Monthly Archives

September 2016

True or False

An easy-folded style poncho in the works. Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon.

True or False: I currently have two grey ponchos on my needles.

(True.)

True or False: On top of the grey Stoneland Poncho I already knit this year.

(Also true.)

True or False: I have had this little issue of knitting entirely in grey before.

(True, too.)

True of False: This is because grey is a lovely neutral, I love wearing grey, and it photographs well. Whereas black, which I also love to wear, doesn’t photograph well and isn’t quite as satisfying to knit with.

(True).

True or False: I am not concerned with having three (new) grey ponchos.

(Outwardly, true. Inwardly, a little concerned. But I don’t want to talk about it.)

True of False: I feel like my knitting time has been unusually limited of late, and it’s making me grouchy.

(Very true.)

True or False: And my house is still a mess!

(True again.)

True or False: This particular poncho uses a similar stitch pattern as my Twist Shawl and Twist Cowl, two of my all time favorites. Now there will be a Twist Poncho.

(True. Because after spending five zillion hours flipping through stitch dictionaries, sometimes I just have to go with what you know and love. Especially if it has been a couple years since you last knit the ol’ Twist.)

True or False: The twists will flatten a bit with blocking.

(True. Boring question. But significant.)

True or False: That’s Malabrigo Worsted in Polar Moon. 200 yards (183 m) for $12 USD. What a steal for a super soft, squishy yarn.

(Very true on all counts.)

True or False: I am joining the Yarn Along this week.

(True! Ever and always.)

A Purple Shawl for Fall

Simple short-row crescent shawl with a check stitch border. Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca.

You’ll be happy to know the purple yarn did indeed turn into a shawl, although, in all honesty, I may have spent more time unknitting and reknitting and than Just Knitting. This simple crescent shawl has a check stitch border. Sometimes I forget alternating knit 2, purl 2 can look quite pretty for being so boring. I had envisioned a broader border of check stitch on the top. It seemed I had so much yarn remaining until all of the sudden I didn’t have any yarn remaining. I hate when that happens. I wanted to make a crescent shawl that was deeper than my last two, and I did. But I also wanted the ends to be pointy. And they aren’t.

Womp. Womp.

However.

Now I know, for pointy ends, one INCREASES and does NOT decrease.

I learn something new every day.

I’ve had these two gifted skeins of Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca in my stash for a year or two now. When I wound them up to try out my swift earlier this year, I decided the yarn was mighty fine actually and added it to my mental Knit Soon list.

I do follow through on most things. Eventually.

Fall arrived here right on schedule. Crisp air. Even a bit of drizzle. I busted out some socks. Switched from white wine to red. All I want to do is lounge around and knit. I know that’s not quite possible, but I am going to keep dreaming about it anyway.

All things in good time.

The Stoneland Poncho-Pattern Release

Finally. It’s ready for you.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I know I’ve been teasing you with glimpses of this easy folded-style poncho for MONTHS. I am proud to introduce you to the new Stoneland Poncho.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I love this thing! Now that the chilly mornings have arrived, I have been living in Stoneland. This is the first poncho I have ever owned, and I lament the decades of my life that have passed without such a fabulous accessory in my daily knitwear arsenal. It’s cozy like a shawl, bigger than a scarf, and doesn’t fall off your shoulders all the time. There’s nothing to tie or secure. It’s like a blanket you wear, except you look MUCH better than if you were actually wearing a blanket.

I know a lot of you think you aren’t poncho/wrap people (uh, hi Mom) …and, until this year, I WAS just like you. But now I know: PONCHOS ROCK. Seriously. I have already cast on two more.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

Stoneland is knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amano sportweight. It’s light and soft with an easy cable fabric. The pattern also includes little tricks to avoid cabling with a cable needle to save time. (Thank you to all the readers who encouraged me to figure that out. It was well worth the ten minutes I spent on YouTube.)

This is how you knit Stoneland: knit a rectangle and sew the short end to the long end. Then you are done. Although Stoneland does include a teeny tiny bit of i-cord edging on one end for a clean finish.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I love how the neckline lays just so! And it’s so cozy.

Stoneland is available on Ravelry for $6.00 USD. If you are a subscriber, check your email for a 25% off code. Even if you aren’t in the market for a poncho pattern right this minute, please consider taking a moment to add the pattern to your Ravelry favorites so you can find it again in the future.

