"Divine Vest" by Kristen TenDyke
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Back in July I wrote about a new crafting adventure I threw myself into-- Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I dove headfirst into this incredibly enjoyable artistic endeavor, discovering the many missing elements in my creative life.
Of course I didn't make this journey alone. Oh no,I was egged on by some friends from Ravelry. Ok, here's a quick recap. Some of the Ravelry group "Good Things Together" decided to do a quick ATC swap as a way for us to explore what was a new art form for most of us. This is the series of ATCs that I contributed to the swap:
After a long postal delay-- beyond anyone's control--my new little treasures finally arrived the other day, and I couldn't be more pleased with them all! So here's my little gallery for you to take a quick stroll through if you like:
This little swap really was a lot of fun and reminded me about parts of myself I sometimes ignore. I look forward to similar opportunities in the future, should they arise, and I encourage everyone else to do so as well... You never know what you might discover about yourself!
Saturday, September 22, 2012
This summer I was encouraged to jump on the sock bandwagon and knit my first pair of socks ever. 'Why not', I thought, and proceeded to pick out some yarn.
I had seen a pattern for some pompom socks and thought they would be perfect for my daughter and chose my yarn based on a 12 year old being the recipient. I wanted durability, washability, and (most of all) stretchability for her ever growing feet! Petting and feeling and reading labels really wasn't necessary since I had Lucinda--Mont Tricot's resident sock expert-- there to offer advice. She suggested Berroco Comfort Sock yarn as the best choice to meet my many demands. I grabbed it up and headed home to start my summer knitting project.
2 MONTHS LATER...
As with many great plans, life got in the way and my socks were delayed. I was finally able to cast on and play with Berroco's squishy goodness early in August. I'm not quite finished with the socks yet, but this is what I've discovered so far.
CRASH COURSE IN BERROCO COMFORT SOCK:
- Soooooooo soft-- like I could knit with this forever soft
- Fairly splitty, but not unknittable-- the fibers don't separate on their own, but they don't take that much encouragement from a knitting needle (or a hangnail!)
- Yarn is very forgiving-- uneven stitches are not super obvious, and it frogs/reworks beautifully
- Nice and stretchy!-- but this may be because I'm knitting lace and ribbing
- MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERY: center pull yarn end knots up horribly with the rest of the skein as it is being used! I am knitting these socks 2-at-a-time on the same ball of yarn, so I am using both ends of the skein. My biggest regret is that I did not wind the yarn before starting--I have spent as much time untangling yarn blobs pulled out of the center as I have actually knitting the socks. (No, this is not an exageration...)
I really love the feel of this yarn and the look of the fabric! It's one of the best feeling "plain" acrylic yarns that I've come across. I will definately use it again--great possibility for baby and kid friendly items! But I strongly urge everyone to rewind the yarn before using, just to reduce the chance of unwanted headaches! I'm not sure if it will help, but it certainly can't hurt!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
"Chaussons Hedwige" by Marie Christine
And the perfect soft and snuggly yarn for these:
Caribou from HiKoo by Skacel Collection, Inc.
Monday, September 17, 2012
And it is done! This exquisitely decadent and sensually divine creation is finally finished after two months of blissful torture. Of course, as you may have read, there have been a few hiccups along the way, but overall I would call this a successful project that I have greatly enjoyed!
The last major hurdle to finishing this shawl was probably the greatest challenge along the way. As I mentioned in my most recent post, the Shattered Sun Shawl by Felicia Lo has a selvedge edge that I forgot to remember about 1/4 of the way through, but I didn't notice that I forgot until I was about 9/10 of the way through. I had to experiment to discover the best way to repair this omission before continuing on!
After careful manipulation and re-manipulation of a stockinette swatch, I came to decide that I should leave the edge stitch intact and drop the next two stitches to create a garter stitch column. After I finished the repair I continued on in this fashion as well to keep it from being noticeable. I think the edge works very well now and will lie flat as it should.
After the repair, I was able to continue on with the final stockinette section and finally the edge ruffle. I did shorten this last section considerably, but I added two plain rows to the ruffle. Some very interesting realizations came to me as I watched my little ball of yarn shrinking precariously close to it's end with several rows left to knit... First, a Russian bind-off of almost 700 stitches is actually almost 1400 stitches. And Second, the way a pattern handles increases GREATLY impacts the amount of yarn used if you plan to alter it. This last one is a good one to keep in mind if you (like me) change patterns when you're knitting. Let me explain:
With every knitted shawl pattern-- with the exception of some square or rectangular ones-- increases or decreases are used to shape the structure of the shawl. If coming from the center out as this pattern does, then increases are used. Many lace shawls increase two or four stitches every row to keep a very smooth shape and edge-- think of a triangle getting bigger as it comes gradually to its base. This has been my experience with increases in the past; with gradual increases you can notice how much yardage you are using by watching your yarn ball dwindle. I generally am watching my ball as it's getting smaller to gauge if I have enough to do one more row, etc.
