Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Sweaters

(Actually, there's no tale. I just needed an interesting title. I never read the classic.)

I plowed through a selfish knit this week. My Luckiest Day sweater, a pattern by Maura Kirk. I love it: the pattern design, the yarn I chose, how it's turning out so far, everything.

I had to stop at the armpits. I'm waiting for some double point needles I ordered over the weekend since I didn't have the right size for the sleeves. I've decided that thick yarn and large needles are my favorite new sweater making tools. I'm amazed by how much I've done, and I frogged this after the first six inches to make the next size up.
I did an inch longer on the bottom ribbing, made the button band slightly shorter than the pattern instructed, and my gauge is a couple stitches smaller than required.
I'm adapting the pattern just a little so I can make it as a raglan like a couple other patterns from the book it's in rather than with sewn in sleeves. I will still be adding the turtle neck which will require a trip to the yarn store by my husband... He doesn't know yet. It's kind of a drive from our home but he works five minutes away from it. I figure if I send him with the label and just have him say, "This is what my wife needs." I should be safe, right? What could possibly go wrong? I didn't miscalculate yarn needs, I changed my mind for which design to knit after I bought the yarn. The turtle neck feature puts me about 50 yards shy of what I bought.

The second sweater, for my son, is moving along alright although I think I'm already at the point of my project where I'll be playing a bit of yarn chicken. I know I'll need at least one more skein of the green. I might be safe on the tan. So much for following pattern specs to a T...

The only problem with this yarn is that it sheds a lot, which I'm guessing is because it is 100% alpaca wool. I don't have much experience with that type of fiber... Anyone care to chime in on that and clue me in?

See more projects by clicking below:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Yarn, New Project

Went on a yarn shopping binge last week.
I also cast on only one new project. I do not have the correct size needles (the double points--for the sleeves) for my own sweater.

That's actually a rich, chocolatey brown and a bluer skein instead of the turquoise and dull brown it looks like.

I cast on for a sweater I promised my son. The pattern goes up to 3T and I was going to adjust it for 4T. However, I ended up casting on for the 3T size because it was late and I was tired. I didn't rip it out though because it looks kind of enormous on my needles.
I realized a few rows into the project that the colors are very much camouflage although it doesn't really bother me too much since he loves wearing camo pants. I haven't been doing much reading, which is why I never mention it for Yarn Along. Sorry guys.

See more projects by clicking below:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 20: JoAnn Sensations Dolcetto

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: JoAnn Sensations Dolcetto
  • 54% wool, 24% nylon polymide, 22% cotton
  • 50 grams, 1.76 ounces;  131 yards,  120 meters
  • Colorway: Lime and yellow

The project: Baby Surplice from my Bear Brand Baby Knits, and a blanket that was intended to go to a friend's newborn (when I bought the yarn in 2007) but my cat ended up with it instead (7 years later).

What I liked: Durable. My cat has abused the blanket quite a bit and it hasn't gotten pilly, overly fuzzy, and it doesn't have any weak spots that I've found yet. She's had it since Sept 2013 so after a few months shy of a year of outdoor use its been holding up well. Pastel hues seem perfect for baby knits and it is so, so soft.

What I didn't like: It gets pretty fuzzy and tangled on itself if frogged. It shrinks like crazy if you machine wash it. So don't do what I did and pair it with machine washable yarn in a project. Also, it partially felted just from one cycle in the wash on the light setting. I had a lot of pulling and stretching to do when I hung it to dry once the surplice finished washing. Do not make the same mistakes I did unless you are using it for felting! I had a feeling that might happen since it's 50% wool but I washed it anyway.

Affordability: I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics for at or under $5/skein in 2007. According to Ravelry the line had been discontinued. I was unable to find it on the JoAnn website with the other Sensations Yarn lines.

I'm guessing if you really want to use this yarn you could look on eBay, Amazon, or message a Ravelry user who is willing to sell it from their stash.

Rating: Stays soft after long term outdoor use. Sort of outdoor. The cat lives in our entryway and outside. There is hair and the occasional plant material stuck to the blanket but even after being slept on and pawed at, and whatever else a cat does to a blanket, the yarn has remained soft. Buuuuuut, it's discontinued, so I'm mostly giving it a lower rating for that reason because I think I'd definitely use this more if I could still get it easily.

This should really say, "I'll use it if it's given to me because I really liked it, but I won't intentionally buy it again because it's discontinued and would be too big of a hassle."

For a complete 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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

16 Weeks

... Is how long it took me to make this from start to finish.
Here's a lot of similar photos... Haha!

I love that I'm done with it. I love the yarn, the design, etc. Although next time I would definitely just do ribbing instead of the holes around the waist for the tie. I did not add the collar since it was supposed to have the hood and neck connected with a tie. I made an extra tie for the leggings since--you guessed it--the pattern wanted the sweater and pant waists connected the same way the mittens are tied to the wrist cuffs and the booties are tied to the pant cuffs.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? How the hell do you get the baby in it if it's all tied together?!
Ok good. You're not insane enough to spend an hour dressing said baby, weaving everything back together, just to undo everything to change a diaper that had been soiled while waiting for you to tie your baby up.

