The State of the Knitting Union or My First Blogiversary!

WordPress will likely not recognize my blogiversary until tomorrow. The reason for that is that, one year ago today, I posted my first post…just on a different platform (blogHer, specifically). While that’s an awesome platform, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So, one day later I moved that post to WordPress: And So It Begins.

Rereading that post now, I’m struck by a couple of things. First, why are the pics so small? Second, my year did not consist of nearly as much stashbusting as I had anticipated. Everything else seems pretty much on point!

I thought it would be nice to start something of a tradition for this day. However, since I like to keep my options open, I’m going to go on record and say that I reserve the right to change my own traditions based on my own whims, so who knows what I will post on July 4, 2017! What I do know is that for the past year, this blog has been very important to me. I’ve used it to build new community, talk (and talk, and talk, and talk) about all the nerdy little knitting details I want to discuss, and to channel my knitting mojo. By that I mean I’ve been able to gather up all the great energy and inspiration I’ve gotten from my interactions with people here and on their own blogs, and shunt it into my own knitting and back into my blogging. The knitting karma just keeps coming ’round!

So, let’s do a round up of sorts! In the past year, I have finished 68 projects. I did my first test knitting and completed 20 test projects. I knit with all different yarn weights and fibers, and made a ton of different types of things: my first knits for my daughter, my first shawls, my first socks, lots of hats, mitts and mittens, baby clothes, dresses, a few cowls…basically the kitchen sink. I did my second ever intarsia project and my first ever stranded colorwork projects. I even got almost all the way through my first original design. I grew so much as a knitter and, I think, as a blogger. None of this was based on goals or intentions as much as it was fueled by a drive to just keep knitting. Along the way, I felt compelled to talk about it, too.

Because of that, I hesitate to set hard and fast goals for my next year of knitting (and blogging). I value the rather organic nature that my drive to knit has: I do it because I feel compelled to, not because I have specific things that I want to accomplish. Even when I’m starting a new project I often find I end up casting on for something completely different than I anticipated, and I like allowing myself that flexibility. It does mean that sometimes things happen on a different timeline, but I’m okay with that. For instance, I’ve been thinking for a few months now about opening an Etsy shop. I have a list of things I intend to stock, an idea for a name and a banner, and a general idea of pricing and turnaround time. If I applied myself more to making the shop a reality, I could probably have it up and running by now. As it is, I haven’t made any of the stock for it yet!

So while I’m not setting specific goals, there are things I am interested in trying out sometime soon! Those things include (more) brioche and double knitting, for starters. I’m planning on continuing to learn more about sock knitting. I want to try TAAT and toe-up socks, and learn some more heel and toe constructions. Also, there are approximately 15 million shawls I would like to make. I think I need at least one for every day of the week, if not month! Lastly, I have plans to make my first adult-sized sweaters and vests. Things I want to continue to do are to knit from stash, knit for family and friends, and continue to connect with other knitters through this blog, ravelry and my LYS/local community.

I won’t bore you too much with blog stats. While every single like, comment and follower makes me (very) happy, it’s never been about the numbers for me. I appreciate it so much that people read and respond and that I have a handful of knitters I consider friends that I’ve just never actually met. That community was really what I was going for when I started this a year ago, and I haven’t been disappointed! I have some blog plans for the upcoming year, but I don’t think I’ll get into them yet…we’ll just see how things work out!

I will leave you with a brief update on my knitting progress at the moment: I’m almost done knitting my sword! At some point I will write up the pattern and publish it on ravelry, but for now I’m celebrating the fact that the darn thing is almost out of my hair!

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I’ve decided to call it Baby Broadsword

Hopefully I will have an FO Spotlight post up about it soon! Happy 4th of July to my US readers, and happy knitting! I will end with some joint Independence Day and 1st Blogiversary fireworks:



Building a Knitting Community

I had the pleasure of going to a fiber arts group meet up last night. It’s a newly resurrected group of local knitters, crocheters, felters and other fiber artists that meets a couple of times a month. Last night’s theme was show and tell, so I brought a slew of FOs to share. It was really nice both to see what other people had made and to get some lovely feedback on the things I shared. I’m hoping I can go regularly in the future!

