Friday, April 29, 2011

FO Friday #10 - Croissant Compl├Ęte

I just need to start by saying how (perhaps overly) proud I am to be posting my 8th FO Friday IN A ROW!

AND this is a goodun : )

AND I seem to have a thing for capital letters today, huh

Well, without further ado, I am so excited to present

I think by the time I ripped back multiple times to fix really stupid mistakes, I probably knit the thing twice, but I still really enjoyed making it. This is my first actual shawl. The pattern is so simple that I don't think it qualifies as lace but it gives me hope of getting there one day.

Cool new skills I learned while making this were:

Provisional Cast On
Garter Stitch Tab for lace shawls
Knitted Lace Bind Off
Knitting while holding two strands together
Much improved chart reading skills
Blocking a round, flat object

I really enjoyed this pattern. The instructions were clear and the supplemental pdf made simple work of explaining the provisional cast on and knitted lace bind off. The wee bit of math required to work the chart made me feel like a superstar (except when I would discover that my count was off - then it made me feel like ripping my hair out).

Looks very croissantish here, non?

Pattern: Lune Shawl (stockinette version)
Noro Kirameki (1.2 skeins)
Tools Used: 
32 inch circular Knit Picks nickel interchangables 3.5mm/US 4
stitch markers
row counter
Knit Picks lace blocking wires
Started: April 5, 2011
Finished: April 26, 2011

The shawl is not huge but big enough to wrap nicely around without falling off (I know because I've already worn it out : )

After all my concerns about the colour changes in the Noro, I love the colour I left in and am happy I axed the bubblegum pink.

I am especially thrilled with the result of holding the two yarns together. I think the Diamond Alpaca provided a lovely continuity that worked well with the added interest from the Noro.

My verdict on my first Noro experience? 
Loved. It. 
Totally ran crazy thick and thin and I had one abrupt colour change via a knot but that didn't matter at all for my use and I loved the overall effect and texture. Don't be surprised if you come back and find me knitting with more Noro very soon.
Special thanks to B for taking these photos on Wednesday.
Especially as now it is... you guessed it - snowing!

You can't tell, but I am practicing my queenly wave at you in preparation for a tape-delayed Royal Wedding party I am hosting tonight. Bet my hubby is so sad to be out of town and missing this one ; )

Hope you have some great plans this weekend... Why not start on the right note by checking out more FO's through Tami's blog?

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIP Wednesday # 14 - Continuing to Cable

Happy Wednesday Everyone! 
My day is full of happiness and light in the wake of the Canuck's nail biting, Game 7, overtime win last night... PHEW! (Sorry Denise)

In my knitting life, things are moving along although I fear it may not look like it in this post.

I am nearing the finish on the back of my Cables in Storm Clouds vest. I love the way it looks, although it is seems mighty skinny and I hope it blocks out a lot wider.

Today, I will cast on my next project. A small foray into felting!!! I am soooo excited to try this. I have decided to start small so I won't be so crushed if it's a total disaster.

But where, you ask, is Croissant?

I'll give you a hint:
This is the 1.5 grams of alpaca yarn I have left.
Come back on Friday to see more!!

I'm off to Tami's blog to check in on some more projects in progess. Join me?

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, April 22, 2011

FO Friday #9 - They're Multiplying!

Now I have one for each of my kids on Sunday : )

Designer: Stacey Trock
Hook: G/4.0mm
Yarn: Cascade 220 in cream & yellow
Started: April 17, 2011
Finished April 21, 2011

As ever, awesome & amusing FOs to be found through
our wonderful (if somewhat hockey-team-cheering-misguided) host Tami's blog!
Happy Easter everyone!!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday # 13 - Dark & Stormy

It's been a tough week at our house. I have a serious case of The Grumps at Spring's refusal to arrive to our neck of the woods. Yesterday, when I went to grocery store, it was bright and sunny with a hint of warmth in the air. When I came out, 20 minutes later, it was snowing. Seriously! Enough already!

Anyhoo... rant over on that annnnnnnnd onto knitting.

I am making good progress on Croissant  despite having to utilize one of my life lines this week. I had to rip out 8 rows. It didn't sound like such a big deal until I realized it was over 1500 stitches. ARRGGG!

I know you have spent sleepless nights wondering what I decided to do about the unexpected pink and blue colour changes in my Noro.

Well, I decided to go for it and keep then in.
It started off well, I though the rosy pink was tempered well by the tan of the alpaca. Suddenly, I hit a patch that looked like I was knitting with yarn that had been dyed with Pepto Bismal. The photos below do not do it justice - trust me it was pretty full on pink bubblegum.

