cardigan

December rush

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Hey-ho Crafties! As December rolls around, bringing its share of freezy-rosy cheeks and joyful moments, I want to share with you my thoughts as I am slowly getting started on my Holidays preparation. There’s a lot of mysteries and secrets around this month as most of my quick projects will be offered as Christmas presents, but I’m sure I’ll find a way to show you a glimpse of what I’m working on throughout the month without spoiling too much of the surprise 🙂

First off, I finished the Woodsmoke Sweater I was test-knitting for the lovely Megh Testerman, from Studio North. I am completely in love with the finished garment, and I can tell you that I will wear the heck out in the next few months as the temperature drops to inhuman levels (ok, I might be exaggerating a little bit). And I found the cutest owl buttons to go with it, isn’t cool?

FotorCreatedThe cardigan is complete, at 36 355 stitches. Needless to say that I did not qualify for the the NaKniSweMo this year, since the sweater was under the required 50 000 mark. I must say though, even though I didn’t make it, I’m still very happy about the sweater I completed, and I at least know I reached the goal in my own way – especially knowing that I finished my Frosted Rose cardigan during the challenge, which puts me at way more than 50 000 stitches combined.

Since I finished the 2 sweaters I have been working on in the last couple months, I (obviously) decided to start a new one, and I’m really excited about the project. I just cast on a couple days ago, the pattern is called Snowflake from Tincanknits and I’m using a lucky destash find of Plucky Primo Sport in the color Cryin’ Icicles.

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In other news, I have been spending my time cleaning and decorating the house, and I slowly started cooking and baking for the Holidays – hmmmmmm, sugar pie!! (if you don’t know what this Quebec specialty is, you oughta look it up. Seriously. There, just click here).

So how’s your Holiday preparation going, fellow Crafties? 🙂

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Finished Frosted Rose cardigan!! (& NaKniSweMo fail)

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Ok, it seems weird to make my first NaKniSweMo blog post on november 25th… But I promise, there’s a story that explains it all (or so I think). One of my friends was participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and to encourage him on his journey, I decided to follow him with my stitches by participating in the NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater in a Month). Now, let me remind you I decided to  participate kind of late and had already a couple project on the needles, and the only one that seemed to fit the bill was a test-knit I started on November 3rd for a modified version of the Woodsmoke sweater in a worsted weight yarn. Since I started it on time and had to finish the test-knit by december 1st, I thought it would be the perfect project for the NaKniSweMo… I just omitted a couple important things. Now, I have never used worsted weight yarn to make a sweater before, and seeing where I’m at right now, I realize I probably overestimated the number of stitches (Ahem.) and underestimated the yarn quantity required (double”Ahem”). I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but I now have the body of a sweater, complete at 25 274 stitches, and no yarn left to knit the sleeves – 6 days before the end of the challenge. Interesting isn’t? 🙂

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About a week ago, I had a feeling I was going to run out of yarn, so I (fortunately!) ordered a couple more balls. They should be here by Wednesday, and if I knit fast enough, I should be able to finish the sleeves by the end of the month. But the second question remains, though : Will I or will I not reach the required 50000 stitches? Since I have a complete body at roughly 25000 stitches, I somehow have a feeling I’ll fall short of a few thousand stitches, even with full length sleeves. We’ll see! Anyways, even if I fail the challenge, I’ll still be happy to have completed such a cute cardigan in such a short time, and I’ll definitely wear the hell out of it 🙂 I ordered 2 different sets of buttons, not sure which ones I’ll use yet. What do you guys think?

FotorCreated

On another note, I have also finished my Frosted Rose cardigan, and I simply love it. I decided to opt for 3/4 sleeves instead of full sleeves, since I always wear my cardigans with the sleeves rolled up to my elbows – so why not simply knit a 3/4 sleeve? And there you have it! So, isn’t simply amazing? =)

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The spinning situation (and Sea Breeze Test-Knit!)

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I realized this week that I have not touched my spinning wheel since the end of the Tour de Fleece in July, even though a had such a large quantity of really nice rovings just laying around in my living room. I did the math, I have 62.5 ounces of fiber just there, waiting for me in a box. 62.5 ounces!!!!! And I haven’t touched it in months. So a few days ago, I decided to take a breather from my Cosmo Shawl and my Frosted Rose cardigan to work a little spin, using a really nice fractal roving I bought a couple months ago at the Twist Festival. It’s a 100% corriedale roving in color Periwinkle.

