Favorite Thing Friday: Failing Without Giving Up

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Sometimes a project just doesn’t work out. No matter how beautiful the yarn or how much you’ve mastered a new skill, there are some projects that just refuse to come together!

This week, I finally had to give up on a project I’ve been working on since May. The Box Pleat Scoopneck captured my attention the moment I saw it in the Summer edition of Knit Wear magazine. Soon after, I bought some beautiful yarn at one of my favorite yarn shops. The heathered copper color of Filatura Di Crosa Potrofino seemed like the perfect match for the stylish pleated top I was so excited to make.

At the point of cast on, everything seemed to be going great. I loved how the yarn handled the rolled rib at the hem and the color variation was just gorgeous as the piece grew larger. I loved the weight of the yarn and it’s smooth texture.

However, it was at the halfway point that I started to have doubts. The very things I loved about the yarn turned out to be the biggest problems. The subtle satin finish caused some of the stitches to slip and even twist due to the weight of the finished fabric. I suspect my gauge calculations had something to do with it as well.

Yet, I kept going because I thought I was over thinking it. I have a tendency to let my perfectionism taint any craft project I’m working on, so I was determined to fight through the doubt. Besides, wet blocking would likely help those wayward stitches, right?

Then, came the day I reached the point of splitting the front and back to make sleeves. I held the garment up to my body to see if the sizing was correct and I just about died. That beautiful silky fabric highlights every imperfection – everything from the button of my jeans to the jiggle in my hips, (however, for the record, the sizing was correct!).

No amount of determination was going to save this one. It was all over and I was okay with that. Some things are meant to be, but my copper colored Box Pleat Scoopneck is not one of them.  As soon as I get a chance, I’ll be ripping out each stitch as I rewind the yarn back into a ball.

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Doomed from the start!

While this sounds like a total failure, I haven’t given up yet! Shortly after making the decision to shelf this project, I ordered new yarn, (a gorgeous medium weight, superwash wool). As soon as it gets here, I’ll have another go at this top!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Chunky Cabled Hat

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It may be more than a hundred degrees outside, but I’m busy knitting as if it were snowing! After holding onto some beautiful Welsh wool for more than a year, I finally found the perfect project to do this yarn justice.

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Colinette Prism Yarn

The Veronica Slouch looks difficult at first glance, but if you can work a few basic cable stitches this hat is a snap. From cast on to weaving in ends, I knit this hat up in just one day!

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Veronica Slouch

 

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Veronica Slouch

It actually took longer to find the perfect buttons. I took a chance on mother of pearl and aluminum as they are a little outside my usual rustic aesthetic. They are a little modern, but the colors were such a nice match to the yarn, I decided to give them a try. After sewing them on, I couldn’t believe how perfect they were for the overall style of the hat. Love them!

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Mother of pearl and aluminum button.

One of the things I really liked about the pattern was that it had a chart that takes you from the beginning to the end of the cable “stripe.” There are no red repeat squares that are sometimes hard to understand. The cable itself is wide and doesn’t involved twisting that many stitches, making it relatively simple to knit.

Now, I just have to wait for it to be cold enough to wear my beautiful new hat!

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p.s. Wait until you see what I’m doing with the leftover yarn and extra button! Stay tuned. :-)

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Embossed Leaf Socks

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I never thought knitting a pair of white socks would be any fun, so I surprised myself when I decided I needed a pair of white socks for the days when what I have to wear doesn’t match up with the socks in my drawer. This happens a lot at the end of the week or when I slack on getting the laundry done!

Thus began the great white sock pattern hunt! I wanted something simple, yet pretty to make my white socks anything but boring. As soon as I saw the pattern for Embossed Leaf Socks, I knew I found exactly what I was looking for. While the pattern looks complicated, it only uses five stitches. If you can knit, purl, knit 2 together, knit 2 together (through back loop), and purl 2 together you can make these socks!

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Embossed Leaf Socks – These are definitely not boring!

The pattern itself is extremely well written insofar as it does a really good job of describing what stitches go on what needle. Needle knitting socks can be tricky as you’re usually fiddling with three or four stitch needles and one knitting needle. Sometimes patterns assume you know how to move stitches when splitting the heel flap and adding gusset stitches. This pattern, however, is very specific and assumes nothing!

One of the things I really love about these socks is the toe. Instead of a plain stockinette stitch, purl stitches are peppered throughout the toe to create a petal pattern that nicely compliments the leafy lace of the sock.

