Knitables · Uncategorized

Sampling Samples

It’s been a long couple of months since the last time I updated anything regarding this blog and it’s been a couple of months since the last time I had a finished project! I have been insanely polyamorous with regard to my knitting and can’t seem to dedicate myself to finish a project as long as the heat is as bad as it has been here in Wisconsin.

However, I am a teacher and need to make samples to show off and sell my classes this season so I have forced myself to buckle down and work on knitting only these samples until things are done and ready to show off…even if it is hotter the the devil out there. I’ll be safely chilly here in the Shaw with my strawberry lemonade and my Air Conditioner.

First things first: Hitchhiker shawl by Martina Behm. 

I’m knitting this beauty out of some worsted weight yarn. This class came along as a whim because I was actively knitting (and totally obsessed with) knitting the shawl so I chose to put it to some good use.

Working at a yarn store is awesome, but it’s also insanely hard: I want to buy one of everything. Literally everything. Especially since the shop carries my favorite yarn in the entire ‘verse: Malabrigo Rios. It’s a workhorse yarn that doesn’t pill or bleed, holds its shape really well and doesn’t wear out over wearing through the entire season. This year, Malabrigo launched their “Anniversario” colorway; a beautiful kettledye in honor of their 10-year anniversary. We got tons of it and, there were two skeins leftover with two different dye lots. I didn’t think anything of it until I saw them myself:Rios 1

Well… that’s some quality control issues going on there…

I bought the skeins anyway, knowing that I could just alternate rows on this shawl and end up with something gorgeous. The wonderful thing about Rios and Malabrigo as a whole, is their yarns have a tendency to blend gorgeously. I have frequently thought that colors would be completely disparate only to find out it blends so beautifully and looks like one skein. I looked at these two skeins and saw similarities in the vibrant pinks and the blues, but that’s pretty much where the comparison stopped. I kept knitting on though, and pulling the strands up along the side where the increases sat made things nice and smooth on the edging.

Rios 2The original pattern calls for a skein of Woolmeise, a fingering weight, but I thought I’d give it a shot knowing my shawl would basically be the same length, if lesser on the teeth. I got 36 teeth with 440 yards of Malabrigo and just barely won the yarn chicken. Ends need to be woven in and the shawl needs a good blocking but it’s beautiful and I can’t wait for the weather to get cool again.

Next up: Gramps Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

I love teaching these versatile classes: Students will be able to pick a size between newborn to 4XL (I call this size redwood tree). For the sample, I chose to knit a 2-4 and I picked a gorgeous combination of lime green and charcoal grey from Rowan’s Purewool Worsted Superwash line.

Photo Aug 03, 2 36 12 PM

I wanted something bright and cheerful but also fit for a boy: I see a ton of sweaters that are adorable for little girls but I love knitting for little boys. I cast on this project a few days ago while the Husband and I were re-watching Kingsmen: an amazing movie I highly recommend (not family friendly, though)! Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp is hilarious. I kept knitting through the next movie and, by the time the night was over, I had increased all the stitches for the raglan and I was finally to the underarms. I took a couple days off from knitting it so I could finish the Hitchhiker, so now I’m back to it with a fervor. I love little man cardigans so they look like grandpas or they look like they have little smoking jackets on. Husband calls them “Baby Hef” jackets.

Next: Follow Your Arrow KAL Shawl by Ysolda Teague

I don’t have many pictures of this at all because I messed up and had to rip back so Its kind of on time out for the time being. This sample is already made for the store so I was able to make it out of whatever yarn I wanted, but I just wanted to make sure I had an idea of what I was teaching the students. This shawl is a really cool option for someone who wants an extremely individual shawl from everyone else since there’s 32 different options for your shawl to look like. I started with clue 1B and went on to 2B. I started on 3B only to find out that my stitch counts were off, which is such a bummer and I had to rip out the short rows so things would match up again. grr. I started this shawl on the 4th of July while we were at the parade and I decided to take a cute photo before we left for the day.

Follow 1The yarn I’m using is Shelridge Farms Soft Touch heather fingering weight. I have a 3+ pound cone of this sand colorway. This is the same yarn I used for my Bridesmaids shawls and I’m currently working on a Flax Light from Tin Can Knits out of that same blue. I’m mildly obsessed with this yarn- if only it weren’t so expensive to get from Canada. Worth it, though. I tell ya.

Finally: Critical Sheep samples! 

