Sunday, March 19, 2017

Must Make Now!

You know how sometimes you see a project or pattern that you just have to make RIGHT NOW? This one was one of those for me. I saw Johanna's Lost in Time on Ravelry, and immediately started planning a trip to the yarn store to get the yarns for it. Like, leaving work early and getting to a yarn store a.s.a.p. Well, somewhat fortunately, I was too busy at work and wasn't able to do that, forcing me to think about it for at least a few hours before I rushed to buy more yarn.

I have a sizable stash. Like, there is yarn in every room of the house. Well maybe not the boys' rooms or the bathrooms. But every other room, for sure. A friend once commented that my house is so cozy because there is yarn everywhere. :) (Thank you Ruth! I agree! ) Anyway, I did not need to go and buy yarn for this! After all, it is the perfect left-over yarn project, with almost every row being made in a different color. So I searched high and low in the house for all the yarns that might work for this and piled them on a table, and started playing with color combinations. Like Johanna, I too wanted a vintage feel to the color scheme. These soft creams, browns, greens, and yellows to me achieved that:

I don't care for knitting with cotton much, so I didn't have hardly any cotton in my stash. Instead, these are various fingering weight wools and alpacas. Because my yarn is much thinner than the pattern, I'm using a 3.5 mm hook instead of the recommended 4 mm. But this being a triangular top-to-bottom shawl with a 14-row repeat that you can keep repeating as long as you have the size you want, gauge really doesn't matter much.

After each repeat I'm pausing to think through the color combo for the next repeat. So much fun!! I think I may need to make more than one of these...

Pattern: Lost in Time
Yarn: various fingering weight yarns, including Isager Hojlandsgarn, Elann Pure Fine Alpaca, Kauni, Tukuwool, and others.
Hook: 3.5 mm

A word of caution about the pattern: this is not a beginner project by any means. In addition to the pattern including some advanced stitch patterns, it is also a little challenging to follow, particularly with the color selections being on a separate web page, given in "code." But fear not--if you are patient and plan your colors in advance, you shall emerge victorious! :) Also, it is a free pattern, so I will take what is given. Had I paid money for it, my expectations would be that much higher.

Sunday, March 05, 2017


Last night I finally got to finishing my latest scarf (shawl? where's the line between a scarf and a shawl?) in the works.

The yarn is Caterpillargreen Yarns Merino twist fingering in color Weekend, classic striping. (Love it!!!) It looks like the company just changed their name from Caterpillargreen to Gauge Dye Works. They make their yarns in three different striping patterns: classic strips, accent skeins, and shawl stripes. The shawl stripes skeins are specifically dyed for triangular shawls so that the sizes of the stripes remain the same even though the rows get longer. Ingenious! However, for my plan the classic stripes worked better since I wasn't going to make a triangular shawl. (You should check out their website. It looks like the colors are smaller batches, so they tend to run out, but they also have gorgeous shawl kits that you can pre-order to make sure you get the colorway you want.)

I'm not using a pattern, I just made up the short-row sections as I went along with a mental image of what I wanted the shawl to look like. I wanted a sea of undulating colors that grows sort of organically without too much symmetry. I was quite pleased when it worked out without too much ripping back.

I knew I wanted an edging with more of the YO-k2tog holes that I had used throughout the shawl to accentuate the sections. I had used this edge from Aestlight in two shawls already:

It's one of my favorite edgings, relatively simple and fast and works particularly well for shawls that utilize garter stitch. And it makes for a pretty, wavy edge. This time I wanted a few more holes, though.

I experimented with a couple of different size triangles for the edge, and also tried making the triangle in the reverse direction. The triangles can either be made by increasing one stitch on every other row and then casting off on the last row of the triangle, or by casting on at first, and then binding off one stitch at a time. It turns out the latter is slower, the cast on edge is sloppy, and the bind off edge is bumpy. So no good. The first option is faster to make and looks neater.

The idea is to increase one stitch on every other row to shape the triangle. If I wanted more holes, I needed to pair up each YO with a k2tog, except for one that would be the increasing YO. Depending on how you want it to look, you could place the extra YO (the increasing YO) at the beginning of the row or at the end. I decided to place it at the end, and then leave a two-stitch garter edge. Here's what my little triangles look like:

(Turns out that when you have a table made out of reclaimed barn wood, you can pin your knitting directly to the table. Handy!)

Lacy Triangle Edge pattern:

Set-up row A: With shawl stitches on the needle, cast on 3 stitches by backwards loop CO. Turn.
Set-up row B: k2, k2tog.

