Last Minute Halloween Costume

Who doesn’t need a last minute Halloween costume??  If you’ve got a crochet hook and a bit of green yarn, I’ve got your solution!

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It’s a Brain Slug!  (which is pretty much what it sounds like.)

It’s a free crochet pattern.  You can find it here!

I whipped this little fellow up in a couple hours.  Using the safety eye was genius…It’s holding the white of the eye in place as well.  No Sew Eye!  And he’s sitting on a skinny little headband, just slipped the headband through his stitches and slid him into place!  No sewing there either!

Honestly, I didn’t even sew the antenna, I just pulled their ends through and tied them.  I even left the ends uncut on the inside…it’s just more stuffing!

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I doesn’t get any easier!  There’s still time…you could have a costume for that party tonight!

IF…you have the right stash.

(Really, this is a post about stash justification.  It only works if you’ve got the right stash.  How do you know if your stash is right?  You don’t.  You’ve gotta collect all the yarns.  See??  Proof right here!  It’s on the internet, it must be true!)

Happy Halloweekend!!

 

 

 

FO Friday

As I was recounting how incredibly busy my week was to a friend, he reminded me ‘but that’s all socializing.’

I will have you know, I did manage to fit a few other things in.  Including, a tiny bit of knitting!  Just enough to finish a few things up…

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A Lebowski Hat!  My second one, testing out the chicken scratch notes I’d made.  Hopefully this means I’ll get my act together and get it in digital form, for all of you to test soon!  I used Cascade’s Highland Duo, 70% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino Wool!!  It’s so soft!  Yes, I love this hat.  And it’s so much easier than knitting the whole sweater.  The Dude Abides, indeed.

FO #2 comes from yarn Mom & I collaborated on during the Rhinebeck Trip.  Our Fall Foliage colorway is perfect knit up!  I think it captured the Catskills perfectly! And it’s incredibly soft, 40% merino, 40% alpaca, 20% silk!  YUMMY!

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Both of these are coming to an Etsy Shop near YOU soon!  :)   Now…time to finish up my Halloween costume!!  Have a great weekend!

 

Knitting 201: Hats & Colorwork

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Enrollment is now open for my Nov/Dec classes!


Knitting 101:  Beginning Knitting

Learn the basics of knitting and make your first project, a chunky infinity scarf, just in time for the beginning of winter!

Wednesdays @ 7 pm    November 9, 16, 30, December 7, 14, 21

Act now because this class is nearly full!


Knitting 201:  Hats & Colorwork

I am very excited about this class!  Hats are my favorite!  Add in colorwork and the possibilities are endless!  The first three weeks will be learning & practicing different ways to incorporate color into our knitting, stripes, slip stitches, intarsia, duplicate stitch and fair isle!   The second three weeks will be applying your favorite of these new techniques to hat knitting!  Design & knit a hat that is uniquely you, guaranteed no two will be alike!

Thursdays @ 7 pm     November 10, 17, December 1, 8, 15, 22

Click Here for Full Details!

 

Finishing Tips

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I’m prepping for the final Building Blocks clue on Friday.  I think this shawl is going to be very wearable!  I want it done ASAP so I’m weaving my ends today!

I think finishing is an exceptionally important part of the knitting process.  I don’t sweat the small stuff…unless it’s a finishing detail.  Sloppy work at the end can ruin a gorgeous piece of knitwear.  I’ll stay off my soap box but really, a well finished garment is a beautiful thing.

With that in mind, I’ve added a new tool to my finishing arsenal…Needle Felting!  I’ll explain that bit later.  First, the steps leading up to it…

Weave your ends in.  I use several different techniques, in several different scenarios.  That’s a whole topic unto itself.  I duplicate stitch when it can but it doesn’t always work out.  This is Knitter’s Choice, use which ever end weaving method you prefer!

Cutting Your Yarn

Tip 1:  Always cut your yarn at an angle. 

This trick helps keep the end of your yarn in place.  I hate ends that pop out where they don’t belong.  A tapered end helps minimize that!

Think of it like cutting flowers.  Cut at an angle to increase your surface area.  With flowers it allows more water to be absorbed.  They stay fresher, longer.

With yarn, more surfaced area means there is more yarn to be pulled out from under the stitch holding it down (the last stitch it was woven through.)  So those naughty little ends are more likely to stay where you put them when cut at an angle.

That said:  If you are very literal, my photos do not show the actual spot I cut.  This brings us to…

Tip 2:  Leave a Tiny Tail.

Here’s my tail before I cut, the yellow line highlights where I will cut.  It’s an angle, following the twist of the yarn.  I always try to go with the grain. That gives you a lovely tapered end.  If you go against the grain, think of the way a pom-pom pops open when you cut it…that’s what you get.  It defeats the purpose of tapering the end because the whole thing goes cattywampus.

So, we’re cutting at an angle, going with the grain.

Placement of the cut is the next thing…leave a little bit of tail when you cut.  Notice how my cut is not right up against the stitch.  I’m leaving a little nub of an end.

The idea here is when the fabric shifts and moves, your end will move with the fabric but not pop out of place, inevitably landing on the public side of your fabric.

Seriousleeieieiey, that makes me crazy.

Now, final step…

Tip 3:  Needle Felting

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If you aren’t familiar with needle felting, that needle is super sharp and it’s got barbs along the edge.  You stab the fibers and the barbs blend the fibers, causing their natural scales to cling and stick together.  More stabbing means more blending of fibers, gradually shrinking the whole thing down into a tight bit of felt.

