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A Very Special FO Friday

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You’ve probably figured this out from the month of radio silence…

Ronan1Our baby boy arrived on July 1, four days before his due date! We named him Ronan, a good Irish name like his mom’s and dad’s. He’s absolutely perfect and we’re completely smitten with him.

Ronan2We’re still adjusting to the new schedule, but Ronan and I are doing very well. He is generally very sweet-tempered. He does get grumpy sometimes, like when he’s waiting in the car with Daddy and Mom is taking too long in the post office:

Ronan3He likes to be held most of the time, so figuring out how to get knitting done has been a bit of a challenge. I did have a breakthrough about a week ago when I figured out I could knit with him snuggled up in my Moby wrap:

Ronan4I’d love to show off pictures of him modeling the baby knits I’ve been working on for the last few months, but unfortunately they’re all too big for him! He wasn’t a small baby (about 8 lbs and 20 inches long), so I think I’m going to have to revisit my sizing on those patterns. He’s growing at a rapid rate (he should be, with the amount he eats!), so hopefully it won’t be too long.

I did get a picture of him modeling my knit FO for the week, a baby hat for a friend who had her baby boy just a few days before I did. I think he sensed that this wasn’t for him:

Garter Flap HatHere are the specs on the FO:

Pattern: Garter Earflap Hat from Purl Soho (Ravelry link).

Yarn: Plymouth Superwash Worsted. I’ve had this yarn sitting in my stash for years and finally found something to do with it. It’s soft and squishy, very reminiscent of Cascade 220 Superwash.

Notes: This was a quick, fun, easy knit! Highly recommended. And the little tassel and earflaps, which are a little hard to see in the modeled photo of my wiggly son, are so cute:

Garter Earflap flatMore baby photos to come!

FO Friday: Yep, More Baby Knits

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I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?

Confound1This newest FO matches the colorwork hat I knit up a few months ago:

Fair Isle baby hatThe specs:

Pattern: My own (to be named). The hat and vest will likely be part of a baby collection I’ll be releasing sometime in the fall.

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport in Grass and Caution. I got the hat and the vest out of just one skein of the green and less than a half skein of the yellow. Baby knits are tiny.

I’m still impressed with the quality of the Knit Picks acrylic lines. The sport-weight version is just as soft and non-squeaky as the worsted-weight version I used for the baby blanket.

Notes: I went back and forth on whether I wanted to do the v-neck edging in the same yellow-green combo as the hems and armholes, but in the end I decided it would be a little too much yellow. I think I made the right choice. Plus the neckline flows better into the green buttoned shoulder band this way.

I’m planning to knit up another sample of this pattern in a different yarn and colorway, because I want the pattern to have the options of a round neck instead of a v-neck and colorwork placement near the hem instead of at the chest.

Bonus FO for this week:

Golden Pear

Pattern: Golden Pear (Ravelry link) by Melissa Thomson

Yarn: Scroungings from my leftovers drawer… I think this is Dream in Color Classy (the brown) and some varieties of Cascade 220 for the cream and green.

Notes: Not my own pattern, for once (gasp!). I have a friend who’s going into labor at any moment, so I thought I’d whip up a quick little baby hat. I think this took me about 2.5 hours from cast on to weaving in ends, so it was definitely quick! The i-cord loop at the top twisted a little when I sewed it down, but I actually like the look better than straight, so it’s all good. This is going in the mail tomorrow.

FO Friday and New Pattern Release: Oscillation Scarf

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I have a new FO to show off, and a new pattern!

And it’s (gasp) not a baby knit.

Oscillation1

The scarf is part of the awesome Malabrigo Quickies program (small designs that take 1-2 skeins of Malabrigo yarn). You can check out the rest of the Quickies here on the Malabrigo website. There are some ridiculously cute patterns there.

We had fun trying to pretend I wasn’t 36 weeks pregnant in the photoshoot. I think we pulled it off rather well. The bump is kiiinnnd of present in the full body shots:

Oscillation2But I think you still see the scarf first and not just OMG baby!

The FO specs:

Pattern: my own Oscillation Scarf (Ravelry link), available to purchase for $4 US.

Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo, two skeins in Reflecting Pool. Blue-green yarns are my Kryptonite, so I loooovee this colorway. My skeins were very different from each other, so I alternated every other row and twisted the yarns up the side. It looks neat and tidy in person, and you can barely see it in the photos, even the closeups:

Oscillation3The combo of the winding cables and alternating skeins broke up the pooling you sometimes get with hand-dyed yarns quite nicely. I’m really happy with the way the colorway looks with the pattern!

Notes: This is one of those sweet spot patterns: just interesting enough to keep your attention, but easily memorized so it makes great TV or travel knitting. A good chunk of this scarf was knit at the TNNA tradeshow while manning my booth or chatting (oops, still need to do a TNNA recap post!).

And now, of course, I’m back to baby knits. My little one is due in three weeks, so not too much longer until you get to see some modeled shots!

 

 

FO Friday: Baby Put Together

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Continuing with the theme of baby obsession, here’s my newest FO:

Baby PT fullIt’s a baby version of one of my first garment patterns, the Put Together vest:

Put Together vestThe downsizing added some challenges, especially on the neck/neckband section. I had to rip out and re-knit the neckband five times to get the decreases right so it wouldn’t ruffle.

Baby PT neckband

After all those decreases, I was a little worried about a giant baby head being able to fit through there, so I changed the neckband from worked in the round (as it was in the original) to worked flat with a button. I think it came out cute:

IMG_1218The specs:

Pattern: my own, based on my Put Together adult vest.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Dr. Zhivago’s Sky for the MC. I used less than one skein for a 3-6 month size! The contrasting color is some Tosh DK Twist I had left over from my Creme de Menthe vest.

As usual, working with Tosh was fantastic. It was nice to not have to worry about alternating multiple skeins, though. And I bought two skeins, so I have one left to play with!

Notes: I was aiming for unisex colors, and I think it worked out pretty well (okay, maybe it’s a little on the boyish side, but close). I can’t wait to see my little one in this!

 

 

 

Blog Week Day 7: Looking Back, Looking Forward 5KCBDAY7

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Look back on last year’s Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about ever make it onto the hook or needles?

One year from now, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

In my Day 7 post from last year , I was hoping to incorporate short rows, steeking, and the contiguous sleeve method into my designs by Blog Week 2014.

Well, I got one out of three. No steeking or contiguous sleeves, but I used short rows in three sweater designs last year.

They’re used to form the cap sleeves in Roanoke:

Roanoke detailAnd again for the sleeve caps on Basia (Ravelry link), a newly-released cardigan from Harrisville Designs (stay tuned for more about Basia later!):

Basia frontI also used short rows to form a snuggly shawl collar on a cozy long cardigan, but its release got delayed until this fall, so you’ll have to wait a while to see that one.

I do have an idea brewing for a steeked vest, so that may be coming up soon. I’m not sure about the contiguous sleeves, though… looking at them again, I’m not quite as much in love with this method as I was at this time last year.

As for goals, I’d like to release my first collection of baby/child garments and accessories this fall. I’ve got a good start on it already:

MalBaby front

Mal baby hat

Fair Isle baby hat

Moroccan blanket WIP3

Here’s to another successful Knitting and Crochet Blog Week! Like the past two I’ve done, it’s been a little challenging to blog every day, but also fun to think outside my usual blogging box. It’s also fascinating to look back on the posts from previous years and see how far I’ve come as a crafter and a designer. I’m interested to see where the next year takes me!

Blog Week Day 6: Views of Others, Views of Yourself 5KCBWDAY6

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Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire.

After TNNA a few weeks ago, I was overflowing with admiration for my fellow knitting and crochet designers. Most have families, many have day jobs, and all have obligations, but they still manage to produce beautiful, quality patterns for others to enjoy. It takes a lot of dedication and love of the craft!

I was at the show exhibiting through my print pattern distributor, Stitch Sprouts, so I got to chat and hang out with several other Stitch Sprouts designers. Since I can’t pick just one, I’m going to show you my favorite designs from a few of them.

First up, Corrina Ferguson of PicnicKnits. She designs, among other things, stupendous lace shawls. I’m in awe of this one in particular, which I got to see in person at the show:

This is Biellese (Ravelry link):

BielleseNext there’s Katherine Vaughan. She has a great mix of accessories, baby knits, and garments in her portfolio. I got to see this lovely tank top design at the show before its official release (it’s since gone live on Ravelry–check out May Dance!):

May DanceHeather Zoppetti, the creative wizard behind Stitch Sprouts, is also highly talented designer (although I honestly don’t know how she finds any time to do it–I think maybe she’s figured out how to clone herself).

