Friday, August 28, 2015

Web Stumblings -

As a thrifter and "random yarn" buyer, I rarely have the yarn suggested in a pattern. Often, the suggested yarn is something a bit beyond my payscale or specific to the designers region (i.e. a common UK yarn may not be a common Canada yarn), or I may just not want to spend any more cash on yarn when I already have a room full.  I have searched for advice online for substituting yarn (this blogpost from Tumped Duck was very handy) but there are not a lot of resources that I found which actually show you how yarns compare.  Ravelry has its database of yarn in which you can manually search for a yarn with similar parameters.  You select the parameters, search through each yarn and compare. This is very useful but can be time consuming.

Then I found this site:

Basically, you plug in your yarn name, and they generate a list of yarns which are comparable based on yarn weight or category, texture, fiber content, recommended needle size, gauge, ball weight, yardage/meterage, and care instructions.  Crazy right?

Check this out.  I entered Loops & Threads Charisma.


Is that not awesome?  This is just a sample; there were 22 on the list, each with a description of how it matched.  You can search for comparable yarns that have certain parameters, such as an acrylic free version of Charisma.  For more how-to on that process, see this article.  Try it out; you won't be sorry.

Happy subbing :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer Knitting

Being a newcomer to knitting, I was unaware that summer knitting is viewed by many as an odd thing to do.  Who knew?  Numerous times in the past month or so I've heard the phrase "Shouldn't you wait until its colder to do that?" or "Knitting is for the winter" or "Why are you doing that now?". I'm not sure where people think knit items come from when it get colder, but apparently they magically get knit on the first day of winter for immediate use...

I have noticed that I'm less inclined to knit heavy items (sorry, not sorry Brighton Cowl...we'll have a reunion in October, I promise) and am leaning more towards socks and lightweight pieces.

I'm currently working on a sock test knit.  It's an ankle sock with a really clever pattern on the top which using decreases followed by increases every few rows to create ridges on the top of the sock. This is my first non-vanilla sock pattern and I love it so far.  Here's a sneak peek (from when I was knitting in the Halifax Public Gardens yesterday).

You can see the texture lines to the right of my stitch marker.  

The yarn is Red Heart Heart & Sole in Green Envy.  Its especially fitting for summer knitting with its bright greens, oranges and yellows.  I'll link to the pattern once it goes live You can find the pattern here for purchase :)

Here's to summer knitting!  Cheers!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fingerless Mittens

I'm always of two minds when I look at a fingerless mitten pattern.  They are one of those items that are fun to knit, gratifying in that they don't take long, but I never quite know when I'll wear them.  I live in Canada so if it's cold enough for gloves, you need your fingers covered too.  Wearing them in the house is an option but I find knitting awkward while wearing anything on my hands and I just feel silly wearing them while watching TV...what's a girl to do.  Well, they do make quick and easy gifts.

One of my very first projects after a garter scarf was a pair of fingerless mittens.  They were knit flat and seamed on the side, leaving an opening for the thumb.

I loved them.  I had made them all by myself and they actually fit AND they looked good...I was very proud.  That being said, I never really wore them that much.  They were a cheap scratchy acrylic with no give so they weren't ideal.  Looking at the pattern projects on Ravelry now, the pattern looks so much nicer in a lighter, softer, yarn.  Maybe I'll revisit this pattern in the future with a nicer yarn.


I decided to make a "finer" pair of fingerless mittens.  I saw this pattern from Courtney Spainhower on Very Pink Knits and decided I'd give it a shot.  VeryPink also has a great YouTube video that covers the pattern.

These turned out great.  They're well fitted, colourful, and comfy.  I haven't quite decided if I'll keep or gift but either way, I'm happy with how they turned out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Recent FOs

I am bringing my WIPs total down!

I finished my Strong Heel Socks on July 31st :)

And they were Titan approved!

I also finished the test knit I started after the socks.  Behold the Razzle Dazzle Cowl!

There were two option: a long infinity scarf or a short cowl.  Based on my yarn amounts, I opted for the short and snuggly cowl.  I definitely made the right choice; I think I'll keep this one for myself!

I'll add a link for the pattern once it goes live for purchase.  

Many thanks to Stana (Fifinka on Ravelry) of Stana's Critters Etc. for inviting me to test knit.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tools of the Trade for Yarn Thrifting

I'm very lucky in that I have a dedicated room for my hobbies.  This room has a designated knitting corner which is slowly spreading across the room (This pic was taken a few months back...things have "expanded" since then).

With my penchant for thrifting yarn, a swift and winder are very, very useful.  The winder I had no trouble finding and purchasing.  The one pictured above I got on Amazon for $25.  It's a bare basics hand crank model which works great.  The swift was made by my husband.  It was the temporary model while he worked out the plans for a more permanent version:

Isn't it lovely?  Don't ask me about the mechanics...all I know is it works great and is smooth and sturdy.  I use this swift when I'm making hanks from thrifted yarn; its sturdy construction allows me to quickly dismantle a ball of yarn into a hank I can then wash and dry, like these lovely darlings:

 When the hanks are dry, I either leave them as is but twisted (like this).

Or I wind them using the ball winder.  Unfortunately, because the wooden swift from the hubby is not adjustable, and sometimes the hanks shrink after washing, I bought a cheap plastic umbrella swift to make life easier.  It also works for yarn I buy new as hanks like the Cascade Heritage pictured above.

This thing works but I'm not sure how well it will hold up.  It feels rather flimsy compared to the wooden version but it is easily adjustable so it makes winding from a hank easy.  I did try making hanks using this swift and it sucks.  Its ok for lightweight yarn but anything heavier than DK and this baby is bouncing around like crazy.  It is adjustable from horizontal to vertical which is nice but I still prefer the wooden version for making hanks.