Lobster Claw

Have you ever made a project that made your friends take a minute and say, “Hmmmm……?” I recently half-finished one of those projects. 

First of all, I have to say that I totally have a knitting crush on Elizabeth Green Mussleman. She came up with a fabulous pattern called Hunting Gloves. These gloves, knit from yak down, are the perfect cold-weather hunting accessory. The thumb and pointer finger are free to move, while the other three fingers can sit together snugly, making it perfect for archery or rifle hunting in the cold.

I do shoot archery, but not terribly often because I don’t like the cold. The combination of it being an EGM pattern, useful in my actual life, knitting with some of the most fantastic yarn I have ever knit with, and a bit of rubbernecking when the pattern was released made it at the top of my list. (For the rubbernecking, you will have to watch EGM’s podcast, Dark Matter Knits. It’s quite comical.) 

Pattern: Hunting Gloves by Elizabeth Green Mussleman Yarn: Bijou Spun Sport Weight Ravelry Page

Pattern: Hunting Gloves by Elizabeth Green Mussleman Yarn: Bijou Spun Sport Weight Ravelry Page

I won’t give away too much of the pattern construction (this is a paid-for pattern that is worth every cent), I will say the grafting at the end almost gave me a bit of trouble. I was sitting at the Loopy Ewe for knit night with this limp thing on my lap, trying to graft the holes together. I decided to actually wear the glove on my left hand and graft it with my right, which created a lot of odd stares among the knitters in the group. What was that thing on my hand? Was it a knitted lobster claw?

As I began to graft the holes back together, there was a collective “Ahhhhhhh!” when it was finished! I explained how I wanted these gloves for archery, and everyone wanted to feel the luxurious yarn. I think this is the kind of project that is seen so rarely because it fits perfectly in a niche. But, when that niche is found, the project suddenly becomes the best thing ever. I can hardly wait for these to be done and take them camping!

Have you ever knit a strange-looking project that fit a very specific purpose? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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A Gramps Unfinished

Sometimes I think I may be overdoing things. After all, I am a mom of four kids, which keeps me plenty busy. I have a business to run out of my home, and a podcast to maintain. This often makes me wonder why in the world do I push myself so hard to make all of the things? 

Gramps Cardigan, pattern by TinCan Knits, Cascade 220 superwash, Ravelry Page

Gramps Cardigan, pattern by TinCan Knits, Cascade 220 superwash, Ravelry Page

Case in point: the Gramps cardigan. I have been swooning over this pattern by TinCan Knits for months for my little man. There is just something too incredibly cute about little boys dressed in grownup clothing. Of course, even though I had been thinking and planning for a long time about this cardigan. I decided to give myself all of four days to knit it for Easter.

Because reasons.

After having a few friends talk me off of that crazy cliff, I decided to still cast it on and work really hard on it, but also gave myself the leeway that *if* I didn’t get it done on time, it was okay. I sized it up so it will fit him next year and used stash Cascade 220 superwash. The pattern was incredibly fun and fast (at least, the sweater part of it). I couldn’t believe I could have an entire sweater on my lap in just a few days! Kid knits are awesome.

Even though I worked really, really hard on this project at first, I lost steam when it came to knitting the second pocket and the elbow patches. For some reason, additional pieces just don’t come naturally to me. I have the hardest time knitting tiny little embellishments, even though they take 5 seconds. Okay, maybe longer, but you know what I mean. In other words, I didn’t even come close to getting this done for Easter. 

I did, however, finish the knitting. I have perfect white buttons that will look adorable. Why, then, can I not get up the guff to sew the darn things on? Have I mentioned how much I hate finishing work? No worries, I have it set aside in a “finishing” box, waiting for that moment when I need to finish all of the projects. Besides, I have until next fall, right?

Have you ever had a project you loved, but had a hard time finishing it? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Socks A La Awesome

I have to tell you about my new socks.

These socks are bright, colorful, and crazy. Oh, I love them so much.

My friend Danie of the Prairie Girls Podcast recently opened a yarn section of her Etsy shop, One Twisted Tree. She has been working really hard to create some new color combinations and yarn styles that aren’t really on the market right now. I was one of the luckiest people ever that got to test her Variegated Swirl sock base. This yarn is dyed in a way that swirls, zig zags, and pools magnificently, depending on your guage. As a thank you for testing, Danie sent me a gorgeous skein of the finished yarn in the colorway JEM’s Corporate Day Job. I also bought two more skeins when her shop opened, one in Late Night Lite Bright (also swirl) and one in Urban Hunter’s Arrow (variegated). 

