Grain Shawl

I knitted my stash!! I wanted to join a knit-along held by the Grocery Girls in their Ravelry group in which you knitted a pattern by Tin Can Knits. I set myself the rule that is if I was going to join in I had to knit yarn from stash, no buying new stuff for this.

The pattern I chose was the Grain Shawl, some Tin Can Knits patterns you do need to buy but this one is a free pattern. This pattern just jumped out at me so I knew I had to knit it. I used 8ply Bendigo Woollen Mills cottons I had in my stash, the colours I think are Kiwi, Fawn, Honeydew and Moss. The first 3 colours are still available but I am not sure if the dark green (moss) is.

This shawl was a new challenge for me where I learnt some new techniques. There are some fantastic tutorials that accompany this pattern which step you through how to things. I had never knitted a shawl where you start in the centre and work outwards, I did a provisional cast on for the first time. Another new thing believe it or not is I had never done a yarn over. I had to go learn how to do them just to make this. I used dangly stitch markers for the first time, they were an experience in themselves to learn how to use because if you didn’t flip them the right way you accidentally knitted them into your garment when you did your yarn overs.

There are several ways you can wear this. Personally I don’t think I will wear it wrapped around the front hanging down unless I had a jacket on. With the bulk of it and the fact my front is bulky as it is it I just look like I am wearing a giant bib.

The way I will wear it is wrapped around my shoulders. Although it a large shawl it looks slim line wrapped around, the bulk is spread out and not so in one spot. Summer or winter this will be great to wear in an office at work.

I knitted this on a 3mm needle. I decided to knit continental style and my tension is looser this way so I needed to go down to that size to get the fabric tension I wanted. I wanted to have this off my needles before I went to my sock class and mission accomplished. This flew off the needles and I finished it in about 22 days, I didn’t block it.  The pattern doesn’t tell you when to change colours so you could do as many or as little as you wanted. From the centre spine I was measuring around 7″ of rows for the greens and about 3″ for the fawn. Personally I am not a big fan of ombre or tonal fades so that is why didn’t do my colours lightest to darkest.

This is brilliant simple mindless knit pattern, you knit until you reach a stitch marker than you do something. As mentioned the tutorials that come with it are very informative and are perfect if you have never done anything like this before.

Cassiy

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On My Needles – Pumpkin Socks

I have cast on my first pair of socks!

I don’t have the sock bug yet but I am putting my newly learnt skills into practice. The pattern I am using is Rye by Tin Can Knits. The pattern comes in various sizes from baby to adult large, I am making size adult medium. I am very worried about second sock syndrome, a term given when you make the first sock of a pair and never get around to making the other sock. I have decided to knit 2 pairs at once but on separate needles and cables. You can do 2 pairs at once on one larger cable but until I get my head around knitting a pair I will do them separately. The pattern is broken into sections and so I am knitting one section at a time on each sock, first I did the ribbing on each pair, then I started the cuff section on each one. The design panel runs down the centre front of each pair and the rest of the sock is plain. The design section is pretty easy to follow, well in this first section anyway.

I did have a few mishaps with these. On my first pair when I joined my cast on stitches in the round I accidentally twisted my stitches so when I knitted in the round my stitches weren’t flat so I ripped it off and cast on again. It took me 4 attempts before I got it right. The second cuff I got right the first time. I was joining my round in a different way to what I normally do and that’s when I was twisting my yarn.

When I did my ribbing sections I had them on a different cable set. I transferred my first sock without issue to the smaller cable once I had done the ribbing section without issue but when I transferred the second one I had my needles the wrong way so instead of my needles pointing the same direction with the cable bent if half on one side I had a giant circle that I couldn’t magic loop with. To get around this I had to thread a darning needle with embroidery cotton and weave it through all the stitches on my incorrect needle than pull it out from my work so my stitches were on the thread, I then put the needle the right direction and picked up all the stitches from embroidery thread again. Thankfully it worked without any tears or tantrums.

I am really enjoying knitting these socks. I had reallllly long day at work last week and in the middle of it I had a 90min break. I ate lunch than sat and knitted for the rest of the time. I got a lot of my second sock (which had only just had the ribbing finished) done in that time. Knitting it was really relaxing and at the end of the day I wasn’t as exhausted as I was expecting to be and I think it was thanks to my knitting giving me the break from all the other stuff I had been doing that day.

My aim is to get these finished by hopefully October 31st so we’ll see.

Cassiy

Pollux Virus Shawl Finished

It seems like ages ago I finished my shawl but I only started wearing it to work last week. In total this was on my hook for about 2 weeks. I didn’t do any other projects during that time so I think this is how I finished it so quickly.

I blocked it using the wet blocking method. I’m not sure how long you are meant to let things dry but I left it for a week. It took up my entire craft table plus had the center piece half hanging over the edge. I actually had the mats slightly off the edge so that the center section could balance more on the table. I will have to check if a week is too long or ok for sock yarn to dry.

