MD S&W 2017 Recap

It became a sort of joke that I was never going to make it to Maryland Sheep and Wool again. I last went in 2009, back when I was a baby knitter and didn’t have much money at all to spend on yarn as I was still in school. (I spent that year walking around with Olga Buraya-Kefelian, a friend who also happens to be a knitwear designer who was just starting her ascent into knitting fame back then.) Every year after that, something would come up to keep me from going: we’d be out of town, be going to a party, I’d be sick, etc.

This year, though, I was determined to make it. Despite still not quite being over my cold, I went to the festival with my neighbor, Sara. We went on Sunday afternoon which, of course, is after all of the most popular items are gone but the crowds are far, far less than on Saturday or even right at opening on Sunday. We took our time and walked through each of the barns, the exhibition hall (which we missed the first time around, somehow), and the outdoor vendors.

I had gone with a rather laughable goal: buy two sweater quantities of animal-free yarn, one in sport weight and another in worsted. Yep, I went to a sheep and wool festival to not buy wool. Unsurprisingly, I did not meet my goal.

We did get to see an alpaca, though. Sara wanted to kidnap him and bring him home to meet her girls.

I couldn’t resist a few wooly things, however. I have quite a stash of worsted yarn right now, so went for sock and fingering-weight yarns, both of which I’m running rather low on.

Knittyandcolor Sock Yarn in the coloway Milky Way [to become socks for Sara]

I couldn’t resist winding it to see how the colors showed up.

Two gradients from Fiber Optic Yarns – Foot Notes Yarn (colorway: Thunder – Lightning) and Kasmir Yarn (colorway: Onyx – Crimson)

I took some time to wind the whole set of 15 little skeins up. (Then started on a shawl with it, right away.)

Any of you go to MD S&W? Get anything really fun?

MD S&W 2017 Recap

Knitting for Super Tiny Humans

Whenever I learn of someone close to me is having a baby, I almost immediately start thinking of what I can knit. I do all sorts of planning…and then tend to forget to actually make something until, oh, three weeks before the baby is due. They’re so small, so surely I don’t need to put aside tons of time to knit them? Except I have this thing for making blankets or using tiny yarn or some other craziness that means monogamist knitting for between a week to a month.

I’ve got knits for tiny humans on the mind now, as we have two friends plus a family member who are all expecting their first kid. And, of course…I’ve barely started on anything. But I’ve got some ideas.

Favorite Patterns

Baby Surprise Jacket – The pattern is a classic for a reason. It’s in a bunch of different books, so anyone who has any interest in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s work probably has a copy of the pattern lying around. It only takes ~300 yards of your favorite yarn and is both mindless due to the garter fabric and not boring, as each “section” changes what you’re doing. I’ve made 6 of these, using Fingering, DK, and Worsted weight yarns.

Finished-BSJ

Little Sister’s Dress: Only comes in one size but easy enough to scale up/down using a different size yarn. Make sure you keep track of your stockinette and reverse stockinette rows. Gives you an excuse to use cute buttons, though be sure they are really well attached!

littlesisdress001

Four Corners Blanket – Free pattern that’s modular for the first two squares, then not totally crazy to have on your lap when you’re adding the other two squares. When I knit this, I find myself getting excited as I zoom through each part, excited about getting to the next color/square. This would look really cool if done in a yarn with a long color repeat.

Four Corners Blanket

Coming Together

Stuffed creatures – I have a love/hate relationship with actually knitting these, but they are really fun and won’t be the same sort of thing someone’s Great Aunt would need for the kid. I tend to make monsters versus real creatures because, well, they don’t have to look like anything in particular when you accidentally misread part of the pattern. Rebecca Danger has TONS of great patterns for these. (Clicking on “stuffed creatures” will take you to a Ravelry page of all of her patterns.)

September 7 (Day 48) - Birthday
[Not a Dangercraft pattern but one from Berroco, called Celstine.]

Stay-on Booties – Okay, so I’ve never made any of these but a friend made some for Lizzie when she was brand new and they were great. Won’t fall off, are super cute, and so small they take like no time to knit. Saartje’s Booties are what I think of as the standard example.

Bounce – This is one of those patterns that I love the look of the finished project, but the actual knitting felt like a bit of a slog. Still! Do not be dissuaded. Excellent pattern and can be done in all sorts of fun color combinations.

Favorite Yarns

Berroco Vintage – This is my favorite, if you’re looking for a wool/non-wool blend that’s machine washable. Comes in a million colors. This comes in worsted, DK, and chunky versions, if not more.

Berroco Ultra Wool – Very soft but still superwash, again with an excellent range of colors. My LYS just switched to this – from Ella Rae Classic Superwash – and I like it even more than I liked that yarn for both being a pleasure to knit with and how well it holds up to washing/wearing.

Spud and Chloe Fine – Excellent if you want to do colorwork or otherwise need a superwash fingering yarn. (Rav tells me it comes in a stripy version, too.)

Blue Sky Fibers Worsted Cotton – Luxury cotton that’s worth the price. Limited color range but the colors that are offered are gorgeous.

Some Tips

  • Don’t be that person who gives a new parent something they can’t put in the washer/dryer.
  • Consider making blankets roughly three by four feet. It’s not only a good size for the car seat but for snuggling with when the kid’s a toddler.
  • Include with your handknit something to care for the parents. A gift card to a local pizza place that delivers, an offer of free babysitting, a box of K-cups of their favorite brand.

 

What’s your favorite thing to knit (or knit with) for tiny humans? If you have kids, what do you wish someone else knit when you had a baby?

