Tip Tok Tank is Done

Thanks  Emily Bolduan from Maker Maker for designing this cute free pattern. I have made just two modifications: (a) used worsted instead of recommended sports weight yarn and, (b) changed needle size to US 6 (4.5mm). With these changes my gauge was 20 stitches vs 21 stitches in 4 inches as suggested in the pattern with the recommended yarn..

The after blocking measurements aligned for the most part with a Medium size :

  • Bust circumference=34 in (approx. 86 cm)
  • Lower body length=18 in (approx. 46 cm) ** longer than suggested **
  • Upper body length=8 in (approx. 20 cm)
  • Neck width=9 in (approx. 23 cm)

The cotton & wool blend yarn, O Wool Balance, is lovely to knit with. It has great stitch definition and is very light weight wise. All the project details are also documented in my Ravelry page.

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New Project: Tip Top Tank

Even though I have plenty of projects that could keep me busy for a year or two, I thought it was a great idea to cast on a new one. Blame the North American heat waves for the lack of common sense.

I cannot put this project away! The pattern is easy to follow and the yarn, despite being a cotton blend, does not hurt my hands. There were no warranties that a cropped tank would look good on me. Go figure! Therefore, I am performing sweater surgery now that I am confident that I have enough yarn to complete the tank. I cut the sweater at the ribbing band, pickup stitches and am adding length to the whole thing. Love how is turning out.

The fine print….

  • Pattern: “Tip Top Tank” designed by Emily Bolduan from Maker Maker. There are plenty of free patterns on the designer’s website.
  • Yarn: O Wool Balance Worsted Weight (50% Cotton & 50% Merino wool). Color is Butterstone.
  • Needles: ChiaoGoo US 7 (4.5 mm). Changed needle size to get gauge as pattern is written for Sports weight yarn.
  • Ravelry project page

Finished Object: Nith River Mittens

These mittens traveled across four states over the past weekend. But, despite my good intentions to finished them on the road, the weather was too hot to be working with wool. They were done inside my home with the comfort of air conditioning a drink and a podcast.

The paid pattern is well written and even includes a picture tutorial of the Latvian braid. I also used a YouTube video as additional help (linked below). Unfortunately, the mittens are too snug for me. All my fault as I did not get gauge nor had enough yarn to pick up all the stitches required for the thumbs. I might to re do the thumbs entirely with the contrast color (handspun yarn).

The details…

  • Yarns: Mission Falls 100% SW Merino (discontinued) for main color, Merino/Bamboo handspun blend for contrasting color no. 1 and Alpaca handspun for contrasting color no.2. All Aran weight.
  • Needle: ChiaoGoo circular needles in US size 4
  • Pattern: “Nith River” by Whole Earth Education
  • Latvian Twist Tutorial by Karen Dawn Designs: https://youtu.be/LFcYJLjrMVs
  • Ravelry: Project Page

I would knit a size up and add length to the cuff if I ever knit the mittens again. Perhaps as well would use a smaller needle size for the cuffs.

Roadtrip Amusement

We are headed north where my daughter will compete in a tennis tournament. These days, for long drives, I require as much entertainment and snacks as the toddler next door.

I am packing a skein of deep stash Mission Falls yarn, some handspun and notions for a new cast on. The pattern,”Ninth River” by Whole Earth Education (Ravelry link), seems to be simple enough to keep me busy on the road and calmed at the courts. Let’s see if magic happens and they bag content comes back in the shape of two nicely finished mittens.

It promises to be a hot weekend. I am also packaging some Vermouth.

Handspun Socks

I have to confess that I had never worn any hand knit socks despite owing at least ten pairs. It had been against my nature to use something “treasured”. I am working on changing those feelings. I do not want to be attached to objects. What I really want to treasure is the craftiness and experiences creating the objects.

The simple pattern is “Socks 101” from the book “Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together” by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown. I bought a second hand copy for almost nothing.

I divided 100 grams of the handspun Targhee in half and knit with two strands on size US eight needles. The socks turn out to be rustic, comfy and a perfect fit. They make me happy!

Links:

Ravelry project page

Larissa Brown’s website

What is my newest handspun?

Here is my new skein of handspun yarn. Despite my good intentions to spin all four ounces on my electric wheel, I switched to my trusty Louet Julia half way into the project. I lost way too much fiber due to breakages and tension issues spinning on the e-wheel. Still, I have a decent amount of yarn for perhaps a hat.

Stash Spinning: Merino

Back in 2019, my husband gifted me with four ounces of Paradise Fibers Merino in colorway Rust. I am spinning my “go to” handspun: two ply, fingering weight. I decided to practice spinning on my e-spinner. Somedays we have misunderstandings (it’s her attitude, really) and some days we spin along like besties (usually during happy hours).

I have half of the top yet to spin. If the stars align and yardage is appropriate, I would like to knit a Mara shawl . Wish me luck; it is very rarely that I have immediate plans for handspun.

PS: the free shawl pattern can be downloaded directly from the Madelinetosh website.

