Friday, April 18, 2014

Mattress Stitch and a Discount!

So I'm sending my afternoon doing some finishing work.I know not every knitter will like this but I love mattress stitch. It's so magical how stitch stitch stitch and wham! 

Now, it didn't always work so smoothly. My very first seaming was on the sleeve of a baby sweater. I didn't use stitch markers to make sure things were lined up and when I got towards the end of the seaming, I was off by about 6 stitches. These days I'm able to follow it with my eyes a lot better and tend to use the stitch markers just when I'm seaming something odd shaped, like setting in a sleeve. 

Recently, I got the opportunity to take Craftsy's Seaming Handknits class. It was a great refresher and gave me a lot of tips I hadn't thought of or used before. Because I do enjoy finishing work, some of my patterns require the use of seaming or grafting and this class would be great to try if you have never done that kind of finishing before.  If you're interested in taking that class, use the link above and you will get the class for 25% off! 

And in case you're wondering, I'm working on a second sample of Pacific Grove. The other had an unfortunate incident with the washing machine. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


This has been quite a week for my family with everyone coming down with the same cold/sinus/ear infection all within a couple of days! So you got lucky and the Mountain Meadow Wool giveaway stayed open just a few days longer. But now, the Random Number Generator has spoken and 

is the winner. Carmen, please email me at your earliest convenience with you shipping info and I'll get the yarn headed out to you.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mountain Meadow Wool

Recently I had a great opportunity to try out some yarn by Mountain Meadow Wool. The yarn I was working with is their Laramie yarn in the colorway Fern. This yarn is a 2ply worsted weight yarn. When I first wound it up I was struck by how rustic the yarn looked yet it was still so soft! I swatched it up on size 7 needles to see what it wanted to become. Given the great stitch definition this yarn produces I decided on the Pembroke Hat by Kristen Kapur.

With one skein of this yarn I was able to make the smallest size (with mods) and still have some leftover! Laramie comes in 100 gram skeins with 196 yards. Even though I had swatched I wasn't getting row gauge and therefore had to modify the crown of the smallest size. I knit the chart as written until I reached the crown shaping. At this point I did 3 decrease rows then used Kitchener stitch to seam the top of the hat shut.

Either way, I'm glad I used this yarn for this hat pattern. This yarn is rustic and natural looking while maintaining a beautiful softness that you don't often find in rustic yarns (I'm attributing this to the fact that it is semi-worsted spun). This yarn really showed off the cables in the Pembroke. You can check out my project page here.

I have one extra skein of this yarn to share with a lucky reader! Leave a comment below you have the opportunity to win one skein of Mountain Meadow Wool's Laramie in the colorway Brick. I'll choose a winner using the Random Number Generator on Saturday, April 12th. Good luck and thank you to Mountain Meadow Wool for sharing!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wintry Mix Hat and a Giveaway

I know it's starting to warm up in other parts of the country but 'round these parts, we are still in desperate need of hats and other winter accessories (today's high: 27 degrees F). Just in time is my Wintry Mix Hat.

This hat is a part of the new Basic Knitting and Projects from Stackpole Books (you can also get the book from Amazon here) Right now it's only available online or from retailers in print. The first part of this book is full of techniques all illustrated with color photos. The last part of the book has a variety of patterns that use the techniques listed in the book. The patterns range from felted purses, pullovers with lace detail, cowls, hats and more. 

My Wintry Mix Hat comes in two sizes. The yarn and needles you use will depend on what size you are making. The adult sized hat is knit in worsted weight yarn (The Fibre Company's Organik) on size 8 needles (5mm) while the smaller child sized hat is knit in fingering weight yarn (The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering) on size 4 (3.5mm) needles. The pattern uses colorwork charts and a nice stretchy cast on. I'm so excited to have these sample back because I think they turned out great!

And guess what? I have a copy of this book to give away to a reader! Leave a comment below to be entered to win. I'll choose a winner using the Random Number Generator sometime next Sunday, March 30th. Good luck!

The giveaway is now closed! Debbie (comment #16) is the winner and has been contacted. Thanks for entering!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Where Does the Time Go?

Working full time this year has really made me reevaluate my priorities. It's also made me realize I can no longer be a doer of all things. I love my blog. When I started this 4 years ago (eek!) I had just started knitting and had finally found a creative outlet that fit. My knitting has come a long way in this time. I even have a new pattern out:

Welcome Weekender! A simple pullover with a few pops of garter stitch detail on the sides and back neckline. Around the beginning of December I was looking for a pullover to make D that would be casual but still interesting. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I designed it. 

