Saturday, October 29, 2011

Another cap and something besides a cap... believe it or NOT!

Don't fall off your chair as you read this! 
I actually cast on something aside from a cap!  Wooo Hoooo!

I could not resist buying this Lion Brand Sock Yarn in a colorway called "Cotton Candy" because it is the EXACT SAME YARN used to make a pattern called "Baby Bright Tights" in my book entitled Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders.

Of course, as I am knitting these, I am wondering what the heck I am going to do with them once I am finished with them.  Knit wool pants for a baby!  I do know a gal who is expecting a granddaughter and they do live in Indiana... and it IS rather cold and snowy in Indiana.  Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. Whatever the case may be, I will knit on. 

But it just doesn't seem like a post from me if I did not show you another hat!

Yes, you are seeing double.  I made another Asymmetrical Cloche with the lovely peachy pink Rowan All Seasons Cotton from my Mom's stash.  See Mom, I told you I would find a good use for this lovely yarn!

Teriffic but Tiny Textured Tam

Textured Tam
Are you getting tired of me posting about hats?  Here's another. 

This is from the book "60 Quick Knits": a collection of patterns for Cascade 220 Wool or Superwash Wool.  I used Berroco Comfort in worsted weight in this pretty cranberry color and made pattern #35 called "Textured Tam". 

Some folks commented on Ravelry that this cap came out small, so some recommended going up in needle size for the top portion. I used size US 7 needles for the brim (as recommended) and went up to size US 9 for the remainder of the cap.  I also tried out a twisted rib for the ribbing and really like the look (p1,k1tbl instead of just p1,k1).  Despite the change in needle size, the cap is still tiny.  I am sure it will find a good home... so no worries.   A wise knitter pointed out to me that this pattern is designed for wool yarn; had I used wool or some other fiber that blocked better, I could have resized this hat to the size I desired. That makes sense.  Always learning new things... I love that about knitting.

These pictures don't really do the cap justice. It's even prettier in person.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Blossom Asymmetrical Cloche

Apple Blossom Asymmetrical Cloche

I made this cap this week.  I made a weird mistake on the 3rd or 4th row so I made a little flower to tack to the brim of the hat to disguise the flaw. The flower reminds me of an apple blossom. The free cap pattern I followed can be found HERE and is called "Asymmetrical Cloche" by Mary Keenan.  She has a lot of really nice cap patterns.  I enjoyed making this cap so much I cast on another one right away.  The yarn I used is from my Mom's stash (Thanks, Mom!).  She had about 2 1/2 balls of this peachy pink Rowan All Seasons Cotton.  Very nice yarn!  I am trying to get over my fear of making caps out of cotton.  I worry projects made with cotton will get stretched out and baggy and un-wearable.  This yarn is part cotton and part acrylic, so perhaps this will be better than an all cotton cap.

I had a weird problem when I made this cap.  I ended up with the wrong number of stitches after rows 8 and 9.  I ended up with 72 stitches, not 63.  As a result, for the decrease rounds, I k7, k2tog around and then followed the decrease instructions from there... k6, k2tog... and so on.

I had a few of the gals at my local knit shop try on my caps on Thursday. They really liked this cute cap.  I was getting a little worried about my cap making lately.  Some hats were turning out so big and some caps seemed too small.  I was tickled that each hat looked good on someone.  My confidence restored, I knit on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Super Slouchy Star Beret

I took inspiration from two hats I recently completed (Click HERE and HERE to see those two hats) and came up with this hat.  It's a super slouchy beret in an orangey-red yarn (Berroco Comfort Worsted Weight). I am looking forward to bringing this to my local knit shop sometime soon to have some of the ladies try on this cap (and some others).  Since I've been trying so many new patterns, I feel like I am getting mixed results with caps and the way they fit!  It's taking the wind out my sails a bit unfortunately.   

I showed my husband this hat and he was alarmed when he said, "Oh!!! It looks like there's a hole in it!!!"

