Log Cabin Knit Along

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This month, Karen Templer of Fringe Association and the women behind Mason Dixon Knitting are hosting a KAL* with a log cabin theme. Here is a post that details the KAL and how it works. This is the hashtag for it on Instagram. They announced it back in the fall. When I heard about it, I was very excited about it. I had recently found a tutorial for log cabin knitting by Very Pink Knits and I immediately really liked the idea. I loved that it creates a visually striking result from rows of garter stitch and scrap yarn. I really wanted to do this KAL.

 When it got closer to it actually starting, I was having second thoughts. I had just finished holiday knitting. I was working on 2 sweaters and had just started designing and making a cable scarf. I have been feeling tired and stressed out and wasn’t sure I had the energy to start another project I would be designing, swatching and sketching. I kept thinking that I should work on the projects I was already doing. I also was concerned that adding one more project to the mix would make me feel scattered and distract me from finishing the sweaters I want to finish.

 However I also have a lot of odd scraps of acrylic yarn I wanted to use up. I kept thinking that it would be the a great way to use up the yarn. I couldn’t let go of the idea and decided to try making a square. The first attempt didn’t work at all and I unraveled it. One night, I looked at the instructions again. I realized that it wouldn’t be as hard as I thought to make it. I started another square and this time I love how it is turning out and I can see why people say that this technique is addicting. I had wanted to make a wrap or blanket scarf but after I weighed my yarn and the first square I made, I realized I would only have enough yarn to make a scarf. I am using black, grey, white, beige, red and orange yarn. I am enjoying working on this project a lot.

*stands for knit along

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My Finished Blanket

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In an earlier post, I wrote about 2 projects I finished that were stash busters. I finished this blanket back in November. I am incredibly happy with how it turned out. When I was planning it out, I wasn’t sure it was going to work out at all because I didn’t use a pattern for this. When I started to plan this blanket, it felt like a big project for me. I can’t remember when I have been so excited about how a project turned out. It was so exiting to me to finish a bit project and have it turn out well. It really boosted my confidence and makes me want to try other ideas I have been thinking abut doing.

 I finished in time for the weather here to get very cold and it came in handy. I found out one of my other blankets had holes that I was’t able to easily repair so I ended up sending it a recycling center. I found this out as I was almost done making this blanket. By time I finished it, I really needed a new blanket. It goes well with my bedspread and has been very cozy. The day I finished it I used it to take a nap and it was nice. The other blanket I made a few years ago was a little too short. I made this one wider and longer and it works out much better. I am thinking about making another blanket but I feel like I need a break from making such a large project.

My Reflections and Recap of my Blog

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Happy New Year, for me it was a tough year in many ways but good things also happened. I originally started regularly posting in this blog in July  of 2016 after very long hiatus. Previously, I had written blog posts in 2013 or so but fell out of posting.  I didn’t post any recap last year at this time. It feels like a good time to reflect on the progress of this blog so far. The main reason I wanted to start this blog again is that I needed a creative outlet. I was feeling like knitting and crocheting other peoples patterns weren’t enough. I felt like I needed more than that. I also wanted to have a project that would push me to write on a regular basis. Writing has a been a big interest of mine for years and I wanted to get back to it. 

I also really wanted to start a project that would give me something to look forward to in my life. Every time I looked at the news something awful was happening that scared me. I didn’t have much going else going on that I looking forward to. It was tearing me up to be so scared for my country and not have much going on in my own life. 

 When I started this blog, I didn’t have a set plan or brand in mind. I mainly wanted to write what I liked and see what happens. I had read advice from a friend that said to take advantage of being a beginner and write what you feel like and don’t worry too much about branding.  In this process, I learned a lot from this blog. I rediscovered my love of writing. Writing the blog posts made me realize all over again how much I like to write. I also realized that it is nice to have a record of what I have been making and my thoughts at the time.

 From this blog, I also met other bloggers and learned a lot. I joined the Problogger Facebook group and that has been very helpful. I was able talk to other bloggers and get advice and see how other bloggers approach their blogs. It also helped me to see what I need to work on with my blog. For example, I have realized I need to use a content calendar, improve my titles and learn more about SEO. I also found out about blog chats on Twitter and that has also been helpful for similar reasons.

 I also had some challenges in 2017. I sometimes struggled with consistently posting content. A few times this year, I had a noticeable gap in posting. I would not feel well, get tired or get discouraged. and would take a break, and lose momentum . Then fall out of posting for longer than I thought I would and have to get back to it. At one point this year, I almost gave up on the blog when I realized that Net Neutrality would be repealed. I struggled with feeling like writing this blog was futile with all the awful stuff going on around me and net neutrality being repealed. I was also scared that this blog would be over before I started if net neutrality was repealed. I decided to keep going because I realized that if I gave up on this blog, I would be giving up because I was giving into fear and negative emotion and  I felt like that was not a good reason for me to stop.

 In 2018 I want to be more consistent about posting content and promoting it. I want to use a content calendar and plan ahead more. I also want to start writing posts in batches. I also want to make more of an effort to read other people’s blogs. Overall, this blog has been good for me. I have learned a lot and I hope in 2018 I can take this blog to the next level.

