Tuesday, December 09, 2014

You're Welcome

You have a little over two weeks to finish knitting presents.  Stop crying.  Like a superhero, allow me to save your knitting life this Christmas (I need to knit myself a fabulous lace cape.).   

I want to remind you guys about the quick knitting patterns that exist on this here blog.  The patterns listed below are worked in chunky/bulky weight yarn, and all are free except for Cathy's Cowl and Cathy's Hat patterns (You will get both patterns together for one price of $4.00.).



Cathy's Cowl and Hat






Christmas Bailout Scarf




The Republic Hat




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hot Stuff

This is the season when I tend to zero in on things that, in my brain, have become synonymous with fall.

Fire is one of those things.  Don't be alarmed, you won't find me maniacally skipping around the neighborhood setting piles of leaves afire.  But if I did, I'd totally look like this:

Yes, I'd wear the same outfit Jimi's wearing.
 No, I like my fires small and well contained in the form of burning candles.  I always want to buy ALL the scented candles this time of year.  Well, not all of them because some of them are funky.  If you've been in the candle aisles of some stores here in Raleigh, NC and heard a lone candle-sniffing lady exclaim "This don't even smell right!", it was probably me (When I'm upset that a candle's scent isn't up to par, somehow my grammar falls by the wayside.).  I am equally vocal when I am impressed that a candle smells exactly how the label says it's supposed to smell ("Yes, I will take 50 of those "Birthday Cake" candles, Sir!").

Hot tea is another.  Rooibos is my favorite tea in the whole wide world, but I can totally be convinced to try others. Which is why I must stay away from Teavana stores in the mall because the sales associates stand outside with samples, ready to give you the first hit of whatever they're pushing for free.  Next thing you know, you don't have any more money and the bills are due.

Afghans.  My goodness, I love to wrap up in afghans during this time of year, preferably those that I've made.  I haven't purchased an afghan in a while because of guilt.  You see, I've had a quilt top sitting in the craft room for what has been almost two years, and it just needed to be quilted and bound.  Every time I'd see an afghan I wanted in a store, I talked myself out of buying it because I COULD have a new afghan if I just finished mine.

I really wanted to use it this year, so I decided that now was the time to finally finish it.


I LOVE it!

Oh honey, believe me when I say that there are many imperfections in this quilt.  There is a technique called "stitch in the ditch" where you stitch in previously stitched seams (the "ditches") in the quilt top to connect all three layers of the quilt sandwich (the top, batting, and the back).  It is supposed to be nearly invisible but there are many areas where I kind of veered away from the ditch:


I don't point out imperfections to down myself.  I do it to show you that you can be proud of the things you've made, even though they are less than perfect.  Kind of like when superstars post selfies wearing no makeup to show us regular people that they, too, can sometimes look like hell but still be awesome.

I'm proud of this mitered corner in the quilt binding, so I'm making you look at it.
This is my very first quilt and I want to thank my friend Merrie for teaching me the basics and for being super patient with my slow ass. Merrie said that the colors make the quilt look like fire, and that the colors alone would keep me warm.  I love that.

Monday, June 02, 2014

I see dead people...sort of.

I have lived in this house for about two years and never knit on the porch.

I thought about it many times, but never got around to it.  Well, yesterday I got around to it.  And I liked it. There was a nice, cool breeze blowing and the shade from the porch kept the sun from roasting me.  This is a preview of the back of my sleeveless vest design.  I'll give you more details about that later.   

I bought new nail polish and swatched all of them on one hand. 

Dear dead people...don't start none, won't be none. 
You see the fence that my needles are pointing to?  It is right across the street from my house.  There is a cemetery on the other side of it.  I think the builders of the neighborhood put that there so that the residents aren't all "Ewww! Dead People!".  This strategy works well because I really don't think about them much.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Sometimes, though, if I listen really closely when I am lying in bed at night, I can hear "Thriller" playing.  As long as they keep that party on the other side of that fence, we're cool.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Put Your Name On It

Look at my new knitting bag:

I promise that I won’t let you get all raggedy like my other knitting bags.  Of course, I made that promise to the other bags, but you’re different.  I “put my name on it”, so it must be real.

