Archive for the “meta-knitting” Category


Knitting the bicolour hat went quite a bit faster once I transferred it from the DPNs over to a 16″ circular, though my colourwork tension still leaves something to be desired. There’s a little bit of a difference where I switched needles, but blocking helped make it look less obvious. Something to note for next time: even if you’re not using the most ideal needles, stick with them for the rest of the project.

(Did anyone else hate having to change pens in the middle of an essay? I never liked to see half a page written in one shade of blue, and the other half written in another shade.)

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This project’s trial and error has taught me a lot about designing colourwork hats, and I will definitely be putting the lessons learned to good effect the next time. The lined brim came out exactly how I had envisioned it, but the ‘seam’ where each round ends and the next begins is not something I’d expected. A solid colour at that junction would have hidden it better. It took me a few attempts to figure out how the crown of the hat should come together, and I’m happy with how it looks – although I think I might need a larger model head! I have my fingers crossed that it will fit Michael’s head perfectly, and I’ll find out in just a few days when I see him at Thanksgiving.

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Since I only used about half of each ball of yarn to make this hat, I’m planning to make another in a slightly different pattern. I have lots of other partial balls of Cascade 220 left over from a number of previous hats, and I’m thinking about branching out into something with more than just two colours in the future!

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I’m very excited to be able to share my latest design, the Carved Lines Armwarmers! This project has been in the works for several months and is finally ready for release.

Inspired by the sinuous shapes that skiers and snowboarders leave in the snow as they carve down the mountain, the Carved Lines Armwarmers are meant to close the gap between your jacket and your gloves, keeping the snow off your wrists and keeping you out on the slopes longer! The slipknot cast-on and sewn bind-off are stretchy without being floppy, giving neat finished edges to your work.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
Through August 2015 the Carved Lines Armwarmers will be available at a discounted price of $1.49.
On September 1, the price will go up to $1.99. Get your copy today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Check out the Carved Lines pattern page on Ravelry or click the button to purchase the pattern:

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YOU WILL NEED: A set of five US 4/3.5mm double-point needles (or the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn), and a darning needle to weave in ends. Optional: stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS: The stitch pattern has some stretch to it, and should fit hands 7 to 7.5″ around.

YARN and GAUGE: Approximately 1.5 skeins (160 yards) Jo Sharp Classic Wool DK, or any DK-weight yarn you like, to get a gauge of 26 stitches to 4 inches/10 cm in stockinette. To make a larger size, a light worsted weight such as Cascade 220 and US 6/4mm needles is recommended.

Important Copyright Information: The Carved Lines Armwarmers knitting pattern is © 2015 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the armwarmers you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

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My dad’s gotten into throwing pottery in the last few years, which is pretty awesome. As with any craft there comes an inevitable surplus of finished objects, so he’s been offering me pieces and told me to pick out anything I want. I’m in minimization mode as I’m getting ready to move at the end of the year, so I didn’t want a purely decorative bowl (although they *are* very pretty). Instead, I asked him if he could make a yarn bowl for me, and sent him descriptions, preferred dimensions, and links to several examples on Etsy and Google Images search.

This is what he’s come up with. It’s lovely!

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I’m trying it out with a ball of Cascade 220 Superwash, which is just the right size… and it works perfectly, as you can see in this video (click to play):

Thank you so much, Dad! This is great – I’m sure I’ll get many, many years of use out of it!

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Here we have the twenty-five yards of my very first attempt at a woollen longdraw, knit into a twenty-six stitch swatch. I started first on size 10.5 (6.5mm) needles, decided after a few rows that it was far too loose, and went down to size 9 (5.5mm) for the rest of it. That’s why the bottom of the swatch appears to be flaring out; it actually is slightly bigger! After deciding that the size 9s were just about right in terms of how the fabric felt, I experimented a little bit with a few cables and a little patch of seed stitch. I wanted to see how much definition I would get with the textures, and the answer is “very little.” I’m relieved, as if they’d stood out nicely I would be tempted to knit a cabled sweater! Instead, I can plan for plain stockinette with a bit of ribbing for shaping, which should be a quicker project.

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After the swatch had soaked and lightly blocked – just stretched into shape, no pinning – I measured 14 stitches to 4 inches, which puts the yarn solidly into the bulky/chunky range. The fabric isn’t next-to-skin soft, but that’s okay for the kind of sweater I’m thinking of knitting. I’d like to see if I can get down to more of a worsted weight yarn, though. More test-spinning and swatching will certainly be required! I have enough of this roving to do as much testing as I need, and still have plenty remaining.