I made one adjustment in that I chose not to do the twisted rib cuff dictated by the pattern. Instead, I went for the easier 1×1 rib. This was mainly because I started these socks on vacation and it’s tough to learn a new technique when I’m not in my usual craft space.

While I now have a pair of white socks that go with everything, now I have the problem of being afraid to wear them! They are so pretty and I don’t want them to get dirty! I’m sure I’ll get over it as I always do.

With my socks done, I’m now busy knitting baby blankets. Two of my friends are expecting – one in September and one in January. At first I thought about making a baby sweater for each, but then I realized we live in a desert and the kid will outgrow it before he/she can wear it. So, I decided a lightweight blanket is both universal and practical. Perfect.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

 

 

 

Favorite Thing Friday: So Many Dishcloths!

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My knitting needles have been very busy this summer! Not only am I working on a beautiful pair of socks and super cute pleated top, but I’m also casting on smaller projects for birthday gifts.

One of the easiest things to make for someone is a set of dishcloths or what I like to call Spa Cloths. Pair them with a beautiful bar of soap and you’ve got a thoughtful gift that is also practical.

I’ve made a total of nine Spa Cloths in the last two weeks, all of which have taught me new lace stitches. Part of the reason I love knitting spa cloths is the fact that I can learn new knitting techniques on a small project. If I make a mistake it’s not a big deal to start over again!

First up is the Baby Fern Stitch, a free pattern I found on Ravelry. It looks really difficult, but it only involves a few simple stitches. This is one I’ll have to eventually make for myself! I love the ridges that define a pattern that is both botanical and geometric.

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Baby Fern Stitch

Next up is the Leaf Lace Washcloth, which is another free pattern I found on Ravelry. Initially, I intended it as a gift, but I loved it so much I ended up keeping it for myself. What can I say, I’m a sucker for leaves.

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Leaf Lace Washcloth

After another search through Ravelry (the array of free patterns is truly astonishing), I found a pattern called Christmas Tree Lot Cloth. This is another one I really wanted to keep for myself, but it’s so perfect for the person receiving it I had to let it go!

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Christmas Tree Lot Cloth

I saved the best for last. When I saw the Elvish Leaf Dishcloth pattern, I was instantly in love. While the stitches are relatively easy, keeping track of the pattern from row to row is difficult. I have no shame in admitting I ripped this project out three times before I finally got the pattern right. The end result, however, was worth all the frustration as it is just gorgeous.

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Elvish Leaf Dishcloth

While I usually don’t wet block spa cloths, I did block both the Christmas Tree Lot and Elvish Leaf cloths to get them to lay flat for gift presentation. Lace patterns in a thick gauge tend to pucker and that doesn’t look very nice in a gift box!

The other spa cloths I made were shipped before I could get a picture (I was running a little late for early July birthdays!). If I make them again, I’ll be sure to post pics!

The simplistic nature of spa cloths is a big reason why I love them so much. When in the middle of large or difficult project, they are nice break that offers a satisfying end result. Aside from that, I love giving handmade gifts.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Raindrops

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I love that it rained multiple times during my stay in Indiana, but that’s not the sole inspiration for favoring raindrops this week. After more than three months of work, I finally finished knitting the Adeline Camisole, which features a raindrop pattern.

This is the first large project where I didn’t have to start over again because of a mistake. I’m pretty proud of that fact considering the difficulty of this pattern! The only really scary part came at the end, when I tried the garment on for the first time. It was about a size too big! As with most lace patterns, it stretched after blocking.

To fix this problem, I did what would probably give most wool-lovers a heart attack. I threw it in the dryer. I know, I know, this is blasphemy in the knitting world! Just know I was very careful and had a specific plan of attack.

First, I soaked the garment in water and squeezed out as much water as possible. Second, I put the garment in a pillow case and sealed it with a tie. Third, I put it in the dryer on high heat for twenty minute intervals. After each twenty minute cycle, I checked to see how much it had shrunk. Once it was the right size I laid it flat to dry.

After that harrowing process, I slipped on the camisole and it fit perfectly!

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Adeline Camisole

The raindrop pattern is a little hard to see, so here it is up close:

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Raindrops in yarn!

The yarn for this project totally sold me on KnitPicks as awesome place to buy yarn. Great quality, beautiful colors, and fantastic prices. I made this camisole for $16 using Stroll Hand Painted Sock Yarn in Coffee Shop (what a great name for a color!).

I’ve got a number of other projects going – too many, actually – so stay tuned for more pictures of my knitting adventures! :-)

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014