I couldn’t help but cast on within a few days of receiving my yarn. I started with JEM and decided to use the ZigZagular sock pattern by Susie, the other half of the Prairie Girls Podcast. Of course, I had to keep it in my bag Danie made me (also from her Etsy shop), and I felt like I had reached level awesome in creating a real Prairie Girls project. 

Yarn: One Twisted Tree Variegated Twist in “JEM’s Corporate Day Job”, Pattern: ZigZagular Socks by Susie White. Ravelry Project Page

The yarn was such a blast to knit. I had no idea if it would zig or zag, spiral or twist. It was constantly changing, and I felt like I was painting with yarn. I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel and used the opposite side of the ball to not interrupt the swirling pattern. The first pair was finished in a week, as I was obsessively knitting on them everywhere.

After finishing that first pair, I immediately cast on the Late Night Lite Bright. Again, the same awesome swirl, and using the ZigZagular pattern with a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I feel like this yarn and pattern are, in the words of the little girl in Sleepless In Seattle, MFEO. This pair took me a bit longer since I got my lace shawl groove on, but it was fantastic nonetheless. 

I have to say, these socks are the craziest thing yet to hit my sock drawer. Yet, I love every inch of them. I love the colors, the pattern, and the fit. It makes me smile when I wear them, knowing no one in the muggle world has any idea how awesome these socks are when they are covered by the leg of my jeans. Colorful socks like these are like a secret, only known to the knitter and those with sharp eyes and the right timing. They are very, very welcome addition to my Operation Sock Drawer.

What is the craziest, most colorful thing you have knit? What is your favorite item you have knit? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Mom’s Scarf

Mother’s Day is coming up. I have mentioned I am working on weaving my parents scarves for their big trip to Scotland next year. Well, I tried to weave one. That project turned into one big mess that I have decided to keep for myself. 

I finally got the gumption to start again. I actually pulled up the warping video again. I made sure it was at a decent hour, that I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t watching anything engaging at the same time. I really took my time this time and actually followed the instructions instead of making up the process on my own. I have to tell you, it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to actually follow directions. My warp was beautiful. A tiny bit off in some places, but as close to perfect as I was about to get as a still-newbie. 

I was so excited about beginning to weave (there’s that dratted bug again) I had to start immmediately. Of course, I needed to watch some uber Scottish television while working on this project. I switched on the terribly-written-but-oh-so-entertaining Reign from CW. I have a love/hate relationship with this show. It’s incredibly fun to watch, but horribly inaccurate in historical value. And the costuming is, well, interesting. I love it and laugh at myself for it every time. I also started Outlander again. I have read the book by Diana Gabaldon twice. The first time left me feeling like I needed to shower for a week after reading the scene with Black Jack doing terrible things to Jamie (spoiler alert, sorry!) The second time, though, I knew what was coming and actually enjoyed it. The show….. well….. I think I’m one of the few who really doesn’t need to see so many breasts and buttocks to make a show enjoyable, and my husband no longer watches it with me. But, it’s pretty entertaining anyway, and I am working on catching up. Watching it made my weaving feel like the real deal, though I won’t be waulking the scarves. Ever. Because reasons.

Pattern: My version of the Gordon Clan Tartan Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock Ravelry Project Page

Pattern: My version of the Gordon Clan Tartan Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock Ravelry Project Page

As much as I hated weaving the first scarf, I loved making the second one. The warp was very nice, making it incredibly easy. I still haven’t figured out how to change colors without creating all of that extra fabric, so again, if you have any resources at all, I would love to see them. Books, videos, youtube, online classes, anything. One surprising aspect I have found about weaving is that there is really a lack of online content about it. If you only want to weave very basic projects, you will be fine, but I have yet to find any sort of a tutorial about plaid or changing the stitch patterns. Someone should really get on that.

After weaving both scarves, I might have enough yarn still to warp my dad’s scarf for Father’s Day, though not enough to actually weave it. I guess another trip to the Loopy Ewe is in order, which is never a bad thing. So until I get to buy more yarn, little loom, enjoy a rest and I will see you soon.

