Saturday, September 5, 2015

Stitching Saturday: New needles and a shawl

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So many knitting needles

I just got SO MANY knitting needles off eBay, it's ridiculous. For me, part of the charm of crafting is collecting my materials and staring at them, so I couldn't resist carefully sorting them by size and length, and taping them neatly together.

It's mostly metal (aluminum) needles, with a few pairs of plastic, one pair of wood or bamboo, and a few circulars. Oh and there's 2 red crochet hooks on the left end. I love to teach people how to knit, so I hardly ever have straight needles, because I am always giving them away to the people I teach. This substantial score should give me plenty to teach with in the upcoming months.


I started a shawl as a gift for Christmas - I thought if I start early it would give me time to burn out, put it away, and have a few mess-ups. :)

The pattern is the Old Shale Shawl and is free on Ravelry. I'm using Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in Tidal, on size 8 needles. I like it so far, but I'm wondering if a flat, less tonal yarn would have worked better to show the lovely texture in the stitch pattern. We'll see. So far it's not too hard to follow, but you must pay close attention - it's not a mindless knit. I've made a few small mistakes, but nothing terribly noticeable, or that I couldn't fix by adding a stitch in the next row.

My first sweater is on a brief break - I finished the buttonhole rows and decided I hated the buttons, so I'm still deciding how I'll finish it. The sweater is pretty, but not at all flattering on me, so I'm wondering if I should try fixing it or just gift it to someone with smaller hips. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Stitching Saturday: Sweater progress

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Cardigan progress

I can't believe I am almost finished! Knitting a sweater was one of those things I was putting off until I felt like a more established knitter. I never really felt more established, so I just went for it, and I was surprised how easily it progressed. I'm following along with the My First Sweater class on Craftsy, and I highly recommend it, if you are a visual learner, like me. Sometimes, just being able to see someone do something is what I need to make a new skill stick. The sweater pattern is free on the Lion Brand site and is the Cardigan Collared Variation.

I just finished the collar - my favorite part of the sweater, and am knitting the right front buttonhole band. I didn't think I would like the eyelet detail, but now that I see it all together, I like the subtle texture it creates. I knit a small - what I usually wear in shirts and sweaters, and it is roomy and fits just right. The only issue I see is that the sleeve cuffs fit super-snug, while the rest of the arm is a more relaxed fit. I also knitted a longer cuff on the sweater and sleeve edges - it just looks nicer to me that way.

The yarn I chose I am "meh" about - Red Heart Soft. I didn't choose wool because I didn't want to worry about blocking just yet. It also just doesn't get cold enough in South Texas for wool. :) The Red Heart Soft is soft, and washable, and not the least bit scratchy. But I didn't buy all 5 skeins I'd need to finish all at once - I had 2 in my stash, gifted by a friend, then bought a skein here and there. They all had different weights (some bulkier, some more worsted-weight), some felt softer, some more stiff. At least the color was consistent.

Here are some earlier progress pics before I hit a wall and took a break:

Sweater progress

Really enjoying this process so far!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stitching Saturday: Knitting some baby hats

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yarn binge

First of all, I went on a yarn binge earlier this week - I found a local yarn store I hadn't visited in ages (since before I moved to New York, actually). The store had moved to a cute old two-story house, and was full of beautiful wools. I didn't NEED any yarn, but since when does that stop me? So I snapped up the lovely yarns above.

Last minute father and baby hat

I put one of those yarns to use quickly enough on some last-minute gifts for a dad and baby. I thought it would be cute to give them matching winter hats (yes, I am aware it's August) because the dad will be spending his first winter in South Korea, and it would be sweet to have baby wearing a hat to match. I used up the whole skein of Berroco Vintage, and added a couple of thin blue stripes and a blue pompom in a wool from my stash.

baby hats

In the process, I also finished up these two baby hats that had been sitting in my stash box. I'm so glad I finally got better at making pompoms! This winter, I'm gonna stick a pompom on everything. I mean it. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Ostrich Plume Stitch

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Ostrich Plume stitch

Today I deviate slightly from my method to show you a little something I made with the Ostrich Plume stitch. It really messes with my mojo to deviate from my typical gray background with two swatches, but, I'll deal. :)

I used size 6 needles and a teal cotton yarn from my stash - you can find the pattern on Ravelry.

