Back in January I made a pair of leg warmers that had increases in the leg section and were a complete failure. There was no way they would fit a child. I got some more yarn and attempted again.
The pattern is Ballerina Bloom which I found on Ravelry. This time I used the magic loop method and knit them in the round that way. I am a big magic loop fan, it was much easier to knit the leg warmers this way. For the first leg warmer I used a row counter to count how much ribbing I did on the bottom cuff, noted this down on a piece of paper and was aiming to do the same amount on the top cuff. When I came to actually doing the top cuff I was away for the weekend, I grabbed my project but forgot to check if this vital piece of paper was in it. I had to guesstimate by measuring how long to make the cuff. A cuff doesn’t take long so once I finished it and started on the second leg warmers I had to once again guess how many rows to do.
This time I only did 2 sets of increases per leg warmer. I increased on the 12th and 24th row. This gave you some extra room but it didn’t make them too baggy. With magic loop you don’t have a seam running up the side of them so they were smoother on the inside too, this also allowed them to stretch more as there wasn’t a tight seam. I would make this pattern again with the increases but once again I wouldn’t add as many increases as the pattern calls for, after a couple of increases I think you need to make a judgement call if they are big enough for your child or if you have to add another couple.
Last year I made 4 pairs of leg warmers as gifts. They were successful to a degree but admittedly they may have been a little small as I didn’t put any increase rows in them to street over the calf area. I used the Ballerina Bloom pattern for my starting cast on count and length of the leg warmer but ignored the rest of the pattern in regards to the increases. At the time I wanted mindless knitting and didn’t feel like counting rows I just wanted to knit.
I wanted to make a pair as a gift this year but decided to follow the pattern this time. I had trouble from the start. I had to learn how to do the M1 left and right stitch which I found on YouTube but I couldn’t find a version where they did it knitting the magic loop way where you knit your item on circular needles. I was trying to get my head around learning the stitch I didn’t have the brain power at the time to then convert it to magic loop method myself. Another issue I had was knowing the increase rows would make the leg warmers larger than they were last time that I would run out of yarn so I decided I would do the cuffs on each end with leftovers. No big deal but it meant I had to remember to switch yarn and even more ends to weave in when finished.
Recently I was staying at a hotel for work for a few days with a couple of hours to kill each morning so I thought perfect time to sit and knit my leg warmers. On my first attempt I thought was doing it correct but I misread the pattern in regards to increases and put my increases in every row after I initially knitted a certain number of rows. Something like I knitted 6 rows then increased every row for the next 8 rows as the pattern said repeat row 2 (my increase row) 8 times. I’m still learning knitting patterns and in my mind that’s what it was telling me to do. I ended up with an upside down trapezium shaped piece of knitting which I knew was wrong. I ripped it back to where I changed colour from the cuff and started again. That was the only good thing about having the coloured cuff area it was like a starting point reference marker. There is a youtube clip that accompanies this pattern which I did find useful to learn how they were doing the M1 stitches. The only criticism I have with this clip it doesn’t explain on how to where to place your increase rows. The pattern is aimed at a beginner knitter but it assumes you know how to read that section of the pattern so it jumps from doing one increase row to starting the top cuff.
After some thinking I realised I needed to repeat the pattern from the beginning and space out my increase rows – note: this still could be wrong! I haven’t been to knitting guild to check. I sat down with pen and paper and noted down when I should do my increases. This made it a little easier and I knitted away.
I finished my first leg warmer having put my increases in the correct spot and did my top cuff. I was making the largest size for a child but it did look a little large. I thought once I seam it together it will look ok and be smaller.
I made my second leg warmer the same as the first increasing at the rows I had written out. Once they were both finished I seamed them up. They looked big. I tried them on (I won’t show you a photo of it on my hairy leg) They fitted me although a bit tight. These would fit a small adult not a child like they were supposed to do. I was really disappointed in them. I was going to put them in the charity donation pile but a friend said they may fit her. If they fit she can have them if not I will donate them.
