Wednesday, February 14, 2018

WIP Wednesday- some Norwegian Knits

I've recently been quite fascinated with Norway. The fascination has always been there behind the scenes- wanting to go to the Museum of Norwegian Knitting History outside Bergan, the famous ski sweaters and selbu mittens, etc. But when I purchased and read "Everyday Knitting: Treasures from a Ragpile" by Annemore Sundbo a few years ago, Norway became even more exciting for me: I digested Norway's Wikipedia page one evening, I googled prices for air travel another, and I found out when the next Norwegian knitting cruise/retreat was and how much it would be (too much for me). I learned how one could gain citizenship. I searched about the climate, the seasons, the fascinating Midnight Sun. I could write a report my high school self would envy about Norway!

Of course I especially loved reading about the traditional knitwear of Norway! I wanted to knit a nice pair of Selbu mittens. I wanted to make a fossekofte. A setesdalkofte. A vosskofte. I wanted to knit all the things. All the things kept getting put on the backburner until I found Skeindeer Knits (A Norwegian living and knitting in London) and I fell in love with her personality and her style of knitting. This was in October 2017. I cast on for my Setesdal very soon after. Now that the setesdal is finished with- Did I ever share photos? No? Here you go:

With the sweater finished I had plans to make a Fana next, but then my husband surprised me with this wonderful book (I think he was looking at my Amazon wishlist!) and I immediately cast on for a pair of stranded mittens.

Knit on size 000 needles (!) these things are taking forEVER. I cast on December 25th and I have barely finished the first mitten! Still, every time I try the mitten on I have to admire it. I adore the little flowers. This is made with stash yarn (of course), Knit Picks Palette. I have lots more Palette in similar colors and I will probably make a few pairs of mittens from the book. Um... I'll use larger needles next time though for sure!

Eventually I'd like to try to knit a traditional red and white pair with some Rauma Finullgarn... After my Cold Sheeping is over, of course.

Happy Knitting! And Happy Valentines day!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Cold Sheeping and January Totals


So last year I had made the goal to knit mostly from stash, and for the most part I kept my word. I knitted 5 adult sweaters from stash, as well as a plethora of other smaller projects like hats, shawls, baby sweaters, mittens and toys. In total, I knitted up 17,902 yards in 2017- most of it from stash.

However, I did purchase some yarn from Stitches West, from my LYS's semi-annual clearance sale, from Michaels once, and from the thrift store twice. I also was gifted some yarn. When I added in everything I had bought, I acquired 17,082 yards. Seeing that number was like getting kicked in the gut. That means in all, after the whole year of me trying to knit down my stash I only actually got rid of 820 yards!

So I decided this is the year to truly go Cold Sheep. No yarn purchases are allowed this year! (Although I did speak to a woman who wants to purchase some knitted stockings from me and a few baby garments and so those would have to be allowed- but no personal knitting yarn!) In addition to not buying more yarn, I want to knit up at least a mile a month and start knitting up some of the yarn that has been in my stash for a long time. I don't know about you, but when I buy new yarn it tends to get cast on first. That is a habit that I need to break because I am sick and tired of carrying around the same old skeins of yarn! After the year is over, I plan on going through honestly and donating some things that I am truly fed up with.

So for January! I met and exceeded my one mile (1,760 yards) goal.
I made:
A child's beanie                                                                        67 yards
I finished a shawl that had been hibernating for years           705 yards
A pullover with super old stash yarn                                      955 yards
And finally a pair of socks (another old wip)                         332 yards
TOTAL                                                                                 2,059 yards

And now in February I've just finished my first project at a whopping 1,152 yards
Textured Pullover

Only 608 yards left and 16 days to get it done.

I hope you are having as much fun meeting your own goals!

