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 · Patterns · Randomly on a...

A Little Pick-Me-Up

I’m officially a full-time freelance writer! The last time I wrote I was uncertain about my future, but there’s no more uncertainty! I am very happy about the decision that was made at the end of the month and all is well! I have plenty of opportunities, Critical Sheep is working hard and it’s all great! It’s FUNEmployment. I wish I had made this decision years ago! I feel like making the decision to work for yourself takes a lot of guts, and it’s probably better that I didn’t do it until now; I lacked the gumption to do it all until freedom was thrust upon me.

I’m writing this on my brand new MacBook! The 2007 Black Macbook has finally bit it and we made the decision to add yet another laptop to the house. I think that brings us up to 6 or 7 computers. We’re nerds, what more could you ask for?

I’m really loving the whole sleeping until I want to thing of being my own boss. My hours are whenever I want them to be. And I can be as creative as I want in the hours when creativity is the most effective for me. I, being my own boss, set the dress code too: No Pants Tuesdays are awesome!

I’m also getting a ton of knitting done. I’ve created a bunch of dice bags to sell on the Critical Sheep Etsy page and I’m working on a sample for both three skeins of D4 and 14 Tribbles. AND I’m working on a sample for Cream City for a class I’m teaching.


So for now, because it’s gloomy and cloudy and dark today and I can’t get a good picture of anything to save my life, here’s an in-progress shot of my knitting. Color is Chameleon, but came out exactly like Lifespring, so there’s that.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

 

Knitables · Stashbust 2014

Stash-Buster

That’s totally what I’ve become this year.

So here’s a recap of the last few weeks:

I went to Stitch n Pitch with the arm warmers and I finished one while bored one evening. It helped that the lap blanket was too gargantuan to feasibly travel with it. When my fingers turned black yet again I  knit a swatch and washed it dilligently in hot, cold and lukewarm water. I was amazed when the little blighter hadn’t bled…at all. Not a single drop of color bled out of the yarn. What the hell?

Yarn is Desert Vista Visu in colorway “Dia Del Los Muertos” but I think it was supposed to be a test batch as the colors aren’t nearly as vibrant as the replacement skein Jenny got. I’m OK with it anyway.

In any case, I’m back to the beginning of the color repeat and am going to start the second tube eventually. And by eventually, I mean not for a while.

I went to a Brewer’s game with a ton of people from my gym and knit a sock from the nosebleed seats. I finished it right as Ryan Braun hit a homerun to help us win the game. It was pretty great.

Yarn is Happy Fuzzy Yarn Superwash Corriedale in colorway “Rain”

The Gemini pullover is done and has been worn once to work but it needs to be put away for a couple months until it’s cool enough to warrant wearing it. The wool and alpaca make it a really tough sell on super hot days.

“Gemini” Tank from Knitty Spring/Summer 2012. Knit in The Fiber Company Acadia in color “Blue Heron”

Finally, I have finished the blanket.

Tosh Chunky in colorway “Oak” and Mission Falls 1828 in Navy Blue.

Final dimensions of this beast is 50X60″ and it’s amazing. I’m almost tempted to keep it and knit something else for the babe, but I’m going to the shower soon and have other things to knit instead.

I’ve also made a vow to never knit with MadelineTosh yarns ever again. This blanket took forever to knit and was, predominantly, knit with yarn that had been made into sweaters, washed at least twice and never blocked properly. The color bled in the water every single time I washed it and it’s so infuriating that, after nearly 10 washes, the yarn is still losing color. A note is definitely going in the bag to put a color catcher in with this blanket whenever it gets washed and dried so the olive green color doesn’t stain everything. What a disappointment. I also have an issue with how it blocks. I gently stretched the blanket to stop it from rippling and to stop the edging from curling, but I don’t think there’s any merit in blocking Tosh yarns because they don’t block. Ever. They never keep their shape even if you let it dry in that shape for DAYS at a time. I believe my stash is Tosh free aside from a skein of sock yarn, but I will never buy Madelinetosh yarns ever again. It’s simply not worth the hassle.

Once the blanket was done, I dove into the stash and went searching for stuff to knit and came up with my large cone of Shelridge Yarns SoftTouch Heathers in colorway Sand. I then rediscovered the Line Break shawl from Veera Valimaki while at the store on Sunday and started knitting. 

I started this little guy on Monday night, got to the 90-ish stitch mark, realized my stitch markers had moved and had to start over. This is about how far I got after a couple innings of the Tuesday baseball game and now I’m about two rows away from finishing the whole damn thing. Each row takes about a half hour to knit and, while I had hopes to finish it last night, the eyelets are just not as big as I thought they’d be so I keep making the executive decision to do ‘one more row’ which ends up being a few more rows, blah blah blah. So I’ll probably never be done with this thing. No I’m kidding, it’s happening tonight.

I’m also working on a puerperium cardigan and a baby sophisticate cardigan for the same baby the blanket is for. I hope to have them done by the shower…we shall see!

So, despite the heat, I’ve gotten a ton done this month. Let’s hope the rest of the season goes that way too!