passion

Mini sweaties

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Why is it that sometimes it seems like everything in life is all happening at once, and you just can’t seem to catch up with it all? The past couple months have been a bit like that.

Work brought me to Labrador, Canada in late February, then serious family matters unexpectedly brought us to Peru in March and then it’s just been a blur of private and professional meetings, trips and hotels, important decisions and a whirlwind of emotions. While we are still somewhat in the thick of things, I am trying my best to get back into a slower and more predictable routine to gain a bit of a better ground.

It may not be much, but I think taking the time to sit down and share the last few projects I’ve completed (even though they’ve been finished for months now) is a step in the right direction.

Both sweaters I’m sharing today have been made for my daughter earlier this winter, based on knits I’ve made for myself in the past. They are both large enough that they should fit for a year or two, so hopefully I’ll get a lot of wear out of them both.

The first one is like to share is this adorable midi snowflake sweater based on my own made in 2018. While the yarn used is different, I used the same striping sequence in similar colours. The light coloured yarn is my ever so favourite Berroco Modern cotton DK in colour Piper and the purple yarn was a new discovery for my (though I think it’s now discontinued) Pima Cotton DK from Cloudborn fibers. I ended up knitting the cuff on the last sleeve using leftovers from a different yarn as I miscalculated and ran out of yarn before completing the second sleeve. I did not want to break out a new skein for just the cuff so I hunted down something similar in my remnants and rolled with it. Overall I think it’s barely noticeable and someone who didn’t know who probably never notice. As usual, the snowflake pattern was a pleasure to knit. It’s my thing snowflake now (first child version) and I just find is so elegant. I always mess up the setup somehow though, but I guess that’s a minor inconvenience.

The second sweater I’d like to share is this adorable coral mini Raindrop. I guess saying it’s “based on” my own version would be a bit of a stretch as the colour, yarn, sleeves, edge and cuffs are different but I guess one could argue it’s been inspired by. The yarn I used for this one is a lucky find – earlier this winter I went to my local dollar store and found this coral Truboo yarn from Lion Brand. Let’s just say that at that price it was just a real steal and couldn’t pass this golden opportunity. And let me tell you – this yarn is just so incredible soft! A real dream. Though it does tend to pill fairly easy, but I really can’t complain.

I was lucky enough to put my hands on a few skeins of the same yarn in a cotton candy pink colour as well, and I may be working on a pair of matching summer tees with it. If you’d like to see, make sure to keep an eye out for the next post 🙂

Until then, cheers folks 🙂

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Making Peace

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It seems like everybody and their mother all have knitted a Bluesand Cardigan before. And with over 2700 projects on Ravelry, it’s one of the most popular cardigan patterns on Ravelry. And anyone who has seen this design before knows why – it’s so cleverly designed with distinctive small touches and details that really make this piece stand out. And now I finally have one, too! Though the journey to get there was not so simple. But first, let’s admire this wonderful thing in all its glory.

Now let me tell you a tale of times long past. Years ago, I had decided to cast-on this cardigan for the first time, hoping to use this design to feature one of my first handspun yarn. I had paired it with one of my favorite yarns at the time, Cascade Heritage Sock in two shades of gray. Guys, it was a thing of beauty. To this day, I still bitterly remember this project (you can in fact still see it over here, as I kept the Ravelry project page with all my pictures). But one of the downsides of such an elegant design with careful attention to details is that its construction is very intricate and require significant focus every small step of the way. And unfortunately for me, I was not prepared for this the first time around. A series of mistakes back to back caused frustration, anger and disappointment, and I ended up frogging the entire thing. Not to worry, although it took a few years, I ended up using the yarn for another wonderful sweater from the same designer (remember my Stormy Seas?), but I was still left with a bitter taste.

Since then, time has smoothed things over and I now felt ready to tackle this pattern again, stronger from past experiences. Tedious work folks, but I made it. and in less than two months, to boot. I worked it exactly as per pattern, except for 3 small details – I did not use a provisional cast-on and picked up stitches for the neckband instead, I picked up the neckband stitches in the main colour instead of CC1 and lastly I changed the decrease rows on the sleeves for a tighter fit. As always, you can find all the details on my project page so please feel free to head over that way. Now, that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the yarn.

