Skein Enable Podcast

I know I’ve been super lax about posting here.  I will try to be better.  But if you find that you can’t do without me in between posts, you can now listen to me!

I’ve talked in the past about the Skein After Skein podcast hosted by my friends Eve and Michele.  They had basically stopped recording after Eve had her twins last year.  Understandably, with two babies and a full time job, podcasting was something that fell away for Eve.  I really missed listening to the two of the them, but also kind of had the podcast bug.  I have been listening to a ridiculous amount of podcasts at work recently.  So Michele and I decided to start up a new podcast.

And it is now available!  You can find us at www.skeinenable.com.  We are also on iTunes, so you can subscribe to us there.  I can find it on my phone, but when I look on my computer, I can’t find it.  You can search for Skein Enable and we will come up.  We have one episode up right now, but a second one should come out any time now.

We basically just talk about knitting, crafting and a bunch of other topics.  Come and join us!  I always feel obligated to say that we are not always family friendly, so this might not be the best thing for playing in the car with your kids.

We also have a Ravelry group: Skein Enable Podcast.

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Holla Knits!

You guys know how I love a good Knit-A-Long, right?  I’ve been keeping myself busy with the KAL going on in the Holla Knits group on Ravelry.  I own one issue of this online magazine and have bought a few individual patterns.  The group is doing a KAL that lasts three months.  If you finish any of the Holla Knits pattern, you will be gifted another Holla Knits pattern or a pattern by one of their contributors!  The only thing better than knitting is getting free stuff for knitting.

The first project that I finished was the Bombshell shorts.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Bombshell by Katie Canavan

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Superwash DK in Med. Grey Heather, 4.7 skeins

Needles: US3

Start Date: Feb 2, 2015

Finish Date: Feb 22, 2015

Mods: None.  In hindsight I would have tried to figure out how to do short rows for the backside.  To get the shorts up over my butt, I had to make them kind of high in the front.  They are total Ed Grimley shorts, at least in the front.

(Panty liiinnneees!)

I didn’t put on belt loops because I don’t think I’ll ever wear them with a belt or even with a shirt tucked in.

The pictures are taken at the top of Runyon Canyon.  I felt comfortable enough wearing them as hiking shorts, but I need to work on confidence to wear them out as dress shorts.  You know, dress shorts.

My new obligatory crazy pose:

And here’s my second project for the KAL:

My Rav page here.

Pattern: New Girl by Allyson Dykhuizen

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Dove Heather and Sprinkle Heather, 5 skeins MC, 2 skeins CC

Needles: US4 and US5

Start Date: March 1, 2015

Finish Date: March 23, 2015

Love it!  After I knit the waistband, I folded it over and knit the live stitches with the cast on stitches, almost all the way around, just leaving a gap to put the elastic in.  This is so I didn’t have to sew it all down later.  I knit the rest of it according to the pattern.

This was a lot of knitting!  There were a lot of stitches in each round and it was mostly mindless stockinette.  Well, where the pockets are you have to knit back and forth so not as pleasurable as just knitting in the round endlessly.  I love how the Daisy stitch sections look.  My hands weren’t totally pleased with that stitch, but it was worth it.  There were a lot of K3tog,yo, k3tog in the same three stitches.  The pockets are about 4″ deep.  Deep enough to hold a phone, but don’t know if they would make the skirt droop down.  Pockets!

When I first tried it on, with just a loose t-shirt, it looked pretty silly.  I felt like a costume skirt.  But after blocking and trying it on with a different top, my mind was totally changed!  I love it!  I don’t think the blocking really did it, I assume it was changing out of the pajama shirt that made the difference.  Well it might be less poufy after blocking.

I had to snug up the elastic quite a bit.  There were elastic waistbands in both of these projects.  I started with elastic about the size of my waist.  And then I kept tightening it up by an inch (safety pinned together), and then another inch, etc. until it was about four inches less than my waist.

Crazy picture!:

And the icing on the cake?  I got to pick two patterns.  I “won” the Inspired Sweater by Boadicea Binnerts and the Kitefish Shawlette by Leah Coccari-Swift.  Those were both patterns that I have loved since they came out a long time ago, so now maybe I will actually make them!

I could potentially do one more project for the KAL, but I am probably done.  I do have the pattern for the Stoney Brook Top…  But I’m currently working on a different fingering weight yarn, so unlikely.

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FO: No Glove(s) No Love

Finally, finally, got some pictures!  I started these gloves at the tail end of my holiday break.  And finished them pretty quickly but they’ve been sitting around waiting for their star turn.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: No Glove(s) No Love by Claire Sandow from Holla Knits Accessories 2013

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce, less than half a skein

Needles: 2.75mm DPNs

Start Date: December 31, 2014

Finish Date: January 7, 2015

No mods to the pattern.  In hindsight I would have added a few extra rows onto the palm side.  My heart is pretty stretched across my hand, and maybe it would look a little more defined if the glove was a tiny bit bigger.  Or maybe my cast-on edge should have been a little tighter.   These gloves had such a fun construction.  The edge of the heart is actually the cast-on edge!  Then there is shaping done with short rows to define the heart.  The palm is knit across horizontally, then stitches are picked up for the individual fingers.

