March 18, 2015

Just to make things interesting

I'm spending this week working on some baby wear for the soon-to-be-open alpaca shop (i.e. alpaca yarn, alpaca clothing, alpaca fiber ... alpaca, alpaca, alpaca!) in Lavonia, GA.  I'm having difficulty getting enough knitting time between--and let's be honest, the husband is out of town so I'm just doing the minimum--household chores, putting in the first garden of the year, and running a business, and battling my newly arrived seasonal allergies (damn you neighbors' Bradford Pear trees!).  I have, however, worked up these two REALLY cute hats (pattern is Little Scallops by Maria Carlander) and have started on a third hat, which just might have a run-in with a book of matches turn out to be really cute, too.

Enter the DPNS.  If you've ever read my posts before, you know that these tools of Satan knitting needles are not my friends and that I am a circular needle gal all the way.  However, I decided that wouldn't it be cute if I worked up a couple brioche baby hats and reminded myself that knitting brioche in the round is much less taxing on the ol' brain and hands than knitting brioche flat.  And then there was the join.

Before today, I would have said that I am a master magician at the invisible join.  Before today, I had probably worked a bazillion invisible joins.  But today, no matter what I did or how many times I started again--and a girl can only start again so many times before she loses her marbles--I could not work up anything but a gigantic holy ladder.  So, not to be outdone by two strands of yarn, I went to the cabinet and unearthed a set of US 5 DPNs (Harmony by Knit Picks--I love Harmony needles!) and I began again.  Frick wouldn't you know it if it didn't work like a charm on the first go-around?!  So, I worked a few more rounds, and I was about to switch it all over to a circular needle when that little devil on my shoulder said "I double dog dare you to knit that entire hat with DPNS, just for kicks."  Double dog, folks.  So I'm thinking it over.  Meanwhile, I noticed that I just keep working in circles with those damned pretty DPNS.

Until I got to about 1.25 inches, and then I started to notice that I was having to pick up and re-work several dropped stitches.  Some sections looked a little wonky and there were places where I hadn't worked a strand at all.

So off the DPNs this hat came and onto a circular needle.  One hour and about 27 fixed mistakes later (just kidding, it was only 9), I am an inch further and completely back on track.

I guess the moral of this story is that DPNs are good for starting brioche in the round, but this girl just needs her circs.  The end.

March 17, 2015

Knitting is not just for Christmas

It's St. Patrick's Day again, and so I would like to remind you that you can make gifts for any holiday, not just Christmas or Easter, by reminding you of this pattern that I released last year about this same time.  This is my Bit 'O Luck colorwork hat pattern, and I don't know about you, but I'm rather fond of it.

The fabulous thing about this pattern is that it can be knit for sizes infant to adult, and the pattern tells you all about that.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy, and my brand new, very own yarn shop.  If you are a subscriber, well it's YOUR lucky day because my newsletter went out this morning with a code for a FREE copy of this pattern from my Ravelry shop.  And, if you become a new subscriber to my newsletter during the month of March, you will get a code for a free pattern from my Ravelry shop (for this one, or any other one there).  The subscription form is at left.

So, happy St. Patrick's Day to you, whether you are Irish or not, and may your day be filled with luck and crafting!

March 14, 2015

Pi Day: Cast One On

It's not only Pi Day today, but it's a super cool Pi Day at that.  Today, we not only have a date that mimics 3.14, but we have a date that mimics Pi plus extra digits: 3.1415.  That's pretty nerdy special so, in honor of the uniqueness of the date, I have cast on for my first Pi Shawl of the year, which makes it only my 2nd Pi Shawl ever.

I have to admit that I am super anal concerned about the initial cast on stitches being too large and floppy, so I used a 2.75 mm hook when doing the initial Ocker cast on. Then, I worked the initial 6 rounds on US 6 (4mm) 16" circs.  The last time I knit this pattern, I was so frustrated (being the anti-DPN knitter that I am) with the US 8 (5mm) needles and trying to knit 18 stitches in a tiny circle with yarn overs on needles that feel monstrously large in the hands of a sock knitter that I threw it down and walked away at least twice.  It was much easier this time with smaller needles for the first few rounds.

I also worked the stitches like I would work the toe of a toe-up sock, which is much easier than trying to make it work on the cable in a complete circle--bonus points to you if you have the where with all to make that work!

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Lotus.

Unfortunate Discovery: I received both hanks for Christmas and I thought at the time I received the 2nd "Yes! Enough for a Pi Shawl!" but when I pulled the 2 hanks out yesterday, I discovered that one is Lotus and one is Lotus A. Crap.  The difference is in the amount of turquoise in the hank.  Lotus is almost completely the same color at closer examination and Lotus A has a nice turquoise section to it.  I am going to start with Lotus A and then the splash of color will be in the main body of the shawl; Lotus will do for the outer circle and edging I guess.  I don't think it will be bad.  I am sending good vibes and thinking good thoughts because this project was planned for this day and it's all going to come out well in the wash.

Made it to the 3rd increase.

Now I must be off to knit some Pi. I hope it rains all day and I can't think of anything else that I need to do, other than to feed the animals, except knit on this shawl. Take a minute and cast on for your own Pi Shawl on this very unique day!

Have a happy Pi Day!

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