Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Yarn Along of 2014

The prompt for this post was to share all the Christmas gifts we hand made this year. So while I've shared these photos in other posts before there was one last project I haven't shared yet. Enjoy!

Hat for my dad:

Hat for my husband's dad:

Jumbo scarf for my husband:

Hipster hat for my oldest son:

Silly monster toys and a mini quilt for my youngest son (sewn, not knit):

My current WIP on my needles is the Mudblood Cardigan from the Harry Potter Unofficial Knits magazine.
It's going really well. I need to finish the collar, add both sleeves and the button panels on the front edges.

I'm still slowly reading Sherlock Holmes and I'm still really enjoying it.

Yesterday I wrote about reaching the goals I set for myself this year. If you're interested you can read it here.

Check out more WIPs by clicking the button below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Look Back on my 2014 Goals

My goals in this post were as follows:

  1. Finish afghan
  2. Finish my friend's socks
  3. Baby surplice and winter set from Bear Brand baby knitting book
  4. Dog sweater from Ninth Sublime baby book
  5. Two new yarn reviews each month
How did I do?
  1. Afghan: finished in May
  2. Friend's socks: finished in January
  3. Baby surplice: finished in May

  4. Winter set: finished in June
  5. Dog sweater: totally forgot about this one. Never even opened the pattern book to make a plan to cast on.
  6. Two new yarn reviews per month:  January, 1; February, 2; March, 0; April, 0; May, 4; June, 2; July, 2; August, 2; September, 1; October, 0; November, 0; December, 2. I ended up doing 16 instead of 24 like I was hoping. I was in the thick of nursing school during the months where there were no reviews.
If you recall I had a survey available on my sidebar all year. Here were my results:
I'm not sure if I can count my Library Challenge goal as having been met; does it count that I completely lost all interest in the dog sweater? I can tell you that 6/22 finished projects from this year were from patterns that were in my library for at least one year before I made the project. There were a couple more in my library just before January. It's not a majority but I did get the library challenge projects done that I really wanted to (mostly).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 27: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick

What is YRM: I honestly believe there are good things and bad things about every type of yarn, no matter how much you save or how much you break the bank. 

This is for the lay-knitter, not professionals. This is for people like me who might not necessarily be fiber experts despite being a crocheter or knitter for a long time, but need an honest opinion about yarn before they dive into a project with it.



The yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick
 
  • 80% acrylic
  • 20% wool
  • 170 grams, 6 ounces;  106 yards, 97 meters
  • Colorway: Charcoal and cranberry

The project: A scarf from an old pattern


What I liked: This yarn is really soft and squishy. It is really warm, thanks to the bulk. It creates a very heavy fabric... I feel like I'm stating the obvious for pretty much any bulky weight yarn. Sorry! I really like how rich the colors are although you can't really tell from the lighting in the photo. My husband tells me it is very comfortable to wear (although he says it is much too hot in 20°-30°F weather).

What I didn't like: Again, I don't have much of a complaint list for this yarn. I came across only one knot in the five skeins I used. It blocks for crap, which might be the result of high acrylic content, although that's pure speculation on my part. When I tried to block it, after it was fully dried and unpinned, it bounced right back to the original size.

Affordability:  I bought mine at Joann's for $8/skein. (Which is kind of ridiculous to me, but I had coupons.)

Rating: I'm giving this a 4-star rating. I'm feeling really neutral about it. It created the desired effect: a super warm, bulky sweater, but there were some minor annoyances with it. I think I'd buy it again if it was on sale though.





For a list of Yarn Reviews, click below:

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this or asked to review this yarn by any store or the company itself. Opinions are my own.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 26: Premier Serenity Sock

What is YRM: I honestly believe there are good things and bad things about every type of yarn, no matter how much you save or how much you break the bank. 

This is for the lay-knitter, not professionals. This is for people like me who might not necessarily be fiber experts despite being a crocheter or knitter for a long time, but need an honest opinion about yarn before they dive into a project with it.



The yarn: Premier Serenity Sock Yarn from the Deborah Norville Collection
 
  • 50% super wash merino wool
  • 25% rayon derived from bamboo
  • 25% nylon
  • 50 grams, 1.76 ounces;  230 yards, 210 meters
  • Colorway: Soft white, Sky blue, Black, Navy, Woodsy green, Mahogany










The project: Gansey Potato Peel hat - free on Ravelry. Hipster hat for my son, my own pattern.