This time around, I decided to stick to the needle size and yarn weight recommendation, and I went for a combination of Berroco Modern Cotton DK in color Piper as the main colour and I opted for a skein of Cloudborn Fibers’ Pima Cotton DK for CC1. And because we can never completely forget our first love, I ended up choosing to feature another handspun this time as CC2. This colour combination gives me beachy vibes with the sandy main colour and the Caribbean blue sea hue of the handspun. The purple adds a touch of warmth to the mix giving it wild sunrise vibes.

While I absolutely adore the colours, I was a little bit anxious at how this was going to wash. You know me, I put almost everything in the washer and dryer because if I don’t, I am likely not going to wear it. And while the two commercial yarns I chose are all cotton, the handspun is a merino-tencel blend. I was expecting a bit of shrinkage in the wash, but I was hoping to avoid a felting mess. And fortunately for me, everything went as expected. The yarn was actually fairly fine, finer than the two cotton yarns I was using it with. And so the fabric was feeling a bit loose and airy. I sent the cardigan in the washer with everything else, and then sent it to the dryer on its own on on air fluff. And while it did shrink, the handpun knitted sections retained some stitch definition albeit a bit tighter and fuller and which showcases the blue tonal shades beautifully.

The finished cardigan is beautiful, soft, warm and so so comfortable, please don’t mind me if I just live in it for a little while.

Cheers 🙂

Holiday jam

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It’s been a busy few months folks! This fall has just been a blur and it seems like the next few months are going to be the same, but at least the holiday period gives us an opportunity to slow down and spend a bit more time with friends and family.

This is a bit uncharacteristic of me but I actually haven’t knitted (or sewn) any of my Christmas presents this year, partially due to the lack of time and more than likely also lack of planning / foresight. I feel like just yesterday I was enjoying the warm summer weather, then in the blink of an eye the colder season and the holidays have arrived!

While I don’t have any knitted gifts to share, I still do have a completed project which is this green Laurie sweater from Josée Paquin. The colour and the stitch pattern reminded me of a bamboo forest – what do you guys think?

This is actually the second Laurie I’ve knitted, but the only survivor. I had made this once before in 2015 as a NAKNISWEMO (national knit a sweater in a month) project, but the sweater mistakenly ended up in the wash and shrank/felted to the point of being simply unwearable. This is such a shame, because that sweater/dress was just SO beautiful! This time, to save me from the heartbreak, I made it out of a sugar cane viscose yarn that I am sure will survive an unplanned visit to the washer and dryer.

This yarn, Araucania Caña Ruca, is truly the softest most supple yarn I’ve ever worked with, topping even topping Mary Maxim’s Eucalyptus yarn that I loved so much. It is just a dream to knit with, and to wear. The yarn also has this lovely sheen and bright beautiful colours. I actually bought this yarn in Hawaii about 4 or 5 years ago so it’s great to finally put it to good use.

I used all but 20 grams of the 3 skeins I had, and was able to knit the sweater as per pattern albeit a bit cropped. I actually don’t mind it too much because the yarn does tend to grow quite a bit when worn, and slightly cropped sweaters actually work pretty good for me as a toddler-nursing mama. Mods, yardage and other details can as always be found on my project page so feel free to have a look there if you’re interested.

I am so very happy at how this sweater turned out and I’ve already worn it twice in the past week so I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of it in the future.

In this beautiful season, I would like to extend my best wishes to all of you, a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year 🙂

Plush toy galore

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I’ve been hoarding books and toy patterns for years now, and although I find them so cute and cuddly and had all the intentions in the world to make cute adorable plushies for the little ones around me, I have to admit that I only ever knitted a toy once, roughly 5 years ago. So last month, I decided to change that.

I dusted my toy making books, dug through the yarn leftovers and odd skeins I couldn’t find a use for and started making. And low and behold, I ended up making many more than I thought I was going to. Without further ado, let me now present you my humble little plush toy collection.

Those squishy fluffy faces come from a few different sources, so please let me walk you through.