The only issue (which isn’t really an issue) is that testing takes a lot of not-spinning time. Spin the singles and give them a day to rest. Ply them, soak them, and give them a day or two to dry. Knit the test swatch, block it, and then wait for *that* to dry. Meanwhile, the Tour de Fleece is starting in two weeks! I’ll need to know exactly what I’m spinning, if I want to make this roving into my TdF project. It’s looking like I’ll end up doing a bit of this, but also working on some of the pretty dyed top I have in the stash – which I won’t mind doing at all.

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Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, I am woefully underprepared for Blog Week this year. Rather than stress myself out trying to carefully craft a week’s worth of posts with everything else that’s going on, I’m going to enjoy reading everyone else’s posts and leave as many comments as I can.

Hopefully there will be new knitting content soon.

Meanwhile, check out these cuties from MDSW!

A photo posted by Rachyl (@unmutual23) on

I went this year with my Canadian friend Steph and my mom, and we had a great time. I even got to watch the herding dog demo for the first time since I’ve been going to MDSW. The weird thing is… for the first time ever, I didn’t buy anything except lunch.

Oh, yes, and I seem to have joined Instagram. :)

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Oooh! It’s that time of year again – time to get excited for the Sixth Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, hosted by the inestimable Eskimimi!

6th-Annual-KCBW

From Eskimimi’s blogpost:

What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?
Once a year knitters and crocheters that blog are invited from all over the world to take part in a community blog week in which they are presented with a number of topics to blog about over the period of seven days. The topics are very flexible and can be interpreted in many ways, so there is a good deal of variety in the posts that this inspires, which then provide wonderful reading for anyone who enjoys reading the blogs that it inspires.

I’ve had a great time taking part in Blog Week over past years (I missed 2013, unfortunately, but I made it the other four years) and reading/leaving comments for other participants. Blogging can sometimes feel rather solitary, and this is a really neat way of bringing us together for a week!

Do you plan to join in?

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Michael’s mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the next thing I knew there was a shared spreadsheet for us to keep a running wish list. I was having trouble thinking of things to ask for, when I had a lightbulb moment and realized that luxury spinning fibre would be the absolutely perfect present. So I asked for this braid of 50/50 yak/tussah from Greenwood Fiberworks, an Etsy shop that’s been in my favourites for a while.

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The gift itself might not have been a complete surprise, but the fibre itself – ohhh, WOW. The pictures don’t do it justice. It is without a doubt the softest thing I’ve ever owned. The sheen of the silk, the soft squishiness of the yak, the way the colours fade into one another… it is simply beautiful.

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The hard part will be deciding what to make with it! I want to be deliberate and spin with a project in mind, but so far I’m drawing a blank. Perhaps a cowl like this one would be nice to wear on supercold days (like today, when it’s only 20F/-7C out), or I could spin it in stripes and make long cabled armwarmers?

(Note: pictures are from Greenwood Fiberworks and were used with permission.)

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This is the official end of 2014 tallying-up post!

Pucker Brush BFL

Incoming fibre in 2014:
19 oz Corriedale in a variety of colours, for drum carding
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel, rust and cream
4 oz Coopworth gradient, greens and purples
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, multi-coloured
4 oz gorgeously luxurious YAK AND SILK braid

39 oz

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Outgoing fibre in 2014:
4 oz Bonkers Merino-Tencel in blue became 350 yards of two-ply fingering weight.
12 oz Mulberry Fibers (green, pink, and greeny-blue) spun into fingering weight two-ply for a commission.
4 oz Fiber Optic gradient, chain-plied into 152 yards
8 oz Pucker Brush Farm BFL pencil roving, chain-plied into 230 yards
4 oz Sheepish Creations BFL in rainbowy colours, two-ply, 190 yards

32 oz (almost! allllmost!)

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Incoming yarn in 2014:
11 balls Loops & Threads Impeccable (2112)
2 skeins Cascade 220 (440)
4 balls ONline Supersocke 6-ply (1640)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Vintage (459)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 Paradise (459)
1 ball Patons Kroy Socks in Navy (166)
2 balls Patons Kroy Socks Stripes in Rainbow (332)
1 ball Berocco Sox (440)
4 balls Plymouth Monte Donegal (436)
1 ball Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK (125)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
3 balls Cascade 220 superwash (660)

32 balls / 7549 yards

Sekrit Sock

Outgoing yarn in 2014:
2 balls Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed for my Fleeps Redux (294)
2 skeins Cascade 220 for Morry and Shirley’s Hats (440)
0.5 skein Kraemer Yarns Sterling Silk & Silver for Teri’s armwarmers (210)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for the Choppy Seas socks (387)
1 skein Dragonfly Fibers Traveller (280)
1 ball ONline Supersocke 100 for the 1986 Socks (459)
1.5 balls Elann Silken Kydd, sold on Ravelry (348)
2 skeins “Starry Night” handspun, given to Mom (256)
5 skeins KnitPicks Swish Worsted, given to Mom (550)
2.3 balls Patons Kroy Socks for Kroy Me a Rainbow socks (387)
1 ball Loops & Threads Impeccable for the Such a Square afghan (192)

20.6 balls / 3803 yards (Way more in than out, but only because I bought the afghan yarn and didn’t make the afghan!)

