Knitting Knecklace

See what I made?

Wanna make one, too? Here’s how I did it. (If you want to just buy one, I got the idea here. Mine are not as dainty and elegant as the ones in this Etsy shop. Drool city, I tell you!)

This necklace takes only one yard of laceweight yarn, two brass ring stitch markers and a necklace chain. You will need scissors, pliers and cutters (I used my leatherman), and two tapestry needles (or skinny DPNs or something).

First, I made a teeny, tiny skein with one yard of yarn. Wrapping it around four fingers (slightly spread apart) seemed to give me the right size. I used the needles to hold it while I twisted the loop into a skein.

And finished it off with this little manuever.

(That looks like the yarn is thread through the eye, but it isn’t. I just used the end of the needle to pull the one end of the skien through the other)

Next, I cut my chain in half. My chain was a little long, so I actually cut about an inch out of the middle.

Using the pliers, I then opened the brass ring and thread it through one end of the skien and one end of the chain. Then I bent it shut.

After repeating that last step on the other side, I put on my new necklace delightedly.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Yarn used was Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed in Elderberry; brass rings were from Knit Picks also, found here (mine were used and so no longer look brassy, but have faded into a more silvery look); necklace chain was found in my jewelry box (no link… haha!)

Wanderlust Baby Cardigan

Another test knit under my belt. Another baby thing made for my knitting buddy (who is about to pop!). Another great design from one of my favorite people on Ravelry.

She calls it Wanderlust. It is a cute little top down, round yoke, baby cardigan with lattice detail. (My Rav project page here)

Three things about this knit.

1. The pattern calls for Springtree Road Coquina DK. I bought a skien of it for this knit. I don’t usually do that. I like to use what I have on hand or substitute another yarn just for kicks. But, the designer requested (not required) that testers use this specific yarn and I figured it was a good excuse to try something new. Well, as yarns go, it was okay. I don’t really like one-ply merino. It is fuzzy, and thick, and pills too easily. If I am going to go that route I much prefer to use Malabrigo Worsted because it is cheap (half the price of the Coquina DK) and has an amazing selection of colors. As it was, I had a choice between five tonal colorways, none of them very inspiring. Also, it was supposed to be a DK, but it was more worsted feeling and I had to go down a needle size to get gauge.

2. The pattern itself is well written, easy to follow, and turns out lovely results. The lattice work has a lot of stitches in each row, making this 0-3 month sweater take a lot longer than I had anticipated. But it was worth it. I love the detailing on the sleeves, especially, because it makes the top part poof out just a little like princess sleeves.

3. Test knitting is so fun. I enjoy the interaction with the designer, the solicitation of my opinion, and the exclusivity of knitting something that very few people have even seen yet. It is very rewarding.

Now all I need is a baby to put this on. Come on, July!

Liar! Liar! Gauge Swatch On Fire!

It isn’t often that I work a gauge swatch but I have been known to do so when it really counts. This was one of those times.

It is going to be Dreamcoat, a one-size-fits-all technicolor coat, knit with two strands of fingering weight held together. There are many colorways included in the kit and the yarn is randomly changed as you go, making a multi-color, one of a kind garment.

The pattern called for size 11 needles, but my swatch said otherwise.

The swatch lied. 

I was almost finished with the front, left piece when the thought pinged in my brain. This looks kinda small, doesn’t it?

Kinda small?!? Kinda small?!? 

Try four inches too small!

AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (that was me running and screaming with my hands in the air and yarn flinging everywhere)

Ahem.

I am better now. I have recovered from the shock. I have almost reknit the entire piece on size 11 needles (which, by the way, gave me perfect gauge when worked over a large area and not a small gauge swatch. Stinking liar of a swatch).

The good news is that on a larger needle, the knitting will take less time…. if you don’t count the time I wasted knitting an entire piece on the smaller needles.

Carry on, then.

This project is a “Knitter for Hire” project. For more information, see my custom knits page here.

This Moment – Each and Every One

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Only, today I am having a hard time choosing just one. Which of the many beautiful moments from this week is the most memorable?
Is is blowing dandelions with The Princess?
Or watching the Fraggle try to walk?
Maybe my favorite moment was experimenting with photography with The Boy,
Or passing around the welding mask while watching the solar eclipse, and discovering all the interesting effects of the diminished sunlight. 
Perhaps the best moment was working on a crossword puzzle with The Bookworm in the garden,
or watching The Munchkin turn cardboard into an excellent and hilarious dress up.
Of course, I can’t forget the zoo moments, like when The Dancing Queen was almost eaten by a hippopotomus,
and we all got to touch sting rays (or at least try).
My life is filled with perfect little moments. It is hard to pick just one.
May you have a lovely weekend filled with perfect moments. And may you catch at least a few of them with your camera.

Sinking Ever Deeper

When I picked up a drop spindle for the first time, I was hooked. I thought that I could just drop spindle my way to happiness for years to come.

