YARN FUMES

Because we're all addicted to them, we just deny it.


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FO: ZickZack (A Scarf for the Brave)

Ok, I do feel the need to clarify. This scarf is not difficult from a technical aspect. In fact, it would be a wonderful first scarf for a new knitter as it consists of literally the same row repeated over and over. The tedium is what makes it difficult. This scarf is a slog, I won’t lie. The results, however, are very worth it.

ZickZack – By Christy Kamm

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(I know, it’s not a “Human Wearing It” picture. I’ll update with another one in the next day or two).

This scarf totaled approximately 900 yards when all was said and done. I finished up a full 4 balls of Lang Yarns Mille Colori Baby, 2 balls of each color.

Yarn review: The color changes on Colori are beautiful. They’re very gradual, same as in the case with Noro but the difference is this yarn is much softer and more comfortable to work with than the Noro competition. The drawbacks to that softness are, of course, that the scarf is much more likely to felt and pill as time goes on. I’d strongly suggest you block once a year at the most if you want your finished product to last. Obviously then, Colori would probably not make a good sweater choice. It is the perfect choice for this pattern, though.

Pattern review: The pattern was very clearly written and easy to memorize. I made my scarf much thinner – 6 repeats per row vs 9. I also adjusted my needle size to 3. This baby grew on blocking, ending at just over 7 feet long (vs 5.5 feet pre-block). I adore long scarves though, so for me, this was just a plus. However, it should be noted that I’m 5’8 and wear high heels on a semi-regular basis. You may want to plan accordingly.

I completed this project over the following period:

  • A trip to and from Colorado (starting from Eastern Kansas)
  • 10 episodes of Arrow
  • 10 episodes of The Flash
  • A 200 page e-book (probably superhero related considering the above trend, yes I’m 5, please don’t judge me, at least not much)

It’s possible this list says way too much about my nerdy preferences, but the point has been made. Patience, patience, patience! I promise, it’s worth it.


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Whittling the Queue with WIPs

More specifically, by COMPLETING WIPs…

I love starting new projects. You can play with new colors, new yarns, new stitch patterns. You imagine how wonderful it will be when the days get cold and you can bundle up in lovely wraps, sweaters and hats. But then, you get bored. After hours of the same slog – have you noticed that some of the loveliest patterns are the most boring? – you want a change. This leads to a lot of WIPs. How many are on your needles right now? Let’s be honest.

My breakdown is as follows: (I think)

6 sweaters (3 are about 80% done, 2 about 15%, 1 about 0.05% – just cast on)

1 tank (40%)

1 shawl (40%)

2 pairs of fingerless gloves (60%)

3 pairs of socks (80% for 2, and 50% for 1)

So, 13. That’s actually a lot better than it could have been. It’s still pretty bad, though.

(And it’s an unlucky number. When 13 projects are stored in the same basket, the first one grabbed will be the first to die, or dye, or something like that, I’ll have to ask Professor Trelawney.)

I have sworn to finish a few more projects before starting anything new – minus that new sweater I just cast on, which between us, I never should have started at this point. In the interests of not losing interest (did that make sense?), I’m going to show you a few of the projects in the works. These held high priority in my queue at one point. Maybe they’ll make yours this week?

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#33 Worldly – by Verona Design Team

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I’m making this sweater for my father as his Christmas 2014 present. Yes, I know.

In my defense, it is knit on size 2 needles and was completed up to the armholes early last year but then he tried it on and found it too small. I suggested he could lose weight. He didn’t like that suggestion. So I ripped it all out. Let me say that I again in case anyone missed it. I ripped. it. ALL. OUT. When there was about 1 inch left of it that hadn’t been wound into the world’s largest yarn ball, he looked at it, asked what I was doing and then said, “But I could have lost weight!”

Can you really blame me now? Honestly? Wouldn’t you have to experience a temporary sweater separation after that debacle?

It’s about a foot long now. We’re getting there. I’m hoping for an FO by the end of the year. If nothing else, I’ve made the world’s largest gauge swatch. If it doesn’t fit this time, there will be no strike 3. The heart can only take so much.

Please do not let my horror story distract you though, it really is a wonderful sweater, and when this baby is done, it’s gonna be epic. EPIC!

