Challenge Accepted… AND Completed

Several months ago, I posted about participating in Jill Wolcott’s Finishing Challenge, and I figured it’s high time I share what I finished. 🙂

Although I did not start this year expecting to go all in on challenge, I seem to have embraced being challenged, as I also completed #75Hard after I finished this one. This has certainly been a challenging year, and apparently I unintentionally adopted the theme.

Here’s the thing about challenges, whether you choose them or they choose you: they are NOT fun while doing them, but if you persevere and meet them to the best of your ability, you WILL become a stronger person. You WILL find strength you didn’t know you possessed, and you WILL accomplish what you didn’t know you could. Anyway my friends, that is my message for you today, which I hope will encourage you during a year that has been challenging for all of us.

Now on to the fun stuff – which projects came out of their naughty corners? Read on…

Taking a break during seaming…
Hexagon Throw by Kristin Nicholas
Put it on the couch…
Hexagon Throw by Kristin Nicholas
…but discovered it’s big enough to be a bed spread!

This is from one of Kristin Nicholas’s books about home decor, and I had done the crocheting of all the hexagons in California. Then we started the cross-country moving process, it all got packed, and then even after it got unpacked, the last thing I was in the mood to do was seam 40 or 50 hexagons together. Plus weave in the ends. Yuck. This is the project I took on first during the challenge because it was the one I was dreading the most. I would advise this as a life motto – get the hardest thing out of the way first! 🙂

knitted dish cloths
I may never buy dish cloths again
Isn’t that the prettiest stack of cotton you’ve ever seen?

After my 20 hours of seaming hexagons and weaving in ends, I figured it was time for a quick win. I hate weaving in ends as much as I hate seaming hexagons, so I had quite the stack of wash cloths sitting around. (You may be sensing a theme of how projects end up in the naughty corner around here, and you are correct.) One of the things I realized in this challenge was that I really need to commit to finishing before starting new projects. It didn’t take me very long to get this stack done so it could finally move from my pile of unfinished projects into the linen closet, so I cannot offer any good reason why I procrastinated so long on this one.

Sorry, my selfie game is not fabulous. This sweater, however, is. 🙂
The original pattern had cables on each side, but I preferred just to enjoy the color and keep it simple.

The Shimla sweater is another item I began in Burbank. This sweater was in Knitscene a few years ago, and I altered the pattern slightly because I didn’t like the cable that ran up each side. When I started Jill’s challenge, I had the second sleeve, the straps, and all the finishing work to do. If I’m honest, this sweater did not deserve to be in the naughty corner. It was just a matter of me getting bored and procrastinating about finishing it. There, I admitted it. 🙂 However, I have been wearing it constantly now that the weather is cooler. It goes with leggings and jeans, boots, and my slippers (important now that we are all staying home!). I am happy I got it done so I can wear it all winter.

My Boo, who has loved taking a nap in my knitwear since she was a wee kitten.
I started this as a log cabin blanket, but then I adapted the pattern to my own liking, and I think it turned out a bit like an Op Art piece.

I have always wanted to make a log cabin afghan because I love the idea of incorporating all the geometrics in quilts into knitting. But instead of the traditional log cabin pattern, I decided just to keep knitting around and around until I got to my desired size. I love the finished piece, which is on my couch currently, most likely with one of the pets curled up on it. This is probably the project that had the shortest time in the procrastination corner. I started it in December 2019, got a very long way on it, and then put it aside due to boredom. But I decided I was so close to the end, I might as well get it done during the challenge.

Debbie Bliss Basketweave Scarf

This scarf is one of the rare projects I’ve done in which I followed the pattern exactly, right down to buying the exact same yarn in the exact same colorway listed in the pattern. It is also the oldest project in the bunch. It must have sat around for at least 5 years, if not more. Why? Because basketweave stitch is ALL cables, and to knit a large scarf like this, it feels like endless fiddly knitting. This yarn is very splitty, which added to the tedium. I absolutely love the end result, and and my version looks as beautiful as the magazine cover where I first saw this pattern, but I won’t be clamoring to make another one any time soon.

It is my very first attempt at knitting cables, but I can’t say it did much to make me enthusiastic about cabling. If you are learning a new technique, obviously you need lots of repetition to get comfortable with it. However, once that initial challenge is overcome, projects like this can get tedious so fast! I did feel myself picking up some speed at the end, but even after making such a large scarf, I still can’t get a rhythm with cabling. If anyone has suggestions for enjoyable cable patterns, or tips for how to get in the flow with it, please share. 🙂

Just a little peek at one of the slip stitch designs I’ve been talking about for so long now. Coming very soon, I promise!

By the time I finished everything I already posted above, I had only a few hours left before the challenge was over. I figured I deserved a reward, so I decided to spend those last few hours knitting the third panel of my own slip stitch afghan design. I took this photo at the start so I could see how many inches it grew in a few hours, and I am happy to say that when you hunker down to see how much you can get done in a few hours, you may be surprised. Focus is everything! I am very happy to say I am very close to getting this pattern and a new shawl pattern published, both of which focus on slip stitching and color. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak!

Striped Directions Wrap

striped directions scarf
Striped Directions Scarf

I am so happy to finally be publishing designs again! I got obsessed with slip stitch knitting several years ago, and have been working on a series of designs using this technique. I am seeing more and more of it everywhere, but when I initially started, I remember friends commenting they’d never seen some of the stitch patterns I was doing.

I really love slip stitch knitting because it allows you to play with color without doing stranded knitting such as Fair Isle. Carrying the floats requires you to be careful with your tension or the knitting will pucker, but slip stitch knitting doesn’t have this issue.

Slip stitch knitting is also known as mosaic knitting because it uses the same technique of working with two colors of yarn, but only knitting with one color every two rows, and slipping stitches in the alternate color to create patterns.

My new design uses garter st and a very simple slip stitch pattern to create perpendicular stripes. I used a fractal spun yarn and a semi-solid to create this scarf. You could also use handspun or gradient yarns, or even solids that have good contrast. This is a really great stashbuster project because you only need 400-600 yards each of two colors of yarn. I used a semi-solid and a fractal spun, but this would lend itself to so many different combinations! I am excited to make more different versions myself.

I feel like celebrating, as it has been so long since I published, and it’s a beautiful October day, and fall knitting season is here! I also really want to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog, supports me as a designer, and has very patiently continued to do so while I was in the middle of major life change and MIA for awhile.

As my thanks to you, I am running a promotion for all my patterns for the month of October. When you spend $15 on my patterns, get $5 off (at checkout on Ravelry) with fallknitekb. And please tag me on Instagram with #elizabethkaybooth or post in my group on Ravelry when you make one of my patterns so I can see your take on it. There is nothing more rewarding as a designer than to see other people enjoy my work and to see what colors and personal touches you bring to it!

For anyone interested, here is my Ravelry store: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/elizabeth-kay-booth

Happy fall my friends! More good things to come very soon!

Finished: Antonio’s Blanket

Louver panes baby blanket size

There are so many things I love about living in LA. But I miss my sisters and family terribly, especially at the holidays. I have two nephews I haven’t yet had a chance to meet, although I hope to put that right very soon. 🙂

One of my great joys in life is to pick something to make when my sisters have a baby. As you might know from reading my blog for awhile, I have a preference for making baby blankets.

 

Louver Panes blanket

My choice for my newest nephew Antonio is a fun one. I went with a mix of blues with black trim, and resized this pattern into a baby blanket.

Louver Panes baby blanket

I am very wary of making blankets that have squares to seam together at the end. I once made a mitered square blanket that, no joke, took me longer to seam together and weave in ends than it did to knit the squares. The only reason I saw 100’s through to the end was because most of the squares are picked up and knit, no seaming, so it wasn’t quite so bad.

But back to this one, the seaming was very simple, and the squares themselves are big enough that it was actually fun putting it together sort of like a puzzle. I will not make a blanket with tiny mitered squares again, but I wouldn’t mind doing a full size version of this one for our home.

Louver Panes baby blanket

FO: Honeycomb Baby Blanket

20170919_110040

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