Ummmm, that would be the decorative eyelet... funny!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Experimenting with Cables in Caps

I've been experimenting with cables in caps this week. 
Here are my results:

The blue hat turned out a little too short but actually looks quite nice on Miss Wiggy.  The yarn is Berroco Comfort DK.  I will try this cap again and will make it a tad longer.

The pink hat (also made in Berroco Comfort DK) turned out a little too long.  I may undo the top of the cap and try again, although I do like how that decreases made a "flower" sort of design.  This hat is what I am calling a "Lazy Cable Cap".  It starts out following a pattern called "3AM Cable Hat" (a hat I have made numerous times), but I stop doing the cables after the first repeat and then complete the cap in k2,p2 ribbing.  I made this modified version one other time and was not happy with the decrease portion of the cap.  Maybe the 3rd time will be the charm!

My plan is to take my caps to my local knit shop today, where there always seems to be a gathering of friends knitting... I'll let them try on these caps and get their opinions before I undo anything.  I really don't like to frog things... Ugh!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finally... Mystery Solved! & KNIT PICKS ROCKS!

I have had this set of double pointed needles from Knit Picks for over two years... I think!   These are actual e-mails between me and Knit Picks customer service after my alarming discovery the other night (Sunday)

Original E-mail:
FROM: Kim Fluck

DATE: 10/16/2011 06:25 PM
SUBJECT: Problem with an order
Hello Wonderful Knit Picks Person:

I've had my set of 6" double pointed sock needles set for quite some time and I just realized my set came with two pairs of size 3.00 mm (instead of just one pair). The size that is missing is 2.50 mm. Some times I'll knit a pair of socks on two sets of dpns. I was using my 2.75 mm bamboo needles and what I thought were my Harmony 2.75 mm needles... no wonder that one sock turned out bigger!!!! It was not just my imagination. Can you please help me resolve this? I am sorry I did not realize the discrepancy in my set sooner. I look forward to hearing back. Your loyal customer, Kim Fluck
Right away, I received a computer generated reply indicating they had received my e-mail and would get back with me very soon. If for some reason I did not hear back, I was encouraged to call their toll-free number.
Today... I received this reply from Knit Picks:

Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 14:37:49 -0700
To: Kim Fluck
Subject: RE: Problem with an order

Dear Kim Fluck,

I am sorry to hear that your 6" DPN Set was incomplete. I can send you a replacement set of 2.5mm. Should I ship to: (my address)

Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Have a great day!


Knit Picks Customer Service
My reply on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hi Amber!

Yes, that's great! Thank you so much! The size is correct and the address is correct. Thank you so much. I will continue to tell folks I know and new knitters I meet... how wonderful a company Knit Picks is.

Sincerely... from a happy and satisfied customer...

Kim :)
Well, there you have it! In case you did not already know, Knit Picks rocks!

From Knits Picks, I have purchased:
  • sock needle set (pictured above)
  •  lots of double pointed needles (my mom got me the set of interchangeable needles with cables)
  • sock kits (yarn and patterns)
  • kits to make Christmas stockings (yarn and patterns)
  • books, book, books
  • Oh, I know there is more... but I can't think of it all right now, but all of it has been great!
So here is my promise to Knit Picks... to tell you all how great they are.

Side note:  Do you have the wooden Harmony needles from Knit Picks (set of interchangeable needles) like I do? I've known knitters whose needles have broken and they've called customer service at Knit Picks. And in all instances, I have been told, the knitter was mailed replacement needle(s) without sending in the broken needle(s) for proof.  So there you go.... KNIT PICKS ROCKS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gilda's Club Chemo Cap

 I was not sure if I was happy with this cap until I saw it modeled on Miss Wiggy.  She looks lovely in Robin's Egg Blue (Berroco Comfort Worsted Weight yarn).  This pattern is called Gilda's Club Chemo Cap (Gilda... as in Gilda Radner, the comedian.  Sadly she died of Ovarian Cancer in 1989).    The PDF pattern link is HERE.

