Spirit Lifting Socks

Pattern: Learn to Knit Toe-Up Socks Pattern + Instructional Videos by Staci Perry/Very Pink (my project: Spirit Lifting Socks)
Yarn: Bernet Mosaic
Colorway: Fantasy
Fiber: 100% Acrylic
Needles: US 5 (3.75 mm) 40″ circulars
Dates: March 16th to April 1st

Notes: Okay, these socks are super easy and awesome to make. Staci Perry’s patterns are awesome, the videos are super helpful and it doesn’t hurt that they’re done in worsted weight. I always recommend Staci’s sock tutorials to newbies looking to do their first socks and people love them. It takes the mystery out of sock construction whether its cuff down or toe up; on dpns or circular needles; or one-at-a-time or two-at-a-time. Annnnnnd you get the whole instant gratification awesomesauceness feeling because they work up super quickly with worsted weight yarn. Needless to say, I totally recommend this pattern or any of the Staci Perry’s sock patterns with mucho amounts of zeal.

However, I totally screwed these socks up. I’m very aware that I’m a loose knitter and I should have totally gone down one or two needle sizes. But I didn’t. And not doing this totally caused a bunch of problems.

First of all, the toe area is too big for me. I think this problem stems from not using the right sized needles and the toe area being a little too square for the shape of my feet. I loved making the toe she teaches you and I love the way that it looks (seamless without having to fuss with the whole kitchner weaving crap), it just doesn’t fit my feet.



I love the method that this pattern uses to turn the heal but it gives you tiny holes up the side of the heel of the sock. I think it would look great when done either on the correct size needles and/or not in worsted weight yarn. However, my holes are big. Boo.


The ribbing isn’t tight enough because, again, wrong needle size. This also makes the recommended bind-off SUUUUPER stretchy and gives it a SUUUUPER loose edging. No bueno. So I tried two different bind-offs instead: a regular bind-off (far too tight) and a crochet bind-off (not so bad but not the best option for socks).


Even though these socks are not the best FO, they were a great learning project! I’ve never done toe-up socks before and I’ve been very wary of them. But now, I’m totally looking forward to trying another pair!!!

Stupid guage.

Beanie Bender

You know what you do when you realize you have a shit-ton of Caron Simple Soft? You make beanies for charity – that’s what you do!


Okay, so while my mountain of Simply Soft was begging to be reduced, I was also inspired by my friends Eve and Jill to do some charity knitting/crochet this year. Like Eve, I knit up some beanies for Knots of Love (organization website here) for cancer/chemo patients using two of their patterns: Basic Slouch from their Young Adult Line (beanie on the far left) and Madeline’s Cap (brown and blue beanies on the right).


But then I found a foundation called Knit with Love (organization website here). Well, actually they liked one of my beanies on Instagram and I checked out their website. I saw that they took beanies and other knitted items in all sizes and all types of yarn – which I liked. But what I really liked about them is that they give to people that simply need help staying warm: chemo patients, victims of natural disasters, the homeless, etc. I like that – I like that a lot. So they got three beanies too: (top) Perfect Crocheted Beanie, (bottom right) Textured Unisex Hat, and (bottom left) Better Late Than Never Beanie.


I really like how all of these beanies came out. I will definitely be using these patterns again and again…well except for the Textured Unisex Hat pattern. That pattern calls for lots of front posts stitches and I’m really slow with that stitch. It took me forevah to make that hat up. And if it’s going to take me forever to make a beanie, I better be knitting it damnit.

So much! So much!

I’m not a yarn snob. I like all sorts of yarn – I’m more of an equal opportunity yarn user. Red Heart, Malabrigo, Vanna’s Choice, MadTosh…and don’t even get me started on my favorite indie dyers. I love them all! But in cleaning/organizing my craft room recently, I came across an unusual amount of Caron Simply Soft. At first it wasn’t that bad.

I sat down one night and weighted/measured and stashed it all in my Ravelry account.

But then a few partial skeins/balls/cakes materialized.

Then some baby balls appeared.

Thennnnnnn all yarnie hell broke loose.