Filage

I thought I would be rusty from not spinning for such a long time, and I was sincerely expecting a little struggle as I started the project. But surprisingly enough, it seems my hands and feet remember the motions very well, my singles were very fine and constant, and the finished product exceeded all my expectations. Yay! It is so fine in fact that I was able to make over 400 yards of light fingering weight yarn with a 4 oz package of fiber, which is about 50% more that the longest yardage I have been able to make so far. I’m so exited! I feel like it really took forever, but it was just so worth it! I have also started the hip increases on my Frosted Rose cardigan, so things have been going pretty smoothly. 🙂

Frosted Rose

On another note, I’m very excited to announce that I finally finished writing the pattern for my Sea Breeze Sweater, yay!! I’ll have it test-knitted throughout the next few weeks, so if you feel like joining in (because, let’s face it : a couple more testers would definitely be more than welcome!) just send me an email at craftyeffie@outlook.com, and I’ll fill you in on the details 🙂

http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sb
http://ravel.me/saphirsteph/sb

October blues

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Well, it’s this time of the year. The time when days become shorter, temperature keeps getting colder and colder and the rain and clouds replace the sun in the sky. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a real bummer for me, and although we (at least) had a sunny and warm Thanksgiving weekend last week, I’m still not completely at ease with the idea that summer’s over.

To lift my spirits a little, I have been using my brand new ball winder and swift that were generously gifted to me on my birthday by my honeybee and his mom. So nice!

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I have also been keeping myself very busy working on a couple different knitting projects, namely my Cosmo Shawl and a new pink cardigan I just started, my Frosted Rose.

The shawl has been progressing pretty quickly, I am now about halfway through. The pattern is called “Bamboo Wedding Shawl“, from Purl Soho. I have made this pattern once before for my mom, and I decided to do it again since it was such a nice, easy lace project to do. It’s a 12 row geometrical lace pattern that can be memorized very quickly. It’s an easy, relaxing knit, and I think the blue yarn really makes it pop – I’m very happy with the result!

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The cardigan, on the other side, was a real love story. I fell in love with it at first sight, about a week after it was published on Ravelry. The pattern is called Tau, and it is designed by Melanie Berg from Mairlynd. I fell in love with the pattern, and I just happened to have the perfect yarn for it just laying around in my bins so I cast on right away.

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The yarn I used is call Chroma Silk, it’s a wonderful 100% silk yarn in a light fingering weight, the color I’m using is “Frosted Rose”. This yarn is hand dyed by an artisan here in Montreal, and it is an exclusive product from Artfil Yarn Shop & Craft Café. I simply LOVE working with it, it’s nice, soft, strong, luscious, and very decently priced for a 100% silk yarn. I’m in love!

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Confession Tuesday : My kingdom for a ball winder!

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Fellow crafters, today I have a confession to make : I do not own a ball winder. Yea, shame on me. I really wish I did own one, things would be so much easier, but I just never bought one. For me, starting every project requires hours of preparation; winding every ball by hand, untangling knots and fighting off playful cats, and sometimes it also comes the occasional tears of rage when things are not going my way. Yea.

I really didn’t mind it so much at first, because I thought : “Not every yarn that is sold out there needs to be winded, so why should I make a fuss about having to wind a few balls by hand here and there?” But as time passed, I slowly started to realize that most of my favorite yarns did not come in center pull balls, and that my handspun yarn needs to be rolled in a skein or a ball after coming off the wheel. So why do I not have a ball winder and a swift, really?

The reason I’m talking to you guys about this is because I just recently came to a halt in my Hollywell Cardigan as I finished the first pink skein, and I had to wind the second skein into a ball before I could resume knitting. As I was patiently winding it, I looked over at my project and realized that in a very short while, I would also have to start the stripes – so I would have to put down the needles again, and wind 2 other skeins by hand. I’m usually not much of a complainer, but I must say that at that point, realizing this made me a little upset. But since today is another day, let’s just try to focus on something fun (!) instead, and let me show you the progress I’ve made on my cardigan so far :

auth.aspxThe pockets are attached, and I’m almost done with the waist decreases, so things are really moving along at a good pace! I should already be done with the waist decreases, but I decided to give this cardigan a little bit more waist shaping than it originally had, since I’m (somewhat of) a curvy kind of Gal. I’m about a medium size overall, but I have rather large hips and a (somewhat) thin waist, so every sweater generally requires slight modifications to fit my unusual silhouette. I started it off with 248 stitches at the bottom, which was in-between size M and L, and I plan on decreasing until I reach 204 stitches, which is a little over size S. Then, I plan on increase stitches at the same rate, and finish the pattern following size M instructions. Even though I made so much progress on it, I still feel the fabric is very loose and uneven, so I really hope it’ll turn out OK after a good wash. It should, since the swatch turned out just fine after a run in the washer & dryer, but I’m still worried. Just have to wait it out, I guess.