What’s going on? Stitching…

Once again, the stress and sadness have battered me. I cannot make peace with the two mass shootings occurred here in the United States. One of them hit SO close….within 15 miles of my home. Please keep this country and the victims in your thoughts. We are in desperate need of reconciliation, peace, and empathy.

Going back to regular programming: As suspected, I didn’t have enough yarn to finish my Lila pullover. Not winning the yarn chicken game took my knitting mojo away. I have a plan B with a different yarn (used already in the neck) but for now the project is on time out. Or, should I should say, the knitter is on time out?

I have been stitching up a storm on this beautiful geometrical pattern.

Chart name: Sea Glass. Stitch count 162×162

Designer: CM Designs

Thread: Called for DMC threads

Cloth: Zweigart 18 count Aida (modification as pattern suggests 14 count)

New thing: Gridding the cloth with a Pilot FriXion pen. The tint will fades with heat.

Knitting Finished Object: A new favorite neck accessory

This is a beautiful (and free) design by the Espace Tricot team. I used a yarn that I bought at one of my firsts fiber festivals. The one where I also learnt to spin. Memorable!

The cowl is worked fast with a bulky yarn. It looks very nice and provides a good warmth. I would knit it again. Only caution is to bind off loosely so it goes over “big brains” with ease. My cowl “collar” is a bit tight. I have to take a deep breath and pull out the cowl with as much care as possible hoping not to loose an earring or my mask in the process. No worries, the operation is smooth and kid friendly (most of the time).

The facts…

Yarn: Two skeins of Plymouth Taria. Bulky weight blend of 40% Merino, 30% Llama and 30% Silk in colorway 2767 red. This yarn is discontinued.

Needles: US size 10 (6mm)

Modifications:

  1. Cable cast-on. Tutorial: here.
  2. Cast on less stitches (124 stitches rather than suggested 140).
  3. Joined in the round on row #2 as is easier for me to make sure stitches are not twisted when joining in the round.

Ravelry Link: here

Knitting WIP: Lila Pullover

Haaaaaaaapy Birthdaaaaay to me! Well, the actual birthday was two weeks ago. I made the executive decision to celebrate the entire month.

A few weeks ago I found a knitting bag with skeined yarn, a pattern and its required needles. All this had been waiting for me since mid 2019.

See, I was well advanced on a project when all of the sudden the pattern instructions didn’t make any sense. What was wrong? I had started a pattern and then mixed up the instructions from another pattern of the same book. Uhum! #$@&&%!!? I give myself some credit in that I unwinded the yarn instead of smacking the useless thing in the trashcan.

I have started the pullover again. With a good attitude and a printed pattern copy. This is a borderline boring pattern that works perfectly for podcast binging. Oh my, I discovered “flosstubes” in Spanish and I cannot stop watching them. If anyone is looking to donate some hours of their day, please send my way. I need them for the podcast watching and crafting that I have on queue.

Here is what you might want to know about my pullover…

Pattern: Lila Top Down. Pattern is from “Madder Anthology 2” by Carrie Bostick Hoge

Yarn: Cascade 220 Worsted in colorway 2452 Turtle. Cascade has a some free patterns on their website that you might want to check out.

Needles: Chiagoo US size 8 (5.00 mm). Chiagoo is offering a free hat pattern in honor of their 15th year in business. Head over to their website to download it.

Ravelry link: here

Stressed? Then knit (and wash your hands!).

Stressful times call for casting new projects and lifting the quarantine on current WIPs! 
This week I have been working on a free pattern named “Cotton Lustre Wrap“. The yarn, a cotton and linen blend, is providing for a wonderful  drape and texture to the shawl. So far, my hands are not suffering while knitting this. Their mad dryness is due to world record number of hand washing. Let’s not even discuss if these three colors go together. Ignore that the combo might remind you of  low calorie, organic and gluten-free Neapolitan ice cream. There are bigger fish to catch out there. After all, the yarn is discontinued. Found six skeins on clearance at my LNS –long time ago when social interactions at less than thee feet apart were seen as normal.

Until the next time. Lather, rinse, knit and be kind!

Warm hands

Two new mittens finally received a well deserved wash and block. Both pairs were finished last year with very special yarns.

Pattern (free): Lambing Mitts by Veronica Jobe. Link here.

Yarn: Cestari Traditional Collection Sock Weight, a Targhee & Columbia blend, in Natural Light. To my surprise, as I washed them, the water quickly turned light brown. I enjoyed knitting with this yarn and would definitely consider it for a larger project.
Pattern: Squad Mitts by Ann Weaver from “Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 1”. Ravelry link here
Yarn: Two ply Merino handspun that I dyed blue at home and Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in Stone.

 

Antlers on

  

The Antler toque is a wonderful, and free, pattern by the talented Tin Can Knits team. I used “Imperial Yarn Columbia” in the Teal Heather color way. This is an Aran weight yarn. The recommended yarn for this pattern is worsted weight. 

I should have used different size needles as it turned out a bit tight for my big “brain”. You live, you learn. It is still getting a lot of use. Baby, it is cold outside!

