FO Spotlight: Zagzig Hat

I’m continuing to get old WIPs finished. Here’s my latest!

The rundown

Pattern: Zagzig Hat by Taiga Hilliard Designs. This pattern is in the same series as the Zagzig skirt I posted about yesterday. This was also a test knit.

Yarn: 108 yards of Alpaca Lana D’Oro by Cascade Yarns. It’s a worsted weight blend of 50% wool and 50% alpaca.

Size made: Teen. Unfortunately, I don’t have a teen-sized model handy, but it looks to be about right!.

Needles: US5s and 7s.

Techniques used: Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on. The zigzag pattern is both written out and charted and includes left twists and right twists.

Modifications: None.

Difficulty: Easy. This would be appropriate for an advanced beginner. The left and right twists in the zigzag pattern might be new to a beginner, but they’re not hard once you get the hang of them.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

As I don’t have a model for this FO, I don’t have a ton of pictures to show you. Here’s what I’ve got!

IMG_6426IMG_6410

The color is most accurate in the first pic, but it has some weird ripples so I included the second pic as well.

This was a quick and easy knit. The zigzag pattern added just enough interest to keep it from getting too boring. The pattern is sized from newborn to large adult, so there are lots of options.

I like the yarn I made this in. It seems more like alpaca than wool, even though it’s an even blend of both. It’s very soft and the color has a pretty heathered look to it. I got two skeins of it from the freecycle haul, so I have plenty left over to make something else!

Happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Zagzig Skirt

This project was another test knit for cashmerejunkie, aka Taiga Hilliard Designs. The knitting has been done for a while, and I even wove in the ends as I went! However, it needed elastic in the waistband to be really finished. I finally got that done the other day!

The rundown

Pattern: Zagzig Skirt by Taiga Hilliard Designs.

Yarn: A total of 205 yards of four different colors of Vanna’s Choice Solids. It’s an aran weight, 100% acrylic yarn. I think I got it all at the thrift store at one time or another! The pattern can be made in stripes, colorblock or solid.

Size made: 4T. The model is 3.5 yo.

Needles: US7s.

Techniques used: I used TECHknitter’s traveling jogless stripe technique for the stripes, but it wasn’t perfect. The zigzag pattern is both written out and charted and includes left twists and right twists.

Modifications: None except doing the colorblock/stripes.

Difficulty: Easy. This would be appropriate for an advanced beginner. The left and right twists in the zigzag pattern might be new to a beginner, but they’re not hard once you get the hang of them.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

FullSizeRender 352

This pic is after elastic but before washing. I didn’t bother blocking it exactly; since it’s acrylic it wouldn’t do much anyway. I did hang it to dry so that maybe the weight of it would pull the flared edge down a bit. It actually worked! It’s like that because I often am so focused on not binding off too tightly that I end up binding off way too loosely. If I made this again, I would try to avoid that.

She really didn’t want to pose or hold still for pictures, as usual. She mostly just wanted to twirl! But at least you get the basic idea of how the skirt looks and fits. It’s a little on the large side, but I think it will fit her just right in the fall/winter this year. Since it’s aran weight acrylic it’s on the warm side anyway, so that will probably be just right.

This was a quick and easy knit. My favorite part of this design is the waistband. The clever construction means you don’t have to do any sewing, and it’s very easy to execute. Also, it lies nicely and is very neat. The pattern is sized from newborn up to 10 years, so is very versatile. I don’t love the yarn I chose, but I had it on hand and it was right for the job. I like the colors and I like that it’s machine washable. Also, skirts can get some heavy wear and tear. With this one, I won’t be upset if (when) she decides to sit down on the sidewalk or brick, or otherwise put it through the normal small child wringer.

Some tips if you are thinking of making this: always slip stitches with the yarn in back. Also, if you’re doing any stripes, I would recommend not changing colors right before the zigzag pattern–do it at least three rows before as the twists pull on the fabric a bit and will otherwise give the color change row an uneven look. Overall, this was a fun knit and I could see myself making it again.

Happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Wee la Nina

The rundown

Pattern: Wee la Nina by cashmerejunkie of Taiga Hilliard Designs.

Yarn: A total of 232 yards of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, a worsted weight blend of 80% cotton and 20% merino. I used 181 yards of the main color and anywhere from 6 to 22 yards of the four contrast colors. It could be done in as few as two colors or as many as ten, or more for bigger sizes.

Size made: 12-18 months. The model is 12 months.

Needles: US8s. With this yarn, I would probably use US7s next time and just add a few more rows. The gauge is just a touch loose on the 8s.

Techniques used: Nothing too crazy, and nothing that wasn’t described in the pattern.