I haven’t really talked too much about the work I’ve been doing with Critical Sheep but I’m going to be a vendor for Maker Faire Milwaukee this year in just a mere 2 months! In preparation, I have dyed almost 45 skeins and I have been knitting away on samples; most notably, I’ve finished three little samples: two hats and a crochet swatch.

From Left to Right: Bloodraven, Phantasm and Flutter. The hats can be made with just one skein of D4 Fingering and the little swatch used a mere schnibble of yarn.

I love writing out my final projects: It really puts into perspective all that I’ve done over the last months. Here’s hoping for even more productivity this month! And hopefully some more writing mojo!

Knitables

Baby Baby Baby

I frequently tell people I don’t want children and the normal response:

“You’ll change your mind”

Sorry, Mom. I won’t. Ever. In the eternal words of Luke Danes, “Kids are sticky. They always have jam on their hands. Even if there’s no jam in the house they’ll somehow have jam hands!” I fully adhere to this thought process and it frequently gets proven right by the knit-night ladies with children.

This doesn’t mean I have a total disdain of children. I like well-behaved children and I’m sure that this newest one to our knitting circle will be just that.

Erin is ready to have her baby. She’s due in 12 days exactly and she looks like she could easily go into labor today and have a gorgeous and healthy baby boy or girl in her arms in a matter of a day or so.

I, being one who knows virtually nothing about babies other than how to sway perfectly so they fall asleep on my shoulder within a matter of 10 minutes, don’t quite realize how small babies are. They freak me out in their small-ness. They’re like a football– so light and tiny and have to have the utmost care in keeping that baby in your arms.

The youngest baby I’ve ever held is little Ellie at her baptism. She was three months old. She still seemed so fragile even in all those layers of christening dress. I knit a jacket for her and I knit the 9 month size so that was still a decent size.

It was when I pulled out sock yarn and size 2 needles that I realized how tiny babies are. The pattern I found for baby mitts said to cast on 28 stitches. It looked like it wouldn’t even fit a doll. I cast on 48 and found that it was FAR too large and would thusly fit a toddler. I ripped and cast on 36, a happy medium, and ended up with this:

It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I whip it out of my bag all the time to show it off because it always gets the ‘aww’ reaction from every single person I show it to. I finished this one in front of Erin at knit-night and she squealed; literally squealed at the sight of this adorable little mitten. I’ve started on the second and hope to have it done soon as well as a receiving hat for the little one.

I’d much rather give away the sock yarn I have left over to a baby who is already almost born so they’ll be all kinds of warm and cozy this winter than have a child. Something about the thought of pushing a watermelon through a hole the size of a golfball doesn’t seem appealing at all. Some women have the maternal gene. It must have skipped my generation.

—-

So, onto the reason for my icord mania last weekend.

We all surprised Erin with this on Monday:

When we found out Erin was pregnant, we clandestinely set up a thread on Facebook to talk about creating a baby blanket for her and her little one. We settled on primary colors of red and blue since she’s creating a Mario-themed baby room. We only had to use worsted weight yarns and it had it be 12 inches square. Everything else was up for grabs. When we handed our squares to Jenny for seaming, we thought it was going to be so ugly but she did an amazing job making the colors work together and it looks great. I was given the blanket on Saturday and I set to applying the i-cord edging. Once I found gauge (three was too few, five wasn’t grouping correctly, four make a nice compromise) I set to knitting and had half of it done by the time we got home from Stitches. I finished the other half on Sunday, threw it in the wash and had it clean and ready to be delivered on Sunday night. I packed it in an old Cream City Yarns bag with blue tissue paper (we all kind of decided that Erin is having a boy and I’m hoping our collective powers of knitting will give her a boy) and it was ready to be given to our very pregnant mother-to-be. She and her husband loved it and were extremely happy with the present. Now baby and mommy will be warm through all of winter when they have their alone time.

No work on Clapotis since Monday. It happens. I’m sure this weekend I’ll have more time to work on it.

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool is in a week. I can’t wait!

Knitables

Murphy Brown

One of the last Christmas presents went to my friend Murphy. We first met in ASL 3 over the shared dislike of a girl and have been great friends since.

One thing about Murphy that you all should know: She hates winter and snow and anything concerning cold weather. She also doesn’t dress to the season for the most part during the season (sorry Murph, it’s true though!) so I asked her if she wears hat, mittens or scarves more often. She told me hats so I thought it would be a great opportunity to actually KNIT her a hat.