 

 

Handspun Scarf

Who would have thought I would enjoy knitting a very long scarf so much? Perhaps the success was due to a nice match of yarn and pattern. 

Ravelry project details: here.

What a great feeling it is to have this scarf that I love  — after so much time and effort spinning and plying the singles and finally knitting the yarn. I used almost 500 yards on this project. I cannot wait for winter to wear this over and over.

 

Work in Progress: all the chocolate

I cannot live without chocolate in my pantry…or in my stash, apparently.

I am knitting a hat using Blue Sky organic cotton in color number 623. The yarn is super soft and pleasant to knit with.  I am entering this in the Glidden Hat KAL hosted by Blue Sky Fibers. Head over to the forum for more information.

Also on the needles is a pair of plain vanilla socks in Online Supercocke 100 color number 904. I have been caught myself smiling at the yarn!! Perhaps due to my constant craving for all things chocolate.

Twins!

I am the proud mama of twin…socks! They are fraternal. It wasn’t planned. Is what happens when one buy too much yarn. But, who am I to judge?

The first pair was knit with Regia 4 ply in color 7200 Moewe.

The yarn for the second pair is Opal. Unfortunately I cannot find the ball band to list the color here 😦

Both pair of socks softened when blocked. They fit wonderfully! I guess one cannot go wrong with either Regia or Opal – both workhorse yarns with fun (similar) colors.

Back where I left

A finished object makes me feel like a Knitter (with capital K). This cowl has seen lots of wear since I finished it.  It was my first time knitting with Dream in Color Smooshy and I really enjoyed its rich color and high twist.

Ravelry Project page: here.
The pattern is from the book Scarf Style 2. Totally recommend this book even when it was published back in 2013. It has twenty six patterns from renowned designers like Jarred Flood, Pam Allen, Laura Nelking, Veronica Avery and Romi Hill. Even Brioche made it to the book! I do not regret buying it used at a real bargain and see myself casting on another pattern in the future.

Spinning and stashing

Another week and my master closet is not done. We are still waiting for the hardwood floor. Jumping of joy for more days of having to tour the house to complete an outfit. Shoes in one corner. Tops in the spare room and bottoms in the crafty room. Confession time: I’ve been wearing the same shoes out of laziness.

Also in progress is some spindle spinning. Of course, I discovered another bag of blue fiber after I was done with three skeins (blogged here). My goal is to be done tomorrow. We are going on vacation and I want an empty spindle to start a new project.

Spinning here and stashing there. Multi tasking in other words. Who could resist these two skeins of Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock? Left: Inner Child  and right: Sunstone

Talk to you after vacation. Knit, eat and smile at every opportunity!

Now a Flicker

A few weeks ago I learnt about flicking! If you are late to the party just like me, flicking is a variation of the English knitting method. Similar to Continental, flicking facilitates both hands to stay in the needles instead of dropping a needle to throw the yarn as you do with traditional English knitting.

Fascinated by the possibility of reducing hand movements and therefore knitting a bit faster, I’ve watched a good number of YouTube videos to learn the technique. If interested, I recommend you do do a search on “Flicking knitting” in YouTube.
Knitting a cowl with simple knit and purl stitches is providing good practice on this new to me technique. I am a convert, my friends!
There is not much to say now about my WIP as it is just a few rows in. I will blog about the pattern and yarn in a later post.

About Stash Enhancement

Still valid is my goal of being mindful about stash enhancements. I am not one to get stressed about any upcoming show update. I don’t have to knit with the hottest yarn in the market. But, if a skein strikes my fancy, I will let it come home without guilt.

I am enamored  with this Swans Island yarn. Check out their beautiful website: here.

Organic Merino | 525 yards | Fingering Weight | Natural Color Collection

The second skein is from Three Irish Girls.

Adorn Sock | 430 yards | Fingering Weight | Wendy Darling colorway

Don’t you think the yarns go along well? 

 For a very practical discussion about stash enhancement, I recommend watching episode three of the “Hand Me My Knitting” podcast around the 22:41 time mark. Link here.

Another week, another shawl

This pattern cannot be more simple; endless garter stitches with purl rows here and there. Some might find this very boring. I decided it was a perfect source of relaxation after hectic workdays. Call it garter therapy.

The yarn is the protagonist. Tern is, like other Quince & Co. yarns, a pleasure to knit with. The shawl is light and easy to wear. I think it will transition well into Spring.

Pattern: The Big Blue by Meg Gadsbey
Ravelry project page: here

(Public service announcement: dark chocolate is full of antioxidants = good for you, good for me!)

Having a great time

Hello February! You are my favorite, my birthday month.

I was eager to knit with Quince & Co. Tern. It is an exquisite 25% linen and 75%

wool blend. I am using two skeins of color Kelp. I want this yarn to shine; to be the center of attention. Hence a simple pattern: The Big Blue by Meg Gadsbey / Atelier Yarn.

I am keeping my hands soft with these Loccitane lotions — thanks Santa for a perfect knitter’s gift!

Hope that you are finding peace everyday–no matter how stressful the daily new (and US politics) can be.