I really struggled to complete this cap.  I started this pattern in early July and lost my interest in the pattern. There is nothing difficult about the cap.  The textured nature of the cap just calls for paying attention (each row in the pattern repeat is different) and the stitches are not "intuitive."  That is, you can't just look at the previous row to know if your stitches are correct or not.  If I were smarter, I would have used 11 stitch markers (as the pattern recommends... Doh!), so each time a 10 stitch pattern repeat started and ended, the markers would have let me known I was on the right track.  The bow on the brim was a bit fiddly to make it look just right.  The bow stitches start on the brim of the cap when the rest of the cap has been completed. You pick up and knit 10 stitches and then knit the bow back and forth (in the same textured pattern) until it is long enough and then tack the bow down where the ribbing portion of the cap meets the textured portion of the cap.  You then knit a little "bow sash" in garter to pull the bow together in the center.   A roomy, slouchy, stylish cap.  This cap reminds me a bit of the "Bow Tie Cloche"... which also was a lot of work.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One-Skein Wonder Project #5: Calabaza Calypso in Progress

Today... I had to take a break from making this...

... to make this...

The colors in this yarn are the colors of a pumpkin patch.  Orange pumpkins, green vines, shade of brown soil. The entire time I've been working on this scarf, I have been thinking of Autumn, corn mazes, pumpkins in pumpkin patches, hot apple cider, hay bales, pumpkins and yummy things one can make with pumpkin.  So I made a pie and two loaves of pumpkin bread today.  

Do you like my stash of pumpkin? I heard through the grape vine that there MAY be a pumpkin shortage again this year due to crop damage resulting from Hurricane Irene.  I am not going to have a repeat of the Pumpkin Fiasco of February 2011 (I had to go to five stores to find canned pumpkin to make my son's birthday pumpkin pies!!!)  This year I am prepared.

I am learning a lot of Spanish words since more and more food labels are in both Spanish and English.  I've learned "calabaza" is the word for pumpkin.  This scarf pattern is called "Calypso" and is yet another project from my "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonder" book.  I am calling this scarf "Calabaza Calypso".  The pattern calls for casting on 76 stitches, but I cast on only 36 stitches for a scarf (instead of a stoll or shrug). The yarn is Berroco Sox Metallic (it has flecks of silver metallic thread) in a color way called "Tangelo".  I guess "Tangelo" is also a pretty good name for this yarn, but I think "Pumpkin Patch" would have been better!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A little time to organize

My knitting corner is the space between my chair and the window in our great room.  My chair faces the TV of course (the computer desk and dining room table are behind me).  I have nice light to my left (which is good because I am right handed) and I have a nice view of the backyard from my window.  My knitting corner gets out of control really fast.  What can I say... I am just so enthusiastic to start new projects that I am forever matching up yarn and patterns and depositing them together in gallon sized plastic bags in preparation to start them some time very, VERY soon.  Today I decided to go spend some time at my local knit shop to knit with the girls and it took me forever just to sort though through all the mess just to decide what to bring.  It was ridiculous and out of control... so many bags... too many works in progress... needles and cables pigeon holed here and there... finished projects mixed in....miscellaneous knitting books... pages of patterns printed from the Internet...chaos!

When when I got home this afternoon, I got it organized and narrowed things down to projects I need to focus on and the remainder of the project kits (things I had not even started yet) went back into the big plastic bins in the master bedroom closet.  The cradle is holding all my needles, hooks, notions, a few works in progress, and my "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonder Book".  The bag tucked behind the cradle is holding a few more works in progress.  I can't wait to sit in my newly spruced up area and work on a project... or two or three.   I will resist the temptation to go into the closet and bring out more projects.  I'll have to keep you posted on my progress.

