The De-Stress Sweater

DSC_0004 (4)-1 

” I knit so I don’t kill people.” This is a common humorous saying among knitters. This week, this saying could be revised to say, “I knit so I don’t completely stress out.” I have have been working on the Green Gable Pullover and it has really helped my stress levels. It is a top down sweater. The pattern has a simple lace panel at the top.Once you get past the lace panel , it is row after row of knit stitch. It has been a long week and I am finding working on knit stitch very soothing.

DSC_0011 (1)-1

 I am enjoying seeing the top take shape. I love seeing a ball of string and some sticks turn into an item.  The picture on the top show my  progress so far. Lately, I have been working on this sweater to the exclusion of other projects. I am thinking it may not take as long as I thought to finish it. I am already thinking about what sweater I want to make next. What about you? What is your favorite pattern to knit to relax or de-stress? Do you prefer simple patterns or more complicated patterns?

Advertisements

Useful Knitting Links

DSC_0015-1

Did you know that if you missed a a yarn over you can fix it on the next row? I didn’t either until I watched Kate Atherley’s video on Knitty. Today, I am posting knitting links I have found useful.

 The first link is Kate Atherley’s column in knitty about lace knitting. This is the video I mentioned in my opening paragraph; it also has advice on lifelines and blocking.

I recently found this blog series on designing patterns that is also written by Kate Atherley. I have read her book on pattern writing and found it useful so I am very excited to find this blog series and read more of the blog posts.

The site I use the most often is Knitting Help.com. Anytime I need to learn a new technique or don’t remember how to do something this is the first place I look.

I ran across this post on how to weave in ends when I had been knitting for at least a few years. Once I read it, I wished I had found this tutorial when I first learned to knit.

I found out about Knitting Fool from a knit design challenge I did. This site has an extensive listing of stitches, a sweater pattern generator and an extensive listing of knitting terms and abbreviations.

Do you have any knitting or crochet links that you find useful that I didn’t post?  Post a link to it in the comments. 

           

My Finished Lace Scarf

DSC_0004-1

On Monday July 3, I finished knitting this lace scarf; I just need to block it. I started it when I was participating in the Initiate Knit Design Challenge hosted by Aroha Knits.  The challenge walks people through the process of designing a knitting pattern. I didn’t finish it in time for the challenge but I continued to work on it once the challenge ended. I wanted to to use up some yarn I had leftover from a sweater I had knitted earlier. I had a little less than 100 grams of yarn to work with.

DSC_0011-1

I wanted to design a narrow lace scarf and I really struggled to find a stitch pattern that would work for a narrow scarf. I looked at several stitches but I ended up using a stitch I found in Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Once I found a stitch I liked I really enjoyed working on it. In retrospect, it was not an ideal project for the challenge because I didn’t have much of the yarn. I struggled to find enough yarn to do a swatches. I ended up swatching in another yarn. I ended up finishing it with less than a foot of yarn to spare.  I was pretty nervous near the end of the project but I am very happy with how it turned out.

My Handmade Wardrobe Goals

DSC_0011 (1)-1Right now, I am making a lace scarf, a shawl, a tank top and a blanket. After I finish some of these projects, I want to make more garments. I have  recently realized that I make a lot of accessories but not that many garments. The tank top I am experimenting with is the first garment I have made in 2 years. I feel like that is a long time to go without making garments. I also want to make sure I am making pieces I could use in my wardrobe. Here is a list of some of the items I want to make to round out my wardrobe. 

First up, I want to make some summer tops. Once I finish one of my knitting projects. I want to make this top. It uses yarn I bought for another project that didn’t work out. I really like how this top looks and I am looking forward to making this. The style of this top and the color should work well with other pieces in my wardrobe. I have had this yarn for years and I am happy that I found a use for it. I already did gauge swatches and made gauge. The above photo shows the yarn I am going to use and a picture o f the pattern. 

I also want to make this top by Andi Satterlund. I love the lace paneling on the top and I have some cotton/linen yarn that should work well with this pattern. 

After summer tops, I want to make a cardigan to wear over skirts. and dresses. I don’t really have a cardigan that looks nice with my skirts and dresses. I think it would be nice to have a sweater I can wear over my dresses and skirts for when it gets colder at night. I am eyeing 2 more of Andi Satturlund’s patterns, either the Miette or Mary Mead. She makes a lot of cardigans that would look nice to wear with skirts and dresses.