This pattern has failed. There are too many increases in it that they are just too big. It was only when I finished them that I read what others who have made the pattern said they also found that the pattern was too big. I have learnt a few things from this pattern. I can now do M1 left and right stitch. I am confident that I can pick up stitches if I have too and rip my work back if I am working on stockinette stitch . I realised I don’t like working on pieces flat and seaming them.
I did purchase more yarn and have started these leg warmers again. I’m magic looping them this time and they are working better for me. I will post them once they are done.
Last year I started watching pod casts in particular a knitting one called the Grocery Girls. The Grocery Girls are a pair of sisters from Canada who love to talk all things yarn. I love watching them as they are hilarious. A warning watching their podcasts leads to your to make list growing substantially as they always keep showing wonderful designers and patterns and you think I really want to make that! One designer they introduced me to was Joji Locatelli who does some wonderful shawl patterns. As far as knitting goes I would call myself an advanced beginner so complicated patterns still freak me out. On the podcast they mentioned a good beginner shawl of Joji’s was Pure Joy so after having it on my to knit list for a while I finally gave it an attempt. It is a crescent shaped shawl so has one straight edge with the other edge going in a semi circle shape expanding out.
This wasn’t a stash busting project I did buy yarn specifically for this shawl but I have made it now so the yarn isn’t still sitting in my yarn drawer taking up space. It is made in 4ply yarn. I wanted 2 contrasting colours so I used Fyberspates Vivacious in Blue Lagoon (darker blue) and Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Tooth Fairy (white colour) After finishing my shawl this is all that I have leftover.
Before I start I should say the pattern did say to block the shawl once you finish it but I haven’t. I do have a few tiny misshapen sections which may have corrected themselves had I blocked this. This shawl starts at one end using a provisional cast on garter tab then you do a series of short row wedges to grow it into the curved shape. It sounds complicated but it is not. The short rows are all garter stitch and every so often the pattern has you do a row of yarn overs to form the eyelets. I read through the pattern and was pretty sure I had it correct in my head but I did take it to knitting guild to double check I was reading it right. That is the great thing about meeting with fellow knitters in real life everyone is only to happy to help with your knitting. My beginning section has a slight hump to it. It is only when it is laying flat on a table do you notice this.
I did stray from the pattern a little in the design way. I was using light yarn to do the majority of my garter rows but towards the end I was worried I was going to run out of yarn and not have enough. Perhaps I panicked a little unnecessarily but I don’t know how to estimate if I will have enough yarn or not. I decided to do alternating stripes of the darker yarn on one of the wedges. This is why I call myself an advanced beginner I didn’t think about the right side and wrong side of my work. I just thought you could only incorporate a new yarn at the start of a row so when I changed colours my stripes were on the wrong side of my work. Does it matter… No! Do I care… No! When I wear my shawls I just throw them on I never look at which is the right side and wrong side.
Both ends of the shawl have a curl to it. I am thinking perhaps I pulled my yarn too tight as I was dropping one colour and picking up the next. I was trying to keep my yarn relaxed. Since it is on both ends let’s just call it a design feature but I don’t think others who have knit this have this happen to their work.
Another slight variation I did was the last bottom row of eyelets should have been done in the darker colour so the entire wedge is that colour. I did these eyelets in the light colour. As mentioned I never blocked the shawl. I guess blocking would show the eyelets more and stretched out some of misshapen areas but this looks pretty good as is. It feels lovely and soft and I know the more I wash it the softer it will become. Even though the lighter yarn is a sock yarn which has nylon in it you don’t feel it. My Pollux shawl is made from a sock yarn and it is getting softer after each wash. I agree with the Grocery Girls this was a great beginner shawl to start on. The instructions were well written and easy to follow, this really was an easy knit. I have now made a shawl which has wedges and row repeats. Would I knit this again? Yes but I think I would choose 2 colours with more contrast to them. I love the colours I chose, they work well together but I think if you really want each section to pop with an impact you need 2 highly contrasting colours. I do love this shawl and next winter I can see myself in this a lot.