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Sand Pullover – by Ela Torrente

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I am almost finished with this one. You’ll likely see an FO post for it at the beginning of next month. This sweater has so many positive qualities. It’s longer in the back than the front due to some added short rows. It’s top down (yay!). The stitch pattern is easy to memorize but not too boring. The broken ribbing makes the sweater stretchy and very warm. Limited lace details add a lot of appeal without a lot of effort.

In addition, this is the first sweater that I’ve knit using Dream in Color Classy. I’m sold on this yarn. It’s nice and soft after washing, but doesn’t seem to pill as badly as some. I’m not so sold on the color I chose – that’s the curse of online shopping – but an over-dye shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

It should be noted that when making a top down sweater, periodic blocking is key. I may have made mine tunic length by accident… we will see once it’s completely dry. I like it anyway.

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And let’s not forget the weekly recipe, either.

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

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In the interest of keeping up with the WIPs theme, it should be noted that this recipe is already in progress. Mixing is completed and all it needs at this point is to be baked. It’s going in a regular loaf pan because I’m not convinced at this point that I won’t destroy it if I go the bundt route – the bundt and I have not been friends, lately. I’m also probably not going to add the icing because, while I love icing, my jeans don’t.

But if one of you decides to go whole hog and actually follow directions – what a novel idea! – please let me know how yours turned out, as I’m quite curious.🙂

Till next week! May we have fewer WIPs tomorrow than we do today!

 


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FO: Heather Hoodie Vest

This pattern was a definite winner! I’d planned on having pictures of myself taken, but unfortunately am having a difficult time not being the person behind the camera – do you have that problem? Not being happy with the way a picture is posed when someone else is the photographer? I’ll work on that. In the meantime, my mother volunteered to be in the spotlight in my place. She wants to make her own version of this vest, now.🙂

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Some adjustments made to the pattern:

  • I added about 1.5 inches to the body length. As a result, I had to add 7 buttons vs 5 in order to create increases evenly across the front. All in all, I’m not at all sorry that I did this.Don’t be afraid to add the button holes a little bit higher on the neck if you need to.
  • The hood is huge. You may have heard about this already. I made 1 fewer increase and 1 fewer decrease and stopped the hood about 2 inches short of the required overall length. It’s still a good size, but I no longer feel like I’m emulating “The Arrow” while I wear it (of course, it’s also not green either, but you get my point).
  • The buttons are on the wrong side. That would be an “Oops, I screwed up but I don’t really much care” moment. I don’t think it really matters anyway, does it? Note for next time.

All in all, this has been a very addicting and very fun project. The pattern was very clear and the results were exactly what I’d hoped for. Some added notes:

  • Yarn was Cascade Eco+ in blue/green. I used approximately 1.5 balls for the size 38.
  • Needle size was 10, as specified in the pattern.
  • You want just a little bit of positive ease. I had about 2 inches. My mother is approximately the same size I am, so the picture should give you some idea of fit.
  • There is some errata for the pattern – you can find it on Ravelry, it’s a pretty simple fix on the cable set-up row.
  • The contrasting buttons are a lot of fun. I strongly suggest you go that route, you won’t be sorry you did!

And here’s the back, with the slightly large (but no longer huge) hood.

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I have a sneaky feeling my mother will end up wanting to steal this…


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Whittling the Queue – Wednesday

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m seeing signs that summer is coming to an end.

  • Whole Foods has ended their Friday burger sale – darn it all, I was getting addicted to low prices!
  • My sand volleyball league begins their fall season next week.
  • Notebooks are on sale for 17 cents at Walmart – Yay for school! – or not so much?
  • Those pumpkin spice cravings are beginning to hit.

Now personally, you may feel differently, I’m not in a rush for fall. The leaves are wonderful, the cooler temperatures are divine and frankly, it’s the season that we knitters get to display our wonderful creations front and center, but… it’s cold. And we won’t even mention all those 4 letter cuss words that start with S (like snow- ick). However, it’s inevitable. Winter follows fall and it’s going to happen whether we like it or not, so we might as well prepare for the occasion. Here are some ideas for you that have been in my queue for a while.