Row 1: s1wyib (slip 1 with yarn in back), YO, k2.
Row 2: k3, k2tog.
Row 3: s1wyib, k1, YO, k2.
Row 4: k4, k2tog.
Row 5: s1wyib, YO, k2tog, YO, k2.
Row 6: k5, k2tog.
Row 7: s1wyib, k1, YO, k2tog, YO, k2.
Row 8: k6, k2tog.
Row 9: s1wyib, (YO, k2tog) twice, YO, k2.
Row 10: k7, k2tog.
Row 11: s1wyib, k1, (YO, k2tog) twice, YO, k2.
Row 12: k8, k2tog.
Row 13: s1wyib, k to end.
Row 14: bind off 6, k1, k2tog. (To get a pointier tip, I knit the first bind-off stitch rather than slipping it)

Each triangle casts off 7 stitches of the shawl edge. You can easily make the triangle bigger or smaller by adding rows. Note that I had a row of YO-k2tog holes at the edge of the shawl before I added the triangle edging, so those holes are not part of the edge pattern.

What is your favorite shawl edge pattern?

Friday, February 24, 2017


Yes, I'm back once again! If you've been coming here for a while, you know that I’ve had many starts and stops in blogging, with long breaks in between. But no worries, I always come back! :) I've given it some thought, and decided I want to keep the blog alive for various reasons. 

First, and in general, I would like to see more craft blogs stay alive. As I've said before, I love Ravelry--it's the best place for quick updates, for storing and finding information, and for finding other knitters and fiber enthusiasts. But on Ravelry, I find myself feeling like I’m alone in a big crowd. I do belong to a number of groups, but even the groups are so big that unless you know someone, you are practically anonymous behind your username, and developing knitterly relationships seems difficult. I also love reading other people’s blogs—they are usually more personal than a project post on Ravelry, and they include more detailed thoughts on the projects. 

Second, I miss the conversation. A conversation about knitting, and sometimes crochet, or some other crafty pursuit. I occasionally post a comment on a blog I follow, but it feels a bit like a one-sided friendship. Kind of like sending fan mail to a rock star. :) Here, I hope to develop more of a knitting-group kind of conversation. My goal is to try and write posts that facilitate conversation, and to respond to comments in a timely manner. So please do comment, if nothing else, just to say hi! And if you're not comfortable commenting in English, feel free to challenge me in your own language. I do ok in Finnish, Swedish, German, and can say hello in Norwegian, Danish, Russian, and Bulgarian. Maybe even French, Spanish and Italian. I'm a little weaker on the African and Asian languages, though... Anyway, my point is, I'd love to hear from you and connect with you through the comments.

Allright, enough blogging philosophy, now to some knitting.

Earlier this year I caught a leftover-stash-busting bug. In fact, it started already before Christmas, and I made a few Christmas ornaments, but those didn't take up enough yarn. So I thought I'd try one a slipper pattern from my Ravelry queue. (My Ravelry queue is out of control... can anybody relate? I through stuff in there much faster than I can knit. Every now and then I clean some things out of there that I know I'll never make. But right now it's 402 patterns long!)

I started the first slippers with two fingering weight sock yarns (Trekking XXL and Malabrigo sock, I think) held together, as suggested. But the slippers were turning out much too narrow. So I started over with a few more stitches, and to accommodate my wide feet, added a couple more before the toe (the part where the sides join together). I crocheted the seam with a contrasting color and just loved the result! Plus I could make one slipper in one evening, so this was a super fast project to boot.

This is the inside of the toe. I like how neat the crocheted seam looks like from this side, too. I might use that in one pair..

On Ravelry: Garter Stitch Slippers
Pattern: Simple Garter Stitch Slippers by Hanna Leväniemi

They are comfy, warm, cute, fast to make, and use up leftover yarns. What's not to love?!? So I made more. Three more pairs, in fact. I don't have pictures of one of the pairs, but it's the same green combo as the green slippers, in a grown-up size.

On Ravelry: Garter Stitch Slippers 2
Pattern: Same as above; three yarns held together, fewer stitches, but still increased for the toe.

showing off our paws

On Ravelry: Garter Stitch Slippers 4
Pattern: Same as above, made in a kid size (cast on 25 stitches). Three yarns held together. The true color was hard to capture; it was something between the warm green in the yarn-ball picture and the cooler green in the middle. 

After four pairs, I ran out of steam. But I ended up using at least 2/3 of my sock yarn left-overs! Win!
What is your favorite leftover stash buster pattern?