Modifications: None.

Difficulty: Easy. This would be appropriate for an advanced beginner.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

Man, was it tough to get pictures! This child is in constant motion. As cute as the top looks on her, the pictures just don’t do it justice. It really was just stupid cute on her.

Despite the fact that it took me over three months to do the finishing bits on this one, it was a very quick knit. Like many of Taiga’s patterns, it’s designed to be able to be worn long for a while and then shorter as the child grows. Also, the high cotton content means that it will grow in length if it’s hung to dry instead of being laid flat, so she will hopefully get a couple of years of wear out of it.

FullSizeRender 335

Please enjoy this rare, blurry glimpse of me. The child wanted to take a selfie. How could I refuse??

Honeymoon’s Over

For the past couple of days, I’ve had the luxury of lots of knitting time. As I’ve been stressed out about a variety of things (read: job), I took Paula’s sage advice and worked on things that made me happy. I made some serious progress on my Miller’s Daughter:

FullSizeRender 297

I might have mentioned this before, but I am completely smitten with these colors and how they work together. I wasn’t sure initially about including the lighter blue (Cherry Tree Hill Superlace Ragg), but now? I’m completely sold. One ply of it is grey, which adds interesting texture to the mix. Occasionally, the color edges toward green, which mirrors the Edison Bulb well. As for the darker blue shade (The Fibre Company Road to China Lace), what’s not to love about an alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere blend? Well? Bueller? Yeah, that’s right–nothing. That just leaves the Edison Bulb (madelinetosh tosh lace), and for that, you either love it or you hate it. As for me, you guessed it! I love it.

I love how the texture of lace weight yarn worked on US4 needles is light and airy while still being delightfully squooshy. The shawl is just begging me to scrunch it up around my neck and wear the bejeesus out of it. I can’t wait.

If you are working a Miller’s Daughter, or any other Melanie Berg shawl, you might consider joining her 2nd Annual Any Shawl KAL. There’s still plenty of time left to finish one up by June 12, and there are several really lovely prizes to be had. Check out the thread on ravelry here.

Other projects I worked on this week include one that I will discuss tomorrow and another test knit for Taiga Hilliard. This one is called Twinberry and it’s a raglan tunic-style pullover. It can have either short or long sleeves and the length is adjustable (well, this is knitting…everything’s adjustable). There’s not a ton of it to see yet, but I’ve got a start on it:

IMG_5946

I’m using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece for this as I’ve found it’s a good yarn for kids clothes. It has good stitch definition, great colors, and should wear well. My only quibble with it is that it’s not machine washable or dryable, although I’ve a mind to give it a try sometime and see how it goes. It’s 80% cotton and 20% merino, so it shouldn’t felt. I suspect the worst that could happen is it might shrink some and the color might run. I’ve actually used the same yarn on three other kids test knits already! I got several more skeins of it from my giant freecycle yarn score, so I’ve got lots to work with.

I’m glad I had some time to work on these projects, as tomorrow I’m heading into crunch time. I have two commission jobs to work on, and I’m officially getting started on them tomorrow. The first is a knight’s helmet hat with matching diaper cover (and knitted sword!) for a one year old’s birthday party. I’m planning on using this Sir Knight Helmet pattern by Martina Gardner:

Dsc09156_small2

Photo copyright MAGKnits. Obtained from ravelry.

I will also be making this Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas:

Easy-folded-poncho_small2

Photo copyright Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. Obtained from ravelry.

I got the yarn for this, Berroco Ultra Alpaca, yesterday and I’m getting the pattern tomorrow. Both projects should be reasonably fun and go quickly, but it will be nice to get back to knitting for me and mine afterward.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a juicy post full of socks and socky plans. Until then, happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Little Jill Test Knit

I finished this dress some time ago, but ran into trouble when I blocked it. It grew in length so much that it was longer than the recipient is tall! I wet it down again, threw it in the dryer, and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t be ruined. Well, it wasn’t! So, at long last, here’s my review.

The rundown

Pattern: Little Jill by Taiga Hilliard aka cashmerejunkie

Yarn: Sawya by Mirasol Yarn. I got this off the sale rack at Kitschy Stitch last summer. The project used 3 skeins plus a yard or two (I lost at yarn chicken–I ran out while binding off). That comes to just over 276 yards. It’s listed as a worsted weight yarn but I think it’s closer to aran.

Size made: 18 mo. Model is 11 mo but wears 12-18 mo clothes.

Needles: US6s for the yoke, 7s for the body and 10s for the bind off.

Modifications: I worked M1R and M1L the standard way (it’s listed differently in the pattern).