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April – by Isabell Kraemer

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Alright, so clearly the name indicates that this was meant as a piece to transition INTO summer and not AWAY from it. That’s all right, it’ll work just as well for fall with those cooler evening temperatures. This sweater is top-down (the best kind! – am I alone here?) and just entertaining enough to keep your attention without wanting to strangle yourself with your spare yarn. It’s dressy enough for work but casual enough for home, it’s warm without being bulky and it won’t take up much room in your purse while you’re working on it. That is, if you happen to keep knitting in your purse, I’m not saying you do, but if you’re that kind of person, I mean I used to keep a calculator and a copy of The Lord of the Rings in mine… ok shutting up now…

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Mayfield Mitts – Erica Heusser

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So, normally I wouldn’t promote a type of accessory that I’m selling designs for myself (wait for it, fingerless gloves are coming), but let’s be honest. I won’t be creating something as colorwork awesome as this for at least a little while. This has some serious style, my friends! Wouldn’t these mitts be perfect in some lovely orange/red/yellow/leafy colors? Or even better, in a crisp, wintery pine shade? – Yes, I said the W word, I apologize, won’t happen again anytime soon.

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So I mentioned pumpkin earlier. There was a reason for that! Foreshadowing, see? I wanted to get you all prepared for this beauty.🙂

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

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I am gaining weight just looking at this thing. This recipe was pinned from pinterest last year and it has been waiting impatiently for 9 months. It’s been stalking my dreams. I’m seeing it in my waking hours. This must be created – preferably by someone who is not me, because I have limited self control and a short-list of people to split this with. Do you hear my subtle encouragement? I’m happy to be your enabler! You can find this recipe, along with a bunch of wonderful others, at the blog Lauren’s Latest.

Oooor, if you want to be more bad but not really bad, bad? I have option #2.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

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Presenting: Your low-carb option! These are definitely on the “to make” list. There will be no regrets. This recipe is from the blog All Day I Dream About Food. Now I won’t lie, low carb does taste a bit different from your high sugar, high fat, high guilt variety food, but it’s still really good. And you won’t get that bloated feeling after overeating that none of us really enjoy. While I haven’t always had perfect luck with Carolyn’s recipes – some of my baked cakes have turned into broken blobs – her flavors are spot on! I’m definitely giving this a go this week. The cobbler may have to wait until our next monthly potluck at work so I don’t devour it in it’s entirety.🙂

I hope you all try at least one of these in the next few days!

BTW, the knitting queue is down to 141. We’re getting there…

 


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Modge-Podge Monday

So, I’m covering all sorts of topics today. No rhyme or reason. It’s a Monday morning after all, does anyone’s brain really fire on all cylinders before noon on the first day of the week?  (If you’re one of the lucky few with a strong Monday brain, please don’t tell me, I’d like to hold on to my delusions)

Now that you’ve been forwarned, do you want the good news, or the bad news?

The good news you say? Always a smart choice. Anyway… I have a lovely FO to show you all. It’s the Heather Hoodie Vest, which, while cute, also contains my name so obviously it’s been on the to do list for a while. The bad news – I have no picture yet. It’s one of the many negatives of being single… no one to take your picture whenever you request it. No worries though, I have recruited a coworker, and she will get right on it, just as soon as I compile the right outfit and put on make-up. Till then, you’ll have to use your imagination. These pictures should help. Imagine white buttons, too.

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YARN REVIEW – There are some serious positives and negatives inherent in Cascade ECO+ yarn.

Positives- It’s inexpensive, holds up like iron, is very warm and comes in lovely colors. Negatives – It itches to the point of the ridiculous and felts extremely easily – I found that one out the hard way.

All in all though, it’s a good workhorse yarn. You should add some to your stash! Just keep in mind that whatever you make with it should not lay directly against your skin.

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Mondays are a beautiful thing. They’re the beginning of something new, a chance to start fresh. If you’re ever going to begin a new workout, beauty regimen, job hunt, etc, Monday is the day to begin.

May I suggest you begin this week by drinking lemon-water?