For some reason, I found this block VERY tricky to execute - there were only 4 rows to this pattern, but I guess they weren't predictable enough for me to memorize. The pattern is so lovely, but I kept messing it up and unraveling it.

This knit was that magical combination of tricky and boring - I had to focus completely, or I'd mess it up - but there was just enough repetition to be crashingly dull. I got about 60% finished, then I made a mistake, and could not for the life of me fix it. Also, it looked like I'd run out of yarn before I finished, so I grumpily scrapped it. At least I have this photo to remember it by, so it wasn't a total fail. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Diamond Honeycomb

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Diamond Honeycomb stitch - blocked

I'm a fan of nice textured stitches and this one was fairly simple to do. My wool swatch (right) on size 6 needles curled a great deal. Blocking helped (those are the blocked swatches above) but the wool swatch still looks pretty curled, doesn't it?

Left: Using size 8 needles, I cast on 17 stitches in Teal acrylic thread from my stash
Right: Using size 6 needles I cast on 17 stitches in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Currant
Pattern found here:

I'm fairly certain I messed something up in my "knit under loose strands" step on the teal swatch - see that long, loose looking portion on the left? I'd re-do that. Does anyone know any clear instructions on how to knit under loose strands? All I found were pictures that weren't super-helpful!

Here's a peek at the back (unblocked):
Diamond Honeycomb stitch - wrong side

And here's the swatches before blocking:
Diamond Honeycomb stitch - unblocked

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My first sweater, part deux

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I first started on a sweater quest about a year ago - but I was super-picky and indecisive about which pattern to go with. I started with a fabulous rainbow yarn, but I ended up combining so many different patterns that I just confused myself, and the half-knitted sweater is sitting sadly in my closet.

Enter, my first sweater, part deux...

I dug up some Red Heart Soft yarn from my stash (from a lovely batch I still have thanks to my crochet friend Linda - thank you again!) I still have the My First Sweater class to follow along on Craftsy, and I chose the Raglan Collared Cardigan pattern this time around. I'm knitting a size small which will hopefully fit - if not, I know a few skinny minnies who might get this for Christmas. :)

Stitching has gone fairly quickly - here is the back, all finished up:

Finished the back

I've also stitched through one half of the front, picture soon for that. So far I am loving the color: Really Red - and the yarn has a slightly chunky feel. I'm knitting on size 8 needles, which is also why it's going quickly.

Miss Korea was the drama on tap for this round of knitting, and my red sweater was a perfect (though unintentional) match to all the gorgeous reds that appear in the first 4 episodes.

I adore their use of color, and the beautiful way they repeat that red over and over again in this crowded nightclub scene:

The girl who plays Oh Ji-young, an elevator girl who decides to go for Miss Korea, is absolutely gorgeous. I adored the cuteness of her stewardess-like elevator uniform, and I also adored how tough she was..

And, of course, she is heartbreaking when she cries...

I loved the scene where she rescues her two co-workers from a party with her sleazy bosses, and replaces them with naked mannequins from their department store.. priceless.

There was something about the magical red of her lipstick, I found myself super-distracted by its prettiness every time it was on screen - it was like it was its own character... :)

There are other wonderful moments throughout this drama, like the mini romance of two side characters, which ultimately hinges on who is willing to cook for who:

Overall, it was a good watch, but much more male-centric than any drama I've seen yet. It had a slightly gritty feel, with the mob elements, and although Miss Korea is kind of the main character, I repeatedly got the sense that the story mainly belonged to the male characters. It seems more like the rare kind of drama a male audience would enjoy, so I'm really happy there were such strong female characters.

Back to sweater knitting!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stitching Saturday: The new blanket, finished

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All the stray ends

In keeping with my usual mode of doing things, I finished my knitted chevron blanket in record time, and moved on so quickly that I didn't bother updating you here.

So I thought I'd walk you through the end of my project after the fact! :) Up above you see what all the ends looked like when I was finished knitting...

Before I wove in the ends...

This photo was slightly more picturesque, but you get the idea, TONS of ends to weave in. It wasn't so bad - I worked steadily at it for a full evening in front of the TV, and I was done.

So here's the finished blanket!


As you can see, the edges curl in a little. If I was feeling obsessive, I'd have blocked it. I decided to wait for my first wash, after which I'll block it, and see how much the size changes.

