FO Friday – Connect the Dots

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New hat for the weekend!  Nothing fancy, just a plain stockinette beanie with a little stripe.  Easy Peasy.

The real story of the week is a bout of Castonitis.   With all this finishing lately, I’ve been contemplating new cast ons.  I may have gone a bit overboard once I got started.

First, a little Peanut Warmer for the impending nephew.  It’s so tiny, size 0-3 months.  It’ll be done in no time!

After that, I sorted my stash picking blues, greens and purples for a new Dotted Rays.

Of course, as I sorted all the cool colors out, a pile of warm colors that was just as appealing formed.  And so, Dotted Rays #2 joined the cast on party.

Needless to say, this completely obliterates my strict 6 project limit.  I’m currently at 10 and I’m not ruling out #11 this weekend.

Whoops.

I am imposing one rule, though.  There needs to be, at least, a tiny bit of order.

If I want two scrappy Dotted Rays at once…I have to weave the ends as I go.  So far, so good.  It makes photos nicer and it actually helps with the knitting too…no extraneous tails to get tangled with the working yarn.  Totally practical!

Now let me see what else I can cast on…

Happy Friday!

FO Saturday – Baby’s First Blankie

My third and final FO of the week…Baby’s First Blankie!  The yarn is Goshen, from Valley Yarns, a cotton/tencel/silk blend, perfect for a summer baby.

I didn’t follow a pattern, just knit some stockinette stripes and threw on a garter stitch border.  It went according to plan until…

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…I read the yarn label.  They’ve labeled this yarn as hand wash.  PSHAW!  These kinds of things make me a little crazy.  I can imagine how they rationalize that choice but c’mon let’s attempt to live in reality.  It’s a cotton baby blanket?!?! I just threw it in wash.  Blankets need to be washable.  I did, at least, put it in a garment bag.

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I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the meantime, I’m playing Barbies, shopping the stash for a selection of neutrals.   I’m thinking Black Panther Wrap…

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FO Friday – The Noro-Lopi Love Child Sweater

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It’s finally finished!  Wooo!

I’m so excited to have a new sweater!  And this one is darn near perfect! I’m going to be getting loads of wear out of it!  The pattern is a top-down raglan called Vivido, from Carol Feller.  The stripes are my own modification but everything else is as-called for.

I chose this pattern simply because of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mindset.  I’ve had great success with my two previous incarnations of this sweater.  It’s a great daily wear garment, which is what I need at this point.  (As much as I love Bill, there’s only so many places he can be worn!)  Plus, I knew the colorwork was going to be the star of this show.  No need for the pattern to compete with that.  This pattern is exactly the blank slate I needed!

The yarns are the interesting bits in this sweater!  The brown yarn is Plutolopi, an unspun pencil roving, from my Icelandic adventure.   The stripes are from a Noro Rainbow Roll.  I love both of these yarns so much!!  The unspun nature makes them fragile, and so, not for everyone but it also gives the garment amazing loft!  This is a 200 g sweater.  My last Vivido, a bulky weight wool, weighs 600 g.  That’s a big difference, especially in a town where micro-climates and layering mean sweaters often get carried instead of worn.

The difference in weight, also, means a difference in drying time.  A 600 g sweater can take days to dry.  This baby dried overnight during a rainstorm!

YES, this is definitely my new favorite sweater.

I might make one slight adjustment though.  The first button hole is low.  In a solid colored sweater, I didn’t mind.  The stripes kind of exaggerate the gap.

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I think a little snap will fix it up.  I’ve always wanted to try snaps out.  If it stops raining long enough to go for a walk, I think I’ve finally found my excuse to buy snap!

Woo!  Hope your Friday is equally exciting!!


 

Custom Fit Bike Sweater

You know when someone asks you to knit something, you say “I can knit that” and then a moment later, you have to explain the difference be can and will?  This is NOT that project!

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Over the years, I’ve had a couple inquiries about knitted bike cozies.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  People have asked.  I’ve said yes.  Somehow though, it’s never happened.  Things always fall apart.

That is, until now!

My friend, Wendy, asked about it.  She’s a daily bicycle commuter, a lover of DIY makers everywhere and most importantly, a woman with follow through!

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She brought her bike over for measurements in short order!  I did a couple little swatches and off I went.  The knitting is quite basic.

Stockinette stitch, knit in long, flat, rectangular panels.  No shaping at all.  I played around with a lot of techniques for the embellishments.  I started with simple stripes, even did a little stranded work.  Mostly though, the details came after…appliques (my favorite these days), surface crochet, duplicate stitch and a slew of embroidery techniques that I know nothing about (unventions, indeed!)

My favorite discovery came while duplicate stitching…instead of covering 1 stitch at a time, I made my duplicate stitches 2 stitches tall.  It was liberating!  I’m not sure why it’s never occurred to me to duplicate stitch something other than one straight stitch.  Once I was changing their size, it seemed pretty obvious that duplicate stitches don’t have to go in a straight line.

BAM!  Mind blown.

Curved duplicate stitch…I’m sure someone familiar with embroidery techniques is currently saying ‘why yes, that’s called blah blah blah stitch’.   It was news to me though and  I had a lot of fun playing around with it.  I’ve got lots of ideas for embellishing new hats now!

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There was one challenge to this project though.  Sewing pieces onto a bicycle is kind of awkward.