Still, I tried to accept it as part of the process but I just could not live with the one row of bubble gum pink through the middle of my lovely neutral shawl. In the end, I cut out the worst of the bright pink and kept the rest. I think the bits of rose and purply-blue add some interest and they will show up 1 or 2 more times by the end.  (Another sign that this was meant to be, was that I went to the sister store here in Calgary of the shop where I bought my Noro in Vancouver last September. Not only did they have another skein of the same Noro colourway, it was the same dyelot! So, I will not run short.)

Sorry about the lifeline in the photos, it certainly doesn't help with trying to get perspective on the colours.

Meanwhile, I have started another project I'm calling Cables in Stormy Clouds (I'm getting quite artistic with these names, no?). Perhaps not the most intuitive name for a wee baby vest but it's my party, so...

My cousin in Wales had a darling little boy last week. I had so much fun with A Cute Hoot owl vest that I decided to make another vest for this wee lad. This time it's Pembroke Vest (rav link). I'm about a third through the back and having a great time with it because I really love cables : )

I will leave you with a an extraneous photo of myself with my darling Doodlebug at brunch on Sunday.

Aw heck, here's one more of her in her gorgeous Marks & Spencer dress sent from my family in Wales.

Just cause : )
Hope wherever you are, you are enjoying all the warmth and colours of Spring (not that I'm jealous or anything!)

I also hope you have a little time to click on over to Tami's blog to check out more WIP's

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, April 15, 2011

FO Friday #7 - Tricky Chicky

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm very excited about today's FO for several reasons:

1. It's crochet - something I haven't done for a couple years.
2. It only took me two days for make
3. It's super cute : )

It was love at first sight when I saw Russ the Chick on Stacey's Fresh Stitches post about her Easter CAL. I was willing to brave getting out my hooks and relearning basic crochet to have one for myself my kids.

The pattern and Fresh Stitches website were very helpful with little tricks for the best techniques, like the sloppy slip knot. This is definitely a beginner pattern and my chick was done in no time.

Tell me that's not the cutest thing ever!

Designer: Stacey Trock
Hook: 4.5mm
Yarn: Cascade 220 in cream & yellow
Started: April 9, 2011
Finished April 10, 2011

I think it's the fact that he turns inside out to "hatch" that really gets me. Such a neat trick!
I've already started another one with a smaller hook so that I can give one to each of my kids on Easter Sunday.

Head on over to Tami's blog to check out some more cute, cool and clever FO's.

Cheers, Nikki 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday #12 - Slow and Steady

I am really enjoying my first foray into shawls. Croissant is coming along nicely. The pattern is very simple so I don't need to watch the chart and can now happily knit in front of the telly with it.

So far, I love knitting with Noro. It definitely runs thick and thin and I have had one knot with an abrupt colour change. I think using along with the baby alpaca really helps to even out these little inconsistencies. I haven't hit the pink or blue in the Noro, so no verdict on that yet.

I am now over 250 stitches per row on little needles so it is sloooooww going, but that's ok as there is no timeline to this project and I'm having a good time getting along with it.

My first tip for novice lace knitters (like myself) is... when threading a lifeline, DO NOT thread it through your stitch markers or you will have to leave them behind : (

Can you believe I will have another project to show you on Friday! I hadn't even started it this time last week. I'll give you a hint what it is. Take a peek at Stacey Trock's Fresh Stitches Easter CAL here. Check back on Friday to see what I have come up with!

As always there is great inspiration to be had seeing everyone's WIP's on Tami's blog.

I guess all that is left to say is...


Cheers, Nikki

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have been the lucky recipient of  some beautiful yarn recently. I have winnings, a gift and purchase to share with you.

I was super lucky to win Autumngeisha's giveaway a few weeks ago. I'm sure the whole street heard me squeal with job when I found the package, with this lovely note, in my mailbox.

Isn't this Shi Bui Sock lovely? I haven't decided what to make with it yet. Any suggestions?

Next up is 3 skeins of gorgeous Madelinetosh Tosh DK that my husband brought back as a gift* from a recent trip to San Francisco. The colourway is Thunderstorm. He got 3 skeins because he was told that would be enough for a toddler sweater but I'm not sure that what this beautiful yarn is destined to become.
(*gift = peace offering for spending a week in California and leaving me in the snow with two kids - Ok sure it was for business, but STILL!)

There is much more blue to it than this pic shows

Finally, my group order to KnitPicks arrived last week and I finally have my hands on some Chroma!
Not all of this was for me but it was sure fun to open!

I have six skeins. The Prism and natural ones are due to become Swedish Fish Mittens. The Rollerskate will be a part of a top/dress? for my daughter and the Galapagos was bought on a whim as a wild card purchase (maybe a Bermuda Scarf?)

So fun.
My name is Nikki and I am seriously addicted to stash acquisition ; )

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, April 8, 2011

FO Friday #7 - No Star Sweater

Wow! This my 4th FO Friday post in a row - now we're cooking with gas ( I wish - our stove is electric).

