So Many Pins

I don't know about you, but I have so many different pins/buttons that have been collected at different events or from different packages over the years. I never want to throw them out, but for a long time I couldn't figure out what to do with them.

So, you remember that Year In Temperature scarf I said I was going to make two years ago? Well, of course, I lost steam and never finished it. I think I got through January. The yarn I bought for the project has been serving me well (I've made many baby things out of those balls of yarn) and so has the barely started scarf. It now displays all my pins and buttons!
I had it hanging in my office (I thought it was kind of a cute and creative decoration) and I decided to put my Hello My Name is Rav button on there (I'm always misplacing that thing). One day I decided it was a great spot for all the buttons! The buttons are almost all ones I've received at different events or in a package with yarn or project bags. Sometimes I'll pick one to pin to my knitting bag for fun.

If you're like me and have an ever-growing collection of pins, I'd love to hear what you do with them!


Happy Rainbow Socks

These socks make me so happy.
That is one lovely rainbow! I don't usually worry too much about my sock stripes matching up, but it's so satisfying when you are trying for perfectly matching stripes and you achieve them.
These rainbow socks have moved into the sock drawer, where they will happily rotate with the last rainbow-y socks I made. I like having a cheery sock drawer.
I knit these in using my usual recipe:

Yarn is Regia Stripemania Color in color 6367 Rainbow
Start with slip knot at a color change (blue to pink)
Figure 8 CO, starting with 12 stitches on each needle (24 total)
Increased to 64 stitches
Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Started K3, P1 rib at start of color repeat (pink) and bind off in last color of the color repeat (blue).

Naturally, I've gone diving into the self-striping sock-yarn stash and started another pair of socks. Because the only way I can buy more striping sock-yarn is to knit with what I have, right? How awful that I had to pick another beauty to knit up. ;)

Finish anything fun over the weekend?


What I'm Reading/Watching: March 2015

This month I read or listened to....no books. I've started To Kill a Mockingbird, but haven't made any real progress on it. When visiting my brother and his family a couple weeks in Fargo, he gave me and Alex a copy of the book The Martian to read, but neither of us have started it yet. I've been a bad little reader. Haha.

As for watching, I finally made it through Friends on Netflix. The last week or so I've also been re-watching (for the millionth time) random episodes of The Office. It has once again proven to be good background noise while working on some complicated knitting projects. :)

Hopefully next month I'll get back into my reading groove!

Wonder what I read/watched last month? Check out this blog post.



This week brings the addition of another shawl to the Gradient Shawl Collection. I'd like to introduce you to Romilda:

This shawl is worked sideways, starting with just 14 stitches and ending with 95 stitches on the needles.
It's a great shawl if you want to try to use every last yard of that precious skein of gradient yarn. It's very easy to make it larger, and the pattern includes notes on how to customize the size.
I love the yarn I used for this shawl. The Fresh from the Cauldron SW Graduated is perfect for this shawl with simple lace and stockinette. I think the yarn and pattern compliment each other well.

The pattern is part of the Gradient Shawl Collection. The ebook is just $10.50 until the next pattern release in a couple of weeks.

Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!


WIP Wednesday: Andromeda

I've been working away on a motif or two at a time on my Andromeda Peplum Vest. It's been a  nice break from all the book work.
I've steamed my vest in progress. The sizing in the pattern isn't going to quite work for me, so I'm going to have to make a few mods. I'm currently trying to figure out the armhole.
I'm stitching the largest size on a slightly larger hook, but I think I'm going to need the armhole to be a little bigger (my upper arms are a little....beefy). I've drawn some sketches on how to increase the size of the armhole while (I think) maintaining the right shape of the vest. We'll see! With this vest you are working different shape motifs and then attaching them together, so if my plan doesn't work, I can easily try something else.

Anyway, I'm obesessed with the front of the vest:
I'm loving joining the motifs. I love all the different patterns you can make just by changing the way you join the pieces together.

What are you working on this Wednesday?


What About the Leftovers?