Here’s one of her new designs, Tulsi. I love the colorwork:

TulsiThe other cool thing is that this hat is knit in a brand-new yarn, Stitch Sprouts Yellowstone (DK weight, 80% wool, 20% silk). I got to fondle it at the show and let me tell you, it’s dreaaammmy. I may, without admitting anything, have picked up a few skeins for a colorwork hat/mitt design of my own.

Finally, there’s Mindy Wilkes. Mindy specializes in clever lace shawls, and I love that she doesn’t just stick to one weight of yarn. Harvest Moon, one of my favorites, is knit with a worsted weight yarn, Tosh Vintage (which, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know is probably my favorite yarn ever):

Harvest MoonIn the interest of space, I won’t gush about all of the Stitch Sprouts designers (although I will mention that Andrea Rangel, Stephannie Tallent, and Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn all have some awesome designs I got to ogle at the show too). But let me just say that I left the show feeling inspired (and frankly, a bit humbled) by all the talent.

Blog Week Day 5: Something a Bit Different 5kcbwday5

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You know what I’ve never done? A knitting photo tutorial. I use them all the time, and I love blogs that have them, but I’ve never taken the time to do a clear sequence of photos that show a technique.

Below is my first-ever knitting photo tutorial. It’s the Daisy Pattern I used in my Daisy Cloche and Daisy Mittens. It can be a little tricky to work, and I’ve had a few questions about it, so I thought it would be perfect for a tutorial.

Warning: photo heavy post ahead (but I bet you guessed that!).

DAISY STITCH TUTORIAL

Round 1: To begin, I cast on a number of stitches for a swatch and purled the first row as it states in the pattern (note: the Daisy Cloche and Mittens are worked in the round, but I worked my swatch flat. The technique is the same–just ignore the extra strands behind the swatch).

Daisy 1Round 2: The next step says to k1, then k the next stitch, wrapping yarn three times around the needle instead of one.

Daisy 2

Daisy 3 Daisy 4See the three wraps around the right-hand needle where you would usually have only one? Don’t worry if it looks messy–that will be fixed later.

Work four more stitches like this:Daisy 5Continue along the rest of the stitches in this manner, working a knit stitch between each group of five triple-wrapped stitches. Here’s what it should look like when you’re done:

Daisy 6Round 3: Now the fun begins! Start by purling the first stitch:Daisy 7Now slip the first triple-wrapped stitch from the left hand needle to the right hand needle, letting the extra loops drop off so the stitch gets elongated. It should look like this:Daisy 8

Daisy 9Repeat for the next four stitches. Here’s what it should look like when you’re done with all five:

Daisy 11Now we’re going to begin the wrap. First, take the working yarn and move it behind the elongated stitches, through the middle of the needles:

Daisy 12Then slip the five elongated stitches back to the left hand needle, bringing the yarn around the front and through the middle of the two needles again:

Daisy 13Daisy 14Repeat these steps by slipping the yarn back to the right hand needle, wrapping the yarn around a second time, and slipping them back to the left hand needle again. When you’re done, you should have two wraps of yarn around the bundle of elongated stitches and it should look like this (pull the wraps snugly so they cinch the sts together):

Daisy 15Repeat these steps (including the purl stitch between bundles) the whole way across your stitches.

Daisy 16

Daisy 17

Here’s what the row should look like when you’re done. See how the pattern creates the nice scalloped edge?

Daisy 18Rounds 4 and 5: These are simple enough: knit one round, then purl one round. Here’s what it looks like when you’re done:

Daisy 19Notice that the wraps are a little off-center. That’s okay–all you have to do is push them up with your finger (they’ll stay where you put them):

Daisy 20Voilà: the finished Daisy Pattern!

Daisy 21

Blog Week Day 4: Conversations Between Workers 5KCBWDAY4

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Write a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item.

I may look unassuming, but I’m actually the most vital and important item in Triona’s knitting arsenal.

Knit Knit 1Before I came along a few years ago, this is what her notions bag looked like:

Notions bagPretty horrific, huh? You should have seen her root through there every time she needed a stitch marker, yarn needle, or tape measure.

Not to toot my own horn too much, but I’m awesome. I have a tape measure, crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, row counter and yarn cutter… and that’s before I’m even OPEN.