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In order to reach all the right places, at the right times, I must’ve put this bike in 37 different positions to figure it all out.  Upside down, right side up, left side out, right side out, around the gears, past the fender and out the other side.   There’s a lot more small spaces on a bike than I’d actually contemplated before.

Without fail, my hand could not travel the same path the yarn needed.  It was an interesting exercise in mindfulness, a challenge to my years of muscle memory.  I kept at it though and the pieces all went together better than I even imagined!  I’m really happy with the whole thing.  Woot!

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And the best part, Wendy really loves it too!

Actually, the best part…Wendy loves it AND she rides her bike all over the place!  I’ve never seen a yarnbombed bike that was functional.  I’ve seen them in shop windows and as art pieces.  I’ve certainly never walked down the street and seen a bike like this locked to a pole.  That is about to change!

The adventures are just beginning!

The only question left…who’s next?

 

 

 

 

Ravellenic Wrap Up

The Olympics are over.  Phew!  Finally…I don’t think I could take any more!  I didn’t get 13 hats done, but I did get 12 done!

I’m okay with that.  I’m still a winner.  It’s just tough to stay focused on the finish line when it passes directly through the Stitches West marketplace!  On the last day, I wanted to knit new yarn, not old yarn.   The new yarn is soooooo good!  (…More on that later.)

First, let’s see the last two hats, they’re good ones!  Another Nephew hat, it started as a combo Michigan/Marcus hat.  I was quite self-congratulatory when I realized the overlap between baby’s monogram and dad’s favorite team.

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I tried a couple yarns for the duplicate stitch.  Even tried holding them double.  I never really got over the whole light stitch on a dark background to a place I liked though.  I learned long ago, don’t mess with logos people love if you can’t do it right.  This was not right, so I scrapped it.

Instead, I went back to the dinosaur theme and this happened…

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The T.Rex applique was fun to make.  It was a bit complex but the pattern is clear and has lots of pictures.  Find it here, if you want to try it yourself.  I’m quite pleased with my results.

And then, there’s this…

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An ode to Jayne Cobb and Firefly.

As always, this hat started out as something different but once I saw the brown stripe pooling, I knew I’d have to adjust the plan.   The new plan turned out to be waaaay better anyhow.

I’ve never watched Firefly but I have enough geeky friends to know, this is absolutely perfect!  My Mom dyed this yarn for me and it turns out, the iconic Jayne Cobb hat from the show, was made by Jayne’s Mom.   It’s so delightfully meta.  I love it.  It really spruced this hat up.  Now to chose a fun pom-pom.  This is definitely a Pom YES situation…I’m thinking the middle one in that first row, with all the green/blue/purple shades.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about Stitches and the yarn.  THE YARN!  It’s sooo good!  I’m in the middle of a winding frenzy but I’ve managed to get one new project on the needles.  Yay for yarn sold in balls!

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See you tomorrow with all the fibery details!


 

Hat Count: 8.5

I’m still making hat progress.  I’ve got two new hats finished today.  My bear idea isn’t fully where I want it yet but I’ve got a good proto-type…

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I think he needs to be a little bigger and if I’m going to pass him off as a Grizzly, he should probably be brown!  Good thing Stitches is at the end of the week!

I finished the next, in what is bound to be a limitless parade, nephew hat.  Adults will definitely be reduced to goofy faces and baby talk when little Markosaurus wears this one.

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There’s also two hats currently on the needles.  With a bit of luck, I might get them finished tonight!  IMG_6189

The blue garter stitch number is killing me.  Garter stitch??  Who purls when then knit hats??  Not me.  So I had to start the one of the right…I need a break after an entire row of nothing but purls?!?!  It’s just terrible.

After that I only need 4 more.  I was messing around with brioche yesterday.  Liked my colors well enough.  Couldn’t come up with a cast on that I liked though.

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This is just a swatch with a standard long tail cast on.  I also tried a 2-color Italian cast on.  It was fiddly and by the time I got it right, I decided I didn’t like the way it looked and it offered no structure.   So, before I get a gold medal for a brioche hat, I need a gold medal worthy cast on, Anybody have a suggestion?

I, also, thought about pom-poms a lot this weekend.  I need to watch to youtube videos on how to make fancy pom-poms.  Anybody have suggestions here too?

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See the guy at the bottom of the frame with a red & white pom-pom hat.  It caught my eye because I thought, maybe, it was a Canada hat with a maple leaf pom-pom!  How cool would that be? I don’t think that’s the case here but I wish it was.

The pom-pom on the right side here:

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I think that one’s a camel.  I never got a better look at it.

And then, there’s the luge crowd.  White hats with white pom-poms.  Really?

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Kudos to the one brave Romanian who opted for the hat with flag colors!  Hats off to you, sir!

Now, back to the knitting…I think I might be able to get my baker’s dozen in by Friday if I keep at it!


 

On the Podium

Success!  I’ve been awarded medals for my first four hats!

There’s really no time for celebration though.  There’s still 9 more to reach the goal.  The next hat is ready.  I love how it turned out, but man was it a pain in the butt.

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Tentacles are a hassle.  I’m not sure how actual cephalopods do it.

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I should have Hat 6 to report on as well, but distractions happen.  That’s actually a lot colder than it looks but still, we’ve been having gorgeous, dry weather and I’ve got plenty of wool to handle the crisp ocean breeze.

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I can say though, it’s beyond this stage!  And I’m really loving the colors so far, very foresty.  I think this might be a good bear hat…I’m gonna hunker down with some figure skating and make progress tonight.

As always, I’ll let ya know how it goes…