wolf river | week 38 – #52weeksofknits

Whoa… it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a weekly update on my #52weeksofknits resolution. Like 20 weeks… holy cow!

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Well I’ve been knitting a lot since then (see my Ravelry project page for specifics) and my most recent FO is Wolf River by Melissa Schaschwary. I knit this sweater in the suggested Cascade Ecological Wool in the Merlot colorway. I scored 2 skeins for right at $30 a while back on Craftsy. You get a lot of bang for your buck! I have to say, I don’t love knitting with this yarn. It isn’t the softest and by the end of the sweater, I was so over it. It may sound weird, but it made my hands feel dry (is this just me??) and I hate that feeling. I do love the finished product though and the yarn feels WAY better to wear than it did to knit with!

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I cast on for a size small, hoping to get between a small and a medium – and I’m happy to report that I did! It fits really well. Mods: I used a regular long-tail cast on instead of tubular (out of pure laziness!), so I started with a WS row for the half twisted rib. I slipped the first stitch of the ribbing with the intention of doing a split hem, but changed my mind once I started seaming. I seamed this using the mattress stitch and, if you don’t already know, it. is. MAGICAL. See my Instagram video for proof. I knit the sleeves an inch shorter than indicated because of my short arms and they came out perfectly. Somehow the 2nd sleeve went faster than the 1st, and before I knew it, the sweater was off my needles! Oh, and I love the tubular bind off! Such a pretty finish. I was afraid it was going to come out too short for my preference (I like sweaters to be a bit longer), but you have to layer this with something anyway, so it worked out. I layer it with this tank from Target (the perfect layering tank, IMO)! The burgundy color is just right for my sweater!

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If I were to knit this again (and I would!) I would try to modify to knit it in the round. As much as I loved the mattress stitch, I hate to purl, and that would’ve saved me a lot of purling! Also, I need to learn how to make the front neckline lower! I see mods on it all the time, but I’m afraid to try it myself. New goal: learn how to modify necklines!

I’ve already lit my favorite candle and hung my fall wreath. If you need me, I’ll be knitting and waiting for cooler weather so I can wear this beauty!

The joy in these photos is real, y’all – this is the perfect fall sweater!

variegated skeins & what to knit with them

Do you ever see a skein of gorgeous variegated yarn that you just have to have? So you buy it and get it home only to realize you have no clue what to make with it? Yeah, that’s me. I’m a total sucker for bright, multicolored yarns, but they usually sit in my stash forever while their solid counterparts cycle in and out consistently. Well, I’ve found some patterns to help you in your moment (or moments!) of weakness!

Fingering
I had a cheat day while on my yarn diet and snagged this crazy pretty skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Electric Rainbow.

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Had I had the sense to grab 2 skeins, it would have become Gather by Andrea Mowry.

Gather © Andrea Mowry

But I just get so excited that I don’t think rationally. So I’m planning a Mon Sheepworks Shawl by Caitlin Hunter instead, possibly incorporating a bunch of bright Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud that I need to use up.

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Mon Sheepworks Shawl © boylandknitworks

With either shawl, you’ll need at least one other solid yarn. So these aren’t “one skein wonder” projects, but they sure do make a statement!

A definite one skein wonder piece is Reyna by Noora Laivola. This pattern is written for fingering weight, but can easily be adpated to whatever you have! Just use the suggested needle size for your yarn (or one that creates a fabric you’re happy with). I used Miss Babs Yummy 3 ply, a sport weight, for my Reyna (see post here). Keep in mind you may have to remove a few repeats if you’re running out of yarn. The pattern is free, well written, and highly customizeable. I’m pleased with the final result of my shawl!

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Reyna © theknitpicky

If you’re a sock lover, I highly recommend Whiskey and Rye by Audry Nicklin. (I also recommend whiskey and rye in general, but that’s another post!) I knit a sock from this pattern, but was having trouble converting the pattern for sport weight (totally my bad, not the pattern’s!). Before I frogged the sock, it was visually one of my favorite things I’ve knit. The slipped stitches just make variegated yarns sing! I have some more Miss Babs in my stash I think will be perfect for these and can’t wait to give them another go!

