Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Knitted Hats

After knitting my Keelin Cap I found myself knitting two more hats.  I don't usually wear hats, but find myself knitting quite a few this year.  At least I'm wearing what I've knit.  My first one used some leftover Elsa Wool I used when I knit last year's sweater, Burrard.  At the time the weather was cold enough to need a hat on our morning walks.  Of course I forgot the hat when we headed to Montana, but at least I was able to get some wear out of it this winter.

I started a 2 color hat out of Alpaca just before we headed to Bozeman.  It is now finished.  The yarn was a Christmas gift from my Dad.  It is very soft and extremely warm.  My only issue in knitting with it is how 'sticky' it becomes if you make a mistake.  It grabs onto itself and it becomes frustrating trying to tink back.  Thankfully I only had a few split stitches so I didn't have to fight too much.

The haze that developed with such a soft yarn was another feature that became something of a problem.  I think the pattern on this one would have benefited from a cleaner edge.  Maybe for the second hat I'll use my Plucky Bello...a merino and cashmere blend.

Pattern:  Selbu Modern by Kate Gagnon Osborn; 

Yarn:  Alpaca Perfection by Peruvian Link, Sport / 5 ply, 100% Alpaca, 110 yards / 50 grams.  I used two different colors: cream (or light fawn) and a camel (or medium fawn).  I still have a fair amount of both colors left from this project.

Needle:  US 2, Addi Rockets, 24" cable

Gauge:  30 stitches and 36 rows = 4" in Fair Isle Stockinette Stitch

Modifications:  None

Love the patterning at the top

My new favorite hat used what I had leftover from my Muh Muh scarf...well 2 out of the 3 colors are now gone.  I still have 47 grams of Pierre left to use.  The pattern was easily modified to use every last bit of the 2 colors.  I really love the double knitted band which makes the hat very warm over the ears.  The hat was perfect for the negative 32 degree day we had last week.

Pattern:  wurm by Katharina Nopp; 

Yarn:  Traveler Aran by The Plucky Knitter, Aran / 10 ply, 65% Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Yak
220 yards / 115 gram.  I ended up using 67 grams of Honey Wilkes and 29 grams of Cafe Society which effectively used up the remaining yarn from my other project.

Needle:  US 3 and US 5, Knitpicks, 24" cables
Gauge:  24 stitches and 34 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

Modifications:  I cast on using a provisional cast on so that creating the double band would be easier.  As others have done I also did the increases as kfb rather than a raised increase.  I ended up changing the decreases as well and switching colors.  Since I had a good bit more of the Honey Wilkes this became my MC and the Cafe Society became my CC.  Once I finished 7 repeats I started my decreases and switching colors as I decreased.  It worked out very well and I was able to get a nice sized hat.   My new favorite and the added bonus it matches my scarf.

Two color side view

Back of the Wurm

Double head band...with a twist

That is it for the finished projects at the moment.  I'm working on another sweater in between trips to the mountain for snowboarding or downtown for lunch/coffee or out to Yellowstone to watch the critters.  Hopefully I'll get it done before Spring back East...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Plucky Means More Knitwear

I have been really lucky at obtaining my Plucky stash.  It is not easy to get Plucky Yarn.  It is not sold in stores... except for the occasional trunk show.  You have to be quick to click with your finger (or mouse) when they have a blog update... or an instant gratification sale on Etsy.   In other words obtaining the yarn is part of the adventure, but it isn't nearly as fun as knitting with it. 

So far I've been fortunate to knit with Primo Worsted, Primo Fingering and Traveler Aran.  All of these were wonderfully soft and have had the best stitch definition of any yarn I have ever knit.  I had 4 single skeins of Traveler Aran in four different colors so I decided to knit a couple of scarves. 

One skein in a beautiful teal blue was used for a new cowl.  I wanted to use as close to the full skein as possible so I needed a pattern that could be adjusted easily on the fly.  I found the perfect pattern.