I have long struggled with storing my leftover yarn. I've tried everything from plastic bags, to pretty glass containers for decoration to fabric bins. Every time I would need a little leftover yarn I was throwing tiny balls of yarn everywhere looking for the right one. I've finally come up with a solution that's working for me. Turns out when you decide to label things, it's easier to find things.
I design and knit with so much fingering weight yarn, this system is currently working for me. I imagine that over time I will need a bigger fingering weight bin and will have to separate the "not fingering" bin. I also have two other bins of leftovers in my office - for my third and fourth books that are currently in various stages of production. Once those books come out I'll add the yarn into the bins above. I like keeping the book yarn scraps separated just so in the unlikely event something goes wrong with a project I can locate the yarn for it easily. It hasn't happened yet, but I'd like to be able to find the right yarn quickly if I had to! :)

Keeping the fingering yarn scrap stash under control has been pretty easy. I use it a lot of swatching, and I also let Cathy have a dive in there every now and then. She's working on one of those sock-yarn scrap blankets and likes looking for a mix of colors. I'm happy to help!

How do you store your yarn scraps? I'd love to hear about your storage solutions!


Finished Fogliame for FO Friday

Well, the Fogliame addiction stayed with me. I knit and knit and knit until the thing was finished. 
 The lace was so much fun to knit.
I'm definitely going to be wearing this all Spring long.
Here are the all sweater details:

Pattern: Fogliame by Heather Zopetti
Yarn: Anzula Squishy (4 skeins)
Size: XL
Needles: US Size 4
  • After picking up the 6 sts at the underarm, I decreased 2 sts every other round for 3 rounds. (so decreasing away the 6 underarm stitches)
  • Sleeves: knit for 8 rounds, ribbing for 12 rounds
  • Bind off for bottom of sweater: k2tog tbl VERY VERY loosely.
  • All ribbing is k1tbl, p1 because I can’t read. :-) I didn’t realize that I was supposed to p1tbl until I was doing the sleeves. I wasn’t going to rip back, so I just did the same ‘wrong’ ribbing on the sleeves.

I loved this pattern. Perfectly written and easy to follow. I haven't knit a ton of sweaters, and I sometimes struggle with the directions - not this time! If you are looking for a light sweater, you should knit this one. Heather's KAL is still going on with lots of good prizes (one prize might be my book). :)

It's Friday! What did you finish this week?


Adventures in Crochet

You know how sometimes you see something on Ravelry and you get all excited and have to figure out how to make it right this second? It's the feeling I had with Hitofude or, more recently, Fogliame. It's happened again. This time it's the Andromeda Peplum Vest. I. Need. This. Now.

I ordered some Shalimar Breathless DK in color Seaglass from The Loopy Ewe. I had a hard time capturing the color in the early morning light, but it's a lovely light blue-green.
I've started with the first motif. I love it!
My plan it so to work 1-2 motifs a day as I have time. I'm in the middle of two different book deadlines, so not much crocheting can happen for the next few weeks, but it'll be a nice break from all that knitting and manuscript editing/writing.

This is definitely going to be the most difficult thing I've attempted to crochet, but I'm excited for the challenge! I think this will end up being a great piece for the wardrobe.


The Traveling Rainbow Sock

This past weekend I was back in Fargo for "Rozfest." We headed up there to celebrate Rosslyn's first birthday and attend her baptism. What a great weekend! The rainbow sock traveled with me. The night before leaving for our road trip, sock one was complete:
I did a lot of the driving on the way up, but I did cast on the second one in the car and had a toe by the time we reached North Dakota:
I worked on it some throughout the weekend, but with lots of family fun time, there wasn't much knitting.
We took this picture during Roz's birthday pool party. Hooray for hotels with the little kiddie indoor water park! :) Yesterday was the long drive home. I did about half the driving again (we left at 4am so I took the first driving shift....hard to knit when it's dark outside). Between the car ride and a few rows while trying to stay up past 7pm I now have a turned heel.
Maybe by the end of the week I'll finally have some finished rainbow socks! I feel like I've been working on these for forever.


Flash the Variegated Yarn Stash

Last Friday, I flashed the self-striping the self-striping sock-yarn stash. Today, how about taking a peak at the vareigated sock-yarn stash?
That's it. It's kind of sad, really. But the little bit I have sure is pretty:
The fact is most of the yarn in the house now is for designing. And I design mostly lace things, where variegated yarns are not always your friend. I've been getting requests for patterns that are perfect for variegated yarns. It's definitely something I've been thinking about - because I love them too (even if my stash of them is tiny at the moment).

Do you love variegated yarns? What do you knit with them?



