Facing Down an Old WIP

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace WrapThis project is probably one of the oldest WIPs I had sitting in the back of my closet. I started it 4 or 5 years ago, and knitted far with it. As in, it calls for 3 skeins of yarn, and I knitted through 2 before I quit working on it.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

This was one of those projects where I loved the pattern, loved the yarn, and because I loved them both so much, I wanted perfection. I’m sure you know what is coming. I made a mistake pretty early on, but didn’t notice it until I had knit several more inches. I pushed myself to just live with a mistake. Then I made more mistakes, and the whole thing just started to annoy me by the time I started the second skein.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

By the time I was finishing that skein, I was majorly irritated with myself and wishing I had just frogged it when I noticed the first mistake. But of course, being 2/3 done with it, at this point, I REALLY didn’t want to frog it, so I did what most of us do in such situations and decided to just shelve it for awhile.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

You know how it is, we always think if we put it aside for awhile, our mistakes will disappear by magic, or at least not bother us so much when we pull it back out after awhile. It turns out in this instance “awhile” was 4+ years, and when I pulled it back out over the summer, the mistakes were still there and glaringly obvious.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

Of course, there are two ways this can go when you’re in this situation: you can frog the whole thing and start over or you can frog it and repurpose the yarn for a different project. It really comes down to how passionate you feel about the pattern at hand. I decided to do the first because from the start, I loved THIS yarn with THIS pattern.

Louisa Harding Amitola, Herringbone Lace Wrap

I am happy to say that when a project has had such a long timeout, it is much less painful to just frog the whole thing and pretend you’re starting something brand new, which you almost are. When I picked it up again, I had all the excitement and drive that comes with starting a new project, and I made the most of it. The bonus to restarting is that it does go much faster the second time around. I knit the entire wrap in the course of a few months, mistake-free, and I am very happy with the results, which you can see in these photos. I hope you enjoyed reading about the process, and that you’ll be encouraged to face whatever projects have been hiding in your closet for the same reasons. It really won’t be as bad as you think! ūüôā

Pattern
Yarn: Louisa Harding Amitola

Project Runway Fandom: Welted Coat

knitwear
My new favorite knitwear

Our knitting guild has a very nice holiday party every year, and for the 2017 party, as part of the fun, they did a fandom challenge. The challenge was to make something from start to finish in 2017 inspired by anything we were a fan of. Other than that, the challenge was wide open for creativity.

project runway knitwear
Welted Coat – designed by Irina Shabayeva, Season 6 Project Runway winner, and knit by yours truly

This Welted Coat, designed by Irina Shabayeva, had been in my queue ever since it first appeared in Vogue Knitting. I had just started knitting when that issue was published, and so I was definitely too intimidated to begin such a complex pattern. But since I am a Project Runway fan, and Irina was my favorite winner, I realized it was the perfect challenge.

welted coat by irina shabayeva
Side view – I love this coat. It hugs the body without being tight or uncomfortable.

The knitting process for this project was surprisingly fast and easy. It’s knit in worsted/aran weight yarn on size 11’s, so it goes fast. Even a relative beginner wouldn’t have too much trouble doing the knitting for this project. The challenge comes in the construction. If memory serves correct, it was a total of 12 or 13 separate pieces that are sewn together at the end. The pattern is not overly detailed about the sewing portion, nor are the schematics that helpful.

In truth, the most helpful thing in constructing the garment when I was done with the knitting was my mannequin. When I pinned the pieces together on the mannequin according to how the instructions said to sew it together, it started making more sense. But it took me two full days to do the sewing and finishing (much of which was spent just figuring it out), and I was very grateful I had extra time to myself over Thanksgiving to get it done.

knitwear garment construction
This is probably 7 separate pieces in view here. Complicated construction, but have to say, the fit is flattering when its done!

Dealing with the construction issues ended up being worth it, and I am so happy to have this coat. It goes with everything, is flattering and so comfortable to wear! During the cold months, I wore it with everything, and gives the sensation of wrapping yourself in a cocoon. I am glad I made it in a relatively neutral color, and will wear it for years to come.

my knitted coat
The coziest outfit ever – I may just live in this coat until it gets too hot to be dressed in wool and silk

FO: Honeycomb Baby Blanket

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I am currently working on a series of designs using slip stitches in my own way. But this, my friends, is the project that started my fascination with slipstitching.

20170919_110407

There are the hard ways to do colorwork, and then there are slipstitch patterns that make it look like you’re a knitting rockstar without the bother of stranding, dealing with floats, etc. Gradate your yarn colors to make it even more impressive.

This baby blanket is for my youngest nephew, and I absolutely loved this pattern. The simplicity is cloaked in the awesome results. To be honest, I got very bored halfway through because it is so easy.

Stay tuned for my own slipstitch designs, coming soon. I’m on a roll! And if you want to see what my nephew thought of his gift, check out my Instagram.

via Cloaked

My Valentine’s Go-To Gift

KnittingDishcloth
One of my Spanish-speaking friends calls¬†Valentine’s Day “El Dia de Amor y Amistad” (The Day of Love and Friendship). I’m not sure if this term is used widely or only in her country, but it describes how I feel about this holiday. Lots of people don’t like Valentine’s Day¬†because it is a painful reminder of heartbreaks, the fact that they’re single, etc., and I don’t blame them for that. But I can’t think of any reason why it¬†has to be only about romantic love. Of course I like to celebrate it with my husband, but I also love to celebrate it with my kids, and I think it’s a great day to celebrate friendships too.

I have a new friendship in my life at the moment, but since it is new, it is also in that stage where overdoing a gift could make things extremely awkward. As you all know, I am a fan of making dishcloths, and I decided this holiday offers me the perfect chance to do something nice for her without making her feel uncomfortable. Because Valentine’s Day is a minor holiday, it is a great time to do something nice for someone in an understated way. Dishcloths are useful, and since I made them, they have that homemade touch, but they’re not sentimental. The perfect gift to say I care about my friend. The bonus for these is they’re easy to whip up in a day.

I use a very basic checkerboard pattern, but it makes the perfect-textured cloth. I hope you all enjoy!

Dishcloths
Knit and Purl Dish/Wash Cloth Pattern

Finished Measurements: Approx. 10.75 x 10.75 inches
Materials Needed: 95 yds worsted weight cotton yarn
US Size 7 needles
Darning needle (to weave in ends)

CO 42 sts.

Knit 8 rows (4 garter ridges).

Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: *k6, p6*, end k6.

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

Row 9: Knit.
Row 10: *p6, k6*, end p6.

Repeat these two rows 3 more times.

After rows 9 – 16 are complete, switch back to Rows 1 and 2 for 8 rows. Continue alternating pattern every 8 rows until cloth is approximately 1″ shorter than desired.

Finish with 8 rows of knitting (4 garter ridges). BO and weave in ends.

Knit.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. My weekend was filled with family, friends, and of course, working on projects. It was rainy and chilly, and after being in such a serious drought for so long, my fellow Californians will appreciate how nice it was to be cozy inside while knitting and listening to the rain. In the course of doing some more browsing through my crafty magazines, I came across this pattern and wanted to share. I also browsed the designer’s site, the name of which makes me wish I knew the designer personally, as we would likely have lots beyond knitting to bond over. I’m glad I explored, as the site offers color inspirations and makes me want to come back for more.

Chunky Polka Dots

elizabeth kay booth polka dot scarf
Polka Dot Scarf

Not too long ago, I posted a holiday gift guide of sorts. Please allow me to respectfully add one more item of my own design to the list. This scarf, which was claimed by my daughter about 5 minutes after I started working on it, is super fast, even though it involves intarsia, and is the perfect gift for a young girl. My daughter is 9, and it is hard to find patterns for kids that age. Most of the books only take kids’ sizes up through 6 or 7, and even stores seem to skip age 9. Style-wise, kids, especially girls, that age are at a¬†difficult stage. They’re done with the Disney princesses, but not quite ready for all the stuff targeted at teenagers.

My daughter went to a birthday party a few months back and came home with a polka-dotted gift bag. The bag sat around our house staring at me for a few weeks before I finally threw it out. But when our shop got a shipment of Zumie, I had a jolt of inspiration. Polka dots and chunky knit seem to fit the bill for 9 year-old girliness crossed with a move toward growing up. You can have your own fun picking out the colors, as I did, or you can ask your little lady what her favorite colors are.

Aside from my new free pattern, I offer one more¬†little goodie. I have, up until now, been posting all my patterns on Ravelry, as it¬†is the only place I’m able to process transactions on patterns for purchase. Other freebies, such as the Doubles Remix cowl have simply been blog posts. I thought it would be helpful for everyone¬†if all my patterns were¬†in one place. Starting with this new pattern, plus all others, you may now visit the newly created Patterns page. For now, all of my for-sale patterns are on the main page, and the free patterns are separated into the dropdown. As I continue to design and add patterns, I will do my best to keep it easy for you to find what you want. For instance, once I add a few more crochet patterns, there will be another dropdown for those. In the meantime, I hope this new page makes it easier to find things. Enjoy browsing my little portfolio of designs, and I hope, enjoy crafting them! Many thanks to all of you¬†who read my blog, make my designs, and support me as a designer!¬†Please share your photos of finished objects on Ravelry with me, because I would love to see!

Free Pattern: Chunky Rib Scarf

Now that you all know how to do fringe, here is the scarf pattern I designed that includes it! This is a fun, easy, summer knit – since you are just doing simple ribbing, you don’t need to think that much. I used up some acrylic from my stash, but you can pretty much use a bright color in any fiber and still have yourself a fun knit and bright accessory when you’re done!

Scarf

Measurements
With any scarf, you can make it as wide or skinny as you want, and as long or short as you want. Customize! But if you want the finished measurements for mine, it is approx. 82″ long and 6″ wide. These measurements do not count the fringe, so if you have a particular length in mind, account for an extra 10″ in length with the fringe.

Materials
US 17 needles
536 yds. of worsted weight yarn
Darning needle
Scissors
N – 9.00 mm crochet hook

Pattern Notes
I advise cutting the fringe first, because you can then knit until your yarn is gone, if you so choose.
To get the chunky knit look, I knit the¬†scarf with two strands of worsted weight yarn held together. However, you can use half the yardage in a super chunky yarn like Malabrigo Rasta if you don’t¬†like working with two strands.

Instructions
There are a total of 10 groups of fringe on each end of the scarf. Each group has 8 strands. Cut each fringe section by measuring 10″ lengths of yarn 8 times. (This adds 5″ to each end of the scarf, because the fringe will be folded in half when you attach it.) I recommend using hair scrunchies or bands to keep each fringe section grouped together and place in a Ziplock bag until you’re ready to attach them. You may notice that no matter how careful you thought you were in measuring, that all the ends just do not seem to be the EXACT SAME length, and I want to encourage you not to drive yourself nuts about this. Mine were not exact either, even though I tried to measure carefully. When you attach it and it all hangs together, it looks the way it’s supposed to, and if you happen to notice one piece that really stands out from the others, snip it to a length that allows it to blend in.

Once your fringe is cut, CO 22 sts. K1, p1 every row, until your scarf is 10″ shorter than you want it to be. BO in pattern. You do not need to weave in ends, because once you attach your fringe, you may simply hook the ends into the fringe and snip to the same length.

Check my tutorial on adding fringe if you’re not sure how to do it. Aside from cutting the fringe, which may be easiest to do at home, I advise making this a beach/poolside/airplane/gift knitting project because of how simple it is! Happy summer knitting!