I bought this from my BFF, Erica Hauge, who is a Thirty One consultant.  Thirty One is a company that sells personalized bags, totes, and purses. 

I immediately saw myself knitting from balls of yarn stashed in those pockets when she showed me this bag.  This one is called the "Zip Top Organizing Utility Tote" and cost $35: adding my name was an additional $7.  The name of the print I chose was "Paradise Pop" (There are many to choose from.).  Here are some other views:
This is the back.
There is another mesh pocket on the other side.
The Top


If you'd like your very own, you can place your order through Erica Hauge's page here.  There is a current special for the month of May where you can get 50% off of the thermals shown above with the purchase of $31 worth of items.  If you're interested in being a consultant, contact her about hostess gifts you can receive.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Square

I wanted a vest with a square neckline, with the body worked in a cool textured stitch.  So, I designed one.  But alas, I did not have the time to knit it because I had many other projects to complete. 

When your best friend is a knitter, you can use her hands as if they were your very own magical extra set graciously ask her to knit stuff for you.  The conversation can go as smoothly as this:

Me: Can you knit this for me?
Her: OK.

I charted it in Excel, wrote up a pattern, gave her the yarn, and she was off to work.

I was at her house while she was seaming.  You can see the cool diagonal rib stitch in the body.
You might recognize this yarn from this project.  I had some extra skeins and used them for this vest. She did a beautiful job, and I am not just saying that because I'm obligated by friendship laws.  I am honestly quite pleased.  Here are a few other photos for your viewing pleasure:


Monday, April 21, 2014

It Is Finished

Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in Color 106, "Rust"
Just threw this one in because I like it.
I like this one too, so I'm forcing you to look at it.
In the last picture, my hand may look as if I'm practicing to be a game show hostess, but I'm trying to show you the drape of the sleeve.

The sweater is done, and I am so happy with it.  The color begged for it to be paired with gold jewelry, so I had to find the necklace in the picture.  I hardly ever wear this necklace.  It looks good with this sweater, so I'll wear it more now.

You know, I originally planned for this to be a turtleneck.  The turtleneck was supposed to be knit so that when you turned the neck down, you saw the mock cable pattern that borders the sleeve and hem.  However, I changed it to a scoop neck because I wanted to be able to wear it in the spring.  I was afraid that if I didn't, I'd pass out from "hot neck-itis" (I have this habit of turning anything into a disease/medical condition by adding "-itis" to the end.).

I'm in love with those sleeves, honey.  I wanted them to be much wider, but when I thought about the fact that too much fabric might get in the way, I toned it down a bit.  This yarn feels good next to my skin, which is great since I really didn't want to have to wear a tank or t-shirt underneath. 

It feels great to have this one done.  I truly thank Linda Pratt of Westminster Fibers for the yarn gift.

Now, on to the next design. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

So, this happened a few days ago:


Yeah.  I was getting my knitting out of the car and the ball of yarn fell out of the bag and rolled under the car.  On the other end of that ball is me holding the back of my latest sweater project.  I was about to retrieve the yarn then thought, "Wait a minute.  The People need to see this ridiculousness.".  So, I grabbed my phone from my purse and took a picture.  Neighbors were looking, but I didn't care.  I made myself look like a fool for you.  The sacrifices I make.

I didn't know this when I took the picture, but luckily, the ball of yarn rolled itself out from under the car, near the trunk.  All I had to do was break the strand of yarn and retrieve the ball.  Hissy fit averted.

