FO Friday – Christmas Knitting #1

Every year, I say no more Christmas knitting.  I never mean it, this year especially.  Obviously, with a new nephew, there will be Christmas knitting.  His first holiday package went out today,  the reversible hat (that you saw on Monday) and a new stuffed friend!

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The little friend is not my favorite.  He’s a Rebecca Danger creature using her Basic Uni-Body design.  I meant to make a blue striped monkey but once I stuffed the body, I didn’t like it enough to do the monkey add ons.  There would have been ears, a tail and a protruding snout piece.

The snout piece was just too much.  It involves picking up a circle of stitches on the face, knitting outwards while shaping into a dome, stuffing it, closing it and then embroidering onto it.  I was not in the mood, so he’s just a funny, stripey, blue thingamabob.

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Of course, because I don’t like him, I expect this will be Marcus’s favorite.  His floppy arms are perfect for grabbing and chewing!  I think those little legs are likely to get chewed on too!

I’ll attempt the monkey again something but I’ll skip the stripes.  Before that though, it’s time for Baby’s First Christmas Sweater.  It won’t be ugly.  It won’t even be tacky.  It will be a little naughty though!

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I’m halfway through the back and with a little determination, this could be done by next Friday!  Three cheers for aran weight yarn and 4 stitches per inch!  Wooooooo!


 

A Triumphant Return!

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Etsy Holiday Emporium weekend is over!  The show was a big success!  I had a really great time talking to all the people who came by.  It was so fun to see people connect with my brand of snark and laugh at all the same things I laugh.  It’s nice to have your art appreciated but this went a step beyond that.  It was a big helping of personal validation and who doesn’t like that.  Even better than that though, now that it’s over…I can get back to my knitting!

It’s been a month of virtually no knitting, in prep for the show.  I was excited to get right down to it, casting on a hat to work on throughout the weekend.  I picked a fun little slip stitch pattern that’s easy to memorize but has a big impact.

And, it’s reversible!  Spotted on one side, striped on the other…super fun!

Here’s how it works, in the round…

Round 1: With color A, K1, P1

Rounds 2 & 3:  With color B, S1 wyib, P1, K1, P1

Round 4:  With color A, K1, P1

So, really only two rows, just knits, purls and an occasional slip stitch.  Super easy!

The other noteworthy feature of this hat, is the cast on.  I’m going to tell you about it and hope you’ll try it out too.  I really love it.  This is the Alternating Cable Cast On.

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I use it as a stand in for the Tubular Cast On.  The Alternating Cable Cast On is a lovely stretchy alternative that is easier and faster to execute.  I first learned it from Wooly Wormhead and she’s the goddess of hat, if there ever was one.  Here’s her tutorial for it, because she can surely give you the steps better than I can.

The basic explanation is this:  It’s the Cable Cast On with one change.  Instead of ‘knitting’ every stitch (inserting the needle from the front) you alternate between knit and purl (inserting the needle from the back).  It’s aptly named, the Alternating Cable Cast On…just a cable cast on that alternates between knits and purls, perfect for ribbing!

It’s a minor detail but I love minor details.  It’s the sort of thing that elevates homemade to handmade.  It’s a little bit of finesse that add to the polish of the finished hat tenfold!  I highly recommend it.

Of course, one hat didn’t last me long.  Day 2 of the show required another cast on…this time, I added a third color and went for a spiral knit stripey hat!

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And, just like that, Christmas knitting has begun.  Next up, an ugly Christmas sweater for my cute little nephew and a whole slew of new stuffie animal friends for him.  It’s gonna be so good!  So, stand by as we have now returned to our regular knitting agenda!   Wooooo!


 

FO Friday – Nephew Sweater

My latest Nephew Sweater has been sent off.   Fingers crossed that it fits just right!  I’m pretty optimistic that he’ll be able to wear it for a couple months!  And, I sent him a new little October friend too!

So what’s next?  A big old holiday panic!  It’s not even mid-October anymore…it’s late October.  There’s a Christmas sweater to think about, more stuffies, definitely more hats and cute little baby mittens to make!

At least, I’ve decided no stocking.  Despite having a special heirloom Christmas stocking, crocheted by a family friend, when I was born, I do not plan to bestow that gift upon my Nephew.  No, I’m definitely going in a different direction with baby’s first “ugly” Christmas sweater.  It’s gonna be a good one!

And then, there’s this…

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I’ve been accepted into the SF Etsy Holiday Emporium!  Wooo!  I applied with my snarky cross stitch this year, instead of knitting.  I’ve been denied with knitting in the past.  They were really doing me a favor.  No one buys knitting but still, it was disappointing.  So, I’m excited to get accepted this year!  Wooo!  Now, to get to work.

It’s a month off, which is plenty of time to prepare.  The impacts on holiday knitting will be severe, though.  Knitting time will be limited for the next couple weeks.  That isn’t stopping me from swatching though.  I’m itching to get something on the needles…even if it’s just a swatch!

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FO Friday – 3 Color Cashmere Cowl-esque

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My 3-Color Cashmere Cowl is done!  Whoo Hoo!  It’s a knock off of Joji’s cowl pattern.  The original is fingering weight and my yarn was dk weight.  I figured if I was adjusting gauge, I might as well adjust a few other things.  I started with a little diagram of the original cowl and used that as my guideline.

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The farther along I got, the more I diverged from the plan.  I think I captured the feel of the original cowl though.

