Hall of Finished Projects 2016-All

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Three Non-MKAL's I'm Working On

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  I know. I KNOW! I am a serial crafter. I cannot stop myself from having way too many projects going (and this isn't the two pairs of socks... shh). These three, plus the two mystery knit a longs make a total of 5 (not including the two pairs of socks.. shh).
  Anywho, when I finish the clues for the other folks, this is what I work on.
      This is actually a really nice and relaxing to work on around the other, more complicated, patterns. It is the same stitches and is very simple (for me as an old hand at these stitches). Only 3 rows away from starting the Marlin color (the sea blue), so exciting to change colors (I am so easily amused).
     The yarn I'm using is knitpicks.com Comfy Sport in colorways: Ivory, Parchment and Marlin.
2) Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot
       This is a very simple blanket, though I suggest using stitch markers so you don't have to count in between increases and decreases. The pattern is free, which is wonderful. The only change I made is that the picture appears to have M1R and M1L's instead of the YO's written into the pattern, so that is what I did and I am very pleased with the result.
  The yarn I am using is again knitpicks.com (very affordable!) Brava worsted in colorways: Peapod, Alfalfa, and Cream. Ten rows of each color for this effect, though I can see having gone to 15 rows instead.
3) #25 Winged Triangle Shawl by Tania Richter
         Only 5 rows done.. But the cast on was over 300 pairs (not a free pattern so no specifics). Each row is taking so long that I am enjoying the decreases at each end haha. Just to give you an idea, below is what it looks like in the magazine (Vogue Knitting, Fall 2015). Just 3 rows to go and I can start the doubleknitting colorwork! It is top down, so phew! :)
       This designer is also the one who designed the Born of Fire MKAL, which I finished last month.
        I'm using yarn I bought on sale from craftsy.com a few months ago called Cloudborn Fibers Superwash Merino Sport Twist in colorways Stormy Skies and Natural.
   Those are the three projects I'm bouncing between while I'm not working on the two MKAL's. Which so wonderfully gave me a number 3 to present to my fine readers this week. I wonder what I will be able to present three of for you next week? Any ideas?
   I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the weather warming up (if you are in the northern hemisphere). Take care of yourselves and get some fresh air, even if you have trouble getting sun like I do (migraine inducing if taken in too large doses). Today, my self care plan is to visit a local yarn store Trumpet Hill in Albany, NY today. See you there!
Be Well!

Monday, April 25, 2016

*Spoilers* Game of Thrones AND Outlander Episode and MKAL's

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Game of Thrones Episode:

   So yes, spoiler alert, it appears that Jon Snow is really dead. Daenerys is going to end up hanging out with the other Khaleesi widows, if her dragon doesn't rescue her again. Tyrion has his work cut out for him in trying to keep Mereen together. Arya is really blind, and is being taught to fight with a stick, which makes sense and will make her a better fighter (in my opinion). And annoying Sansa gets two hero's, in the form of Theon and Brienne.


  That episode was a doozy!

Outlander Episode:

  Finally! Fergus!! :) He was a favorite of mine in the books and I am very happy with who they chose to play him.

  I know, time period being what it is, but I do not blame Claire for sticking to her guns about finding a useful outlet for her skills, and a place to learn more. Being pregnant does put her at more risk, but still, go Claire for sticking up for what she needs! And how about turning the tables on Jamie, she spends her nights waiting up for him and though she has Murtagh with her, he is furious with her for keeping him waiting. Selfish. But he is young and he learns in the future books (see, spoiler haha).

Godswood of Winterfell Clue 1:
   New idea/skills on this shawl? First of all, the long garter tab. This was a very long tab with a lot of pick-ups, but I have had experience doing this before so it wasn't such a big deal. That being said, here are some resources for those of you who have not done a garter tab before: Picture Link.


      This shawl has a lovely center panel and side triangles that expand, which is a new make up for me for a shawl (and I LOVE it!). The yarn for the shawl, Bittersweet Woolery Guilty Pleasure, is so soft but a little variegated. I have two skeins of it so I am alternating skeins every two rows (only forgot to do this once haha). I'm loving the effects of the color splashes, and it reminds me very much of the white walkers so it works for me. Cannot decide whether to use red beads, which are optional. What do you think?