So in addition to knitting, these days I am spending some of my time working at UPS. The work is hard and it's in the middle of the night, but the benefits are good and it's not something that's too stressful. Compared to my previous occupation as a store manager, it's heaven. Meanwhile I'm still attending school, trying to get that degree. I graduated with my A.S. last semester and so now I'm getting one last class in at the community college while waiting to transfer in the fall. I'm so excited about the future but it just seems like it's so far away and out of reach sometimes. Still, each day I just keep plugging away and trying to do the next right thing, which sometimes is homework and sometimes turns out to be blogging in the library.

Friday, December 29, 2017


Star Hat Pattern
Gauge: 16sts/ 22rounds per 4"
This simple two-color stranded hat is worked in the round and features a Norwegian star pattern. It has a doubled over brim for extra warmth. Sample was knitted with Patons Classic Wool in MC Black and CC White. Made with size US 8 (5.0 mm) needles.
Finished beanie measures 22" circumferance and 8.5" length, with folded brim
*Disclaimer!* Please check gauge. Some knitters have a tighter gauge when knitting stranded, so I would advise them to go up a needle size during the stranded portion of the hat.

Cast on 72 sts in MC
K2,P2 for 4" or desired brim length
K 4 rounds in MC
Follow chart for 22 rounds
Crown Decreases:
Round 1: *K7, K2tog* Rep around
Round 2 and all even rounds: K around
Round 3: *K6, K2tog* Rep around
Round 5: *K5, K2tog* Rep around
Round 7: *K4, K2tog* Rep around
Round 9: *K3, K2tog* Rep around
Round 11: *K2, K2tog* Rep around
Round 13: *K1, K2tog* Rep around
Round 14: *K2tog* around
Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches

Friday, November 10, 2017

FO; Iced Cardigan and a few others

Although I finished my Iced Cardigan quite a while ago now, I haven't posted pictures because it's been packed away in a Christmas present. It is made for my mom, who is much smaller than me so I haven't been able to get her to model it yet, since it's a surprise. And me trying it on doesn't really do it justice. So the photos will just have to be of it laid out on the kitchen table.

Funny story about those toggle buttons. I actually took them off of my old Central Park Hoodie! When I knitted the Central Park Hoodie about 6 years ago, I fully intended to sew in a zipper but then never did. Then after a few years of struggling to hold the thing closed in winter, I broke down and sewed these toggles on and did some crochet loops to keep it closed. That didn't work very well either, because I sewed the toggles in the very center of the buttonband which led it to gape in an ugly way. My solution was then to use safety pins to close the gaps and then pull it on and off like a pullover. Well, this year that all changed! I sucked it up, pinned a zipper in, and backstitched it in place. The Central Park Hoodie is now the most wearable cardigan I have! I just need to add those pockets that have been in my queue for ages... At any rate the toggles are now split between this Iced Cardigan and my daugher's Tomten Jacket!

Now this cardigan is awaiting Christmas morning, when I'll get a photo of my mom modeling it. I hope she adores it! It's in her most-worn color, it's washable, and most importantly it will be super warm. She has been hinting at getting a sweater for a while.

So there's been a lot since I've last posted here. I've been hanging out on Instagram these days (@dontdroolonthewool) so I feel like all the good pictures have gone to Instagram! Still I'd like to share a few of my recent FOs:

1) a hat on halloween out of Ella Rae wool, just a plain heathered orange beanie. It's getting a lot of wear not just because it's cute but also because its warm.

What I love about this hat is that it was the perfect use of this yarn I've had in my stash for several years. I was really feeling excited about orange this year- in fact I talked about it so much my husband bought me 10 balls of Red Heart Soft in colorway "Tangerine." I cast on for this hat on Halloween morning and worked on it during my son's school parade and during trick or treating (in fact the decreases aren't completely even on top because I was trying to chase a two year old on a candy mission) so it's just chock full of Halloween memories too. So I think it's going to be a popular hat for me this year.

