Knit: Chilli Red Hot!

Chilli Red Hot

Chilli Red Hot!
Pattern | Cloche Divine by Meghan Jones
Yarn | Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted in Amoroso
Needles | 5 mm circulars

After a few incidents of misplacing my beret or either spending quite some time searching for it, I decided to knit up another hat. I fell in love with the overall look of a cloche – don’t ask why – and decided that I’d brave the waters and try something different. Winter must have left an impact because I chose the brightest yarn I have in my stash – a nice chilli red – for this hat. At least it will add some colour to my wardrobe! Tehehehe.

I made the brim wider by about one to one and a half inches, and knitted the entire hat (after the brim) in the round. It is quite a fast knit; it took me about two to three days to finish the hat (I knit only when the kids nap or at night). While the overall result is fine and I do like how it looks, I think I need something sturdier with the same shape and a slightly wider brim. I reckon a plain stitched cloche that is felted would do just fine. It is just a matter of finding the right colour and yarn for it.

Guess it’s time to dig into my stash…or add to it! Kekekeke.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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Stash enhancements 2013: Part I

Fiber stashing 2013: Part I

(Pictures above are taken from the store.)

It looks like I’m well into my stash enhancements for the year and it’s just January!

The recent shipping increase for international purchases from the US have put a damper on my stashing. It will now cost USD11 for a a 4 oz braid of fiber instead of USD5-6. Increments are still relatively low so it’s the first braid that will be hefty…unless I’m buying more – at least two braids instead of just one like before. I’m planning to reserve my purchases from the US for special colorways and fiber blends from my favourite sellers. I am also scouting for fiber sellers based in Europe to save on the shipping – so far, I have a few and am “trialling” one of them out (top & bottom left). Can’t wait to receive the braids and spin them up!

In the meantime, I’ve also started stashing up on Wollmeise yarns again but this time, I’m aiming for just semisolids instead of variegated colourways. It appears to be less hectic stocking up on WM yarns since the updates are very regular now – twice a week. My last purchase saw me getting three skeins of the 80/20 blend in Aquarius (turquoise blue), Pistache (green) and Himbeere (raspberry red/pink) and the We’re Different standard semisolid set in the 100% wool blend. As you can see in the picture below, they sent over a pastel pink shade (I think it’s Babe) and a soft brown (Feldmaus). I reckon the pastel pink will make for a nice flowery lace shawl so that’s definitely earmarked for prototype knits.

Yarn stashing 2013: Part 1

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Knit: Twisty!

Twisty!

Twisty!
Pattern | Twisted Tweed Socks by Schrodinger
Yarn | JulieSpins Merino 370 in Seurat
Needles | 2.75 mm circulars

My first FO for 2013! This is definitely a good start considering that I used to stall a lot on my knitting projects especially with my socks.

I am still on the quest to find the right fit for myself but it looks like I’ve got the hubby’s size down to pat. This pair was made about four stitches short of his first sock so that gives me some room for modification of a pattern – I have to cast on anywhere from 76 to 80 stitches to get the right fit. I ditched the other heel I had been working on in the previous sock – heel flap – and stuck to a short-row heel instead. I do love the look of a heel flap so I reckon I’ll be attempting that for my next sock – for myself. It’s too risky to attempt anything new for gift socks. Instead, gift socks would be made up of a simple and forgiving stitch pattern plus short-row heels which have more stretch to it.

The pattern I picked is suitable for variegated yarn as it breaks up the colour patches and minimises the probability of pooling. Despite the designer’s comment about it not being stretchy, this sock IS definitely stretchy – just ignore the initial “baggy”ness in the foot as you’re working on it. I opted for a regular toe which looks better on the hubby but if you’re knitting this for yourself, a round toe shape will be more flattering.

All in all, I’m pleased with this. My next project is one of my own designs but I plan to work on a pair of socks for myself – am determined to find the right fit! Tehehehe.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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Knit: Noah’s Placket Sweater

Noah modelling his new sweater!

Noah’s Placket Sweater
Pattern | Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn | fonty Soft Tweed in Rouille
Needles | 4.5 mm circulars

This was a quick knit despite me putting it on hold in favour of some design work. After finishing the Melange shawl, I decided to pick this up again, seeing that I finished the body and just had the sleeves & yoke left. It took me about two to three days of full on knitting to complete the entire project. In that aspect, knitting for kids is awesome because you don’t take forever to finish a sweater or pullover!

I have been gravitating towards seamless designs so finishing this was a joy! I made an error with the underarms for one of the sleeves and failed to put aside 8 stitches resulting in me having to decrease 8 stitches from the sleeve and figure out a way to cover up underarm when the entire sweater was finished. Still, it isn’t all that bad.

The tweed texture and colour wasn’t very appealing when I first received the yarn but now as a finished object and on him, I must say that it suits him quite well. I used KAM snaps (the same ones that you find on cloth diapers) in place of buttons as I find that they function better and are easier to place (lazy me!). In terms of sizing, I picked the 1-2 year old size to knit up and it still has some room around the chest and arms so I reckon he can still use this next season – hopefully it will still leave some room in his jacket.

The question now is this: what do I do with the remaining two skeins of yarn? Hm.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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Knit: Melange Shawl

KNIT: Melange Shawl

Melange Shawl
Pattern | My own design
Yarn | 100purewool.com Merino Lace in Lace Blue and overdyed in turquoise
Needles | 3.75mm and 6mm circulars

My first “proper” design!