I have always dreaded gloves.  Ever since making one pair of fingerless gloves (with partial finger holes) I thought I would only make mittens or mitts.  But it actually wasn’t bad!  There are so few stitches on each finger, they really go quickly.  You just have to use your yarn ends to tidy up all the gaps and holes at the base of the fingers.

These cute little heart moto gloves make me want to jump on a Vespa and hit the town!

And right now there is a KAL going on in the Holla Knits group!  For every Holla Knits project that you finish you get a free Holla Knits pattern or pattern from a participating designer.  It’s just like me to adjust my knitting life around just to save $6…  And you have until May to complete things.  I am currently working on a pair of Bombshell shorts.  Yep, cabled hot pants.  It’s just like me to make something that I will never wear…

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FO: Jacques Cousteau hat

Just a quick one to let you know I’m still alive.

I let myself off the hook on holiday knitting this year.  I just made a few things.

For my uncle, I knit him a simple ribbed hat.  I never got good photos of it, I just have these late night pictures of me trying it on after finishing:

Pattern: Jacques Cousteau Hat by Lalla Pohjanpalo

Yarn: Regia Tweed 6-ply in Grey, 1.3 skeins.

Needles:US 4

Start Date: December 14, 2014

Finish Date: December 17, 2014

I used the modifications on this project.  I like how this makes the top decreasing spiral a little cleaner.

Not super exciting, but a good choice for a typical man.  I would think about making another one out of my leftover yarn.

In sad news, my usual photographer at work went completely AWOL.  I am not happy about this for a number of reasons, but also, WHO IS GOING TO TAKE ALL MY PHOTOS NOW!?!?  I have to start training another co-worker to take them, I suppose.  This only kind of explains my lack of good pictures lately.  I’m working on it, don’t give up on me.

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FO: Christmas Jumper

Happy New Year to everyone!  Um, about a month late.

I had a wonderful holiday season.  I went home to Camas, Washington (near Portland, OR) for over a week and enjoyed my two weeks off from work!  I had some knitting goals set for myself while I was at home.  I kind of succeeded.  Fortunately I didn’t really plan on knitting any gifts.  I did have the dream of finishing up my Christmas sweater before Christmas.

And it got finished!

(wow, I thought this picture was in focus until I put it in this blog…)

Pattern: The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Indigo Heather (5 skeins) and White (about 1/2 skein)

Needles: US 3

Start Date: November 14, 2014

Finish Date:  December 26, 2014

Okay, so I didn’t finish it for Christmas.  I made a valiant effort.  I stayed up until 2am a couple nights and it still didn’t happen.

I didn’t make many modifications to the sweater.  I did the front first and I cast on provisionally at the waistline and worked upwards.  I did two extra decreases for the shoulders because I wanted the puff to land at my shoulder and not hanging off them.  After finishing with the front, I picked up my live stitches at the bottom and did the ribbing down.  I wanted to be able to check the length.  I ended up making the ribbing about an inch deeper than in the pattern.  This still ended up being fairly short on me.  At least, ending closer to my hips than below them.

Working stranded colorwork flat is a bit of a pain, but you get used to it.  And it always goes pretty fast when you can see your progress on a chart.  (Must. get. to. end. of. repeat.)  I did the sleeves next and they went quickly considering the fingering weight yarn.  I went with the squared shoulders like in the original pattern.  I didn’t put in any shoulder pads.  I like the slight puff to the shoulders.

Here’s where I went off book.  My Mom has a knitting machine and I have never used it.  She doesn’t use it that much herself, as she is much more into handknitting.  I decided that since I was going to be at home and I didn’t feel like knitting a plain stockinette backed sweater in fingering weight yarn that I was going to machine knit the back.  This seemed like a marvelous idea.  I just had to get the ribbing done by December 22 when I got home.  What I didn’t anticipate was the learning curve.

Here’s the machine:

I think it’s a Brother, but I didn’t take note.

We did a gauge swatch just kind of guessing on tension.  After we decided it looked good, we had to hook up my ribbing to the machine.  Then you just zip along knitting row after row in minutes.  One problem I had was that it was difficult to measure the height of the piece while it was on the machine.  It was extremely stretched out on the machine, especially since I was using thin yarn.  I tried to just go by number of rows but the row gauge didn’t match my front piece.  And if something wasn’t aligned perfectly, a bunch of stitches could pop off the hooks and boy do they run when the piece is stretched and weighted!

I didn’t take any pictures of any of the disasters that I had.  Mostly because I was trying not to freak out and cry while they were happening.  A lot of laddering back up and getting all those stitches onto the little latch hooks used by the machine.  I learned how to do decreases and short rows on the machine.  There are seed stitch plackets at the back neck.  I tried to do these on the machine but got fatigued of manipulating the stitches while I went.  I ended up just knitting them in stockinette and afterwards dropping down and changing them to seed stitch later once the back was finished.