What I liked: It was perfect for the project, a fair isle hat for my father in-law. I'm very impressed with this yarn.  No knots in the skein (which happens pretty much every time I buy less expensive yarns). Blocked out really nicely. I love the available colors... I had a hard time selecting colors for the project but I'm super happy with what I chose. I didn't swatch this before beginning the project. Project notes from other Ravelry users said this hat turned out large. This hat was snug when I finished. After blocking it really loosened up but I still wouldn't describe it as large.


What I didn't like: I don't have much of a complaint list for this yarn. I can't think of anything that stands out in my mind that bothered me or that I had problems with.

Rating: I'm definitely giving this a 5-star rating.









Affordability:  I bought mine at Joann's for $3/skein.

For a list of Yarn Reviews, click below:

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this or asked to review this yarn by any store or the company itself. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sherlock

I'm finally reading a book you guys! This is really exciting for me. I'm not really sure when I last read a book for fun.
I started Sherlock Holmes on Sunday night. It's my first time reading it, which my husband has been teasing me for since I started the book.

I blocked the fair isle hat yesterday. The jumbo scarf I made for my husband is still blocking because it is taking for-ev-er to dry. Hooray for super bulky yarn, right?

I did start the hat for my son although there are only a couple rows started and it's not very interesting to look at. Not really photo worthy at the moment.

Check out more WIPs by clicking the button below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Monday, December 15, 2014

FO: Gansey Potato Peel Hat

I finished the hat for my father in-law yesterday.
The pattern used was the Gansey Potato Peel Hat.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out although I wish I hadn't used white as the predominant color.

A couple other things: the consensus of project notes on Ravelry said the hat turned out quite large and roomy although I did not have this problem. I also didn't check gauge. It fits me though, so I think it should be able to fit an adult head just fine.
Tada.

I couldn't figure out how the pattern wanted the decreases done until I asked another Ravelry user about it. You can get details in my project notes but long story short I could not figure out whether the decreases belonged where the beginning of the row was indicated or at the end of the row. I just couldn't visualize it. I also couldn't wrap my pea brain around how the decreases would have a stripe going through them so I didn't really do that either.

Otherwise, I think my fair isle work turned out really well. There's no puckering in any of the stitches and my tension is really even and has room to stretch over someone's head. Overall, I'm really happy with how this turned out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Christmas List

My Christmas line-up so far:

1. Hat for my dad

2. Jumbo scarf for my husband
I finished on Tuesday. Needs blocking.

3. Hat for my father in-law

4. My sister in-law requested a hipster hat for my son. She's his godmother and gets him totally awesome clothes every year. This year she got him a hipster outfit, and requested a hat to go with it. I know, I know. She's ridiculous but I love her to death. I still haven't started this but I'll be casting on soon.


Check out more WIPs by clicking the button below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

For the Men

I've been knitting away on the gifts for my husband and my father in-law.

I usually give gifts to the ladies since it is way easier to come up with something they'd like but I've been feeling guilty about not doing anything nice for the hard-working men in my life.

My dad's gift is done.
This is actually 5' long.

I've come along really nicely on my husband's jumbo scarf during the week and I'm really happy with how far along I managed to knit on my father in-law's faire isle hat this weekend. I only worked on his hat this weekend since I couldn't sneak away to work on my husband's scarf.

I'm guessing I won't have much knitting time this week since finals are starting, so don't be surprised if I have no updates for you next week. Although every time I say that, I end up knitting all week. Ha. I'll just have to see how things go.

Oh yeah, this is another project I've been working on. Making some monsters for my two year old out of fabric scraps. It's for playing with in the car, out and about, etc. I finally finished the mini quilt I tried sewing as an experiment a couple years ago. It's pretty goofy. The monster with the one leg? Yeah, that was supposed to be a tail. Haha.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Jumbo Scarf

After six years of begging, my husband is finally going to get a knit jumbo scarf for Christmas. I got yarn for it finally because I finally found a pattern for exactly what he wants. A foot wide, seven feet long. I cast on for it on Monday this week. I'm just knitting them on the largest needles I own, which are size 13US.
Over a for long already and I haven't finished the first skein yet. The yarn is much darker in real life.

