Leaves Sweater

Well.... here it is... my crocheted Leaves Sweater.

It is not my favorite sweater that I have made but I think that it turned out okay. I could have picked a size smaller and gotten rid of some of the boxy look. But it could be worse.

This sweater was crocheted from the book Crochet Me. The design is by Annette Petavy. What I like about this sweater design is the construction. The waist shaping and set in sleeves are very uncommon in the crochet designs of previous decades. It makes the sweater fit much more like a knitted garment. The other nice thing about this design as well as the others in the book, is that the pattern calls for a larger hook size and a small yarn weight. This produces a lighter fabric and better drape. Crochet is usually so stiff!

This sweater has been heavily modified. If you will notice there are no leaves in this Leaves Sweater. The pattern calls for leaf like thingys hanging down from the hem. I liked them in the pictures but when I started crocheting them onto my sweater I decided that it looked entirely too "Peter Pan-ish" especially with this color green.

I also added 2-3 inches in length to the body and the sleeves, and didn't sew on any seed beads as the pattern called for.

Unfortunately this pattern really gave me trouble. It was riddled with errors. Hopefully there are corrections posted. Usually I am happy to post corrections to the patterns that I knit or, in this case crochet, but this had so many that I gave up trying to keep track. Also in my opinion the pattern was poorly written. Some parts were explained in perfect detail while other areas were vague. There are no stitch counts provided for you to check your work and that bothers me. I hate to complain so much because I know how difficult it is to write a pattern, but I feel that I should give fair warning to those who are interested in this design.

I am very comfortable with crochet so I was able to work out these issues. If you are experienced with crochet this is also a doable project for you. The design I think is very cute.

The other change that I made is on the sleeves. I mimicked the bottom border pattern so that it would match the sweater. I really like the edging pattern and I would use it again on a future crochet project. Whenever I get around to that.


Beginner Socks

I finished the sock samples I was knitting for my upcoming sock classes.
Fortunately my fabulous sister-in-law, Malaree has the same size feet as me and helped me out with sock modeling. You will find her blog here.
As I had previously mentioned, I used Artyarns Supermerino for these socks which is a lovely hand-painted worsted weight yarn. I used size 6 needles and knit each sock using a different sock knitting method while still sticking to the Knitting Pure and Simple Beginner Socks pattern. I've discovered that I love the magic loop method! My stitches were so much smoother and the knitting went a lot faster.

I am excited about my new socks because I think they will be the perfect "wear around the house" socks, and will keep my feet really warm when the weather gets cooler. I imagine that they would wear well with clogs too.

This pattern is great for those who want to quickly knock out a pair of socks for a gift. A pair just takes a few evenings worth of knitting to complete. This is also a fabulous pattern for someone who has never knit socks before. It is simple and so easy to follow.

I did make a few pattern modifications. Instead of doing a 1x1 ribbing at the top, I opted for the more attractive and stretchy 2x2 rib. The math worked out just fine. Also the pattern calls for a 7 inch leg. I was so worried about conserving yarn that I knit mine 5 inches and then ended up with lots of yarn left over....

Don't you just hate that?


Cascading Fuchsias Market Bag

The Cascading Fuchsias Market Bag is finally completely finished, and ready to be given away...

But that didn't stop me from pretending it was mine for a day.

The bag turned out very well, and I'm sure that the recipient will be pleased with it. It was a pretty fast project, and I would consider knitting it again. I used Cascade 220 for this project and size 11 needles for the bag body.

The flowers were fun to make and really set off the bag in my opinion.
Can you see the little sewn on seed beads?

As for the bag's interior, I hired a seamstress to line it according to the instructions on Nora Bellows website. She added two zippered pockets in contrasting colors as well as a snap closure. I think that the pockets and snap make it a more useable piece.

After the bag was lined, I sewed on the vines and flowers with a matching sewing thread.
I love how the vine wraps around the bag handle.

Thankyou to my lovely friend Audrey for her wonderful photography!


"Never Not Knitting" is not knitting....

....I'm crocheting....

Ava can't believe it either so she leans in for a closer look.

The truth of the matter is... I next to never crochet. I of course teach my crochet classes but besides that, there is no crochet happening in our home. The last crochet project I did was over a year ago now. The interesting thing about this is that I learned how to crochet even before I learned how to knit and for a long time that's all I did. Even AFTER I learned to knit. Surprising? I'm not sure why I turned into more of a knitter than crocheter...but it probably has to do with the fact that I have produced more crocheted acrylic atrocities than any 90 year old Grandma could dream up.

But this project will be different.....I hope.

Yes, I finally drug out my half finished Leaves Sweater that has not been touched since November of last year. If the thought of a crocheted sweater gives you scratchy acrylic nightmares, you are not alone, and don't worry this isn't that type of sweater. I am knitting it in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, which by the way is so soft!