Monday brought the third pattern in the Gradient collection. I'm calling this one Jessamine:

This shawl is a traditional top-down triangle shawl with an all-over lace pattern. I've designed many of these types of shawls over the years, and this one is definitely one of my favorites. I used a Gradient Kit in Lilt Sock from Black Trillium Fibres for this shawl. One kit will make you a giant shawl!
Just like the other patterns in this collection, you can buy it as an individual pattern, or get the eBook, which is discounted until the next pattern comes out later this month.
$9.50 (until next pattern release)
With a triangle shawl this big, there's lots of ways to wear it. I like options!

The pattern is written so that you can easily customize the size of your shawl. So whether you use the 675-yard kit from Black Trillium or use something in your stash, you can make one!


Photo Tutorial: Moving Stitch Markers

Every week I get emails from knitters with questions regarding my patterns. The question/comment I get most often is that there aren't enough stitches at the start or end of a row. The majority of the time, the solution is simple: move the markers. How easy!

Many people like to use stitch markers to mark each lace repeat in their shawl. Let's look at an example:

In the above chart, you can see there's a red box marking the 8-stitch repeat. I've already done a few repeats of the chart, but if I mark the repeats it would look like this:
I work along and everything is going just fine, until I get to row 5.
I have three stitches, then a yarn over then the start of the repeat. But I have 4 stitches before the marker! I start by doing my k3, yo.
That extra stitch that remains on the left-hand needle before the stitch marker needs to get "sucked" into the repeat. So I'm going to move the marker so it's next to my yarn over:
Now I'm going to do my sk2p (that's slip 1 stitch, knit two stitches together, pass the slipped stitch over - it takes 3 stitches and turns it into 1 stitch):
And you can see that matches row 5 of our chart. That sk2p is the first stitch in the 8-stitch repeat.
I'll have to keep moving the stitch markers in the same way across the entire row.
Done! Hooray!

Ok, but how did I know that this was going to fix the problem? I look at the chart. See how on row 5 you have that sk2p right at the edge of the 8-st repeat? That stitch causes a decrease of 2, so we need two increases to balance it out. And see how one of the yarn overs is on one side of the red repeat box and the sk2p with the other yarn over is on the inside?
That's a hint that you might need to shift markers on that row. I'm not going to tell you that's the case 100% of the time, because somewhere there's probably an exception. Most of the time though, it's gonna be "move the marker time." :)

If you like using stitch markers to mark lace repeats, I hope this helps you! Sometimes, you just have to steal a stitch or two from one side of the stitch marker!

Need more help? I have a tutorials page on my website with all my photo and video tutorials.


Design in Progress

Over the last few months, I've done a few designs for Done Roving Yarns. Paula has some very interesting and beautiful yarn, and it's been a fun challenge to design for her Transitions and Gradient lines. Recently, she sent me some Monochromatic-Dyed Gradient yarn in DK weight to play with. It's so pretty.
The shawls I've designed for Done Roving in the past (Savanna, Beddington and The Danielle Shawl) all start top-down. I love knitting top-down shawls, but I'm going for something a little different this time.
Sideways! It's been a while since I've done a sideways shawl, and it's time for a new one. I'm absolutely in love with the variegation - both in the stockinette section and in the lace border.

The shawl (I think) will be an asymmetrical triangle. I have in my head how I want to decrease later in the shawl, but I'm not 100% it will work. If not, I'll probably go for adding the border to live stitches at the end. That's the fun of designing....it can be a real adventure!

My sister and I are going to Mexico next month (thank you sister for having a corporate job with free trips to Mexico as a perk) and plan on doing the photo shoot on the beach while we are there. Can't wait!


Flash the Self-Striping Yarn Stash

Last week I spent some time cleaning my office. It's amazing how it can go to clean to total disaster in a span of hours! I was organizing some of the yarn, and I thought it might be fun to flash the current self-striping yarn stash.
Yikes. That's enough to make 20 pairs of socks! But it's soooo pretty.
You can see I'm definitely hoarding some Knit Picks Felici. It's one of my favorites to use when I'm knitting plain stockinette socks.

This is a lot of yarn, but I've managed to squish it all into one small-ish bin.
So I'm calling my stash of self-striping sock yarn under control. I only need one bin for it. That's not so bad, right? :)

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