Craftie Allie

Knitter. Pug Owner. Educator. Dreadhead.


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069 :: You Spin Me Right Round

Well, crafting fans, I have hit a wall. Nothing I am working on is interesting to me. Nothing is speaking to me right now. I’m feeling like knitting and I are so not BFFs right now. I have been knitting some. I finished my Hitchhiker finally and have worked on some things for a retreat I am attending in May called Into the Wool. But nothing is really…working for me.

Bristol by Amy Christoffers in Knit Picks Pallette.

Bristol by Amy Christoffers in Knit Picks Pallette.

I’ve even tried a new technique to me — afterthought heel — and loved it. I thought that THAT was what was going to bring my mojo back. But nope. Not yet.

Afterthought heel, after picking up stitches.

Afterthought heel, after picking up stitches.

Maybe if I worked on some WIPs, that would do it. Finished my long overdue Hitchhiker (pictures soon) and have almost finished my honey cowl (one row and a bind off away). But still…no real interest. I’m just in a knitting funk.

Honey Cowl in Northbound Knitting, Skeleton Key colorway.

Honey Cowl in Northbound Knitting, Skeleton Key colorway.

Oh, but today! Today, something magical happened. I attended a spinning group at my LYS with the intention of hanging out and knitting while talking to some lovely ladies. Lucky for me, my friend Caffeinated Gert of the Caffeinated Knitting podcast brought me not only a drop spindle but some fiber. She got my started and can I say…I am hooked!

My first little ball of yarn!

My first little ball of yarn!

She told me what the fiber was, but I honestly don’t remember. At the retreat we are attending in May, I am taking a drop spindling class for beginners. I’m glad that I have the chance to get some practice in before then. After two or so hours of spinning at the group, I came home and immediately got the fiber and spindle out again. I can definitely see some improvement already with my drafting and I am excited to continue going with this new craft.

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Maybe knitting will stay on the backburner for a while, but I am glad to have something to work on for the time being! And just look at those awesome colors! I’ve already been fiber window shopping on etsy. Oooh my, this is going to be fun!


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068 :: FO Friday: Dissent by Lisa Mutch

I’ve discussed recently the back problems I have been having. Before that started, I was given the pleasure of test knitting a new shawl design by the lovely Lisa Mutch. Unfortunately, the back pain led me to not be able to knit as much as I would like, so this test knit took longer than I expected — roughly, a month. Regardless of the time it took, I am happy to say that I a had the wonderful pleasure of knitting this shawl and I could not be happier.

 

Dissent by Lisa Mutch

Dissent by Lisa Mutch

 

This little beauty is called Dissent and my oh my is it fun! Now, I am a sucker for striped shawls and short rows, which you may already know, so this was right up my alley. PLUS, it used stash yarn that was at least 6 months old, which made me very happy (I still haven’t weighed what’s left over but I will do that this weekend so I can update by stash on Ravelry).

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Lisa really hit it out of the ball park. The way the stripes and wedges play together make this an incredibly fun knit. Knit using garter stitch and short rows, this is a great knit for afterwork and also a great shawl for a beginner shawl knitter. Super fun, easy yet still challenging, and just a blast all around.

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The green is Northbound Knitting BFL/Silk Finger in Malachite and the purple is Spud and Chloe Fine in Dragonfly. I wish I could explain to you just how soft this is. It’s like a cloud around my shoulders and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I tried to venture out of my general purple/grey color combos a little…. It isn’t much of a step but it is one, so there’s that.

I wore this out the other night for dinner, sat it in the seat next to me with my coat. When we finished eating, I grabbed my coat but somehow left the shawl. Luckily, we live like three minutes from the restaurant and I realized it almost immediately after we got home. When I returned, it was still there in the seat. I hadn’t even photographed the shawl yet! It was like I was asking for trouble. That was my first Almost Lost Hand Knit experience and I would really appreciate not going through that again.

Overall, I am incredibly happy with this shawl. The color striping is interesting and the way the wedges occur makes it more interesting than just a striped shawl. Very fun to knit and I can definitely see myself knitting another one in the future.


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067 :: Daydream Knitter

I’m sure you realized from my last post, I am obsessed with shawls. I have one I finished blocking this weekend that I will be photographing for a post on Friday. It only makes sense that the majority of my daydreams consist of shawls.

Picture Credit: Deborah Frank, taken from the Swerve Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

To continue my love of shawls — and S shawls at that! — I present to you Deborah Frank’s newest design, Swerve. Swerve features a crescent shape and short rows and stripes — my most favorite of combinations. And the one that Deborah knit looks like an amazing cloud of softness. I want to curl up with it and nap.

The sample piece was knit with mohair which is a fiber I haven’t knit with before. I’m considering ordering a skein and giving it a shot with this lovely shawl. It’s a light shawl, a lovely size and I can imagine wrapping it around myself in multiple ways.

