want to give Bloglovin a look. I like that they have an app.  Although it’s formatted for iPhones, it still works for me on my iPad.

Just click the link below and you can have my posts in your Bloglovin feed!

Have a great day!

My Top 5 Types of Knitting Books

Good Morning Knitters!  (And welcome to any non-knitters stopping by too!)

Last week I promised my next post in this series would be a list of book resources for knitters.

Have you ever found yourself in need of some knitting-related help but your computer was turned off?

Or maybe you’ve been knitting while traveling and didn’t have access to the internet?

Books (even eBooks!) can be great resources for learning knitting techniques!

A basic search for knitting books will bring up more to choose from than even I know what to do with.  I’ve distinguished 5 different types or categories of knitting books–you could probably come up with more!–and am going to give you my recommendations for each.

I hope my little list will give you some good ideas for starting your own knitting book library.

 

My Top 5 Types of Knitting Books (with recommendations)

 

  • Basic Knitting HelpThe Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe and The Knitter’s Companion by Vicki Square are just a couple of the many basic knitting help books available.  These both have drawn illustrations and helpful information for when you need to learn or re-learn a technique. I personally chose to buy The Knitting Answer Book because I liked the smaller size (it fits well in my knitting bag without taking up a ton of room) and once I had it, I really didn’t need any other.  With the deluxe version of The Knitter’s Companion now including DVDs, it might be worth getting if you’re a visual learner and could easily pop a DVD into a player and watch when you need to learn something.
  • Knitting Stitch Patterns: I have three of these. Interweave’s 101 Stitches to Knit was the first that I purchased. I love that it’s a set of cards rather than an actual book.  Just take out the card that you want to use. Very nice if you want to toss it in your knitting bag without the extra weight of a book. My second book is Super Stitches Knitting by Karen Hemingway.  It’s a nicely written book with a good variety of stitch patterns to choose from. Another good one to have on hand when designing or looking for a texture to knit is Beautiful Knitting Patterns by Gisela Klöpper.
  • General Pattern Books: There are tons and tons of these. When I purchase one it’s usually because it has patterns for plenty of items that I’d like to make. There are so many different styles and tastes that I highly recommend checking your public library for what books they have before you buy! I’ve previewed several knitting books this way! I really love my public library for this!  Or spend some time in the knitting book section of your local bookstore (if you have one). There are several I’ve put on my “wish list” because I really like the book but I can’t quite afford it at this time. The book currently at the top of my general pattern wish list is The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.
  • Specific Pattern Books:  Lace, socks, sweaters, shawls, hats, baby stuff, blankets, toys. You name a specific technique or hand-knit item and I’m sure you’ll find at least one book entirely dedicated to that subject! One of the first books I received (as a gift from my hubby) happened to be a sock knitting book.  I love love love knitting socks! And 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes has been my go-to resource for knitting a pair of socks from the top down ever since.  I can’t say enough how much I love having both socks finished at the same time (as opposed to having to start all over again with the second sock). I have yet to master the toe-up method, but that’s why I got Wendy D. Johnson’s Toe-Up Socks in a Box.  Another set of handy take-with-you cards instead of an actual book, this one has 20 patterns plus essential techniques particular to knitting socks beginning at the toe. And I simply can’t mention sock knitting without talking about my newest resource: Ann Budd’s Sock Knitting Master Class which has 17 sock patterns with a huge variety of toes, heels, and other sock design elements.  It’s a fabulous book plus it has an instructional DVD (which I have yet to actually view but I’m sure it’s fabulous too)! I hope to have time to actually use this one soon! Then there’s lace knitting which I’m learning to love more and more. I bought Wendy Knits Lace–also by Wendy D. Johnson. So many beautiful designs! And Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush is on my wish list too!
  • Knitting Humor: What would life be without a little humor? I don’t want to know! My favorite knitter-writer who happens to fall into this category is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  Perhaps I love her because we share the same first name. Or maybe just maybe it’s the fact that when I read her writings I can’t seem to stop giggling!  I’ve even been known to read portions of her books out loud to my husband because if I am enjoying it so much then surely he must enjoy it too!  Known as the Yarn Harlot, Stephanie writes about knitting and being a knitter in an absolutely wonderful and downright-hilarious way.  I love her book Knitting Rules! and will re-read it from time to time. Just because it’s that good.

So there you have it!

These are my Top 5 Types of knitting books and a few of my faves for each.

How about you? Which knitting book(s) do you recommend most?

Let me know in the comments below!

Downton Pullover: Project Update

A little progress

Work is coming along on the Downton Pullover.  Last night I finished the first sleeve.

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I had knit the second cuff earlier, so I was able to start right in on the honeycomb pattern of the second sleeve.

Downton Pullover

I managed a few rounds, but then it was getting late and I forgot to do the first set of increases and had to tink back to the beginning of the round. Today I plan to work on it some more and hopefully will be awake enough to do the increases!

 

Missing: Spring

Up here in Northern Minnesota it’s still cold and looks like winter has decided to out-stay its welcome. We have the possibility of another snowstorm tomorrow–they’re saying we could get 7-14 inches of snow! As if we need more. I mean, really? It’s April already. Enough with the snow!

