Favorite Thing Friday: Mistake Rib Scarf

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After I finished knitting the Veronica Slouch, I had a bunch of yarn left over. Instead of letting it slip into my growing collection of stash yarn, I decided to make a scarf to match my beautiful new hat, (See FTF: Chunky Cable Hat)

I opted for a mistake rib pattern as it gives the ordinary rib a little more personality. The texture of a mistake rib works so nicely with a thick yarn, so I knew it would be perfect for what was left of my Colinette Prism wool.

A quick search on Ravelry’s pattern database pulled up a great pattern that is super easy to follow, (Mistake Rib Scarf by Joan Janes).  Not only is it free, but it also offers several gauges so it can be adapted to different weights of yarn. I absolutely love how my scarf turned out!

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Mistake rib scarf with a twist!

In addition, the simplicity of the pattern allowed for a modification I wanted to make based on a scarf style I spotted on Pinterest. I always wear my scarves tucked into my jacket, so sewing one corner to the edge to create a permanent wrap shape really appealed to me. All I have to do is slip it over my head and it’s a perfect fit every time.

To add a little more style to the wrap around, I added a button to the attached corner. As it turned out, I had an extra button left over from my hat!  With this little detail, I truly have a matching set of accessories!

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It’s a wrap! (And a button)

It’s amazing what you can do with a little leftover yarn and an extra button!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

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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

 

OMG! I’m Really A Knitter!

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It all started with a sock loom and a teach-yourself DVD. Eighteen pairs of socks later (don’t worry, not all of them are for me), I decided I was ready for something a little more challenging. Don’t get me wrong, my sock-making days are far from over, but my neck needs a scarf and my head wants a hat.

I tried to learn the traditional method of knitting when I was a kid, but the southpaw in me just couldn’t get the hang of it. Frustration set in and so did all the mental blocks that say “I can’t do it.” Then, a few weeks ago while shopping at a local craft store, I walked past the knitting needles and for some reason was inspired to buy a pair, (US 9’s if anyone is curious). After holding them for just a few minutes, I realized that I had to let go of all the blocks that were holding me back if I wanted to learn to knit on those needles. Just like that the blocks were gone and my determination to knit took over.

The same night, I hung out with my mom at my grandma’s house. Both of them know how to knit, so I whipped out my snappy new needles and got my first lesson. Within fifteen minutes I was casting on – By myself! – and shortly thereafter I was practicing knit and purl stitches.  Aside from overcoming years of “I can’t” it was an incredibly special moment to learn these skills from my mom and grandma.

It didn’t take long for the knitting addiction to take hold of my soul. I am constantly looking for new things to learn, which makes youtube and an awesome how-to knitting book my new favorite things. I am literally devouring every nugget of information I can get my hands on! So far, I’ve learned how to increase and decrease three different ways, sew seams, pick up and knit stitches (in the opposite direction of a piece), make buttonholes, follow patterns, and a couple of interesting ways to change color or add a new ball of yarn. Of course, there is so much more to learn . . . and I can’t wait. Next on my list is learning how to knit on circular needles, (I have a pattern for a hat I really want to make!).

I can’t post pictures of my first two projects because they are Christmas gifts, but I will share them as soon as the wrapping paper flies off the box. Recently, however, I finished making something for myself. It’s the most difficult pattern I’ve attempted to date, but it was worth struggling through the learning curve. In addition to learning a number of new techniques, I got really good at reverse knitting and pulling out rows without destroying a piece.  While somewhat frustrating, learning how to backtrack is a pretty valuable skill!  After countless mistakes, I finally got into the groove of the pattern and this beautiful cowl is the result:

Knitted cowl: Norwegian wool and deer antler buttons.

The pattern for this project was a nice surprise I found tacked to one of the yarn racks at Michaels. It was free and waiting for someone to give it a try. The yarn for this project is Norwegian wool, Odin Superwash #865. As for the buttons, I picked them up in Northern Wisconsin years ago. Made from deer antlers, they are the perfect rustic touch.

