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Classes Completed – Easter Eggs and Lefties

Recent classes include Easter Eggs for beginner and advanced beginners as well as the ever-popular Leftie. The Easter eggs were rather addictive! How did that commercial go: “You can’t eat just one?” Well, you likely can’t MAKE just one of these cuties. The samples I made for the class are pictured above. These are the eggs we made in class:

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The top one and the one on the lower left were the advanced beginner eggs – both gingham style. The one on the lower right is a beginner egg. Everyone was pleased with how their eggs were turning out and there was much discussion about possible future variations.

In another class, new folks were introduced to the Leftie. This pattern is great for individuals looking to do something beyond basic scarves. It is mostly garter stitch, except for the leaves. And you get to practice them a few times in short order when starting the pattern. While we had a few adventures getting started, the students in class all got their Lefties going well before class was over.

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In this class, we had three different weights of yarn in use – DK, sport, and fingering. Three of the students chose Trendsetter’s Cin Cin as their contrast yarn. This yarn has a slub texture, which can make it a bit of a challenge to work with, but the result is so worth it!

Congrats to all the students on their new skills! Stay tuned for details on what classes will be offered in May.

Classes Completed!

This weekend wrapped up two different classes. Just two participants in the last class of Thrummed Mittens for the season made these beauties:

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Note that one appears to not really be a mitten? Well, we tried a different roving for the thrums and the fluffy factor just got away from us, so had to go back to the ribbing in the final session instead of continuing on. Lesson learned – do not work with roving that is too fluffy as it is just too hard to knit around it, even if it might eventually compact and function just fine.

The other class was the initial presentation of the Nordic Headband class where we learned to doubleknit. This class had four participants and all did a great job. However, two of them were not loving the quality of their finished project and refused to let me photo them. They all enjoyed the class and several were starting their second headband before the session wrapped up.

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If you are interested in learning how to doubleknit, there is a second session of the Nordic Headband starting on Wednesday, February 19 at 10:30 a.m. Find out more and register.

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Firestone Cowl and Cuffs

A variation on a variation on a variation generated the Firestone Cowl and Cuffs by Bad Bunny Designs. This two-tone cowl combines texture and color to make a very versatile cowl. Plus, it is made out of the yummy Berroco Folio, which is primarily alpaca and lovely to work with. Folio also has a beautiful palette of colors to choose from:

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Pick any two (and I see LOTS of beautiful possible combinations) and create your own cowl/cuffs. This cowl is long enough to wear single or doubled. The airy stitchwork great for keeping warm in the winter or keeping the chill off as it turns to spring again. One skein of each color is enough for the cowl as well as a pair of coordinating cuffs.

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See the sample in person at What in Yarnation in Cannon Falls, or watch for information on an upcoming class on the Firestone Cowl and Cuffs. We will be learning the stitches and yarn management by making a cuff, which will prepare you well for making the Cowl itself.

February Classes are filling fast

Several fun classes are planned for February, but some are almost full already so sign up fast if you want to participate! First up is a Valentine project – Smitten by Julie Weisenberger – a shared mitten so you can hold your sweetie’s hand even if the weather is really cold. Our sample is done in a funky yarn from Schachenmayr called Lumio. Lumio has a filament running through it that is reflective when light hits it. Without the flash on the camera, this Smitten looks just plain red:

Smitten in Lumio

It is also a fast knit – bulky yarn on big needles – means you should have no problem finishing it up in time for Valentine’s Day. Best of all, if you use the recommended yarn, you should need just ONE skein!

Thrummed Mittens are back by popular demand! Learn to make these super warm mittens lined with unspun wool that will felt to fit your hand and line the mitten to keep out drafts. With the winter we have been having, everyone can use a pair of these. Both previous classes have had a blast learning to make the mittens and creating their own combinations of yarn and roving.

Class mittens

Those who do not yet know how to knit can take Learn to Knit for Absolute Beginners through South Washington County Community Education. Unlike all the other classes in February, this class will be held in Cottage Grove on three Wednesday evenings in a row. Participants will learn to knit, purl, cast on and bind off plus some basic pattern reading.

Another new project is the doubleknit Nordic Headband. This reversible headband is created by knitting both sides at the same time. The double layer makes it extra warm to wear as well. You need one skein of each color, but you will get multiple headbands out of that, too. Two different time slots are available – one on Saturdays; the other on Wednesdays.

Nordic Headband

What do you do with yarn leftover from a finished project? If you are like most of us, it starts to accumulate while you await ideas on what to do with it. Come to this session with a bag of your stash to learn ways to turn those leftovers into beautiful finished objects. In this class, we will focus on selecting yarns for color, weight and texture; using combinations of yarn; and selecting patterns well-suited to stashbusting. Don’t miss out – register now.