I first began drinking it because it helps promote digestion, but there are all sorts of other benefits that I wasn’t aware of. Things like:

  • Weight loss
  • Clearer skin
  • Cancer fighting properties
  • Strengthened immune system

There are a bunch of articles promoting lemon water, but here are a few for you to check out. All you need is the juice of half a lemon and warm water. Of course, it’s best with purified water and organic lemons, but I think you’ll get some benefits regardless.

I might add, it tastes good as well. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be drinking it. Life is too short to eat bad food – or drink bad water as the case may be.

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We’re getting biometric screenings at work this week. That means shots. Why did I think this was a good idea?

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I’ll also hopefully have an FO for a new scarf in the next week. It’s possible that I spent a good portion of my Sunday binge watching Arrow on Netflix. I’m not admitting anything, you understand…

 


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Free Pattern Friday – Keep Your Kindle Cozy

Ok, so this Free Pattern Friday isn’t likely to become a “thing,” or anything. I’m simply not that fast of a designer. But… I do have a treat for you this week.

It’s sleek. It’s simple. It’s silky (sari silk). It’s… sideways?

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It’s green!

And tweedy, too! – as in the type of yarn, not, you know.. tweety-bird-clip-art-tweet5

The name of the pattern is KEEP YOUR KINDLE COZY. I’d highly suggest you do so!

Oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE?

Well, what are you waiting for, go already!

Happy Friday, all.


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Wednesdays are for Whittling the Queue

It goes without saying that most knitters have been bitten by the creativity bug. We spend a good chunk of our free time – and our extra cash – building up the yarn stash and then decreasing it through the making of some awesome stuff. Hats, sweaters, scarves, gloves, socks… Winter especially is our season, and our friends and loved ones are always engulfed in fun, creative, generally mismatched knitwear. But the creativity doesn’t necessarily end there.

How many of us are quilters, gardeners, interior designers? I’m a food scientist / chef in my downtime (more food scientist than chef if you want real honesty, but give me time). That means that in addition to the knitting queue, which is considerable, there’s also a cooking queue. In the interest of knocking down that queue, every Wednesday I’m going to add a recipe (or 2) and a pattern (or 2) that I think we should all try in the next week. Please, join me and let me know what you think! Be warned, my cooking tastes tend to veer toward the low-carb end and my knitting towards… actually, it doesn’t veer toward anything. That front will be a complete crapshoot.

All of that being said… let’s get on with it!

Chicken phở

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This recipe was created by Deb Perelman, author of the food blog Smitten Kitchen and the book of the same name. All of her recipes that I’ve tried before have been total winners (except for one, which admittedly was my own fault so I won’t include that). This one is full of amazing flavors – and healthy ones too – onions, chicken, ginger, fresh veggies? This is like chicken soup on steroids! And you can eat it with chopsticks, so right there, one more excuse to try it this week. Why have I not made this yet!?

One Pan English Breakfast {For Washing Up Dodgers}

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Admittedly, this would be the first recipe from her website that I’d have made, but the writer, Rose, from lifestyle blog, The Londoner, is very inspiring! Hold on to your wallets while perusing, as some of her outfits will want to make you go shopping, like, yesterday! As you can probably tell by the blog name, this recipe is very British, but you know, I just count that as another positive. This Kansas girl really needs to get some use out of that passport, but till then, there’s always travel through food.🙂

My knitting queue currently sits happy at 154. Something tells me it’s never really going to go below 100 either, as every time I delete 1 thing I add 2. Oh well, there are worse things, right? Here is a project that has been languishing in the queue that I’ve been dying to begin!

Xanadu Snowflake Cowl

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This pattern was created by the very talented Julie at knittedblissJC. She has many beautiful and popular designs, but this has been a favorite ever since she created it last year. If you need any encouragement to make this cowl (apart from the picture, which is lovely), consider this.

1 – This cowl is double-thick and stranded. That means this baby is going to be waaaaarm come Winter, and those of us who experience cold weather can all benefit from a cute, soft and extra warm neck cover.

2 – It’s festive. How many times have you wanted to reach for something wintery and unusual on the way to a Christmas party and found nothing in your closet? Or is that just me?

3 – This baby is made of cashmere (goat). That’s it, enough said. SOLD! I’ll probably make it out of some alpaca yarn I have stashed away though…

I hope these ideas have gotten your creativity stirring. So, what’s in your queue?

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