Yarn Along

Happy Wednesday!  Can you believe it’s July already? Me neither. This summer is slipping away! This morning when I looked at the outside temp it was 44 degrees. Brrr. Because we have our air conditioning on instead of heat, it got down to 65 degrees in the house. Perfect for sleeping, so even my youngest who is usually up early stayed in bed a little longer this morning. But at least the sun is shining today so it should warm up. After 2 rainy days keeping us indoors, it will be nice to be able to go outside and play with our kittens.

Speaking of kittens…

We have four adorable kittens. They are six-and-a-half weeks old today. And so much fun to watch. I just love watching them practice their pouncing. It’s hilarious!

kittens

Yarn Along

Once again I’m going to link up with Ginny at Small Things for this week’s Yarn Along!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

I know I get a bit long-winded at times, so this week I’ll TRY to keep it short and sweet! 🙂

On My Needles

1) Kingdom Gloves: PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE! Amazing. I know. But 2 days of administering my 8th grade son’s standardized tests (as required for homeschoolers by the state of MN) means a lot of time where I need to be present and quiet. So once I get him started on a test, I either read or knit. I decided to work on the gloves because the quiet atmosphere allowed me to really concentrate on the cable pattern.  Not only did I finish knitting the right-hand glove, I started the left one too!  Woot!

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{You can see I still have to do some weaving in ends and seaming between fingers as well as sewing the cuff’s inside layer where it belongs, so it’s not all done, but the knitting part is!}

2) Simplicity Socks: This is my take-along project. During the kids’ swim lessons, or whenever we’re going somewhere and I think I *might* have time to knit, I grab the bag I keep this project in. So I’ve made a little progress on these also.

3) Mendel sweater: Finished my swatch. After washing and drying, I think my gauge matches the pattern’s. I will check it once more before I cast-on this project though.

Reading

My Book Reviews:

I decided to quit reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  I don’t enjoy reading books with descriptive scenes of intimacy–it’s not my style. And it really disappointed me that the author had the {rather young} characters choose to have sex without the commitment of marriage.  Unfortunately, it’s a reflection of what a lot of people think is perfectly acceptable behavior nowadays.  But it completely ruined the story for me. I’m usually very careful to read reviews before choosing a book by an author I’ve never read before. But too bad for me…I obviously hadn’t read enough reviews on Graceling to know I shouldn’t waste good reading time just to get half-way through the book and quit.

Still Reading:

One Realm Beyond  Force Heretic Remnant cover

Although, technically I’m still reading the others in my last post’s list, these two have been getting my attention the most this week.

1) One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul I’m really enjoying this story now that I’ve gotten into it a little more. Bixby is such a funny and interesting character…can’t wait to see what more happens in the rest of the story! {And I know I can trust Donita’s writing!}

2) Star Wars The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant by Sean Williams Having read a TON of Star Wars books, I pretty much know what to expect with this one too. Just plodding along, seeing where the storyline goes next. 🙂

Show and tell?!

I’d love to see your current projects too! Once again, let me remind you that my Facebook page {perfectioKnits’ Facebook page} is open for you to share photos of what you’re working on. Or leave a link to your project’s Ravelry page if you prefer. Also, I’m using Instagram more and more these days {follow me: perfectioknits}, so tag me if you’re sharing project photos and want me to see them. Thanks!

And be sure to leave a comment below before you go! I look forward to hearing from you!

As always, happy knitting and reading!

~Steph

An Update, Some FOs, and a New Design in the Works

April Update

Another month has passed me by…it’s hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted!  Not for lack of things to say, but rather for lack of time to write it.  For the past month I’ve really tried to stay focused on teaching my boys–which is my primary job after all–and by the end of each day most, if not all, of my energy is used up and I just want to sit in front of the TV and knit.  So, sorry dear faithful readers (both of you).  Perhaps this summertime I’ll be able to make time to blog more regularly?

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Science Experiment…homeschool science in the kitchen!

I’ve posted a few of my knitting pics here and there on Facebook and/or Instagram.  So even though I’ve neglected to write blog posts, I’ve tried to keep as active on social media as I can. As I already mentioned, knitting each evening while watching television with my hubby has become my primary means of de-stressing after hounding my 14 year old and working hard with my 7 year old to get their schoolwork done each day.  With lots of good knitting time, I’ve managed to complete a few projects!  Yay!  I love FOs!