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This month’s S.O.S. Help Session will be Sunday, February 23, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. This session is aimed at anyone who has taken one of my classes previously and wants a little extra help. Maybe the project has sat for a bit and you need a little help getting restarted. Or maybe you need a refresher on something we covered in class. In any case, bring your project and we will see if we can get you unstuck. Best of all, the first 15 minutes of help is free! After that, $5/hour – a bargain rate I can offer because of the group setting.

I have updated the Classes page with all the currently scheduled sessions as well as a preview of what will be coming up soon. Be sure to subscribe to ‘follow’ this blog in order to get each update as it is available.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane – it’s … CROCHET?!?

There are far too many cute amigurumi out there to crochet, so I have finally tried my hand at crocheting again. While I have been knitting for over 35 years, my crochet attempts have been wildly unsuccessful. I kept turning out strange looking triangles when I was aiming for squares and gave up. For the past few years I have been thinking I should try it again but just never actually did.

Until now. :)

We started recycling old tee shirts into yarn awhile back, but have not done anything with them yet. Saw this pattern for baskets and thought that would be a perfect use! I could use old tees to create organization. Great! Plus, the pattern looked accessible for a newbie crocheter. I got started with help from my local LYS and look what I made:

crochet basket

For a first effort in crocheting, I am just so thrilled to have it NOT look like a triangle! Maybe this *is* something I can do. Stay tuned to find out!

By Favorite Things: Yarn and More Posted in Crochet Tagged

More Thrummed Mittens

Friday was the last session of the most recent Thrummed Mittens class. Everybody is making good progress towards finishing their first mitten.

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Everyone was very pleased with the results and looking forward to finishing a pair, as you may have heard, but its COLD outside here! If you are interested in making your own pair of Thrummed Mittens, there is one more class starting on Saturday. Register now to reserve your spot!

In other news, one of the students from the mitten class has started her own Polar Vortex Blanket out of Marble Chunky. The photo is a little fuzzy because I was taking them with my phone, but I think this combination will be really pretty, too!

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Polar Vortex Antimony Blanket

Polar Vortex Blanket

Just in time for another cold snap, I have finished my Polar Vortex Blanket. It is based on the Antimony Blanket by Brigitte Eaton as described last week in the post Polar Vortex-inspired Knitting. While I had initially planned on using four skeins of Lion Brand Homespun, I wrapped it up after just three skeins. One more skein would have only added another 4″ or so around the edge and I decided it just was not worth it for that small of an addition.

Three skeins was enough for the blanket to end up just slightly larger than the pattern indicated of 48″. My blocking mats measured 54″ and it took up every little bit of that, but that includes the picots around the edge. I did modify the bind off from a four stitch picot to a three stitch picot. The four stitch version required making sure you bound off on a row that was a multiple of four, which limits your options when you are trying to use up as much yarn as possible. I changed it to a three stitch picot as that freed me up to bind off on any row I wanted.

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However, I was reminded of an important lesson during this project: binding off takes a lot of yarn. And decorative bind offs (like the picot edge on the blanket) are positively yarn HOGS. When I thought I was nearing the point to start the bind off, I started weighing my yarn to see how much I needed for each row. I found I was using about 10 gm per row and already had only 24 gm left. I started binding off immediately, but the first section (1/6th of the entire edge) used 8 gm! I clearly did not have enough yarn to complete the bind off. I weighed whether I wanted to stick with my self-imposed limit of three skeins, which would mean ripping back at least one row, or just take back the part I had bound off and break into the fourth skein. Since it was going to be a store sample, I opted to keep it to three skeins and started ripping out my bind off as well as the two rows prior.

I was hopeful this would be sufficient to get me through the bind off. As I worked my way around, I alternately thought I would be fine and thought I was going to run out. The blanket kept me guessing to the very end – where I finished the bind off with less than one yard to go! Wow. I estimate the bind off ended up taking about 1/2 skein all by itself. So, if you decide to make your own version, be forewarned that you will need a LOT of yarn for the bind off. :)

Graffiti Hats from class

Graffiti Hat success!

Today, three students completed the Graffiti Hat class at What in Yarnation! in Cannon Falls. One over-achiever even finished her SECOND hat today as well! Their beautiful finished hats are pictured above. The one on the left is done in 100% wool while they other two are done in HPKY Rome, which is primarily alpaca.

I even learned while teaching the class that my version of the hat does not actually follow the pattern as charted. Oops! I added an extra set of cables in the middle of the hats I have done.

Despite some struggles during class, all the students turned out lovely hats and felt they had learned a lot along the way. Congrats to everyone!

