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!

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Hello, March!

(Will this winter ever end?)

cold winter

I think most, if not all, of us living in any of the many crazy-cold parts of the USA right now are more than ready to start “thinking Spring.” Sadly, that’s not the easiest thing to do when the outside temps are STILL below zero (and yes, I’m talking in terms of Fahrenheit in case you were wondering).

{I’ve been writing this post for a few days, and this morning it’s actually above zero for a change…just barely above, but it is!}

Autumn and Spring are such great seasons–I love both (although Summer is still my favorite). Both of the cooler (but not too cold) seasons, provide us knitters with an opportunity to make and frequently wear our hand knits.  Yes, I believe winter could be a knitter’s best friend for the same reasons, but this year it’s gone too far and lasted too long. 

I’m a sunshine-on-my-face, toes-in-the-sand (or grass if no beach is nearby) kind of gal.

And month after month of this weather–with too often the only time spent outdoors is a mad dash to my van or into a store or back into the house–means I’m in desperate need of some warmth and natural vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.

But this is March. I live in Northern Minnesota and that isn’t going to happen any day soon–at least not here.

I guess I’d better keep on knitting, huh?

On My Needles/Off My Needles

During the Olympics, I started a Diving In shawl. It’s slowly growing and taking shape, but I find myself easily bored with such a simple pattern and decided last week that I needed a mini-knitting-vacation from the monotony.

knit shawl

knit shawl

Plus, the yarns from my January Yarnbox were whispering “knit me!” to me every time I walked past the basket where I had stashed them.  So one day I just grabbed them and wound them into balls.  After winding the Pixie Dust Mini into a center-pull ball, I thought about the best way to wind the Stargazer Silk.  Since I’ve never knitted with beads or sequins of any sort, I wasn’t entirely sure what would be best, but I figured the sequins would be likely to catch and make a tangled mess if I tried to wind it into a center-pull ball, so I just wound it into a regular ball instead.

Once I had them wound, I began playing with these yarns–knitting swatches to check gauge and see the texture.  I mostly worked with the Pixie Dust Mini and found it was an interesting mix of thick and thin, a few sparkles here and there, as well wool in gray, natural, and blue. Plus, the mohair give it a little bit of “halo.”  At first, I thought it would make a great cowl, so I started playing around with that idea.  But then I tried to put it around my neck and knew I would never be able to wear it.  I’m not certain whether I have an allergy or am just sensitive to mohair, but it almost always irritates me when it’s right up next to my skin.  And necks are known to be sensitive anyways.  So I browsed Ravelry for more pattern ideas but nothing really stuck out as The Thing I Must Knit.  I started a few ideas of my own, but ripped  each back because I didn’t like how it looked.  Finally, I settled on a hat…indeed, I choose one of the patterns that came with January’s Yarnbox:  Snow Cap Hat by Cheryl Kubat.  Even though I had ideas of something else I wanted to make with the Stargazer Silk, I couldn’t find anything else that I wanted to make that only used one skein of Pixie Dust Mini. I guess I’ll have to do some swatching with my Stargazer Silk leftovers and see if I want to buy another skein for the other project I had in mind.

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The hat didn’t take long to knit–I could have probably finished in just a few hours if I hadn’t had to make the following alterations.

1.   I couldn’t find my US11 16″ circular needles.  I’m sure I have one…just no idea where it is.  So I just used my US 13 needles and didn’t switch from 11s to 13s as the pattern says to do.

2.  Because I tend to knit tightly, my gauge wasn’t quite on (2.75 stitches to the inch instead of 3).  I adjusted the number of stitches I cast on based on my gauge and was careful to be able to shape the hat the same as the original (meaning I made sure the number of stitches was divisible by 4).

3. I found my hat wasn’t quite tall enough at first, so I ripped it back to where the decreases started and added a couple more rounds before starting the decreases.  I probably could have added one or two more and still not had it be too big.

4. Adding rounds changed my decreases too.  So my first round of decreases was on the next purl round (keeping the rounds in pattern). I continued the pattern of 3 purl, 4 knit rounds as I decreased every other round.  And it all worked out in the end!

To finish it off, I want to use the few yards I have leftover of the Pixie Dust Mini and make a pom pom for the top.  I think it’s pretty cute though, and I like how the yarns worked up together.  (Although it bugs me that some of the sequins are on the inside of the hat…perfectionist in me wants them all to SHOW! Oh well…I’ve tried pulling them through along the yarn to the front side of the hat, but they don’t all want to cooperate.)

Next on my radar is the lovely yarn from my February Yarnbox.  I have no idea what I’m going to make with it…yet, but I shall have fun with it, I’m sure!  And in just a few weeks I’ll be getting my third (and final–for now) Yarnbox.  I’ll be sure to tell you about it!