It has been fun doing a bit of crochet again, but truthfully I am feeling nervous (queasy) about the end product. (I, of course, did carefully explain to the Leaves Sweater that I have no problem disposing of sweaters that make me look fat, quoting the Klaralund sweater as an example.) It is just too soon to tell whether this project will be a cute sweater or make me look like a dated, crochet-clad super freak. We will just have to wait and see....

I do think that the crocheted edging is pretty though...


Socks, Three Ways

I am introducing new sock classes for the month of May.

All 3 socks are knit using the basic Beginner Socks pattern by Knitting Pure and Simple,
just knit using 3 different methods.
All socks are knit with worsted weight yarn, making them fast to get through and easier to learn new techniques on.

The first sock is knit using double pointed needles. This is a great way to start out if you have never knit socks before. Since this pattern calls for DPN's, I will just help you through the pattern, exactly as shown. This will give you a great opportunity to learn how socks are constructed.

Double Pointed Needles Sock Class: $25 Saturday, May 3rd, 11-1

This second sock is knit using 2 24'' circular needles. This is a nice technique because many find it easier to knit than double pointed needles. You can also slip the stitches to the wire (as shown above) and try them on as you go. In the class you will learn how to knit with the two needles as well as how to convert sock patterns from double pointed to 2 circular knitting. If this technique suits you than you can move on to the 2 socks on 2 circulars class that I have available.

2 Circular Needles Sock Class: $25 Saturday, May 17th, 11-1
2 Socks on 2 Circulars Class: $35 Saturday, May 24th, 1-4

This third sock is knit using one 32" circular needle or "The Magic Loop" method. This is my new favorite way to knit socks! Once you learn how it is done, you will find it very refreshing to only have one needle to worry about! I also found that my stitches were more even using this technique opposed to the other socks. I recommend this class for those who have already tried one of the other sock knitting techniques, and feel comfortable with sock construction. In the class you will learn how to convert sock patterns from double pointed, or 2 circulars, to the magic loop.

Magic Loop Sock Class: $25 Saturday, May 24th, 11-1
All of these socks are knit with Artyarns Supermerino Worsted available at The Scarlet Skein. Any worsted weight yarn will work for these socks but I chose Artyarns because it is machine washable. It is also handpainted and pretty!
I charge $25 for a one session, 2 hour class. I recommend that you come in before the class so that we spend a few minutes together and get you started on the sock. That way you can knit the easy part of the sock (the leg) while you are at home, then spend your class time learning the heel which is the trickiest part. If you feel however that you need more class time to understand the sock knitting process you can come sit in on a future sock class or make an appt with me.
For two, 2 hour class sessions the fee is $40.
Please call The Scarlet Skein to reserve your class space.
Hope to see you there!
For current class times and more information visit the website.


Ribs and Ruffles

I've just finished knitting the Misty Chunky Ribs and Ruffles Scarf. This is one of the two projects that I am gifting this month. This is going to a women that I haven't yet met, so I was conservative with the style and color choice. A linen color goes with everything right?

It's a really cute pattern. It is interesting because the "ribs" are just made by slipping stitches. There is not one purl stitch in this entire scarf!

I love how the ruffle adds interest and a touch of femininity.

I used 2 complete skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky, and size 13 needles. If you have never used Misti Alpaca before, I would highly recommend it. It is so soft and luxurious.

I did make some modifications to this pattern... I wanted a more substantial scarf so I doubled the width. I cast on 120 instead of 60. When I was done with the ruffle, I increased one stitch in the first pattern row so that the rib pattern would work up correctly. On the first row of the ending ruffle decrease one stitch to make the two ruffles match.

I hope she likes it!


Speed Knitting

I came across this crazy knitting video on YouTube. Check it out by clicking here.


Cascading Fuchsias and Toddler Tangling

My Cascading Fuchsias Market Bag is finished! I felted the bag last night and I'm just waited for it to dry before having the lining put in. I am not a confident seamstress so a friend is doing it for me. I should get some finished project pictures up in a week or so depending on how long it takes her to put in the lining.
Here are a few pictures I took before the bag was felted.

The green floral fabric will be the main lining, and the two other fabrics will be used for contrasting pockets. I can't wait to see it when it is all done! I think it will be sooo cute!

By the way...A two year old+a ball of yarn+30 seconds unsupervised=


The Swallowtail Saga

Spring has officially sprung around here! I am so excited because I can finally wear my Swallowtail Shawl that has been hibernating in my drawer all winter long.

Yes, this is a last year's knit. (You didn't think I just whipped it up real quick did you?) The pattern is from the Interweave Knits Fall 2006 issue. This was my first "real" lace project. What I mean by that is that there is quite a difference between knitting a lace pattern on a scarf using a worsted weight yarn (fake lace knitting) and knitting with a lace weight yarn on small needles (real lace). Anyone who has done both types will most likely agree.