The last time I worked on designing was in 2008/2009 and it was just putting together stuff I found from a stitch dictionary and hoping that it would work out fine. I would do my designs admist watching a movie, surfing the net and looking at things like discount swisher sweets cigars (for fun). But this time, designing this shawl was a wonderful journey – I focused only on this, I didn’t just stuff from stitch dictionaries but I also modified it and at least I knew what I was doing in terms of making sure the shawl increased properly in size and so forth. It is currently being tested by a group of wonderful ladies and it appears that they are moving quite fast. With any luck, the pattern should be released after the Christmas and New Year holidays which is just great!

I’m still undecided about making this a free pattern but I also don’t want to price it too high. I reckon I’ll have some time to truly decide on that bit. In the meantime, I have put aside designing (I did started work on a lace-cable pair of socks but will most probably churn out another shawl soon) to finish up a sweater for Noah since I just have the sleeves and neckline to finish up. Can’t wait to finish it! Tehehehe.

KNIT: Melange Shawl - Edging

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Prototype knitting

WIP:  Mélange

I won’t say too much because it’s very much a work in progress as you can see but I am excited about this one.

It has been a while since I last designed anything as I have pretty much stalled on that front. But somehow, somewhere, I caught the bug and I had been thinking about it for a long time. So long that I bought stitch dictionaries a while back and never dug them out until two nights ago. It took me one night of planning and looking for the right stitches and then another night of charting and then another afternoon of plugging everything into an Excel book. I seriously have a lot of respect for pattern writers and designers, especially those who even include row-by-row stitch counts.

I hope I won’t take weeks to finish this – my goal would be to finish this within this month so that I can get it tested – another first for me as well – and then publish this. Wish me luck!

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Knit: Teal Leaves

FO: Teal Socks

Teal Leaves
Pattern | Leaf on the Wind by Purrlescent
Yarn | Phildar Lambswool in Turquoise
Needles | 2.75 mm, 2.5 mm & 2.25 mm DPNs

When I finished my previous sock project, I decided to find the perfect fit for my socks and embarked immediately on another sock project. I chose a solid colour yarn and a lace pattern that wasn’t all that complicated…or so I thought.

The gauge called for was different from what I knitted and I had to rip back at least thrice to find the right fit. In the end, I should have just gone with my gut instinct and selected the size based on feet measurements (M) given rather than gauge plus total stitch count (L). Still it makes for a good lesson in gauge. I realized that 2.75 mm needles gave me a gauge closer to that in the pattern but the fit wasn’t good and ended up being on the big side (not good if you want your socks to last). So I had to go back to my initial chosen size.

Then I discovered an error. Although the pattern is done toe up, it utilized a round toe which I am not familiar with so I ended up having to rip back when I realized that my toe shape was radically different from the one pictured in the pattern. After that, it was smooth sailing for a while…until I reached the heel and gusset. I found myself ripping back again after completing the heel because I couldn’t get it over my feet. Switching to 2.75 mm at just the heel flap made it easier but for future projects, I’d switch at the gusset itself instead of later. The heel construction in this pattern is different which resulted in a denser but also tighter fabric.

Once I was done, I switched back to the 2.5 mm and ignored the note (in the pattern) asking knitters to move one size up because of the biasing in the pattern. At this stage, I know that 2.5 mm is just nice for my shin and if I switch one size up, it’ll never hold. I was right. By the time I finished the cuffs and tried on the socks, I was convinced that not moving a needle size up and sticking to my usual cuff style knitting which is a 1×1 rib in 2.25 mm.

The finished pair is currently still blocking to help “expand” it so that it’ll fit over the heel without too much pulling and yanking. Sock knitting has given me a buzz and I am looking forward to working getting a good fit for the hubby as well as sock gifting as knitting socks for other people is something else altogether – at least that’s what I think! Trouble is that I need time…in between all my knitting projects, reviews on things like scrubs uniforms and the kids, ai…

UPDATE: After blocking, it’s still too tight so on hindsight, I should have done the gusset and heel flap in 2.75mm needles. I had to struggle to get both of them on! Too much work! So these will probably be gifted to someone.

Ravelry Project Page Ravelry info available here.

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WIP: Teal Socks

Teal Socks

The picture above is actually old – I’ve already finished one sock and am working on the cuff for the other one. In the midst of all the craziness caring for two kids, preparing for the trip to Paris last week and housechores like cooking plus other things like exercising and sewing – I have hexagon pieces to work on – I forgot to update this blog and as such, it has been hibernating for quite a while. Longer than I would like as most of my family get their updates from Facebook, Skype (calling me) and this blog. O’well…better late than never I guess.

Unlike my previous sock project, this one is another attempt at finding the right combination of needles with sock sections to get that perfect fit. I’ll explain more when I do finish both socks but can I say that I have caught the sock bug? All I can think of is just knitting socks and more socks. The good thing about this is that it’s just in time for winter and I get to destash but the bad thing is that other projects like my cardigan and the kid’s winter outfits plus sewing for the house and the kids are all put on hold. Eeps.

Suddenly part of me wishes I had a clone! Now wouldn’t that make life all the more easier? Tehehehe.

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