My Handmade Christmas Gifts

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It is the day after Christmas and I hope everyone who celebrates it had a good Christmas. I thought I would share the projects I made for family this Christmas. I made my mom, dad and brothers gifts. For my mom, I made her washcloths. I had made her washcloths years ago and she liked them and uses them all the time. Recently, she showed me a washcloth that had worn out so I decided to make her a couple more.

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The first one is a simple stockinette pattern in brown yarn. I used a pattern I had used before but it wasn’t available online anymore. It was a simple pattern so I just winged it. It is stockinette stitch with a seed stitch border. I wanted to use warm colors because her kitchen colors are brown and green. I also made her this lace dishcloth in yellow.

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My brother asked for a hat. I had made him a hat a couple of years ago and he wanted one that was a little longer and a slightly tighter fit on his head . I told him what yarn colors I had and he chose this blue grey. For this hat, I didn’t use a pattern; I used a formula I use for simple hats.

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Finally, I made my Dad fingerless gloves and I used this pattern. I was a little nervous about this pattern because I am not super comfortable using dpns but it was easier than I thought. I struggled a little with the thumb part but I figured it out after having to rip it back and start over once. Fortunately, it is such a small project it didn’t take long to re do it. I am now inspired to try other glove or mitten patterns since making these gloves weren’t as hard as I thought it would be.

My Thoughts on Making Christmas Gifts

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Happy Holidays and merry Christmas if you celebrate it. It is 2 days until Christmas and I finished knitting Christmas presents last week. I made most of my presents this year and I will share what I made after Christmas so I don’t spoil anything for the recipients. I like to make gifts for people because I enjoy it and don’t like shopping at malls around Christmas.

 Each year I start making Christmas presents for friends and family around November and finish in December. I mostly make smaller items like hats, scarves and dishcloths. I have seen people who start Christmas knitting or crochet as early as July. Each year I think I will start earlier in the year and it hasn’t happened yet. I also keep meaning to try a craft that I can make in batches so I can make several at once for friends and family.  For example I saw a tutorial for making homemade sugar scrubs or making flavored vinegars. I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet. Instead I usually knit or crochet gifts for my friends and family. In the past, I also have made jewelry for loved ones. Maybe next year I will try something new instead of knitting most of them. For now, I am happy I am done and hope everyone likes the gifts I made them. How about you? Do you make presents for your friends and family? Do you start early or wait until the last minute?

 

Project Update-Stash Busting

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I am back after a hiatus; I had taken a break over thanksgiving week and that ended up being a longer break than I had thought. When I took that week off, I didn’t work on the blog or write. I lost momentum and then each day I didn’t write, it was harder and harder to get back to it. I finally got some blogging mojo back and I wanted to give an update of the projects I have been working on since I last published a post. I will start by writing about my stash busting projects.

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I finished this bag in the middle of November. I made this bag in part because I wanted to use up some yarn in my stash. The lavender yarn is yarn I bought on clearance a few years ago. I have had it in my stash for years but I couldn’t figure out how to use it until now. The solid colored light blue yarn is some Cotton/polyester blend yarn that was leftover from other projects. The bag ended up using more yarn than I thought it would. I ended up also using some other cotton yarn for the bag. The cotton yarn is the blue and white yarn. I am mostly happy with how it turned out. It came out a little uneven in spots and I had to go back and fix that. I think that happened because I got the stitch count off on several rows. For now I am using the bag to store the yarn I want to use for a blanket I want to make.

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I also finished the hat in the first picture. I started it because I was looking for a quick and easy project to relieve stress after I had to unravel a shawl I had worked on for months. I also wanted to use up the odd bits of worsted weight yarn in my stash. I had wanted to make a colorful hat out of my yarn scraps for a while. I am very happy with how the hat turned out and it is becoming one of my favorite hats to wear. I love the bright colors, they make me happy.

My Favorite Pullover Sweater Patterns

 

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Lately, I have been decided to make more sweaters . When I have been stressed out, I have been looking at sweater patterns on Ravelry to relax. This is a list of some of my favorite pullover sweater patterns. It is a sort of wish list; all of these are either in my favorites or in my queue. If I have time, I really want to make the Margot pullover this winter. The rest may have to wait at least a few months but I still enjoy looking at the patterns.

 The For Irene sweater is one o f my favorites. I just love the lace detail on the sleeves and yoke.

 I love the bold stripes and how this designer used color in the Camaro sweater.

 The Margo sweater has been in my Ravelry queue for ages. If I have time, I mat try to make it later this winter. I like the split him and garter stitch edging.

 The Pixilated Pullover uses stranded color work in a very innovative way and I love the effect.

 The Breathing Space pullover has a unique design with an asymetrical hem. It uses short rows to a good effect.

 I love the garter stitch detail on the sleeves on the Flax Light sweater. Plus if you made this sweater, it would be a solid addition to a handmade wardrobe.