I used metal T pins specially designed for blocking. They are very long and very sharp. I couldn’t find a suggested way to block it so I just placed pins at regular intervals along the straight edge and then evenly along the curves. I may of accidently pinned some of my curves wrong so they were a bit angular but in the final product you can’t really notice.

Although I am really happy with this I couldn’t use it as a shawl to cover my back. I’m a little bit on the wider side and although I have length on my back I don’t have the width. To wear it on my back I would need to need to increase the size so that my lower back had more coverage. This is just personal preference as I like my lower back covered.

The way I have been wearing it is wrapped around my neck. It is nice and comfortable. I was a little worried that it would look like a bib particularly as I have large surface area in front but it sits really nicely.  Most days I was wearing another coat over the top of this but I could have the zipper open as my front was kept warm under the shawl.

To recap the pattern is the Virus Shawl. Bella Coco has a great tutorial on how to make it. I watched the tutorial twice. The first time without anything in my hands, the second time with yarn and hook doing each step along the tutorial. She also has a great additional clip which is very useful. From what I have read online this is a pattern you either love or hate just by the design, some people struggle to follow the pattern. You are only doing UK trebles and chains but you do have to do a little counting. You can also get print out charts of this pattern. After a few rounds I memorised the pattern and it was easy for me to build and grown my shawl. I hate keeping count but this wasn’t hard. I even worked on this over lunch in a crowded food court whilst chatting with friends. I only had to frog it back once for about a row and a half earlier on but after that I never had a problem. The yarn I used is Wren & Ollie sock yarn from Skein Sisters. This was the first time ever of buying fancy yarn and actually using it. Years ago I brought some alpaca yarn and ended up giving it to a friend as I knew I would never make anything with it but this yarn was special. It I am being brutally honest if I was to do this pattern again I wouldn’t use this colour yarn. It is maybe a little bit busy in the darker colours to see the pattern. Virus shawls in lighter colours show the pattern more.  I love this shawl. I mastered a pattern that is difficult to some, I worked with sock yarn for the first time, I made something that was blue, I worked with a smaller crochet hook than I normally do. All these things make this shawl really special. It is my shawl.

Cassiy

 

Priscilla Scarf

I started this scarf last year and finished it on Sunday.

Last year I was going great guns on this scarf. I knitted on it most of last winter. I put it aside to work on other projects and managed to loose the pattern therefore couldn’t finish it. For months I have searched for the pattern and it is hiding somewhere. It was published in a Bettter Homes and Gardens bonus knitting special from memory. I know I also wrote the pattern down as it was only a 2 pattern repeat so I could take it with me on the go but I can’t find both items. I had actually packed it away in the cupboard as a naughty UFP until I could finish it as I was only going to knit it until I used up the 2 balls of wool I had remaining. On Sunday I had the urge to take it out and try it around my neck and it seemed long enough in fact it is over 2 metres long yes is long enough. The yarn is used Stylecraft Aran. It is very soft and squishy and very light even though it is so long. If the colours look familiar it is because earlier this year I actually used the remaining balls I had left to make the Pink Pepperment blanket for my nieces. Since I have cast this off now I do have an almost full ball left of each colour which will go into my scrap stash.

So what have I learnt from doing this project? Always check your knitting pattern is with your work or that you know where you can easily lay your hands on it online. I searched online and this pattern wasn’t anywhere. I was actually going to take it to Knitting Guild next time to see if anyone could read the scarf and tell me the pattern. It actually feels good to get this off my needles. Now I can start another scarf and this time not lose the pattern!

Cassiy

Built In Wardrobe Make Over

The built in wardrobe where I store the majority of my dress fabric and yarn has been bugging me for a while, it had gotten way out of control. I’d get something new and just dump it in there. At times I’d move one thing and everything would fall out. I had some non craft stuff hanging in there and the big white box is my finished gift box. At times this had so much stuff on it I wouldn’t even bother trying to get in it I would just put the next finished gift on top… I know what is the point of having the box then if I can’t get to it.

The middle blue tub is where I stored all my wool I use in WIRES pouches so I was forever going to it to grab another ball. That was a nightmare to get into as I would have to try to open it without toppling the pile of things that surrounded it. Just by the weight of everything the lid had broken and I was almost cutting my hand as I was pulling the yarn out. I may of even pulled yarn out through the crack in the top which wasn’t good but it worked kinda…

Something had to be done as it was making going into the cupboard not fun. Recently in a facebook yarn group someone showed a picture of some new storage boxes that Kmart has that are stackable and flip open at the side so you don’t have to remove the lids to access the contents. Yesterday I measured my space after checking out the dimensions online and today I picked up 3 containers. I cleared out everything from the side space and the containers fit perfect. The bottom one has all my cottons that I use for dishcloths. The middle one has WIRES yarns as they are all 100% wool. The top one is my everything else yarn. There are half a dozen cottons in there but they will be made into a scarf. I’m currently venturing into new different types of yarns so they are all in there. If I run out of space in there I can’t buy more yarn so an incentive to start knitting and crocheting!

