Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lacy Cowl

I just finished another design, a lacy cowl made with Neighborhood Fiber Co Rustic Fingering Yarn.

Again, please forgive the poor photo quality.  I'm working on improving my photos!

If you haven't knit with yarn from the Neighborhood Fiber Company, you're missing out.  Her yarns are phenomenal and the colors make everything just pop.  Of course this pattern can be made with any fingering weight yarn, but I am pretty partial to this one!

This has a repeating lace pattern, so it's great for a beginner looking to ease in to lace knitting, or for someone more seasoned looking for a good project to work on while watching a movie (doesn't require a ton of concentration).  I seamed the ends together to make it a cowl so I could wear it long or double wrapped for when it gets cold. 

This is available for purchase on Ravelry, Mehan212 Ravelry Store.  Please check it out!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bag of Irony

Today I want to feature one of my favorite patterns, Rutabaga by Chrissy Gardiner.  I found this pattern in ‘The Best of Knitscene’ by Lisa Shroyer, available on Amazon, and it’s one of few projects I have made multiple times and keep going back to.
My husband referred to this as my ‘bag of irony’ the first time I made it because it was a knitting project with the sole purpose of holding other knitting projects, so we unofficially refer to it as that!  Below is the picture from the pattern itself. 

I have made this with several types of yarn. My favorite so far is Serendipity Tweed, because it gives the most flex in the finished product.  I have also made it with Rowan Savannah, Sugar & Cream Twists Cotton, and Louisa Harding’s Albero.  Because of the way the project is put together, with the open weave, it knits together in a very stretchy, flexible way, even if the yarn used doesn’t have as much give.  You can use this bag for shopping (as shown in the picture), other knitting projects, pretty much anything.   My personal preference is as a bag for other knitting projects since it’s easy to carry around.
I would highly recommend this project!  It combines the technique of picking up stitches (which is important for a beginning knitter), as well as creating the open weave with increases and decreases.  This is also the first project where I learned how to create a strap, binding off only part of it at a time to create the strap.   Go out and buy this book, I can’t recommend it enough.  This is my favorite pattern from it, but it has so many other beautiful patterns that it’s well worth the money. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


I had a very different post in mind for this week, but was inspired to write something different.  I recently took a personality assessment of sorts for my day job.  After 28 or so questions, it came back with what was already pretty obvious to me. a perfectionist.  Some quotes from my results:

' to be accurate and orderly and they make decisions in an analytical way.'
'...important for them to understand the parameters of a problem before they tackle it.'
'...tend to use a systematic approach to solve the problem.'
'...often want to assure the accuracy of their work.'

Definitely not a surprise to me.  I like rules and set expectations, and have high standards for quality.  What did surprise me was the correlation I found in this to how I knit.

I was reading a post by a fellow blogger, DestiKNITions (just started reading but loving it already - definitely recommend!)  In this post, she describes realizing halfway through a pattern that she kept missing the k2tog in the pattern, and missed it every time.  As a result, the pattern was not coming along as expected.  She briefly debated about whether to frog it (rip it apart) or to keep going and push through, hoping it wouldn't be obvious. In her next post, as she described how she kept going and pushed through the error, I wanted to scream 'No!!!'.

While I'm quite sure her project turned out beautifully, and I may not have been able to tell if I didn't already know about it, I have never been one to ignore an error and not rip it out completely.  I have been halfway through an afghan and ripped it completely out because of a consistent mistake I made on every row, and my biggest pride on that is the finished afghan turned out perfectly!  I have a pair of socks where I realized after finishing that there was one big stitch on the bottom where I knit too loosely, and I didn't end up giving those away as a Christmas gift as originally planned because that one flaw bothered me too much.  I've also taken a 3/4 finished scarf and a 2/3 finished afghan and pulled them completely apart because I just didn't like how they turned out.  I have my first attempt at an article of clothing (a beaded spaghetti strap shirt) in my 'drawer of shame' because I'm pretty sure it would only fit an extremely oddly shaped woman, rather than the normal figure of the friend I tried to make it for.  I have made a sample knit for my local yarn shop that looks flawless, but I can only see the one tiny error I made that I'm positive no one else even notices.

I'm not shocked that my 'work personality' is so similar to my...well, it's all just my general personality.  I'm more forgiving of mistakes that others make and cannot accept my own.  I would rather undo hours of knitting to make sure the finished product is as close to flawless as I can get, I will read through a pattern completely to make sure I understand all requirements and instructions, and if I'm faced with a knitting question at my local yarn shop that I cannot answer, it bothers me for weeks after.

I guess where I'm landing on this (after many rambling paragraphs) is that I envy those who can push through an 'error' and just focus on the end product, appreciating that it became something different than originally intended and that it can be beautiful in it's own right.  My hope is that my obsession with perfection will make my pattern designs easy to follow and as flawless as possible!

Until next time, here are some gratuitous yarn shots.  One touch of this yarn, and I've spent a week trying to find a pattern to make with it to justify my inevitable purchase of a large quantity of it. So soft, I just want to lay on it...

Misti Alpaca Chunky

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Design

I'm trying to get into designing patterns.  I frequently find that I have a visual in my head for how I want something to look, but have trouble finding an existing pattern that matches the picture in my head.  As I learn more about knitting and creating charts, all I want to do is get the visuals in my head out and on paper so I can make it.  Below is my first shot at this.

Knit iPhone Case

Many of the cases I could find online had one end open, with just a string around the button.  I'm pretty klutzy (therefore also paranoid about dropping things), so I'm too afraid that it would fall out that way.  I wanted to create a case that folded over, making it less likely to be damaged/fall out. 

This is made with Austermann Royal yarn, in a darker blue than is showing up in the picture.  The button is a vintage one I found among several boxes of buttons I received from a relative.  This is a mock cable pattern, so it's easy to knit but still fun to put together.

I would love to have people try this out and let me know what they think.  If you're interested in the pattern, I have it on Ravelry for $1.00 (Mehan212 Ravelry Store).  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Skein Cowl Project

Here is one of my latest projects, a very quick but fun one to put together.  This is the Moebius Cowl, by Michelle Hunter.  As far as I know, this is only available at Knitting Temptations in Dublin, Ohio.  If you’re interested in the pattern, send me an email and I can help you purchase it through the store.
I made this with Schulana Silverstar yarn, which is incredibly soft.   If you’re looking for a fast, easy project, you can’t go wrong here!

The photos aren’t very clear.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out the art of great (or even somewhat clear) photos and may have to start outsourcing that to someone better!  So, to describe this a bit since it may not be clear, this is made by knitting it like a scarf, binding off, and then twisting it once before joining the two ends.  The twist adds interest to this, making it stand out from just a regular scarf or a normal 'in the round' cowl. You can do this as a regular scarf as well, but I thought it looked great as a cowl.  Also, doing it this way keeps it at a one skein project, which is a good diversion from what I knit most of the time.
I’m working on some new designs that I’ll post soon.  An iPhone case (which will be available on Ravelry soon) as well as a cowl and a sock pattern, which are both in the works now.  I'm dabbling in cables right now, trying to learn different techniques.  I took a class at a knitting convention, and I'm eager to apply what I learned there.  More to come soon!