On another note, I was blessed with very good news last week, as I got a message from krumel, the (amazingly!) nice Raveler who gave some of her time earlier this summer to test-knit my very first sweater pattern, the Summer Sea Stripes Sweater. She told me she just finished it and showed me a few pictures, and I must say I am simply AMAZED that someone could make something so beautiful with a pattern I wrote! Even her photos are a lot more professional than mine, I feel so ashamed of myself! -_-‘

The one on the left is my prototype, and the one on the right is the one krumel made following the pattern I wrote :

Fotor0817232424Since it is my first pattern, I have a lot of adjustments to make before I can really publish it, but things are definitely moving forward! Following krumel’s comments and suggestions, I’ll fix my pattern in the next few weeks, then get version 2 tested sometime in September and (if everything goes according to plan), I should be able to release it on Ravelry around the end of September or mid-October. Yay! 🙂

I’m not sure if it’s normal to be so thrilled about something so trivial; I have never published a pattern of my own so I don’t really know how but I feel so very excited! Any experienced pattern designers out there? How did it feel to publish your first design?

So that’s all for today folks, my rant’s over!

Hope you all enjoy your craft time, and the rest of your summer 🙂

Organization is key!

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Since I came back from vacation, I have been contemplating the fact that my stash’s storage method and organization system wasn’t living up to my expectations, and I felt like it really needed to be updated. I must admit to you guys that up until a few days ago, my “storage” mostly consisted of a few cardboard boxes, divided and taped together in an eclectic arrangement of size, shape and color. And to make things even worse, the skeins on the bottom were always full of hair because my cats kept rubbing themselves on it. Yea. So after quite some thought, I decided to clean out the basement, and see if I could find something in there that could be used as a compact yarn storage for my living room. Surprisingly enough, I did find something, and something I was not expecting! My epic search in the depths of the basement allowed me to discover two forgotten plastic storage units, with 3 drawers each, that would be able to contain most of my yarn and keep it clean and hair free. Awesome!!!

So that same evening, I cleaned and dried the two storage units, lint rolled my yarn and neatly put each skein away by color in my new yarn storage area. And guess what ? I LOVE IT!!

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On a different note, I observed recently that – maybe because of the weather? – craft projects seem to progress a lot slower for me in the summer. So to give myself a little boost of motivation I decided to take part in another KAL, which is great since I had such a good time on my first KAL earlier this summer with Nice And Knit. The one I just signed up for this time is Very Shannon’s Summer Sweater KAL; the CO was on July 30th and FO will be on September 24th. Basically any kind of sweater or top is accepted for this KAL, so I decided to challenge myself into making something I have never done before : a cardigan. I chose the Hollywell Cardigan, from Megan Goodacre, and I’ll knit it in Cascade Heritage yarn in a mix of grays and pink.

hollywell3It’s really exciting because it’s like a triple challenge for me: it’ll be my first cardigan, my first project with pockets, and my first sweater with a hood – weehee!! Since it’s summer and all I don’t have much progress to show as of now, but I have at least completed the pocket linings, and started the main body. I’ll try to make it longer that the pattern calls for because I like longer tops, so the ribbed bottom edge is going to be 4″ wide instead of the 2″ required in the pattern.

20140805_163203829_iOSI’m really excited about this project even though I have had some doubts about it at the beginning – I couldn’t figure out which color I wanted where, and I was worried 3.75mm neddles might be a little too big, but after examining my swatch and pondering over it for some time, I think it’ll be just fine the way I originally planned it, so I’ll stick with the plan and see how it goes! I settled for a pink bottom, light gray stripes and charcoal shoulders and hood, and I simply cannot wait to see how it’ll turn out! But since the ribbing is taking forever, I  guess it’ll take a while 😉

So since I have so little progress to show and so much more to do, I’m going to go back to my needles now and get cracking on my project so I can have something to show you (for real!) next time.

Enjoy your craft time guys! 🙂