The pattern includes sizing for small through extra large.  Written instructions include all measurements in both metric and English units. Stoneland has also been tech edited and test knit by a cadre of fabulous knitting enthusiasts.

Stoneland Poncho by This Knitted Life. Knit in 100% alpaca Puna Amona sportweight. This easy folded-style poncho is knit in a simple cable fabric stitch for texture without being overly-complicated.

I truly enjoyed knitting Stoneland, and I hope you do too. This is a great knit for fall (or any season).  I love that the stitch has texture without being too busy. It’s subtle, but not just stockinette. This results in a piece that is very wearable but not severely boring.

Please visit the Ravelry page for Stoneland here. I hope you love this one as much as I do.

As always. many thanks to the beautiful and talented Anna for modeling for me. Mwah. 

And, joining the Yarn Along and between books (yikes!)

The Secret to Super Speedy (and easy) Sock Knitting

The secret to knitting super speedy (and easy) socks. Almost everything you need to know to fill up that sock drawer, pronto.

I hereby announce I have solved all your problems.

Okay. Revised. I hereby announce I have solved all your sock-knitting problems.

Double okay. That also might be an over statement. But I’m trying, okay?

To be completely up front, I’ve barely been knitting socks for a year, which might technically mean I’m not even a “sock knitter.” That said, since casting on my very first pair, I now ALWAYS have a pair of socks on my needles, and I’ve gained some insight.

For those of you stitching away toward Operation Sock Drawer-type sock knitting enthusiasm, the following unsolicited tidbits are thus offered as my words of wisdom on the matter. Take it or leave it. I love you either way.

Simple knit man socks in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Whiskey Barrel colorway. Quick and easy beginner sock pattern!

(These socks are fresh off my needles, constituting my second pair of Man Socks knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock’s Whiskey Barrel colorway. I quite like the color for being boring brown. They are just plain ol’ ribbed in no particular pattern.)

Use Pointy, Metal-Tipped Needles

Until recently, I knit my socks using the magic loop method on Size 2 (US)/2.75 mm bamboo-tipped Hiya Hiya needles. As far as bamboo needles go, I’d say these are on the pointier side of the spectrum for a wooden-tipped needle. However…I went through two pairs this year alone due to breakages (I would argue once wasn’t my fault and the second time was definitely my fault) and, weary of buying not-inexpensive needles multiple times per year, switched to using my metal-tipped ChiaoGoo needles* instead.

Holy crap.

I thought I had been cruising along at warp speed with the Hiya Hiya’s. Nope. I had been limping along on the Santa Maria and didn’t even know it. Now that I’m working with sharp, metal-tipped needles, my sock knitting is progressing at Mock Speed.

Seriously.

So, if you are a sock knitter and have been dedicated to working with wooden-tipped needles (even if they seem sharp), just try using a metal-tipped needle, whether you are using DPN or the magic loop.

Trust me on this one.

Knit Plain Ol’ Vanilla Stockinette Socks

I know there are five zillion and one gorgeous sock patterns floating out in the universe, many of them enticing and tempting and all that wonderful socky goodness.

Fine.

Personally, I feel like my socks are hidden in some sort of shoe half the time and no one will notice my hard work on some fancy pancy stitch pattern. I’d rather save the complicated stuff for a shawl or something that might actually see the light of day.

As far as sock patterns go, I’ve stuck to simple stuff over the past year: ribbed, Hermione’s Every Day Sock, and numerous pairs of Blueberry Waffle socks. They were all free and easy patterns, suitable for a novice. Top down. One at a time. Nothing too complicated.

It wasn’t until I knit my first pair of straight-up stockinette socks that I realized how QUICKLY knitting a pair of socks could go. It’s like I blinked and they were (both!) off the needles.

After knitting many pairs of gifting socks (which I learned I prefer to do ribbed so I can fret less about the fit) and am focusing on knitting socks JUST FOR ME, I am just doing stockinette socks for the time being. All the pretty gradient, self-patterning, and self-striping yarns make them interesting and beautiful and I don’t feel like I am losing out by not working from a pretty sock pattern.

Walk and Knit

The other benefit of knitting simple ol’ stockinette socks is that it is much easier to walk and knit at the same time. I’ve tried walking and knitting with ribbed socks and it’s achievable…but walking and knitting with stockinette socks is much EASIER.