Outlander/Dragonfly Clue 3:

     Not done with clue 3 yet, because (I am admitting) I took apart the shawl back to the end of clue one. The third clue revealed to me that my loving k2tog tbl (through back loop) that creates a beautiful border does not match the other side of the braid, so I took it apart. Here is a picture of it with the border:

     Otherwise, the second section is fun, though I will admit that I am concerned about yarn usage and plan on weight my yarn tonight. These kind of stitches tend to use more yarn (braids and slipped stitches) and create a dense fabric, which is fine, but may create a smaller shawl. I have extra in these colors when I was considering making the mystery crochet a long (and have since completely changed my mind). We will see, but it is a growing concern.

What do you think?

How are things going with your mystery knit a longs for Outlander and Game of Thrones?

Which ones are you doing?

Take care!!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Top Three Knitting Failures

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I wish I had a picture of my very first hat.. I mean bag.. I mean hat.. Well, it was this big thing that I knit and it was supposed to be a hat but turned into a bag because I used the wrong yarn, probably the wrong needles too. Go figure haha.

  We've all had them, those projects that for one reason or another just didn't work out. Maybe you were like me and even went so far as to weave in the ends, but still, it is a failure for one reason or another. Mainly, my reasons have been gauge (no I didn't do a swatch.. so yeah, failures). :).

 My knitting group says I'm advanced, but I still make some major mistakes so let's start with my most recent (and painful) and work our way back.

Most of these failures were user failures (me) not the designer.

1) New Year Mystery Shawl 2016 aka Mandala III

   Looks so pretty, right? Well, this wonderful pi shawl has been going along swimmingly. But at clue 4 I started to worry about the size.. It seemed a little small. Though the shawl would expand upon blocking, I decided to do a little double-checking. I'm using size 3 needles. Guess what size I should have been using with the lace yarn?

Size 5.

*insert swearing here*

It is still sitting in a beautiful yarn bowl next to my chair, waiting for me to frog it. What happens with it from there, who knows.

2) St. Brigid

   Cables are perfect, I finished the neckline (that is not pictured here), wove in the ends.. And discovered that it is really huge on me. I mean REALLY TENT-LIKE. No, I am not going to give it away, I made this for me. I'm going to take it apart.

  Again, I did not do a gauge swatch. I obviously used the wrong needle and this time I know why. I'm a 48" chest. This is awkward with this pattern because it only goes up to 40-42. Well, I guess I should have stuck to a size 6 needle, I know I will next time because I will be taking this apart and reknitting it all over again. I will get this sweater right!! I love it! :)

Maybe it will be faster next time..

3) Augusta Cardigan

  I finished this back in 2013, started in 2010. So warm in a lovely alpaca mix.. But I screwed up the cables at the front. But no fear! I have no plans to unravel this (though I have worn it so much as a layer in the winter it is fraying at the wrists). There is too much pride that goes into the first finished sweater.. At least I made the same mistake all the way across..

  It is a design element, honestly. Well, no, it looks like crap, that is way it is an under-layer. :)

So 2/3 (not counting the long-ago hat/bag that I have no pictures of and honestly do not know what happened to it) are gauge problems. This is a pattern, and I'll tell you why.

This blogger was a crocheter first. I crocheted afghans and it is easy to fudge afghans. You just want them a certain length and width at least, and not to run out of yarn. So as a knitter, I tend to be lazy. I know that I knit loose, so if I go down a size I should be good. Well, maybe it's time to swatch more. I know I will swatch for the St. Brigid sweater.

How not to make my mistakes?

1) Swatch and really know if you are a tight or loose knitter (no other way to avoid some mistakes)
2) Fudging is only allowed for certain items (for me it is shawls lol)
3) The cable thing is a beginner issue with cables and is avoidable if you learn to read your knitting as well as we read the latest Outlander book by Diana Gabaldon!

Have a great day!


Monday, April 18, 2016

*Spoiler* Outlander Episode and MKAL

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Episode Run-Down:

   As usual, they both looked fantastic. I was hoping to get a glimpse of Fergus in the Brothel when Jamie met with the Bonnie Prince Charles (what a fop). Even if Charles managed to succeed in the rebellion, what honest Scot that met him would want to follow him? I know I wouldn't have, though my ancestors had a habit of staying in Scotland, leaving, going back, and leaving again during the entire 1700's (go Campbell clan!).