Pattern:  Olivia Cowl by Michele Rose Oren;

Yarn:  Traveler Aran by The Plucky Knitter; Aran / 10 ply, 65% Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Yak
220 yards / 115 grams.  Color:  Fondant.  I used 112 grams of this one...3 grams left.
Needle:  US 8, Addis Clicks
Gauge:   4 1/2 stitches and 6 1/2 rows = 1" in Bias Basketweave Pattern
Size:   6” wide ~48” circumference
Modifications:  None really...I knit until I was close to running out of yarn.  Wonderfully warm cowl.
The other scarf (or wrap) were knit out of my three remaining skeins of Traveler...Honey Wilkes,   Pierre and Café Society.  I love these three colors together.  I found another pattern that I thought would work well with the yarn.  Another new favorite scarf which has been surprisingly warm and scrumptious against the face.  Especially in temperatures of negative 32 degrees... yes I went outside to walk the dog, but then wrap was very warm.  It has been worn everyday on the slopes.

Pattern:  muh-muhs by Isabell Kraemer;  

Yarn:  Traveler Aran by The Plucky Knitter; Aran / 10 ply, 65% Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Yak
220 yards / 115 gram.  The three colors:  Café Society; Pierre, and Honey Wilkes.  I ended up with quite a bit of each color...30 grams, 47 grams and 68 grams.
Needles:  US 10, Addis Clicks
Gauge:  I did not pay attention to gauge on this one.
Modifications:  None
Size:  Blocked 17 1/2” x 70”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another Keelin Cap

Since I had enough of my Plucky Primo leftover from Dark and Stormy I decided to do yet another Keeling Cap.  My first one done out of Elsa Woolen-Spun Cormo has gotten a bit stretched.  I love the style of the cap and the fact that it doesn't smash my hair too flat. 

Pattern:   Keelin Cap by Bonne Marie Burns; 

Yarn:  Plucky Primo Worsted by The Plucky Knitter, Worsted /10 ply, 75% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 5% Nylon, 200 yards / 105 grams; Color way: Route 2.  I had about 100 grams of yarn leftover from a previous project and ended up using 83 grams. 

Needles:  US 6 and US 8, Addis Clicks

Gauge:   4 1/2 stitches and 6 rows = 1" of Stockinette Stitch

Modifications:  I added a few extra rows of ribbing to cover my ears a bit better otherwise knit as written.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Sweater Update...Finally

It appears that once again I have not posted in quite some time.  The last time was such a pain that I haven't had the patience to deal with blogger's problem with my Surface.  The two don't speak the same language... or something along those lines. 

My Surface RT only allows me to use Explorer as a browser and Blogger doesn't like the Explorer version I'm using... therefore when I type it doesn't exactly keep up.  I'm impatient and don't want to wait on it.  The problem is a painful process of waiting until what I type to show up so I can continue.  Enough about all that... need to get to the finished items.

Lots of stuff has been on the needles and finished...3 hats, a wrap, a cowl and a sweater since my last updated back in December.  Yeah!  I have been on a roll with a few quick knits I wanted for our winter trip.  Good thing since we've three days of negative 20 or more.  In fact Bozeman broke a record last week of minus 32 degrees... now that's cold.  All week Big Bang's Sheldon Cooper's voice has been in my head  with "That is a bracing cold, an invigorating cold. Lord, is it cold ... "

My last project completed for 2013 was a sweater.  The sweater pattern has been in the queue since I saw it at the Powhatan Fiber Festival back in April.  It had cables and that is all it usually takes to get my attention.  I ordered the pattern and it sat in my To Do Folder until I discovered Plucky Yarns.

I have mentioned my love of Plucky few times.  I even flashed the Plucky stash to a few people.  In October I ordered my first sweater quantity (SQ) of Plucky Worsted.  It was chosen specifically to be knit into this sweater.  As luck would have it the yarn used by the designer happened to be Plucky...the first time I have used the exact yarn listed in the pattern. 

As soon as the yarn arrived I cast on.   Let me say that the Worsted is as soft and scrumptious as the Fingering weight.  Wonderful stitch definition and little to no pilling as I handled the yarn.  I may never buy another skein of anything else. 

The pattern is written as a top down sweater which I do not usually knit.  I enjoy putting the pieces together and the sweater usually fits better.  The designer of this particular pattern incorporated the ease into her pattern and the overall fit is very nice.  One area that I may revisit would be the button bands.  I placed the button holes a bit too low and may redo the section after I see how it wears.  I still have plenty of leftover yarn to play with so I'll stew on it a coupled of days or so.  It has quickly became my new favorite sweater.