I have a few new things to share, starting with one teeny FO. I made an Ear bud pouch to match the River District Toque I made for my SIL. The pattern is free on ravelry and is a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn.

IMG_4288I used about 19 yards of malabrigo Rios. I made a couple of modifications to the pattern, other than using worsted weight yarn. I did one extra decrease row at the bottom and, instead of grafting the bottom edges together with Kitchener stitch, I turned it inside out and did a three needle bind off. It worked really well!


IMG_4282If I make this out of worsted weight yarn again, I would cast on fewer stitches and add one increase row to make the neck a little snugger.

The increases used in the pattern were new to me. It calls for raised increases (RRI and LRI). See my project notes for explanations. I found them a little tricky at first and couldn’t find much online to help. However, they’re really easy once you get it down.

I think this will be a great addition to my SIL’s present!


IMG_4285My previous WIPs are coming along well. Lacy Loo is done except for weaving in a couple of ends and blocking it. I had the little try it on and she immediately starting rolling around on the floor, so I couldn’t get a good picture. I’m happy with how it turned out. More on that when it’s blocked and properly photographed!

My Color Dipped Hat is also coming along well. I’m so glad I ripped it out and restarted. It looks just right size-wise now. It’s probably close to halfway done. I haven’t been hurrying on it since it doesn’t need to be done until Christmas.

I’ve cast on two new projects in the past couple of days. One is done and blocking but I can’t share it yet–it’s a test knit for a pattern that’s not released yet. It is a baby hat in super bulky yarn so it went really, really fast. The other is my Pretty Crabby hat for my daughter’s bestie. The pattern is Jumbo Crab Cap from Baby Beasties: Monster mittens, hats & other knits for babies and toddlers, a book the wifey got me from the library. It doesn’t seem to be in ravelry yet. I don’t love the pattern so far so I’m making a lot of modifications. The idea is so cute, though, that I want to make it. Mods so far are doing 2×2 ribbing instead of a rolled stockinette brim and casting on 75% of the called for stitch count, then increasing on the first round after the ribbing. So far I’ve finished the hat portion. It’s washed and is currently blocking/drying. I’m using stash acrylic as I doubt it will get a ton of wear. Also, it was the only yarn I had on hand that was the right weight and color (and it’s a good stash buster).

After looking over the directions for the claws, I think I’m going to make some more modifications. The pattern says to make a total of four claw shapes and then sew two together to make each claw. However, the edges are all rough and uneven in the pictures so I’m going to try to figure out a way to knit them in the round instead. Shouldn’t be too hard. The eyes are designed similarly so I’m going to have to figure something out for those, too.

I have lots of projects in the planning stages. I want to make a car blanket for my FIL for Christmas. I’m going to base it loosely on this pattern, but instead of knitting it in one contiguous piece, I want to do garter squares in alternating directions a la Mason Dixon Knitting. I’m planning on using up as much of my Caron Simply Soft as I can on it. I have black, black tweed and a dark red. I’m going to throw some other random grey acrylic in there too so it will have Ohio colors. I need to start swatching so I have an idea of how to divvy up the colors based on the yardage I have.

Another project that’s percolating is a chevron blanket using two different shades of an acrylic/wool blend I have in my stash. I have enough yardage to make a decent size blanket, I think. Not sure what it will be for, but it’ll be useful to someone at some point. It might actually end up being a car blanket for me.

At some point, I will start working on a Feathery Lace Stole for my mom using the purple Rowan Kidsilk Haze I scored at Goodwill a while ago. The wifey requested a Drachenfels so we’re in the process of selecting yarn for that. I’ll make another shawl for my MIL, but I don’t know what pattern or yarn that one will be. Also, I have a couple more Christmas presents to figure out, but they shouldn’t be anything that’s too huge or time consuming.

Last, but not least, I was lucky enough to win another pattern from the weekly chat giveaway on Melanie Berg’s ravelry group. This time, I chose The Miller’s Daughter. It’s a shawl knit in three colors of lace weight yarn. I have tentatively selected yarns, and I’m super excited about it. I am planning on using The Fibre Company Road to China Lace in Sapphire and Cherry Tree Hill Superlace Ragg in Ocean for the main colors and madelinetosh tosh lace in Edison Bulb for the accent color.