The knitting was probably done on Christmas, but then it took another day or so to do all the sewing up and finishing work.  And finally, my Christmas Jumper was done!

It was apparently hard to take flattering, in-focus pictures in any of our Christmas settings. We went snow-shoeing on Mount Hood a few days later and you better believe I was kicking myself for not bringing my sweater for the snowy photo opportunity!

Ultimately I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I love vintage styles but then I sometimes feel uncomfortable in them.  I felt a little like I was wearing an 80’s child’s sweater.  I just need to embrace it.  I wore it out for New Year’s Eve with a little pleated mini skirt and tights.  And now I think it will be put away until next holiday season!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I am still working on getting rid of the last couple pounds that I gained!

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FO: Maribelle

Something’s finished!

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Mirabelle by Corrina Ferguson

Yarn: KnitWhits Freia Handpaints Ombre Lace, less than one skein.

Needles: US 6, 4.00mm

Start Date: October 27, 2014

Finish Date: November 15, 2014

The colors are really much more vibrant in real life.  The green color is very jewel-toned.  I have to figure out what color to photograph this with to make it really pop.

The pattern is very adjustable.  You just keep knitting as long as you want and then start the applied edging.  I wanted to use up as much yarn as I could.  I weighed it religiously.  I deduced that it would take about 10 grams of yarn for my edging, so I kept knitting until I got close to that.  The main problem is that I wanted to end at the same row in the pattern repeat as in the pattern.  I ended up with 12 grams of yarn left.  It would have been nice to have gotten closer, but it still ended up a pretty good size.  And now I am realizing that I should have measured how big the shawl is for you.  I have specific yarn usage counts on my Ravelry page.  The resulting shawl is asymmetrical but generally a triangle shape.

Now when I look at these pictures all I can see is one weird wonky stitch.  I don’t know what happened.  Maybe I can move the yarn around in the stitches so that it isn’t as obvious.

The stitch pattern has cables in it and I like how it creates a contrast between the lacy parts and the thicker cabled sections.  It also has a cool directional pattern to it.

It was a nice little project!  The yarn was great (if a little expensive… :)).  I am loving gradients right now.

I am now alternating working pieces of my Christmas sweater and knitting smaller projects.  I have finished the front and one sleeve of The Perfect Christmas Jumper:

I am mostly done with a Knotted Pine hat.  I am a fairly monogamous knitter but there are so many projects I want to start!  I will make myself do a second sleeve of my sweater before I get to start another small project.  I am planning on just doing the ribbing on the back piece and then using my Mom’s knitting machine for the rest of the back piece when I go home.  Fingers crossed I can finish that much of the sweater before I go home!

No knitted gifts for me this year, I think!  Are you furiously knitting gifts for all your friends?

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FO: Lyra shawl

I’ve been holding on to this one for a while.  Last year I was the recipient of a random drawing prize from the Indie Design Gift-a-Long.  It was two skeins of Yarn Sisters Black Pearl yarn.  It is made of 50% pearl / 50% Tencel.  Yes, actual pearls!  Pearl dust (?) is bonded to the Tencel fibers.  It makes for a lustrous yarn with a slight crunchy feel while knitting.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Lyra by Herbert Niebling

Yarn: The Yarn Sisters Black Pearl, laceweight in Crystal White, a little less than one “skein”.

Needles: 2.75mm and 3.25mm

Start Date: April 19, 2014

Finish Date: July 10, 2014

I had been wanting to knit a Niebling pattern for a long time.  I love the look of these lace pieces, even if they are a little doily-like.  The initial plan was to knit this as a wedding veil.  Now I am just calling it a shawl.  Maybe eventually it will have another use.

There are several different shapes in the pattern: a pentagon, a circle or an octagon.  Well, technically the pattern doesn’t say how to make the octagon, but it is pictured on the pattern available from LACIS.  Mine is the circle.  I thought about doing the octagon, but thought I was going to run out of yarn.  And then I had a ton of yarn left over!

I mostly followed the pattern, but another Raveller (who used to translate Niebling patterns for the LACIS museum) posted a modified chart that avoids some of the binding that can happen at parts of the shawl.  The new chart adds extra stitches so the pattern isn’t stretched as much when blocked out into a circle.

I also added some beads on to the edge.  They are TOHO size 6/0 seed beads in Colonial grey/blue.  The edging is made with a crochet hook, so I added a bead onto the single crochet stitch that connects the chain to the live stitches and onto the 6th chain of the loop.

Partway through the bind-off I ran out of beads.  And then no suppliers carried the same color!  I got kind of frantic but then eventually found some at a random store online.  It felt so urgent at the time, but then I just put it away for five months anyway!

I want to get some more pictures but that will have to wait for another time.  I haven’t measured it, but it probably has a diameter of 5 feet.  Now I have to decide what to make with the other half of the yarn!

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