Knitting real lace is terrifying. The tiny thread-like yarn, the endless yarn overs and ssk's. And don't forget the teeny tiny chart with the teeny tiny squares filled with what looks like hieroglyphics. It was a bit intimidating. But nothing motivates me more than a challenge. I wasn't going to give up.

So I started knitting from that ridiculous chart, marking my place with 2 sticky notes, counting every stitch, and highlighting the rows when I completed them. I was concentrating so hard, and looking back and forth between the project and chart so many times, that my head was spinning and my eyesight blurred. I stopped after a few repeats wondering how people enjoy knitting lace.

Over the next week I trudged on, obsessed with this lace shawl. After a few days of getting used to the charts my eyes stopped bleeding, and it got more and more enjoyable. I was getting the hang of it. I got into a rhythm, the rows were flying by. I grew to love my project. About halfway into it I was feeling quite smug. I could knit "real lace". I started to wonder what all of the fuss about it was. It was EASY.

I was fantasizing about my daughter wearing my lace shawl on her wedding day, and then wrapping it up in tissue paper and handing it down to her daughter. Future generations were going to treasure it as a prized family heirloom and whisper among themselves, "Can you believe that this was made by our Great-Grandmother Alana? She was such an accomplished knitter."

Before long, I was on my final row. It had been a long time since I had made any errors, but I was still putting my lifelines in with scrap yarn in case I needed to rip back. Due to my extreme over confidence and knitting smugness I got a bit lazy with the lifelines at the end. By the time I had reached my final row, my last lifeline was about 20 rows down.

So pleased with myself about being almost finished, I got up off of the couch carefully setting down my shawl, to take a bragging break. After stretching and bragging to my husband a bit about being so awesome at knitting, I then skipped off to get a glass of water and quickly use the restroom.

I then plopped my "lace knittin' genious self" back down on the couch ready to finally finish my family heirloom lace masterpiece.

I'm sure you can see where this story is headed, to nowhere good. No matter how good of a knitter you think that you are, a lace project can always put you back in your place.

When I had picked up my project to work the FINAL row, ten stitches immediately slid off of the end of the needle and unraveled about 10 rows down. There are no words to describe the terror. After taking a bit of time to have a pity party for myself, I weighed my options. Should I rip it back 20 rows? At that point in the pattern each row was 200 stitches or so across. To take it back out and reknit was going to be ALOT of work. I decided to try to weave up the stitches back into place keeping with the lace pattern. I could do that, right? I worked painstakingly for about an hour chanting the whole time to myself, "Oh no, oh no, OH NO." This is where the moral of the story comes in.

I wasn't a lace knitting genious after all.

I couldn't do it. So I faked it. It doesn't look perfect but it looks just fine. Only the people that I point it out to can tell. What is it about us knitters that we feel that we need to point out the errors in our projects to everyone we meet?

Anyways, it was finally off of my needles. I then annoyed my husband by running around the house with it fluttering behind me and asking incessantly how much he liked it.

I then proudly blocked it. For everyone who has completed a lace shawl, you know that blocking is what brings out the true beauty. It spreads out the stitches and shows off the beautiful stitch patterns.

I love my shawl so much that I've been afraid to wear it. It has only come out of its pillowcase that it lives in only a few times. What is the point of knitting something if you don't use it?

This year will be different.


Knitting and Gifting in April...

Having two works in progress just wasn't enough for me and I was forced to cast on something new.

Last Friday or so I started the Cascading Fuchsias Market Bag by Nora Bellows.

Since I took this picture last Saturday I have finished knitting the bag body and one flower. I should be done and ready to felt in just a few days!

This project has been fun because I have gotten to switch back and forth between the mindless bag knitting and the intricate flower construction. It has been an enjoyable balance.

As I have mentioned before on the blog, I really enjoy making and giving hand knit gifts. I am making this bag for a family friend that I will be seeing at the end of this month. I will also be starting a scarf for a friend of hers that I will be meeting for the first time. I hope that they like their gifts. It can be so hard to pick out presents for others especially if you have never met them.

When The Scarlet Skein first started carrying this pattern in the shop I didn't think that much about it. It was cute but I didn't have a "have-to-cast-on-right-now" moment. A few weeks ago, however a customer came in with her finished bag and needless to say I immediately started picking out colors. Although attractive, the pictures on the pattern don't do it justice.

It is even cuter in real life.

Nora Bellows is an awesome bag designer anyways. All of her designs are great. Last year, before the blog, I made the Night Garden Evening Bag as a purse for Ava.
She loves it! It's the perfect size to hold her crayons, paper, sticker book, and pretend wallet. She carries it around everywhere.
What I especially like out of all of Nora's designs are the ingenious flowers. I really like the Camellia Flower pattern. Here I knit and felt the Camellia flowers and sewed them onto a felted diaper bag that I made. (Again, this is before the blog.)

I also did some non-felted versions here out of Cascade Fixation for some headbands I made for Ava.