Then I sat down in front of a friends spinning wheel last week and I knew that it was going to drag me even deeper into this whole spinning thing.

Yesterday I spun all afternoon on an Ashford Traditional. I turned this

Mosaic Moon Fiber Club May 2012 75/25 BFL/silk in the Cerrunos colorway

into this

Interestingly enough, it didn’t feel like any of that drop spindling translated into making me a good wheel spinner. I found it very difficult to get the hang of the whole process – like I was patting my head and rubbing my tummy – and the first few yards of this skien are just horrid.

Next week, when my buddy comes over to knit, she is going to bring her wheel so that I can finish this 4 oz braid. I can’t wait. It is all that I can think about. I dreamt about it last night. I woke up this morning twitching with desire.

Yup. I got it bad.


(anybody want to send me an Ashford Elizabeth?)

Keeping Me Busy

My days are so full. This is the short list of the things that I have been working on.

  • My sister and I set up a booth at a local craft fair. She is an amazingly talented jewelry maker and had so many beautiful pieces to sell. I had been sewing headbands and little tote bags for a week, as well as knitting some headbands and market bags. I also had some needlefelted toys to decorate the table that had price tags on them, just in case someone wanted to buy them.  It was a ton of work and a total disappointment. I sold only enough to buy us all lunch, and my sis didn’t do much better.  Plus, it was hot and the kids were great until near the end when they started getting cranky. I confess, I was getting cranky too. I was pretty bummed, but I am still excited about the next booth. It’ll be better.
  • I am test knitting for NEEDdesigns again. I love testing for her and have tested two of her baby things in the past (one is blogged here and the other never got blogged, but the Rav page is here). This is it so far. It’ll be a newborn sweater for my knitting buddy who is expecting.
  • I also knit this for the same baby. I should think of more to say about it, but I am not in the mood. See my Rav project page for details.
  • There are three new patterns in my head, swirling around and begging to be written. We will see what happens with that.
  • The garden is coming along nicely. I gave each of the kids their own plot of land in which to plant whatever they chose. They are responsible to weed and water and tend to their gardens. We are all very excited (me included) to see the sprouts and we are dreaming of strawberries and tomatoes and zuccini. Now if only we could keep the deer out.
  • Crochet may be the stupidest invention ever, and it hurts my wrists to even think about it, but when I saw this pattern to make flip-flops, I didn’t even hesitate. It comes in handy that The Man works at a hardware store and can bring home jute twine for me whenever I have the need.
  • The magazine (book? newsletter? whatever) that I am writing is in testing and I eagerly await the verdict. Will my testers like it? Will they think that it is crap? Did I work all that time on something that no one will want to read? We shall see….

All of that on top of homeschooling (almost done with this school year!), housekeeping (I rearranged the furniture and don’t think that I like it), cooking (what is for dinner tonight, anyway?), and throwing a little baby shower today. Whew!

What’s keeping you busy these days?

Five Reasons Why Every Knitter Needs A Snap Press

Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a snap press for the following five reasons.

My snap press from KamSnaps.

1. Buttonholes are so dang tricky.

When it comes time to work the buttonbands in a sweater project, I break out in cold sweats. What if I don’t get the holes lined up right? What if they are too small for the buttons that I chose? Or too large? I usually just plow my way through these doubts, and usually it turns out okay. But, since I got my snap press, I am free to knit plain, hole-less button bands and just attach snaps after the blocking. Easy. And easier for the kids to put on and take off, as well. So everyone is happy.

2. Baby items are more convenient with snaps.

I have wanted to knit a onesie for years, but am always faced with the same problem – how to change the diaper? Now that I have a snap press I can knit onesies and jumpers and all kinds of other baby things that are just as convenient as the store bought stuff, and infinitely more beautiful.

3.Purses are cooler when they snap shut.

As far as purse closure goes, you can’t beat a snap. And I am loving this pumpkin purse! (Pattern coming soon)

4. Snaps are cheap and come in many lovely colors.

This is my current collection of snaps, but there will be more in the future. All the colors, shapes, and sizes that are available makes my heart go pitter patter.

5. Shopping for ribbon adds more pleasure to the project.

When applying snaps to a knitted fabric, it is wise, even necessary, to reinforce it with ribbon. It is also very pretty! Once I started looking at ribbon on Etsy, I just fell in love with the concept and now have a little stash  of ribbon that is growing almost as fast as my stash of yarn.

A snap press. It’s pretty handy. Every knitter should have one. I do. Do you?

I have not been compensated in anyway for this. This is all merely my personal opinion and I gain nothing by telling you all about it. 🙂

My Hands Are Full… And So Is My Heart

She looked up at me with her beautiful, toothless smile, and my Princess said to me,

“I am a mama – see? Because my hands are so full!”

My hands are full, too, because I am a mama.

And so is my heart.

I hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday. I know I sure did.