A little sweater: my first attempt at intarsia

I recently finished knitting this:

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This was my first attempt at intarsia!  I wish I had a little human on which to model it, but I couldn’t quite squeeze it over Davey’s head!  It’s a 12- month size, and it’s really a great sweater pattern.  I’d highly recommend it for both a first sweater and a first intarsia project.  The pattern is from Roo Designs.  She has lots of really cute patterns.  Puppies, peace signs, penguins – all intarsia.

Here’s the puppy one.

puppy sweater

 

I really like this striped sweater with the skull and crossbones too!

skull sweater

I can thank my LYS, Yarn Folk, for inspiring me to finally try intarsia. I’ve been kind of scared of it. I was afraid that I would have big unsightly holes where I had to join the colors.  It wasn’t too hard though.  It was not unlike what I do when I switch colors in fair isle – when I catch the old color under the new so that there is a smooth transition.

Ann at Yarn Folk was leading a knit-along for this sweater, and she helped me lots.  She taught me to make my little butterflies that I needed to switch back and forth between the colors.

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It was a little tricky – the butterflies took me a little while to get used to.  I am very skilled at tangling yarn as well.  It seems to happen quite naturally for me.  So there was a few breaks for untangling along the way.

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I am pretty happy with it though!  I knitted it with Plymouth Encore which is a great inexpensive wool/acrylic blend.  I like working with it.

Here’s the back:

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I’d like to try this again sometime, and I’d like to do another Roo Design pattern.  Maybe Davey would like the skull and crossbones sweater!  It would be a lot of fun to make.

Knitting intarsia is one of those “makes me feel like a real knitter moments”.  I definitely want to try it again sometime.

 

 

Little houses

 

 

The other day I was getting ready to start on my new scarf – the Rapunzel kit.  Not five minutes after I blogged about the cast on for this scarf, I saw a pattern for these:

Houses-porch-2These cute little house dishcloths!  I decided I had to make some right then.  So for the last several days, I have been knitting little houses.   The pattern is called The Nineteen Hundred House Dishcloth.  It was $3.00 for the pattern, and it was $3.00 well spent.  It’s one of those very simple patterns with just knitting and purling stitches.  Very easy and they go quickly.

I began making the houses with some linen that I had.

house-porch-3

 

I liked the linen, but then I wanted to try them with cotton because I thought the stitches might be more defined.  Davey helped me arrange the houses into a picture, and he decided the linen dishcloths should serve as the shed (or barn?).  He set them off from the other houses.

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What is fun too is that I adjusted the pattern by just omitting some rows so that I could make the houses different heights.

 

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I just spent a few minutes looking around at the designer’s ravelry, and I found a West End apartment house pattern.  It looks like great fun too!

I am thinking they will be great housewarming gifts!

 

Rapunzel and a Cast on

I am starting a new knitting project today.  It’s a craftsy kit I ordered a little while back called Rapunzel Infinity Scarf Kit.  It’s knit with Cascade Heritage (fingering weight). Here’s a picture of what it will hopefully look like when I am done!

rapunzelI just love this.  I love the big cable in the middle (Rapunzel’s braid!), and how it is surrounded by lace on either side.

So the pattern begins with a provisional cast on so that I can graft the ends together when I am finished.  I have always been a little chicken of provisional cast ons because they never come apart quite the way they are supposed to (likely because I’ve done something wrong).  I did a google search though and found a result titled “EASIEST Provisional cast on”.  I thought this is the cast on for me!

Sure enough.  This is an awesome video.  She explains and demonstrates the cast on very clearly.  I was able to follow along with no problems, and I now have my stitches cast on and ready to go!

Link to the video!  Easiest Provisional Cast On.

Finishing Find: The Little Things

This may seem like a small thing, but  I had to write at least briefly about my find.  When I was in Tulsa at Loops, I came upon what I consider to be quite the little treasure: Susan Bates Finishing Needles!

finishing needles

 

Maybe I am one of the only people who have not seen these before, but I was thrilled to find them.  They have an eye that extends the length of the needle!

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They are flexible.  I was able to squish them as needed.

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They are great for shorter pieces of yarn that need to be woven.

I tried them out yesterday to finish off a shawl, and they worked most awesomely.

A great find.

Darn Good Yarn

I discovered some “Darn Good Yarn” when we were visiting in Arkansas.  I found it at my old knitting home Knit Unto Others  – where I’d returned to see my knitting friends.  Claire (the owner) has always carried and promoted fair trade yarn. One example that I discovered this trip is Darn Good Yarn.  This company provides opportunities for local artisans to make yarn by using primarily scraps from sari production (I had no idea how much waste there is involved!).

I chose some silk yarn.  It’s called Silk Cloud, and it knit up beautifully.  I chose a pattern that I’d purchased when I was visiting Loops in Tulsa.  It’s a fun pattern called “Effin’ Scarf”. This is a scarf that is knit with size 13 needles.  I loved how it knit up, and I’d make it again, but I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of knitting fingering weight yarn with size 13 needles.  However, I love the almost cobwebby look it creates.  Davey likes to ask what it would be like to knit with spider silk (he is lately fascinated by spiderwebs).  While this is not cobweb lace, it does have a kinda webby look to it knitted up in this pattern.