2) I made my daugher a little sweater

Making this project was... UGH! For one thing, I decided to knit her a sweater completely on a whim. I don't know why sometimes I think knitting is the fastest thing in the world and I think I'll cast on and bind off for a sweater in one day. "She's small!" I think. Yeah, right. So, I found a pattern in a magazine, and I found some yarn in my stash that someone gave me. The pattern was this cabled cardigan that I have always liked since I bought the issue in 2010.
I think, "I'm saving money! I'm getting a pattern I've already owned and using yarn I was gifted! I was going to buy her a sweater and now I don't have to!" Well the first thing that happened was I couldn't get gauge for the pattern. I think it wanted you to use worsted weight yarn and size 7 or 8s and get a 22 stitch/4" gauge. Not happening. With 5's I usually get 20 stitches/4" with worsted, but with this particular yarn (Hobby Lobby I love this yarn sparkle) I got 16 stitches per 4" with a size 5. And of course I was camping and this was the only project I brought.
I frogged the sleeve I started on, and decided to look up a sweater pattern on ravelry with the gauge I was getting. I settled on this shawl collared cardigan even though the original pattern I wanted had set in sleeves and this one was drop shouldered. I knit the first sleeve without incident. I knit the back without incident. It was time to start the second skein of yarn. The second skein of yarn which, after knitting the second sleeve, I noticed was a different dye lot! The color was off, the texture was off,  the GAUGE was off! Frogged the second sleeve and had to wait to get home from camping to start the next sleeve because I had left the third (partially knitted up) ball of yarn. I hated this sweater by then. I didn't even want to look at it.
By the time it was time to knit the front, the thought of making two fronts and then having to pick up and knit a buttonband was so frustrating that I made it a pullover instead. Then, as you can see in the above photo, I used a crochet hook to pick up the collar- just a few rounds of single crochet. (I didn't have the correct size circular or dpns on me when I was doing the collar so I made do with what was in my purse.) The neckline, of course, sagged and looked awful on my toddler and I hated the sweater even more because I knew I would have to correct it. So... I undid it and picked up for k2p2 instead.
The knitting tension was uneven. The sweater was oversize. The yarn was ugly. I sat there and stared at my plain sparkly pullover that was originally intended to be a cabled sparkly cardigan and I hated it and hated it some more. Some applique, I decided, would help it become a loved object. I found this elephant applique pattern (which was a joy to knit!) and whipstitched it on.
(my husband took this photo and is obviously not a knitwear photographer)
She likes the elephant. It fits her much better than the Tomten jacket which is at least 3 sizes too big for her. It's sparkly. It was pretty fast. So all in all, it's an OK finished object.

3. As I previously mentioned I did add the toggles to her Tomten making that another F.O. I also sewed the lining in with the help of my sewing machine and some wax paper. That went smoother than I'd expected.
Yes I did have to bribe her to put it on. Actually I had to chase her around the house in order to get her to stay still long enough to take this awful awful picture in which, yes, she is saying "NO!"
I have nothing further to comment on that one except that I realize it is way way way way WAY too big.

4. I made my dog a sweater

This project was made with some of the aforementioned Red Heart Soft my husband gave me. The pattern is cabled dog sweater and I mostly followed it. My dog has a really big chest for some reason and the reason I don't just buy him a sweater is that all of the Small dog sweaters are too tight and all the Medium dog sweaters are too long. So what I did was cast on for a medium and knit to the small length. The neckline as it turned out ended up being too wide, so I redid it decreasing the number of stitches by about a third. Then I doubled the collar over and stitched it down so it wouldn't flip up and irritate his ears. He's been living in it. I think it looks so nice! I'm really happy with this project. Knitting it was fun, too, and only took two days. Perfection!

5. I started a beautiful new cardigan for myself.

Again using stash yarn (this stuff was on sale in 2011 and I bought thirty!! skeins) I got the inspiration from this lovely pattern whose name I can't pronounce which is $6.50. Since I'm not able to spend money on crafty things at the moment, I decided to just reproduce it in my own way. Which is fine since I got a different gauge than the pattern anyhow. I LOVE this project. I can't even express how much I love it. 1) it makes me feel clever when I can do a project without the pattern 2) Norwegian patterns make me giddy anyway 3) wool wool wool wool wool 4) my first adult fingering weight sweater??! 5) The colors! 6) the finished cardigan is going to be sooo wearable 7) steeking 8)I'm going to choose lovely buttons for it. Those are just a few of the many reasons this is a fantastic project.