Picture Credit: Deborah Frank, taken from the Swerve Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

 

Look at those airy stitches. Aren’t they just heavenly?

Playing with the idea of a grey main color and a self striping for the contrasting color. Nothing in my stash currently. I’m realizing that while my stash has some lovely, lovely items, it isn’t really meeting my needs. My goal, stash wise, for 2014 is to knit it down as much as possible. My goal for 2015 will be to fill it with practical yarns. Without having those yarns for projects I really want to knit, when something as beautiful as this comes across my path, I’m not able to knit it immediately. And that’s just a sad thing.

Currently on my needles are two shawls. Hoping to pick some yarn up for this soon and cast it on once I get some other projects completed (non-shawl projects, I might add).

What are you daydreaming about this week?


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066 :: Daydream Knitter

I’m busy right now. And with my back issues, I’m knitting less than I want. So, I am daydreaming about knitting. A lot. Probably too much, really. So I wanted to start a new weekly (hopefully!) post where I discuss patterns — both older and recently released — that I am obsessed with and that I cannot wait to one day knit. Currently, my daydreams are full of a week off in a cabin with Netflix and knitting All The Shawls. Also, these daydreams may take it for granted that I do not need to eat/sleep/etc. But who cares? They are daydreams after all.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from the Slain Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

Earlier this year, Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting released a three pattern book of lovely shawls entitled S. Now, we all know I have a Lisa Mutch obsession anyway but my goodness, this e-book. It’s perfect.

The first shawl I have posted is entitled Slain and I am OBSESSED with Slain. I technically probably shouldn’t include it in this post since I have started Slain (I have knit 10 rows because I couldn’t NOT knit it). It is perfection and I cannot wait to get started on it. The construction is fascinating and the striping detail is incredibly thoughtful. I’m doing mine in two shades of purple and a skein of grey. I think it will be pure perfection.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from the Scold Ravelry Page. Click the picture to see pattern.

Second in the book is another gorgeous shawl entitled Scold. There is something about Scold that relaxes me when I look at it. It seems so comforting and warm. I’ve been trying to imagine what colors I would use and I think with this one, I would want to mimic Lisa’s choices — though I may change the red out for a blue, just so A. it’s not purple (trying to branch out a little) and B. it will go with more of my outfits.

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Picture Credit: Lisa Mutch, taken from Smite Ravelry page. Click picture to see pattern.

Last in the e-book is Smite. Smite excites me greatly. After Slain, this will be the next one I knit because I have three yarns in my stash that have been waiting for months to find their pattern mate. Originally, they were going to be part of another Color Affection, but I’m not sure I want to knit another one right now. Those yarns have been calling to me. I will talk more about specifics when it comes time to knit this but I will say the colors will surprise you (no purple or grey to be seen!).

This is just a small taste of the patterns I am daydreaming about knitting. Do you knit in your daydreams as well?


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065 :: January 2014

So, my intentions of this new year included being more active on the blog. I enjoy reading blogs, I enjoy communicating with other knitters with blogs and I enjoy keeping a record of what is going on in my life. But January did not occur as hoped.

A few weeks ago, I was dealing with some back pain. It was a daily annoyance but I just dealt with it. I had planned on going to the doctor but when I was able to go without taking off from work. While at work one day, I felt a muscle pop…and then I was unable to stand. After this happened, I decided it was time to take myself to the doctor.

They ran an X-Ray and luckily my only problems were muscle related, nothing wrong with my spine. They gave me some medicine, stretches and I scheduled a visit for later this upcoming week.

On Tuesday, it will have been two weeks since I went to the doctor. My back has only just started feeling better the past three or four days. I’m happy that my back is feeling a lot better now. Unfortunately, my back pain has led me to not be able to get in as much knitting as I would like. I haven’t completed anything this past month but I have been working on things, though not a whole lot. One thing I am almost done with I cannot talk about yet. But here are the other things I am currently working on:

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Fruit Stripe Gum in Lollipop Yarns, Dancing Queen

I started this sock in December of 2013. The patter in Fruit Stripe Gum and it is such a fun pattern and really works great with self striping yarns. The yarn is my first skein of Lollipop Yarns and the colors are so much fun! This was definitely one of those “just one more stripes” cases and the pattern was incredibly easy to memorize. I have the first sock done but haven’t felt like casting on a project so the second one has yet to be cast on. Soon.

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Sock 1 of Fruit Stripe Socks done.

I also have a pair of Monkey socks on the needles and two pairs of plain vanilla socks, one of which I am planning on attempting a new heel (short row, I think) to participate in the Eat Sleep Knit challenge on Ravelry (we are supposed to use a new technique). My original plan was to knit two socks at once but I found it too finicky to deal with right now. I would like to attempt it again, maybe when things are no so…crazy.