Pattern:  Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman; 

Yarn:  Primo Worsted by The Plucky Knitter;  Worsted /10 ply, 75% Merino, 20% Cashmere, 5% Nylon,  200 yards / 105 grams.   I used the colorway called Route 2...which was a nice mix of light to dark grays.  I ended up with most of my last skein  leftover...~100 grams if I combine a bit of skein 6 with the reminents of skein 7 which is enough to do a 'matching' hat.

Needles:  US 7, Addis Clicks

Gauge:  5 stitches and 7 rows = 1 inch of stockinette stitch

Modifications:  I alternated 2 skeins of yarn as I knit this one due to the variations present from skein to skein.  I certainly did not want to have any weird  color pooling occurring as I progressed.  I made the decision to break into my 7th skein for the sleeves since I wanted to continue alternating the skeins and could not be sure I had enough to complete both sleeves.  As it turned out I probably did have just enough, but at least I wasn't sweating it out as I knit.

I went with 4 buttons, but the placement isn't ideal so I may need to revisit** the bands in a few days.  Overall this one is a terrific pattern with the designer providing clear instructions...even a good number of modifications and other helpful advice.

**yeah the button bands drove me right over the edge as I started taking the final pictures of the "completed" sweater.  The buttons flat out looked wrong so I frogged it back to the button holes and reknit.  Happy that I did since it now looks normal.  The first button is right were it is supposed to have been all along.  Love this sweater...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Post for 2013

Hard to believe it is the last day of the year and time to access the knitting accomplishment for the end of the year.  I managed to complete everything I had planned for Christmas... the key was to start before September.  Then I had so much time that I kept adding projects, but at least they all got done.

My most favorite item was also the smallest... tiny Christmas trees.  Absolutely adorable and such quick knits that you kept on adding to the forest.  Did I take a picture of the forest before the wrapping began?  Nope.  I managed to finish 20 and never took the first picture until I realized I had only 3 left.  Maybe next year I'll get a shot of the entire Forest.

A coupled of cowls were completed... super quick knits.  The first one was done in my current favorite yarn called Plucky.  It isn't the easiest yarn to buy.  First Plucky Knitter posts when they are going to offer it for purchase... either on the blog or in the Easy shop.  Then you stalk the site until it goes live where you loose all of your common sense and buy multiple kits or skeins of  'anything'. 

It is a feeding frenzy, but so worth it once you score a skein or possibly 30 skeins.  Not that any one is counting.  I managed to knit a couple of presents out of various Plucky yarns.  The first thing was a shawl called Bees to Honey.  A gift for Iris in colors that screamed "Iris"... she wears bright colors so a bright happy shawl was knit out of Plucky's kit called 'All the King's Men.  The pattern was fun and moved quickly to completion. 

Design Details:
Pattern:  Bees to Honey by Amy Miller;

Yarn:  Plucky Fingering by Plucky Knitter; 75% merino, 20% cashmere, 5% nylon, 385 yards in the colorways Vintage Icebox and King Salmon.  I used almost all of the Vintage Icebox with a wee bit over 2 yards left.  The King Salmon has 12 grams of yarn leftover so an excellent pattern for using up an entire skein. 

Needles: US 4, Addis Clicks

Gauge:  24 stitches and 36 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette Stitch

Modifications:  Like quite a few others I ran out of yarn before starting the lace.  The designer had offered a few suggestions on changes to the pattern once it had become clear that people were running low on yarn.  I changed up my last section and started the lace a few rows early.  Not a big deal since the wrap is plenty big enough.  The last section is slightly smaller, but not dramatically different. 

The designer actually offered up 2 more patterns to make up for the miscalculation.  Got to love people who want to make things right... even if it wasn't that big a problem.  A good soak and blocked using my wires the wrap was done.  It turned out stunning if I do say so myself.

For my next Plucky knit I used a different base yarn...Plucky Single to  knit a cowl that  turned out to be super soft next to the skin.  Another great yarn that was a joy to knit without the usual silk slubs (lumps of silk that interrupt the knitting since you have to pick them out).  The cowl was another super quick knit. 