6. I decided to make mittens for everybody in my family. My husband LOVES going to the snow, and it's almost that time. So I started with mittens for the baby.

The color patterns are deliberately mismatched, which I love. But the thumbs are unintentionally mismatched (I did the incorrect number of gusset increases for one) which I do not love. I'll be re-doing hers, but in the meantime I finished one for my son, and have chosen the colors for my own.
So fall! So squishy! (also you can see Archie wearing his sweater and that I'm wearing my Central Park Hoodie with its recently acquired zipper) My husband, of course, wants plain gray or black mittens so those will be quite boring.

I think that's it!

My goodness! This ended up being such a long post! You'll have to forgive me. I've been unable to post because of laptop issues. I hope to share more soon!
Happy Knitting

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


This sweater is soooo quick to knit.
Cast on October 21
I finished all the yoke increases and then set it down to go to bed. I worked exactly one ball of Plymouth Encore Chunky.

On day two, I worked two balls in, knitting all of the body and the first sleeve.
And then the following day I started the second sleeve.

It's for my mom for Christmas so, yes, it is too small for me. I probably wear a medium while she is a small if not extra small.

I picked up for the shawl collar today, and I'm excited to (hopefully) share this again on Finished Object Friday!

I would be finished now except I decided to finish sewing  some cushion covers for our travel trailer instead. They were much needed, and my hands needed a break from the chunky yarn anyway.

Happy Knitting!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 30 of the Super Stitches Knitting Project

Today's swatches were from the Ornamental Stitches section of Super Stitches Knitting.
They are the Bobble stitch, Popcorn stitch and the Hazelnut stitch.
I really thought I was going to hate the bobble, like the popcorn, and love the hazelnut. But actually I was surprised to find that I hated popcorn, liked the hazelnut, and loved the bobble!

Here is the bobble swatch. Made by knitting into the front and back of the same stitch twice and then worked back onto itself for a few rows, each bobble takes up a bit of extra yarn and time. I've always hated bobbles because the few times I've worked them I ended up having to knit 6 or 7 stitches together, which is a pain. This pattern has you lift the stitches over the first which is a lot easier. I can't think actually of a practical use for bobbles(which is probably why they are in the ornamental section), but I do like how this swatch turned out. It was a 12 row repeat and it was mostly stockinette, so the pattern was easy to work.

The popcorn stitch was an 8 row repeat, and the "popcorns" are made by working (K1,P1,K1) all into one stitch. Which, I found odd to be working a purl one in the middle. I feel like it should have specified under which leg of the stitch to actually insert your needle while doing that purl one. Either way I tried both ways and it didn't look pretty either way. This pattern just looks like mistakes to me because the popcorns seemed to want to poke their way into the reverse side of the fabric.
Here is a photo of the back.
I don't really think the effect is worth the effort for this stitch.

Finally there is the hazelnut stitch which reminds me of Andi Satterlund's "bunny butt" sweater  not because it's the same stitch but because it reminds me of a bunny butt to me.
It reminds me of a little peter cottontail. Anyway this stitch was interesting to work because there's a P3tog which I find curious because I would probably prefer to do a k3tog. But it was easy, and it's a 12 row pattern with a couple stockinette rows to keep your mind happy. I did notice that since it was worked on reverse stockinette where you actually purl all those stitches, this swatch was very loose and large. (My fault- I am a loose purler.) I'm not a huge fan of purling in general so I doubt this stitch will be used again. It would look nice as an allover pattern for a sweater though, as in Andi's sweater. Here is the reverse side.

Three fun swatches.
Next week is the Daisy Stitch, Bell Motif, and Embossed Leaf Motif.

