Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I finished a new cowl pattern and have it posted on my etsy shop and in my Ravelry shop.  It's knitted in an Estonian Starflower lace pattern and 85% angora rabbit fingering weight yarn.  I love working with the IAGARB Blizzard yarn because it is so light and soft and warm.  I've done quite a few of my designs in this yarn and it always inspires me.

My mom sent me an inspirational picture of a store bought cowl and this is what I came up with.  I hope she likes it.  It is written for an intermediate knitter or an adventuresome beginner and is a pretty fast knit because I used a larger needle which makes the pattern more lacy and allows the gorgeous angora yarn room to bloom.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dyeing a little

I did some low immersion dyeing last weekend and it was fabulous!  So pretty!  I had a great time and dyed 12 skeins of sparkle yarn.  It is very soft and lovely and I put the results up on my shop.

This one is my favorite of the 6 colorways so far.  Called Arizona Sunset.  I used acid dyes and low immersion dyeing.  I will do it again soon!  It was awesome.  Check it out at 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rainbow Gamayun Bird Shawl

I have started knitting more shawls to get a feel for the type of patterns there are out there and how they are written/laid out/etc.  I enjoyed knitting this shawl because I enjoyed the combination of the pattern and the yarn.  I used the yarn that the author used because I loved the rainbow around the edge of the shawl.  it turned out nicely and I realized that I needed more blocking squares if I'm going to block more shawls.

I also just love all things rainbow!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A new obsession

So I have been obsessing over making my own stitch markers lately.  I use them a lot for lace and sometimes for sock knitting and love bright colors.  I saw some rainbow ones and HAD to have some.  So I found a supplier for colored jump rings.  I have a ton of beads of all kinds, so no problems there.  Then I spent the weekend gluing beads onto aluminum rings and sorting out rubber rings into pretty color combinations.  It was fun and I posted a number of them in my Fiberaddict Designs Etsy shop.  Here are a few pictures:

So pretty!  Now I can get back to my knitting!  Maybe.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

All About LIfelines

I've learned a tough lesson recently about lifelines, specifically I mean life lines in your knitting.  I have been working on the LeStrange Cloak from the Unofficial Harry Potter knits book, using my own hand-spun dark brown llama lace weight yarn.  The body of the sweater is knitted bottom up with 4 repeats of a 42 row lace chart with lots of knit two and knit three togethers, single and double yarn overs.  It's beautiful lace, or it will be when I block it.   I was on the 1st repeat after the armhole separation, knitting all three sections at once, halfway through the 5th total repeat of that endless lace chart.

Then the unthinkable happened.  The cable on my 3.25mm fixed circular needle from KnitPicks pulled loose and came out and I didn't notice until I was through one side of the front and most of the back of the sweater.  Horrors!  I surveyed the damage and it was extensive.  I sent off a panicked note to KnitPicks who warrants their needles for life.  But getting another needle was the easy part.  I had a spare and although it had a slight imperfection that made it catch my stitches, I got it out and got to work.

Anyone who knits lace can tell you how hard it is to pick up stitches on a lace piece.  And I've done it many times before, but usually on socks or something smaller.  Problem 1:  the yarn is SO DARK.  It's hard to see.  Problem 2: It's only a two ply and very thin.  It also is fuzzy and tends to stick together a little bit.  ARGHHH!  Problem 3:  Oh the lace, all the stitches that twist and turn and are pulled into each other in a lovely lace design just go crazy when you release them from their bonds.  The yarn overs disappear, the knit togethers pull apart and then the piece opens up and loses it's shape.  Oh man...

I wish I had put in a life line....