Difficulty: Easy, but not beginner-easy. Read the instructions carefully to be sure you know when to work flat vs. in the round, how to work the armholes, etc.

Ravelled: here.

The Pretty

FullSizeRender 269

The model tends to be in constant motion, so getting clear pics was a little tricky! It looks super cute, but it’s too long for her right now. There’s room in the body for her to grow into, so I think it will fit her better next fall or spring. If I made it again, I would shorten it quite a bit.

The yarn was lovely to work with. It’s a cotton, alpaca and silk blend. It’s very soft and silky but the cotton gives it a good bit of structure. I love the color and it survived the dryer looking no worse for wear. The buttons I dug out of the button hoard are awesome! You can kind of see them in the first pic. They are orange with white polka dots.

Overall, this was a nice pattern to knit. I could see myself making it again, just shorter. It would be a great summer dress for a little babe as it’s easy to get on and off. I like how it looks in the solid color, but I think it would work well with a semisolid or tonal yarn, too.

Happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Little Phryne Test Knit

I finished this project a while ago, but didn’t finish finish it until today. Meaning, when I blocked it, it grew to gargantuan proportions and didn’t shrink back up with air drying. All that needed to be done was to re-wet it and throw it in the dryer but, with my current situation and stress level, that didn’t happen for a while.

In any case, here are the details!

The rundown

Pattern: Little Phryne by Taiga Hilliard aka cashmerejunkie

Yarn: 2 skeins (880 yds) Cascade Heritage Prints, a 75% wool/25% nylon sock weight yarn. Pattern calls for 800 yds for the size I made.

Size made: 4T-5T

Needles: US5s

Techniques used: Longtail cast on

Modifications: I made a few adjustments to the raglan increases so the eyelets and increases would be evenly spaced. I shortened the overall length by 4″. I ended up binding off early (partway through the seed stitch border at the bottom) because I ran out of yarn.

Difficulty: Easy. This would be a good intro to raglan increases.

Ravelled: here. You can read about how I did a cool repair job on it here.

The Pretty

My daughter was really excited about wearing it! She says it helps her twirl better. I’m glad that I modified the length as it would really be in the way if it were any longer.

Because of the yarn I chose, there are details in the pattern that don’t really show up. There’s an eyelet border around the bottom edge as well as seed stitch bands on the sleeves and at the top of the skirt. I probably would do it the same if I made it in self striping yarn again, though. I think it would look nice in almost any colorway, solid or semisolid. It would also work well as a color block piece if you wanted to use up some different yarns.

Even though it was 880 yds on US5s, the majority of the dress is stockinette stitch in the round. So, with my Addi rockets, it went remarkably fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if I made another one. It’s a simple enough knit, but it looks really lovely. I got a ton of compliments on it while I was working on it at my LYS.

She’s pretty much in constant motion. It makes getting modelled pics challenging, but you get the idea. On the whole, I’m very happy with how this one turned out. If I make it again I will likely incorporate all the same modifications. I wouldn’t mind using a similar yarn for it, either. I like how the stripes turned out!

Happy knitting!

Cooler Than Sliced Bread: A Knitting Trick

How did I not post about this when it happened??? All I can think is that I planned to include it on the piece in question’s FO Spotlight post. However, I hit a major stumbling block during the, ahem, blocking, and I never did a spotlight post. There’s no telling when that might happen, so I might as well go ahead and toot my own horn now.

As an aside, I’m what you might call “anxious” at the moment. I was supposed to hear something about the job on the table today, but didn’t. I was also hoping to work on repairing my dropped stitches but had stuff to do all day and couldn’t. So here I am, facing another evening without a knitting project to dig into. Last night I knit a few rows on my Feathery Lace Stole to tide me over, but I really need decent light for that, too.

I digress. A couple of months ago I made a Little Phryne dress for my daughter…out of sock yarn. It’s awesome, but it kind of took me forever. It took a bit to get started and on track. It’s a test knit and there were some numbers and whatnot that needed reworked. I started and frogged a couple of times for various reasons. Well, the third or fourth time I got going on it, I noticed a mistake several rows back. There was no way I was frogging it again, but the mistake was too complicated to fix by just dropping one stitch column down and working it back up. The dress is top down with eyelet raglan increases, and one of the increase sections just didn’t line up.

FullSizeRender 205

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like

FullSizeRender 207

And here’s the wonky one

See how the center spine in the second pic takes a little jog to the right? After the second round of eyelets? And how the eyelets don’t make a nice V shape? Yeah. I don’t know how I made it approximately 14 rows without seeing that, either.

