Accessories, Creations, Original Patterns, Ramblings, Random Topics

“A” to “Z” Knitting Challenge – “H” is for Hat!

Another one of my “A” to “Z” Knitting Challenge items is complete! I am super happy with this one, not only is it the first hat pattern I have ever designed, but I also created the mosaic stitch pattern, and I knit the whole thing on double pointed needles! Crazy as it sounds, I have never knit anything on double pointed needles in my over 40 years of knitting!

So, that’s two more items I can cross off my challenge lists, knitting something on double pointed needles is one of the items on  my Knitting Goals for 2017. I have attempted knitting on dpns many times but found it awkward and uncomfortable, so instead of sticking with it, I either avoided patterns using dpns or converted them to straight needles.  This time I stuck with it and I am slightly embarrassed to say that I really enjoyed it once I got over the beginning awkwardness!  I am looking forward to doing more with dpns and have already started the 2nd hat using solid colours to make the mosaic pattern more defined.

Next on the “A” to “Z” Challenge is “I” is for Inchworm. I have a really fun idea for this one so please stick around to see the results.  It might be awhile as I am working on multiple other projects as well. It is impossible to knit only one thing at once! Well, isn’t it???!

 

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Accessories, Creations, Original Patterns, Patterns for Sale, Random Topics

“F” is for Frost Flower

I have finally finished the next entry for my “A” to “Z” Knitting Challenge!

The Frost Flower lace pattern is one I have wanted to try for many years but was rather intimidated by the idea of a 24 row pattern in which every single row includes pattern stitches, no nice easy purl rows in between to provide a break!  But, here it is at last, my “F” is for Frost Flower scarf!

Frost Flower Scarf

As an added bonus, completing this project also allows me to cross off another of my 2017 goals, #8 – Tackle a more complex lace pattern that I have never tried before. I do however, plan on adding a part B to this goal as I have decided to give myself the challenge of trying to design my own original lace pattern!!

I added a beaded edge to each end of my scarf to provide a little extra glitter and the yarn I chose has a lovely metallic thread throughout.

For this project, I used Lion Brands “Shawl in a Ball”, Metallic Moonstone which I purchased from YarnCanada.ca (love this online store!)

This is a yarn I would definitely recommend. I have used yarns before which include a metallic thread running through them, and I have previously found that they split, gather or tear. This yarn did none of these and was lovely to work with. I was very happy with the progression of colours throughout the ball and yardage is amazing, 518 yards per ball!! I completed my looong scarf and still have at least 1/3 of the ball left over for another awesome project!

I will be making my Frost Flower Scarf pattern available for sale in the next few days.

Now it’s time to start planning for “H” is for Hat. For those of you who missed it, I went a little out of order and have already completed “G” is for Granny. I have chosen two shades of Lion Brand’s Landscapes yarn, a solid colour and a self striping, for my hat and will be designing a mosaic motif!  Can’t wait to get started 🙂

 

Accessories, Creations, Original Patterns, Ramblings, Random Topics, Tips & Tutorials

Fair Isle Cowl

FairIsle
This cowl is the first step on my path to improve my fair isle skills which was one of my  goals for 2017. While pursuing this goal, I realized that I had never actually studied the process but had just blindly followed the habits passed on to me by my mother and other knitters I have known.  I have always twisted my yarns at the back of the row at every colour change as I was taught and could never understand why my fair isle looked so much lumpier than others!

I purchased Melissa Leapman’s book “Mastering Color Knitting” from Amazon recently, and found a few good resources at my local library also. Here are some of the hints I picked up:

1. Yarn tension is extremely important! Fairly obvious of course, but the idea that tension was greatly affected by dropping one colour whenever you begin to work with the next colour was new to me.  Keeping a consistent tension requires holding both colours at all times; one in each hand, both in the left hand, or both in the right hand, whichever feels most comfortable. I found that holding both in my right hand works for me.

2. It  is important to be consistent with the position of the strands of the yarns. Whichever colour you wish to appear dominant should be carried below the other yarn and this positioning should remain the same throughout. This also creates much more even, smooth floats on the reverse side.  In the past, I have paid absolutely no attention to the position of the yarns and am quite amazed at the difference it makes!