I think it’s going to look AWESOME. I don’t know that I’ll get to it while it’s still cold enough to wear it, but I’ll try! I have my work cut out for me!

Just the Facts, Ma’am

Since most of my time these days is spent shuttling from appointment to appointment and taking care of a nearly three year old, I haven’t had a ton of time to blog. So here’s just a few snippets to tide you over until I have a few minutes to concentrate.

First, I’m working on a new test knit, the Tunbridge Malabrigo Hat. This is my third test knit and, like the first two, is a hat. I’m using two matching balls of mystery yarn I got in a grab bag a bit ago. Initially I thought it was wool but after working with it for a bit, I think it’s a wool/alpaca blend. Or some kind of blend. It’s very soft and a little hairy. So far, so good!

IMG_4131Second, I am very close to finishing my second pair of Passport Mitts. I just need to weave in the ends and they will be done! More detailed review post to follow. FYI, the KAL is still happening. There’s a month to go, which is plenty of time to knock out a pair or three! Check out the pattern here.

IMG_4096Third, I am getting more serious about stashbusting. I have a list of Christmas/gift knits I’m working on and once those are done, I’m going to focus more on some of the stashbusting projects I have percolating. There will be chenille scarves, acrylic afghans, and lots and lots of charity hats. It’s gonna be great!

Fourth, I am making progress on my Sunlight Shawlette. I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use the darker blue. On the recommendation of the wifey, I switched to dark blue when I was down to one ball of light blue. I’ll knit a wide band of the dark blue (until I run out of yarn) and then finish it off with the light blue. My aim is to use up as much of the yarn as possible. I even switched colors mid row so I didn’t have to waste a length of the light blue. I’m not bothered by it; I think it looks cool. The darker blue in the pic blends in with my jeans a bit, but you can get the idea.

IMG_4130Last, but not least, I’m a winner! Yeah, I won something! Actually, two somethings: knittinginfrance hosted a giveaway on her blog, and I am one of two lucky winners! I will be receiving a skein of sparkly hand-dyed sock yumminess called Strawberry Frappuccino and a sock pattern (Strawberries & Cream Frappe Socks) written specifically for that colorway. Check out pictures of both yarn and pattern here (as I foolishly forgot to ask permission to use her photos) and stay to check out her blog and her shop! Also, be sure not to miss her awesome sock knitting prowess!

Happy knitting!

Helix Mittens and One Teeny FO

I knocked off one teeny tiny FO! Literally teeny: it’s a preemie hat. It’s not the most exciting project I’ve ever done, but it’s done and my WIPs are officially down to single digits. Unless you count the hibernators, which personally? I don’t.


This is the second preemie hat I’ve made for my stashbusting initiative. I do realize that stashbusting by making preemie hats is something of a Sisyphean task, but it’s a start.

I’m doing a test knit but have run into a snag, so that’s on hold for a bit. I needed something else to work on, so I scouted around for a mitten pattern to match my Valentine Helix Hat. I didn’t find any helix mitten patterns, but I did find one that I could modify to work. I’m about 75% done the first one and so far I’m pleased with it.

IMG_3633I’m using the same Jil Eaton MinnowMerino and this Stay Put Mini Mitts pattern. Incorporating the helical knitting has been a little bit challenging, mostly in terms of maintaining consistent tension. One trick that I will use for the next one is to start each round on the last two or three stitches of the last dpn. That way there’s not a couple of rows hanging out loosening up. I’m going to do the second one with a red cuff. I wanted to do the whole set with pink as the main color but I didn’t have enough.

I’ve been working on organizing my stash somewhat. It’s slow going, mostly because I have a ton of skeins and partial skeins that don’t have labels. A few days ago I used this fiber burn chart that I got from Talya at Duck and Cover to identify some of these unknowns, but I have a lot more to go. I’ve decided to organize it by weight instead of fiber, which was my previous arrangement. It’s fun to go through everything and refresh my memory on what I have, but it’s frustrating, too. I keep wanting to stop organizing and start knitting instead! I start thinking about different projects I could do with the stuff I have, and it’s hard not to get too distracted.

