Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Zipper Problem

I didn't get much knitting worked on before last week's WIP link up but here's where I'm at:
  • Two FOs this month (there hasn't been a link up yet but you can see the afghan here and the surplice here if you're interested)
  • The zippers I ordered arrived in the mail last Monday
  • I installed an easy zipper (normal zipper, not even one of those invisible zippers!) into the green sweater I've been working on; naturally the knitting stretched despite being meticulously pinned and--of course-- my seam ripper was no where to be found
  • I began the last garment in the set, the pants, which requires two side zippers
  • Working on the cords for this project like crazy since that step is simple yet time consuming
See my zipper problem? I'm not experienced with sewing but it didn't occur to me just how much harder putting a zipper in a hand knit garment would be. I put a zipper in the child sized surprise jacket without a single problem. This definitely caught me off guard!


Here's my progress on this project otherwise:
I just need to finish the last cord and the other 2/3 of the pants.

See more projects by clicking below:
  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 18: Acrylics Edition 3

I've written good things and bad things about man made fibers for yarn review in the past. I've decided to do a series of posts on acrylic yarns since they are not all made equally.

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 Homespun
  • 98% acrylic, 2%polyester
  • 170 grams, 6 ounces;  185 yards,  169 meters
  • Colorway: Colonial (I have also used Corinthian but do not have a photo of that project)
Photo source




















The project: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman, mitten and ear warmer set that was given to my mom.


What I liked: Durable. My son has played in all types of weather in that sweater and it's still going strong. Machine washable. I like how incredibly soft and thick it is. I think the texture creates a nice thick sweater material which has worked great in the cold autumns we get in Wisconsin. Don't judge the yarn too harshly by my project though, I had quite a few issues deciphering the pattern (this project is a few years old and I didn't have much practice reading patterns at the time). I'd really like to use this yarn for the next bear I make. The ear warmer in the set I gave my mother when I first began knitting (2005/6-ish) still hasn't stretched out of shape and she still wears it. It's almost embarrassing (but that's what moms do, right?).


What I didn't like: I definitely had problems with this yarn during a major frogging at one point with this project. It gets fuzzy and unraveled so if you are anticipating a difficult project I would find a different yarn.

Affordability: I bought mine at JoAnns for $7/skein at regular price.


Rating: Stays soft after repeated wash and wear. I've used it for clothing (featured in this post), accessories, and I think it would be perfect as a toy. So, versatility is a big one for this yarn. Just don't frog it and you'll be fine.













Yarn Reviews:
Bernat Boa ( Eyelash yarn; "unofficial" yarn review)
Berroco Vintage (TM) Chunky
Caron Simply Soft Solids and Simply Soft Light
Caron One Pound
Cascade 220 Sport Weight
Cascade 220 Worsted
Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Sprinkles
DGB Confetti
Fisherman's Wool by Lion Brand
JoAnn's Sensations: Soles and More
Madelinetosh DK
Lion Brand Homespun
Paton's Classic Wool
Patons North America Grace
Plymouth Yarns Galway (TM) Worsted
Red Heart and Sole
Red Heart Super Sport
Regia Angora
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand


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, May 19, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 17: Acrylics Edition 2

I've written good things and bad things about man made fibers for yarn review in the past. I've decided to do a series of posts on acrylic yarns since they are not all made equally.

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: Caron One Pound
  • 100% acrylic
  • 453 grams, 16 ounces;  826 yards,  755 meters
  • Colorway: Deep Violet


The project: Cables and Lace Afghan from the book Quick Knitted Afghans
It is available for free on some websites.
Also, this WIP (Ravelry link) which is currently in a time out for the foreseeable future.



Apologies for the terrible color quality of the photos. The color is much richer and more beautiful than shown.


What I liked: Doesn't split when knitting. Durable. Machine washable. I like using acrylic yarns for afghans due in large part to the ease of washing and the fact that it is a lot more affordable. It got soft after I washed it. This yarn also has no-dye-lot which means for large projects you can really buy as you knit so you don't have a lot leftover. No issues with knots in the skein, even though it is a huge skein. I've also used it for a little coat which seems to be working great for the pattern I'm using.
Details of the cables and lace


What I didn't like: I'm trying to think of something to say for this section although I'm having a hard time coming up with any real problems I had. Since the skein is huge it doesn't allow for easy portability if you want to work on your project on the go. Obviously it isn't the most luxurious yarn you'll use but for acrylic I found it to be pretty good to work with.

Affordability: I bought mine at both Walmart and JoAnns for $8/skein at regular price.


Rating: Since I do love the fact that this yarn is so affordable and easy to work with, and it got softer after washing while retaining the integrity of the stitches, I'm giving it a pretty high rating.











Previous Yarn Reviews:
Bernat Boa ( Eyelash yarn; "unofficial" yarn review)
Berroco Vintage (TM) Chunky
Caron Simply Soft Solids and Simply Soft Light
Cascade 220 Sport Weight
Cascade 220 Worsted
Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Sprinkles
DGB Confetti
Fisherman's Wool by Lion Brand
JoAnn's Sensations: Soles and More
Madelinetosh DK
Paton's Classic Wool
Patons North America Grace
Plymouth Yarns Galway (TM) Worsted
Red Heart and Sole
Red Heart Super Sport
Regia Angora
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand


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

Friday, May 16, 2014

Strawberry-Lime Surplice

I finished the surplice I started last Saturday. Despite the copious amount of pink, I really like how it turned out. (I've never been a fan of the color pink.)

It reminds me of a watermelon. I think it's funny that the yarns just happened to both be named after summer fruits: strawberry fraiche and lime.

Also, it's another stash busting project and another library challenge project. So, a win for the books all around.

I ended up adding an i-cord edge around the front edges to add a little contrast and use the remainder of the green yarn. I also added a loop for the top button since I goofed something during the knitting process and finished my increases so much farther down than I thought I would.

See more finished projects by clicking below:


Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baby Knits and Fair Entries

I decided to get a head start on my county fair submissions this year, since I have my entry form due mid-June and I'd really like to have my submissions basically finished by then.

The baby knits I will be entering are both from the same pattern book.

I have been working on the cords for this project:


I sewed the sleeves and shoulder seams on Sunday. The individual pieces definitely had a really cool crocodile skin appearance but now that the sweater has been assembled with the tie on the low waistline I'm definitely getting a Lord of the Rings elf vibe. Which I love. I'm sure that has a lot to do with the look the unfinished collar gives.

I cast on for a surplice over the weekend. It's going well although I know I'll be running out of yarn.












I think I'm going to finish it with a purple yarn I have in the master stash. It has a bit of sparkle to it and I think if I add stripes to the top front panel and do a solid purple for the bottom front panel it should look alright. I have some pansy buttons that would match both yarns so that I don't have to use ribbons as the pattern instructs.

It forces me to make it a girl's sweater despite not having any baby girls to knit for but that's alright... It will be ready when I need a baby girl gift in the future.

See more projects by clicking below:
  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 16: Acrylics Edition 1

First off:














Now that I've got that off my chest, I know there are a multitude of people who don't like acrylics and use only natural fiber yarns.

If I could afford to do that, I would too. But there is a purpose for acrylic yarns and I'm going to do my best to review them as unbiased as I can.

I've written good things and bad things about man made fibers for yarn review in the past. I've decided to do a series of posts on acrylic yarns since they are not all made equally.

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: Red Heart Super Sport
  • 100% acrylic
  • 142 grams, 5.01 ounces; 500 yards, 457 meters
  • Colorway: Royal


The project: Ebb Tide Afghan by Barbara Venishnick
It is available for free on numerous websites.



What I liked: Doesn't split when knitting. Durable. Machine washable. I like using acrylic yarns for afghans due in large part to the ease of washing and the fact that it is a lot more affordable. I have only knit two afghans so far and both have been wedding gifts for family members who wouldn't know the first thing about taking care of a blanket made from a natural fiber yarn. Also, this yarn boasts of no-dye-lot which means for something like an afghan, which is easily lengthened or shortened based on the need, you can really buy as you knit so you don't have a lot leftover.


What I didn't like: This yarn is not the most luxurious when it comes down to softness. In fact, it is a bit scratchy and stiff. Also, it was not flexible enough for my first attempt at blocking the afghan to do much of anything... So much for trying to block it! Also, despite using needles that were multiple sizes too large for the pattern gauge requirements, it still turned out rather short even though I made it exactly the way the pattern instructed. I'm going to blame the yarn for that one...

Affordability: I bought mine at both Walmart and JoAnns for less than $4/skein at regular price.


Rating: Since I do love the fact that this yarn is so affordable and easy to work with, I think it helps compensate for the issues with the sizing of the afghan.










Yarn Reviews:
Bernat Boa ( Eyelash yarn; "unofficial" yarn review)
Berroco Vintage (TM) Chunky
Caron Simply Soft Solids and Simply Soft Light
Cascade 220 Sport Weight
Cascade 220 Worsted
Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Sprinkles
DGB Confetti
Fisherman's Wool by Lion Brand
JoAnn's Sensations: Soles and More
Madelinetosh DK
Paton's Classic Wool
Patons North America Grace
Plymouth Yarns Galway (TM) Worsted
Red Heart and Sole
Regia Angora
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand


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

Friday, May 9, 2014

FO Friday: Ebb Tide

I finally finished the afghan on Sunday you guys. I'm relieved. I'm happy. I'm amazed that I finished two weeks before my finals start. Mostly, as I just said,  I'm relieved.

Before blocking the afghan was incredibly square. And small looking. But it was very springy with a ton of built in stretch, thanks to the lace. Now, it's still square but much larger than pattern measurements. 56" in length vs the 48" pattern measurement.



I think I'll put it in the county fair this year too since it won't be gifted until the end of September.



Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 15: Cascade 220 Worsted

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: Cascade 220 Worsted
  • 100% wool
  • 3.5oz, 100 grams,  220 yards, 201.2m
  • Colorway: 9462
Photo at left most accurate to yarn colors.

The project: Cables and Lace Hat by Lion Brand



What I liked: Doesn't split when knitting. Durable yet springy. I know this has a lot to do with the pattern I used but it was very stretchy when the project was finished without looking like it was being overstretched or anything like that.


What I didn't like: This yarn felt a bit scratchy during the knitting process. It felt fine once I tried the hat on but this is a concern for me since the person I made the hat for is undergoing chemo, doesn't have hair, and therefore might find it very uncomfortable to wear at this point in her life.

Affordability: I found it in a discount basket and probably paid about $5.00 or less for the skein. You can find it online for anywhere from $8-11 regular price.


Rating: Since I've developed a love for Cascade Yarns in general this five star rating might not count. But there's a reason you love certain yarns. It's the whole package: natural fiber, easy to knit with, fun color ways (I loved how the purple and black seemed so sassy in the skein), and comfortable when worn.












Yarn Reviews:
Bernat Boa ( Eyelash yarn; "unofficial" yarn review)
Berroco Vintage (TM) Chunky
Caron Simply Soft Solids and Simply Soft Light
Cascade 220 Sport Weight
Deborah Norville's Serenity Chunky Sprinkles
DGB Confetti
Fisherman's Wool by Lion Brand
JoAnn's Sensations: Soles and More
Madelinetosh DK
Paton's Classic Wool
Patons North America Grace
Plymouth Yarns Galway (TM) Worsted
Red Heart and Sole
Regia Angora
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand


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