Knitting Update

Finished Objects:

#1) After 2 months of working on it off and on, I finally finished my Diving in shawl!  I just love it!  The Malabrigo yarns are so soft and warm!  And although the colorways don’t contrast a lot, they work very well together and the result is quite lovely.

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I know you wanted to see headless photos of me, right?! LOL! Taking selfies is not my forte.

#2)  Earlier this month I finished knitting scarf using the pattern “My So Called Scarf” by Allison Isaacs with that lovely Phydeaux yarn from my February Yarnbox.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this yarn?!?  It’s wonderful!  I decided to use just one skein for the scarf, so I sewed the seams together to make it into a mobius.  I especially loved the stitch pattern in the variegated colors of the yarn. Such a lovely combo!

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#3) After finishing the My So-Called {Mobius} Scarf, I decided to use my second skein to design a pair of matching mitts.  I adore how the yarn worked up for my new mitts too!  And although I really want to show off these finished mitts to you all, I’ve decided to wait until my pattern is ready to publish.  Which leads me into the last heading of today’s post…

New Design in the Works

I’m hoping to work out the details for a couple more hand sizes before I write up my new pattern since not everyone can wear my extra-small ladies’ mitt size!  So for now, all you get to know is that I’ve got a pair of Mystery Mitts (that match the above cowl) in the works!

Now if someone would just invent a working time turner so I can work on two things at once!!!

As always, happy knitting!

Steph

PS!  Did you know my patterns are currently on sale?! NO? Well, now you know! Get 20% off with the coupon code “Easter2014”!   (Granted, I only have 3 patterns to sell right now…but still!)  Happy shopping!

February Doldrums

Winter Blues

I’m in a bit of a slump. {Is it just me? or you too?} Perhaps it’s just normal for February in Minnesota and I’ve blocked the memory of winters past, but I think this long hard winter is really getting to me.  Worst of all: I’ve had a terrible time trying to figure out what to knit next! {Something only another yarn enthusiast can truly understand, right?}

With the Olympic Games on tv and the Ravellenic Games taking place on Ravelry, I was doing as much knitting as I could while watching and cheering on our athletes. I finished the Bellatrix socks, and have been working on the second mitt from this pair I was making for my fingerless mitts tutorial.  Somehow they got set aside and forgotten. *oops*

Knitting yet another pair of socks–a pair designed in entrelac which is something I have yet to try and which I thought would be a fun test of my knitting skills–was next in my queue and planned as one of my projects for the Ravellenic Games.  Alas!  After no less than a dozen attempts at casting on, I knew I needed to let it rest for a while. I just couldn’t figure out how to do the specified cast on. I even tried Judy’s Magic cast on (which I’ve used before) and was still having problems.  Finally I decided that the yarn was telling me it just didn’t want to be a pair of socks!  I will knitting that pattern again someday, but for now I need something a bit less stressful.

Ravelry pattern search

I searched Ravelry for pattern suggestions.  Having 2 colors to work with, I needed to choose whether to make 2 projects or combine them into just one.  I began to lean towards a shawl or scarf. Something with stripes perhaps.  And so, after much much much deliberation, I finally decided on this:

diving in

Pattern: Diving In (recipe) by Mam’zelle Flo

{My apologies for the not-so-great photo, but I was using my iPhone and the lighting wasn’t very good. You get the idea though.}

It’s a relatively easy knit so far. Just what I need.

I will be knitting this shawl with the 2 skeins of Malabrigo Yarn Sock that I bought at a little yarn shop in Hilo, Hawaii during our October family vacation. I’ve starting with Impressionist Sky (blues) and the second colorway I’ll be using is Solis (greens and blues). It should be lovely. The colors remind me of the Hawaiian sea and sky.  Perhaps working in these colorways will be like a mini {mental} vacation back to Hawaii while I’m knitting… If not, I’ve got a new favorite blog to follow:  The Grommom.  Monica writes about her life raising 4 boys who love surfing and skateboarding (aka groms/grommets) on the North Shore of Oahu. Hawaii is one of my favorite places on the planet, so I especially love seeing current photos from there on a regular basis just by reading her blog!

