Category Archives: scarves

Holiday Knitting 2013

Another holiday season has come and gone – and I completed a few knitting projects along the way…

As usual, I knit a pair of worsted weight socks for my mom – she has cold floors and likes the extra thickness for warmth. She has three pairs of handknit socks now, so this pair is the fourth. Her other pairs are in blue, green and a variegated blue/purple, so I thought I’d give her something in a neutral color this time. I have a lot of yarn left from the stash that I inherited when my Aunt Pat passed away a couple of years ago, so I chose two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease – which gives Mom a hint of wool but keeps in her acrylic comfort zone. One of these days I’ll convert her to wool, but figure I’ll do it a little at a time. :)

I used my go-to worsted weight sock pattern, which is the Winter Socks from the Magic Loop book. It’s a very easy, quick knit – I started the socks on December 20th and finished them tonight, December 29th (and that’s with taking a day off to finish another project that I’ll post about soon). I worked on them while Mom was here over Christmas, but hadn’t quite finished them before she had to head home, so I’ll drop them in the mail this week.

Along with Mom’s socks, I knit a couple of other quick projects. Knowing that the socks wouldn’t be done on Christmas day, I still wanted to have a gift for Mom to open. And Ron’s aunt was going to be coming along with his dad on Christmas morning, to keep him company since this is the first holiday season since Ron’s mom passed away in September, so I wanted something for her to open as well.

I’d seen some photos and videos around about arm knitting, so I watched a couple of tutorials and decided to give it a try. I made two arm-knitted infinity scarves in two evenings – they were extremely quick to make (less than an hour each) and pretty easy too, as soon as I got the hang of it. I’ll post a description and quick tutorial of what I did soon, but I think it’s a great technique for making gifts. The scarves are thick and warm and were well-received by both recipients.

Last year I had knitted ornaments for teacher gifts – this year I wanted a little variety. I found a pattern for a ‘Spa Day Facecloth’ that I liked, so I made five of them in first couple of weeks in December. I paired each one with a bar of sandlewood soap and gave the sets to each teacher and a couple of our TravelingMom team as well.

The last holiday craft was one I did with the girls and didn’t involve knitting. I’d found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was really cute. Hannah and I picked up a package of red ornaments at Michaels, along with some tan acrylic paint and tiny red pompoms. Add in each of my girls’ thumbs (plus a black Sharpie), and we made Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ornaments. They turned out really well, although next time I would label each thumprint so as to keep track of which came from whom. We gave these to neighbors, friends and family.

Christmas 2013 022

Overall, the holiday knitting and crafting was a success – but I’m definitely looking forward to some knitting for fun, without a strict deadline. I’ve got a couple of other pairs of socks to finish, and I’d like to make some larger projects coming up too.

Bring on 2014!

Dreaming in Color

Although I’ve been knitting for several years now, it’s only really been in the last year or so that I’ve really become aware of the gorgeous array of natural fiber yarns that are out there. One of my favorite companies nowadays is Dream in Color – a yarn line carried by my LYS.

I first became aware of Dream in Color yarns when their Dream Club was highlighted in the weekly LYS newsletter. Basically every month from September 2012 through February 2013, Dream in Color dyed up a special colorway and paired it with a pattern designed specifically for that month’s club. Instead of working like most traditional yarn clubs, where individuals sign up and receive yarn shipments directly at home, this one is a bit different in that they send the club packages to the local yarn stores and you purchase them there.

I missed September’s yarn and pattern, but snagged October’s last fall. It was a gorgeous yarn with a mix of browns, golds and a hint of green – totally reminiscent of autumn leaf colors. The pattern was called Autumn Fern Mobius – a beautiful infinity style cowl/scarf that I was very excited to knit.

I did cast the project on in October, but due to holiday knitting – I didn’t finish until January. I love how it turned out though, and I’ve been wearing it often. I’m so not used to wearing actual wool – it’s almost been too warm to wear on many days unless the temperatures have been really frigid. :)

November’s yarn was a soft pink that I really liked, but the pattern was for a pair of opera (up to the elbow) length mitts (called Carmen) that I wasn’t sure I would like or not. I ended up actually using that skein of yarn (plus an extra I bought later) for my Enfolded Shawlette that I knit in January.

I went back and forth about the pattern that came with the gorgeous skein of December Dream Club yarn. Although I really liked the idea of the Seychelles shawl/cape, I just didn’t know if it’s something that I would ever wear. And the yarn was just too pretty to make something I wasn’t totally sure about. So I went searching on Ravelry for an alternative and came up with the Context pattern. It was a very quick and fun knit and it blocked out beautifully after I finished it. It fits perfectly as a scarf or shawlette.