Since I cannot yet post about the project that has taken up most of my January (soon!) and the other projects are basically hibernating, this is all I have so far. Hoping to get back on track and to get better at recording my knitting life and keeping up to date on blogs.

So, how has the first month of 2014 treated you?


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064 :: New Year, New Goals

As part of the Stockinette Zombies group on Ravelry, I’ve put together some knitting related goals for the new year. In the past, I’ve made Knit x This, Knit X That goals. This year, I’ve made some changes.

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First, I wish to knit more from my stash. I am currently working on projects with yarn that has been in the stash for 4 to 6 months. Having my stash out in the open now has made that easier. Plus, it’s lovely to look at.

Second, to be more thoughtful with yarn purchases. Last year was the first year I had a Big Girl Job and I went a little crazy buying yarn. My goal this year is not to not buy yarn, but to instead really think about my purchases. When I choose a project, I plan on shopping the stash first before heading to my local yarn store or Etsy or hitting up my dealer.

Third, I want to knit more socks. Specifically, for me. I have come to the realization over these past few cold days that I have one pair of hand knit socks for myself. Now, there are three now four socks waiting on a mate and another pair that has a hole that I’m trying to decide if it’s worth mending. I need more.

Fourth, I would like to knit more shawls. With concentrating on socks and shawls, this will aid in bringing down the majority of my stash. And since the majority of the shawls I want to knit (currently obsessed with Lisa Mutch’s newest designs) require more than one color, it should be easy to combine shopping the stash and maybe sneaking in a new skein occasionally.

Fifth, I want to knit more for me. I still want to knit for others because I enjoy it but I don’t have much of my own (two shawls, a pair of socks, a pair of mittens, a handful of hats). I think I need to add more to that. I will still knit for others — I owe people some projects that I haven’t been able to get done because:

Sixth, I want to enjoy my knitting. If a project isn’t fun (and I’m knitting it for me), then I’m done. If I’m knitting it for someone else, I will see it through but I’m going to take my time with it. Knitting takes a long time and I work a lot. I want to spend as much of my knitting time as possible enjoying it.

Along with these things, I’d like to post here more often. I think I need to start making plans for posts instead of just randomly sitting down to write a post. I’d like to update at least once a week, but I’m not going to bother with making specific goals like that. Instead, I’d rather write about things that interest me that I think will also interest you. Plus, I’d like to be better at using Ravelry, updating my stash regularly, keeping up to date on projects, tagging projects better.

How about you? Have you made any resolutions or goals for this new year, knitting related or not?


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063 :: FO: Color Affection and Laurel

I finally got some decent pictures of the finished object I mentioned in my last post. Over the past two months, I have been working on the Color Affection by Veera Välimäki for the Caffeinated Knitting Podcast KAL. I finished it the night before it was originally due and can I just say…I love it.

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Unblocked, fresh off the needles, pug approved.

The construction of this shawl is incredibly interesting. I can see why this is such a big hit in the knitting world. And the countless color combinations makes me really want to knit another one, but maybe some time next year. I love the neutral-ness of this one (it goes with almost everything I own and I have worn it almost every day since I completed it) but think I may need one with a little more pop!

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If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know of my love of Northbound Knitting yarns — Lisa has lovely yarn bases and is just a genius with her colorways. The three colors used in this are Moonstone (the lightest color) in her merino/silk blend, Gothic (the purple color) in her BFL/silk base and Nocturne (the grey) in her BFL/silk base. It’s like wearing a cloud around my neck.

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I’m serious about not taking this off. It just makes me so happy. It’s so soft, warm, and feels amazing next to my skin.

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Bonus FO! Also on the 30th, I completed the November OWL for the Harry Potter KAL hosted by Oh! Loops on Ravelry. For November, we had a bunch of options for what to knit and I chose to knit cables. I had originally planned on knitting some gloves for a friend and while I am still working on those gloves, I realized that I would not be able to finish them in the time and also be happy with them. So I instead opted for a headband, thinking it would be quick. It was hard finding a headband that was 200 yards (the minimum amount of yardage for the challenge).

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I chose to knit Laurel by Jill Draper. The pattern and headband are beautiful. And according to the pattern page, it took 218 yards. I quickly realized this was not the case, though. So I added some cable repeats until my hands were starting to hurt. I decided it would be better to get this done, so I knit a garter section, made a button hole, and continued to knit until I had knit 200 yards. I still need to add a button but it turned out super cute.

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I’ve started the December OWL challenge for the KAL and am still working on holiday gifts. I’m working on them the best that I can but I’ve felt very blah lately. Hoping to get some more things off my needles this week, though. I still have 5 gifts (3 started) to finishing knitting and wrapped up. I’m only concerned about 3 of them being done on time, though.

How is your holiday knitting going? Can you believe that 2013 is almost over? This has been such a crazy busy year! Excited to see what 2014 has in store.

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