I also started my father in law's hat for Christmas. It's going to be faire isle and in pretty excited about it but it's going to take a lot of time. It's knit on size 3US needles. I only have about seven rows done, nothing much to show for.

Have a wonderful week!
Check out more WIPs by clicking the button below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Snowball Effect

I recently read about the snowball of gift making around this time of year (although I can't remember where, and therefore can't provide a link). But it goes like this:

I'm only going to make x gifts this year for these few people.
Well I guess I could add you too.
I suppose your sister would like something. I could throw something on the needles quick.
I just ran into Y the other day. If I get through these projects I could do something for them too...

And soon you're making too many things for too many people. It was great. Better than I'm describing it. I wish I remembered where I read it.

Anyway, I just finished my dad's present.
See:

And the thoughts of gift making are beginning to snowball.

My son wants a toy dragon.
I've been on Pinterest too much this week.
I'm definitely making something for my father in law.
My mother in law mentioned she could really use some new mittens when I showed her my newly insulated rabbit mittens.
And my own mom did the same thing.

... Here I go, off to Ravelry and my hypothetical happy project place...


Friday, November 21, 2014

Superhero Mask Blueprints: Batman

This is a rough guide to how I made my son's Batman mask this year. 

It is for a two year old size, but could easily be adapted for a larger size, hence the "blueprint."
It is worked bottom-up, in the round on US size 6 circular needles.
It uses:
Half skein Red Heart Super Saver black yarn

Skills:
Knitting in the round
i-cord edging

Cast on 78 and mark beginning of round.
Knit 3 rows in the round.
Decrease with a slip one-k2tog-psso technique at the beginning of the round for five rows. This will create a bit of a point.

Eye openings
Using the stitches centered over the decease (last stitch of round plus first two stitches of beginning of round, I'd that helps), work two rows in stockinette.
Continue working this center piece as follows:
Increase 1 in first and last stitches on right side.
Purl on wrong side.
Continue until you have 11 stitches.
At beginning of next two stockinette rows, cast on 5 stitches.

Set aside on another needle or scrap yarn. There should be 21 stitches set aside.

Continue with the rest of the mask in stockinette as follows:
Cast off five stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.
Work main portion of mask in stockinette, decreasing once at the beginning and end of the knit row until you have approximately 20 rows.

Crown
Join the center 21 stitches to the rest of the mask. Knit in the round until it measures two inches above the wearer's eyebrows.

Begin decreasing for crown shaping:
Decrease every five stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every four stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every three stitches
Knit one row
Decrease every other stitch
Knit one row
Knit 2 together to end of round, bind off and close any hole that might be visible.

Ears: Make 2
Allow 8-10" tail when you cast on as it is used later to affix the ear to the hat.
Using double point needles, cast on 14 stitches and distribute evenly between three needles. Knit 5 rows.
Repeat next three rows until there are three stitches left:
At beginning of round, begin a decrease 1, knit to end.
Knit two rows.

Tie off remaining three stitches.

I inserted a piece of cardboard from a cereal box cut and curved to shape and support the ears, although that is entirely optional. If you do that you will not be able to wash the mask.

Sew the ears on with the long tail you left.

Finish by applying an i-cord border along the bottom to help prevent the bottom edge from rolling up.

Superhero Mask Blueprints: Spiderman

Here is a rough guide on how I made my son's Spiderman mask this year. It is constructed top-down, in the round using double point needles and a circular needle (US6). 

I used: 
a full skein of Red Heart Super Saver (worsted weight), 
black puffy paint, 
some spare fiberglass screening I had laying around,
and some ribbon. No I didn't measure the ribbon... Sorry.

Crown
Cast on 6 stitches.
Join and knit in round, increasing in each stitch. 12 stitches
Knit every other row.
Row 3: increase in each stitch. 24 stitches
Row 5: increase every other stitch. 36 stitches
Row 7: increase every other stitch. 54 stitches

Here's where increasing gets a little hairy. I increased in every stitch for the next few increase rows and I ended up with 187 stitches. This was too much for a four year old head. I cast off with 80 stitches eventually. If I were to do this again, I would definitely only increase to about 120 stitches for that size. Unfortunately I can't offer more specific help since you have to increase based on the age you're knitting for. If you need to increase more, don't do it every stitch because it grows too fast and it will get ruffly or wavy.