I also really want a cardigan to wear with jeans and pants in colder weather. My favorite cardigan is wearing out and I am thinking I want to make a sweater instead buying one. I am eyeing this pattern from Knitty  if I can find yarn that works. It calls for a heavy worsted and the yarns I looked at were either too light or too heavy. I am also eyeing this cardigan by Lion Brand. I am not sure I like the recommended yarn. I may have to substitute yarn if I decide to make it. 

My Crochet Goals

granny square2-0023

I recently wrote about my knitting goals. I want to give equal time to both knitting and crochet on this blog so I also wanted to write about my crochet goals. Lately, I have been more inspired by knitting than crochet. Until I started the blanket I am making right now, I have been knitting more than I crochet. However, when I thought abut it there are many things I want to crochet. Here are the crochet projects I want to do in the future. I look at this list I made and realize I could be busy for a long time.

Crochet more garments

In the past, I have struggled to find crochet garments I want to make. However, I have found a few  patterns I like. I really like this Convergence Top pattern. I found out about it when I asked for advice on crochet garment patterns on a Ravelry forum. I have been eyeing the Northern Dreams Pullover for a long time. When I first saw the pattern years ago, I thought it looked like a difficult pattern and never thought to attempt it. I recently looked at it again and realized it was a crochet version of a yoked sweater. Now I really want to make this sweater. However I am on a tight budget right now and would have to buy yarn to make both. I have also been eyeing this pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. 

Make a dress

A friend of mine designed this dress and I really want to make it at some point. I also love this dress by Lily Chin. Both would be a challenge for me and a big project I know I want to make these at some point but I am not sure when I will get around to it.

Make a ripple blanket

This past winter, I was reading about temperature blankets and came very close to making one. I decided to make the blanket I am working on now instead. A friend gave me some red heart yarn that should work well for a blanket. I like the way the rippled blanket looks and I like the idea of having a colorful blanket to use during the winter.

 Freeform crochet

I have been reading about freeform crochet for years and am intrigued by the idea. If you don’t know what freeform crochet is, this article describes freeform crochet pretty well. I really like the idea of being creative and freewheeling with crochet. I have read about the work of Prudence Mapstone, and Jenny Dowde and would love to explore freeform crochet further. I have thought that it would be a fun way to use some of my scrap yarn.

 Make some of the design ideas I have sketched

I keep a sketchbook and write ideas for projects that I could design.I want to get in the habit of working on some of these ideas on a regular basis.

An Update on Bead Crochet Projects

DSC_0003 (2)-1

About a month ago, I wrote about getting back to bead crochet and beadwork after not doing either for a long time. Since then, I finished the bracelet I was making. This time, it came out the right length. I then had to figure out how to join the rope together into a bracelet. To join the rope, I used the instructions in this book. I joined it together and am happy with it for the most part. A little later, I did a google search on joining ropes and found another way to join the ropes that may be better. Here is a video of that technique. I want to try this technique on the bracelet I am making now.  

DSC_0008 (1)-1

 I started making another bead crochet rope and decided to use a pastel color scheme. I had trouble deciding between red, blue, grey and ivory or pink, grey and ivory. I really liked the pink beads and so I decided to go with the pastels. I am using a different thread this time. This book recommends Jeans Stitch or Gutermann 100% polyester top stitching thread. I used Jeans stitch for the previous ropes I did and now I am trying the Gutermann thread. I would like to make a project using each type of thread to see how they work.

More Stash Busting Projects

DSC_0006 (1)-1

Recently I wrote about the scrap yarn in my stash and the projects I have done to use up the yarn. One night I looked up stash busting patterns on Ravelry and found some beautiful patterns. There are a lot of lovely and creative ways to use up yarn. Here are a few of my favorites.

 1: A lot of people like to make blankets out of mitered squares. I have seen a lot of pictures on Instagram of people making blankets made out of mitered squares using fingering weight or worsted weight yarn. I used these instructions to make a scarf but a lot of people use these instructions to make a blanket.

 2: I like this winter hat pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue.

 3:I absolutely love this beautiful pillow pattern. I love the bright colors.

 4: This is a cute pattern for a snake.

 5: I almost have to include a pattern for a log cabin blanket. I love how they look and want to make one at some point. This is another pattern that is in my Ravelry Queue

 6: This crocheted lace shawl would be a good pattern for summer

 7: The designer designed this knitted shawl to use up her scraps of fingering weight yarn.