1SW Project #4: Emma's Star

Emma's Star
Here's my latest project from "Sock Yarn One Skein Wonder".  The hat pattern is called "Emma's Star".  I cast on Thursday night and had it finished on Friday night.  I live such an exciting life!  I had a difficult time putting this project down as it is a very fun knit.  Again, I used Berroco Comfort DK in "Rosebud".  The entire time I was working on this, I had a hunch this cap was going to be very small. It looks okay on "Miss Wiggy" (my hat stand) but it is a very small cap.  I also looked at a number of completed caps on Ravelry; several were modeled on children and those caps looked small as well. I considered giving this cap to a coworker (turns out I have two coworkers who have kindergartenen aged girls), but then I remembered a cap project for a summer camp for kids with cancer called "Camp Happy Times".  I am looking forward to making this cap again with a heavier weight yarn for a larger cap.  I have some nice pale peachy pink yarn called Rowan Calmer (from my Mom's Stash... Thanks, Mom!).  I think it will be perfect for this pretty cap.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Fingerless Mitts...

Another pair of fingerless mitts for Mitts of Steal.  This time I used Berroco Comfort DK yarn in the colorway "rosebud".  You will being seeing a LOT of this yarn... I bought an entire bag to make chemo caps, but it's also a nice choice for fingerless mitts.  This is a pattern called Four Rib Braid Cable Mitts and the pattern can be found HERE (it is a free pattern).  Despite the fancy looking cables, these mitts are not too difficult.  These mitts turned out rather small but I had a few friends (with small hands) try them on and they fit well according my guinea pigs test models.

I am knitting another hat right now out of my "One Skein Wonder Book" (with more Berroco Comfort DK yarn in "rosebud"... SURPRISE!) and should have it done soon... stay tuned!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Horizontal Rib Hat: One-Skein Wonder Project #3

Another project completed using my "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders" book. This pattern,"Horizontal Rib Hat," calls for holding two strands of sock yarn together as you knit the cap from the brim to the crown.  As a result, it's a very quick knit.  On Ravelry, I saw a variety of completed caps and some commented that the cap was too short.  I opted to add to add an extra pattern repeat (the pattern calls for repeating rows 12 to 20 two more times, so I repeated rows 12 to 20 three more times). I think it's a nice cap which would cover one's ears and stay on nicely.  The yarn I  used is Knit Pick's Essential Sock Yarn in a colorway called "Plum Tweed".  It's sock yarn I purchased a few years back (a sock kit) when I first learned to knit socks.  The pattern recommends self-striping sock yarn for a cool stripe effect, which I think would also be really nice.  All in all, I am pretty happy with this hat!

One-Skein Wonder Project #2... Shibui Baby Socks

Remember this yarn...? I just used it for some mittens.  It was the last of a partial skein of yarn from my Mom's stash.  (Thanks, Mom!!!)  It's Bernat Sox (acrylic/nylon blend) in a colorway called "Crazy Hot".  I tell you, I cut it close... again.  I had just a few feet of this yarn left when I grafted the toe on sock #2... too close for comfort.  This is another pattern from the "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonder" book I am enjoying so much.  The pattern called "Shibui Baby Hat and Socks"... I did not make the hat as I did not have enough yarn after making the mittens, but I sure enjoyed making up these little socks.  A very quick knit!  The pattern link and information about the "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders" book is here.  Sorry it's not a free pattern, but I highly recommend the book. I am getting my money's worth out of it... for sure!

