geometric cowichan-styled vest

It's done! And I love it! Huge sigh of relief....because there was a lot of trepidation going into this year's Fringe and Friends Knitalong. Although I love the pattern that Karen had chosen for many reasons, I am basically a lazy knitter at heart. The thought of tackling a stranded project knitted flat while trapping every other float and written in the Japanese style in one size using super bulky yarn....well, it kind of left me dizzy. But every once in a while, you need a project that has the potential to kick your butt, so to speak. Knitting on the edge and all that.

I went into this project with an unusual-for-me amount of planning and preparation. Here are some of the mods that I found made the process more enjoyable to knit and the finished vest more wearable:

* I down-sized the pattern to fit my petite frame by shooting for a gauge of 3 sts per inch versus the 2.5 sts per inch called for in the pattern. My row gauge was also smaller in order to make the length shorter (13.5 sts per 4 inches vs. 12.5 sts). Also knitted the bottom ribbing a little shorter.

* I knitted the body in one piece to the underarms, which kept the amount of yarn ends to a minimum and made for less fussy finishing.

* Although I knitted all of the armhole edgings, collar and front bands at the same time as the body as called for in the pattern, I took advantage of my Addi clicks & switched out the size 13 needles (used for knitting the body) for size 11 needles (used for the edgings, collar and bands) as I went along. This worked like a charm to neaten everything up.

* Believe it or not, the easiest and most enjoyable part of this project was learning how to trap floats on right & wrong sides using just my right hand. Pretty proud of this:



The 2015 Fringe and Friends Knitalong is currently underway and the theme for this year is Cowichan-inspired knits. The chosen pattern is the Geometric Cowichan-styled Vest from the Japanese yarn and pattern company Pierrot. It looks to be a fun but daunting knit for many reasons, so a little pre-project planning was called for in order to make the process more enjoyable. Here's what I came up with so far:

=> Since the pattern is written in the Japanese-style, with the instructions mainly consisting of a page of schematics & several charts which outline the pattern stitch by stitch, a way to keep track of the charts is a must. Dusting off the magnetic chart-keeper that I had bought years ago and never used plus some highlighter tape.

=> The vest is knitted at a super-bulky gauge so I am using three strands of a worsted weight yarn held together. I decided to ball up the yarn ahead of time instead of pulling from three skeins while knitting. Boy, has this made a huge difference! Now the project is more portable and there are less skeins to manage at once (and less tangles).

=> Also trying my hand at catching floats every other stitch. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if the project was knitted in the round instead of flat. But since I am not very familiar with how to do this on the purl rows, I ended up making a cheat sheet of instructions after viewing these helpful series of videos by Andrea Rangel on Instagram. I had to adapt the instructions from two-handed stranded knitting to how I knit colorwork (both yarns carried in the right-hand).

Do you fun-proof your more complicated projects too? What kinds of things do you do? Oh, almost forgot the most important tip: take lots of tea/chocolate breaks :)


skyp socks

It was hard to stop myself from taking way too many pictures of these socks. Let me count all the reasons why they are making me so happy:

They only took a little over a month to finish (and not three years!)
The awesome yarn (knitpicks felici sport) was given to me by one of the sweet knitters from my knitting group.
Colorful stripes. 'Nuff said.
I love ribbed socks but they are dull as dishwater to knit. Luckily, I found this simple skyp sock pattern to be quite engaging and addictive. It says a lot about a sock pattern when the knitter wants to cast on for the second sock right after finishing the first.
I couldn't help but secretly chuckle at all the odd looks I was getting from strangers whenever I happened to be knitting on these in public, especially when I started mumbling slip-knit-yarnover-pass!

I was happy enough with how the first sock turned out except for two things: the cast-on was a little too tight and those darn gusset holes. After a bit of research on the internet, I was able to find easy fixes for both. On the second sock, I used the alternating long-tail/Old Norwegian cast-on that I learned from knitting the Hermaness Hat pattern. It is a nice looking and sturdy cast-on with more stretchiness than just a long-tail cast-on. As for those gusset holes, this little trick worked like a charm. Can you spot the one without the hole? Pretty nifty, huh?
Lastly and most importantly, these socks will hopefully offer warmth & comfort to someone in need of both.

If you are interested in knitting a pair of socks or have some hand knitted socks in need of a home, please visit Tracey's blog post for more info on how you can help. And thank you for indulging me on my newbie sock love :)


fall woolens

Can you believe that it's already the last day of September? This month has just flown by. There has been a lot of knitting on little projects here lately and today I have a couple of new fall woolens to share with you.

First up is Laurus, the fourth hat in the fringehatalong. It was a quick and simple knit with a cute little bit of colorwork thrown in. I decided to go with a brown/cream marled yarn for the main color combined with a kelly green contrasting yarn. I like the outdoorsy vibe of the finished hat.

Next is a pair of fingerless mitts that I modified from this cute mitten project that I saw on Ravelry. I love how the fake thrums look like little hearts. I used a super soft bulky roving yarn in the stash that had a lovely mix of autumn colors. These feel pretty great to wear and I can't wait for the chilly fall days ahead!

Do you have any fun fall projects in the works? I've been itching to get started on a new sweater but can't decide on a pattern. In the meantime, there are still plenty of small wips to keep me busy. Happy knitting and have a great rest of the week :)


morning mist

The name of this pattern fits it to a tee: quiet peaceful serene. Knitted in one of my favorite summer yarns, Hempathy, it was the perfect beach take along project. The only thing that caused just a tiny bit of angst was my decision to pass on the fun color block effect. Even now, I can't believe that I let a chance to play with colors slip by! Oh well, there's always the next one. I would totally knit this well-written pattern again.

Have you ever regretted a color choice for a project? What did you end up doing? Although the off-white color is ho-hum boring, it does show off that pretty lace pattern rather well.

I think that this simple top will get worn quite a bit during the warmer months.