Whyyyyyy do I have so much Caron Simply Soft (and a few skeins of discontinued Rhapsody which is very similar to CSS)??? WHAT. THE. HELL. It’s like I own stock in the company!

Not going to lie, I love the stuff! Is it full on acrylic? Yup. Is it terribly soft and super versatile? Yooooou betcha! Because it’s so soft and a good weight (depending on who you ask: dk/worsted/aran) I really like using it for baby blankets and beanies. Even though I’m probably going to make a couple of blankets out of this stuff, I’m definitely going to work up some charity beanies. It’s nice and soft and gentle enough for the sensitive scalps of chemo patients and many charities list CSS as an acceptable yarn for donations. I’ve decided on sending some to both Knots of Love and Halos for Hope.

But while I eek out a beanie here and a beanie there, I will just stash it along with my other acrylic yarn…

Acrylic yarn and puppy butt. There you go.

 

Just A Few Good WIPs

Since my post about living a monogamous knitting life I’ve tried extremely hard to concentrate on only a few projects at a time. I’m doing okay…ish…

Minus my two blanket projects that I haven’t touched in monnnnnnths, I only have three projects on the needles/hook:

Solid Granny

Solidan (pattern > Solid Bottom Bag Crochet Tutorial): This is going to be a project bag – hopefully a knit night type bag. You know, something that can hold a couple of project bags and a small notions bag and be thrown over the shoulder. I’m working it up in a fairly tight gauge because as we all know, cotton S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S something fierce and I want this to be a large bag but not a LARGE bag. The combination of a US F hook and a shit ton of Peaches & Creme cotton yarn seems to be producing a nice and tight stitch – so far, so good.


Pascal (pattern > Arrowhead Socks): After multiple (soooo many) sock patterns were bought and downloaded, I finally found a pair of socks to make for the 2013-2014 EpicKALCAL. This pattern hit all of my requirements for this project DK weight yarn, easy lace pattern and top-down construction. I busted out my MarigoldJen DK yarn for this project and magic! I love the way it’s working up! Please note that this is like the 3rd freakin’ project I’ve tried with this yarn…so glad I found a good pattern for it…freakin’ finally.

I also used this project to try out the ever so popular Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I don’t really like a heel and gusset because it doesn’t fit my foot well. It makes my socks bunch up in the back of my shoes and spill out. Not a good look. I like this method much, much better. Not only does it fit better than the usually heel, it works up like gangbusters! No counting stitches, holes or picking up stitches down the side. ANNNNND the stitch count never changes and you can use it on any stitch count. LOVE IT.


Kittyhawk (pattern > Yellow Dwarf Shawl): This project is kind of a thing. Okay, soooooo at first this was the Metallurgy Shawl. But that pattern made me its bitch and I didn’t like working on it. There was just too much back loop this and don’t back loop that and the lack of true rest rows took its toll on me…about 10 rows in. Which is sad because it was reallllly pretty. But one day I was cruising around Very Busy Monkey’s pattern pages and noticed that she’d started another shawl series called ??? that included a pretty shawl called Yellow Dwarf Shawl. I was like “Oh that’s cute! I should make thaaaaaaaaaaa…OMG! That has the same body as the Metallurgy Shawl!!! Maybe I could turn the Metallurgy into this shawl!!!”

*buys pattern and notes that bodies are the same and I can easily switch from one pattern to another…gives self high-five*

So after a lot of stitch counting, frogging due to dropped stitches, additional dropped stitches being fixed by a friend while watching football, my Metallurgy Shawl is now officially the Yellow Dwarf Shawl! Progress is being made! PROGRESS DAMNIT!!!

My plan is to wrap up my bag first because I have lots of free time this week and I have the Superbowl on Sunday. PRIME CROCHET TIME.

I want to start the Washington Square Cardigan and Steven West’s Garter Squish NOW NOW NOW but I will show some self control…maybe. Don’t judge me.

Must knit all the projects!!!