The two siblings were made using Susan Claudino’s Voodoo you love me? , a sweet and simple pattern I’ve really enjoyed making. The instructions are super clear, step-by-step and easy to understand. The big brother was made using an unknown, unmarked yarn ball from my craft room closet. It is most likely an acrylic yarn of some kind in a bulky or super bulky weight. The little brother was made using some Berroco Corsica cotton/cashmere yarn I had leftover from a little baby onesie I made a few weeks ago (more on that in another blog post!).

The bright pink and white bunny is actually a crochet project, which I actually rarely do, so it was a nice change of pace. The pattern is called Framboise, and it comes from a book called Tendre Crochet from Sandrine Deveze. Now I wish I could link you the Ravelry page but it seems that book has not been catalogued right in Ravelry, and some of the patterns contained in the book (like this one, which also happens to be on the front cover) is not listed. But a quick search on Amazon or your preferred book store and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a version of it, it has been translated and distributed in many languages/countries I believe. I made this project using again a couple unmarked, unknown skeins of yarn that look like they’d be a cotton blend in a worsted weight. Now although the patterns provided in the book are all just adorable, I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the construction of this one, as it makes us crochet the body and the head separately and then sew them together. Next time I make this, I’ll start with the legs and body, then switch yarn colour and work the head seamlessly, adding the filling as I go.

The big guy is Hugo, the couch potato monster. It comes from Rebecca Danger’s Big Book of Knitted Monsters. This is a favourite of mine, I’ve cherished this book dearly for years, even though I’ve only ever knitted one before. I made this new one in wonderfully soft Noro Shinryoku. Hugo is a super easy pattern and the final toy is just *SO* squishy!!

The last one I made is the star shaped little guy with a blue hat. This pattern is called Knubbelchen and is a free Ravelry download. I made this one out of leftover Universal Yarn Bamboo Pop and it is just so soft and squishy! The one thing I’m a little sad about is that I didn’t look at the finished measurements of the doll first, had I known how small it was going to be I would’ve kept knitting! But anyways I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

For obvious safety reasons I’ve used safety eyes for all the dolls. yardage info is available for the yarns I could track (i.e. not the unknown/unmarked ones) ok my Ravelry project pages here, here, here and here.

Hope you guys are all fully enjoying the last bits of spring, and I’ll talk to you again real soon. Cheers 🙂

Twinning

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So… something happened. I made a sweater, and it was just so wonderful and perfect and the colours were so amazing that I decided to make another one. A smaller one. A tiny baby one. And I couldn’t be more happy about the result ❤️

So first let’s get the basics down. This pattern is made (once again) by Beatriz Rubio from Sambaknits and it’s called Vinicunca. It’s a wonderful dropped shoulder cozy oversized sweater with tight sleeves. I made it in Berroco’s Modern Cotton DK in colour Gadwall. The contrasting colours are a bit of a closet clean out, I used a mix of what I had in a similar gauge that would fit the colour scheme I was envisioning. There’s Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in there, Knit Pick’s lindy chain, Katia rustic silk and a couple basic cotton yarns to complete.

I made this sweater in size 2, no swatch, I just eyeballed it. Big mistake. But let’s be real, I just never swatch. I’m not a swatcher, never been, and probably never will be. I don’t care much for gauge, and I like to have variety in my closet so in my hand knit section, I’ve got sweaters of all sizes ranging from dramatically oversized to pretty darn snug, and I kinda like it that way. So back on topic, I didn’t swatch. and I probably should’ve. Because… I’m a tight knitter. And I liked the oversized look of this sweater. So… I ended up blocking the sh*t out of this one until I reached the desired size. NOT RECOMMENDED 😅 but I did. And you know what? It turned out just fine. But I made a slight adjustment for the mini version, and I made a mental note to myself for any other future iterations of this sweater to size up on needle size to 4mm because for this sweater, gauge matters. A lot. Anyways other than needle size I didn’t change much to the pattern. I omitted the sleeve decreases and changed up the number of repeats for the contrasting colours to jazz it up but that’s about it. All the details are on my Ravelry project page as always, including precise yardage, mods, etc.

For the mini version, I did end up making quite a few ajustements, as the pattern isn’t made for kids. It’s not perfect and if I do this again I left plenty of notes on my project page to do a better job next time but overall, I’m still pretty darn happy with the result. And the little lady too, so it’s all good.