See more finished projects by clicking below:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Almost finished!

Hey yarn lovers!
I am so close to being done with this baby bunting... I'm seriously excited!

Remember I showed you my kitchen last Wednesday?
I like it a lot better now. It started as a weird yellow/cream that could not decide what shade of yellow it was. The wood working, cabinetry, and decorations all sort of just blended in with the walls. I can't describe it... It just wasn't working. See?
Behold, the same wall:
Nope, I'm not a Pinterest  perfect photographer.
I leave our mess piles on the table...

When my husband got home, he actually smiled and kind of laughed a little before he said, "Wow! This looks so much better!" (Massive points to me, he doesn't usually react to anything like that...) He was very unsure about how it would look since I was painting by myself. My mom came up to babysit for the day yesterday so this is what I did. I kind of feel like just sitting in my kitchen and relaxing all day now... Because now I can relax that it's done and my eyes don't hurt when I come in here!

As for my knitting, I'm basically done with the leggings. I have only one more zipper to install, the ribbing on the second ankle cuff to finish, and then I need to sew the inseam and crotch together.

I can't believe I did all that since last week's check in! That's why we do WIP posts though, right?

The absolute last thing I'll have to do is finish the i-cord ties. I'll get all that done before the end of the week so stay tuned for an FO Friday post!

See more projects by clicking below:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Different Kind of WIP

I've got a different sort of work in progress to switch things up a bit. Wait for/scroll to the end for my knitting.

I bought two gallons of paint off the classified site at work for only $20 total. Brand new, never been opened. When we moved into our house in 2011 the family member who had built/lived there had passed away five months prior and except for making sure pipes never froze and no property damage took place, it was never really checked on, cleaned, or maintained. After we bought the place in 2012, I started planning home improvement projects.

The kitchen has been a first priority on the list since we spend so much time in it. Especially me. And any house guests we have throughout the week.

I taped the wood work and most of the ceiling yesterday. That spot in the last photo between the window and shelf was pretty awful to tape. There's a foot of wall space between the shelf and ceiling. I'm thinking I'll start painting that section before the weekend so I can look at it for a while and get an idea of how much the yellow might show through.
The only part I skipped was the base boards since I figured our resident trouble maker would rip it off at some point before I finished prep work anyway.

As for my knitting, I've knit almost the required 7" of the front of the leggings before I can connect the front and back and start on the legs.

See more projects by clicking below:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mid-Year Library Challenge Progress

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about some of my goals for knitting. Just to refresh your memory...
"My number one priority for this year is to finish the blasted afghan and my plan is to have that as the only project on my needles until it is finished (as soon as I finish my friend's socks). My next goal is to make some more baby knits out of the Bear Brand book my grandmother gave me at the end of 2012. This book:
I'd start with these...

I'd also like to make the dog sweater from the Ninth Sublime Baby Knits book. (That's not the actual title but I can never remember exactly what it is.) That sweater would be a great gender neutral garment because I can add a simple bow to the dog if the baby I'm knitting for turns out to be a girl."

It has proven rather helpful in project planning and I just wanted to share my progress so far:
I also have the front of the leggings at the same length as the back

Plus, the project currently on the needles is also from the same book. With the exception of emergency gift for my friend (the hat), I have only worked on projects from my library this year and I'm pretty proud to say that is only my hard copy library... It doesn't include my Ravelry library. Woohoo!
 Now I need to get back to figuring out how to calculate yarn needs for a pattern I need to augment...

Don't forget to vote on whether I reach my goals for the year! I'm not going to do a mid-year post on my Yarn Reviews. Need to have some element of surprise!

The poll will be available all year on my sidebar.

Click below for the mid year review on Snapdragon Crafts, where the Library Challenge idea was started:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yarn Review Monday 19: Lily Sugar and Cream

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: Lily Sugar'n Cream Crafter's Cotton Ombres
  • 100% cotton
  • 135 grams, 4.76 ounces; 81 yards, 74 meters
  • Colorway: Strawberry fraiche

The project: Surplice pattern #2557 from Bear Brand Baby Knits volume 352

What I liked: Good stitch definition. I provided a photo of the crocheted portion of the skein (given to me like that) to give you an idea with knit and crochet. Being machine washable is always a good thing.

What I didn't like:  It's a bit rough and stiff. This was surprising to me. However, in garter stitch it knit up very stretchy. I'm actually concerned about this since I have a bad feeling it will stretch out of shape after washing. And then the green yarn I used will look terrible

Affordability: I was gifted this yarn. But it is available in stores like JoAnn Fabric and others for $2.49/skein.

Rating: I do love the fact that this yarn is so affordable. I'm sure it could be used for a multitude of projects although it didn't impress me much.

Edit 6/7/14: I was requested to comment on how this yarn washes. I threw the sweater in the wash this afternoon. It came out just like it went in, with the same amount of stretch it had before. I machine washed and I hung it to dry. I highly recommend this yarn if you plan on making something that you'll have to wash often since it seems to stay true to it's original shape, size, and stretch.
Click below for a complete list of Yarn Reviews:

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