One of my New Year's resolutions was to knit a sweater for each member of my family this year. Today's FO is number 2 of 4 towards that goal (that still counts as being halfway even though the first two sweaters were for pint sized people and the second two are not... right?)

Without further ado, I present... No Star Sweater : )

Pattern: Little Star Sweater by Zoe Mellor
Size 2-3year old with 2 cm added to sleeves
Yarn: Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury 8 ply
Colourways: Denim & Bracken
Needles: 4.0mm (US 6) Knit Picks Nickel Interchangeables
Started: January 24, 2011
Finished: April 3, 2011

I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. If you don't have to pay for shipping from Australia, it is an amazingly inexpensive wool superwash. I love that is comes in 200g balls. 
It has a lovely sheen and stitch definition. However, I was fortunate not to have to tink very much with it because I noticed that it doesn't seem to hold its twist when frogged and can look a little ratty when reknit. It didn't bleed at all when I washed and blocked it but I think it grew a little. (That would account for it being a little big on my Monkey, it couldn't have anything to do with MY measurements...)

The pattern was very straight forward. This was my first time working a modified drop sleeve but I only needed to post one little question on Rav to get it figured out. 

I was really happy with how the neckband looked after picking up the stitches. 

I'm so glad I did the stripes on the sleeves (even after weaving 70 billionty ends - seriously, I counted!) 
If I had been brave enough to modify the pattern, I would have slipped a stitch on each row during the neck shaping to make picking up the stitches easier and more even. I also would have knit the neckband in the round (I didn't because I was worried the neck would be too tight and I would need to be able to add buttons - but it was fine). And, I would have slipped a stitch with the shoulder shaping to make the transition a little smoother.

I watched a lot of youtube videos over the weekend about seaming. This was my favourite one for shoulder seams.
My question for the masses (otherwise known as the 5 or 6 of you who are actually reading this : ) is: 

Do you like to block before or after seaming? 

I have now done it both ways and I think on a sweater with a lot of seams - like this one - it was definitely easier to match up the edges when they were blocked. 

Now, you've waited long enough. Here is the "Sweater & Reluctant Monkey" action shot.

 I have been reading Michelle Edward's Knitter's Home Companion and at one point she talks about the desperate measures she has gone to to find local knitting friends. She remarks on how much easier it is now with blogs, Rav and the internet. I understand exactly what she is saying. It is great to know you guys are out there. I really enjoy following everyone's crafty lives and I love cheering each project on. It's incredible to feel a kind of community with people all over the world that you've never met. I really appreciate all your support.

See more fabulous fibery folks and their fantastic FO's through Tami's blog.

Happy Friday everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Cheers, Nikki

Oh OK, just one more : )

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday #11 - Crescent Moon

Happy Wednesday everyone!
Last week, I had a lot of fun blogging for Knitting and Crochet Blog week, but it was also a lot of work! It is nice this week to be able to put the focus back on actual knitting.

I found last week's blogs to be very inspirational and motivating. So, when I finished the Little Start sweater* on Monday, I decided to push myself and try something new.
(*more on this later - like on Friday ; )

Last year (actually last April!), I bought some lace weight yarn for the first time with little clue of what I was going to do with it. Yesterday, I cast on for my first ever shawl. I have nicknamed it "Croissant."

I am holding two lace weights together - I have never knitted with two different yarns held together but so far so good.
The two yarns are a baby alpaca in a creamy tan colour and a Noro that is a mix of brown and creams. This is my first time ever using Noro. I have heard all about the pros and cons of it. People seem to either love  it or hate it. I am more than a little excited to finally try it.

Won't these lovely neutrals look nice together?
When I wound the Noro into a cake, I was surprised (and perhaps a little dismayed) to discover that in with the creams and browns are two long repeats of pink and blue.
Hmmm, welcome to Noro I guess.
So my question is: Given that I will need all the yarn on the skein, is the blue and pink going to look too weird? My options are to live with it (call it part of the creative process perhaps?) or to search for another skein so I can cut out the pink and blue sections and still have enough yarn. I would certainly appreciate some advice.

The pattern I am using is Lune Shawl. I am doing the simple stockinette version (the purple/blue one on the link). It is a very simple pattern for my first "lace" shawl but I am already learning so much from it!
It started with a provisional cast on, which I had never done, but the pattern came with clear instructions and I got it on the first go!
I have done a fair amount of knitting from charts but mostly for colourwork or patterned dishcloths. This is definitely the most counting and math I've had to manage while knitting.

In the beginning, I thought maybe I was just knitting a senseless puddle of yarn but, sure enough, there is now an actual pattern appearing. It is very exciting!

Friday, I will show you finished pics of my No Star sweater as well as action shots of it on my somewhat reluctant Monkey. Surely you wouldn't want to miss that?

Also, don't miss your chance to check out more works-in-progress over on Tami's blog!

Cheers, Nikki