Knitting for Super Tiny Humans

Finishing Up

Amongst knitters, there’s a question that always comes up: are you a process or a project knitter? Me, I’m a process knitter, for sure. I find a yarn and pattern combination I like then just sort of dive into it, usually without a recipient in mind. I’m usually only really working on one project at a time, though I may switch back to another WIP if I get bored with what I’m currently working on. I find I’m really excited in the first 20% and the last 20% of a given project, it’s the middle 60% that just crawls by, unless I’m distracted by an audiobook, TV show, or interesting conversation. Though I knit with a project being completed as the end goal, I have an issue: I HATE finishing things.

Take the cowl I finished the other day. What did I do when I was done? Snipped off the excess yarn then tossed the project and needle onto my desk and walked off. Now, this is a single-color cowl – nothing with tons of ends to weave in or a difficult blocking process associated with it. I just didn’t feel a need to actually finish it because, in my process-oriented brain, it was done.

Thing is, no one wants to wear something with ends hanging off and, if they know something about how much better things look when it does happen, unblocked. This particular knit even has an intended recipient, one who I’ll see in a week.

I did finally get it blocked the next time I sat down and forced myself to finish up the sewing-in ends on two shawls, one hat, and one cowl. It soaked while I worked on the end-sewing. And, soon as it dries, it’ll be ready to gift…soon as I can get myself to weave in those pesky ends….

Finishing Up

Never Made

I was thinking the other day about how I started a bad trend in 2016 (or was it 2015?). I would buy patterns and think about making them…and it would end there. I managed to figure out how to do a Ravelry search of all of the digital knitting patterns I own but have yet to make. (Go here to do the same search for yourself.)

Results: 153

Yeah, 153 patterns I bought and have not made. And that’s ignoring all of the patterns I have in books and magazines.

I gave the list a good scrub, removing all of the projects I’d honestly never make. Then I added them allll to my queue.

Now I’ve got a much more reasonable number facing me: 70.

So, my big plan: I’m not going to buy a single pattern until I get through all of those 70 items (well, except the 13 ones which were free patterns).

 

 

Never Made

WIP Wednesday 2017.1

One of my goals for 2017 – which, of course, I have yet to blog about at all – is to keep up with semi-regular WIP Wednesday posts, even if all I do is explain why I have nothing to show.

This week, I’ve got three WIPs, none of which I have color photos to share. We’ll pretend it’s to keep an air of mystery, not just because I wasn’t able to get the colors quite right when I took the photos last night, well after sunset.

My first WIP is a pair of socks I’m making for my mom. These aren’t active right this second but will be once I feel like knitting socks again, probably in a few days. I had knit several pairs in a row there and just needed a break.

While the yarn itself is not new to me – Miss Babs 2-Ply – the pattern is. It’s called Jeck and a free pattern from designer Regina Satta. I swear my mom chose the color herself, though I do find it hilarious it’s named Bat S**t Crazy. You can’t tell here, of course, but it’s a mixture of deep blue, green, and brown. Not at all what I would have picked for her, but it was her first pick of the four colors I offered.

The WIP I’m actively working is a hat for a coworker. I’ve made the pattern before (Roku by designer Olga Buraya-Kefelean) but never did take a good FO picture to share with you. Again, no color photo but you it’s a muted, sort of medium blue Ella Rae Classic Superwash.

I’m also working on my perpetual WIP, getting the house organized, but no one needs to see before/after photos of my straightened-up linen closet. (Right?)

What are you all working on this week?

WIP Wednesday 2017.1

Knits of 2016

After a few years of really not knitting very much, 2016 was a really productive year, when it came to my knitting.

Thanks to Ravelry, I can give you the exact statistics:

  • Dresses – 2 (both for children)
  • Socks – 6 (one was only finished, another child-sized)
  • Hats – 7
  • Cowls – 6
  • Scarves – 8
  • Shawls/wraps – 18 (two were for children)
  • Blankets – 2 (both for babies)
  • Dishcloths – estimate is 20, not on Ravelry

Wow. That’s 69 projects!

And, my WIPS and UFOs are very few:

  • Socks for my mom [Current WIP]
  • Shawl/wrap for a coworker [Current WIP]
  • The hat I started but got distracted from (may be one of my FOs this month)
  • The itchy sweater  [UFO but will probably finish]
  • A baby blanket I’ve made about 20% of the motifs for [UFO which will probably never be finished)
  • The sweater I knit for myself a long time ago and found out, during seeming, that it’s not working for me  [UFO which will probably never be finished)

 

Knits of 2016

WIP Wednesday 12/7/16

I’ve been a little bit all over the place lately, when it comes to my knitting. I started and finished both a dress for Lizzie and a pair of socks for my mother-in-law since my last WIP Wednesday post. Then, I found myself with a sudden gap in knitting projects. I knew I could finally start my Grinchalong project but felt compelled to finish one of my older WIPs that would be quicker finishes. This meant restarting work on the socks which are now for my Aunt Tricia or that scarf I, well, have never showed here and only have an inch done on, so far.

I sort of started everything.

First was a basic hat for an unknown recipient. I started this on Monday night, when I suddenly found myself with nothing to knit. I just sort of grabbed the yarn from my stash, a semi-appropriate needle, and came back downstairs to start on it. It’s, well, very red. The pattern is The Favorite Knit Slouchy, the yarn good ‘ole Cascade 220.

Then, last night, I was in the mood to, well, not work on a bright red hat, so I got out the cotton for my Grinchalong. I bought all of the patterns – well, other than the free ones – that I’d posted about before and randomly chose to start Echo Strike. I got just past that first contrast stripe but am not sure I really like how it’s working out so far. I’m not sure if it’s the colors or the pattern or what.

So, yeah, that got put aside. And now I’m working on the Monkey socks again.

What are you guys working on this week?

WIP Wednesday 12/7/16