Learning from Failure

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I had to unravel the Herbivore shawl I was working on. This experience made me think about what I have learned from other failed projects. Failure is inevitable in any creative endeavor. If you try a new technique you risk failure. I thought I would write about what I have learned from a couple of my past craft failures. Every time, I had to unravel project, it was upsetting at the time but I always learned something.

 My  most recent failure, I had cast off the shawl and the first thing I noticed is that it came out much smaller than I thought it would and I didn’t like that. I was disappointed about that so I put the scarf aside. An hour or so later, I picked up the scarf again and noticed that several stitches had come loose on the cast off edge. I tried to repair it but the stitches would have been much looser than the other stitches around it . It wouldn’t have looked right so I decided to unravel it. I was heartbroken, I had been working on the shawl for at last 6 months and that was 6 months of work down the drain. My immediate reaction was to remove most of the shawls from my Ravelry queue and put the project where I din’t have to look at it. When I thought about it a little later, I realized that I used a cast on I hadn’t done before and probably didn’t do it correctly. I also realized that when I make shawls using fingering weight yarn, I need to use two skeins of yarn. Otherwise, I have to play a guessing game over how much yarn I have left and the shawl comes out too small for me.

Several years ago,I crocheted a sweater and it was one of the first sweaters I had made. At the time, I didn’t take the concept of garment ease* into account and made it to my exact chest measurement. I also made the whole sweater without trying it on or checking if it would fit. I had nearly finished it and when I tried it on and it was skin tight and looked terrible on me. I had to unravel it and was so upset at the time. Years later I used the yarn from that failed project to make another sweater and it came out very well. It fits well and it made me happy that I was able to reuse that yarn from a failed project. So the lesson here? make sure you understand garment ease when you make a sweater. Also, make sure you know how much ease you like in your sweaters. I would recommend measuring your chest and waist and then measuring your favorite sweaters to find that out. 

 Another project that I had to unravel was a beret, I was excited to start this project. It used up some yarn I had leftover from a sweater I made and I thought the hat was cute. I was having trouble figuring out how to make the brim and made a mistake. It then looked terrible and I unraveled it. Looking back I didn’t have a clear idea of how I was supposed to knit the brim but I soldiered forward anyway. If I had to do it over, I would have asked for help on how to do the brim and made sure I knew how to do it before I started it. In summery Failure is inevitable but you always learn something.

*Garment ease is how loose or tight you make a garment

I Want to Make a Log Cabin Blanket

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I had originally planned on making a ripple blanket once I finished the blanket I am working on right now. However I am getting a huge urge to make a log cabin blanket. One night I was looking at my Ravelry queue and I found this tutorial for a log cabin blanket. I watched the video and I immediately loved the idea. I love that it is rows of garter stitch with a striking result. Plus I love to play with color and this would be a good project to do that. 

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A short time after I was thinking about this, I found out that Karen Templer of Fringe Association is hosting a knit a long that starts in January with a log cabin theme. The timing is perfect, I found out about it right after I watched  the tutorial that made me want to make something with a log cabin theme. I want to do this knit a long and I have been thinking about what I could do for it. I was originally going to make a blanket using a pink, purple and blue color scheme using the yarn pictured above. I also have a lot of red yarn and odd bits of orange, grey, white and black yarn. Or I could use some odd skeins of worsted weight wool in teal and blue colors. I was thinking of making a wrap with the teal and blue yarn. I am not sure about the black, red, orange and grey yarn. I am not sure I have enough for a blanket. I haven’t made up my mind what I want to do yet but I have time to think about it since the knit a long doesn’t start until January. .

Knitting as Stress Relief

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I have realized when I get stressed out, I like to start new knitting projects. About two weeks ago, a project I was doing didn’t work out. I had to unravel a shawl I had been working on for months. I was very upset and I ended up casting on 2 easy short projects to make myself feel better. I had just finished casting off the Herbivore shawl. The first thing I noticed  after I cast off was that it came out a lot smaller than I wanted it to. At that moment, I put it on a shelf, tried not to think about it and hoped that blocking would help. I went to look at it again an hour later and realized that several stitches on the cast off edge has came loose. I tried to fix it but I couldn’t see how I could fix it without the stitches being much looser than the rest of the shawl. I decided to unravel it. At that time, I was heartbroken. I stuffed the shawl somewhere I wouldn’t see it because I didn’t even want to look at it.

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Right after I cast off the shawl , I cast on a washcloth I had been planning for to make for my mom. I had been planning for this to be my next project for a while. The plan had been to start holiday knitting as soon as I finished a project. Then I was so upset over having to unravel that shawl I also found myself casting on a hat to make myself feel better. Hats for me are a comfort zone. I have wanted to make myself a hat out of my odd bits of wool scrap yarn. The idea of a hat out of bright colors appealed to me and I wanted a short easy project to make me feel better. I worked on both projects for most of the weekend after my shawl disaster and they have been a good stress reliever. I still don’t want to look at that shawl or much less finish unraveling it yet. However the hat I am making out of bright colors cheers me up. Also, having a short easy project on hand to knit a few rows to relax made me feel better. I have finished the washcloth and am almost done with the hat.