If you are anything like me (e.g., prioritize knitting over exercise and just about anything else) and also perpetually failing to achieve a higher state of desired personal physical fitness, let me suggest taking your socks on a walk during mild temperatures (my fingers get too cold during the winter to make this possible). I keep my socks in my Go-Knit* pouch and have made great knitting strides, although my waste band begs to differ.

Would you like another M&M?

Take Your Socks Absolutely Everywhere

Don’t just walk with your socks. Take them everywhere. I admit I have developed a sort of neurosis about leaving the house without my knitting. I barely ever do it. As luck would have it, as soon as I go somewhere without a knitting project I of course end up with an hour to kill that I otherwise COULD HAVE spent knitting.

The worst.

So, the socks always go. They are small and uncomplicated and travel well. Road construction with lengthy delays? Knit socks. Waiting for an appointment? Knit socks. Inadvertently find yourself at a bar drinking a bloody mary? Knit socks. Someone else is driving and your are the passenger? DEFINITELY knit socks.

All those random rounds add up and, BAM, you have a sock.

Some neuroses pay off more than others.

Set a Daily Goal

I have been coaching a knitting friend through her first pair of socks. I can’t say we’ve made a ton of progress, but this is what I told her: just knit eight rounds every night. That’s about an inch (2.54 cm). After a week or so of that, you’re ready to turn a heel. DOUBLE BAM. Eight rounds is NOTHING. You probably spend more time than that thoughtlessly scrolling through Facebook.

Knit your eight rounds (or whatever goal you otherwise set yourself), and you can thank me later.

Knit Smaller Socks

I’ve noticed socks commonly come in patterns based off 64 stitches. For me, working on Size 2 US/2.75 mm needles, 64 stitches comes out WAY too big. I use 64 stitches for Man Socks only, or women I know to have particularly thick feet and ankles.

When knitting socks for myself or averaged-footed ladies to gift, I go with patterns that use only 52 stitches for a better fit. Fewer stitches=smaller socks. Smaller socks=less time.

If you need to knit a gift for a man in your life, consider a hat instead. In worsted weight. Save the sock knitting for smaller feet.

Sock On!

That’s all I’ve got, knitters (for now). I’ll be thinking good socky thoughts for you and your soon-to-be cozy feet. Happy knitting!

 *Affiliate links. Thanks for your support. xoxo

Why Tire Stores Should Offer Wine

Mistakes that can occur while knitting short rows.

  1. Plan to go jogging during lunch break.
  2. Decided instead to go jogging after work while getting tires rotated. Both activities are long overdue.
  3. Further decide: screw that. Why jog when you can knit while waiting for tires to get rotated? Let’s get real here.
  4. Recommence short rows on your little purple shawl project while happily listing to NPR’s The Moth podcast via headphones. Pure delight. After several more short rows, you notice your poor, little shawl looks particularly lopsided.
  5. Count stitches on both sides of short rows. Cry a little bit. Okay, cry a lot. Conclude shawl is indeed very lopsided. The same number of stitches are not present on either end, as should be the case*. Something has gone dreadfully wrong. Brief period of pure knitting (tire store) bliss has sadly and prematurely concluded. Additionally: exercise has STILL not occurred. Desperately glance around waiting room for wine. Vending machines offer no wine**. Your only option is stale, over-buttered popcorn. In short, you are screwed.
  6. Snap commemorative picture prior to tinking. This may be the last time your shawl exists as something other than a knotted ball of yarn.
  7. Begin to tink. Quickly, you find yourself questioning your sanity. Tinking back three hours of short rows will clearly take forever (longer than three hours). Bravery/insanity/desperation strikes. Decide to take all the short rows off the needles and unravel instead. Adrenaline rush overwhelms. You’ve never unraveled short rows this way before. All will likely go south rather quickly. It’s been nice knowing you, shawl.
  8. It works! Begin to unravel stitches with confidence. Fear turns to (over) confidence.
  9. You hear your name called through headphone bliss. Time to get your car. Already?!?! You glance between your knitting and tire attendant at the counter, torn. You note you have at least 100 live stitches that need attending. Dilemma overwhelms. Again note lack of wine.
  10. Gently set knitting down on chair, live stitches and all. Sign for car. Return to seat. Quickly put loose switches back on needles. Project will have to wait for another time. Not only are you under-exercised, but you’re under-knit. Worst case scenario.