Knit Kit 2Inside, I’ve got room for every common notion a knitter needs:

Knit Kit 3 Knit Kit open

Knit Knit 4I mean, really. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Triona: Okay, hang on. I’m stepping in here. I know you think you’re the greatest knitting tool in the universe, but I think you’ve forgotten one important fact. I replaced almost all your inside contents with my own stuff within a month of getting you.

Knit Kit: Hey, it wasn’t my fault that I came with an inferior yarn needle, stitch markers, and point protectors. Or that my creators didn’t assume you would be using interchangeable needles and would therefore need tightening keys. My awesomeness still stands.

Triona: All right, I’ll give you that. Having a small, compact container to throw in my knitting bag when I travel has been pretty amazing.

Knit Kit (smugly): I’ve been to Rome.

Triona: Don’t push your luck, KK.

Blog Week Day 3: Experimental Photography 5KCBWDAY3

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Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers: Refresh your skills at creating attention-grabbing pictures.

For today’s Blog Week topic, I decided to tackle some photo editing.

Below is one of the original, unedited pictures I took of my Morgandy Mittens pattern. I love, love, love the mittens, but I never really felt like the pictures showed them off to their best advantage.

Mittens Original

Original

As you can see, the color of the mittens looks kind of washed out and flat, and the yellow table background is distracting. The actual yarn (Manos Silk Blend in Bing Cherry) is a luminous, multi-toned purple-red color. Not flat at all!

I went looking for an accurate depiction of it somewhere online and had a lot of trouble finding one. Looks like I’m not the only one whose camera has trouble with reds! This picture, from retailer Eat.Sleep.Knit., is the closest one I found:

Bing Cherry Manos Silk BlendFirst, I tried my quick and dirty method of photo editing: using the tools in iPhoto to tweak exposure, colors, and contrast. After a few minutes, it looked slightly better:

Mittens iPhoto

with iPhoto treatment

Also kind of fluorescent. Not the best look. So I imported the photo into Photoshop to try some more powerful tools. I’m not great with Photoshop, and I only know how to use about 5% of the things it can do, but sometimes I can get good results by messing around for a while to see what looks good.

Here’s the result of tweaking levels and selective color on the original photo:

Mittens Photoshop

with Photoshop treatment

Maybe a little better… but still not great (although we’re getting closer to the actual color, so that’s good).

Now I decided to pull out the big guns. One of the best things I discovered a few years ago was Photoshop Actions. These are sequences of layers and filters that people put together to create certain effects and then put up online for free or sale. You click one button and everything gets applied to your original photo, and then you can adjust the layers to get the exact look you want. (I gushed about Actions in this blog post if you want to read more about them.)

Some of the actions I have obviously weren’t going to work for this picture (like the ones to bump up the reds), but I found several that I liked! All the actions below are from the Timecapsule Set by Nelly Nero.

Mittens Woodstock Action

with “Woodstock” action – I like the vintage-y look!

Mittens Milk Action

With “Milk” action

And my favorite of the bunch:

Mittens Mandolin2

with “Mandolin” action

The colors are very close to the actual mittens and the yarn no longer looks flat and dull. Plus, I think the cables show up a lot better than they did in the original.

I’m calling this one a win!

Blog Week Day 2: Dating Profile 5KCBWDAY2

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Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects.

Introduction: Mature, well-loved blanket seeks people who like to cuddle.

Stargate Blanket 1I was made all the way back in 2006 when my creator had less than a year’s knitting experience. She heard her beloved Mission Falls 1824 Wool was being discontinued and snapped up twelve skeins on clearance.

And okay, Mission Falls doesn’t necessarily hold up so well over eight years of heavy use and many trips through the washing machine and dryer.

Stargate Blanket 2Character. I have lots of character.

Interests: I was created over a period of about a month as my knitter discovered what would become her favorite show, Stargate SG-1. So now my friends call me the Stargate blanket.

I also have a fondness for crochet, since my knitter learned how to crochet to make my edging:

Stargate Blanket 3Dislikes: Now, I wouldn’t say I dislike this guy exactly:

Mort Stargate BlanketBut when he gets too comfortable, the kneading can get out of control. I’m just saying.

The Future: I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be getting pretty cozy with the new baby arriving in a few months. I’m soft and just the right size for floor time and snuggling.

Plus I have it on good authority that I make a pretty good superhero cape:

Stargate Blanket 4

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