Friday, October 20, 2017

FO Friday: Must Have Cardigan

This finished object has been a long time coming. And by a long time, I mean I favorited this pattern in Ravelry in July of 2012 and I'm pretty sure I bought the pattern booklet a year before I found it on Ravelry. I found the Patons design booklet, "Street Smart" for 50 cents at a local used bookstore and immediately was drawn to the Must Have Cardigan. Originally styled on a girl with a boyish pixie who sported a newsboy cap and rode a bike, it spoke to my inner active tomboy. I thought was much too short on the model- I think the pattern at its largest calls for 12" before the armhole- but that was an easy remedy. But also the V-neck was far too deep, and my chest gets cold. Of course I could alter the pattern.... but, I would brush the cardigan aside, and choose a different project each and every time.

Finally, my husband and I planned a weeklong road trip, and I needed a project to work on. I didn't have anything big and complex, and we would be driving long stretches of Utah and Nevada. So we went to Michaels and I picked up some Red Heart Soft. Good for my budget, and good for throwing in the washer if the baby throws up on it. This was 10/08/2016. Over a year later and the baby doesn't throw up as often! But acrylic was still a good easy care choice for now, although part of me sure wanted the properties of wool when I was blocking it!

Two sleeves and part of the back later and we were back home. There was Christmas knitting to do, and the Must Have Cardigan got put away. The active WIP got put into a bag, and went into deep hibernation. I started and finished sweaters, for myself and the kids. Hats flew off the needles, and shawls. Occasionally, though, I'd take it out and work a few rows or pattern repeats. And I'd always end by laying all my completed pieces out and imagining the final garment. And looking at the photo of the girl riding her bike, which I had doodled on to lengthen the sweater and change the neckline. I'd be flooded with mixed emotions: one was longing for the beautiful sweater of my dreams, two was dread for sewing the dang thing together (I always feel that way when I work a sweater in pieces, but doubly so with the seed stitch edges I was knitting), and three was the niggling emotion of fear. Fear? Who could fear knitting? I think of the Yarn Harlot saying to fear skydiving, not knitting!

Still, I recognized the fear. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to change the neckline. That something would go horribly wrong. That it would turn out awful and I wouldn't know until after everything was sewn together and then in order to rip and reknit I would have to unpick it and I wouldn't and it would just sit there unwearable and unworn for probably two more years before I finally mustered up the gumption to finish it.

I pressed on, dutifully keeping track of my changes for the left side so that I could mimic them on the right. I ended up making mistakes, of course, and carefully took note for these "fudge rows" so the fronts would end on the same pattern row. Of course I finished knitting the sweater at a time when I was absolutely too broke to buy any new craft supplies, so the buttons are a close match from the jar,  I found myself without a long enough US 6 needle, and ended up using a shorter one to do one half of the buttonband at a time. In May of this year I finally started getting to know how to use a sewing machine and so part of me wanted to try the new Eloflex thread to sew the sleeves in and purchase a walking foot too to make the process easier.

I ended up sewing them in without either, using plain cotton thread and the regular machine foot. It came out rather well, and was much quicker than sewing in the sleeves by hand. The side seams I did using mattress stitch, which was much easier on the double seed stitch than I ever could have imagined, and soon the sweater was done! I did have some trouble "blocking" the buttonband, since I would usually have ironed it to keep it nice and flat and iron would melt the acrylic, but I steamed it instead and it turned out fine.

I have gotten several compliments on it already, and it's been so nice to wear in the mornings. I live in California so it still gets pretty hot later in the day, but owning this sweater actually makes me look forward to it getting colder.

I added three inches of length, shortened the neckline by starting it about half a pattern repeat later than where the pattern dictated, but other than that i just followed the pattern for a size Large.
I am going to be wearing this sucker a lot. They call it the Must Have Cardigan for good reason.
In fact, I'm wearing it right now, plus a shawl.

Happy knitting!

p.s. I'll be putting up my swatches for Super Stitches Knitting in the next day or two. Finishing this sweater took priority for me this week.