I’m hoping beyond hope that the sun will start warming things up here enough for me to get outside for some natural Vitamin D soon!

Be on the lookout for shawl updates here and on my Facebook page as I work on my new project.

As always, happy knitting!

-Steph

 

 

 

On My Needles: Bellatrix

Bellatrix socks

Ever start a project and after spending hours working on it, you’re just not 100% thrilled with how it’s turning out, but you keep going because you just don’t want to start over? Usually if I don’t like how a project is turning out, I’m not afraid to frog it (rip it, rip it), but for once I just don’t want to start over even though I’m not satisfied with how the dropped yarn overs are looking. What I’ve figured out is this: no matter whether I love a project I’m working on or not, I’d rather be knitting! …than doing housework, than teaching my kiddos, than…well, you get the idea.

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As a Harry Potter fan, I was drawn to the Bellatrix sock pattern.  Since I’m currently re-reading the series (reading is about the only thing that still ranks up there with knitting and competes for my attention during my free time) and I just started book 6 (Half-Blood Prince) again, I thought it would be fun to knit something inspired by the series. I really liked how in the pattern photos, the dropped yarn overs look a little messy and, like the Bellatrix Black character, a bit crazy. My feelings as I knit Bellatrix, however, are more like it’s driving *me* crazy. It’s not a matter of whether I’m correctly doing the dropped stitches–I am. I’m just not totally thrilled with how they look. And that really bothers the perfectionist in me. But I’m pressing on in hopes that once I’ve finished knitting these socks they will somehow magically modify my initial impression and my Bellatrix socks will be beautiful.

I’ve reached the end of the leg portion of the sock.  It’s now time to make the heel flaps!  I have to decide whether I want to continue the dropped stitch pattern on the instep of the foot or just knit it in plain stockinette stitch, but I’ll probably follow the pattern and continue the pattern on the foot too.

Now it’s your turn to share!

Do you normally keep going when a project doesn’t quite meet your standards or do you prefer to stop and start over with something new? Leave a comment to say which you would usually do!

As always, happy knitting!

-Steph

FO: Bigger Bigger on the Inside

Finished Object: Bigger Bigger on the Inside Shawl

Here it is! The Bigger Bigger on the Inside Shawl is finally finished, loose yarn ends are woven in, and shawl has been blocked.

knitty shawl

Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Northern Minnesota–above freezing!! (And after sub-zero temps, that feels like a heat wave!) So hubby and I stepped outside for a few photos of me modeling it for you. I know some of you reading this are seeing these photos of me wearing short sleeves outside in the snow must think I’m a bit crazy, but going from -30 degrees F to above freezing is a huge difference and feels {relatively} warm! Really! Besides, it was only for about 10 minutes or so. (Although hubby *did* go to church wearing short sleeves and no coat…he’s a crazy hardy Northerner!)

knitty shawl

Clearly, this shawl is a bit larger than my first Bigger on the Inside (which measured 52″ wide by 15″ high). After blocking AND after modeling the larger shawl, I lay it out and measured:  turns out it’s 62.5″ wide by about 17.5″ high (at the center).  Although the width is about perfect, I still wish it was just a couple inches longer in the back. Which would require figuring out where to add more length–above and below the TARDIS pattern? making the TARDIS pattern taller? adding even more length to the bottom ribbed edging?

knitty shawl

But it definitely has more of a shawl feel than my first attempt which is a pretty nice Whovian scarf instead.

And Patty, my dear pottery-making friend, I hope it’s to your liking because it’s already in the mail and headed your way!!!

On My Needles

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s on my needles now… (if you follow my Facebook page, you’ve already seen this):

sock knitting

What’s On YOUR Needles (or Hooks)

If you knit or crochet, tell me what project(s) do you have in progress?

And don’t be afraid to find me and friend me on Ravelry! (I’m perfectioKnits there too.) I don’t have enough time to really get involved in the groups and forums at this point, but it’s still fun to connect with my readers!  “See you” on Ravelry?!

As always, happy knitting!

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FO Friday: Bigger on the Inside

Bigger on the Inside #1

One down, one to go!

Knit shawl

Pattern: Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley

Yarn: Valley Yarns Huntington in Blue, about 2.5 skeins

Needles: Pattern recommends size US3.  I used size US4 to get gauge.