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Whiskey and Rye © Audry Nicklin

 Sport/DK
Hats can also be a great way to show off that beautiful hank in your stash! I recently knit 2 lovely hats using a skein of Malabrigo Arroyo in the colorway Lotus. I fell in love with this yarn and brought it home about 6 months ago, where it stayed in my stash until I ran across Cabito by Gabriella Calderini. Like the sample, I decided to pair it with black (I used the same yarn in the Black colorway) to make the variegated yarn pop. This pattern really delivered! I didn’t want mine slouchy, so I started the decreases after 8″. I really like the brioche & broken brioche stitches in this hat, and would definitely knit it again. Bonus: it’s a free pattern!

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Cabito © theknitpicky

I had also been in search of the perfect yarn for the Rudbeckia Hat by Andrea Mowry, when it dawned on me that I could use the leftovers from my Cabito! Rudbeckia calls for light DK or sport, so this worked out just right. Mine isn’t quite as slouchy as Andrea’s, so I would probably knit the Large size if I had to do it over. But I’m still really happy with this hat and love how the pattern breaks up the variegated yarn (yay for no pooling)! I even have enough yarn left to make another hat… I’m thinking another Rudbeckia, but switching the MC and CC. Dreamy!

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Rudbeckia Hat © theknitpicky

Another idea for DK weight are the Tinsel Mitts by Andrea Mowry. I haven’t had a chance to knit these yet, but if Andrea’s other designs are any indication, this one will be awesome! Using less than 250 yards for the largest size, you may be able to get more than one pair out a skein! (Matching mama/baby mitts, anyone?! Swoon!) I love how these mitts make the yarn look like confetti… or sprinkles? Either way, they’re a party on your hands! Versatile with 3 options – classic, convertible, or fingerless – and sized for the whole family. What’s not to love?!


Tinsel Mitts © Andrea Mowry

Worsted
Before I became really active on Ravelry, I knit my mom a Barley hat by tincanknits, a simple and attractive pattern. Though I don’t remember the brand (nor do I have photos), the yarn I used was wonderfully variegated and earthy. I love how this pattern alternates between stockinette and garter, bringing out the uniqueness of each skein. By looking at the over 10,600 projects (holy cow!) made from this pattern, it’s obvious that it’s a great match for highly variegated yarns. Bonus: (besides being free!) it has instructions for all sizes – from baby all the way up to adult large.

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Barley © Tin Can Knits

Andrea Mowry’s North Country Mitts, which I have knit and love, are another great option for worsted. Plus they use under 75 yards so you can whip up 3 pairs with just one skein… or make a matching hat! So many possibilities. Just look at this Electric Rainbow pair – so fun!

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Electric Rainbow Mitts © sarahjoannee

Bulky
This is for lovers of those big, squishy skeins of Malabrigo Mecha and other bulky yarns. The popular free pattern Chicakdee Cowl is an excellent one-skein project. I haven’t knit this myself, but I have plenty of experience with bulky yarns. The advantage is that these projects knit up super fast and are super cozy! This cowl would be just perfect for a last minute gift! Check out the nearly 2,000 projects on this pattern and see if this one might work for that lovely bulky skein in your stash.

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Chickadee by throughtheloops

In general, when looking for patterns for that variegated yarn lurking in your stash, I recommend knitting a quick gauge swatch in stockinette. If there’s any pooling, try to find patterns that incorporates slipped stitches, brioche, or some kind of texture like seed stitch. Many variegated yarns also look great in stockinette! If you like the way your swatch looks, a basic pattern might be just what you’re looking for! Whether you choose a delicate shawl, simple hat, bulky cowl, intricate socks, or fun mitts, there are so many great patterns out there for your lonely yarn!

What are your favorite patterns for these gorgeous skeins?

halfway through | #52weeksofknits

I can’t believe half the year is gone! Now that June is in the books, I want to reflect on the first half of 2016 and my #52weeksofknits resolution. Back in January, when I decided to embark on this journey, I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Finding the time (and let’s not even talk about the money for good quality yarn) to knit one thing each week… what was I thinking?! But I am so incredibly glad I made this commitment. So far, I’ve completed one item (at least) each week – even if I haven’t written a post about it. My goal was to learn and grow as a knitter, but I didn’t quite realize just how much I would learn.

Shawl most of my 26 knits!

I knit my very first pair of socks, and have already knit 2 more socks (2 different patterns… second sock syndrome is real, people)! I also knit both my first sweater (plus one for my pup Molly) & first cardigan – all huge learning experiences, especially the cardigan. I’m pretty pleased with these items and have a couple more sweaters slated for the 2nd half of the year. My first (and second and third and fourth…) shawl introduced me to a new world of knitting and a serious addiction. I want to knit all the shawls! Most recently, I completed the Pineberry Tee by We Are Knitters for week 26. I’m hoping to get some photos up soon!

Techniques I’ve learned include magic loop, brioche & 2-color brioche, colorwork, blocking, test knitting, using charts, German twist cast on, garter tab cast on, picot bindoff… and I know there are more I’m forgetting! Learning new skills is definitely a highlight of this project for me.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m really learning through all these knits to slow down. I need to not only enjoy the process, but trust my instinct when I feel I’ve made an error. I’m definitely getting better at realizing mistakes when they happen, but I tend to “trust the pattern” instead of trusting my gut. Many times I misunderstand or misread the pattern, and it’s important to stop and reassess things when something doesn’t feel right.

So where do I go from here? Well, I could show you the spreadsheet – really, there’s a spreadsheet. I’m an accountant, what can I say? But I’ll spare you the columns and rows and instead share a more general idea of what my plans are for the 2nd half of the year!

I’m participating in the Om/Yoga KAL with the Yoga shawl, which I’d love to have done by the end of the KAL – August 1. I also have a few more shawls scheduled, at least 2 of which are for myself. At least a dozen of the knits will be for gifts, so Christmas shopping will hopefully be minimal once December rolls around! Several hats, a kimono, more shawls, a pair or two of mitts, cozy slippers, Christmas tree ornaments… the list goes on and I just want to knit 24/7! Another goal of mine for the last half of the year is to knit from stash. I’m officially on a yarn diet, so please wish me luck as I avoid yarn sales!

I can’t wait to see what the second half of the year will bring knit-wise (and otherwise)! I’d love to hear what you’ve knit so far this year or what your plans are for July – December! Happy Knitting 🙂

Andrea

shawl ready for this | volume one

Over the past couple months, I’ve knit 3 shawls as part of my #52weeksofknits resolution. I wanted to wait and share them all in one post (okay, more like it took me forever to block them and weave in ends once I was done). Either way, today is the day I share them! Thanks to my sweet Mom for the impromptu photo shoot!

First up, the first shawl I (ever) knit: Range by Andrea Mowry. Grey is my favorite color (that’s probably obvious by now) and I love how it pairs with purple. I chose Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in Aran (off-white), Grey Heather, Charcoal & Spiced Plum. I’m very happy with my color choices, except that I wish the off-white was more of a pure white. It still looks beautiful as is, though. I had one skein of each color, and didn’t use all of any of them.

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Other than having to wait a week for a replacement when one of my needles broke (ugh), I had no issues knitting this! The pattern is written well, which is par for the course for Andrea’s designs. I particularly enjoyed the brioche and ombre tweed sections! The colors seem to melt into one another, producing a beautiful gradient effect. This may not be one I keep for myself; I have someone in mind that it will suit perfectly, though it will be difficult to give up!

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The second shawl was a result of a frantic “what the heck to do I do with this gorgeous single skein of sport weight yarn?!” Ravelry search. When I came across Reyna by Noora Laivola, I was sold! 1 – it’s free and 2 – it’s beautiful! After unraveling almost an entire sock I had knit with this yarn (that was turning out way too big), I got to work on this pattern. Man, this thing went fast! The sections are easy to memorize and I enjoyed learning the construction. After a good soak and block, the lace sections really bloomed & I’m super happy with the final product.