I’ve used needle felting to make little critters, flowers for hats, decorative embellishment type stuff.  I don’t see any reason it can’t be a functional part of my finishing process though.  Since I’ve started doing this, my ends stay put.  It doesn’t take many stabs–10-12 on each side.

Each side is an important detail.  Start with the wrong side of your fabric first.  As you stab, you’re carrying fibers through your fabric to the front.  You’ve gotta flip it over and stab those fibers back to the wrong side.

Done!  Here’s what the back looks like…

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You may notice a little fuzziness.  Things are muddled, some of the stitch definition is lost.  It’s the back…who cares?  That end is staying put.  It is never showing it’s ugly head on the right side of my shawl.  That’s all I care about.

I will caution you to stab with restraint.  10 Stabs, 15 MAX!  There is a point where you will start to see stitch distortion on the right side.  It probably won’t get noticed.  It’s a minor thing but we’re scrutinizing details today.  Don’t over stab.

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Here’s my right side, no sign of foul play, no ends, no over stabbing, just a beautiful edge waiting to be picked up for an epic Clue 4!!   I’m looking forward to Building Blocks Clue 4!  I have a feeling Stephen’s got a big finish planned!!  I’m kind of excited for an instruction that says pick up 768 stitches!  LOL!

I will certainly keep you posted!

WestKnits MKAL Building Blocks, Clue 3

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WestKnits’ MKAL Building Blocks Clue 3 has landed.   And it’s brought controversy with it!  I expected a reaction from the brioche section but that was widely accepted (thanks to the accompanying garter option, I suspect.)

Now that we’re into Clue 3 the rows are 450+ stitches long.  As written, the clue is long stretches of knitting with one row of purling thrown in.  The result is a single garter ridge on a bed of stockinette.  Think Boneyard Shawl.   Apparently this is too boring for some people.

For me, that’s exactly my kind of knitting.  My inner process knitter takes over and all is good.  Except somehow, this time, I wanted something different.  I wanted my colors to mix in a way that’s more complex.  So I changed it up (and didn’t cause one ounce of drama while doing it!)

I’m doing a non-repeating slip stitch pattern.  I say non-repeating because it started as the slip stitch section from Exploration Station.  That seems like the perfect substitute.  Somewhere along the way though, it took on a life of it’s own.  I just started slipping stitches at random, sometimes with the yarn in front, sometimes with the yarn in back.  Sometimes I knit row, sometimes I seed stitched a row.  Whatever happened…happened.

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I might throw in color D for a few slip stitch rows but mostly, I think I’m ready for the edge.  This thing is going to be a monster!!  I’m super curious to see what the final clue has in store for us!

 

A Sock is Born

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In what seemed like the longest 48 hour wait ever, my itty bitty needles finally arrived!  I have spent a lot of time whining about how I don’t want to use needles this small.  I was resolute in absolutely denying they even existed.  And now I think I might love them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to complain about how small they are.  Seriousleeeeeee??  2.0 mm.  OY.

But, this progress does not lie!  I am loving it!

I have progressed rapidly.  The beginning was terrible.  I went with a Turkish Cast On.  It looks awesome…yay for toe up!  But the M1Ls and M1Rs were a test of my patience.  The small size doesn’t help but the real issue is the kinks in the yarn.  A dropped stitch doesn’t behave as expected when the yarn has a kink it in.  It’s like backing up an 18 wheeler with a trailer.  I’d jack-knife it every time.

Lucky for us, no one was hurt this time and once I got passed the first couple rows, everything got better!  Everything is falling into place nicely now.

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The yarn is a sock blank my Mom painted back in the summer!  We dyed another sock blank when I was home for Rhinebeck,

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I couldn’t make any more excuses.  I want to wear those socks! A lot!  This could be the beginning of a whole new era for me.  I’m on the verge of addiction.  The second sock will be the test.  I’m not down with two-at-a-time so Second Sock Syndrome could be a problem.

Then again, I don’t mind if my socks don’t match, so maybe it won’t slow me down at all :)

Rhinebeck Round-Up

It seems so long ago already and yet, it’s been less than a week since Rhinebeck.  One thing is for sure, one day is not enough! Here’s what I did see in my one day…

Everything from Sheep to Shawl!

 And I came home with a few goodies too!

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A gradient kit from Good Karma Farms!  The peacock colors called to me.  Resistance was futile!  No idea what I’ll do with it.  Maybe something 3-color cashmere cowl inspired.  Maybe some sequence knitting, I do love a good texture.  For now, I’m just petting it…it’s delightful!

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And in the surprise of the weekend, two skeins of Miss Babs Rhinebeck 2016 colorway!  A skein of Caroline, (on the left) the new MCN base that’s 20% cashmere!!  and a skein of Kaweah, (on the right) the dk weight merino workhorse.

We waited the crowd out, it was after 1 pm by the time we got to Miss Babs.  I wasn’t expecting to see any of the special color left.  But when there were a few skeins remaining and the line was less than 10 minutes long.  Again, resistance was futile.  No idea what these will become either but I like the idea of using them together.   It could create a neat effect or maybe it’ll be so busy it hurts?  I dunno…haven’t decided yet.

And then there’s the yarn Mom & I dyed!

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A sparkle sock blank!!  Size 0 needles should be coming in the mail today.  I’m gonna try really hard to not hate knitting socks.  This yarn is so fun…that should help!

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and this guy, a skein of HiKoo’s SimpliNatural, it’s a merino/alpaca/silk blend.  It’s soooooo soft!  With all the fall foliage inspired yarns out there, we had a go at creating our own leaf peepers yarn.  I can’t wait to see how it knits up!!

I think this might be a cast on all the things weekend.   :)  I don’t see any way around it.