Have you had a project that you had to overcome a task to be able to finish? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Warping Woes

Well, I finished the first of the scarves I had planned on making for my parents’ big trip to Scotland. I have to tell you, though, this project was a big son-of-a-you-know-what. 

In case you haven’t read, I’m still a brand new, have-to-watch-the-YouTubes-all-day-to-figure-this-thing-out weaver. When I learn a new technique in knitting or crochet, or really just about almost everything I learn, I only have to watch it once or twice. I’m that weird person with that crazy kinesthetic memory. So imagine my surprise when I realize I really messed up on warping the Cricket Loom for this scarf.

My first finished Gordon Scarf. It will stay perpetually wrinkled because of the bad job I did warping the loom.

My first finished Gordon Scarf. It will stay perpetually wrinkled because of the bad job I did warping the loom.

I didn’t just mess up, I warped it completely backwards. I figured I knew what I was doing, so I never once pulled up any of the videos I had been watching on YouTube to warp this thing. And it was BACKWARDS. Plus, I mixed up the order of the steps completely. I should note that it was 2 in the morning when I was warping, which is probably why my brain was not on at all. So, after I warped it backwards, I immediately threaded the yarn through the little holes too, without tightening the warp on the other side, which is also wrong, wrong, wrong. Then I realized my mistake of warping it backwards, so I tried to fix it. Finally, everything was on the loom and I went to bed. (I’m well aware non-weavers will have no idea what I am talking about, so my advice is to watch this video by scrambling it into random segments and in reverse. You might have an idea what I did. The real weavers are probably smacking their foreheads right now.)

Pattern: Imitation of Gordon Tartan (my own version) Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock Ravelry Project Page

Pattern: Imitation of Gordon Tartan (my own version) Yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock Ravelry Project Page

I started weaving the next day. As this is a plaid instead of a solid color, I had a bit of trouble with the color changes. I learned how to change colors, but since there are so many color changes in small plaid like this, a bunch of extra fabric was being created on one side. I still don’t know how to prevent this, so if anyone has any ideas I would gladly listen to them. I decided to leave the ends out and weave them all in later. As I kept weaving, the threads on the far left and right side became extremely tight. However, the rest of the warp was getting more and more loose. As I progressed I ended up having to adjust the middle of the warp to get the shuttle through, while praying the threads on the edges wouldn’t snap. Fortunately, they never did. For some reason, though, there was a lot less fabric on the opposite side of the color changes. I just kept using the shuttle to beat the fibers tight against each other (again, wrong) and it make a pretty significant slope on the left side. 

When I finally finished this thing, I pulled it off the loom, praying it would look okay after a wash and block. Fortunately, the warp seemed to have loosed on the edges quite a bit. Unfortunately, the great big slope on the left side remained. I spent a good two hours trying to straighten it out. After that I had all of those bugger ends to weave in. Even though this was my first plaid project, I’m definitely not proud enough of it to actually give as a gift. I have decided to keep this one for myself and try another one when I get the gumption to actually warp another one. And this time, I’ll actually watch the videos again, I promise.

Have you ever had a major blunder in your fiber arts? Please, tell me all about it! 

 

Great Outdoors KAL 2015!

I think it’s finally time we have a big contest, don’t you?

I am in full camping-brain mode. I can hardly wait to sit outside by the campfire, lamp on my head, and sock knitting in my lap. I’m assuming since that sounds heavenly to me, it sounds heavenly to many of you as well. 

To celebrate, the Knitting Butterflies Podcast is hosting the first ever Great Outdoors Knitalong. This is an incredibly informal knitalong, there are no yardage requirements, start/finish dates, or specific items you need to knit. Here are the rules:

  • Knit something while enjoying the Great Outdoors
  • Knit something that you will use while enjoying the Great Outdoors
  • Knit something that reminds you of the Great Outdoors

To enter, simply do any of these things and post a picture either to our Ravelry Thread (to be opened when the contest opens) or to Instagram with the hashtag #GreatOutdoorsKAL2015  

Every post will be an entry. There are no limits on the number of entries you can have. Feel free to double-dip on other knitalongs (such as the PALKAL on Actually Knitting).

Posts between Memorial Day weekend (May 23rd) and Labor Day (September 7) will be eligible for prizes. I will be drawing for prizes using a random number generator. Crochet, weaving, and spinning photos are eligible as well, as long as they meet the guidelines listed above.