But, hold on a moment here. This is sock yarn. Self-striping sock yarn. I could have added a few random cables and you’d never be able to find them. It’s a little like stripy magic eye. Who would ever notice? Well, what is once seen (by a knitter) can never be unseen and I set about finding a way to fix it. In my last post, I linked to a similar-ish repair job the Yarn Harlot blogged about. If you search back in her archives (sounds a little racy, doesn’t it?) she has another post somewhere about the same kinda deal. I had read both recently and decided to give it a try. So, first I did this:

IMG_5296

Please forgive both the poor lighting and the toddler potty in the background

And then (brace yourself) I did this:

FullSizeRender 204

Aaaaaaghhhh!

I did a couple of things differently than the venerable Harlot. First, I did not label the loops of yarn as I unravelled them. That allowed me to peer painstakingly at each one to figure out which to work next. Second, I didn’t finish it in fifteen minutes of lighthearted knitting. It took me about a half hour of anus-pinchingly detailed work (sorry, Mom) to knit each row back up.

In case you don’t feel like trekking over to the Harlot’s blog (you really should, but I’m not judging. Much.) the idea here is to reknit each row using the unravelled loop. Since it’s attached to live knitting at both ends, that gets a little tricky. I used smaller needles to do this but it still ran pretty tight at the end of each row. If you attempt this, I’d recommend having a couple of small crochet hooks handy and maybe a tasty intoxicating beverage for when you’re done (really…wait until you’re done).

I didn’t take any pics as I was working on it because, honestly, if I’d stopped I might never have started back up again. Also, I wasn’t really thinking about pictures so much as about getting all those blasted stitches where I wanted them, for crying out loud. However, when I was done, I ended up with this:

FullSizeRender 206

The tension is weird and there’s a visible ladder on the left edge of the reknitted panel, but the center spine is straight! The tension issues were easily remedied by a few tugs and pulls to get it all evened out. Now, I couldn’t even tell you which increase line was repaired. Success!

FullSizeRender 211

Can’t see the line, can you Russ?

So there it is. Not the easiest thing I ever did, but it beat the alternative. I added a nifty little tool to my knitting arsenal and saved a WIP from its final frogging. I finished knitting the rest of the dress, then proceeded to block it. Unfortunately, disaster struck again! As soon as it hit the water it went from being about a size 4 to somewhere around a size 10. I’ve gotten pretty good about doing decent gauge swatches, but I never bother to wash them. Whoops! And so I never got around to figuring out how to shrink it back down. I plan to dampen it a bit and then throw it in the dryer (it’s made of Cascade Heritage Prints, a sock yarn, so should fare fine) but haven’t gotten around to it.

It’s really stinkin’ cute. I should just do it.

Happy knitting!

What Goes Around…Well, You Know

Oh, lovely readers, I have so much to tell you! I’m still spread really, really thin and have a ton on my plate. But, I’ve been feeling that blogging pull a lot lately. You know, that impulse to open up a blank screen and pour stuff onto it? Yeah, that. So, I’m going to try to get back at it and start blogging regularly again.

That said, where to begin? I guess a general update is in order. In my last post, I mentioned I had a promising job interview. Well, I’ve now completed three rounds of interviews and gotten a verbal offer. There are still a lot of factors that could come into play and screw this up, but I’m starting to let myself believe it just might all work out. I should know more in a few days. I’m excited about this on several levels. For starters, it would (will?) take a huge weight off my shoulders to be getting a regular paycheck. For seconds, the job in question seems like it will be a good next step in my career. For thirds, I genuinely loved the work environment, the team members and the role. I think it could be a great context for me and I’m confident I can bring valuable skills and experience to the table. So, please keep sending any mojo, juju, good vibes, prayers, virtual hugs, and any and all positive energy! I will do my best to accept it, appreciate it, amplify it and reflect it back.

Next item on the agenda! The concept of paying it forward continues to be on my mind. The effects of it manifest more in the knitting and fiber world than anywhere else for me. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been amazingly lucky when it comes to knitting, right? Well, I have, and I continue to be. From finding giant batches of luxury yarn at Goodwill, to getting massive amounts of free destashed yarn and fiber, to winning yummy yarns and patterns from KALs and blog giveaways, I just keep winning. I’ve done my best to spread the love around, and it just keeps coming back to me. Last week I learned that I was the random winner picked by Skacel to receive a free set of addi click interchangeable needles! I picked the long lace tips. I got them a few days ago and, so far, they’ve been great! I will post a detailed review soon. Thanks, Skacel!

Another way the knitting world keeps giving back to me is in the form of jobs! Little jobs, perhaps, but they add up. I started doing some finishing work for my LYS (the start of which is a whole other story entirely) a few months ago. These are some of the gigs I’ve done so far:

-Blocked, seamed and finished a baby sweater

-Repaired holes in handknit sweaters (one Aran sweater from the UK, even)!

