New Year, New Yarn, New Stitch

During the fall I fell in love with Jimmy Beans Wool‘s online store, where I’d gone to purchase lots of Cascade 220 Sport for the projects I wanted to make from 60 More Quick Knits (Sixth & Spring Books), which I’d received for my birthday over the summer.

While I was there, I signed up for their little sampler club called “Beanie Bags.” One of the samples I received was a a gorgeous vibrant blue yarn, Madelinetosh Vintage Tosh “Lapis.” It was to die for! The blue was exactly like the the stone. So pretty! The pictures here don’t do it justice.

I used my little Tosh sample to make a blue and white Chubby Chirp for the Christmas tree, but I needed just a smidge more yarn for the second wing to finish it. What better excuse than that to buy a whole skein, right? Knitters, I know you will understand. πŸ˜€

Sheep_ChubbyChirp

Of course, once I had the new 200-yd skein and finished the little bird, I had to find a project to use up the rest of it. I found a wonderful pattern called Simple Gifts in a Ravelry store . It’s a gorgeous Fisherman Stitch Scarf (it’s free, as of this writing, and as the title indicates, simple to make.)

As I read the directions, I realized this project would give me a chance to learn a new stitch, so I was very excited to get started. I love learning new things!

The pattern relies heavily on the Knit 1 Below stitch. This video here from New Stitch a Day demonstrates it perfectly (and the Simple Gifts pattern includes pictures to guide you, as well).

After I watched this video, away I went! And the results are looking great!.

Lapis Blue Fishinerman Stitch Scarf in Madeline Tosh Vintage yarn

It’s an easy pattern to work. You can do it while watching TV or other distraction -inducing activities, and it works up quickly.

As you can see, I’m down to a wee little ball* of my Madelinetosh yarn, so I’ll have a finished picture to post soon.

Happy Knitting! πŸ‘ πŸ‘ πŸ‘

 

*I cut the fringe for the scarf first so I could knit to the end of the ball without worrying if I’d have enough yarn left or when to stop the scarf.

 

 

 

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Printemps Shawl is Finished

In June I talked about my Printemps Shawl Progress. Now I’m happy to report the shawl is done!

Actually, it was done the first week of July, but I haven’t had a chance to update my blog until now.

Printemps Shawl draped over stand.

I wanted to have the shawl ready by early July so I could take it on a cruise we were going on for our family vacation. One of the time-savhing things I did was knit both pieces of the trim at the same time on a single needle (with two yarn balls). This also insured that my trims were the exact same length and I didn’t miscount any rows. Have you done this before?

Two pieces of knitted trim on a circular needle

Printemps Shawl Trim

I first starting doing the “two-at-a-time” technique while working on mittens you knit flat. No more single-mitten-syndrome! πŸ˜€

Two mittens in progress on one needle

The shawl came out great! The pattern is so pretty and I just love this Cascade Sunseeker yarn.

Close up of the Printemps Shawl pattern

Printemps Shawl

Although we cruised to a warm location–very warm at certain times of the day–the shawl was handy for when the AC on the ship was a little high or for walking along the promenade at night when the temps dipped down a bit, especially while out at sea.

I highly recommend the Printemps Shawl pattern for anyone looking to expand their knitting experience with a little lacework. The pattern was easy to memorize, the stitches were not complicated and the results are gorgeous!Β  πŸ‘Β  πŸ˜€

Printemps Shawl Progress

Back in May, I mentioned I was starting a new shawl project. I’m steadily working toward completion and excited to say that it’s almost done! πŸ˜€

Here is a quick snapshot of the work-in-progress:

Printtemps Shawl in progress on needles

The pattern is very easy to follow and memorize. Once I got through a couple pattern repeats, I didn’t need to look at the directions again.

I’ve spent many a beautiful morning out on the porch, just me, my needles and the ball of yarn. No paperwork, no notebooks.

I did bring a row counter, to keep track of my place in case I was interrupted or distracted by a bird, a cat, a bee–you never know who might visit when you’re outside, but otherwise, I traveled light and I loved it! πŸ˜€

The hardest part (if there is a hard part–it’s a pretty easy pattern to follow, as I said), was remembering to do the yarn overs, specially at the end of row 1 of the pattern repeat because the yarn over falls at the very end of the row repeat and it’s easy to overlook.

And yes, I did miss a few from time to time, but fortunately, you can easily remedy a missing yarn over on the return row. This video from Berroco Yarn shows you how:

A couple other tips I have for doing this pattern:

Β – Use stitch markers for the row repeats. The pattern consistently works with repeats of 10 stitches across each row, so with the markers you can quickly see if you’re missing one of those yarn overs or forgot to do the k2tog or whatever.

– Use stitch markers to mark off the edges. I did this so I would remember to do the edge stitches and not accidentally jump into the row repeat.

