finished : started

Finished: Diamond Rib Socks in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Hydrangea. Soft, cozy, scrumptious.

Size 2.25 magic loop needles.

Started: Peruvian Poncho. The pattern is Wrapped Up by Susanne Sommer (Sosu). The yarn is various skeins of baby alpaca that I bought on our trip to South America last year. These are from Lima, Peru. I’m not sure if I’m going to use all 7 skeins. They are all different colours and it might be a bit much, but then again it might work. I’m making up the colour progression as I go.

Yarn is 4 skeins of Indiecita Alpaca DK and 3 skeins of Inka Tradition DK, all 50 grams each. The needles are 4.5mm circulars. The garter stitch really makes this soft and cozy. That seems to be my requirements lately. Soft and Cozy.

I’m trying my hardest not to cast on another project. But I may slip up and do it anyway!

Silk Road Wrap

The long and winding road…

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This pattern was a long time in the making and lived many different lives. It was a long skinny scarf. It was two panels sewn together, it was a shoulder wrap and finally it is a poncho.

I started this as a light summery wrap to take to Italy, way back in 2014. It turned out longer and skinnier than I really wanted, but I do still wear it as a long scarf. Lace is such a nice thing to wear wrapped around your neck, especially clutching bowls of delicious gelato!

Gelato anyone?

Next I did two shorter but deeper panels and tried sewing them together to make a top/poncho type thing. But no… I didn’t like the way it draped. The panels weren’t long enough and I had wings. So…. I ripped that one out before I had a chance to even take a picture of it! This was something I knit on our trip to China and Southeast Asia last March 2015. (and played well into my idea of calling it Silk Road)

Versions Three and Four: a shorter shoulder wrap that I still like. I wear it with a shawl pin. I knit the 4th one (below) on our cruise this last March 2016 around South America. It was an epic trip and I got a lot of knitting done, and I was inspired to keep at it and get the pattern written by our fabulous knit group on the ship. Oh my, I miss our knitting sessions in the martini lounge!

But as soon as I finished this, I thought… Hmmm no, what I REALLY want is for it to be longer so I can sew it up along the top edge and wear it like a poncho.

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I reworked the numbers and repeats, braced myself for knitting it AGAIN  and voila, the fifth and final version!

I used about 900 yards of lace weight yarn. Warning: there are a lot of stitches in each row. For the Roman Stripe pattern, the stitches almost double for 2 rows…. a mind-boggling 520-ish stitches! But it goes fast, I promise!

This is lightweight, soft as only merino-lace can be. I’m looking forward to wearing it this summer as a cool cover up over a tank top.

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Right now I’m offering the pattern Free for the month of May. (It will be $4 starting June 1).  It’s my birthday today and I wanted to give you a treat and a thank you for supporting our little yarn business. The link is here to the Ravelry page.

Enjoy and happy knitting!

knitting along

I’m going to do it. And it starts today. I’ve got some yarn dyed and I just downloaded the pattern. My goal is to have it done when the KAL: Tops, Tanks & Tees Knit Along ends, so I can wear it at our Clendenin Family Reunion in June, in Ohio. I think it will be perfect (hope hope hope).

I’m going to knit the Bonny, a lovely sleeveless lace shell with a gorgeous detail in the bodice. It’s lightweight, it’s knit in the round and should (hope hope hope) take one skein of lace that I dyed last year.

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Bonny by Emily Wessel for  Tin Can Knits.

Since it’s bottom up, I will do a provisional cast-on. That way I can add a bottom detail if I need it a little longer for my tall torso. And if I run out of my 880 yards, I have lots of lace leftover from other projects to add at the bottom. I think a little colour blocking would be interesting.

Time to start winding that yarn and pour more coffee!

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Catalina Cowl

Before I take off for the month of March, I wanted to share another pattern I’ve been working on. I obviously love the look of ripples. It’s been a theme of most of my patterns (well, ribs too).

First of all, I wanted to experiment with dyeing a long colour-changing yarn. It took a bit of research to figure out how to do this with a skein, without stringing it from one end of the house to the other (something I’m sure my cat would enjoy) and a way to do it without creating a tangled mess of regret.

gradient blues

It took a bit more effort, but I came up with a pretty easy way of doing it and I’m hoping this Spring to get more dyed for the summer market.

With the gradient blues I came up with, it of course made me think of water and waves and my beloved ripples.

