My friend is wearing the beanie I made her so much she hinted she could really use another one 🙂 No problems I can do that.
Picking the yarn was a little more simple this time. I sent my friend screen shots of Malabrigo sock yarn from the The Wool Inn and said pick a colour. Her first choice wasn’t in stock when I got to the store but 2nd choice was Zarzamora. This is the same type of yarn I used for her birthday socks so I have worked with this yarn before and it is lovely to knit with.
This beanie is a little bigger than the last one. Feedback was maybe a little more slouchy next time. I used 2.5mm needles for the brim and made it 4″ again. For the body of the hat I switched to 3.0mm needles and knitted to 9″ before starting the decreases. It has more slouch to the last one and I don’t think it is too big. For blocking I just laid it flat on my blocking mat to dry. To be honest it probably didn’t need blocking but I wanted to wash it just on the chance I had coughed on it.
I’m posting this beanie up north this week so it shouldn’t be too much longer before my friend gets it. She’ll still get plenty of wear out of this winter. This was an easy knit to do and I did have knitting withdrawals as soon as it was off my needles which happens after I finish a project.
This pattern was one of those patterns in your stash that you keep saying I must make that one day and when you do it comes together so quickly you think why did I wait so long?
This bangle pattern is a free pattern by Amber O’Brein. I found this pattern maybe a couple of years ago and I finally got around to making it yesterday. It uses DK weight yarn but you could use any yarn by just adjusting your needle size. For this one I used some white Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton.
I am clearly not a hand model. Depending how fast you knit you could make this in an hour. To be honest it probably took me longer to cast on the stitches using the long tail cast on method then it did to knit the entire bangle. I was trying to estimate how long to leave my tail by wrapping the yarn around my needle so many times then using that length to fold over the yarn to measure out. My first two attempts left me short of yarn, my final attempt gave me too much tail yarn which I just snipped down to a small tail to weave in at the end.
This will not be the last one you will see me making. This is the first in a set for an outfit for Frocktails hopefully but I’m also thinking of all this other yarn in my stash that would be perfect for bangles. Then of course make a smaller size and you have kids presents.
My best friend works out doors and jokingly said she needs a beanie hint hint 😛 Ok mission make B a beanie was born. Anyone who is a maker knows it isn’t just as simple as I’m to make (insert item here) There are a lot of decisions you need to make before you can actually start making the item.
Decision 1 – What style of beanie would you like?
Thanks to Ravelry which is the database of all yarn patterns I sent her links to about half a dozen beanie patterns and said pick one. In the end she decided she liked the Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure.
Decision 2 – What colour do you want?
She said a bit of blue, grey, pink, purple, green, brown but no red. She didn’t want it too dark or too light somewhere in the middle. With that in mind I went yarn shopping. I was originally going to buy one brand of sock yarn I saw online as the pattern is done with sock yarn but when I got to the shop I thought it would be too itchy or rigid for a beanie. Unlike myself B doesn’t have issues with yarn sensitivity but the yarn I had in mind would’ve been uncomfortable in a beanie. The shop assistant suggested Manos Alegria yarn. The yarn was very soft and squishy and very much beanie worth. The yarn is machine washable √ always a good thing when your making something for someone else. It was a nice yarn to knit with and I had no issues with it. The colour is Macachines, it is a medium colour so not too light or dark. It contains pretty much all the colours but maybe not so much brown. Certainly no red!
Decision 3 – How slouchy do you want it?
She liked the look of the one on the front of the pattern so I pretty much knitted it as per the instructions in the pattern including the needle sizes to use in each section. The pattern notes do tell you at what points you can change the length of the brim or the slouchyness to make it how you want it. You can read my project notes on Ravelry if you want to see how I did mine.
I had never actually blocked a hat before so was a little unsure how to do it so I watched Very Pink Knits Blocking Hats YouTube clip to see what she suggested as she is my go to person whenever I need to learn something knitting wise. One of the methods she suggests in the clip is to let it dry flat but each time you walk past it throughout the day spin it around your fist a couple of times to keep the circular shape inside. I waited until I had a day at home and blocked it that way. It was raining the week I did it so it did take a few days to actually dry so the first day I spun it heaps the following days I just did it before and work. I did also move it around my blocking mat so it wasn’t sitting in the same wet spot the entire time and also changed the direction I left it flat so it wouldn’t get like seam lines or creases if that makes sense. With the colours in the brim I could see easily see it where I had it flat so I just moved it around so the different colour patterns would be in the centre each time.