January’s Dream Club was a win-win for me with both the yarn and the Ichigo Tam pattern. This is probably one of the most absolute gorgeous yarn colorways I’ve ever seen, and I’d been wanting a slouchy hat of some sort for myself since I didn’t already have a hat and I’m not a fan of the more tightly-fit ones. I had to wait a little while before casting the hat on though, since I didn’t own either of the needle sizes and lengths required. I cast-on the larger size of the pattern, for a 22” head circumference. But when I got about halfway through the pattern repeats – enough so I could try the brim on, I decided that while it did technically fit, my thick, bulky hair would probably pop the hat right off the top of my head.

So I frogged the whole thing and started over, adding an extra 16 stitches. Oh that was painful! But the end result was well worth it since the hat fits perfectly and I absolutely love it. And I even have almost half the skein left, so I think I’ll find a pattern and knit myself a pair of mitts to match. :)

I haven’t purchased February’s Dream Club yarn/pattern (yet), mainly because my budget is tighter than it had been and I’m not totally in love with the yarn colorway, which is in shades of red. The pattern isn’t something I’d really wear either. I may pick it up later if my LYS has any left over – they have had leftovers of almost every other month so we’ll see. But overall it’s been so much fun to see what Dream in Color comes out with every month and I can’t wait to see if they do another round of the Dream Club this fall!

Four years!

So I figured out completely by accident last night that it’s been almost exactly four years since I taught myself to knit. I was looking through a bunch of photos that I took four years ago to find something for this week’s Wordless Wednesday, and happened to see pictures of my first two knitting projects from way back then.

I was a pretty avid crocheter in earlier years but had started having a lot of pain in my hand when I crocheted, so thought knitting would be a good challenge to tackle. I was right! :)

KnitScarf_001

It was very simple – just garter stitch. I do remember being proud of myself for figuring out how to change colors though. I can’t remember for absolute certain, but I think I’d originally used those colors because I a) had the yarn already in-hand from a baby afghan I’d been planning to crochet and b) thought my husband would be able to use the scarf. I was wrong – the scarf was too short for him (he’s not the scarf type anyway), and the colors weren’t ‘girl’ enough to tempt any of my daughters to wear it. I think this scarf is still buried at the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

KnitHat_001

I still had yarn left after the scarf, so I made a hat to match. At the time I wasn’t ready to tackle knitting in the round, so this hat was knitted flat and then I seamed it up the side. Not very well, as you can see:

KnitHat_002

I did have someone willing at least to model the hat for me, but I don’t think it’s been worn since. It wasn’t a horrible job for a first attempt, but I cringe when I look at these pictures of it now – I’ve learned so much since then!

HannahInKnitHat

Do you remember what your first knitting project was? Do you still have it? :)

OTN: Ruffle scarf!

I just had to share because I know these are becoming really popular and I finally decided that I just had to try making one myself. And it’s such an easy and quick knit – for something that turns out so pretty… Perfect for gift-making!

RufflyScarf 001

The yarn I bought is called Starbella. There were several other types at the yarn store today too – some sparkly or fuzzy ones, but I really like the colors in this one.

The idea here is that the yarn stretches out and looks just about like a net – you knit through the top loops in short rows to create a cascading look…

RufflyScarf 003

This is the scarf that I started tonight – after about 20 minutes it’s almost halfway done! This scarf is 4 stitches per row – you cast-on just by slipping the needle through the holes in the top of the mesh, then you knit through the next open hole at the top and so on, turning after each row.  For a thicker scarf you could use longer rows – some of the samples I saw had up to 8 stitches per row.

The only complicated part is that you have to stretch out the mesh as you go and find the top loops – but the more I work on the scarf, the easier it gets.

RufflyScarf 002

I’ll probably finish this up tomorrow – I can’t wait to wear my pretty new scarf! And my girls are already begging to make their own ruffle scarves – this is easy enough that they should be able to!

UFOs (no, not the outer space kind)

In fiber-speak, a UFO is not something that involves little green men or anything, but rather stands for UnFinished Objects. Something that we all tend to have at least one or two (or more) of sitting around for one reason or another. Perhaps it’s because you ran out of yarn (gasp!), couldn’t figure something out in the pattern, got bored, or just got more interested in other projects… Those pesky UFOs just sit there, waiting for you to pick them back up again.

Sometimes you do. And sometimes you don’t.

Smock TopLast year I had 3 UFOs that sat in my closet and weighed on my mind. The first was the initial Smock Top that I started in 2010 but then realized that I was making the wrong size so put aside. Last year I restarted knitting the same pattern in a bigger size, but with different yarn. The first attempt sat in my knitting bag for months – until I decided to knit my mother-in-law a scarf for Christmas and needed to find a lightweight cotton yarn quickly. The yarn from the first Smock Top was perfect, so I pulled it apart and used the same yarn to knit the scarf.