When you have increased until the crown is large enough to cover the entire top surface of the head, knit in the round for four inches or until the hat fits just above the eyebrows.

Eye openings
Work 30 stitches (just pick some) as follows:
Row 1: K2tog, knit to last two stitches, k2tog
Row 2: Purl
Repeat those two rows until you have 8 stitches left.
Right side row: K2tog, k1, k2tog, k1, k2tog (5 stitches remain)
Wrong side: purl
Right side: knit 2tog, k1, k2tog, put stitches on separate double point needle or some scrap yarn.

Work remainder of head as follows:
Right side rows: increase one stitch at each end
Wrong side row: purl
*A note: I decreased almost 20 stitches throughout this section due to the fact that I increased too many stitches initially. I decreased in the back of the head so it would be fitted around the curve of the head while increasing at either end.

Repeat until you have approximately 22 rows (a few rows shorter than the piece you have set aside). At the beginning of next two rows, cast on 5 stitches.
Work one more right side row, picking up the three stitches you had saved from the center of the eye holes, so that you are working in the round knitting on the right side again. I also did a slip one-k2tog-psso decrease where those center three stitches were. I repeated that decrease in the same spot about three times.
If needed, after trying the mask on the intended recipient and it looks like it will be loose, decrease every five stitches (every 4 stitches, 3, etc until it fits well without being too difficult to put on). Do not go below 80 stitches for a toddler-sized mask. Bind off.
It will look naked and sad. This will change.


Finishing
Cut a piece of screening in the shape of the eye openings. Make sure the screen is folded in half so that both sides are connected. I folded a black ribbon in half all the way around for a border. You might also choose to make an i-cord or use bias tape or nothing at all around the eyes. Sew in place (I machine sewed this piece on).
We're getting somewhere now...

 Using puff paint, lightly add webbing lines. Let dry. If you're lazy like me you'll just do the front. Be a supermom and do the back too though... Haha!
Let your little hero play and have fun. Hope this helped steer someone in the right direction for making this. Comment if any of the instructions are too confusing and I'll do my best to edit it.

Marigolds' Loft

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nothing too Exciting

I just have a couple projects to share. I'm still working on my cardigan and I've been working steadily on a hat for my dad's Christmas present.
The yarn I'm using for the cardigan had a knot that took me an hour + to untangle. I kid you knot. It was awful. (Yes I wrote that on purpose. It was not a typo...)
Yup. This knot. I promise you it was way
more awful than the photo shows.
My dad's hat was supposed to be a lot more interesting. I was going to do a pattern full of faire isle but when I ran it past my mom she said he probably wouldn't wear it... Too colorful or something.
So I got out a boring oatmeal colored skein of Cascade Sierra and found a simple pattern that still had some subtle design elements to it. I did decide to add some blue stripes above the line where the brim will be folded up. I'll be making the faire isle hat for my father in law instead.
Accurate colors this morning!

Grown men, I've found, are the worst to knit for. I never know what color schemes to use and they're so freaking picky about styles. At least the ones I know. Kids are by far the easiest since they're usually excited about whatever you knit for them... Anyway, go enjoy the rest of your week!

Check out more WIPs by clicking the button below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Selfish Project

Yup. I cast on for my Mudblood Cardigan from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits patterns. In bright yellow. I made myself a bright yellow scrub top for work a few years ago and I have no sweaters to wear with it. I think I'll be wearing this cardi primarily at work once I finish.



As for reading, I haven't been doing much although I'm still working on the same book.

I really should be working on Christmas presents. This year I'm making gifts just for my dad and my father in law I think.

Check out more WIPs by clicking the buttons below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Head Swag

I've got some serious superhero knitting going on this week. Because, you know, Halloween.

First, Spiderman:
First step: knit it!

Second step: sew screen over eyes

Third step: puff paint the webbing

Fourth: see it on your little hero






































Second, Batman:
Give me a break, I just cast on last night!
10AM edit: just needs ears and a screen over the eyes


Third, The baby needed a winter hat so I cast on for a variation of this hat:

Check out more WIPs by clicking the buttons below:

  http://www.gsheller.com/2014/08/yarn-along-191.html