Feelings of Accomplishment

Knit in a month, finished in two, I finally have pictures of my complete blanket.

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Have I mentioned lately how difficult it is to get good pictures of big projects? I’m still working on getting better pictures of this one. I’m beyond pleased with the results, though.

Thankfully, this frees up my time for the smaller projects that I’ve been craving.

DSC_0400I’ve been churning out small projects one after another recently as though my life depends on it. I love these mittens, and I can’t wait to knit another pair. Cable-y, smooshy, delightful socks are next. After that, another large project looms on the horizon, but hopefully I’ll be ready for it before the yarn arrives. Fall always feels like the best time of year to be a knitter to me, and this year hasn’t been a disappointment!

F.O: A Monstrous Witch

My blanket and I are still struggling through the finishing stages. I’m being indecisive, but I’m moderately confident that I will, eventually, finish it.

Elsewhere in the land of finished objects, I’ve ushered in Autumn with my needles in the shape of a little witch. The body is Angus the Attic Monster, the hat and treat bag are hand stitched without a pattern, and the dress and shoes are from the Little Cotton Rabbits girl pattern.

DSC_0163The dress has little fair isle cats on it, with duplicate stitch yellow eyes. I’m pretty proud of her. She was a heck of a lot of fun to knit, and she represents all of my favorite parts of fall. She’s kooky, cute, and a touch of spooky. But because when the rain comes all I want to do is knit, I have a second finished object to share as well!

DSC_0141Another squishy Wisp! This one is made from Debbie Bliss Party Angel, which has a truly lovely amount of sparkle to it. I used about a skein and a half, or around 300 yards, and a row of little metal buttons along one edge. I love this pattern, and I love this yarn.

Hopefully I’ll have some more finished objects to share soon! How’s your fall knitting coming along?

 

 

Visible Progress!

The squares on my Fireside Afghan are finally all knit, and I have some visible progress to show off!

DSC_0131I’ve begun to sew the blocks together! After investigating a variety of techniques, I finally settled on one that pleased me. I have about half of the rows sewn together. The question of how to finish this project is beginning to loom overhead, though. I think I’d like to back it, and I’ve purchased a warm grey fleece blanket for that specific purpose. But how do I want to do that? I’ve seen a variety of pretty blankets that were bound like a traditional quilt, and others that had the backing whip stitched on so that it’s not visible from the front. Others have lovely rolled hems. I’m not sure what I want to do, but right now I’m looking at a million tutorials and weighing my options.

DSC_0125Does anyone have advice about how to finish off blankets? Preferred techniques or horror stories? Any tips or hints are welcome!

 

F.O: Dot the Monster

We interrupt this blanket broadcast to bring you: A Finished Object!

I swear that I’m still working diligently on the Fireside Afghan. I’m plugging away at it, churning out roughly a block a day. Six more blocks and I’ll be ready to begin sewing up! But, in the meantime, I also managed to slip in a little monster. He’s to be sent away to a new home in a swap.

DSC_0048I’m pretty enamored with this little guy. He’s knit from RedHeart Impeccable, which I bought on a whim but have decided that I like. It was a little scratchy to work with at this gauge, though soft enough as a finished project. I think if it were worked at on 8’s as, say, a lovely little entrelac scarf, it would be perfectly acceptable for against the skin wear.

DSC_0043A lot of gradient yarns fall pray to the murky, less attractive patches as the colors shift. I found this one to be lovely through and through. This pattern is a perennial swap favorite of mine, too. It’s small enough to squish in an envelope or tight box, but big enough that I don’t feel as though I’m sending along a mini. It combines all of my favorite of the designer’s techniques, too.

DSC_0054And, for proof, a quick shot of my stack of blocks hanging out in the Hexipuff bowl. I’ve given myself the deadline of my birthday, a month and a half away, to finish the two projects. I know that I’m getting close on the blanket and that I’m not far off on the puff pillow, but I think we can all agree that seaming and finishing a project can sometimes feel more daunting than the actual knitting does.