A couple of days previously I had finished knitting the Portland Tweed Tam and I found that the same idea could be applied to a beanie. So I cast on the appropriate stitches for the hat in my Cascade 220 Brown that I still have a MASS AMOUNT of in my supplies. It was a quick knit and I was done in one night but found that it was a tad short- it didn’t cover my ears which I find to be a pivotal point of need for a hat. What’s the point of a hat if it doesn’t cover your ears??

Instead of ripping it out to the where the first increase was, I added a piece of the ribbing to the bottom of the hat. I did an invisible seam but because of the nature of the yarn and the ribbing, it still has a seam- but it adds to the look of the knitting. I prefer the look with the seam- even though it still needs to stretch out… seams don’t stretch like ribbing does and of course I didn’t account for that.

In any case, Murphy liked it a lot and she finally took a picture of herself in it (With all the cold weather, our hair tends to get all staticky so whenever I see her she’s got her hair up and the hat is nowhere to be seen…)

Hat: Murphy
Pattern: My Own
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Brown
Needles: Size 8 circular and DPN- Bamboo

Uncategorized

Etsy is easy… but worth it?

After hearing about Etsy.com from a couple fellow bloggers in class, I decided to check it out.

Etsy is a Web site dedicated to people for selling their hand-made or vintage items. It’s free to sign up and there are thousands of items to peruse and purchase.

So I looked up hand-knit scarves and was completely astonished at what I found: There were tons of scarves ranging in price of $15 to almost $200.

Who in their right mind would pay $200 for a scarf?! Hell, who in their right mind would pay more than $50 for a scarf?

I usually cap my purchase of yarn at $15 per skein and that’s only if it has nearing 200 yards on the hank. 200 yards makes a beautiful scarf and you don’t need to charge $75 for labor.

Knitting should be something you love to do that just so happens to give you a business… not something you do to make a profit.

Many of these scarves, while very pretty, are made of a generic Garter Stitch or Stockinette Stitch* but the yarn doesn’t seem to be the thing people are paying for. Many of these yarns can be bought for at most 15 or 20 dollars for a MASS amount of yarn. Then using a large needle, they create the simple scarf and charge an extreme amount of money for it. (see this item, for example. I don’t think I’d want to get rid of this honey. It’s beautiful and so simple- why is it so expensive then?!)

While it might take me a while to make a scarf of this type, why would you want to sell it? Even if you’re *attempting* to sell it for $80 when someone could easily sell it more successfully for $30. That’s more than half the price for a one-of-a-kind item.

If the goal is to sell your items, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there whom you know that will be willing to purchase a hand-made scarf, hat, pair of mittens-whatever off you. That way you don’t have to charge up to 10 dollars for shipping (Really? Is this item 5 lbs?) and you’ll be able to see your items in the real world and get the satisfaction of having it out there!

I don’t think I’ll be setting up an account with Etsy any time soon… Instead I think I’ll set up a PayPal account so that people (even internationally) can request scarves or hats and I’ll gladly create a one-of-a-kind item for them and they can go out with the satisfaction that NOTHING created by me will be anything like it.

Silver lining? I have a ton of ideas on Scarf designs to attempt!

*Stokinette stitch: Knit one row, purl the next. I don’t prefer to use this stitch on flat items because this stitch curls… a lot. It’s usually used for mittens or sweaters- even hats.

**DISCLAIMER** I do not mean to insult the person who is selling the scarf on Etsy. If it were cheaper, I might consider buying it.

Knitables

I’m at work…

But I’m crocheting.

Yes. Crocheting…

I know it sounds blasphemous doesn’t it?
I started coming up with the idea to make a crocheted hat when I was looking at my old crocheted hat and liking what it looked like. I have the white and blue left over from one of my other projects and there’s quite a bit of yarnage here so I figured a hat would be a great idea.

At first I thought maybe doing thick stripes would be cool, but now I’m tempted to just do a full white with some blue smattered in like snowflakes and doing the opposite for the other hat. Then the tassels at the sides would mix the blue and red in a braid. (This is a nordic hat, after all!)

So I got started. I cast on 20 sts and have just been doing a single crochet since. I figure it’ll be done by the end of my shift today if I don’t have anything else do to! I’ll upload pictures and information on the final project! In the mean time- find it on Ravelry to watch my progress