After my success of knitting socks in October I thought I might carry on the theme and make leg warmers for my nieces for Christmas.
Leg warmers are essentially socks without toes or heals. I had a look for patterns because I don’t know what size I needed for kids. On Ravelry I found this pattern which I used to cast on the number of stitches for each leg warmer and do the length. The pattern has you increase your stitches as you go along. I didn’t do this. I knitted the ribbing of the cuff (1½” for longer ones, 1″ for smaller) then I just did a tube all the way and then knitted the cuff the same length to match. I used a stretchy bind off that Very Pink Knits has on YouTube. I tried on the first one I made and these do stretch so they should fit.
The yarn used is Rosarios Bambino. It is a very soft and squishy acrylic. It was lovely yarn to work with except for one section that had a knot in it which came undone and I had to rip back my work to fix it. I started these Oct 28th and finished weaving the ends in on Dec 9th. These were a lot of mindless knitting. I was going to make 2 at time but these were knitting so quickly that I think 2 at a time may of slowed me down.
I will make these again and follow the actual pattern but I think with making the amount that I did have to make a simple tube was the way to go for these.
Last month I was lucky enough to do a class at Skein Sisters on Shawl Deconstruction with Georgie Nicolson aka Tikki Knits The class was all about learning how you can start with a basic triangle shape shawl and modify it to become various shapes. The concept seems really hard but it is only basic maths and moving where you place your increases to change the shapes. We were also taught how to chart lace patterns and adapt them to the pattern you are working on. The lace part was like an entire different language but baby steps.
In the class we had the option of sticking with the pattern Georgie had designed which was the Botany Bay shawl or we could have a go at playing around with moving the increases to change the shape. I decided to stick with the pattern. It is a lovely looking shawl and it isn’t triangular all the way as in the pattern she has adjusted the shape so it sits around the body nicely. The pattern has garter stitch, eyelets and lace so I thought let’s stick with that.
I fully admit I struggled during the class. It wasn’t the teacher it was me. Even though I have made a triangle shawl which has centre increases when I made my Grain shawl I couldn’t do them in the class. I learnt how to do my yarn overs (which is how you do the increases) in Continental knitting so when I was knitting English style in the class I did not know how to do them properly. I had looked them up in a book before I left home but without the book or youtube in front of me I didn’t know which way I was wrapping the yarn around the needle. Some rows I wrapped the yarn one way, some rows I did the other. I think sometimes I forgot to do them. It wasn’t stressful I just knew in the class that when I got home I would take it off my needles and start again.
The pattern is designed for Sparrow by Quince & Co yarn. It is a lovely linen which I had never worked with before. Once of the reasons I did the class was to work with a new yarn that I hadn’t experienced before. We got to choose our colour combination and I believe I chose sky and birch. The birch is like a soft grey with a blue speckles through it which may be the sky colour. Now this is what happens what happens when you carry your linen yarn loosely in your bag on the way home. It explodes into a mess. I have 2 balls of each colour and they both need re-caking before I start my shawl again.
I will make this shawl at some point. The pattern design is gorgeous, the yarn amazing. I think it is a pattern I have to make in my own time. I need to sit down and focus on it fully. Once I get started I should be ok. I think maybe before I attempt this again I need to do a basic lace item such as a small scarf or even a toy blanket to get my head around following a lace pattern. I want to make this shawl so hopefully I do it sooner rather than later.
I don’t get dressed up for Christmas but I do wear a Santa hat at my work. The one I had been wearing each year was an acrylic fluffy cheap hat that I can only tolerate for small periods as my forehead gets hot and itchy. Every Christmas I think I should make one out of cotton and now I have.