-Ripped out and reknit the neck of a sweater so it would fit better

-Sewed up some shoulder seams

And I’ve got a couple more jobs on deck. It’s been nice to get a little extra, unexpected, money but mostly? It’s been super rewarding to see people fall in love with their handknits all over again. The owner of the Aran sweater mentioned above was close to (happy) tears when he saw all the holes repaired. The owner of the baby sweater was pleased as punch when she saw it all finished, with cute buttons and everything. Also, I have learned so, so much while doing these little jobs. The repairs I’ve done are almost all invisible and my finishing skills have definitely improved. For the sweater neck reknit, I learned a new-to-me short row technique (German short rows) which proved to be awesome.

So, what about knitting, you ask? Well, I haven’t been doing a ton of it. I’m embarrassingly behind on my test knitting. It’s been hard to dredge up the emotional energy to work on much. However, I did finish a hat test knit recently and, a couple of days ago, I started a project purely for myself. I’m working on The Miller’s Daughter, a Mairlynd pattern. I am using the most awesome colors ever:

IMG_5715

I’m using the tosh lace edison bulb as my accent color. However, in keeping with my love of the extreme, I’m using my accent color for all the lace panels. So far, I love it!

IMG_5721

The photo doesn’t really do it justice but, trust me…it’s amazeballs.

Here’s the hat test knit I finished recently. I’ll do an FO spotlight post for it later after I’ve properly blocked it and whatnot. The pattern is Grant Carver:

IMG_5702

Happy knitting!

FO Spotlight: Pinecrest Hat

This hat has been done for a little while now. However, I didn’t have the opportunity to get a modeled pic until yesterday. This was a quick little test knit for Taiga Hilliard aka cashmerejunkie.

The rundown

Pattern: Pinecrest Hat (not yet published)

Yarn: 75 yards of Mary by Goddess Yarns, aran weight, 50% wool, 50% viscose.

Size made: Baby

Needles: US6s for the body and 5s to cast on.

Techniques used: Longtail cast on, cabling

Modifications: None

Ravelled: here

The Pretty

It was hard to get decent pics of this project. My phone likes to remove yellow shades so the teal looks a little bluer than it actually is. Also, due to the viscose content in the yarn, there’s a bit of shine to it that works really nicely with the cables. I love the clean lines of this design. The twisted rib cables look very svelte and precise and the leaf detail adds just enough curve to the look for interest. The yarn I used is very splitty and at first it was challenging. However, once I got going it was fine. It ended up being a good choice.

I don’t think I’d do anything differently if I made this again. It would work with many different kinds of yarn. Anything with a fairly consistent weight (i.e., not thick and thin) that shows stitch definition well would work. The pattern includes sizes newborn through large adult, so this would be a good hat for just about anybody!

FO Spotlight: Thundercloud Baby

I just finished up this test knit for cashmerejunkie of Taiga Hilliard Designs. It’s the second test I’ve done for her and I may or may not have six more in the next couple of months.

The rundown

Pattern: Thundercloud Baby (not yet published)

Yarn: Three different colors of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. It’s a wool/cotton blend that is nice and soft but has some structure. My only complaints about it are that the ends are a pain to weave in* (thanks, cotton) and that it’s not machine washable. Of note, the colors tend to run when it’s washed. I used white vinegar in the final rinse. The yardage used was 376 total.

Size made: 4T

Needles: US7

Techniques used: Russian join

Modifications: None

Ravelled: Here.

The pretty

IMG_4984IMG_4986IMG_4988

I’m really happy with the finished product. It’ll be good for spring and will probably fit her for a few years. Ultimately it will be less like a tunic and more like a cardigan. I could see it looking really nice over a lightweight dress, leggings and a t shirt, or how she’s modelling it!

It was a quick and easy knit. It took me two months to finish, but only because I didn’t weave in the ends and block it for a while after finishing (I know, that’s so out of character for me, ha ha). The bulk of the knitting was done over about three days. The color work and eyelet details look much more complicated than they are. The whole thing was very easy and would be a great first cardigan project for a newer knitter. The color possibilities are practically endless. I think it would look really nice with the contrast color rows done in a gradient, or using only one contrast color instead of two. Given that the pattern adds texture, you could actually do the whole piece in one color and I think it would still look nice.

You may recognize the yarn I used from another recent test knit, Lillehammer.

Stay tuned over the next couple of months for three hats and three baby/toddler tops and dresses, all test knits for the same designer!

*Many thanks to my new friend for weaving in the ends for me!