New on Ravelry

Did you know you could see patterns virtually as they are posted to Ravelry? Just go to this page and scroll down the left hand side to the link that says “View all recently added patterns by category…” I have been stalking the newly posted patterns daily for a couple of years now. Yes, I have far too many favorites to be able to knit them all, but I enjoy seeing what is new. Over time, I have also developed a better feeling for what I like enough to make, too. Here are a few highlights from the recently added patterns. Seems they fall into four basic categories this time: Lace, Socks, Doubleknitting, and Just Plain Cute.

Lace

Always a sucker for a beautiful lace pattern, the Secret Garden Shawl by Anne-Lise Maigaard is gorgeous:

Secret Garden Shawl

© sanita60

To Zola with Love by Kay Meadors caught my eye. This pattern is designed to be a prayer shawl and can be constructed by one person or three:

Zola with love

© Hope Shastri/Skysinger

Queen of Roses by Larisa Valeeva is stunningly beautiful (especially with the beads on the edge!):

queen of roses

© Larisa Valeeva

Socks

Lest you think I only like lacey shawls, I also favorited several sock patterns, including:

“There’s a Different Kind of Love” socks by Anneli Jaanhold

Different kind of love

© anxykaz

Carved Heart socks by Ingrid Carre, which the designer suggests you can replace the center of the large heart with the initials of you & your love – just like you would carve into a tree.

Carved heart socks

© Ingrid Carré

Four Leaf Clover socks by Lill C Schei

Four Leaf Clover socks

© L.Schei

Doubleknitting

I have also been on a double-knitting kick lately and favorited these:

Double Knit Floral Cowl by Louise Fitzpatrick

Floral cowl

© Louise Fitzpatrick

Stacy’s Musical Scarf by Kalliopi Aronis, for the music-lover

Musical Scarf

© Kalliopi Aronis

Flaming Scarf by Lady in Yarn, which is not new to Ravelry, but newly discovered by me. I love the idea of DK cables!

Flaming scarf

© Ela Krumpholz

On a similar note, the Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf by Michael Dworjan is a double knit, with cables!

Six Braid scarf

© Michael Dworjan

Just Plain Cute

Lee Lee’s Butterflies by Sara Elizabeth Kellner are amazingly realistic!

Lee Lee's Butterflies

© Sara Elizabeth Kellner

Rainbow Tiny-er Turtles by Duchess Gala (these are crochet, but maybe someday I will learn…)

Rainbow Turtles

© Duchess Gala

Patroon hond Joy by Andrea Jonker is both crochet AND only in Dutch, but still adorable!

Patroon Hond Joy

© creations2love

Colorful Hedgehog Blanket by Carolina Guzman is also crochet (maybe all this cuteness will inspire me to tackle learning crochet yet!)

colorful_hedgehog_blanket

© One and Two Company

And that concludes just the *highlights* posted since the first of the year! So much to knit, so little time! :)

Polar Vortex-Inspired Knitting

A friend recently asked me if there was likely to be a rash of polar vortex-inspired knitting patterns and projects related to the recent cold weather experienced across most of the country. This inspired me to go perusing Ravelry to see what was out there. There are indeed some patterns created during the vortex, named after the vortex, etc. My favorite three are:

This funky hat pattern by Lee Meredith seemed aptly named Vortex and can be done with or without the point at the top. Everyone can use a hat in cold weather and this one swirls like you might envision a vortex doing.

© Lee Meredith

© Lee Meredith

If you can crochet, this pillow pattern really says vortex to me. But alas, my crochet skills are quite poor (virtually non-existant). So I can look, but not create these:
© 2011 by Caron International Yarns

© 2011 by Caron International Yarns

By far my favorite was this lovely blanket which would be both cozy in cold weather and is designed with the distinct effect of a vortex :

Antimony blanket

© End of the Road Farm Knits

This beauty is the Antimony Blanket by Brigitte Eaton. I was so inspired, that I picked up yarn to make it the very next day! I chose Lion Brand Homespun in Delft, which is a painterly colorway from white to blue (think icy blue). Homespun is a sturdy yarn that will stand up to frequent use and is washable, both important qualities for a blanket, IMO. The downsides to Homespun are (1) it is lightly spun so can catch on your needle tips and (2) its texture is created with a string through the yarn, which means it is possible to end up with a bunch of yarn bunched up together in places. These are fairly easily managed unless either of these is a personal pet peeve of yours.

As a bonus, the blanket can be done in four skeins, which puts the project price around $30. Heckuva deal! Because this yarn is heavier than the pattern calls for, I also upsized the needle to a US11. At that size, you can make progress quite quickly, too.

Here’s my work in progress so far:

Polar Vortex in progress

It has already grown to keep my lap warm while I am knitting on it and is bigger than I can show well on a 60″ circular needle. We will have to wait til I cast off to get another photo of it.