Have I geeked out enough? Not even close! I have a 50% off coupon for any yarn product in my wallet and I have my eye on a new size of knitting needles.

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My favorite resources so far:

Knitting 101: Master Basic Skills and Techniques Through Easy Step-by-Step Instruction by Carri Hammet

This is an amazing book filled with easy-to-understand instructions and visuals. There’s even a bonus DVD that shows techniques with even more detail.

Knitting Tips by Judy (youtube series)

I turn to this series when I can’t get something to work to save my life! The narration is so good and she does a fantastic job of describing each step of a technique.

Pinterest

While already a fun place to hang out, I’ve found it to be an incredible resource for free patterns and fun project ideas. You can see some of what I’ve found by following my board entitled, Knit Happens.

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c.b.w. 2012

Project Pear Tree

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Every once in  while I get the urge to sew and there’s no telling what I might create.  I learned how to stitch when  I was around seven years old and I still look forward to threading a needle when inspiration strikes.  This year, a project I’ve wanted to do for a few years finally couldn’t stand sitting on my creative shelf any longer, so I made the time to get it done.  In the 2008 issue of Holiday Crafts magazine (from the lovely people at Better Homes and Gardens), a pattern for a pear tree appliqué project was featured and my muse went crazy.  It was a cute idea, but there were about a million things I wanted to change about the fabric and layout.  All I needed was three years to work out all the details, (at least that’s what I tell myself to justify such ridiculous procrastination).

Now, I should point out that I rarely complete a project that follows the pattern perfectly.  I always change, add, subtract, or combine some detail or another.  Patterns are simply inspiration and I never let them create boundaries.

For my pear tree,  I replaced all the fabric with wool felt to give it more rustic, folk art feel.  My favorite type of wool felt is a 70/30 blend because it’s sturdy and comes in rich shades of color.  I’m not a fan of floral prints, nor did I like the color scheme of the finished pattern project, so I replaced the colors with deeper reds, greens, and golds.  The floral foo-foo ended up getting replaced with a woven wool plaid.  As a result of the change in color scheme, I also had to rework all the thread choices as well.  This sounds like a lot of work (and it is), but the result was worth all the trouble. While my finished piece has little resemblance to the inspiration, I love how it turned out:

One change I made to this project was the addition of leaves on the branches of the tree.  It seemed only fitting seeing as I live in a place where there is no snow at Christmas and the trees remain green all year round.  Plus, the leaves added some color and detail to a background that seemed a little bland.  I pulled the leaf pattern from another shelved project and I’m thrilled the proportion turned out to be exactly right.

The outer border is another major change and I’m not sorry I did it!  A few years ago, I found three yards of wool plaid fabric at a thrift store for $2.  What a buy!  The colors really compliment the pears and it packs a little punch of much needed blue.  I also added corner pieces on the border that include more pears. This was done to break up the plaid and I think it ties the whole piece together. Inside each pear is a varnished wooden button straight from Northern Wisconsin.  This little detail pays homage to my roots as the Northwoods hold a special place in my heart.

Each pear is hand stitched with an image and text relating to the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  When I decided to make everything out of felt, I immediately hit a snag when I realized I couldn’t easily transfer the images from the pattern to the felt – it’s too thick!   Thank goodness for my other little hobby of counted cross-stitch, where I learned a handy technique involving Waste Fabric.  This fabric is a lot like aida cloth, but with less bulk.  When layered over the top of any fabric, it’s easy to place a pattern wherever it needs to go and stitch right on the grid. Then, like magic it comes apart when the strings are pulled!  Once the waste fabric is totally removed, the stitched pattern remains behind!

All the edges, (including around the outside border) are finished with a blanket stitch as opposed to the pattern sanctioned whip stitch.  What can I say?  I like the look of a blanket stitch!

With the Twelve Days of Christmas rapidly approaching, I can’t wait to hang my pear tree on the wall. To count down the days to December 25th, I’m going flip all the pears to the reverse and turn them over as each day passes.  I see this as my personal spin on the always fun advent calendar.

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c.b. 2011