Here is another picture of the shawl in progress where you can see the texture of the pattern a little more closely. It’s so pretty.

Printtemps Shawl texture close up

Since May I’ve been trying to do a least one repeat of the pattern (which is 10 rows) every day. The pattern calls for 35 repeats, so I will complete it in a month. I only have a couple more repeats to go, then it’s on to the trim.

Thanks for reading. I’ll keep you posted. πŸ˜€

Learning New Techniques — Provisional Cast On

Provisional Cast On With a Crochet Hook

My crocheted provisional cast on

Up until this point in my knitting experience, I have never had to use a provisional cast on. I know what they are, but never had to do one. Until today.

I found a beautiful shawl pattern I want to make to go with a sleeveless dress I bought for an upcoming cruise. Although our destination will be warm, sea breezes can be a little chilly, so a shawl seemed like the perfect accessory.

I found a beautiful shawl pattern at Craftsy.com: the Printemps Shawl.Β (Pssst… as of this writing it’s FREE!)

The yarn arrived yesterday (Cascade Sunseeker–so pretty!) from Jimmy Beans Wool, and IΒ  can’t wait to get started.

So today, I’m learning something new! The pattern asks that you start off with a provisional cast on made with a crochet hook. I love crochet, so I was looking forward to learning how to do this.

And turns out, it’s pretty simple once you watch someone demonstrate it, like you have here in this video from KNITFreedom on YouTube. It’s just like crocheting around a chenille stem if you’ve ever done that.

You can also do a provisional cast on with just a knitting needle as shown in this video by kaleidoscope yarns on YouTube:

So, now I’m off to continue working on the rest of my shawl. Wish me luck! πŸ˜€ I’ll post pictures when it’s done. πŸ‘

Book Review: Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein

Knitting Block by  Block by Nicky Epstein Book Cover

Available at Amazon.com

Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein offers 150 different styles of blocks, divided into six categories: Basic, Applique, Colorwork, Special Techniques and Cables/Counterpanes. That’s a lot of blocks!

As soon as I saw this beautiful hardcover book, I couldn’t wait to read it and start on some projects. Each section shows a full or half-page color photo of the block, and indicates the page number for the instructions.

The first block I tried was from the Special Techniques chapter. I chose the Angel Blossom design because it looked so pretty and I’d never done bobbles before, so I wanted to learn something new.

Angel Blossom knitted block in progress on needle

Angel Blossom Block In Progress

The crystal clear instructions made it very easy to successfully knit my first bobbles perfectly!

Next I tested out a couple of the basic blocks from the first chapter, the Classic Diamond and the Classic Decrease, and then jumped ahead to the cables chapter for the Rolling Cables pattern.

All instructions are clear and easy to understand. Abbreviations are listed at the back of the book if you need a refresher on what a SK2P is, for example.

But the book is much more than just instructions for different blocks. The opening sections include a discussion on gauge and how to keep your block size consistent (the affects of needle and yarn weight, etc.), information on using blocks to construct different types of garments and accessories, and gorgeous full-page color photographs of 13 items you can fashion from the blocks right now!

The back section of the book includes those 13 project patterns, plus a thumbnail gallery of all the blocks to help you mix and match them for your own designs.

This I is a great book for inspiration, not only with block construction, but also for items you can make with a single block with just a little alteration.

For example, I noticed as I was knitting the Angel Blossom block that it was just as pretty when held sideways, so I didn’t stop at the block end. I kept going, created a rectangle, and when I joined the starting row to the last row, it became a lovely cowl.

I took the Rolling Cable block pattern, kept it to one repeat across the row instead of two and created a scarf from it.

Rolling Cable knitted block in progress on needle

Start of a Scarf Inspired by Rolling Cables Block

There are so many possibilities with the blocks and also beyond the blocks that you will get a lot of use out of this book.

My only complaint (and it’s a minor one, really), is that I would have liked to have seen more special technique type blocks and less applique. The applique blocks generally consist of a basic stockinette stitch block as the base with I-cord, flowers or other embellishments sewn on top.

For me personally, knitting stockinette stitch blocks are a little boring, but on the flip side, I can see that they are also very easy to finish. and the applique patterns here do give you some great ideas on how to jazz up a boring stockinette stitch block. I just wanted more Angel Blossom type blocks because I like to try new stitches but would rather avoid sewing. πŸ˜€

Overall, I think this is a great book for knitters of all skill levels. I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Nice variety of patterns, nice variety of skill techniques addressed, clear instructions and gorgeous color photographs. I can’t express enough now beautiful this book is to hold and look at.

It’s also a book I feel I will get good use out of, since I’ve only completed a fraction of the blocks included and there are many more that caught my eye.

❀ Knitting fans, you will not be disappointed! ❀

(FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)