   I felt for Jamie and Claire when he couldn't have sexual relations without seeing Black Randall and having a flashback. Very well done, in terms of what it can be like, and very cringe-worthy. And I remembered from the books a more violent reply from Jamie over Claire being accosted at the party, though the apology was wonderful.

  The pooping scene was hilarious and ridiculous (let's watch the king not be able to poop during a party!!) hehe. And the moment Claire discovers Black Randall is alive was very well done.

Dragonfly MKAL:

  It happened again, I changed something in the pattern. This clue is a cable going along the live stitches (will be fun to pick up the next stitches haha), and the join was a k2tog. I'm sorry, it looks messy to me, so I did a k2tog tbl (through the back loop), which creates a neat seam. You can see in the other pictures on the spoiler thread in ravelry what it looks like the other way. Perhaps mine creates more of an obvious border, but so does creating a line of cables suddenly haha. I'm good with mine, though not finished.

 Be well, folks.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My Top Three Favorite Knitting Tools!! :)

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Yes, I sang that. :)

We all have them, those tools that we adore and are the ones we have with us in our bags whenever we leave the house.

These are my top three must-have's.

1) Needle Keeper, the Magic Wand.
       I just love this tool. It is practically perfect in every way, so I am listing it first. 

Why? It has one rubber end that is attached to a metal tube. You can fit larger needles in there (the ends of circulars),or two sets of smaller ones, with ease. Then you don't have to worry about breaking a needle in your bag through carelessness. It really has been a load off my mind!

Where can I find it!!?      You can find it on amazon (linked above) or on etsy.

2) Soxyzz Foot measurement (though I only carry it when I'm knitting socks, obviously). (Disclosure - picture is from etsy shop listing with permission from the shop owner).

Why? Because when knitting toe-up socks (my favorite type of socks, I can insert this wonderful item and it gives me shoe size AND inches in child, kid, woman and man sizes. Umm wonderful!

Where can I find it!!?     I received this gem during a sale that Burning Impressions was having on their etsy shop as part of the Deluxe Sock Knitter's Tool Kit (which is ridiculously reasonably priced at $24ish). I have two pairs of socks going right now, two at a time and toe-up, so anticipate getting a great deal of use out of these tools haha.

3) Mug Needle and stitch marker keeper.

Why? It is meant to be a salt shaker, but instead I use it to keep beads or stitch markers/needles. It is perfectly hardy (yes I've dropped them a few times) and the top stay screwed on perfectly. And come one, it's really cute, a mini-mug!!

Where can I find it!!?      This was a fun find at walmart (in-store, not online) and is a perfect example of finding a tool in every-day places. So keep your eyes open for them in the salt and shaker isles!

     What are some of your favorite tools?

Be Well!

Monday, April 11, 2016

*Spoiler* Outlander MKAL and Episode Discussion

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Episode Blather:
   Again, spoilers!

  This episode was very satisfying, and I must say did start just like the books. Some questions were going around about whether the television show was very much like the books, and I will state here again that for the most part they have been exactly like the books.

   Season 2 is based off of Dragonfly in Amber (by Diana Gabaldon of course) and I must admit that this particular book in the series was the hardest to get into of all of them. To be honest, she seems to have gotten better as the series of books as gone on, so kudos to you Mrs. Gabaldon! This book does go back and forth a little bit and is confusing in the beginning because we were left off with a big gap (the time they spent in France).

  For my part, I'm glad that this book has been made into a movie, and I look forward to enjoying every moment of it. I cringed with Claire, when her kind husband tried to be happy to see her, only to have her draw away because of how much he looks like his ancestor (I have read all the books so I will say nothing more on that account).

  Claire truly is one of the strongest individuals, you may notice I do not say woman. Because if a man was making her choices there would be no thought about it, but because she is a woman I caught myself thinking about how manipulative. But she truly is doing the best she can.

   I was watching the last 45 minutes of "Left Nothing Unsaid", which was a documentary by Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. Something she said reminded me very much of Claire. "Life is like a tight-rope walk, we do our best to not fall off." "Life is tragedy, and once we accept that we can life." (any errors in quoting Gloria are my memory).

  Seeing Gloria's thousand yard, mournful, stare made me very sad, but in terms of Outlander I can see how Claire is always just trying to make the best of what is flopped in front of her and in terms of her skill. I couldn't imagine knowing all that I do and being dropped 200 years in the past.