After we got these pics done last weekend, I was looking back at the first sweater I designed, Little Fisher, and I am amazed at how quickly this little boy is growing. Time is flying and now that he's a toddler, walking, running, jumping, and talking, I'm so excited for him but also missing that baby time. 

As always, this pattern is available in sizes 6 months to 12 years for all the little and bigger kiddos in your life. 

I'm going to keep blogging, because I do love sharing my knitting with you, but if I'm not around as much know it's because being with this kid as he grows up is so important to me. 

Happy knitting!

(I also wanted to mention this sweater is knit in Malabrigo Rios. I used less than 2 skeins for the 2 year size.)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I've been meaning to share this new pattern with you but things have just been getting away from me lately. Allow me to introduce a new children's pullover, Mustill. 

I designed this sweater to be D's Christmas Sweater this year. It a couple extra inches of positive ease built in for a relaxed fit that is easy to wear. D is modeling the size 2 which has a finished chest circumference of 24" (61 cm). 

The yarn used was Manos del Uruguay Serena. At my LYS it was listed as a dk weight, which it definitely is not. The gauge on this project is 28 sts = 4" on size 3 (3.25mm) needles. I'd call that more of a fingering weight. But I still love it. It's an alpaca/cotton blend which make the yarn smoother, less alpaca-y tidbits floating up to itch your nose. And the alpaca keeps the yarn soft and easy to work with. 

If you're worried about a crew neck with little ones, fear not. There's a button flap worked into the the last third of the yoke to make getting this gem on and off a breeze. 

The pattern is written for sizes 6 months to 12 so make one for every kiddo in your family! 

 You can get this pattern in my Ravelry store for $5.00.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sizing for Wee Ones

I've been thinking about sizes and measurements in general lately, more specifically for the little ones in our lives. One issue I hear often from knitters is that their little knitted garments don't fit. And how disappointing is that? All that time and effort spent on something that will be worn for just a moment since the child can't get real, comfortable use out of the item. This has happened to me too and I will agree, I was pretty disappointed. I had whipped up a quick little baby jacket for a baby boy who was 10 months old (and who I hadn't met yet) in the 1 year size. When I gave it to the parents, they kindly slipped it on and, surprise surprise, it barely buttoned across his belly. 

So what went wrong? As it is with knitting, there could be a number of reasons why it doesn't fit. 

#1: Gauge
That's right, I said it, gauge. I'm guilty of it too, especially with baby knits (and other small items), I don't do a guage swatch. So while I think I may be somewhere in the same vicinity of the correct gauge listed on the pattern, I probably am not. While I knit on with all good intentions, there's a good chance the finished piece will not end up being the measurments listed on the pattern. No guage swatch = probably the wrong size.

#2: Not checking pattern measurements
Most finished patterns (mine included) will include a schematic. This will show you all the intended measurments of the finished garment (assuming you got gague; see #1). So if you get your pattern and think, "My niece/nephew/grandchild/co-worker's mother's best friend's newborn is 6 months old so I will knit that size" and don't actually check what the finished size is, there is the possibility that the size will be wrong. For example, last winter D was approximately 4 months old. Assuming I made him sweaters to fit a 6 month old, he would have had zero sweaters that fit. At 4 months he was almost 20 pounds and all sweaters I made for him were the 1 year size.  Before knitting something, it's always best to get an idea of what size the little one is. If you want to keep the little garment a surprise, just bring up the baby's growth in conversation. Parents love gushing about how gigantic or petite their kids are. 

#3: Variations in sizing
I was recently looking at several sweater patterns (and have just finished a draft of the Christmas Sweater 2013), trying to decide which I'd like to make for D. As I narrow them down to a short list I check the size to see how much yarn I will need. What I've found is that sizes can vary quite drastically from pattern to pattern, designer to designer. And really no one is wrong. The Craft Yarn Council's guides on body measurments show a measurment of 20" chest circumference for a 24 month old (21" for  a 2 year old). D has a chest circumference of 22.5" (he's 14 months old). Do you see what I'm getting at?  Children grow at such drastically different rates that the averages are just that, average and drastically different. When designing, I normally add a couple of inches to the CYC's guide, and then choose to make the size that will fit D for the sample. In a recent pattern I found, the size 2-4 years had a finished chest circumference of 22". If I knit this size, there would be negative ease, and he'd look awful silly.   My point with this is, check the sizing.

Overall, if you want a well fitting piece that the kiddo can wear through at least one season, checking your gague and being concientious of sizing and the child's measurments can help. It's a few extra steps that (I think) are totally worth it.