I was super happy when I started this shawl and discovered there were only a handful of increase rows!-- one between each section. This made it soooooo easy to memorize the patterns and knit away contentedly while chasing my son around the yard this summer.
HERE'S WHERE I CREATED MY PROBLEM: every row knit between two increases uses TWICE as much yarn as the section before it. I shortened several sections early on in the shawl (and banked me some yarn), but then I added rows to the final ruffle (which is the most yarn consuming part of the pattern!)
Let's just say LESSON LEARNED. Designers spend a lot of time figuring out these patterns and adjusting them to our many shapes and sizes. The structures and shaping we take for granted (and often complain about) create the foundation for those designs we love so much; they should not be ignored or cast away so lightly. Will I be modifying my patterns again in the future? ABSOLUTELY! But from here on out I will take care to note how a garment is made originally before trying to recreate it.
HUGE thanks to Lucinda at Mont Tricot in Sutton, Quebec for the fabulous (and fun!) photo shoot! Awesome store, awesome people, and an uncanny knack for getting AMAZING shots!
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The other day I was in need of a super quick knitting project that I could just knit on the fly. I've been dying to make a beer cozy for several years now, so this just seemed like the right time for it! I wasn't thrilled with any of the patterns I'd seen-- not because they are bad or ugly, they just weren't "ME". What resulted is me just improvising a pattern as I went along.
Turned out to be pretty easy to remember, so now I'm sharing the pattern with anyone who might be interested. I created it to fit a typical beer bottle, but the pattern could be easily modified to fit other bottles or cans, depending on your needs (but I think it's the decreasing neck section that makes it soooo sexy!)
Long tail cast on 9 stitches. Join to work in the round, place marker.
Row 1 - Knit to marker
Row 2 - (k1, yo)* repeat to marker
Row 3 - Knit to marker [18 stitches]
Row 4 - Repeat Row 2
Row 5 - Knit to marker [36 stitches]
Row 6 - Purl to marker
Row 7 - Purl to marker
Row 8 -Knit to marker
(Repeat Row 8 four more times)
LACE SECTION (Chart below):
Row 9 - (k, yo, k4, sk2p, k4, yo, place marker)* 3 times
Row 10 and all even rows - (p, k to marker)* 3 times
~* YOU SHOULD NOW HAVE 3 MARKERS AND 36 STITCHES *~
Row 11 - (p, k, yo, k3, sk2p, k3, yo, k)* 3 times
Row 13 - (p, k2, yo, k2, sk2p, k2, yo, k2)* 3 times
Row 15 - (p, k3, yo, k, sk2p, k, yo, k3)* 3 times
Row 17 - (p, k4, yo, sk2p, yo, k4)* 3 times
Row 19 - (k, yo, k4, sk2p, k4, yo)* 3 times
WORK ROWS (11-20) 2 times
Row 21 - (p, ssk, k7, k2tog)* 3 times [30 stitches]
Row 22 - (p, k to marker)* 3 times
Row 23 - (p, k, p, k, sk2p, k, p, k)* 3 times [24 stitches]
Row 24 - (p, k to marker)* 3 times
Row 25 - (p, k, p, sk2p, p, k, remove marker[except end of row marker])* 3 times [18 stitches]
Rows (26-end) p1, k1 rib around to desired length. I did 7 rows ribbing before bind off.
Bind off using whatever S-T-R-E-T-C-H-Y bind off method you like best. I followed this tutorial by SlipSlipKnit.com (excellent for use with ribbing.)
~*IMPORTANT TO NOTE!!!*~
I looped my yarn through the first stitch of the bind-off and tied it off before trying the cozy on my bottle--big time rookie mistake! The opening was too tight!!! Luckily I was able to unknot my yarn and redo the finishing. I instead looped my end through the first purl stitch on the row below before tying off, and now the cozy just squeezes on. Next time, I will bind off a little looser.
A couple more photos can be found on my Ravelry Pattern Page if you'd like to see more details. I'd love to see what you do with this super-quick and fun pattern!
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
With great flourish and fanfare the "Mont Tricot Exclusif" jewelry collection was finally revealed the first weekend of September at the Brome Fair in Quebec. There was a great turnout to the Mont Tricot booth as well as wonderful company and knitting fun!