Life lines in knitting are a fail safe measure, kind of like a safety belt when you drive.  If you have an accident, jump up suddenly, have a needle break or the cat decides to rearrange your knitting, the life line will get you up and going in less time than if you don't have one.  My interchangeable KnitPicks needles have a little hole to allow you to effortlessly string a life line while you are knitting, but I was using a fixed cable needle and I do admit I RARELY thread a life line even with the nice hole for it.  Or I never used to.  If there is no nice hole, you have to take a needle and some slick cotton thread, preferably a contrasting color, and thread it through each stitch on the needle.  Then you have to knit around it which is a bit of a pain unless it's fairly thin.  And don't put it through your stitch markers or you'll have bigger issues.  But it's worth it, oh yes.  And this is why:

I spent probably 8 hours, actual knitting hours, unknitting my piece, one stitch at a time until I found all the dropped stitches and backed out enough knitting that I was getting the consistent count on my lace repeats and then knitted it all back the way I had come.  I got back to my original place where the disaster occurred, 3 days later and then I ran a life line through it to save my place.  8 hours that I could have used toward knitting!  I could have been ready to knit the sleeves by now!

If you run a lifeline, you can just rip back taking minimal time to return to a state of having all stitches accounted for.  This saves at least half the time it takes to recover from a mistake.  Of course, the more lifelines you put in, the safer you are.  We'll see how many I use, but I am determined to turn over a new leaf and use lifelines in my knitting.  My knitting time is too precious to be used on ripping back, one stitch at a time.

I am now moving forward, hopefully wiser, again with lessons learned and I thought I'd share them with you all.  A picture of my knitting with it's lifeline inserted.  Happy Knitting!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another Free Sock Pattern

I have been called a technical knitter by someone who is not at all.  A talented friend of mine says this about me and compared to her, I am a very technical knitter as she is very free-form and never rips out or redoes anything.   She just turns a mistake into a design element.

In some respects, she is right, I do like technical knitting and find it challenging.  I do have a tendency to rip out and re-knit until I get it right.  This can be hard on hand-spun yarn and also on the nerves.  Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, right???!!!  But I have taken this to a new level with my latest project.  I got a skein of hand dyed yarn on etsy from Wildethyme Art who had done a lovely rainbow yarn.  Here is the skein, on the left.

 My friend Cindy from work had gotten a skein and made Peds with it and I loved the way the colors arranged themselves on her footies.   Here is her version.

SO Coool!  She is a one at a time knitter and I am not, EVER.  I tend to have a weak spot for rainbow colored anything, especially yarn.  So I had to have it even though there was only 180 yards in it.   I bought some Koigu that matched it well enough to do toes and heels (above on left), and am keeping my fingers crossed.  So I started off making a pattern off Ravelry, can't remember the name of it now, but it was lace.  The picture is below.

  But the yarn didn't look right with it, or I didn't like it as well.  So I ripped it out and found a nice pattern that was just a simple knit and purl pattern called Hermione's Everyday Socks which looked kind of cool in the yarn and different than Cindy's.

But they seemed a little big around and I decided to make them a few stitches smaller.  So I ripped out yet again back down to the toes, and then some.  Then after I knitted the first row of rainbow yarn again I decided that I wanted to make my OWN pattern for socks, that I was tired of knitting other people's patterns all the time and I should make my own.  Plus I liked ribbed socks.  So I came up with a diagonal pattern that I thought might be cool.  Test knit?  Bah!  That's for sissies!  So I charted it up and off I went.

Well, it is looking OK so far.  However, the diagonal effect I wanted is totally eclipsed by the strong coloring of the yarn.  Doh!  But hey, it's OK, is ribbed and looks fine.  Just has a little surprise of lace in the purl valleys, and a left twist on the knit hills which sort of draws diagonal lines that you can't see.  I'll have to do it in a plain yarn to see what the effect is.  But I totally think I could write a pattern with it and will put it up on Ravelry when I get it done.  I'll offer it for free because my other free pattern was very popular and this is another not too tricky pattern and I like sharing.

Here is the new version so far.  At about the same place....

Better right?  Of course!  I am knitting from both ends of the ball of yarn and it makes them look a little different, but close enough for me.  When I get them on, the lace pattern might be more apparent, but then again, maybe not.  But it's been fun and I'm going to continue this version because I always have to have a sock pattern on the needles for travel knitting.  Plus it's easy to remember.  

I am on a mission to find a pattern that is fun to knit and also looks good in a strongly patterned yarn.  I get so bored with knit or plain ribbing.  I like a challenge!