Friday, October 25, 2013

FO Friday #86 - Picture Panic

Happy Friday everyone!

I think I have almost wrapped up my latest hat binge... although there is at least one more that I want to make. 

I panicked a couple weeks ago and decided that I absolutely needed to knit my daughter a hat for our upcoming family portraits... In 5 days. I used Cascade 220 sport and held it double to go faster. Of course, I didn't really adjust my guage for the thicker yarn and when I finished the hat I realized it felt like it was made out of iron and definitely was not flattering. 

So, I ripped it out and started again, sigh. 

I still finished with one day to spare. I based my hat on the Flower Hat by Rebecca Lennox. I used my own numbers and shaping for the hat and then attached the flower (which is sewn separately in pieces) as per the pattern. The hat is very cute but I would never have paid so much for a one size hat pattern if I wasn't in a panic. In the end, Doodlebug was as cute as a button for our photoshoot. I don't have the pictures back yet but I'll post one up when I do. 

Picture Panic

I'm in Vancouver for Knit City! I am so excited to go to two Yarn Harlot lectures tomorrow. One has a cash bar (although it will be tough to save some of my yarn money to buy a drink ; ) I'm sure to have lots of pretties to show you next week

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:
We went to the first of several Halloween parties last night. All three kids had a blast. My favourite part was how gorgeous the weather was. This time last year we were knee deep in snow!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday #113 - Monogamy

Happy Wednesday everyone.

I have actually been a monogamous knitter this week. I wonder if there's something wrong with me?!

Things are very busy and I've just needed some easy thoughtless knitting. I figured starting my Abalone would be perfect. And it is... now. 

I am really enjoying knitting the body of this cardigan. I did have a couple false starts. I decided to do a provisional cast on and that took a couple attempts for some reason. Then, as simple as this pattern was, I managed to increase unevenly on the two sides. So, I gave the yarn a stern talking to and told it if it behaved badly again it was headed for time out where it might be lost for all time. Needless to say, third time was a charm : )

While monogamous knitting seems to be soothing my soul right now, it does not make for the most interesting of blog posts. I'm sure I will be greatly inspired at Knit City this weekend and will have new things to show next week.  Don't forget to pop back on Friday for More Hats!

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, October 18, 2013

FO Friday #85 - It's Fall, Y'all

Happy Friday everyone!

I cannot tell you how much I wish I lived in a place where I could get away with saying "y'all" in real life. Maybe I should start using it and see what happens? (*Spoiler Alert - what will happen is that my husband will look at me like I have gone off the deep end.)

Anyways, moving on to the knitting, I have hats! I have soooo many hats, but today I will show you two. I apologize for the photography, Bean is not as anamoured with his hats as I am. 

First up is his wee pumpkin hat. I made the two bigger kids pumpkin hats three years ago and my Monkey still insists on cramming his on his head from time to time. Bean is actually going to be a pumpkin for Halloween, so there was no way I could resist making him one. Added bonus: I used stash!

Pattern: Little Pumpkin by Susan B. Anderson 
Size: 18 months

100% Merino DK weight
Needles: 3.75 mm / US 5

Next up is another quick knit winter hat for Bean. This time I went for a Woolly Wormhead pattern that satisfied this month's "Q" requirement for my LYS AlphaKAL. Bean is even less tolerant of this one...

I guess there's just no accounting for some people's tastes. Though, on those brief moments when he leaves it alone, it sure is cute.

Pattern: Quynn by Woolly Wormhead
Size 18 inches
Needles 4.5 mm / US 7
Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma worsted in the Guppy colourway

That's it for this week. I will have more (hats) to show next Friday, when I will be on my way to Knit City - Yippee!!!!

I'm linking up with Tami's FO Friday and Wonderwhygal's Fiber Arts Friday . Click over to check out all the yarny goodness.

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday #112 - The Problem with Finishitis

Happy Wednesday everyone!

What's the problem with finishitis? There is not a lot left on the needles to show you! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited to be finishing all kinds of things (and by "things, I mean hats) but I get a bit twitchy when I don't have go-to projects on the needles. I do still have socks underway but sometimes that just not quite enough, you know?