This was really quick knit that took me only about 9 days to make but that was only on my needle time and not blocking time. If you’re looking for a slouchy beanie pattern I can highly recommend this pattern. It is a free pattern and a really basic knit. I can see myself knitting this again.
I am so excited I have finished my first ever Stephen West pattern!!! Never heard of Stephen West before? The best way to describe him is I guess a bit punk, a bit funky, a little outside the ordinary. His patterns are contemporary and amazing. He uses a lot different colours in his work and they look fantastic.
The pattern I chose was Daybreak. There are 2 versions of this pattern, the original version which I did try at first has a little bit more complicated stitches in terms of the purl stitches you do. It is also a more tighter shawl due to the way it is knitted so you have to be careful with your tension, I’m a tight knitter so not good for me. The second version is Purlbreak which I made. Purlbreak is a garter stitch version of the same pattern. Where you change your colours in the stripes isn’t as tight. Originally I was going use to 2 skeins of yarn that my best friend brought me for my birthday last year which is the blue yarn (surprise surprise I chose blue yarn) I would have just had enough yarn but the pattern looks better if at least 3 colours are used. When I went to visit my friend in January I checked the store that I got the yarn from to see if they had any other colours left and all they had was 2 greens. I took my original yarn with me and went to the store to see if they would look ok together. They yarn used is Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk which is a 85/15 Merino Silk mix, it is so soft.
I’m calling this my Daybreak at Kendall shawl now a little insight into how my mind works, my mind was just spinning at how it was all coming together. The yarn came from a shop called Purlwise which is located in Kendall, I was going to make the Purlbreak version with yarn from Purlwise. All the colours in it remind me of all the colours up there. Kendall is located a little inland and there are trees and greenery everywhere. I catch the train there and the train is blue. Also the colours remind me of the colours that are around me and my friend when I’m up there. Her property is very green with the bushland around it and each day we would go for a walk along the river (or it might be called some other sort of waterway) anyway the point is it’s blue. All the blues and greens just remind me of being up there and the fun we have together. All this is wrap up in shawl so it makes this shawl very special.
This shawl ended up being huge! By the far it is the biggest shawl I have ever done. I struggled to block it, I really needed a queen size bed that wasn’t going to be used for a few days but didn’t have one. I decided instead of pin blocking it just to stretch it out and let it sit flat naturally to dry. I love it. Sometimes when I’ve pin blocked things the edges look really rigid and jagged, I felt blocking made some things look worse. On this shawl you can see the natural curves and it looks organic again bringing in that feeling of being up north amongst all the nature.
I will admit this shawl isn’t perfect but neither am I. I’m not bothered by the random incorrect stitches or where I tried to fix a mistake and made it look worse. I have an awesome meaningful shawl and I am now a Stephen West knitter so I’m pretty happy 🙂
I feel like a real sock knitter now I have knitted 4ply socks!
The yarn I used was Malebrigo sock yarn in the colour way Abril. I had squished this yarn before but I had never actually had a chance to knit with it. It is a lovely yarn, it doesn’t split too much even with fine needles. The pattern I used was Very Vanilla Socks which as the name suggests is a very basic plain sock pattern, perfect for beginners or if you just want simple socks. The size is an adult lady medium. I started these using a 2.25mm needle but they looked a little small. When I visited the Wool Inn I had these in my bag (30min train ride each way so I took knitting to do) The lady in the shop was like a yarn psychic she knew instantly what yarn I was using without me saying a word, I was seriously impressed. She suggested I used a 2.5mm needle as I am tight knitter. When I got home I restarted them again using the larger needle.
These were made as a birthday gift for my best friend, last year I got her to choose the yarn when we visited Purlwise which is the yarn shop minutes from her house so there were no surprises this year when she unwrapped her present. On my summer holidays I spent some time up at her place and I wanted her to try one sock on before I finished it so I was confident it would fit as it was my first time knitting 4ply socks. I had some knitting companions as I knitted away which was fun but no I am not turning into Crazy Cat Lady!