So that’s all I got for today folks, I’ll see you again real soon 😉

Yes I’m alive (and well!)

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I know… I looked at the date. It’s been 10 months since I last posted on here. Why hello there, if you are still following, it’s been a hot minute. I’ve been spending the last 7 months trying to adjust to my new life as a mother, and it has not been easy, so I’ve been focusing on that and crafting has unsurprisingly been moved to the back burner for a while. But good news is, I’m slowly adjusting. And I’ve tried to pick back up some of my hobbies during my little bits of free time.

I cannot promise I’ll post often (or that I’ll post at all, for what matters) but hey, I’m here now and I can show you one or two goodies right?

So the FO wanted to show you today is the first project I finished since the birth of my Little Lady. It is a this Tunisian crochet chevron blanket, made in worsted weight Bernat’s Handicrafter cotton yarn, one in white and the other in a blue ombré. Now I tested something because I was lazy and wanted to reduce the (already insane) amount of ends I would have to weave in, so instead of working one row of squares, cut the yarn and start again, I tried to turn the work and crochet the other row of the same colour from the back instead. Not sure if that makes any sense to you? Anyways I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I’m actually quite fond of the texture it creates, by having some squares right side facing and some squares wrong side facing. I might actually do this again! The blanket is pretty much lap size, and would be perfect for walks in the stroller, once weather permits. I used all but 10-15 grams of both skeins, and as usual you may find a couple more details on my Ravelry project page.

I’ve also completed a second raindrops sweater, a tincanknits pattern. The yarn I’ve used is a beautiful lush green Fino yarn from Manos Del Uruguay. Now I gotta say there’s more than a couple mistakes in this sweater, as I was having trouble keeping my mommy brain focussed enough to complete this knit. Fortunately for me, the pattern is extremely forgiving, and my many slip ups don’t really show too much. I’ve made a couple mods, including adding sone waist shaping, but other than that it’s very “by the book” – you can find all the details including yardage on my project page. I’m quite happy with the result, and will surely get a lot of wear out of it in the next few months as we transition to slightly warmer weather.

That’s all I had to share for now guys, not sure when I’ll be able to pop back again but I surely will one day (just don’t hold your breath).

Cheers!

Colmena Shawl

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Gosh, has it already been two months already? I’m sorry…

But I’ve been working diligently on this beauty here, and it’s been taking most of my time as I’m not very efficient working cables. Resulting in me being a whopping 3 weeks late on this test knit. Beatriz, my deepest apologies!

Ok, let’s recap here. I signed up in September for another test test knit for SambaKnits, this beautifully textured Colmena Shawl. This is not my first rodeo, I’ve done test knits many times. What I didn’t realize at first though is that the entire textured section is all cables. That’s a lot of cables. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done cables before and I know how to work them. But I’m not especially good at it. They seriously slow me down, leading me to greatly underestimate the time it would take me to knit this. But let’s pass for now abs let’s talk specs.

This shawl pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, and as always Beatriz was a charm letting us do yarn substitutions. I went for a couple skeins of Motley from Sugar Bush Yarns I had in stash. It is marked as a sport weight yarn but it’s a very thick and thin single that feels more like a DK to me. First surprise: it’s actually a self striping, which is not what I was expecting. How come I didn’t realize this?! Anyways, I decided to roll with it and knit the shawl with appropriately downsized 4mm needles.

I had committed to using the full two skeins I had, saving a third one for a matching hat or a pair of mittens. I did just that by adding one more full repeat of section 4, and working section 5 a total of 8 times instead of 4, all in all adding about 18 rows to the original pattern. I think I did great maximizing the yardage I had, though I ended up playing a fans a yarn chicken in the end abs lost – by about 10 stitches. So I had to borrow 12 inches of yarn from the reserved hat/mitten skein to finish binding it off.

All in all, it took me about 2 months to work through this shawl, which literally is FOREVER for me (thanks to the cables) but I regret nothing. I love this shawl, the feel of it, the colour, the texture, and given the choice I would still do it all over again. If you’re interested please do feel free to check out my Ravelry project page for all the details, and now I’ll hopefully be moving on to Christmas makes (Gosh I’m so so late this year!!)