I have some plans, but they are for the kind of knitting that requires concentration and does not lend itself to grabbing on the go. Most of my bigger projects plans require a little thought and start up work (like a complicated cast on or, gasp, math). 

Anyways, I finally bit the bullet and started swatching and planning for a project I've had in my queue (with designated yarn) for two years... Abalone

I'm using Madelinetosh tosh dk in the thunderstorm colourway. I know I should probably be thinking about Christmas knitting but now that I've swatched I can't wait to get started!

Cheers, Nikki

PS. Of course, the good thing about finishitis is that I have lots to show you on Friday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

FO Friday #84 - Cool Kids Hat

Happy Friday everyone!

The last couple days have been cool and wet here. I suspect that those first white flakes are just around the corner. I am dedicating myself to knitting winter accessories for my family. This year (for a change) I even started with something for myself : )

I saw a few podcasters making a Sockhead Hat towards the end of the summer and I wanted to be like the cool kids too. I love this hat and the best part is that it makes fabulous on-the-go knitting. It's very portable and and you just go round and round for about forever. Then one day (not one day soon - this is an awesome fingering weight knit, but it's not magic), it's a hat.


Pattern: Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure
Simple and free. Awesome.
I only knit for 7 inches before starting the decreases so I could have the option to wear the brim folded or not.

75 grams used
The perfect use for this lovely skein that was an unexpected gift from my friends.

I'm seriously tempted to cast on another one. Are you? You know you want to ; )

I'm linking up with Tami for FO Friday and with Wisdom Begins in Wonder for Fiber Arts Friday. Click over for oodles of yarny knitty goodness.

Cheers, Nikki

One last shot of my hat in the wild with my lovely Bean.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WIP Wednesday #111 - Binge

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Let see, what am I working on this week?

Well, there's a hat.

And, a hat.

What? That doesn't look like a hat?
Well, I promise it will very soon.
I did warn you that I felt a hat binge coming on.

For something a little different, there are also socks.

Be sure to check back Friday to see a new FO (spoiler alert... it's a hat). 

Cheers, Nikki

Linking up with Tami for WIP Wednesday. Click over to see lots of yarns goodness in progress.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday Spins on a Monday - Silky Sadness

Happy Monday everyone.

Well, I'm going to have to call this one a learning experience...

I finished spinning my merino and tussah silk braid. This was my first spin ever with silk content.

First lesson: when spinning with silk, add more twist.

I thought I did add more twist. I increased my whorl ratio and was conscious to try to add more twist to my single but when I plied I had several episodes where the single drifted apart. Overall, I was happy with my ability to reattach the single and continue to chain play but I suspect when I knit it up there are going to be bits that are a hot mess.

Second lesson: It is ok if your skein seems a bit overplied when you are done.

I was worried about how much energy was still in the skein when I finished plying. Not only did the entire skein have a bit of a twist but I could see parts where the individual strands of yarn were twisting back on themselves. What a difference a good washing and thwacking can make! Now it looks really balanced.

Third lesson: Rinse quickly if the dye runs.

here is some of the original fibre again the yarn after washing

Would that have helped?
I wish I had a picture of the skein before I washed it. I chain plied to preserve the gradient of colours that started with a sunshine yellow, became orange, and ended up strawberry pink. Well, the water in the sink looked like Orange Crush by the time I finished washing the yarn and now the whole skein is a muted orangey-yellow that transitions to orangey-pink. Sniff

I don't actually know how I could have prevented this.

The end result is still very pretty and kind of reminds me of rainbow sherbet : )

And anyways, I'm not bitter. In fact, I'm already moving on...

SweetGeorgia merino, bamboo and silk

Cheers, Nikki

Friday, October 4, 2013

FO Friday #84 - P is for Papaya

Happy Friday everyone!

I won't lie, this week has been a rough one. I feel like all the balls I've been keeping in the air since the start of September are starting to drop. To top it off, yesterday I fell down the stairs. I'm ok but I feel like I got hit by a truck. I'm just so thankful that I wasn't carrying the baby!

One bright spot this week was that I finally took photos of some of my more recent FO's. I channeled my inner mamatronic and did my own photo shoot. I didn't even let the discovery that my camera doesn't screw onto my tripod stop me.