  Anyway, Jamie is still suffering from the effects of being raped by Black Randall. Claire is trying to stop the rebellion to save lives and change the future, one tactic she uses is reminiscent of Dougal MacKenzie, when he bares Jamie's back to show the pain he has suffered at the hands of the English.

   In the future again, Claire has to come to terms with being trapped back in her own time, pregnant with Jamie's baby and married to someone who looks exactly like Black Randall.


Clue 1 Done!

   I am waiting on a single skein of yarn to start the MCAL, but I did start the MKAL, much to my happiness. The pattern was fun and I only had to restart the cast on once! :)

  The yarn I am using is knitpicks.com stroll tonal yarn in colorways Kindling (no longer carried) and Thunderhead for both projects. The Thunderhead colorway is much darker than I anticipated, but the subtle changes are nice, I think, and I can definitely see the plaid look they are going for.

  To be honest, from the spoiler photos I've seen of the crochet version, I may just wait until more is revealed before committing, because I don't like it. Push comes to shove, I could always do a large filet triangle and weave the colors through to create my own shawl... What do you think? :)
Happy Monday, and keep your head up. I am going to make an honest effort to not complain at all today. State facts, but not carry on and complain about anything or anyone. Wish me luck!!
Be Well!

Friday, April 8, 2016

How to Not Fear The Knitting

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This is for all the knitters who are afraid of cables, lace, colorwork of all kinds (from stripes to fairisle), blocking, substituting yarn, and even circular needles instead of straights.

1)  Don't fear it. Everything we do in knitting is simply sticks and string.

   That being said, I have done my share of throwing a ball of yarn across the room, including double pointed needles haha. We all are allowed to get frustrated and put something into time out.

2) If you don't know what something means, google it.
    Google.com is one of the most useful tools for figuring something out. I always use it as a first stop before asking someone. Even if you need someone to show you something, it can bring up youtube videos.

3) So what if it takes you 4 tries to cast on a project correctly?

   Do not be your own knitting Nazi. I mean it. Give yourself a break and do it again. I have been called an "expert knitter", which I am not, and I find myself casting on several times for some projects. It just is. Sometimes it is truly not you at all and the pattern.

4) Sometimes the pattern is messed up and it is not you.

   Use ravelry.com to look up errata and other individuals experience with making the project. And make a project to write notes in of your experiences as well, they help you and others.

In general, take a deep breath and relax, it is all OK! :)
It is just knitting, not brain surgery.
Nothing in life is perfect.

Be well!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Outlander: Dragonfly MKAL/MCAL 2016 (And GoT is coming...) Countdown!!

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This weekend is the beginning of another rash of MKAL/MCAL's that are starting!! Who else is joining me?   I have been under a lot of stress lately, and I have come to the conclusion that these dates of pleasure give me something to look forward too. As each clue is released and I complete it successfully, it feels like an exam I aced and I cannot help but be proud of myself.

  First, we have the Outlander/Dragonfly MKAL/MCAL (both) that is starting this weekend, though I do not think I will be able to start the mystery crochet along this weekend as I am missing half a color (but it will arrive next week I'm sure, yay knitpicks). I am looking forward to the fun stitches I anticipate will be present for both versions, though mine will look a little different from those who purchase their yarn from Jimmy Bean Wool, I am using the same colorways for both the knitting and crocheted versions from knitpicks.com:

 This past Sunday was a fun day to wind the skeins for the MKAL into cakes in preparation. I also wound skeins into cakes for the Game of Thrones that Donna Carruth is doing called The Godswood of Winterfell MKAL . I know that Jimmy Bean Wool is having one, but unfortunately their Queen of Thorns MKAL does not lend to substituting yarn (which I do not blame them for at all, sales after all). It requires a gradient of mini's with a solid normal sized skein, it is just not in my present yarn budget to buy their kit.

  For The Godswood of Winterfell MKAL, I will be using yarn I earned while working at Rhinebeck this past fall for Bittersweet Woolery (which I believe has been on it's way to closing every since). This yarn is so scrumptious!

   So to lay them out:

April 9th starts the Outlander/Dragonfly (now called) MKAL/MCAL

April 24th starts the Game of Thrones MKAL - The Godswood of Winterfell MKAL

What are you going to join me in crafting? :)

Be Well!!