Administrative Notes:

*Apparently knitting while consumed with watching Indian Summers (so good!) causes one to miss designated short row turn and instead causes knitter to turn work many stitches later without noticing the error of one’s ways until the subsequent day in above-referenced tire store sans wine. Not good.

**Why do vending machines not offer wine? Surely that should be standard issue in this modern age. Soda is overrated. I guess the water can stay though…

Joining the Yarn Along and nearly done with A Man Called Ove.*  

I HAVE A HUGE FAVOR TO ASK!!! Did you happen to catch my Trintara hat pattern release over the weekend!!??!!  If not, please do check it out.  I was so happy to be able to offer this pattern to my cherished subscribers FOR FREE. I know many of you took advantage of the offer and downloaded the pattern (yahoo!). I would so greatly appreciate it if you could please add the pattern to your favorites in Ravelry.  Just click the little heart near the upper right hand corner! Thanks!!!

Also, weekly chats are still a thing over in my Ravelry group. Feel free to drop on by and say hey  in a more casual setting.

Trintara Hat Pattern Release

trintara-hat-knitting-pattern-using-madelinetosh-pashmina-worsted-in-sugar-plum-on-us-size-7-needles. The modified cable brim transitions into an easy cabled fabric with tons of dimensionality but not too much fuss. Happy knitting!

I hate to say it, but it’s pretty much hat knitting season ’round these parts. We’ve had crisp mornings and evenings (some days), shorter days (I haaaate!), and, gasp, the holidays are approaching.

The Trintara hat knitting pattern. This easy pattern uses Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted and US size 7 needles.

Hats are perfect fodder for holiday knitting.

Especially this hat. Meet Trintara. It’s knit in Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted (Sugar Plum colorway), so it works up quick (yahoo worsted!) and it’s the Super Soft Squishy factor is out of this world. Seriously. I do not lie. This hat was a winner from the very beginning. I just love it when pattern development works out that way.

The Trintara hat knitting pattern. This easy pattern uses Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted and US size 7 needles.

Trintara is available on Ravelry for $4.00 USD…BUT…Subscribers have received this pattern for free. (Subscribers, check your inboxes for a special email with your coupon code.) I love my subscribers and am so grateful for your support and general devotion. I have know idea how I got so lucky!

The pattern has been tech edited by the lovely Dana Gervais, without whom I would surely be found muttering to myself in a dark, lonely ditch. Clear, written instructions are available in both English and metric units.

The Trintara hat knitting pattern. This easy pattern uses Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted and US size 7 needles.

Trintara is all about easy, cozy, beautiful knitting warmth. The simple modified rib brim transitions gracefully into a cable fabric stitch to add depth and dimensionality to the main body of the hat without being too fussy, difficult, or busy. (I am not a fan of fussy, difficult, or busy knitting projects.)

Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted has been one of my favorite yarns this year, and I have knit with it on a couple of other occasions. Sadly neither of my local yarn stores stocks it, but I have noticed WEBS carries it from time to time. I have also had GREAT luck Googling for it, as a lot of smaller yarn stores seem to have it on discount often and will happily ship. It is available in all (most?) of the fabulous Madelinetosh colorways. Seriously. You truly can’t go wrong with this yarn, and it’s worth the online order if that’s your only option.

I actually believe this pattern would work for the male half of our species, although perhaps not in the Sugar Plum colorway. The finished size is equally suitable for both genders. Should you end up knitting a male-destined Trintara, please do share with me so I can see how it turned out!

Okay knitters, please scurry off to snag your pattern (and subscribers, please don’t miss out on your free pattern…your coupon code is only good for three days).  I have a hunch you’ll like this one as much as I do!

Happy knitting!

We Conquered

Home.

Unpacked. Laundry’s done. Dishwasher is running. We’re officially settled in and ready for a fresh start this week with work and preschool.

We conquered San Diego. In the uplifting, non-Missionary sense of the geo-political spectrum.

Travel knitting at its best in sunny San Diego.

There was the zoo. Sea World. Hanging with friends in the yacht basin, feeling all at once casually cool and substantially outclassed.

Travel knitting at its best.

We also enjoyed visits with Great Grandpa and Knitting Granny, who actually got all knitty after years of reprieve and generously cast-on a couple hundred stitches on my behalf. She’s still got moves.

My knitting grandma.