SmockTopTake2 001One UFO dealt with and off the needles! Of course, there’s still the second Smock Top, which also seems to be languishing in my knitting bag for no other reason than I just simply haven’t had the interest in working on it lately. We’ll see if I can manage to finally finish this pattern at some point!

HannahsSecondSock 003The other UFO that I had last year was the pair of socks I was making for my middle daughter – this project became the unfortunate victim to ‘Second Sock Syndrome’ before I learned how to knit two socks at once. Having frogged almost an entire sock before completing the first one, I pretty much felt like I’d already knit two socks and I was tired of the pattern by summertime. I had gotten all the way to knitting the foot section and then just left it. I needed a break from that one.

And the extended break worked – last fall, after I taught myself to knit 2 socks at once Magic Loop style, I made myself finish that second sock before I started any other projects. The feeling of having it finally done was wonderful – and seeing my daughter so excited to have her pair of socks to wear (finally!) reminded me of why I love to knit for others to begin with. :)

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HannahsSocks 004HannahsSocks 001

I was rather amazed that I was able to match the striping up so closely on this pair of socks, but also glad to know how to knit 2 at a time now so that will be much easier from now on!

HannahsSocks 003

So if you were keeping track, that leaves me with only the one UFO for now – that second Smock Top. We’ll see if I can get that finished in 2012, but who knows what other UFOs I’ll manage to come up with!

Christmas gifts, last-minute style

As I’m somewhat prone to procrastination, I didn’t really think much about Christmas gifts for 2011 until the season was well underway. In my defense though, it really didn’t feel much like Christmas this year, between having almost no snow to speak of in December and my mood in general being on the rather glum side. It really wasn’t until a couple of weeks before the big day that I began to seriously shop and consider what we were going to do in the way of gifts for grandparents, etc.

I’d had in the back of my mind for a while that I wanted to knit a pair of socks for my mom. She’s 78 years old, lives alone in a house with extremely cold floors in the winter time and it had been a while since I’d made her something as a gift. Originally I’d started a pair of socks for my oldest daughter but quickly realized that I was not going to have enough time to both finish that pair and knit a whole other pair for my mom, so it made more sense to give the pair I was currently working on to my mom instead and knit my daughter a pair sometime later, since hers weren’t specifically a Christmas gift.

MomsSocks 001

I love the colors of this yarn that I used and was (slightly) tempted to hang onto it for a pair of socks for myself, but as it’s 100% acrylic yarn and my feet need to breathe, I decided it was best to use it for this particular gift. Acrylic is washer-safe for easy care for my mom and I knew she would love the colors just as much as I did. The pattern was the same Winter Sock pattern that I’d made twice before – it’s a good, easy, quick knit and I knew it would make a thick, warm pair of socks for my mom.

MomsSocks 002

Not having my mom’s feet available to judge size, I used the next-best thing – my oldest daughter’s feet. She’s in a women’s size 8 shoe now, which I knew was roughly the same size my mom wears. My feet are much wider than my mom’s, so mine aren’t a good judge of fit for her socks. I simply guessed – and hoped, that the fit would turn out right. And thankfully after my mom opened them on Christmas and tried them on – it did!

Mom'sSocks

I finished the socks three days before Christmas, but I wasn’t done knitting for the holiday yet. After deciding to make the socks for my mom, I thought about the fact that my mother-in-law would be there on Christmas morning while gifts were opened, and we didn’t have a gift picked out for her yet. Since I was hand-knitting something for my own mother, it only felt fair to make something for my mother-in-law too.

I knew I wouldn’t have enough time for another pair of socks, so I decided on something that would be a quicker project to complete, but still useful – and pretty. I found a free pattern for a Cotton Lace Scarf by using the Lion Brand iPhone app and luckily had the perfect yarn already in my stash. I began the scarf on December 22nd and worked on it every moment that I was sitting down. Which wasn’t a lot of them since we also were completing a big bedroom shuffle in the house, which necessitated painting, moving furniture and trying to get the house in somewhat decent shape for guests before Christmas Eve.

I finished the scarf in time – at 3am on Christmas morning, that is. And quickly packed it into a box I had ready and waiting, wrapped it and stuck it under the tree only hours before the kids had us awake and ready to attack the pile of gifts.

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I only have one photo of the scarf – I forgot to take any pictures of the finished item in my rush to get it done. But it turned out really pretty and I wouldn’t mind making another one someday – when I’ll have a little more time to actually enjoy the process.