I have a couple of Liebster re-nominations to get to…don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten!

I Have Some Real FOs!

I’m really working on chipping away at both the stash and my pile of UFFOs (see my previous post for an explanation). I’ve made great progress on both fronts this past week. For starters, I actually blocked something!! It’s true! I blocked my two River District Toques, adult and toddler size. Unfortunately, getting them wet also made them enormous and they didn’t shrink back with air drying. So, I tossed them in the dryer for about 15 minutes in a lingerie (i.e., knitting) bag. Don’t worry, it’s superwash. That did the trick but also reversed some of the blocking…oh well. I knew it was a possibility. The only thing I really would want to fix is how the garter stitch edges along the brims want to curl up a little. I suppose I could just moisten that part and block them that way, but I will probably just live with it instead.

I do have new photos of both hats, but not pro quality nicely lit ones, yet. Hopefully the wifey will have time for those tomorrow. In the meantime, the first is the toddler/child size and the second is the adult:

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I showed them off to the wifey’s family today and my SIL put in a request for one. I have just enough yarn left for one more adult one, so I told her I would make her one.

I also wove in the remaining (very few) ends for the Twirly Summerskirt. It needs elastic in the waistband and a wash/light block and it will be done. Look at all this finishing I’m doing! I still have two larger projects to block (Quicksilver and Old Shale kids blanket) but I need a larger free space open before I can do those.

Now, a small confession: I lost two UFFOs. I actually kind of wanted to finish them, but couldn’t find them in order to do it! I unearthed them today in our rather hoarder-esque guest room, so they should get done soon. They are my Not a Buff and Stashbuster preemie hat #2. I know, I know, preemie hats take about zero yarn so don’t really bust a lot of stash. But, it was quick and easy and the yarn was baby yarn. And I did make two of them so far. Little steps, folks.

I have a couple of larger projects percolating. The first is Drachenfels by Melanie Berg. The issue with this one is that it calls for sport weight, and I really don’t have anything on hand that would be appropriate. I’m thinking about doing it in fingering weight instead and modifying the pattern to make sure it’s large enough. But, I’m still not sure what yarn to use. Thanks to online sales I have a good bit of Koigu KPM that I think would work well. But, I don’t know how the colors I have would play together. I basically have yellow, oranges/golds, light blue, royal blue and purple. I like bold and all but I think that might be a bit much. Thankfully, I stumbled across some on sale the other day and I’m pretty sure I ordered some (I honestly can’t remember). If I didn’t, I might try to pair it with something else already in the stash. We shall see.

The other project in the wings is a shawl for my MIL. That is on hold for a bit until I can be more clear on what she wants and what color(s) she’s looking for. The other other project in the wings is Henry’s Sweater for our friends’ new baby. Quick, highly scientific opinion poll: lemon yellow superwash wool for a sweater for a baby boy? The wifey says no but I think it would be awesome. In any case, that’s really all I have in my stash that is a) enough yarn for the job and b) vaguely machine washable. As it would happen, said wifey was at Goodwill today and kindly scoped out their yarn for me. All there was was a sealed bag with four skeins of yarn. Three of them were Caron Simply Soft in black tweed and the fourth was Cascade 220 Quatro. Since I linked to stash pics, clearly I had her go ahead and get them. I really wanted the Cascade, not so much the Caron…I have a lot of acrylic stuff I might never use. But, since it was literally a package deal, I figured I could just make a hat and scarf for charity with them or something. But, the Caron would technically meet both requirements a and b from above. So I might just make the sweater out of that.

New parents don’t need to be handwashing stuff, right?

One more 100% finished FO for you: my Valentine Helix Hat for the kiddo. This was a quick and kind of fun project! It’s odd because over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about the concept of helical knitting, but didn’t realize it was already a thing. Then a couple of days ago I stumbled across this pattern, thought it would look even cooler in three colors, remembered I had three colors of the same yarn in my stash, and an idea was hatched.

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I wove in all the ends and everything! The yarn is Jil Eaton MinnowMerino from Classic Elite Yarns. It’s very soft and has a nice, subtle shine to it. I think the kidlet will like it. I’m thinking I’ll try to make some mittens to match it with the remaining yarn.