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The Year in Crafting:
I knit three pair of socks, four hats, and two glove-like things! Not too shabby, eh? They’re all together on a 2014 Projects page. There was a lot of spinning too, and I’m pretty excited to knit some of that up next year. I also made a video about how to do yarnovers!

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Favourite project:
Probably the Acres Wild hat. The yarn called out to me so strongly, and I couldn’t resist buying it. Then I couldn’t resist finding the perfect stitch pattern to show off the variegation, and I couldn’t resist working on the project. The way it all came together at the top makes me grin. And I’m really proud of myself for knitting that bit over and over until I got it just right.

Not to mention raising over $200 for charity with sales of the pattern. That was pretty awesome, too.

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Least Favourite project:
I got lucky this year and thoroughly enjoyed everything I worked on. There is no least favourite! …well, maybe the crocheted snowflake. But even that wasn’t really *so* bad.

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Patterns Published:
Choppy Seas, a textured sock pattern – available for free!
Acres Wild, a hat pattern to break up pooling in variegated yarn.

Last Year’s Resolutions and Plans:
– spin more, YES!
– knit something with handspun yarn, NOPE
– design and publish two new patterns… YES!
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks. I… uh… don’t think I knit more than two stripes on the Stripy Socks.
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks, NOPE.
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase… big fat NOPE.
– get some stock in the Etsy shop. Well, I suppose I could list some of the yarn I spun? I did spin three skeins/twelve ounces on a commission, so that does count as selling some of my handspun, doesn’t it!

Plans for 2015:

They’re just about the same! Let’s see how much I can accomplish:

– spin even more
– knit something with handspun yarn
– design and publish two new patterns
– finish Napramach and the Stripy Socks
– crochet a blanket
– cast on for fancy cabled knee socks
– use up more yarn and fibre than I purchase
– knit a sweater
– and, of course, post to the blog more regularly…

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Last year at Rhinebeck, after much waffling about which colourway to get and whether my spinning skills would do justice to the beautifully prepared fibre, I bought this braid from Fiber Optic.

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It was an absolute pleasure to spin. Rather than going for a laceweight, which seems like the popular thing to do with gradients like this, I spun and chain-plied 152 yards of yarn as a slightly thin worsted weight; it looks similar to the grist of Cascade 220, but feels denser and less fuzzy due to the silk content.

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One reason that these gradient braids lend themselves to lace spinning and shawl knitting is that the length of each section of colour isn’t equal. There’s a lot less of the lighter aqua than the darker shades. If I were knitting a crescent shawl starting from the center, the stripes of each colour would come out approximately even as each row would take up more yarn.

Fiber Optics Gradient

Instead, I decided to knit a hat from the top down, something I’ve never done before. I looked at patterns on Ravelry, but nothing really jumped out at me to say “This yarn needs to be THIS HAT.” So, I opened up Excel and began to chart out the pattern for my next hat design. That meant delaying the pleasure of casting on for a new project, but ultimately I think I’ll be happier with something I’ve designed myself! It will be slightly textured for interest, but not so complex as to hide the beautiful gradient of colours. Maybe I’ll even put a pom-pom on top! I think I’ll call it the Rego Park Hat, after the place I was born… even if I only lived there for six months.

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Acres Wild is a hat with cabled slip stitches that looks more complicated than it really is. The quilted stitch pattern breaks up pooling in variegated yarn, and continues up into the crown to form a five-pointed star.

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Due to the way the stitch pattern comes together in the crown, the hat is knit over 120 stitches – use the yarn and needles you need to get the right gauge for your head! For a close-fitting beanie on my 21.5″ head, I used size 4 needles with DK weight yarn for a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette, which yielded 5.5 stitches to the inch in the unstretched pattern stitch. For a larger head or a slouchier fit, choose larger yarn or needles.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
All proceeds from the sale of this pattern through 30 November 2014 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU WILL NEED: 16″ circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles in the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers will definitely come in handy, both to mark the beginning of the round on the circular needle, and during the decrease rounds.

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat

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Important Copyright Information: The Acres Wild Hat knitting pattern is © 2014 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

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