The Red Collection was designed specifically for Lucinda and her cozy little store with its trademark red pizazz! Sterling Silver with Swarovski crystal accents add just the right balance of elegant and flashy to these whimsical designs.
Within this new collection you will find four shawl pins, three stitch holders, and four sets of stitch markers. The designs range from fairly simple to somewhat complex; there really is something for everyone! If you'd like to see more images of these designs, you can find them on the Everyday Peacocks Facebook page, or check them out on my Everyday Peacocks Pinterest board. I'll be adding new photos daily, so come back often to see even more!
If you are interested in owning part of the Red Collection, Lucinda at Mont Tricot would love to hear from you! There are several ways to reach her:
- Mont Tricot Facebook page
- Mont Tricot Website
- email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- or by phone at 1 (450) 538-8040. (Please remember this is a Canadian number and long distance or international charges might apply.)
It really was a lot of fun creating these dainty little treasures, and I hope you all enjoy them as much as I have!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
For the last month or so I've been working on a super hush-hush, top-secret test knit for Sarah Wilson (a.k.a. The Sexy Knitter). I can't tell you much, but I can say that the pattern is a really nice and handy Market Tote. I've been sworn to secrecy about the project-- which turned out really great-- so for now all I can do is talk about the yarn I used and hope it satisfies my dire need to share this fun knit with everyone!
I knew I wanted to create an easy to wash and care for material since (duh!) I plan to use this bag for trips to the store-- groceries and general goods both. The pattern calls for a sock weight yarn, but I was a bit worried about the durability under repeated strain. So I snatched up my list of requirements, jumped in the car, and headed to Mont Tricot to scout the shelves for the perfect substitute.
As always, Lucinda was an amazing help and spent at least an hour with me squishing and stretching and comparing yarns. After much torn contemplation I chose a wonderful rosey-tan color #210 Hempton yarn from Hemp for Knitting. (You can see all the specific details about this yarn on Ravelry by clicking this link.) This yarn is a cotton/hemp/modal blend with no stretch and incredible strength! So I made my purchase and skipped happily out the door, anxious to start swatching for my big test-knit adventure.
First thing I did when I got home was break out the knitting needles to cast on. I worked my over sized square (just for good measure... Hey! Is knitting swatches where that saying comes from?), quickly soaked it in warm water, and pinned it out to measure my surely perfect gauge. *cough, cough*. Well, first time didn't quite do it. In fact, second time didn't either-- I ended up changing needle size and diving into the pattern... I know, I know, BAD test-knitter! But it turned out great and gauge in the project is spot on. (Besides, we all know that gauge swatches lie.)
Knitting with this yarn has been a very different experience for me. So here you go... Crash Course in Hemp for Knitting's #210 Hempton:
- Seems like it should be splitty but isn't-- like two strands of lace weight plied together
- Hemp, like cotton, does not forgive uneven stitches-- though this is not as noticeable in a lace pattern
- Very soft with great drape and feel! (That's the modal/rayon talkin')
- Incredibly more elastic than anticipated with larger needles-- I knit this project with US 6 (4mm) needles, and the holes in the fabric allow for great stretch though I doubt it would have much elasticity when knit tightly on smallish needles.
- Requires different handling, it doesn't glide easily like acrylic, silk, merino, or other smooth yarns-- reminds me of harsh cotton in that way
- End of ball gets sloppy, good idea to wind it first-- no fault of the manufacturer, just the drape of this yarn combined with its weight and small ball size makes it very susceptible to start unwinding from the inside also towards the end. I found the end tangling with the working yarn when I was still many yards from finishing the ball.
- Not many join options-- could not wet splice (not wool), could not Russian join (each of the 2 loose plys is incredibly tightly wound), so I had to settle for knotting. We won't even talk about weaving in ends-- not my strongest skill to begin with, but I was in absolute fits with this yarn. I ended up glueing the knots with Fabric glue and snipping the ends. (Fingers crossed...)
Overall, used for the right project, I absolutely love this yarn! There are some fiddley things about it, but if you are aware of these they are easy enough to accommodate. I love this fabric for a durable tote bag, a nice cozy autumn morning wrap, or even a loose fitting drapey sweater. I don't think it would be a good choice for very structured clothing because of the smooth drape, or for outerwear (hats, mittens, scarves, etc.) since it's relatively heavy and not very warm. But I absolutely love the stitch definition it gives and the subtle sheen! I'm happy to say that I have almost one full ball of Hempton left over... Now to find the perfect pattern for it!