Too bad summer has finally come to San Francisco…it’s nearly 80 degrees out! Oh well, it’ll get cold again soon enough!  I’m thinking chilly thoughts, if nothing else.

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Etsy put out a trend report for the coming holiday season.  After reading it and listening to the Etsy trend expert on a podcast, I’m feeling rather festive.  I worked up a couple Christmas cross stitches.  The trend expert called out ‘Christmas Clutter’, bold fonts and 90’s nostalgia.   I don’t usually go out of my way to be trendy but I’ve been working on the fonts already, so why not add a little Christmas flare, too.

Happy October, eh?


 

FO Friday – Dragon Fade!

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My Dragon Fade shawl is finished and it’s gigantic!  I love it!  It’s been off the needles since Sunday.  I promptly wore to the park…ends dangling and all.  I don’t care.  I like it anyhow.

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I have managed to get about half the ends woven.  Yes, I’ve continued to wear it.  Fringe is in right now.  I’m going with it!  Of course, I really should get around to washing it and blocking it.  I’d draped it across a lot of Mother Nature’s offerings this week.

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Here’s a few details:  The pattern is Match & Move by Martina Behm.  I used 17 different yarns…no wonder there are so many ends to weave – those details (minus 1 mystery yarn) are all here on my notebook page.  My only modification, aside from gauge changes and the fade, was to increase the size.  I added about 10 extra rows…it’s giant.  It drags on the ground, if I don’t wrap it a couple times.  It’s definitely for cold & windy days.

That is not today.  Today appears to be a sunny day, which is good news for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass!  I’m heading to back to Golden Gate Park again so I’ll leave you with this shameless self promotion.  Just did a big fall shop update!   Check it out at www.FogKnits.Etsy.com!

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Happy Friday and Have a great weekend!


 

FO Friday – Newborn Vertebrae

My little nephew has been on the outside now for two months!  Of course, that is a milestone marked with a new sweater!

I thought I was making a cute and tiny sweater.  I was nervous that he’d outgrow it before I got it sent off.  I’m pleased to report, he received it and he’s got some room to grow!  Yay!  Not as tiny as I thought!

Sorry, no pics to share since he’s not my kid to plaster all over the internet but, my sister did send me a pretty funny picture of him crying while wearing the sweater.  I’m definitely keeping it, so I can remind him, in the future, how much he loved the sweaters his auntie made him.

The sweater is a free pattern, Newborn Vertebrae by Kelly van Niekirk.  It’s a pattern where one size is free, the smallest in this case.  The remainder of the sizes, you pay for.  Despite making the smallest size, I was able to get a sweater closer to the six month size!  For once, having a loose gauge paid off!   The yarn is KnitPicks, Felici in color Hawaiian Shirt.  So cute!

It was a simple knit.  Aside from gauge, I didn’t change a thing.  It’s the perfect little baby sweater…frontless, so it doesn’t get spit up on.  Also, facilitates skin-to-skin contact.  That might be my favorite part.  This isn’t just some cute thing that I wanted to do…it’s got an important developmental function!  It’s necessary, even!  Yay Knitting!

Up next, something tweedy for the little man.  Perfect for fall…

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I’m definitely about to binge start 6 projects! It’s gonna be so good!


 

Yay Friday!!

Happy Friday!  It’s time to put this week to bed!  I’m ready — I feel like I’ve been focused and productive.  I got a good start on my interview prep and my pile of handmade nephew goodies has really grown!  It’s the perfect time for a weekend!

Because nothing makes one feel accomplished, quite like listing those accomplishments, here’s what all my procrasticrafting got me this week…

 

I finished up the leg warmers – two pair, one small, one large, one that matches, one that doesn’t.  The large size might become a pair of matching arm warmers for Mom.

I really liked working with this yarn, KnitPicks Felici.  It’s soft but still has a bit of structure to it.  I’m still thinking about the worsted weight version and a sweater with stripey sleeves.   Maybe my recently cast-on Newborn Vertebrae will cure me of that.  It’s grown since yesterday, I’m up to the sleeve divide already!  Baby sweaters are the best!

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What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good stripe.  I’m also a sucker for a cute animal toy, these days.  My Tubby Wubby stitch & stuff felt toy subscription has come to an end.  Mr. Giraffe is the last to join the menagerie.   I stitched him up, in about an hour, last night.  He’s extra goofy.  I couldn’t resist.

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3 Months was the perfect subscription length for these cute little kits.  They were well put together and the results are super cute but I’m ready to knit critters now.  Knitting is really my thing.  I can see myself stitching more of these Tubby Wubby kits, in the future, but for now, it’s back to Rebecca Danger cuteness.

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I whipped up this little Hippo from ’50 Yards of Fun’ for an instant gratification fix.  I love her designs.  Rather than knit pieces and sew them together, you pick up stitches on the body and knit the limbs out from there.  It can be fiddly but definitely worth it.  I’m always pleased with my critters.  I didn’t even have to fuss too much to give this guy a cute face!

And so, he join the growing pile for my next care package…

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I’ll send this stuff off when I finish his sweater.  Maybe a few more stuffies too…my goal is definitely to re-create that scene from E.T. with knitted toys!  :)

And, now, I’ve committed to doing some real work this afternoon.  Nothing boosts the confidence like putting the time in.  Back to interview prep for a few hours and then, it’s the weeeeekend!!!  Wooooo!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!