Does anyone else get squeamish about finishing techniques?

WIP: Fireside Afghan

…And so the blanket saga continues. I feel pretty boring right now, as far as knitting goes. I’ve been churning out a block or two for my blanket per day, and I’ve just crossed the halfway point. I have 19.5 squares complete out of 36. It’s still charming me, and I’m not quite bored yet, but I’m quickly approaching the point where the only blocks that I have left to complete are the ones that I like the look of, but that I enjoy the actual knitting of less.

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Here are my stacks of blocks! By the end I should have three of each, and 18 of the lattice block. The Argyle and the Aran blocks are done, and I’m making progress on the rest. 

One important lesson that I’ve learned: Duplicate Stitch is significantly slower for me than fair isle is. The snowflake block is supposed to be done in Duplicate Stitch. I did the first one in fair isle, but on the second I decided to try out the novel concept of actually following the instructions as written. It took me three times as long. It is a little tidier, and I can see how I would use it sparingly in the future, but for a big motif like this one it was not worth the time it took!

A New Blanket Saga

Last year I took on a 12 in 12 challenge. The goal was to approach 12 types of projects that had previously intimidated me. I mostly succeeded. The brightest success that involved the most blood, sweat, and tears, though, was my 2012 blanket.

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It took me forever. I hated it. I occasionally wanted to burn it. I swear that I remember having these thoughts and feelings, but now, a year after completing that project, all I can think about is how much  I want a new blanket. I love the final results of my last one, and when it got chilly this week I pulled it out of the cupboard, spread it on my bed, and went out to buy some yarn.

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The new blanket it coming along well. It’s the Fireside blanket pattern by Nancy Bush, and I’m making good progress. I’m aiming for a 6X5 blanket, which makes 30 squares. As of yet, the WIP hate hasn’t set in yet. If I finish it in the next few months it’ll make an excellent birthday present to myself. Until then, I’m making the best out of my early momentum. I’ve blocked the first batch of squares, and despite my suspicion about blocking acrylic, it turned out well. I read a tutorial that said the secret was to pin it into place and then spray block it. The results were exactly what I was hoping!

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Do ever get scared about taking on big projects, or is it just me?

 

F.O: Little Cotton Rabbit (x3)

Dear blog,

When last we spoke, I fessed up to a mild infatuation with Julie Williams’ Little Cotton Rabbits. I said things like, “I just need to knit a few dresses to get it out of my system,” and “They’re teaching me new skills!” We’ve had this conversation before. This is the conversation where I admit to going over the deep end with some pattern that I just can’t put down. Embarrassingly enough, it’s happening again. I’ve become obsessed with these little rabbits and little dresses, and am in serious need of some bunny rehab. But really, who can blame me? They’re so completely precious!

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Obviously I need help. The white rabbit is my latest finished object, and I’ve named her Carroll. As ridiculous as this picture looks, I actually have to admit that since I took it this morning another dress has been added to the collection. It’s a sickness. All of the dresses come from the Seasonal Dresses pattern except for the pink feather and fan dress and the elephant dress. I figured the elephants from an outside chart, and added them to the basic dress pattern.

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I’m really pleased with how my white rabbit turned out. Just fuzzy enough, and just fluffy enough. She’s knit out of sport weight, though, so she’s the smallest of the bunch, but the dresses still fit her well enough.

I feel like admitting my problem is the first step to recovery, so hopefully when we speak next I’ll have moved on to something new.  No promises, though. These bunnies are pretty irresistible. I don’t recommend buying the pattern if you, like me, are susceptible to the charms of little embroidered smiles and tiny buttons. I’m sure I’ll kick this one eventually, but with my luck it’ll be the day before Julie publishes her next animal pattern, which is sure to be just as sweet as the first.

Wish me luck!

F.O: Little Cotton Rabbit

My second Little Cotton Rabbit has flown off my needles and into my finished projects basket!