For Christmas 2012, I am determined to decide on and start any holiday-related projects in plenty of time! Like maybe October.

Or July. ;)

Catching up

It’s always hard to come back after a blogging break – especially when it stretches much longer than ever anticipated… And that contributes to the problem – the longer the break, the harder it is to actually sit down at the keyboard and begin to put words down again.

I’ve taken a break from all 3 of my sites this fall – a much-needed one. And I’m working on combining my other 2 sites together – something that will hopefully be done in the next couple of weeks. But I don’t want to wait any longer to start updating here again – especially since I do have a lot of knitting to catch you all up on. :)

GryffindorScarfInProgress-Sept2011

I’d left off back in August when I’d started working on a scarf for my middle daughter’s Halloween costume – she wanted to be Hermione from the Harry Potter books/movies. I finished the scarf in October, giving me plenty of time to make one further Halloween-related project as well – more about that in a bit.

Halloween2011 002

The scarf turned out perfectly, and I found a Gryffindor patch online that I bought and attached using fabric glue. I’d worried that after having spent all of the time and effort to make the scarf, it would turn out to be too hot on Halloween to wear it, but we had pretty decent weather. Not too hot, but not terribly freezing either. The girls were all warm enough wearing heavy clothes under (or with) their costumes with no need for coats.

Two of them did wear hats though – my oldest had put together her own costume to be Hello Kitty (since I didn’t think the store-bought costume for Hello Kitty was anywhere near appropriate for a 10-year-old), and part of that involved a Hello Kitty-faced hat that we bought. If I hadn’t already been working on the scarf, I may have tried to make one, but the one she used was really cute and she’s wearing it as her winter hat this year too, so it definitely wasn’t money wasted.

BeccasPumpkinHat 002

My youngest wanted to be a pumpkin for Halloween – I found a very cute costume at a secondhand store, and picked up cheap orange sweats for her to wear under it. About a week before Halloween, I decided that she needed a pumpkin hat to go with her costume, so I quickly knitted one. I ended up making my own pattern since I couldn’t find one that I liked – I’ve made enough hats in general now to have a pretty good idea how to get what I was looking for and it turned out perfectly. I’ll post the pattern next time in case anyone ever wants to duplicate the hat ( and so I don’t forget myself, lol).

BeccasPumpkinHat 001

Halloween2011 004

I loved being able to help with the girls’ costumes this year, since sewing is definitely not something I’m good enough at to even attempt trying to make an entire costume at home. I need to remember to pin them down on costume choices a couple of months ahead of time again next year so I’ll have plenty of knitting time for however I can contribute to what they decide to dress up as then!

Hellos and Harry Potter

Well hello there (blows a little dust off the edge of the site). It’s so nice to see you again – yes, I know it’s been a little while. I’m full of excuses but basically it’s been summertime and nope, there hasn’t been a whole lot of knitting going on around here. I could blame Mother Nature for the horrendously hot weather we’ve had – even with air conditioning, I just wasn’t feeling like having any kind of yarn in my lap at all.

But I’m back – and with a new project already started too. I traveled to California a little over a week ago and wanted something work on other than that darned second sock that I just can’t seem to ever get up the motivation to finish. I wanted something simple and easy with little or no counting involved so I could just sit and listen to my iPod and knit on the plane or during layovers.

TeamSanJose-Day4 090

This coincided quite well with my 8-year-old daughter deciding to be Hermione from the Harry Potter series for Halloween this year – she’s read all of the books, seen all of the movies and is very into Harry Potter mania right now. So I thought that a Gryffindor scarf in scarlet and gold stripes would be a good project to tackle and there’s plenty of time before Halloween to get it done.

I went with the least expensive yarn that I could find, instead of using a superwash wool, as I wanted to. Budget constraints, sigh. But acrylic will wear and wash well and since my daughter wants to wear the scarf this winter as well as on Halloween, that’s a good thing. So I went with Impeccable yarn from Loops & Threads. I like the dark red color that I found – the ‘gold’ is more of a yellow, but it’ll work out ok, I think.

HarryPotterScarf

I searched Ravelry and on Google to find a basic pattern, and realized that the scarf really does need to be double-sided to be more authentic. I picked a pattern that I found on LeakyCauldron.org and adapted it a bit since my only size 6 circular needle is in use right now. I went with size 7 needles and made the scarf a little thinner – I cast on 58 stitches instead of 70. And I’m making each stripe 20 rows long instead of 22, working in rounds using magic loop so both sides of the scarf will be in stockinette stitch. When it’s done, I’ll close the loop ends by adding fringe on both sides.

I’m going to be getting very cozy with these colors – my oldest daughter has already requested a scarf as well!