Get Wrecked! Wreck Yourself Cowl Pattern

The Wreck Yourself Cowl pattern is now live on Rav and on the patterns page!  You will also see that I have added the option for you to purchase direct off my site if you aren’t into the Ravelry scene.  (Though as a knitter… its a pretty amazing scene to be in)

And since you may need both patterns to use up that one skein, I’m offering a discount if you buy both the Check Yourself and the Wreck Yourself Cowl patterns.  Just use the coupon code CheckedBeforeWrecked and it will take $2 (USD) off the total.  Its like buy one, get one for half price.  And if that sounds too complex well… just click here and it will do the whole add patterns and coupons directly for you.  Woohoo!


Get Wrecked! And NaKniSweMo

I know, I know… its hard to believe but I’m adding a new blog post already!

So first up… the Wreck Yourself Cowl pattern has been written and proofread, and basically all I need is a test knitter who can knit it up and make sure that my brain and my typing fingers weren’t conspiring against me. If that is of interest to you, get in touch (just a phrase you don’t actually have to physically touch me) and I will send you the pattern.

Secondly…. I finished up a hat.  And not just a plain old hat, but a reversible 2 color brioche hat, so its full of smoosh and color!

Pattern is called Flaming Hat (and there is a matching scarf pattern).  The pattern is very well written and charted.  My biggest problems were occasionally dropping a stitch.  So I worked on my how to pick up a dropped brioche stitch skills.

Which brings us to NaKniSweMo… and if you think that’s a made up word, you are right.  Its an abbreviation meant to represent National Knit a Sweater Month.  This is more a knitters commandeering National Novel Writing Month’s premise of writing a 50,000 word (or more) novel in a month.  Only in knitter feats that translates to a 50,000 or more stitch sweater.  I am sort of participating.  I say sort of because… I am skipping the whole how many stitches portion and just knitting up a sweater.  My added difficulty is the yarn I’ve selected (from my stash) is 26 balls of black fingering weight that doesn’t have any yardage listed.  I have attempted to assure my brain that even should each ball only contain 100 yards I have more than enough yarn for the project.  Now I just need my brain to kick over out of “I hope we don’t run out mode.”  As a bonus difficulty I am also attempting to work on a quilting holiday present.  Naturally I can’t post about it here until after its finished, but… COMING SOON!

Check Yourself Cowl Pattern

Check YourselfI am both immensely proud and partially horrified… I’ve just published my first for pay pattern.  My test knitter messaged me with a pre-coffee wake up update that she had finished her knitting and so the Check Yourself Cowl is now available on Ravelry.

The pattern was test knit and includes directions for both an Aran or Worsted Weight yarn options, and works very well with one yarn that may not have a consistent gauge, such as your own homespun or in my sample, Manos del Uruguay Classica.

And now for some sentimental rambling thoughts…

Deciding to sell a pattern rather than just give it away is one of those brain hurdles for me.  Up until now, I was easing my way into the pool with some free patterns… learning the ropes and through my own knitting seeing the good patterns vs bad patterns traits.  But there comes a point when you just have to take the big plunge and as I was making up my cowl… that was the time.  Get wet and get over it.

Cowl Before Me!

ManosEvery so often I take a minute after a project and before the next to physically go through my yarn stash. Since I’ve been stash busting, its also a good way to see what singles, partials and just plain kind of special cases of yarn need to find a use.  My last venture started out with some thrifted Manos del Uruguay Classica (Price tag is from the stashkeeper before me). This is a thick/thin single ply yarn that is kettle dyed in some lovely colors and which I ended up with just a bit better than 2 non-matching skeins. The skein on the right looked like a good match to one of the half a ball colors left over from my original stitch block cowl, so that was my jumping in point.

So I started out and was knitting along and after a few inches into the cowl project it became apparent to me that there wasn’t enough variation between the two colors, so back into the stash to come up with a better plan.  And eventually I came out with what I am calling the “Check Yourself Cowl” (This photo taken while it was blocking.)

Check Yourself

I was quite pleased and had taken pretty good notes, so I sent the pattern off to another knitter as a test knit and with a bit of luck this pattern will be available soon.  There was just one problem.  I still had half a skein of the original Manos.  So with that… I knit up a slightly different pattern, this one showcasing the Classica as the foreground yarn.  (Again photoed while blocking)

This one I guess I’m calling the “Wreck Yourself Cowl”.  Not just because you should “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, but also because if you’ve ever accidentally dropped a stitch the concept of dropping 30 or so stitches that you want to pick up later is a little mentally challenging, even when the actual stitches aren’t that complex. This pattern needs a bit more refining before its ready to be test knit. Which is ok with me since I like the design even if I am not typically a cowl wearer.

And with that, here’s a few sisters in skein cowl shots:

A Frugal Sweater to Fall For

Wool yarn is generally not inexpensive.  This makes sweaters on the more expensive end of wearable crafts, and a bit of a hurdle for some new knitters.  One option when you are scouring sales racks and finding your way through the options are thrift sales.  If you are a little bit cautious and a little bit adventurous you can find a good deal.

I say cautious because it can be easy to see a brand name and some people will bid up to near retail price without considering any shipping or handling costs.  One of the main dangers with thrifted yarn is you don’t know how the last person kept their stash and paying near retail (or above if you forgot about the additional fees) only to discover you have a moth nest is going to be a bad time.

But also adventurous.  Take a chance on a wool brand you aren’t quite sure about.  Find one of those swooned about skeins in your price range.

It was this spirit of frugal adventure that ended in a purchase of 12 skeins of Christopher Sheep Wool for $21.99 or the equivalent of $1.75 a skein.  (7 in Barley, 4 in Chris Robin, 1 in unlabeled dark brown)

Now I can say that based on the Ravelry stashes and the color options seen on their website that my finds were from a much earlier period and in colors they no longer produce.  When I wound it into the balls I can say that the stash keeper before me had some issues with pests and so several of the Barley colored skeins were not unbroken.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of stash busting cold sheeping I decided to have a go at making it into a garment.  And because its a bit more of a rough texture yarn I wanted to use it as an outer layer style garment.  Enter Sylvi.  I loved the design on the back, and even more so the idea of making it pop out a bit with some color work, as a few knitters before me had done.  What I didn’t care about was the hood and that there were no pockets.  But with only $20 on the line… time to test out the ability to make modifications.

My modifications included Intarsia Cables and bud/leaves, an alternate cuff in the Celtic Vines pattern, Two front pockets, a separate button placket, and a shawl style collar. I found some coconut shell leaf buttons to finish it off. The front vine/flower was added as an afterthought i-cord design.  It fits well enough I wore it out to fall cider and apple fritters.  I just forgot to get any photos.  (And my other photos are late night cell phone shots which leave a bit to be desired)

And now something for the curious knitter…. what the interior of it looks like.

sylvi interior

I personally don’t think I am the best at weaving in ends, but to me this looks fine enough I don’t think I would line it.

Now as to the stash busting and how that is going…. I still have a couple more sweaters-worth of thrifted yarn.  One in a fingering weight black and another in a worsted weight beige that I am hoping to dye a more suited shade.  And then the latest yarn swap came in…. so 10 skeins out… and it looks like 7 skeins in.

Must… knit… faster

Just keep Knitting

Weddings sure do eat up a bunch of time out of a month!  So alas this time I am a bit light on the finished items, and have lots of Works in Progress to share (WIPs).

First up… I am continuing my stash busting, and tackling some yarn I thrifted a few years ago.  These big hanks take up most of one of the closet stash boxes.  They are slowly becoming a sweater with some modifications to give it a collar and pockets.  I am up to the right front, pockets and the collar to complete.

Well this is rather complex, and a bit bulky, so less transportable… so I started some other project too.  It may be getting out of hand.

There is a baby blanket from some stash acrylic in a modified tree tops style.

ground beneath her feet

And a couple row by row quilt rows:

umbrellas and boots

I’m a bit of a ways from being done with those last few projects.  Hopefully they will show up in a blog post her soon…..ish.

These Goldfishes are so Delicious!

Ok so yes.. I love the Goldfish crackers that inspired the title.  (Its my go-to snack for road trips.)  During the 2014 Shop Hop I picked up some adorable goldfish fabric which I then set out to decide how to use.  I came across this design that used some of the same fabric in combination with some small pieces and appliqué and it all snowballed from there. So today… I’m bringing out my Goldfish Bargello Quilt, fresh out of a run through the wash after I finished binding.

goldfishes front

Front Side

Back Side

Back Side

I’d never tried a Bargello, but a tutorial on the tube method looked simple enough to give it a whirl. I tried to get a wee bit creative with my quilting on this one, and let’s just leave it at… I still need some practice.  But it was a fun experiment all around and I think it turned out pretty darn cute.

A Bouquet of Tiny Flowers

The big day is getting closer and closer, and thankfully this morning I get to tick the little box that says “knitted DIY projects finished”

In addition to my shawl which I posted earlier, I knit some favors (to be revealed later) and my hairdresser said I could do just about anything (pins/combs/veil) so… I made some flowers for my hair.  Here’s the flowers I have ordered for my bouquet,

Which I used as inspiration for making my flower hair combs

Flower Haircombs

I wrote up some of the pattern details for each flower on my Ravelry project page where you can see each flower solo. (Please note that those directions are very rough)  To finish off my combs (6 red, 5 yellow, 5 violet) I left long tails to tie them onto the combs and then used a small dab of hot glue to set the knots and secure the flowers to the comb.

The most difficult parts of this project was finding plain combs (Joanns, Sally Beauty Supply,  Michaels had them but in the bridal supplies which wasn’t where I was looking)  figuring out where I’d put my hot glue gun, and getting a photo that was fairly true to color.


Guessing I would say that each flower takes less than a yard and the red and gold were yarns already in my stash in fingering and lace weights.

Shop Hop Part Two (6 more Shops)

So in order to be eligible for prizes you need to visit 16 stores.  With the bus that covered my first ten.  So on Friday I stopped at the three most local to me, and yesterday got the last three more on the way to Mount Rainier.

I picked up my giant length of white for my wedding quilt, the grey background for my guestroom top as well as several bits and pieces for both the wedding and dinosaur quilts I have on the idea board.

Day Two Fabric Haul

And if you recall the Seattle Fabrics I picked up last year and still haven’t made a project with… well the last shop we stopped at had a Washington Fabric that has similar themes…. so I got some of that too.

Washington Fabric

My fabric stash is piling up… I’d best get to work!  Though I will leave you with a teaser of the latest quilt idea I have been working on.

Fishpond WIP top

Shop Hopping Year Two

Yesterday was the North Bus Trip of the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop.  I decided to do the trip again this year, even though Jean wasn’t going… and as usual its a pretty good time if you are a quilter.  The shops offer a free pattern and at least some of the themed fabric to make their square design.  They can also offer the remaining fabrics or other notions as a finishing kit.  If you visit enough shops you can enter to win some great prizes.

I tend to shop with an objectives list as it gives me a bit more focus and I tend to not go as overboard.  So the first thing on my list was fabrics for my wedding decoration and quilt.  I finished up the first block (minus the embroidery) on Tuesday so I would know how much of various colors I might want or need.

Wedding Quilt Block

The second project on my buy list was for a quilt for our guest room.  We repainted it this year and so most of my pale blue and pink was not fitting in.  So I picked up several yellows and greens for that.

Guestroom Fabric

Now, to be perfectly honest… there is always more shopping than just the needs.  Apparently this year I needed some whales, dinosaurs and cats.  As well as a quilters map, and the knitting related fabric.

i also fell a bit in love with this pattern for a modified Dresden and flowers.  The shop had a sample quilt on display and it was AMAZING.  I am thinking of going a bit scrappy with it, as I’ve been piling up a “few” scraps.

Dresden Blooms

This year the shop hop was happening at the same time as the Row by Row Experience, which is a nationwide event.  The shops offer a free pattern for a row.  They can also offer a kit to complete their row which may have a cost. I did pick up patterns, but only a few of the kits.  I seem to have quite a bit of blues in my stash and the theme this year is H2O… so I’ll see if I have the time to assemble some rows.

So here’s my pile of patterns and kits from the hop and the Row by Row.

Hop Kits