Pattern: Papaya Shawlette by Tanis Lavalee

I have never knit a shawl pattern that incorporates both lace and cables. I love the overall effect. I initially had a lot of trouble with the bottom edge rolling. I wet blocked, spray blocked upside down and steam blocked. In the end I ripped out the cast off and added a couple rows of garter stitch before the bind off and that seems to have done the trick.
The pattern and yarn for this shawlette was designed as part of Tanis Fibre Arts Year in Colour Club (YiCC). This is the first club I have ever subscribed to and I have loved it. The patterns are exclusively available to the club for one year.

75% Merino, 15% Cashmere and 10% Silk

This yarn is so soft and squishy. Because it is a low twist single I doubt it would hold up well to garments but it makes a gorgeous shawl. One skein is 115g and I had less that 10 grams left when I finished. 

I can't decide if I can pull off this colourway or not. As I rule, I usually avoid pink but this little beauty might be too hard to give up.

I am including this FO as part of the The Loop's AlphaKal, The Fat Squirrel's Squirrel is Away KAL and Must Stash Podcast's Rhinebeck or bust KAL. Triple dipping FTW!

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend! Make sure you hold on to the handrails when going down stairs!! I'm off to soak my aching body in a hot bath (Ha ha, as if. I'm probably actually changing a diaper or doing the pick up and drop off circus routine with my kids).

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

WIP Wednesday #110 - Two at a Time, Toe Up. Sort of.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I am looking ahead this week, all the way to Christmas. Now that I am mostly done finishing all the things, I am starting some new projects. 

First up, I am making my husband a hat for our wedding anniversary next week. This is not just any hat. It is a crazy cabled hat out of some if the softest, most squishy yarn I have ever knit. I am making Knotty but Nice out of Zen Garden Serenity Worsted. I'm almost done the cables and so far I like. This needs to be done by Tuesday. 

Next, I've started some Christmas socks for my father-in-law. I am branching out and trying my first pair of toe up socks. I am knitting two at a time on separate needles in my attempt to avoid second sock syndrome because I know myself and I am easily distracted by new shiny things.  My verdict so far: they look good and I think they will fit well but the start was a finicky pain in the butt. The pattern is Laura Linneman's Socks on a Plane and the yarn is Ewe Give Me the Knits (EGMTK) sock yarn. 

Also, because it is the start or a new month, we are onto "Q" in my LYS's AlphaKAL. I'm planning to make Bean a Quynn out of Knit Picks Chroma.

I will admit, I am barely holding back from casting on everything I see, all at once. This space just might get a little nutty over the next little while.

You've been warned.

Cheers, Nikki

Linking up with all the other WIP's over at Tami's Amis

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Spins - Silky Goodness

Happy Sunday everyone.

On my wheel today, I am finishing up a gorgeous braid of merino and tussah silk in a gradient that goes from pink to orange to yellow. This has been my first time spinning with tussah silk and it was interesting to figure out how I needed to change my technique to achieve a strong consistent single. I found that not only did I need to increase the whorl ratio on my wheel, but also that my spinning went smoother if I did not pre-draft my single. I have no idea why but I found my single ran much more thick and thin when I was pre-drafting. 

I was saving this braid until I was more "experienced" but Malia from the Yarn Raising podcast inspired me to try it now with her "New to You" spin along. I'm glad I did. It has been a great experience.

My plans are to chain ply the single this week to produce a 3 ply yarn that preserves the gradient.

Long term, I plan to knit this into a Zuzu's Petals  but to be honest, for now, I'm really looking forward to spinning something that has colours that feel more appropriate for fall. Now that I've done a couple gradients, I'd like to do something that will produce some awesome barber poling. I can't wait!

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:

We've been having some gorgeous fall weather over the last few days. Today, my husband and I took Bean to the park to get some photos of him in the leaves. I have taken outside photos of each of my babies in their first fall. I guess after three it is officially a tradition. 

I can't believe how big he is getting!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

FO Friday #83 - Purple Flower Hat

Happy Friday everyone!

We are having some lovely fall weather here in Calgary. The days are mostly bright but there is a distinct chill in the air that has me thinking of wool socks and warm hats. As of yesterday, our furnace is officially on.