Design Details:Pattern:  Milanese Loop by tante ehm; 

Yarn:  Plucky Single by The Plucky Knitter; Fingering / 4 ply;  80% Merino, 20% Silk; 430 yards / 100 grams in the colorway Fisherman's Wharf.  I used a bit over 50 grams to complete the cowl.  Plenty to actually do another one in the same colorway.

Needles:  US 4; Addis Clicks

Gauge:  oops forgot to measure

Modifications:  None

My second cowl was knit using yarn from the stash from Three Irish Girls.  This yarn was part of a yarn club selection the last year that clubs existed for TIG.  Once again a super soft yarn that feels wonderful against the skin.  The pattern was yet another quick knit...2 evenings and it was done. 
Design Details: 
Pattern:  Growing Leaves Cowl by Meghan Macho; 

Yarn:  Glenhaven CashMerino Worsted by Three Irish Girls;  Aran / 10 ply 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere, 195 yards / 100 grams in the colorway Eifel Tower.  I had a 22 grams left from the skein. 
Needles:  US 7, Addi Turbo
Gauge:  Once again failed to measure
Modifications:  I used the directions for worsted weight, but otherwise knit as written.
The last items knitted as gifts were the Forests of Christmas Trees.  I used whatever green yarn that
was hanging around in the stash... Paton's Classic to Noro.  Each tree was then topped with a glass bead.  Super simple and slightly addicting.  I'm kind of bummed I didn't get a few pictures of the Forest before I dismantled it.  Maybe next year I will do better.  Happy New Year!
Design Details:
Pattern:   Pint Sized Pines by Julie Tasha; 
Needles:  US 2, Addi Sock Rockets
The gauge did not matter and I did not do any modifications.  Great fun pattern that I plan on knitting again and again.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Christmas Knitting...Love it or Hate it?

So how much Christmas knitting do y'all do?  A few years back I was determined to knit every member of the family something wearable.  Even those that love to tease me about my love of the knitted sock were on the knit list.  I knit and knit...stressed that I wouldn't finish before Christmas morning.  I was lucky.  Everyone received either a hat, scarf, a pair of socks or new felted hand bag. 

That was the last year that I knitted for everyone...sad but true.  I love to knit.  It relaxes me...most of the time.  Holiday knitting has the exact opposite effect.  I worry and stress about every little detail... yarn choice, pattern, etc.  It is draining so why did I decide to knit for others this season?  Good question.  I'm almost done and it has been much more the yarns and the patterns.  I decided that this year it is the process and hopefully the wearer will love the item as much as I loved knitting it.  If not then hopefully they'll pass it on...maybe back to me since I love every single thing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Chocolate Gyllis

A few weeks ago I finished up a design (Color Crave) by Stephen West.  He has a unique style and his patterns are very interesting and fun to knit.  For his birthday he gave a 25% discount off of his patterns and I chose a couple more of his wraps to knit.  Let's just say that over the last several weeks my knitting had gotten somewhat 'boring and predictable.'  These wraps really have reinvigorated my knitting along with a new yarn discovery called Plucky.  I'm back to non-stop knitting with fewer distractions...other than looking at Ravelry for new yarn sale updates.

The first of these is called Gyllis.  Stephen calls it "an architectural lace scarf".  Cool construction...knit lengthwise.  I chose to use a worsted weight yarn rather than a lighter fingering weight.  It turned out rather well even if it is 'boring brown'...per my dear husband.  He said it was not as interesting as my first Stephen West wrap...good to know he's paying attention.

Pattern:  Gyllis by Stephen West; 

Yarn:  Dynasty by S. Charles Collezione;  Worsted/10 ply;  30% Silk, 70% Merino; 120 yards/50 grams.  I used 3 full balls and 27 grams of a 4th ball.  The color is a nice chocolate brown.

Gauge: 16 stitches/ 4 inches in garter stitch
Needles:  US 8 Addi Turbo, 32" inch circular

Modifications:  None.  I did not change a darn thing about the pattern.  I lightly blocked by using steam to smooth out the edges and open up the lace.  The size after blocking ~51 inches across the CO edge x 14 inches wide.