As I moving my fabrics about I was looking at each one and thinking if realistically I would use it or not. I culled a lot of fabric from my stash. In October Sydney Spoolette’s are having our Spring Fabric Swap day and this lot will taken to that. Some of it is offcuts that I know I won’t use again. Some of it is fabric I purchased new but it isn’t screaming make me into something. Some of it I have brought second hand or gotten at previous swap days. There is no point of it sitting in my wardrobe when it might be perfect for someone else.

I noticed as I was sorting through was I had a lot of things in plastic bags. I only have one thing in a bag now and that is a set to make a tank top everything else I took out of the bags. These bags will now be sent back to my local supermarket tonight for recycling. I think I am less likely to use it if it still in the bag. Another thing I have to remind myself just because it is blue doesn’t mean it has to come home with me. I have both some yarn and fabric that I don’t really need and I know the only reason I’d gotten it was due to the colour.

The wardrobe is better now. I culled some other non craft stuff from it. I’ll be honest and say it is not ideal but for the time it will do. I basically have the fabric stacked in the open container that used to have the WIRES wool in it. On the other side of the room I do have some fabrics in containers but I don’t really want to put the fabrics in containers in here as I know I will never bother to go into them. The fabrics I do have in containers are really specific like fleece or felt. All the stuff in here is dress fabrics – some knits, some wovens, some heavier fabrics. If I am going to make clothing this is the pile I am going to head too. I can still access it all in here. Maybe I might look to see at some point if I can fit some narrow shelving or something in there but for the time being this will work.

Now I just need to get my sewjo back and start sewing again!

Cassiy

 

 

Valiant Cowl Shade 8

I recently visited a new yarn shop The Wool Inn and purchased yet another skein of Noro Tokonatsu as well as some other items.

Shade 8 is a like a jade / deep turquoise colour. It is a very rich colour. As soon as I got home I started valiant cowl number 4 and knitted all afternoon until I got to about repeat 7 or 8 and then all of a sudden I stopped enjoying it. I don’t know if I just got tired or what but it just stopped being fun so I put it down for a week. The following Saturday I picked it back up and finished it off. I am not going to knit or do any craft if it isn’t fun so that is why I put it down. If I am going to wear something I need to enjoy the process of making it otherwise it will always have a negative vibe about it and never get worn. I think it also time to retire this pattern for the year at least.

Something interesting I did notice with this cowl is that I didn’t as many pattern repeats from it as I did with my other 3 cowls. This cowls feels thicker than the others so I am wondering if the ply is more dense and therefore I got less length in my 50g ball. It is still very much wearable just not as long as the others.

I haven’t worn this one yet but I am hoping to next week.

Cassiy

Black Beanies

After learning continental knitting at Knitting Camp I wanted a simple project to start on. I needed to make a couple more basic beanies for someone so it was the perfect project to start on.

For my beanies I use the Custard Beanie pattern from Better Homes and Garden 2014 Knitting and Crochet Collection magazine. In Australia each year Better Homes and Garden’s releases a special Knitting and Crochet magazine and it is worth getting your hands on as they always have some great patterns in them. This beanie pattern is so simple – essentially you knit a garter stitch rectangle, seam up the side then gather the top. In continental knitting it is recommended that you use smaller needles then the pattern indicates as your knitting if often looser so I used 4mm on these. I have made this pattern previously for the person and they asked if I could make it smaller this time so I only knitted my rectangle to a length of 43cm. I measured the piece around their head and it fitted so I knew it would be ok. To seam it the pattern has you join it one way then turn it and continue the join on the other side of the fabric of the brim so the seam is hidden behind the turned up section, I think you are also meant to stitch the brim up to hold it too. I didn’t do that on these I just seamed it all one way. The seam isn’t very noticeable and this allows the person to turn up the brim as much as they want too.

I used Lincraft Esther yarn which is an 8ply acrylic, easy to care for throw it in the wash. It took me a row or two to get into the continental knitting motion but once I got it again it became like second nature. My tension was pretty consistent all the way through. I can tell it much looser than when I knit English or throwing style. Even on the smaller needles the finished beanie is still stretchy so I am glad I went with the smaller needles. This was fast to knit up, a great tv or kids birthday party knit as it is pretty mindless. The first beanie took me a couple of weeks as I was also crocheting my shawl at the same time. The second beanie took me only a matter of days. I have tried to find this pattern online and this is the one I think it is based on although I haven’t downloaded the pattern to read it. This is my go to beanie pattern particularly if I want to make something for charity.

Cassiy