My Stash Busting Projects

mitered 1-0007

One thing I love about being into crafts is finding ways to use what you have to be creative. I love looking up creative ways to upcycle. I also enjoy reading about projects that use ordinary household objects to make something creative and interesting. In that vein, I want to write a small series on using up scrap yarn. This week I will talk about my experiences with stash busting.

granny square2-

 In my stash, I have 2 bags of small amounts of yarn that are leftover from other projects or from projects I unraveled. I also have several skeins of leftover yarn. I can’t bear to throw out any of it no matter how small the amount. I keep thinking I could find a use for it. Originally, I kept all the odd bits of yarn because I wanted to learn freeform crochet and I kept thinking that I could use it in that technique.

DSC_0184

I haven’t done much freeform crochet but I have used up scarp yarn in other ways. Periodically, I like to go through my stash and and find ways to use up odd bits of yarn. I made the bag in the middle picture to use up scrap yarn. I recently made these slippers to use up an odd skein of bulky weight yarn. I also made a hat and several scarves to use up odd bits of my stash. Some of the projects work better than others on stash busting. I will start a project to use up scrap yarn and end up buying more to finish it. I started the scarf in the top picture to use up some purple and pink yarn I had but ended up buying 2 skeins to finish it. I bought the grey to add a neutral color and I ran out of the purple and had to buy more. I wrote about the scarf project here. With the blanket in the bottom picture, I drastically underestimated how much yarn it would take and had to buy a lot more yarn than I was originally trying to use up.

The Initiate Knit Design Challenge

DSC_0005 (5)-1

Recently, I took part in the Initiate Knit Design Challenge that Francoise Danoy from Aroha Knits hosted. I didn’t finish it but I learned a lot and figured out how to use an odd skein of yarn I had in my stash. I wanted to do this challenge because I have wanted to design my own patterns for a while. I felt like I needed a push to start working on my design ideas. In the last couple of years, I have been working more and more without a pattern and being more creative with yarn. However, I had written down very few of my ideas and wasn’t anywhere near being ready to publish any of them. I wanted to do this challenge to push myself to move forward with my design ideas. Even though I didn’t finish, I learned a lot and finished the lessons on my own time.

DSC_0009 (2)-1

 The challenge consisted of 5 email lessons that were sent over 10 days. She also did a daily  video lesson on Facebook live in her Facebook group. The challenge had 5 lessons. Part one was inspiration, part 2 was sketching, part 3 was swatching, part 4 was about math and part 5 is writing the pattern. I got as far as part 3 during the challenge. It took me a long time to figure out what to do, I couldn’t decide what stitch to use. In step one, I learned about using vision boards and I like using them. I definitely want to do more with that. I also learned you can look up knitting stitches on Pinterest. For the challenge, I was trying to make a narrow scarf. I wanted to use up an odd skein of yarn in my stash. I looked up stitches in a stitch dictionary by Barbara Walker and found so many beautiful stitches. I struggled with swatching; it took me a long time because I didn’t have enough yarn do both a swatch and make a scarf. I ended up using another similar yarn to swatch even though that was not encouraged in the challenge. I eventually did find a stitch pattern that I really like after the challenge was over. The top photos shows the stitch I chose and  the progress I have made so far. I love the stitch and am really enjoying making this scarf. I watched and read the lessons for part 4 and 5 on my own and found out about some very useful online calculators. In addition to doing the project for the challenge, I also found a lace stitch that should work well for some yarn that I love but didn’t know how to use. I also got an idea for a shawl design. For that reason alone it was worth my time because it helped me come up with  ideas for new projects that I am excited to start. 

Stephen West’s Craftsy Class

DSC_0022 (1)-1

I recently completed a shawl class by Stephen West. I was hoping it would give me the knowledge I needed to design shawl patterns. After the class,  I felt a lot more familiar with basic shawl shapes and the techniques used most often in Shawl making. For one of my next knitting projects, I want to design a triangle shawl and this class gave me more confidence that could design my own. It made me want to knit his shawl patterns. When I had finished the class, I put several of his shawls into my Ravelry queue. I found out about his Herbavore Shawl Pattern from this class and I started knitting it. 

DSC_0011 (3)-1

 Before I started the class, I had already done a garter tab cast on and made a triangle shawl. The first part of the class covered the garter tab cast on, the triangle shawl shape, make one increases, and yarn over increases. That part was a review for me. Then he went over how to use increases to make new shapes and how to distribute increases. The last part of the class covered binding off, blocking and color and texture.  I learned some new cast off methods and new ways to increase and decrease to get different shapes. Stephen West is so upbeat that watching these videos brightened my day.  I could tell that he is incredibly creative. When he was talking about how he designed the Herbavore shawl, he said that he was doing a triangle shawl and got bored so he added new increase sections. Overall, I enjoyed the class and learned something.