I continued knitting these on the train home (6 hour train ride each way so plenty of knitting time) I had gotten the solo seat on the train so I could be anti social with my earphones in my ears listening to my music and knit away. When it came to doing the Kitchener stitch on the toes I thought ok this part is scary take out your earphones and concentrate. Bad move that’s when the lady behind me stopped to chat as I was in the middle of it. Note to self next time just turn off the music but keep the earphones in! It wasn’t my neatest attempt but there are no holes.
I still have some yarn leftover from these. I finally got to use my pocket yarn scales that I purchased last year. Not sure what I will do with the rest of this, it will get used in something. I’m getting a collection of 4ply yarn leftovers now from various projects so will probably start a project using them all together once I get a bit more.
When I went to visit my friend I decided to give her my pumpkin socks. Due to the cast on I used they are a little tight for me around the cuff and I have only worn them once or twice. I did wash them before I gave them to her. Now it may sound strange to give someone used socks but I have been sharing secrets with her since 1993 so why not socks too! She needed socks, I had a pair I wasn’t using so win win, I decluttered and she got socks.
Last weekend I went to purchase sock blockers but the shop didn’t have any stock of the size I needed, turns out sock blockers were popular that day as they sold out of the size I needed that morning. The shop assistant suggested perhaps I could make my own so I went online and found a free template. Maryann who made the template also has a tutorial on her blog that goes along with it but I didn’t follow the tutorial. I have made so many sewing patterns I was confident I could make the sock blockers myself with just the template.
As I was doing a clean up of my house I found some template plastic in my stash that you normally use to make template pieces for quilting and decided to use that to make my blockers. I just traced out the template twice to create a pair of blockers. In the comments on Maryann’s blog post about this others have also suggested beside the cardboard Maryann has used that you could make them from foam, old placemats or plastic tiles.
The size of the template is for a ladies small sock. I wanted medium sock blockers so I added about half an inch around the template as I traced it out. They are a bit short so I should have added more to the length if I want to use them for calf length socks but for ankle socks they will be fine.
I tried them out in a pair of socks that I wanted to photograph. Now I will be honest I won’t be using these for blocking but for photographing socks so that I can show them here on the blog. They will work if you wanted to use them for blocking but I have never actually blocked socks before. I am still going to buy a medium set of sock blockers when I can and actually use them to block a sock to see if it makes a difference but for the mean time these will do just fine. These didn’t cost me anything and took about 15 mins to make plus I decluttered some template plastic from my stash.
Last year I first saw the Correa Wrap by Ambah O’Brien when Skein Sisters held a pop up shop at my Knitters Guild meeting. They had a finished wrap on show and I really liked it. I don’t normally like gradients but with the contrast colour in the middle breaking up the colours I really liked it.
Skein Sisters sold the wrap as a pack with the 4 skeins of yarn and the pattern. The sample on display was in the original colour way of orange. Not my colour but they had it in blue colour tone pack which was more me. I put it on my wish list and when Skein Sisters had a sale in February I purchased the pack. The colours are gorgeous. The pattern is a lace pattern. Lace knitting scares me. It looks fancy and complicated and there is counting involved. Normally I run from patterns like this but I got a taste for simple lace knitting in my Miramar cowl.
I’ve just finished my first Stephen West shawl which took me out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed knitting. This week I decided to bite the bullet and try the Correa. The pattern has both written instructions and a chart. I can’t read chart symbols yet. I can read basic colour charts but not symbols so I was following the written instructions of the pattern highlighting each row as I finished it. I have made mistakes and will take this off my needle and start again. One side of the stitch markers looks ok and I seem to be on track but the other side is too messy to continue with. I’m not beating myself up about having to restart it. The first few rows of the lace section were scary but the last few rows I knitted were a bit more easier. The pattern is starting to click in my head now. Lace knitting is just a serious of yarn overs, ssk (slip, slip, knit) knit stitches or k2tog (knit 2 together) when you break it down like that it isn’t so scary, it is just like knitting socks but you have more of the stitches. The shawl is done in 2 triangles that you then join. The first triangle I’m going to be following the written instructions but I will see how I go and maybe on the second triangle I might try and follow the chart. I’m actually enjoying knitting this even if I was a little tense at first. Instead of thinking of it as scary lace but just knitting stitches I know I can do it.