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Her name is Agatha Rabbit, and she loves tea cups, good books, and solving murder mysteries. But really, who doesn’t? I used Tosh DK for her body in Hickory, and Tosh Light in Laurel for her dress. I really don’t know what it is about this pattern, but I find these bunnies to be enchanting. They have such personality! The dresses have been a lot of fun to work, as well, which is evidenced by the fact that Agatha now has a wardrobe of two.

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The third is on the way. I’m justifying my obsession by telling myself that these adorable little dresses are a crash course in color work. I can’t wait to finish some more to show off!

F.O: A new Obsession Takes Root

I have a confession.

For years now, YEARS, I have been flat out coveting the beautiful, entrancingly cute work of Julie Williams over at Little Cotton Rabbits. You can see some of her amazing creations here. I wanted them. Bad. I love toy knitting for reasons that I can’t really explain. Many conversations have been had about how we become the kinds of crafters that we are (sock knitters, sweater knitters, blanket makers, etc.) but I think it’s just down to what we find most soothing. Underneath the frustration, swearing, and fiddling that comes with sewing up little creations, I truly do find them relaxing to knit. I know that I already have more stuffed knit toys floating around my house than any grown woman can possibly explain. I know that I really don’t have anywhere to store another bag of fiber fill. But I love toy knitting, and I really felt the pull of Julie’s adorable bunnies.

Then, to the jubulation and celebration of toy knitters everywhere, she released her pattern.

And then she went and published a pattern set for 14 perfect little dresses.

I tried to resist the pull, but it just wasn’t in me. Instead I told myself, “oh, knit one and get it out of your system! You’ll get over the obsession quickly enough.” This sounded in my head like solid logic. In the space of about 24 hours, this little darling emerged:

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Meet Coral the Rabbit. She charms the pants off me. Yes, she’s a little wonky. Her ears are crooked, her mouth is uneven, and we had a serious miscalculation of gauge. My worsted weight yarn was too thick, and my fingering was too thin. As a result she has a massive head, monster arms, and her dress is a little shorter than a respectable young bunny lady probably ought to wear. But still. Those are polka dots on that dress, and I do colorwork so rarely that they’re a miracle in and of themselves. The shoes are darling as all get out, and, though you can’t see it, she has a perfect fluffy bunny tail. She’s going to be a babyshower gift, which I knew when I downloaded the pattern.

I also might have known that I was lying to myself when I said I would knit one and get it out of my system. You may be able to tell that because I surreptitiously snuck out to the yarn store almost as soon as I had cast on and purchased a lovely, plushy skein of suspiciously bunny colored yarn. You may also be able to tell by the notes that I made as I went along, about minor details I would change “in the future”. The biggest giveaway is probably this, though:

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Meet Agatha the Rabbit. She as a head, two arms, a body, and most of a shoe. I’m already planning her wardrobe. I start my new job in two weeks, so I have about that much time to get this pattern out of my system.

Do you ever get obsessed with patterns, or is it just me?

Adventures in Monster Knitting

I’ve knit more than a dozen monsters, but they still don’t always go quite right. Their expressions, the stuffing, limb position, it can all be subtly tricky. Some times they come out right, sometimes they come out wrong. And what’s more, what I think is right for my monsters might be totally wrong for someone else’s. So sometimes, things like this happen:

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Attack of the lumpy monsters!! This is a result of going too quickly while stuffing. I was in a rush and didn’t bother to place it correctly, or break it up into small tufts before putting it in. Once I saw the result, I couldn’t help but laugh. After taking everything out, breaking it down, and starting again, the result improved.

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This is what Rebecca Danger’s Gort the Gym Bag Monster is supposed to look like! It only took a try or two to get him right. I’m super proud of him, though! This is another one of the monsters from her Big Book of Monsters that I hadn’t tried yet, but I’m glad I did! He’s simple and sweet, and I love the stripes.

Does anyone else struggle to get the details right on toy knits?