Now here comes the best part, we have a ton of prizes for this KAL! Thank you to our many sponsors for the following prizes:

  1. An exclusively dyed skein of yarn from Danie of One Twisted Tree
  2. A hard copy of Pheobe’s Sweater by Joanna Johnson of Slate Falls Press
  3. A hard copy of Green Gables Knits by Joanna Johnson of Slate Falls Press
  4. eBook copies of Road Trip and Max and Bohdi’s Wardrobe by TinCan Knits
  5. An eBook of your choice by TinCan Knits
  6. A TinCan Knits pattern of your choice
  7. A skein of beautiful sock yarn by Inner Yarn Zen in the “Meadow” Colorway
  8. A skein of beautiful sock yarn by Lilliput Yarn in the “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” colorway
  9. I picked up a copy of the summer issue of Interweave Knits that includes a whole section on knitting for the great outdoors

This is going to be a fabulous knitalong! I hope to see so many of your beautiful outdoors-y projects this summer! Don’t forget to post photos to the Ravelry thread and Instagram using the hashtag #GreatOutdoorsKAL2015 !

What projects are you working on for this KAL? 

Episode 35 – Looms and Lenses

Thank You’s:

  • Sarah and Lydia from Oh! Loops for the hilarious t-shirt
(Left) Ultimate ZigZagular Socks, (Right) Vanilla Socks with Afterthought Heel

(Left) Ultimate ZigZagular Socks, (Right) Vanilla Socks with Afterthought Heel

Fiber Stories:

(Top) Gordon Tartan scarf, (Bottom) Hunting Gloves by Elizabeth Green Mussleman

(Top) Gordon Tartan scarf, (Bottom) Hunting Gloves by Elizabeth Green Mussleman

(Left) Follow Your Arrow 2 beginnings by Ysolda Teague, (Right) Into The Whirled fiber

(Left) Follow Your Arrow 2 beginnings by Ysolda Teague, (Right) Into The Whirled fiber

Interweave Yarn Fest:

(Left) Shana and I, (Right) Me and Marly Bird

(Left) Shana and I, (Right) Me and Marly Bird

(Top) Jonathan from MJ Yarns and I, (Bottom) UDesignItYarns samples

(Top) Jonathan from MJ Yarns and I, (Bottom) UDesignItYarns samples

Greenwood Fiberworks, Bijou Basin, Aoelian shawl yarn, Canon Hand Dyes Micro skeins, Wooly Wonka Fiber

Greenwood Fiberworks, Bijou Basin, Aoelian shawl yarn, Canon Hand Dyes Micro skeins, Wooly Wonka Fiber

Contests:

  • The Share the Love contest is still going on, post your entry in the Ravelry thread here.
  • The Great Outdoors Knitalong will be starting Memorial Day weekend and ending Labor Day weekend. To enter:
    • Knit a project while enjoying the Great Outdoors
    • Knit a project you will be using in the Great Outdoors
    • Knit a project that reminds you of the Great Outdoors
    • Post your pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #GreatOutdoorsKAL2015 or in the Ravelry thread here
  • Prizes for the Great Outdoors KAL will be announced in the next episode
The Great Outdoors KAL starts Memorial Day weekend!

The Great Outdoors KAL starts Memorial Day weekend!

Photography:

March of Dimes March for Babies in Greeley, CO

March of Dimes March for Babies in Greeley, CO

  • I photographed the March of Dimes March for Babies in Greeley, CO for the second year in a row. I used my Nikon D5200 and the 18-200mm lens. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode on the lowest aperture possible for individual photos, then raise it to higher apertures for larger groups of people.
  • I did a photo shoot for a friend in Estes Park, and unfortunately my lens broke during the session. I’m hoping Nikon customer service will pull through for me to repair it. I had a backup 50mm 1.8 lens (the lens I always recommend adding first to a lens collection) to get me through the session.
  • I discuss backgrounds in your fiber photography. Guidelines to good backgrounds:
    • Clean, quite a bit of room to move around, uncluttered
    • Contrast color to the object you are photographing
  • When doing product photography or blog photography, consider having a special item to always use as a background.
    • White posterboard (avoid bright colors that create color casts)
    • Flooring samples from the hardware store
    • TheBackDropShop.com has inexpensive vinyl backgrounds that work well for product photography
Can you tell if this is the real hardwood floor or a background from TheBackDropShop.com ?

Can you tell if this is the real hardwood floor or a background from TheBackDropShop.com ?