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So what do I do when spring still hasn’t sprung?

1. Keep my sense of humor.

someecards.com - Sorry I forgot to wish you a happy spring because it didn't happen again this year

2. Knit, of course!

Out of curiosity, I looked at our area’s weather history for the years I’ve lived up here and even went back a few years before I met and married my man who made me move farther north than my home in the central part of Wisconsin. It seems we’ve been in a bit of a warming trend. I can only wonder if this year things have gone back to normal. If so, I don’t really like it.

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Stormageddon (AKA Stormie) says “Mama, when’s the rest of the snow gonna go away?”

But a much more positive way of thinking about it:  if this cold weather continues, I may actually get this sweater finished AND be able to wear it a few times before the weather warms up too much!

Leave a comment and tell me which you’d rather have:  more cool days for wearing your hand-knits or an early spring?

As much as I love my hand-knits, I think I’d have to say give me the early spring.

My Top 5 Sites to Help You Become a Better Knitter

Newbie knitter?  You’re not alone!

 

If you–like me–don’t have person-to-person access to someone who can teach you how to knit, you can still become a great knitter!

 

As I was considering my early knitting days, I recalled the resources that really helped me learn the techniques I hadn’t mastered with the Boye “I Taught Myself Knitting” kit I started out with.  Actually, the “Teach Yourself” kit didn’t really get me beyond the basics of casting on, knit stitch, purl stitch, and binding off.  When I’d find a pattern I needed to knit, but didn’t know how to do something it required, I would find myself doing an online search to try and figure it out. In those early days, I was online a lot! But I found the help I needed and am going to share some of my findings with you today! I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 knitting help websites for you today.

 

Here are my Top 5 sites I’d recommend for new knitters that need a little help!

 

  • KnittingHelp.com  If you’re like me, you’ve probably already found my first choice. I still use it when I get stuck. You know…like when I forget just exactly what purl through the back loop is.  It’s not like I’m doing that very often. The videos are especially helpful to a visual learner like myself!
  • Knitty.com  Not only does Knitty have AH-MAZ-ING! free patterns, the articles in this online mag are great too! Theresa Stenersen has contributed quite a few technique how-tos. This is where I learned–and finally understood!–how to do a mattress stitch for seaming.
  • TECHknitting  I follow this blog so I have their posts in my feed reader, but if there’s something specific you’re looking for you can search the indexes to find what you are looking for.
  • NewStitchaDay.com  Nice video tutorials here too. There are basic technique, stitch patterns, and advanced techniques for both knit and crochet!

 

There are a TON of knitting sites. This is by no means a definitive list. These are just the ones I would recommend first to a new knitter.

In fact, if you are serious about knitting and/or crochet one of the best online sites where you can get help from other knitters is Ravelry! The only reason I don’t have it on my Top 5 list is you need to be a Ravelry member in order to use the site’s features. Joining is very easy and FREE, but I know sometimes you just want the how-to now.

My next post in this series will try to point you to helpful knitting books as well.

Before you go, do you have a favorite knitting (or crochet) help website? Is it one I don’t have on my list?  Be sure to share which knit-help sites you can’t live without!

First Pattern Published!

I can hardly believe it’s Friday night. This week just flew by me!

Last Saturday, I spent most of the day editing a pattern for one of my designs. I had started typing it up quite some time ago, but I finally got it done.  Then I uploaded the PDF to Ravelry where I now have my first pattern for sale!

<insert happy dance!> Katelyn mitts

If you pop over to my Patterns for Purchase page, you’ll see that I’ve chosen to sell on Ravelry to start.  I do have an Etsy shop as well and may decide to someday utilize it for pattern sales as well, but for now I think Ravelry will be best suited to my needs. The only drawback (which really shouldn’t be one) is that you need a Ravelry membership to use the site. Joining is so easy…and FREE!  If you knit, crochet, weave, or spin fibers into strings, you’ll love what Ravelry has to offer you.  And you’ll have access to all the patterns I publish…both paid and free!

Well, I meant to write a post about my first pattern right away, but then I got all distracted by trying to link to it and where I want my patterns to show up here on my website that I never actually got around to writing that post as planned. And then life got normal-busy again and well, here I am on Friday night–nearly a week later–finally writing about it.

For me, the most encouraging aspect of getting a pattern for sale on Ravelry is the fact that within 24 hours I had a sale! Granted, it’s the only sale I’ve had so far, but I look at it as confirmation that I’m on the right track and I just need to get the rest of the patterns for my designs typed up and ready to publish.

Tonight, I started doing just that…typing up another of my fingerless mitt designs. The pattern I was working on today is in need of some tweaking. I really need to print it out and use it to be sure I’ve got the instructions written correctly.  My original design sheet is actually a sketch with notes all around it. Makes writing a pattern that someone else could use a bit of a challenge!

Have I mentioned yet how much I love fingerless mitts? No? Well let me do that right now! They are probably my most favorite things to knit. And I wear them autumn to spring–all winter long–unless it’s REALLY cold out. Then I wear mittens.

Thanks for stopping by!  Take a peek at my pattern while you’re here! Thanks!