Doodlebug started thinking about this year's winter hat long before the leaves started to change colour. She has been adamant that this year she wanted a "purple flower hat". The rest apparently was up to me.

With this lovely little accessory, I think I have finally entered the realm of pretty good advanced knitter. I looked around at a few patterns and then decided to get what I want, I should just to make my own up. This hat is a pretty simple thing but I am pleased that it is all mine.

Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh DK in the Lolita colourway
Purchased at Knit & Needle in Whitefish Montana
35g used
Love this yarn. Love the colour. Love the softness. Love the stitch definition.

Size: 3T

Cast on 84 stitches with 3.25mm needles using Wolly Wormhead's Alternate Tubular cast on.
Joined in the round and knit about 12 rows 1 x 1 rib with 3.5mm needles.
Changed to 3.75mm needles for the main body and knit until total length was 14 cm.
Decreased every other row until 8 stitches remained.
Daisy Chain flower inspired by autumgeisha!

The only thing better than how happy this little project has made me, is how pleased Doodlebug is with it!

I feel a hat binge coming on. Stay tuned...

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIP Wednesday #109 - In Between

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Boy, I feel like I don't have much to show you today. Not because I haven't been knitting but because I have been finishing. (This is a good thing!)

I have a finished shawl and two hats to show you over the next few Fridays. I have swatches for a fingering weight cardigan (so get ready to see that WIP every week for the next 6 months or so) but it starts with a provisional cast on, which means I need to focus to get it going and focus seems to be something I'm running short on these days. In the meantime, I pulled back out my Aerie Scarf which was still in the middle stockinette portion. 

Perfect for focus-less knitting on the go. Except, now I am now at the point where I need to start the lace again... More focusing required.

So, then I decided to start some Christmas socks for my father-in-law. I wanted to make Laura Linneman's Socks on a Plane. I was waiting to pick up my daughter from preschool when I realized that this pattern is toe up. I tried to do Judy's Magic Cast On from memory but it doesn't look quite right so I'm going to rip it out and start again. 

Of course, now I need to look up the cast on again and actually pay attention this time...

Maybe I'll just cast on another hat.

Cheers, Nikki

Check out more WIP's!

Friday, September 20, 2013

FOF Friday #82 -MIA

Happy Friday everyone!

I took a bit of an unexpected absence for the last little while. To be honest, life kind of got the better of me this week and I just couldn't seem to get it together. We are currently looking for a new (bigger) house and frankly it's all a bit much. So I had a crappy few days, wallowed a bit and leant on those closest to me. Then I got up, dusted myself off (aka bought some yarn) and now I'm feeling much better.

At least I've been knitting! I'm very excited to show you Monkey's new sweater today. I'm really happy with how it turned out. 

This is a free Drops pattern that I modified using Sandra Jager's free helicopter colourwork chart. It took a little math to fit the helicopters to the sweater and centre them in the front, but I think it worked out well. 

This pattern calls for a DK weight yarn but I got gauge with Cascade 220 superwash. I love using this yarn for kids' stuff. It's soft enough to wear, comes at a great price point in lots of colours and can go straight in the wash.  

My only pattern modification was the colourwork chart substitution. I never look forward to knitting sleeves and as this is a pieced sweater, the sleeves come last. This time I knit them at the same time on two separate needles. I loved it! not only were they both finished at the same time, but I didn't have to worry about making notes about when I increased or changed colours because I was literally doing it to  the other sleeve at the same time! I will certainly do that again.

I was a little nervous about setting in the sleeves as I have only done it a couple of times. I found this video by Knit Picks to be very helpful.

The final sweater fit great when it was first finished. Even though I washed and blocked my swatch, it did grow a little when I blocked the end result. I made the size 6 for my slight 5 year old. It is still very wearable and I'm glad he will have room in it to grow. 

So, in the last year I have made Monkey a humpback whale hat and a helicopter sweater. I'm slightly nervous about what he might ask for next!

I'm linking up with Tami's Amis so click on over for lots more fabulous FO's.

