Fall Knitting and Crochet

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Lately, I have been thinking about what I have been making this summer and what I want to make this fall. As I wrote earlier, it is summer here and the weather has been hot and dry. However in a month and a half it will be fall. Lately I have been inspired to make more garments. I am really enjoying working on the Green Gable. I have realized that for my next project, I need to take into account how long it takes me to make a sweater. I had initially wanted to make a couple of summer tops but I didn’t get as much done as I thought I would. I am thinking I should finish the Green Gable in early fall. I have already been thinking about my next sweater project. Because of time constraints my next sweater will be a fall/ winter weight project. 

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 I saw a post on Instagram where someone made a sweater out of  scrap yarn. It made me realize that I have almost enough skeins of Patons Classic Wool in maroon, grey and beige to make a sweater. I have had this sweater in my Ravelry queue for a while and it recommends the same yarn. For once I have the yarn the pattern recommends. I want to make this sweater with stripes. I may add another color but I haven’t decided yet. I am also thinking about making this cardigan. These two projects will get me to the end of the year at the rate I knit. How about you? are you thinking about fall projects yet? Let me know in the comments. 

The De-Stress Sweater

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” 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.

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 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?

My Finished Lace Scarf

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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.

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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

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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.

My Knitting Goals

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I thought I would write a post about my knitting goals and what I want to make next. As we start a new month and go into a new season, it felt like a good time to think about how I want to build my skills and what I want to do differently with my craft projects. These are the knitting techniques and projects that have been on my mind lately.

Learn to knit socks

I have wanted to learn to knit socks for a long time. I even bought a couple of books on sock knitting and a few skeins of sock yarn. I am not sure when I will get around to it but I want to learn at some point.

 Knit a sweater using the percentage system

The percentage system is a way of making a sweater without a pattern that was devised by Elizabeth Zimmerman; it is described in her books. A couple of her books that describe it are Knitting Without Tears and Knitting Workshop. I have read couple of books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and I am a big fan. I love how she encourages her readers to be more creative and knit without a pattern. I am hoping to start this project this fall or winter.

 Make more garments

I have realized that I haven’t made a garment in 2 years and I really want to change that. I am thinking my next knitting pattern will be a summer top. I want to start it once I finish the scarf or shawl I am knitting right now.

 Make a cardigan

As I stated above, I want to make more garments.  I also want to make items for my wardrobe. I wear cardigans constantly and my favorite cardigan is wearing out. I am thinking I want to make a cardigan instead of buying one. I am eyeing a couple of patterns to make for this winter. 

 Use up some of my older yarn stash

I have had some of the yarn in my stash for years. Some of this yarn sits in my stash because I don’t know what to do with it. I started the lace scarf I am making to use up the yarn I had leftover from a sweater I made. I had a little over a skein left and I wanted to use up the yarn. I would like to do similar projects to use up odd bits of yarn in my stash.

An Update on Bead Crochet Projects

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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.  

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 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

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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

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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.

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 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.

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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.

Ravelry’s 10th Anniversary

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May 2nd was Ravelry’s 10 anniversary. I thought I would take a moment and write about what the site means to me. Ravelry is an amazing place. It is a an online community for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It has a database where you can look up patterns and yarn. It also has a place to list the projects you have made and a queue to list the patterns you want to make. Plus there are a large number of forums where you can interact with other fiber types. You can look up a yarn and see what others have made with that yarn You also can look up a pattern and read what others have to say about the pattern and see what it looks like when it is finished.

Thanks to Ravelry, I found out about Elizabeth Zimmerman, freeform crochet, yarn bombing and a lot of my favorite designers. I also received countless tips on how to expand my skills. I learned about art projects that asked knitters and/or crocheters to help out and make stuff for the exhibits. I have made pieces for 2 projects. Here is a link to one of the projects. I also participated in the Mandalas for Marinke project. Here is a blog post showing the Mandalas I made for the project. Ravelry has even helped with non fiber related things. I have found out about some of my favorite books from a book group I joined on Ravelry.

 One of my goals is to design and publish my own patterns. Without Ravelry, I wouldn’t know that this option exists. Plus there are 2 groups on Ravelry that are incredibly useful if you want to design patterns.They are Designers and budding designers. Both groups have amazing resource pages. Thanks to those pages, I found out about 2 Craftsy classes and a lot of books I could read on knitwear design.The Ravelry forums have been a lifeline for me at various times. Just about any knitting or crochet question you have could be answered on the forums. Recently, I went on the forums to find out how to try on a top down sweater before it is finished and found out about some tools I didn’t know about before. In short is an amazing community.