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I love the combination of colors.

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I had a hard time taking good pictures of it or pictures that captured how pretty I think the yarn is.

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I am spending time on Ravelry already trying to figure out what I’d like to make next with Darn Good Yarn.  I love their mission!  There’s a great video on their website which does a great inspiring job of showing what they do.  Check it out! :  The Story of Darn Good Yarn.

Lilia

I have been knitting hats.  I have been knitting them flat (as opposed to in the round), and I have been having a great time learning a new stitch.  It all began with a message from an Etsy seller named Lilia.

Lilia lives in Italy, and she messaged me a little over a month ago.  She told me that she’d read my blog, and she wanted to offer me a couple of free patterns.  She said that if I enjoyed them, I could share my experience and also offer a 15% discount on anything in her shop!  (Just enter the code HAPPYKNITTING when you check out!)

I went to her etsy site – Lilia Craft Party, and I started looking at her patterns.  She has a large variety of both crochet and knitting patterns.  She has cowls, hats, cup cosies, handbags, headbands, scarves – there is a lot to choose from.

I looked through the patterns, and there was a stitch pattern that caught my eye.  I chose a slouch hat with this pattern stitch, and then I chose a newsboy hat pattern.  I’ve never worn a hat with that style of a brim so I wanted to try it out.

The stitch pattern that was on both hats is called the almond stitch.  I had never encountered it before, and when I googled it, I couldn’t find any information.  This made me all the more interested in the stitch.  I asked Lilia where she had learned it, and she said she’d learned it in South America.

Knitting this stitch involves periodically dropping a stitch down three rows.  This sounded scary to me, but it really wasn’t. After you drop it, you pick it up and knit it again.  You only do this every other stitch on every 4th row, so the knitting still goes pretty quickly. You can get an idea of how the stitch looks in the following pictures.  I had so much fun with these hats that I made three of them!

Liliana-hats

When I started the hat, I just made the assumption that it would be knit in the round.  I did this because I almost always knit hats in the round. The pattern clearly said that I should knit in rows, but I was just not paying attention. So I was knitting along, but my stitch just wasn’t looking right.  Finally, I realized, “hey I should be knitting this flat”.  I started over, and then found that I really enjoyed knitting it flat.  There is not much of a seam required, and so that went really quickly.  I used mattress stitch, and it took me maybe five minutes to seam up.

I initially was just curious about the almond stitch, and I wanted to give that a try.  But these turned out to be some of the best fitting hats that I’ve ever made.

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David worked hard to take pictures for me.  He got some great ones of my little model Davey.  I had him try on the newsboy hat.  This picture is a little silly, but it shows off the side of the hat nicely.  I really like the shape (and Lilia sells the plastic brim that you insert into the folded hem at the front – very easy to do!).

davey-brim

I just really like this picture of my sweet kid a lot.

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David took a picture of me in the hat as well, but I like Davey’s pictures better!

me-brim

I made the newsboy hat and the hat below with Rowan worsted superwash.  It’s a really pretty yarn that I had not seen before.  It has an almost tweedy look to it.

blue-me

That’s really more pictures of me then I need to see, but I just wanted to show how beautifully these hats knit up in different yarns and colors.  The first burgundy hat was done in a Lion brand acrylic.  I like it a lot as well.

When Lilia contacted me, I thought – “How neat.  This nice person somehow found my blog and wants to share some patterns with me.”   I am so glad she did.  I learned a new stitch, and I learned that I can make awesome hats which are knitted flat.  But most of all, I have really enjoyed talking to Lilia.  She has been so helpful and friendly, and I have enjoyed getting to know her.  She has been crocheting since she was seven years old.  I love that she has a passion for knitting and crocheting.  She says that she knits or crochets every single day – no matter what kind of day she has had.  I am with her.  I find the process very relaxing and therapeutic.

Lilia includes great photographs with her patterns so you can see exactly how to do the almond stitch.  It is important to her that she creates patterns that are beginner friendly, so her patterns include an explanation of how to do every stitch and technique required.

I really enjoyed knitting her patterns, but I am really going to enjoy even more wearing the resulting hats!

Check out Lilia craft party.  You won’t meet a nicer more helpful designer.  She is offering everyone who reads this post a 15% discount on everything in her shop.  Again, just use the code HAPPYKNITTING at checkout!

Heavener Runestone

On our way to Arkansas, we drove through the eastern Oklahoma town of Heavener.  As we passed through, I saw a sign that said “Heavener Runestone State Park”.  It was really hot and really humid, but we decided it might be fun to go see the runestone.  I am glad we did.

heavener5The park is a little overgrown, but it’s beautiful.  There were stone steps leading down to the runestone.  The steps rounded around several large caves.

heavener2The steps were a little treacherous.  Davey had one unfortunate little tumble and banged his knee, but we didn’t have him in the best shoes for walking.

heavener1There is a lot of speculation about the runestone.  It was once believed to be really old – as in Viking Norseman old – but now it seems more likely that a Scandinavian immigrant may have carved it in the 19th century.

heavener4heavener3I’d highly recommend exploring around this park.  Don’t wear flip flops and crocs like we did though!  I think it would be great fun to explore on a nice winter day or in the late fall.