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite things:

I feel very spoiled to have scored a Fat Squirrel project bag in her latest update.  I got the sweater bag and it is fabulous. If you haven't seen the Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast, I highly recommend it. Amy Beth can get you laughing even on the bleakest of days.  All that and she is an fabulous knitter and bag designer too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIP #108 - Fruity Sunny Goodness

Happy Wednesday everyone.

I am having a great time knitting my Papaya Shawlette with my Tanis Fiber Arts Red Label in the club colour Papaya.  It is a very summery colour to be knitting right now but we are having a late summer here in Calgary (for now anyways, you never know it might snow tomorrow). Anyways, it's working for me.

I didn't realize until I started the pattern that this shawl has both lace and cables. It's a combination I've never knit in the same project before and I'm digging it. I have to concentrate on the pattern so I don't get a lot of time on it but I am very determined to have it finished by the end of September.  

This is a very happy knit and it is certainly helping me keep summer alive. 

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday's with Tami's Amis and I'll be back on Friday to show you Monkey's finished sweater!

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:
Last week I showed you my Monkey starting kindergarten. This week, it was Doodlebug's turn to start preschool. On top of that, Bean has started crawling (sort of - he's definitely on the move). It's been quite a month for us! I'm ok if all this "growing up" takes a break for a while now...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Spins - Chain Ply

Happy Sunday everyone!

I have finished my first entry for rhymeswithmaria's New to You Spinalong.

I went for the triple entry, which meant I need to use a new tool (my wheel), a new fibre (polworth) and a new technique... chain ply.

I loved spinning this fibre. Spinning on my ladybug was fantastic and I loved the gradient single I ended up with.  I was terrified I was going to mess it up with my first chain ply so I decided to try it out on the sample fibre I had spun when I was working out how to use my wheel.

I watched some videos on YouTube and then decided to give it a go. I ended up with this...

Needless to say, I was then even more terrified. For those who don't know, a chain ply (also called a Navajo ply) is a way of looping and spinning a single to make a three ply yarn. The beauty of a chain ply is that it preserves the colour order of the single and is perfect for things like gradients.) It is not hard but does take some practice.

After that disaster, I went back to YouTube and watched one more video. This one. The heavens parted, the sun shone down and it suddenly all made sense to me.

In the end, I was able to take this...

Spin it into this...

And chain ply it into THIS!

(about 130 metres of an aran/bulky weight in 100% polworth from Tails and Snouts)

I'm desperate to get back to my wheel and spin some more singles because suddenly I want to chain ply everything!

I hope you are enjoying the final moments of a lovely weekend. The men of my house are watching football so my plan is to hide, knit and catch up on some podcasts. Bliss!

Cheers, Nikki

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIP Wednesday # 107 - A New Year

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Where did this Wednesday come from? The Holiday Monday and the start of school has got my head spinning! It"as been a very long time  a while since I was in school but somehow the start of September still feels like a fresh start to the year for me.

But not just school and activities start this month, it"s also the beginning of the Fall knitting season! Many of the blogs and podcast I follow have knit-alongs starting this month. I have been planning and plotting about how to participate in a many of them as I can. I've even considered starting a spreadsheet.  How's that for craft nerd dedication in all its glory?

First up, The Fat Squirrel Speaks (Do you watch her podcast? You should!) is having an "Un Squirrel it Away" KAL. The point is to finally knit up a yarn or a pattern you've been saving for "special". At the same time, the Must Stash Podcast girls are having a "Rhinebeck or Bust" KAL where you knit something you think would be worthy of taking to the Rhinebeck fibre festival. I of course am a "Bust" since I'm not going. I will get there one day!

I am planning to knit the yarn from the July instalment of the Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club. It is her Red Label merino, silk, cashmere base in the gorgeous Papaya colourway.

I am going to use it to knit the Papaya Shawlette that was designed for the yarn. So pretty!

This project will also qualify for this month's AlphaKAL for the letter "P" at my LYS.

Triple Dipping. Love it!

I can't wait to cast on... just as soon as I finish the neckband on Monkey's sweater. I'm so close!

I'm sure there is plenty more Fall focused shenanigans happening over at Tami's Amis.

Cheers, Nikki

Favourite Things:

My big boy in Kindergarten. I can hardly believe it.