The following video was the result of a mistake.  I was trying to take a picture for this post, but I made a mistake and chose the "video" function.  For some reason, my phone would NOT switch back to "photo".  I got frustrated and said, "Might as well make a video.".  So I hit "record" and started talking.  I even got fancy and added music.  Here is the link to the video if it doesn't show up below on some mobile devices: http://youtu.be/hBReFGl_gxQ


(If the video is too small for you to see on the blog, click on the video's YouTube icon to watch it there.) 

Friday, February 28, 2014

"I don't have anything to write so I'm just going to post this picture" Friday

Sleeves: DONE!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My BFF and I were sitting in Waffle House a few days ago, celebrating some good news I received a couple days before that.  That's our spot.  No matter how much money we make, we will always go to Waffle House for the All-Star special with scrambled cheese eggs.  No meat.

Of course we had our knitting.  She was working on a sock with yarn made from corn fiber.  I'd already finished one sleeve of a sweater I'm designing with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, and took it out of my beat-down knitting bag to show it to her.  Give me a knitting bag and that will eventually be it's fate: raggedy.  Straps eventually rip away from the body.  Holes get punched in the bag from knitting needles I haphazardly toss in.  I always stuff them with more projects than I could ever possibly work on at one time.  But sometimes I need to carry lots of them with me in case I get sick of working on the main project.  Kind of like when a man has a main girlfriend, but gets sick of being with her, then calls his side girl (I'm sick of working on this sweater, let me call up my cowl and see what she's up to.).

This is what I showed her: 


I worked on the second sleeve when I wasn't stuffing my face with cheese eggs and waffles.  I've made more progress since then.  I'm planning to be done with the second sleeve in the next few days so that I can start working on the body. 



   

Monday, February 03, 2014

Giveaway Winner
And Sleeve Progress


The random number generator says the first person to comment was the one who won the giveaway explained in this post.  That means that Zenzele won!  Congrats, my dear.

So, I made progress on that sleeve I first mentioned here.  The cuff is complete, and I thought it would be fun to have the center mock cable travel up the sleeve: 



I keep draping it over my arm because it helps me to get a full picture of what it is going to look like:  
I didn't know taking a picture of your own arm would be so hard.
I will definitely post more progress pictures as this design unfolds.  I hope you guys have an awesome week.  Knit something.    

Friday, January 24, 2014

Knit Faster!!!

I swear, I can't knit fast enough.

I received skeins of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted from Linda Pratt of Westminster Fibers, (the distributor of Rowan yarns) to use in one of my designs.  I am really excited about this because I've always loved Rowan yarns and their classic designs.  I even got to pick the color that I wanted:

This color is going to look great on me.
When the box arrived, I laid the yarn out on the dining room table and rubbed it.  And smelled it.  I might have whispered something to it, too.  That cannot be confirmed.  Or denied.

I swatched.  Because good girls swatch:

5 sts and 6.5 rows per inch with US 8 needles.




Then I got to work on the sweater:

Click to enlarge.

This is the cuff of a sleeve, and it is about 5" tall because I want a little drama.  I like this stitch because it looks like a cable but it isn't; the cabled look is created with decreases.  I love the fabric, and often can't wait to work on it more because I NEED to see it finished.  I'll be posting progress pictures, so make sure to stay tuned to see the final sweater.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Louet Blog Tour

Nik's Knits is the next stop on Louet's blog tour to promote the designs in the Spring 2014 Collection.


"Gila" (pronounced "hee-luh") is my contribution to the collection, and I am proud to be a part of it.  I wanted to create something that was cute and fun to wear.  The central lace panel is great because it lends an airiness, allowing it to be worn in warm weather with a shell or tank underneath (...or not, if that's how you roll.  People might stare, though.).  Here is the Ravelry link to the pattern.  

Louet GEMS Fingering was a great yarn to use for this piece.  I remember holding the top in my hand right before sending it to Louet and being really pleased with how lightweight it was.  The stitch definition is to die for, and I absolutely love the color of the yarn.  The photo makes the color look more neon than it really is; it is actually more on the rosy side.

I love designing knitwear, and was happy to have had a chance to feel that giddiness that comes with getting a design published.  I particularly like creating pieces that reflect my personal style, with the hope that others will like them as well.  Designing is also awesome because one minute you've got this idea in your head, and the next minute you have a real live sweater in front of you:



Click the Picture to Enlarge
The squiggly line in my sketch is the universal symbol for "Put some lace right here.".
I have many design resources on my bookshelf, but the one that I am most recently in love with is Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden.  I used some of the information in this book to help me design "Gila", and I want to give you a copy.  I feel like Oprah.

If you want a chance to win the book, leave a comment (in this post only), telling me why you think you should have it.  You have until January 29th, 2014.  I will choose one of you randomly and tell you who won on February 3rd, 2014.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gila

"Gila"
$7.50
(Click the picture to enlarge.)


Payment methods: Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express

Finished Sizes: 33 (39, 43, 45½, 48, 53)”. Model is wearing size 33.

Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering Weight, 185 yds/skein. 4 (5, 6, 6, 6, 7) skeins.

Gauge: 24 sts and 30 rows per inch.

Needles: US4 needles for body and ribbing, US4 16” circular needles for armholes and neckline.

Notions: Stitch markers, tapestry needle, stitch holder or waste yarn.


I have a new pattern in the Louet North America, Spring 2014 Collection!   Here is the link to the Ravelry page for "Gila".  I hope you love this top as much as I loved designing it.  There are more great designs in this collection, and you can see them in this lookbook created by Louet.

And, here is the link to the collection's Ravelry page. 

By the way, doesn't the model's smile make you smile?


Monday, January 06, 2014

Click to enlarge.

If you follow me on Facebook,  you've probably already seen this picture.  Of all the pictures I took, the selfie ended up being the best.  And I took, like, a "gajillion".

This sweater was finished months ago and is the one that I designed for the Shirley Paden design-along from the I Love Shirley Paden group on Ravelry that I posted about here.

We were given a group of stitches that Mrs. Paden used in many of her own designs, and told to develop original designs using one of them.  She held our hands through the entire design process, which involved sketching our ideas, swatching, and knitting.  The things we learned were based on her book "Knitwear Design Workshop".  The book is now on sale in the Interweave store for $3.99.  You should do yourself a favor and purchase a copy.

My favorite parts of the sweater are the cables (of course) and the neckline.  At first, I had a difficult time getting the neck to stand the way I wanted.  But then I decided that the fabric at the neckline had to be firmer, either through knitting the neck with smaller needles or by doubling the fabric.  I decided that I wanted to double the fabric, so I knit the neckline twice the height that I wanted it to be, folded the extra fabric to the inside, then sewed it down.  Worked like a charm.   


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Gimme More

It started as a simple thing, really. 

One day while watching reruns of ancient T.V. shows, I felt a serious needed to crochet something.  I remembered that cotton I had in a Ziploc bag in that one basket upstairs, and thought that a washcloth was just the thing. 

This cloth was finished during one episode of some show whose name I can't remember, and two episodes of Maude:


I didn't follow a pattern.  I chained 33 with a G hook, double crocheted one row, single crocheted one row, continued to alternate rows like this until it was about the size that I wanted it, then stopped.  I originally just wanted one, but there was a partial ball of white cotton in the bag that begged to be a cloth, too.  So a few days later, on Christmas day, this happened:


They needed a bow because, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME:

This is a crafty house, and crafty houses have ribbon at the ready.
Looking at the cloths all wrapped up and pretty, I thought that this gift to myself needed something extra.  So this happened:

I hit the semi-annual sale at Bath and Body Works.
Fragrances:  "Moonlight Path" and "Paris Amour" 
Folks, I thought I was done.  But while looking for the pieces of the UFO (unfinished object) I mentioned here, I found another brand new ball of cotton.  So, this happened:


I'm done. 

I think... 

 
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