Named after a place we would visit as kids, a place where I spent a few summers at Girl Scout Camp, a place we sailed to on weekends, Catalina seemed like a perfect name.

catalina cowl flat

It’s knit in the round, a simple 4-row pattern, 3 of which are just knitting. This is knit with a soft superwash merino worsted-weight yarn. Very cozy to wear.

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This pattern is offered free on Ravelry and I hope you have as much fun with the ripples as I do! There is also a link in the header menu under “patterns”.

Happy Knitting!

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Pattern Link: Catalina Cowl

a knitting book review

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Well, here is something new for me. I was contacted by Artisan Books not long ago to see if I’d be interested in reviewing* a book that was recently published: Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop.

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Book Description:   Beloved knitting instructor Susan B. Anderson presents her first book targeted at a young audience. This accessible introduction to knitting in the round includes easy-to-follow illustrated tutorials on techniques from casting on and binding off to joining colors to make stripes, and 17 progressively challenging knitting projects—beginning with simple infinity scarves and hats and building to supersweet toys and decor. Step-by-step text and photographs that kids can read and follow on their own mean they will be knitting independently in no time! Also included is a chapter on stocking your toolbox and sourcing yarn; plus advice on starting a knitting group, connecting with local knitting communities, charity knitting, and more.

I’m all for teaching anybody to knit, young and old. I’ve taught one of my three children (the other two haven’t been interested, but when they are…!) and it’s something that she still does when she has the time to devote to it. Once you’ve learned, I think it’s something that will always stick with you even if you don’t knit for a while. I’ve taught friends to knit and really honed my knitting skills when I worked in a yarn shop many many years ago when we lived in Ohio. I sure could have used a book like this!

This is a beautiful hard-bound book with a spiral binding. I love a spiral-bound book, especially when you want it to stay open on a page, like you would do with a knitting tutorial and pattern.

With beautiful photographs, diagrams, and clear and careful explanations, she guides the reader through the basics of knitting: the tools and yarn, how to read a yarn label, how to wind a skein (all things that by now we experienced knitters take for granted), how to fix mistakes, and something that I think is most valuable… how to unknit. And yes, I learned a thing or two here!

She starts out with simple projects: a Little Hat, Wrap Bracelet, Cowl, Stripy Tube Scarf and Stripy Hat, which is the first pattern I decided to knit.

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It’s adorable and I had lots of little bits of bulky yarn to use up… perfect!

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I do cast on differently than what she describes in the book, so I did it her way. The description and diagram makes it very easy to do. I also do a different method for attaching the next colour of yarn, so again I followed Susan’s instructions and I think I’ll stick with her method, which is to hook the new yarn around the previous stitches instead of attaching the new yarn with a knot. That knot has always bugged me.

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I’ve never made a pom pom before. Hard to believe in my long years (long!!) I’ve never done one, so this one is my first. It’s a little ragged looking, but it’s a pom pom! More pom poms are definitely in my future.

There are a couple of patterns that I’m going to give a try next. In the Intermediate Skills and Projects chapter, I think the Toasty Headband is pretty cute. Also included is Hat with a Rib, Cuffed Basket, Stripy Leg Warmers and Tablet/Journal Pocket.

I decided to knit the Cuffed Basket out of some handspun I have had for a few months. It’s a lovely wool and silk noil blend, spun as thick and thin singles. I love the simplicity of it.

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And is a nice addition on my table.

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For the Advanced Skills and Projects chapter, the patterns are really cute: a Snowman, Mason Jar Cozies, Fox Pillow, Puppy & Bunny Hand Puppets and Owl & Kitten Toys.

If I have one little criticism, it is that it would have been nice to have a listing of all the patterns in the table of contents for quick and easy reference. But really that is very minor.

I think this is a wonderful little book to get young people knitting. Let’s keep the tradition alive!

About the author:

AUTHOR PHOTO. Susan B. Anderson. Credit Evan AndersonSusan B. Anderson is the author of Itty-Bitty Hats, Itty-Bitty Nursery, Itty-Bitty Toys, Spud & Chloe at the Farm, and Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys. Her popular knitting blog, susanbanderson.blogspot.com, won the Reader’s Choice Award on About.com for the top-knitting blog/website in 2012. Susan also has a YouTube channel with dozens of instructional knitting videos that can be found under SusanBAnderson. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and four children.

*This book was provided to me by Artisan Books. All opinions are entirely my own.

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