Talk to me…What’cha doing?

Do you have a yarn project in progress that you want to talk about?  I love seeing what other knitters (and crocheters) are making!  So leave me a comment below and tell me about it.  If you blog, be sure you check the Comment Luv box when you comment and I’ll be sure to visit your blog too!

As always, happy knitting!

~Steph

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

 

 

 

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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Goals, Knitting, Work

Goals

The old year is done.  The new year has come.  And I’ve been setting a few goals for myself for 2014.  Personal goals, knitting goals, designing goals, and blogging goals. I am going to share with you a few of my goals related to perfectioKnits.  Perhaps by sharing them with you, I will do better at following through with them.

  1. Publish a new pattern by the end of each month:  if I manage to meet this goal, I will have a total of 15 patterns published by the end of 2014!
  2. Post updates and other info to the blog at least 2-3 times each week.
  3. Encourage and cultivate more dialogue between you, my dear readers, and myself–here and on Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest, etc. (Speaking of Facebook, are you seeing my posts? I’ve been seeing lots of pages posting that most of their readers don’t see what they share.  Especially if it includes a link.  So if you’re reading this, but not seeing what I’m sharing on Facebook, please pop by my page and leave a comment on a post, ask me a question about knitting or crochet, or even just like a few posts. From what I understand, the more interaction you have with the pages you follow on Facebook, the more likely they are to show up in your newsfeed.)
  4. Finish 42 books:  a personal goal, but I will very likely continue sharing some of the books I’m reading (especially if I continue to link up with Ginny’s Yarn Along on occasion).

I have other, more specific goals related to these, but maybe they’re actually sub-goals or something.  Publishing this list here will hopefully help me keep focused and deliberate about making time to knit, write, create with yarn, and read too!  In order to keep myself accountable, I will write a post every month? other month? quarter? and evaluate how well I’m accomplishing these goals.

Knitting

I’ve completed the knitting portion of Bigger Bigger on the Inside.  Finished it Saturday.  Today is Wednesday and I have yet to weave in any ends, let alone block it.  Just thinking about picking it up the past few evenings has made me tired.  So I’ve left it sitting by my seat on the sofa and will get it done as soon as I can find enough time and energy for it. Soon, I hope since this one will go to my friend!  (See what I wrote under the heading “work” below and you’ll maybe understand?)

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Just waiting for me to weave in its loose ends and be blocked.

One more thing:  I haven’t even started a new project yet! I haven’t knit a stitch since Saturday. Can you believe it? (Me neither.)

But I’ve still got those sock yarns and a new pair of warm wooly socks always makes me happy.  Me thinks I shall be casting on some soon…maybe even tonight!?  No wait.  Shawl first.  Then socks.

Work

We homeschool.  Teaching my boys is my primary job and (needs to be) my primary focus. (Although knitting and blogging can be really distracting at times.)

Monday, despite the public schools in Minnesota all being closed due to the cold, we started a new semester of home-schooling. (As I told my boys, the public school here started up on Thursday or Friday and they had those days off still…fair enough.)  Some scheduling changes needed to take place since we’re–once again–falling behind a bit.  I expressed my frustration and concerns to my husband and asked him for assistance.  I really want to be finished with our school year by the end of May/early June.

Teaching our 7 year old son is my priority because he has been struggling with mixing up and/or forgetting some of both his numbers and his letters, therefore I know he needs a bit of extra help from me at this point to get him up to level with reading and math. But our 14 year old son, whom I’ve had working independently, still needs me to evaluate what he’s learned while working on his own.  He also needs me to supervise science experiments.  Finding time for both boys each day has been a scheduling nightmare for me–I’ve never been good at time management.  It’s a real struggle!  Enter my hubby… who is taking on a more active role in our homeschool and helping me by assigning our eldest’s daily work. Two days of feeling like I’ve accomplished *most* of what I’ve needed to for school gives me hope that we’re on a better course. 🙂

Update: Bigger Bigger on the Inside shawl

I’m half-way through the TARDIS chart. With the busy-ness of the Christmas season, I didn’t find as much time for knitting this Bigger on the Inside shawl as I had thought I would.

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Plans are in the making for New Year’s Eve knitting–watching movies with my hubby and many hours of knitting (I’m thinking another movie marathon would be fun, but we’ll see what we decide).

So…have you guessed what my new blogging tool is yet? I’m using it to write this post! An iPhone! I’m *finally* joining the ranks of smartphone owners! Yay me! I love how easy this is to use and am excited to be able to post more frequent updates like this for you to see how my works in progress are coming along.

Hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas and I wish for each of you, dear readers, a very happy new year!

Happy knitting!
Stephanie

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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