Edit: I evidently remembered incorrectly! I used US6 needles!

Size: one size (mine is more of a shawlette than a true shawl)

My first attempt at this shawl turned out a bit smaller than I had thought it would be.  It’s really more of a shawlette.  Still cute, but not exactly as I’d hoped knowing that the dear friend for whom I was knitting it likes her shawls to actually wrap around her.  After discussing it via email with her, we’ve agreed that I should keep this one and do what I can to make the second Bigger on the Inside a bit, ahem, bigger.  Here’s hoping that the next one I make will be much more shawl-ish!

Do you know what to do if a knitted item is too small?

Well here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

First of all, don’t panic! Chances are pretty good it’s still a nice whatever-it-is. Perhaps you can think of someone whom it would fit perfectly! (And yes, gifting slightly off-sized items is perfectly acceptable! Just ask my niece who became the recipient of a Soap Bubble Wrap sweater that was a tad too wide in the shoulders for me, but fit her just fine! Lucky girl!)  Anyways, this Bigger on the Inside shawl is better-suited to my petite frame and, quite honestly, makes a fabulous scarf {see photo below} so I will happily keep it and use it.

knit shawl

Since I know I’m going to make another one of these shawls, what should I do to make it larger? 

Well, I do have at least a couple options.

The easiest way I’ve found to knit something in a bigger size is to use larger knitting needles. As you can see in my above notes, I already used a larger needle just to get gauge.  This is pretty normal for me because my yarn tension tends to be tighter than a lot of other knitters.  Tension affects gauge. Big time.  That’s why it’s so important to check your gauge before you start a project by knitting a swatch.  (I’m a rebel when it comes to swatching though.  I don’t usually swatch my smaller projects like socks or mitts, but I have been known to have to rip out and restart a pair of socks in order to get them to fit. You, my dear readers,  can learn by my mistake and swatch your socks, OR you can be a rebel like me! Regardless of your level of rebelliousness, you will NEED to swatch for larger projects like sweaters if you want them to fit!)

Okay, so for my second attempt at this shawl, I will most likely start out going up to my US6 needles.  Why not try US5s first?  Because I don’t have any! So, without purchasing new needles,  my next size up is US6.  By using such a large needle size–compared to the pattern and yarn I’m using–it’s possible the lace might not look right.

My next best option is to do some math and add a couple motifs or repeats to the pattern.

I’ll be the first to say, I hope the US6 needles work out, because just thinking about doing that math makes my head hurt.  But I’ll do it if I have to–or recruit the math master {aka my hubby} to do the math for me!  Ultimately, by adding stitches and/or pattern repeats, I would be adding length and/or width to the shawl. I’m just hoping for the easy way out though!

Edit: I do have US7 and US8 needles…I’ll be trying them both out to see how the fabric looks and determine if I would gain any length and/or width. It’s looking a lot like I might be adding repeats or otherwise modifying the pattern though!

What about you?

Have you had any knitting projects that seemed to work out just fine, but in the end didn’t quite fit?  What did you do? Share your experience in the comments below!

I’ll be linking up again this week with Tami’s blog for FO Fridays! Happy knitting!

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FO Friday: Heartland Lace Shawl

Heartland Lace Shawl

Here it is! My Heartland Lace Shawl, finished and blocked!

Just in time to link up with Tami for FO Fridays! Be sure to hop over there and take a peek at the other fantastic FOs from this week.

knitting shawl

  • Pattern: Heartland Lace Shawl pattern by Evelyn A. Clark
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Cotlin (using up leftovers…not sure exactly how much I used, but maybe 3 or 4 balls?)
  • Needles: US Size 8 circular needles (I used Knit Picks interchangeable needles and started with a 32″ cable then later switched to a 40″ cable.)

Now this is my kind of shawl.  It covers my arms to my elbows. Just the way I like a shawl to fit. It will be especially nice to wear with the weather getting cooler already!

Choose My Next Project

Have you had a chance to look at the patterns in yesterday’s post and vote yet?  If not, please take a minute to check out the pattern possibilities sometime before the weekend is done and let me know which project you’d want to see me work on by leaving me a comment there.

Before you go…take a moment and let me know what you think of my shawl by leaving a comment below too!

Happy knitting!

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