Overall, I was very happy with this free pattern and the colors I chose - I think the chevrons look tidier than some patterns I have seen, and once I memorized the pattern, it was a breeze to stitch. I will say, however, that if you make a mistake, it seems next to impossible to go back and fix it. So, I'd suggest good concentration and precision for this one.

My finished size was 20 in wide, 42 in long. I knit this using size 8 circular needles and remnants of Love This Yarn from my Log Cabin project.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Flight of the Bumblebee

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Flight Of The Bumblebee stitch

Even if for no other reason, I'd have to try this stitch for the name alone. :) Watching the video tutorial was absolutely necessary for me, as I had no clue (even after looking at pictures) how to knit one long. Once I watched the video it was fairly simple!

It lays relatively flat, and the back has a nice fluffy texture as well:

Flight Of The Bumblebee stitch, wrong side

Left: Using size 10 needles and Vanna's Choice yarn in Mustard, I cast on 15 stitches
Right: Using size 6 needles and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Oyster Heather, I cast on 19 stitches

Stitch found here: "

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stitching Saturday: New blanket time

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New blanket
So I guess it's just not possible for me to NOT have a blanket in my ready knitting rotation. It's so comforting to lay a half-knit blanket on your lap and feel purposeful while watching way too much Hulu. :)

Up above is my newest blanket - from a free pattern by Espace Tricot here. I've been wanting to do another chevron blanket, ever since my chevron baby blanket last year. This was just a bit harder, but not at all a problem after all the weekly knit stitches I've been practicing. I am winging it with the colors and stripes - I dug through my remnants from the Log cabin blanket and chose some nice bright shades I liked together, and stuck with the first 5 I knitted up.

I  spent most of my Memorial day holiday knitting this up while it rained cats and dogs outside:

Progress as of lunch break...

More progress

Yup, that was all done in one day.  I do wish I'd knitted this a bit wider, but it'll be a nice throw to have on hand, not too heavy or too large.

Here's the progress I made this week, while watching a fair amount of Hulu as it continues to rain here...

blanket progress

And what am I watching while I knit, you may ask? Oh, I know you didn't ask, but whatever, I'll tell you anyway.

Oh my God, Korean Drama. It took me awhile to get into it - I watched my first Kdrama about 3 years ago after Netflix suggested it to me - Boys Over Flowers - and I was amused, but still pretty "meh" about it. I tried another drama after that, also suggested by Netflix - My Princess, and I was just annoyed by it.

Fast-forward 3 years later when in a bored moment I take another Netflix suggestion- Fated To Love You:

That show is like crack, I tell you. Go ahead and judge me. I judge me. It is predictable, silly, weird, but somehow still moving and emotional. The thing about Kdrama is that for all that you're laughing at it and mocking it, there come these odd moments when you realize you're in love with it, and then there's no going back.

After that, I moved onto Coffee Prince, and I was permanently hooked. Coffee Prince is still my favorite in terms of music and a sense of "reality" that you don't quite get in the other shows (but that's not necessarily a bad thing). Mostly I am fascinated with the language, the culture, and comparing and contrasting the ideals in these shows, and what I've experienced in American (and Mexican-American) culture. I am always a sucker for language and culture.

It's also bizarre to me that every person I expose these shows to also gets permanently hooked. South Korea, what are you putting in your shows? We can't stop watching them!

Then, I watched the Korean film Sunny, and was in love with all the characters and wacky events. It helped of course that there was the 80's music I grew up on, and bad perms, girl gangs, and sweatshirts. But I have to say I was taken aback at how incredibly badass these tiny girls are. I thought my own Mexican-American peeps cornered the market on girl gang badass-ery. But no. It appears we have to share. The bizarrely hilarious fight scene with the girls and the riot police is my favorite action sequence, ever.

So, for now, I'm knitting my way through all the Korean shows I find. Anyone else out there discovered/ been hooked on Kdrama? :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Knit Stitch a Week: Checkerboard Mesh

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Checkerboard Mesh
This creates a really lovely, fascinating open texture - the swatch on the left doesn't look like much because I only did 1 repeat - do at least 2 to see it in its full glory.

Here's a peek at the back:
Checkerboard Mesh, wrong side

Left: Using size 10 needles and Vanna's Choice yarn, I cast on 14 stitches
Right: Using size 6 needles and Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Almond, I cast on 24 stitches

Pattern found here: