Category: Uncategorized

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.

range2

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!

range3 range1

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.

reyna1

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.

reyna2

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.

 brad3 brad2

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!

brad1 brad5

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!

 hat2

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!

hat3

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!

hat1

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

xoxo

Andrea

things I can’t knit without | #whatsinyournotionspouch

I posted a photo on Instagram with tag #whatsinyournotionspouch and was inspired to write a post expanding on the things I can’t knit without!

notions1

First up, the pouch itself was a gift from my darling Nana. She picked it up for me on her most recent trip home (England, that is). I love the images of the Queen’s Guard, Big Ben, and sweet little terriers… it makes my heart happy! It’s also the perfect size to house my various notions.

notions10

(more…)

let’s talk needles

Having a variety of needles is useful when you want to pick up a project right away, but it can also be overwhelming for a beginner. Today’s post explains the differences among knitting needles and what I personally have in my arsenal. Enjoy!

IMG_20160331_074412

What are straight needles used for?
Straight needles can really only be used to knit things flat – think dishcloths, scarves, blankets… things like that. You can, of course, knit something flat and seam it up to make something round (cowls, hats,etc.), though I rarely use this method. They come in varying lengths to accommodate the size of your project. I (along with most knitters, I assume) learned to knit on straight needles. In my case, they were very long, metal needles. They were hard and cold and a bit intimidating. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I discovered circulars while attempting to knit my first hat. What a difference! It didn’t take long for me to realize that I prefer bamboo needles to metal, but each knitter has unique tastes, so I would recommend trying out both to see what you like! I don’t have a real recommendation for straight needles because I literally never use them anymore. In my experience, though, the Clover brand has a solid line of bamboo needles if that’s your thing.


Image credit: Takumi

What are double-pointed needles?
Double-pointed needles (DPNs) are also straight, but are pointy at both ends. They’re used to knit small things in the round (that’s basically a whole other post!). For bulky yarn, I use the Clover Takumi DPNs to finish my hats and to knit chunky mitts and mittens, mug cozies & boot cuffs.

Image credit: Takumi

My most recent purchase is the 5″ Caspian Wood Double Pointed Needles Set. I bought these specifically for socks, because my circular needle set (more on that later) doesn’t come with small enough tips. I’ve already used them to knit up a sock and I love them so far! DPNs also come in varying lengths; I chose the 5″ for socks, but this set also comes in 4″ and 6″ lengths.

Image credit: KnitPicks

Why use circulars?
Circular needles are essentially 2 straight needles connected by a flexible cord. The cords vary in length, depending on how big around your object is (e.g. 16″ circulars are often used to make hats). Circulars can be used to knit things in the round. Once you join the round, you are knitting on the right side. This is the cool part, for me, because I don’t like worrying about right side/wrong side. There’s also an awesome technique called the Magic Loop method, which utilizes a longer cord (like 40″) to knit small things like socks and hat decreases, without breaking out the DPNs! The other super cool thing about circulars is that you can use them to knit absolutely anything that you can knit on straight needles! Instead of joining in the round, you just knit as you would with straights. This is ideal because the cord will hold the bulk of your project’s weight. Plus, if you’re anything like me and have a penchant for losing needles… these are connected, so you’re safe! (In case you haven’t already figured it out, I much prefer circulars.)

What should I get if I’m looking to buy circular needles?
I first purchased Clover Takumi Bamboo Circular 16-inch Knitting Needles and loved them instantly. The problem is, I wanted to knit ALL the hats. With ALL the different yarns, which have different weights. So I have about 10 sets of 16″ circular needles, which is neither cost effective nor easy to store. If you love knitting hats (or want to learn), I highly recommend these needles.

Image credit: Takumi

If, however, you want to knit lots of different things, large and small, in the round and flat, with all kinds of yarn, I recommend an interchangeable set. I recently invested in the Options Interchangeable Rainbow Wood Circular Knitting Needle Set, which includes 9 different popular needle sizes, 4 cords (of 2 different lengths), 8 end caps, 2 cable keys (to tighten up the joins), and a clear plastic case.

Image credit: KnitPicks

So far, I have really enjoyed these. The joins are smooth and don’t snag my yarn as long as I tighten them plenty. I’ve used them to knit socks and hats in the round using Magic Loop and am currently working on both a blanket and a shawl, knitting flat. While the rainbow wood is beautiful, some people (beginners or those with poor eyesight) may have trouble seeing darker and jewel-toned yarn on these needles. I personally haven’t had a problem, but it’s something to note. I also had an issue last week when one of the needles came out of its metal casing, causing me to lose a few stitches (thankfully I was able to pick them up). I called KnitPicks and they immediately shipped out a replacement – at no charge. I really should have notified them before it broke, because I could tell it was loose when I started knitting with it. The wooden needles are glued into metal casings, so make sure they are securely glued in before you start your project!

The Lineup
With this mix, I never have to worry about whether or not I have the right needles; I can just cast on and knit away!

  • 5″ DPN set for socks and similar in the round
  • The Options Interchangeable set works for anything requiring size 4 to 11 needles. I knit flat objects with these, knit in the round with the shorter cables, and use Magic Loop
  • For super bulky yarns (like I use for my Etsy shop!) I still use the Clover circulars & DPNs, since I need sizes larger than 11

What are your favorite needles? I’m always looking to try out new ones!

Warmest Wishes & Happy Knitting!!

Andrea