3. Carry your floats evenly and loosely across the back of your work.  I knew that this was important, but always felt that if I allowed my floats to be loose, my stitches would also look too loose and therefore had a tendency to pull my yarns too tight creating a puckered look.  Try spreading out the stitches where you are carrying your yarns to help create a looser float.

4. Most of the resources I used suggesting not carrying your yarn more than 1″ across the back of your work. I had always believed that it was a hard and fast rule to only allow 3 stitches before catching in the yarn being carried. When a longer float is necessary, don’t twist the yarns, just catch in the yarn being carried, bringing it under the working yarn on a knit row and over the working yarn on a purl row.

I don’t consider my fair isle improvement journey at an end just yet, this project was just the beginning!  My true test will be to try a much more intricate pattern with a finer yarn which I have planned for “M is for Mitten” in my “A” to “Z” Knitting Challenge!

Stay tuned…..

Random Topics

Knitting Goals for 2017

Well it’s nearly April and I am just now starting my list of goals for 2017. Perhaps one of my goals for next year should be to do this a little earlier in the year, but better late than never!

1.  Master working in the round on double point needles. I have no problem with working on circular needles, but as soon as dpn shows up in a pattern, I either turn the page or decide to modify the pattern to straight needles. It’s finally time to get over this once and for all!

2.   Improve Fair Isle skills. I love Fair Isle patterns and have done quite a few items using this technique but I am never happy with the finished effect.  I have seen many tutorials with suggestions on improving, mainly related to how tightly the yarn is carried in the back of the work, so its time to give some of these tips a try! Did you know – true Fair Isle cannot have more than two colours per row? (I didn’t!)

Fairisle

3. Improve Intarsia skills. Similar to Fair Isle, I am never completely satisfied with my finished work. I believe it’s largely a matter of patience, I don’t take the time to twist the strands when changing the colours and can’t be bothered untangling the colours as I work.

Intarsia
4. Work with higher quality yarns. Not all the time, I just recently designed a mitten pattern and made a couple of pairs of mittens with Red Heart Super Saver Yarn and they are my favourite pairs of all times! A quick hint about this yarn as a side note, if it seems a little stiff, wash the finished item with a little bit of hair conditioner, it works wonders! I always end up cheaping out and not investing in new, higher quality yarns and just stick with the old standards. There is an abundance of riches out there just waiting to be explored!

5. Learn how to do Entrelac  – I did it (Entrelac)! The whole concept of this technique has always panicked me, and now that I have finally given it try, I feel rather silly, it was so much easier to understand than I expected, and really how can someone be afraid of a knitting technique?!

Entrelac finished

6. Learn 2 colour Brioche. This is a technique that I only recently discovered and it looks fascinating, how did miss this all of these years?

7. Knit myself a really nice sweater. NOT cheap yarn, NOT something quick and easy! Like most people who create, I hardly ever make anything for myself and whenever I do, I use old left over yarn and pick a pattern that won’t take much time. This year, I will make myself something awesome!

8. Tackle a more complex lace pattern that I have never tried before. I have always loved knitting lace patterns but tend to stick with slightly simpler designs. As with Fair Isle & Intarsia, it’s largely a matter of patience, I am drawn toward patterns that provide quick results.

Lace

9. Have at least 2 dozen patterns for sale in my Ravelry and Etsy stores. My pattern stores have been open only a short time and I am quite happy with the results but it is time to step it up a notch, add more patterns and start treating it as a business.

10. Learn double sided knitting. I haven’t really thought about trying this technique before although I have always liked the finished look. Another technique to add to my repetoire!

Double Knitting
I will post updates of my finished goals as I work through my list. What are your goals for this year? I would love to hear!

The photos included in this post are from two new books I just recently purchased on which I will be doing reviews in the near future:

Mastering Color Knitting, by Melissa Leapman – Fair Isle, Intarsia and Double Knitting.

750 Knitting Stitches, The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible – Lace patterns.