Championship Cowl


Pattern: Thick and Quick Ribbed Cowl by Naomi Furtado (my project: Championship Cowl)
Yarn: Patons ColorWul
Colorway: Creek
Fiber: 100% Wool
Hook: US 13 (9.0mm)
Dates: January 19th to 20th

Notes: Cute, right? I worked up this little sweetie just to have something simple to work on while watching the NFL playoff games this past Sunday. I wanted something that used big needles, bulky yarn and could be knit up in a few hours. This easily fit the bill.


I wanted big needles partially for speed but also so that I could use up some of my Patons ColorWul yarn in the Creek colorway. It’s been sitting around my craft room looking pretty and I really want to use it. Can you blame me? Soooo pretty!


I easily wrapped up the knitting portion of this in one day. BOOM. The second day was boring weaving in ends day. Boooooooo.

GO BRONCOS!!! GO SEAHAWKS!!!

This is a EpicKALCAL project :)

Malabrigo Mitts


Pattern: Adeline Fingerless Mitts with Faux Cables by CrochetDreamz (my project: Malabrigo Mitts)
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted
Colorway: Uva
Fiber: 100% Merino Wool
Hook: US H (5.0mm)
Dates: January 5th to January 12th
Skill Level: Medium (basic crochet skills, slip stitch & using single [back] loops)

Notes: These are soooo soft and squishy and the perfect size. The Malabrigo was in my stash as leftover yarn from the trim of my Taste Like Candy hat. I wasn’t completely sure that I had enough yarn leftover to make these as written, so I shortened them just a tad by four cast-on chains and in turn, the bottom half of the faux cable. I ended up having more than enough yarn with this modification.


I really like that the pattern used the back loop technique instead of both loops to build ridges and the use of slip stitches instead of single crochet stitches is also super cool. It made for a very cool texture with well defined ridges. The making of the faux cables was insanely easy. Like it’s hilarious how easy they were to make. But I like the effect that they have on the overall project – gotta love it when a little effort gives you a big bang!


Adorable, right!?

Oh, and let me just add this: this yarn is amazaballs!!! Understand, the weather in LA is so not fingerless mitt weather at the moment. Like its getting up into the 70′s and 80′s by the middle of the afternoon (life in Los Angeles – tough). But does that stop me from randomly putting them on and walking around my warm craft room just because they are super amazingly soft and awesome? HELL NO. I seriously wish I could make everything in life out of this stuff. EVERYTHANG!


Malabrigo Worsted Deja Vu & Uva. Literally the most awesome stuff ever. EVAH.

This is an EpicKALCAL project!!!  =)

Pecora


Pattern: Oveja by Ana Luisa Galvan (my project: Pecora)
Yarn: Unwind Yarn Company Touring DK
Colorway: Sanibel Stoop
Fiber: 100% Merino Wool
Hook: US K (6.5mm)
Dates: December 19, 2013 to January 5, 2014
Skill Level: Easy-peasy (chain stitch, double crochet, & double crochet increase/decrease)

Notes: Love this simple shawl! The body of the shawl was super straight forward – lots of double crochet that made for great TV crochet. The border took a little more attention but was well worth it. So nice!!!


This came out really pretty despite the two hanks of yarn not being exactly the same. As I noted in my Ravelry notes, if you look at my blocking photo you can see that the corner of the shawl on the right is more solid, saturated and with less lighter flecks than the left portion of the shawl. I’m assuming this is the life you live when you buy from smaller indie yarn dyers and you don’t check that the skeins came from the same batch. Luckily you can’t see it when its around my neck, so it doesn’t drive me crazy!


But make no mistake – this yarn was delicious to work with. The color is divine and its super cozy without being heavy so I will be rockin’ this shawl a lot. Also, this shawl didn’t need to be soaked and wet blocked at all. I simply pinned it down to the dimension that I wanted (focusing mostly on pinning out the points on the border) and steamed it good. Real goooood. Worked perfectly.

My only complaint about this project is the actual write up of the pattern. It wasn’t as clear as I’m usually accustomed to and I had to guess what the designer meant and fake/guess my way through multiple sections of the pattern. I did, however, like the hand drawn section of the pattern because it did a good job at showing what the designer meant to say but didn’t.

This is an EpicKALCAL project! :)

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