Category: Creativity


It’s official! I finished knitting my first raglan sweater! After receiving the book, New England Knits by Cecily Glowik Macdonald and Melissa LaBarre, I fell in love with the pattern for the Derry Raglan and Cowl. This didn’t surprise me in the least as MacDonald was the designer of the pattern for the first sweater I ever made, (See Knit, Purl, Knit …). I just love her designs! They highlight simplicity with just the right touch of intricate detail.

The Derry Raglan has a plain front, but a beautiful lace pattern runs down the sleeve. Seeing as I live in a mild climate, the idea of ventilated sleeves on a sweater made this the perfect project for me. Plus, it had the added bonus of learning the raglan technique for the yoke and shoulders of a garment. I’m always ready to try something new.

Before doing anything I had to learn how to do a Right-lifted Increase and a Left-lifed increase. Luckily, I found two great videos on youtube for both stitches. It’s rare to find a knitting video that clearly explains every step and takes the time to visually go through those steps slowly and repeatedly. If you need to learn these stitches, follow the links!

Pyrrha Designs: Right Lifted Increase

Pyrrha Designs: Left Lifted Increase

Aside from lifted stitch increases, the hardest part of this sweater was the first round. After casting on, the pattern stipulated lifted increases with only the cast on stitches to pick up.  I had to start over at least four times before I found the right tension!  Once I got that first round, everything fell into place.

The finished project turned out great!

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A little magic math on the gauge lead to a perfect fit!

The yarn is Berroco Remix in Red. Made from recycled fibers and cotton, this yarn is not only soft, but also earth friendly!

When I bound off the final stitch, it was 80 degrees outside. There’s nothing worse than finishing a beautiful sweater and knowing you’ll have to wait more than six months to wear it. However, as luck would have it, a cold front swept through my area for one day this week. I got to wear my new sweater after all!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

After avoiding it and putting it off for more than a year, I finally made socks using the traditional method of double-pointed needles. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I’m still not a fan of maneuvering around so many needles.

The pattern that inspired me to overcome my aversion to double-pointed needles came from The Knitter’s Book of Socks by Clara Parkes. This book is full of amazing sock patterns ranging from beautiful lace socks to simple ribbed socks. I highly recommend picking it up to any fan of sock knitting!

I love a good ribbed sock, so I chose a pattern called Stepping Stones. A total of three different ribs are used throughout the sock and I loved the texture. The cuff is a simple K1, P1 rib, the leg is a textured rib using a variety of knit and purl stitches, and the foot has three small ribs tucked into a basic stockinette stitch.

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Check out my awesome socks!

I made one small modification on the heel. The pattern called for a double-strand reinforced heel, but I’ve never had a problem with holes in my socks so I opted to knit the more traditional slip stitch heel flap. It’s easier to do and it fit right into the pattern without a problem.

While the ribbed pattern is fantastic, the yarn is my favorite thing about these socks. I am in love with the hombre stripes and earthy colors of Paton’s Kroy Socks FX, Clover Colours. It reminds me of fall leaves and sunsets!

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Beautiful yarn always makes a beautiful pair of socks!

This pair of socks also marks the first time I’ve used the Kitchener stitch to close the toe. I’ve heard knitters grumble about this grafting method before, so I was a little nervous to take it on. What got me through it was Ann Budd’s book, Getting Started Knitting Socks. She has excellent and easy to follow instructions on the kitchener that are the best I’ve seen.

As much as I love these socks, I’m still a hardcore believer in the sock loom.  It makes the best fitting socks, mainly because it implements the short row heel.  Above all else, nothing beats the ease of a sock loom.

That being said, I know I’ll likely pick up double-pointed needles again because there are far more patterns available for traditional sock knitting. Learning this method opened up a whole new realm of design elements and styles. Seeing as I’m addicted to sock knitting, this is pretty darn exciting!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

While most pages in Wreck This Journal are about seeing the world with a positive eye, one page in particular is set aside for recording good thoughts.  This was easily one of my favorite pages as I have a “thing” for collecting quotations in journals, sticky notes, or anywhere else I can scribble a line of wisdom.

Grandma approached this page with her usual brand of quirkiness and independence. Not only did she record good thoughts, but she scribbled in anything that made her happy.

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Grandma’s page of good thoughts.

Her handwriting is a little tough to read, so I’ll translate:

Grandma always loved a beautiful car. She pasted in a Mercedes Benz because it was one of her favorite brands, although she loved a good Jaguar, too. I remember how she’d walk right up to one in a parking lot and look in the windows. She never owned either a Mercedes or a Jag, but she never stopped dreaming.

Quote: Kindness is like jelly – you always get some on yourself.

Quote: God is good.

Quote: It’s not the amount of years in your life. It’s the amount of life in your years.

Quote: I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – Bob Wiley. I have to laugh at this because it comes from an all time favorite movie in our family, “What About Bob?” Get us all in a room and we could probably quote that movie from start to finish. Even towards the end when Grandma had forgotten so much, she still knew  “What About Bob?”

Candy bars.

$ – This makes me laugh, too. Grandma loved money, but not like you’d think. Sure, she like the idea of nice things, but she also loved finding a penny on the ground. The woman found pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters wherever she went.

As for my page, I pulled some of my favorite quotes out of my main quotation journal. Then, I added some color, because color always makes me happy.

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My page of good thoughts.

I should probably add one more thing to my page of good thoughts – memories of Grandma.

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c.b.w. 2014

Did You Spot It?

In yesterday’s bit of photo art, (see Perspective) there was a critter hiding somewhere in the shot. Did you spot him?

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Lizard photobomb!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2013

I didn’t even know he was there when I was framing the shot! It wasn’t until I downloaded the image to my laptop, that I saw him hanging out on that log. This little guy was the inspiration for the line “the smallest soul walks.” Never has it been so true that inspiration strikes when you least expect it. Always be watching and listening!

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c.b.w. 2014

My sock knitting adventure continues with another pair of straight needle socks. After surviving the disaster of a totally failed attempt at straight needle socks, it was to nice jump in again and find success. In order to start fresh, I selected a new pattern, new yarn, and bought new knitting needles. Apparently, all that “new” paid off because I ended up with a super cute pair of socks!

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Fireside Straight Needle Socks
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

For these socks, I used my favorite yarn, Paton’s Kroy in Aqua Jacqaurd. Lucky me, I got this yarn on sale for only $2 a skein. The pattern is called Fireside and comes from Knit Your Socks on Straight by Alice Curtis.

The pattern for these socks put up a fight right from the start as I realized it was riddled with errors. I loved the texture of the pattern so much, I decided not to give up. After doing some research online, I found the errata and was able to correct all the mistakes. Anyone else who attempts these socks should do the same. Trust me, you’ll end up with great socks if you put in the time to fix the pattern.

I hit a milestone with these socks as they are the first straight needle socks I’ve made where I had to knit a texture over the top of the foot while maintaining a smooth stockinette stitch on the instep. This can be a bit a tricky as straight needle socks split the pattern into two sections with the instep in between. Knitting even in pattern, while also working an instep takes a good memory and a lot of patience! But, I did it!

The success of these socks has pushed me to try something I’ve avoided up to this point. It’s no secret that I hate knitting on double pointed needles, but I’ve decided to try knitting a pair of socks using those cursed needles. We’ll see how it goes!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

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