Monday, May 16, 2016

Campside Cardi

I did it! My first official grown-up sweater. And I LOVE IT! This cardigan is from the same designer that created the Campside Shawl, which I finished this past fall. I loved that shawl, and wore it all winter! So of course, I had to give the Campside Cardigan a try.

The pattern is all charted, so this isn't a pattern for knitters who can't read a chart. (Although it's definitely a skill worth learning.) I found the pattern pretty straightforward and easy to follow. I made sure to review other knitters pattern notes, and many said that the arms were too tight. So I picked of 4 extra stitches under each arm to try to fix it. It helped a little, but I will add some more raglan increases next time I make this pattern. This was also a really quick pattern to knit up. In fact, I think the shawl took me longer than the cardi. I finished this up in about a week, which means it's perfect for a last minute gift. I'll be giving these as gifts like crazy.

I decided to go with Malabrigo Rios again, this time in Ivy, because it worked so perfectly for the shawl. And it worked perfectly here, too. In fact, it was my savior. Even though I made a gauge swatch, my finished cardi was a tad small. But thank heavens that this yarn grows like crazy when blocked. Just a little bit of blocking and it fit perfectly. And I love how it softens and has a subtle halo after blacking. It really is a delight to work with and wear. I'll be honest, I was secretly happy when we had a cold front come through, because it meant I didn't have to wait until the fall to wear this beauty. And I got so many compliments on it. My pharmacist complimented it, my neighbor petted it, and a knitter at the store was try to secretly deconstruct it, until I noticed and told her where to find the pattern.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

HOTN -Briochealicious

Remember that New Year's Resolutions lists - well, check, check, and check! I am feeling like one seriously accomplished knitter after knocking this baby off my list. I've been dying to learn two-color brioche since I saw it for the first time last year. It's just so pretty and squishy and I want to wrap myself up in it. And fortunately, with this shawl, I can do just that. This baby turned out huge, with barely any blocking.
This was the perfect pattern to learn brioche on. The sections of garter stitch gave my brain a break from the more challenging brioche sections. It was a really nice balance. I will say that two-color brioche is sloooooow knitting. It's the same idea as double-knitting, where there are actually 2 "stitches" for eery stitch, so it takes about twice as long as plain knitting. At first I didn't mind, but I was losing patience during that last section of brioche.
Gah! Would you look at those awesome colors in the Zarzamora!
I used Malabrigo sock in Zarzamora, and Knit Picks Capretta in Platinum. I had actually ordered the Capretta a few months ago for a different shawl, but when it arrived, it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. So into the stash it went. I was so happy when it worked out for this Briochelicious shawl. It's so soft and has just enough of a halo for this project. I wore it right away, and my son wouldn't stop petting me. I'm thinking I'll have to make him a sweater in the Capretta.
(left) "Right Side"   (Right) "Wrong" Side.

While the two-color brioche was a big goal knocked off my resolutions list, I have managed to fail completely at knitting from stash only. Whoops! But Love Knitting was having a huge sale, and any knitter that can say no to that must have superpowers. So, I splurged, and got 4 skeins of Madelintosh sock. Mmmmmm... drool. I love Madtosh. I grabbed 2 of Steam Age, 1 Turquoise, and 1 Astrid Gray. I have no idea what they're going to become, so they're getting stashed.
I'm weak. I know it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Noodles the Mouse

Remember Eli the Elephant, and how much I lamented amigarumi knitting? Yeeeeaaaa... I take it all back. I am so so so in love with this little guy. And I loved knitting him. It was quick, and easy, and not once did my hands feel like they were going to burn off.  As it turns out, it's not so much the Amigarumi that I hate - it's the double pointed needles. So I found this awesome pattern for a magic loop teddy, and gave that a whirl. I'm still on my quest to knit from stash, and I lucked out and found the perfect yarn for this little guy. It's Aslan Trends Artesanal, which is a tweedy cotton/alpaca blend. It's not the softest yarn ever, but it has a furry little halo that was perfect for a mouse. And it feels like it will hold up well over the years.

I needed this little guy to be a mouse, not a teddy, so I had to make some alterations to the pattern. I made his ears a little larger and more concave that the bear, used a pink nose instead of black, and added cute little whiskers and a pink tail. All in all, I think he resembles Noodles from the book pretty closely. And fortunately for me, newborn babes are not harsh critics. This is a first part of the set that is going to my new niece/nephew who is coming in just a couple weeks. I'm working on the blanket that goes with it, and then I'll be done with all of my baby knitting for this year.

This pattern has inspired me to give Amigarumi another go. Since my son got "Sharky McShark", I'm going to try and make a dolly for my daughter. Of course, I also still haven't made her baby blanket, and she's coming up on 3 years old. So yea, it's probably time she got some mama knitting love.