Reed had a blast. I had a blast. I was blessed with lots of car and plane knitting time (Reed was delightfully occupied with the audio versions of the Magic Tree House series*), so the brown sock saw some major action. I just have a toe to go. It is likely they are too long in the foot, but I think I can work this unfortunate miscalculation. Worse case, I unravel a bit and rework the toes. And, with luck, they might  just come out to be the same length. Fingers crossed.

Travel knitting at its best.

I ignored your wise advice and took the purple project after all. I suffered two failed cast-ons before I was off and running knitting. I got so far as to finish my border. I see short rows in my future.

Travel knitting at its best.

The Plan C skein of sock yarn remained untouched, which really ought to be the case with Plan C. You know things have a either gone really well (unlikely) or quite poorly (more likely) if you make it to Plan C of your travel knitting syllabus.

As always on a Wednesday, I am joining the Yarn Along and STILL reading A Man Called Ove.*  My non-ebook reading pace is abysmal, but I love this book so I can’t give up.

*Affiliate links. Thanks for being you!!! Mwah!

Five Standout Tees to Knit Right Now

Five standout knitting patterns for summer tops and tees to knit right this second. Your knitting will thank you!

I know I was just blathering on about fall knitting, but then I thought, hey, I am always trying to end nice, warm summer weather before it ACTUALLY ends. We have almost two months of amazing weather ahead of us. 

At least where I live.

You know what that means? We have time to knit tees! When you think about it, and depending on the size you aspire to make, a tee really doesn’t need that much more yarn that a shawl. Totally doable.

To make it your life easier and provide you with a bit of inspiration, I have compiled five fabulous tees published on Ravelry over the past year or so. I love these patterns because they are all so versatile and wearable as wardrobe staples without being too fusy. Almost all of these patterns are mostly seamless, sometimes with a bit of work required to finish up the sleeves and such. Nothing too intense.

You’ve got this.

image

Photo credits to the designers. Top left: Riverton by Sheila Toy Stromberg. Bottom left:Astonish by Katy Banks. Top right: Wavelength Tee by Nicole Montgomery. Middle right: Eavesdrop by Marie Greene. Bottom right: Brandilyn Top by Quenna Lee .

Riverton

My absolute favorite is Riverton by Sheila Toy Stromberg (top left). I think I actually have something in my stash that will work for this!  I love the little peep hole in the back (cute but not too revealing) and the pleats in the front. Simple but different. This is a lace weight tee knit in the round with minimal seaming.  The pattern was published on Ravelry in April 2016. There are three options for the sleeves. Sheila is an indie designer and offers this pattern on Ravelry for $5.00 USD.

Astonish

Astonish by Katy Banks (bottom left) is available via Knit Picks for $4.99 USD and was published in Marsh 2015. I think the diagonal striping would be figure-flattering, and I like the neckline. The pattern calls for a linen-cotton blend, which means MACHINE WASHABLE. Note this pattern is worked flat. Lazy me.

Wavelength

Wavelength Tee by Nicole Montgomery (top right) is a DK weight tee knit from the bottom up with minimal seaming at the shoulders. Nicole is an indie designer and offers this patterne on Ravelry for $6.99 USD. Wavelength was published on Ravelry in in June 2015. These seams like a very wearable pattern. I like the looser fit and the tasteful bit of contrast color for a bit of pep.

Eavesdrop

This is a brand new pattern! Just published in August 2016. Eavesdrop by Marie Greene  (middle right) is top down and seamless (joy!) I love the appearance of seamed structure despite the lack of seaming. Marie is also an indie designer with Olive Knits, and her pattern is available on Ravelry for $7.00 USD.

Brandilyn

This one has been on the top of my list for a while now. Brandilyn Top by Quenna Lee (bottom right) was first published in March 2015.  This top is worked in one piece from the bottom up and is available on Ravelry for $4.99 USD. This is also designed with a linen-cotton blend and is MACHINE WASHABLE!!! This pattern has a lot of projects on Ravelry and they all look great. I think this would be a super wearable, all-purpose tee.

Okay knitters, that’s my list. I hope you’ve found a tee you love and have been inspired to go stash diving or yarn shopping. Summer is not over yet! (This means margaritas and root beer floats are also fair game!) Enjoy that sun while it still shines.

Your absolute-bucket-list-of-must-knit-tees. These wearable, short-sleeve tees are awesome knitting patterns to add to everyone's knitting bucket list.

%d bloggers like this: