Knitting Sadness and Doggie Madness

Blogged under crochet and knitting,learning2knit,Projects in Progress by Tammy on Sunday 12 July 2015 at 3:56 pm

If you have watched any recent episodes of my Crafty Princess Diaries Podcast on YouTube, then you may have seen this shawl popping up once or twice. It’s a very simple pattern, perfect for beginning level knitters like myself (and free on Ravelry) called Das Tuchle. I was using my beautiful Rainbow circulars from Knit Picks, size 8 (5mm) needles, and some of my favorite yarn from Cascade, Heritage Silk Paints in the Water Lily colorway.

Well….I guess I spaced out one night and forgot my project bag in the TV room where we sort of keep our dogs sequestered from other parts of the house and this is what happened! Yikes!




We don’t have any doggie evidence for sure on who of our three dogs did it, but this guy looks the most guilty.



And he already has a bad track record after eating a hole in my MIL’s cashmere sweater. Not that out other two guys wouldn’t have gone for it if given the chance. He was probably just faster than they were.

On the flip side, I’m very grateful that the needles and cable are fine. Most of the yarn made it through, though now in a lot of small balls. I’m not sure exactly what I will be doing with the yarn, but I’m preparing to start up the shawl again with some new yarn, hopefully one that won’t be as tasty.

1st Mitered Squares to Share

Blogged under crochet and knitting,learning2knit by Tammy on Sunday 1 March 2015 at 12:49 pm

The cooler weather has gotten me into an afghan making mood, so I have been mulling over a few project ideas. Though I told myself that I was not going to make anything with a lot of squares that would be too fiddly to put together, well, I totally caved when I saw the free pattern called Knitted Patchwork Recipe. I love the idea that this is portable, uses up scraps, and is easy to do. Obviously, this is a long (long, long) term project, but it is perfect for working on in between other crafting projects I always have going on.


The pattern suggests using leftover sock yarn and size 2.75mm (US 2) knitting needles. However, I don’t have a huge amount of sock yarn scraps. I do, though, have a fair amount of sport weight yarn and light worsted, so I will be using those scraps along with a US 5 needle (again, using what I already have).

When I made my very first square, I was baffled at how this was going to be a square when I finished it. I stopped and restarted a few times, and then I just decided to trust the pattern, and of course, it worked. I had my first mitered square, which lead to my second very quickly.




And….now I’m on to my third….I really have other projects I want to work on, but these little squares are so addicting. It’s hard for me to stop. Mine are turning out to be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. My husband asked me how many I will make and how big the afghan will be. I told him I don’t know. He was kind of incredulous, but like I said, this is long term. I may need a 100 or I may not a 1,000. Who knows!? This could turn into a king size blanket or a placement.

Knit Even, Learning a New Crafting Language!

Blogged under learning2knit,Projects in Progress by Tammy on Thursday 12 February 2015 at 2:24 pm



If you have watched any of my video podcasts, then you know what I’m working on, and you probably have seen bits and pieces of this little knitted baby kimono I’m making for my grandniece, Crystal Jewel. It is a free Lion Brand pattern called “Comfy Kimono,” and I am using Lion Brand’s Baby Soft yarn in the Circus Print colorway. I have one more sleeve to knit, and then it will be time to stitch it all together. I’m so happy with how it’s turning out!

Making this project has been a learning experience for sure! My latest lesson was on the knitting term “work even.” Yup. I was zipping along fairly well with the back and front pieces. Then when I was about half way through the sleeve, the instructions said “work 3 rows even.” Er, what? Was I working uneven before?

According to the Lion Brand web site, “work even” means to “continue in the established pattern without increasing or decreasing,” which in this particular case meant to keep doing stockinette. Why not just say that? Good question, but hey, it is one of the many little lessons I learn as I continue to learn to knit.

2 Knit Hats

Blogged under Finished Projects,learning2knit by Tammy on Sunday 4 January 2015 at 4:52 pm



Squee! My second knit hat is off the needles! Alas, my holiday break is ending tomorrow, but I’m very happy to report that I had some major knitting success as I worked through my second knitting class on Craftsy.com. This class is the Circular Knit Lab: Hats Four Ways class, which covers 4 different ways of making hats: 1 circular needle, double pointed needles, 2 circular needles, and magic loop. It also includes 3 hat patterns that you make while learning the various techniques, and I finished 2 of the 3 hats. The hat pictured above is the Wheeler Hat, and I made the smallest size. I added the crochet flower myself (not part of the pattern). Below is the Sweet Pea Hat, which I made an adult size version of.



There is one more hat to do, and though my progress will be much slower on that since I’m going back to work full-time, I have decided to go ahead and get started on it soon. So far, of the techniques I’ve tried in the class, my favorite is using 1 circular and then switching to double pointed needles. We shall see what magic loop hold for me!

Follow My Knitting Snit!

Blogged under Crafty Videos,Fiber Fun,learning2knit by Tammy on Wednesday 24 December 2014 at 2:14 pm

Merry Christmas to everyone! I’m home for the next few days, enjoying time with family and, of course, crafting. More specifically, I’m working on my first knit in the round hat while I take a Craftsy class. It has been a little of a “knit snit” for me, but I’m determined!

I’m posting short videos on both my YouTube Channel and Instagram, so come follow me if you haven’t already and check out my progress! They have to be super short because I’m taping the videos on my phone and uploading them from there. Here is one of them below (but come follow and see the rest…I need support from my fellow crafters!)


Knitted Sampler Scarf

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Thursday 20 November 2014 at 10:40 am


If you have attached any of my video podcasts, then you have seen the as-yet-unfinished knitted scarf I have been working. I’m using some super soft baby alpaca yarn, and I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed working on this project. I was unsure about even starting another scarf since I have made so many, but scarves (at least for me) are a good way for me to continue to practice my knitting skills. Plus, the yarn is wonderful to work with, and I have decided to make this for a friend who I know will appreciate it, slipped stitches and all!

I’m calling this my sampler scarf because I am just trying various stitch patterns as I create the scarf. For example, I do a few inches of garter stitch, then I do some ribbing, and so on, whatever I feel like doing at the time. As it turns out, while knitting this scarf I have realized that my favorite stitch as far as the finished look is the seed stitch. I just love the texture it creates. I’m not sure if I’m up to the task, but I’m thinking about making a second scarf using only seed stitch. I think it would look amazing!

Basket Case Scarf Done!

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Thursday 28 August 2014 at 2:15 pm

Though I used the basket stitch for this scarf, I probably should call this the “basket case scarf” because I just about went crazy making it. First, I started it using a pattern from Knit Lab called the Seed Stitch Cambridge Scarf, which was working fine, but then I realized that the pattern just has you do a series of stitch patterns over and over and there is real no “ending” or “finish” to it. I just think a scarf, unless you are doing something asymmetrical, should be balanced so that the end and beginning match.

So frogged it!

Then I started it again and decided to go with parts of the pattern, so I did about 6 rows of seed stitch and opted to do the 4×4 basket stitch section over and over again until I got to almost the end. At the end, I would end with another 6 rows of seed stitch.

I’m thrilled to say it worked, and I finished it, but boy! That ball of yarn never seemed to get any smaller, no matter how much I worked on this project. Then whoopsie, I almost hosed up the cast off. And, stupid me cut the yarn before I realized I may have goofed up the very last stitch on this thing. I still have to really be careful about pulling the end of the yarn through that last loop and get it tight enough. Eeekkkk!




I’m still not great at fixing my mistakes, but I sucked it up and frogged about half a dozen stitches, and put my needles back in. Then I rewatched some knitting videos to refresh my memory about how to pull that end piece correctly, and relief! I fixed it, weee!

I was hoping to use all of the yarn, but I was concerned that I would not have enough to cast off if I wasn’t careful, so I have a tiny ball left. But the final size works, 5 inches wide by 45 inches long. And it is soft and will be a nice, light scarf to wear when we finally get some cold weather (months from now).




I used almost size 6 needles and almost a full skein of 2-ply soft pink merino yarn from Morehouse Farm. The yarn was a tad splity, but of course, much frogging was done so I’m sure that didn’t help.

My next knitting adventure will be the Circular Knit Lab and hats.

Craftsy Knit Lab – MHO

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Tuesday 24 June 2014 at 10:14 am



Today summer school starts for me, so the vacation is over. While I was not completely out of the school loop since I had to prep for my classes and deal with various emails over my summer break, I did not have to grade papers, which meant lots of time to craft. As one of my summer crafting goals, I wanted to get through another Craftsy.com class that is in my queue. It was hard to pick because I want to do them all…now! But I finally decided to give knitting another shot. I have made plenty of garter stitch scarves and was ready to get past the super beginner stage, so I opted to tackle Knit Lab taught by Stefanie Japel.

At first, I was a little unsure when I started the class because it looked like we were not going to do any specific projects, just lots of swatching and technique stuff. And I hate to swatch! I know. I’m a bad yarn crafter! I learn best when I’m making something other than a yarn square, so I was relieved that she does eventually get to the point where we made a project. Alas, it was yet another scarf, but this one included work with purl stitch, which I really needed, as well as a little lace work. Yes, lace for beginners, yeah!

For this project, Stefanie takes you from the very beginning to the end, so I really felt I learned a lot during the process. After this project, however, it was swatch-ville 🙁 with a little dabble into the second scarf pattern that comes with the class, and it included basket weave (see the top photo). I love the basket weave, but I was not thrilled with the fact that the pattern has you repeat stitch sections over and over again and then just says to keep going until you run out of yarn. To me, I think you might end up with a scarf that is patchwork-y, so I frogged it and start over with seed stitch at the bottom (also covered in the class) and then the 4×4 basket stitch for the rest of the scarf. I plan to finish the end with more seed stitch to make it symmetrical.

I could ramble for awhile about this class, but I thought it might be more helpful if I listed pros and cons for anyone who is thinking of taking it. I’ll start with the cons.

Cons:

  • As I said already, swatches…ick! I prefer more project oriented learning.
  • The last section on using alternative materials was okay, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. This included another project, but it wasn’t something I could ever see myself making – a tulle scrubber thing. I felt this section to be weak and tacked on.
  • There is no information on how to add extra yarn. I know it’s not that hard to do, but if I were a total beginner, this would have been an issue for me.
  • Some areas could be more detailed. For example, she shows how to do a long tail cast on, but she says use “enough” yarn. How much is enough?

Pros:

  • I learned so much, and my knitting confidence level grew tremendously. I’m no longer afraid of knitting!
  • Stefanie has a fun approach and personality that helps you relax and enjoy the class.
  • The class covered tons of stitches and techniques, and while I may not have mastered every single one of them, I feel I could in time and can go back to access the class whenever I need to review any of the material.
  • Generally, the class is very thorough as far as covering most of what you need to know to get beyond just garter stitch. There are 16 lessons, and I did not count the time for each lesson, but they were lengthy. I feel like I really took a robust beginner’s course.
  • Finally, the cost of this class was awesome. I got it on sale for 50% off. Normally, it’s $19.99, which is still well-priced.

Craftsy had another summer sale, and since I enjoyed this class so much, I signed up for two more of Stefanie’s classes, Circular Knit Lab and Knit Lab in the Round. I also purchased Improve Your Knitting and Mastering Lace Shawls. I know…I’ve gone a little knitting crazy, but I now feel like I knitter, not just a crocheter, and these classes were 50% off. How could I resist?

Circular Knitting Needle Solution!

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 5:33 pm


For the past year or so that I’ve been doing very basic knitting, I have been using straight needles. Many I got from my mother who no longer knits, and a few I purchased. A few others were given to me by people who also no longer knit. They have been easy to store since they are straight. I have been keeping a lot of them in plastic yarn holder tube.

Now, however, that I’m collecting a few circular needles, I needed something else to keep them in. There are products made specifically to store circular needles, but with all the Thirty-One bags and storage products I have, I went through my stash and found a perfect solution – the Timeless Beauty Bag! I have used this for traveling too, but I don’t travel that much.




See…it works perfectly for the few circular needles I’ve collected so far plus some double pointed needles and a few notions too! The clear pockets are also large enough that I can keep the packaging the needles came with too, which I might find handy at a later date.

Starting 2nd Knit Lab Scarf

Blogged under learning2knit by Tammy on Tuesday 10 June 2014 at 9:40 am



The second project for the Craftsy.com Knit Lab class I’m taking is yet another scarf (le sigh), but as with the first scarf project for the class, this one also provides a way to learn new stitches and techniques. The project is called the Seed Stitch Cambridge Scarf, and it is made up of seed stitch and basket stitch. Both require that you toggle back and forth between knit and purl stitches, so to say that my brain is bruised is an understatement. This is one of those projects that I have to totally focus on or it’s toast with just one wrong stitch!

To top it off, it took me awhile to pick the right yarn. I have some wonderful City Tweed in the Blue Blood colorway and already have a hat made out of it so thought this would be perfect to make a scarf to go with the hat.




This combined with aluminum needles just didn’t work. I could not see the stitches clearly enough as I was working, and as I said, that’s super important because if you do a purl instead of a knit, you are pretty much screwed.

Then I got the brilliant idea of using smaller bamboo needles since my aluminum ones are super long and going back and forth from knit to purl was really awkward feeling. I went with a different yarn too, some beautiful blue (the Tranquil colorway 80% superwash Merino wool, 10% nylon, and 10% cashmere) that I had left over from a pair of fingerless gloves I made for the hubby. The stitch definition was much better, but then as I worked away I realized (duh!) the pattern was written to use size 7 US needles, so this yarn, which was sock weight, was way too thin. I would have a really small scarf if I kept going.

Finally, I went with size 6 bamboo needles and some 2-ply (sort of a worsted weight) yarn I had picked up on a sale from Morehouse awhile back. It is in the Soft Pink colorway, and as you can see from the top photo, you can really see the stitches nicely. After two previous attempts, I finally have accomplished some progress and gotten the seed stitch portion completed. Next is the basket stitch section.

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