The pattern I used was a free pattern Santa’s Ho-Ho-Hat I found on Ravelry. I wanted a basic shape Santa hat and this was perfect. It is a really simple pattern to follow. There is nothing fancy in this pattern so it is a really great beginner pattern, I had never done any type of hat in the round before so this was a great pattern to learn on. I knitted this magic loop style as I still don’t know how to use double pointed needles. In my stash I found red Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton and cream 5ply Moda Vera Jalap which apparently is now discontinued. I am trying to knit my stash as much as I can because I keep adding to it.
The only issue I had was my pompom. The first 2 I made using the cream cotton looked like tiny mops. Even after I trimmed them and plumped them up they looked like floppy mops. In my stash I found some Stylecraft Special DK in a cream colour which happened to match so I made my pompom with that instead. It is an acrylic yarn and held the pompom shape much better.
I love my little Santa hat now.
I have socks!!!!!!!
I was a little excited to have finished these, yes I did have a dopey grin on my face all evening once these were done. In my head I have a list of things I want to try or learn, I really should write a blog post on here listing them all done. Knitting a pair of socks had been on my list for years, I can √ that one off now. The pattern I used was Rye by Tin Can Knits. I can not emphasize enough how great this pattern is.
- The pattern looks fancy with the decorative detail on the front but it really simple to do
- There is are tutorial that goes along with the pattern
- The one pattern has all the sizes you need to make it from baby to adult male
- You use DK yarn so they knit up so fast
Down the front of these runs a panel that goes from the cuff to the toes so the entire length of the sock. I thought oh no I am going to struggle with this, what am I thinking my first ever pair of socks and I am going to throw in a stitch pattern which I have to remember as well! The fancy panel is actually done in Garter stitch, once you add in a couple of stitch markers it is extremely simple to do. I like the texture of it on the front, it breaks the sock up a little bit.
I started these on Oct 2nd and finished them on the 14th. To be honest I did get a little bit stuck when I got to my toes and I had to put these down for a couple of days until I spoke to my friend at my knitting guild group. The only reason I got stuck was I did these on magic loop and when I started working on the foot section I took off all the additional stitch markers I had on my needles for the gusset and repositioned the stitches on my needles so the garter stitch panel was on one needle again. When I read the pattern and it said to count from marker.. I didn’t have that marker anymore so I didn’t know where I was to start counting from. I hadn’t slept properly so brain wasn’t fully functional, I started watching youtube clips on toe decreases and got even more confused. That was the Thursday I put them down until Saturday. When I picked them up on the Saturday suddenly I could see logically where I needed to start my decreases, it was from the side of each foot. Once I double checked with my friend that I would be doing it right I finished these that afternoon including doing the Kitchener stitch. I purchased an Ann Budd Craftsy class recently and followed the Kitchener stitch lesson as I did my stitch. I remembered not to strangle my stitches like I did in the class that I took. Kitchener stitch is kind of like hand sewing with yarn but unlike regular sewing you don’t pull your stitches tight you keep the same tension you have knitted with.
The yarn I used is Fyberspates Coops Socks Yeah DK in Hecate. It comes in 50g skeins so I used one for each sock. I did buy a 3rd skein which I had on standby in case I ran out of yarn. I used a 4mm bamboo needle. If I was to make these again I don’t think I would use a bamboo needle. I was knitting tight and the yarn was sticking to the needles at times. Once you get started the needles do warm up a little and become easier but it did feel like I was fighting my needles more than I should have.
I have worn these around the house and they are comfortable. As far as allergies they weren’t itchy on, they were warm and snuggly without being hot. I wore them for a few hours on a wet and windy afternoon which was perfect sock weather. The test to see if I can wear them or not will be to wear them and go for a walk in my sneakers for a couple of hours. For around the home to throw on instead of slippers they should be fine so now I want to get more yarn and do some winter socks for next year.