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The yarn is Miss Babs Yummy 3-Ply in an old Babette called Verrassing. This is one of my favorite yarns I’ve ever purchased and I think this pattern showcases it beautifully! I was afraid of running out of yarn, so I made the last mesh section a little shorter. Then I realized I had more than I thought, so the last garter section is slightly wider than the pattern calls for. I have enough leftover that I probably could’ve done another row or two, but didn’t want to risk it.

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Finally, we have my most recent completed shawl – Bradway by Shannon Cook. Shannon is another of my favorite designers, and this shawl is just a textural work of art. Incorporating garter, twisted rib, and stripes (my favorite!), it has plenty to keep you interested. I knit this up in just a week! Weaving in ends as I went was also seriously satisfying. If you don’t already, I highly recommend it! When I got to the end, I just had two (yes. TWO.) ends to weave in and it was ready for a bath! The only modification I made was to cut the very last (border) garter section short by one repeat so I didn’t run out of yarn.

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During The Plucky Knitter‘s last update, I purchased a 3-skein mystery kit in Trusty on a whim (because, you know, Treat Yo Self!!). This means that Sarah and Hayley, the girls over at The Plucky Knitter, chose 3 colors for me. I have to say, I’d never choose these colors for myself but I’m in love!! They did such a fantastic job! I think they’re the perfect match for this gorgeous shawl pattern. The 3 shades are Ogre (the green, of course), Shindigger (a gorgeous turquoise) & Milk Maid. I’m surprised I love these colors so much, but this is actually my very favorite of the 3 shawls!

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I should mention that I cast on Marley by Andrea Mowry as well, but was very unhappy with my colors, so I frogged it. From the 5 or so increases of it that I knit, I know I love the pattern! I already have a gorgeous pair of Madelinetosh colors to cast on a fresh Marley shawl & I can’t wait!

Shannon Cook’s Amberle is already on the needles and cabinfour’s Farmhouse is also on the horizon. It’s safe to say that I’m totally addicted to shawl knitting. And I’m totally okay with that!

What are your favorite shawls to knit? I’m always looking to add to my ever-expanding Ravelry favorites 🙂 

xoxo

Andrea

timber bay | week 17 – #52weeksofknits

This week I knit Timber Bay by Melissa Schaschwary. For this hat, I used the provisional cast on for the first time. I had been nervous about this technique, but I’m so glad to have finally put it to the test! It was pretty simple, but also pretty time-consuming. I feel like it took all day to knit the ribbing of this hat – it’s folded double, making it super warm .As of now, I’m not sure that I’ll use this in the future, but I’m glad to have learned something new!

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I knit this hat with my first ever skein of Plucky! I used The Plucky Knitter Scholar in the Flannel colorway. I expected this yarn to be a lot softer with the cashmere in, but it’s actually kind of rough. One morning, I woke up with sore hands this from knitting with it. Thankfully it did soften up a bit when I blocked it and it is very cozy. And of course I like the color a lot… it’s grey! This isn’t my favorite yarn, but I’ve since purchased some different Plucky bases and I am in. love.

Many other knitters said they eliminated the last section of fisherman’s rib, but I didn’t feel that was necessary. I really like how slouchy it is – that’s what makes it unique! It didn’t occur to me until I got to the Fisherman’s Rib section how similar this hat is to the Snoqualmie Hat I knit a couple of weeks back. I like them both a lot; if you like a lot of slouch, I’d go with this one. Those that like a more flattened top should go for Snoqualmie, but I probably didn’t need to buy both patterns. Timber Bay will be my go-to on particularly cold days this winter – it has some serious warmth!

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As you can see, the decreases are pretty boring, I may add some of the K1P1 when I knit this again. I also may do a regular band rather than double it over, to save some time. I love the result, but I don’t love how long it took. Overall, the pattern was well-written and produced a beautiful hat!

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What’s your favorite hat to knit?! I’d love to hear 🙂 

xoxo

Andrea