New venture (blog!)

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new blog.jpg

Yes! I started a new blog, yay!!!!! I decided to combine my love of fiber things with my passion for travel and started a new blog called A Knitter Around The World. On this blog, I will share my insight on travelling as a crafter, help you find yarn or fabric stores at your destination, offer a review of the places I went to and share useful tips and tricks for the crafty traveler. There’s not much content so far, but I hope you’ll check it out and be as excited to see the content grow as I am to built it. Thank you all for your continued support, and I hope to see you soon at aknitteraroundtheworld.com.

Cheers!

Crushing hard!

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I’ve been back from Japan for about 10 days now, and I gotta tell you, I miss it so bad 

Everything from the sights and the sounds, the food, the feel of the air, the atmosphere, the people; I think I really crushed hard on Japan during those two short weeks and now that I’m back it’s really hitting me in the feels! Nevertheless though, I’ve been pretty busy here, at work and at home, as I slowly readjust to my everyday life.

What I want to share with you all today is a little project that I couldn’t share with you before leaving for Japan, and that would be this little cute Camilla baby Blanket.

Camilla Blanket

You see, one of my Japanese penpals, Eriko, is currently pregnant and since she was kind enough to spend two days showing me around Kyoto and Osaka, I wanted to bring her a little something special for her little-one-to-be. So a couple weeks before my trip, I started this cutie little blanket for her using the three skeins of Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece that I had on hand. Since I don’t know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, I figured a neutral blueish gray would be fine.

Since I’ve already bought the Camilla Pullover pattern in the past, I did not buy the actual Camilla Blanket pattern but instead used the instructions for the fan pattern from the pullover that I first converted to RS/WS instructions, repeated 4 times and added a garter stitch border on the top, bottom and edges.

The finished blanket is about stroller size, measuring about 30″X32″. Since I was using a Worsted weight yarn instead of Aran, I worked the blanket on 5 mm needles instead of the recommended 6.5 mm. I don’t work very often with needles over 4 mm, so I took advantage of this opportunity to try the Kollage square needle that I had received as a sample a couple years back but never got a chance to use. Although I was a bit skeptical at first, I must admit that I was actually quite pleased by the grip and the feel of those square needles, and it felt very natural to use. Actually, I enjoyed working with it so much I think I might seriously consider getting them in other sizes, or maybe even by the interchangeable set.

All the details, save for the actual fan motif, can be found on my project page so feel free to check it over if you’re interested.

Gearing up

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Three full weeks after getting back from Hawaii I’m still on a sunshine high, and the current heat wave brushing over New England and Quebec probably has something to do with that. While we enjoy this year’s last summer outbursts, I’m slowly preparing for fall and gearing up for the upcoming holiday season. Since I make most of the presents I offer, makes perfect sense, right?

And this shawl is the first of the season, it’s a free pattern called Glitz at the Ritz from Helen Stewart. I used one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in the “Solis” colorway and 1 package of blue/green glass beads from Walmart.

Rainforest Shawl

It was my first time actually making a beaded project, and I must say that I’m quite satisfied with the result. I’ve always avoided beaded projects because I thought the beading would slow me down significantly, but it turns out it’s really not that bad, I should have given it a try much sooner. I really liked the pattern, it was simple, straightforward and the instructions were clear. I worked the entire pattern as is, except that I omitted the beads in the star lace section partly because I didn’t want to have to open the second bead package, and partly because I was straight out lazy, but I’m actually quite glad I didn’t because I think it looks beautiful as is – I feel like the beaded and plain sections play very well together and provide a good balance. As usual you can find all the details on my project page, so head over there for pattern and yardage information.

Over the summer I also made a few more reversible tote bags using the Kwik Sew pattern K3700. I’m really, really growing fond of this pattern because I think it’s really versatile – you can make it reversible or not, on a serger or on a regular sewing machine and the shape of the bag is perfect to be used as a handbag, a project bag or a shopping bag, as you see fit. In both cases, I also had enough fabric to make a matching notion pouch with a zipper, that can be used with the bag or independently. Really, this might become an addiction in the near future.

Bags 02

So what’s on your needles, folks?