Right now I am making another pattern from the book called "Horizontal Rib Hat" and I am using sock yarn from Knit Picks (Knit Picks Essential) in a colorway called "Plum Tweed". It's another quick and fun knit.  More information about this pattern can be found here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Mittens... One-Skein Wonder Project #1a

A pair of mittens for my good friend, Tracy.  She and her Boston Terriers (Freckles and Leila) go for walks nearly every day at a great park just outside of town.  She'll need these to keep her hands toasty warm, as the weather is now turning cold.  I join the trio on Fridays when school is in session.  It's great fun!
I used the pattern from my book "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders".  This is the same pattern I used a few weeks ago with some modifications.  The pattern is called "Handful-of-Color Mittens" (pattern information HERE: Not a free pattern, sorry!).  The original pattern calls for a sort-of rolled cuff.  In this pair, I completed 15 rounds of knit2, purl2 ribbing and then I completed 15 rounds of stockinette before starting the gusset increases.  This mittens are roomy and long. I like long cuffs on mittens so you can tuck them into the sleeves of your jacket without any gaps for cold air to sneak in.  When I make this pattern again, I might consider using smaller needles for the cuff portion.

This colorful yarn comes from my Mom's stash... Thanks, Mom!  It was a partial skein and to me it appears to be Bernat Sox in a colorway called "Crazy Hot" (a nylon/acrylic blend).   I do love Bernat yarns!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Internet is an AMAZING thing...

I've raved and raved about Ravelry since I've joined.  For those of you NOT familiar with Ravelry, I think of it as FACEBOOK for people who like to knit and crochet.  You can find all kinds of patterns for free and for purchase.  You can connect with others who share your fiber-related addiction(s).  You can search for project ideas based upon what kind of yarn you have, you can see photos of projects completed using patterns you might be considering making, you can keep track of your yarn stash... it just goes on and on.

Over the past year, I've joined a number of groups... people who want to make projects for charity, people who have made a goal to knit from their stash only, people who are making projects from a particular book... the groups go on and on, too.  My favorite group is called "12 months = 24 hats"; in this group, we have a shared goal to make at least two chemo caps for charity each month. The other day, I made up a new pattern (quite by accident... I was so full of myself I thought I had a pattern memorized... several rows into the ribbing I realized my mistake - 8 stitches too many - and I decided to improvise a new design instead of ripping it out to start over).  A happy accident... a new cap design.  I posted a photo of my finished result on the Ravelry "12 months = 24 hats" and, right away, I received a number of requests for the pattern.  I did a pretty good job of keeping notes as I was knitting the hat, so I typed it up and posted the pattern PDF on Ravelry.  I was so anxious to post the pattern (how fun!) but at the same time I kept wondering if maybe I should make the cap JUST ONE MORE time to double check for errors, changes, whatever.

Would you believe in the matter of about 48 hours, I've had 137 Ravelers add my hat to their list of "favorite" patterns and eight people wrote to me to thank me for the pattern.  About 20 people have the hat in their "queues" of things to make and two more folks indicate they have already cast-on!  I was looking at my blog statistics today and found a number of folks looking at my blog after visiting another blog in Denmark.  This blogger added my hat to her blog and called my pattern "the hat of the day".   The blog from the lady in Denmark can be seen here:

I just wanted to share my excitement about this with all of you. It's like my little hat went around the World a few times in just a day or so.  This definitely encourages me to come up with more designs and share my ideas through Ravelry.  A number of folks who wrote me notes about my cap said they especially appreciated me making the pattern available for FREE.  But of course... I love FREE patterns, too!  If we use FREE patterns, then we have more money to buy YARN, right?!

Of course, now that my pattern is out there, I do have a little angst... what if someone makes it and doesn't like how it turns out, what if my instructions are confusing, what if someone doesn't like the decrease portion of the hat at the end (I had a tough time with that!)?  I kept thinking maybe I should not post the pattern until I had the pattern just right, but then again... maybe I would never have it just right.  Despite my angst or concerns, it's been incredibly heart warming to have folks reach out like they have and say, "I like your hat, I like what you've done, it's pretty... Thank you for sharing... I'd like to make this cap, too!"

If you are interested, you can find my pattern here on my blog up on the top, right hand corner listed under FREE: Ribbons of Hope Hat Pattern.  You can also find  the pattern in a nice printable PDF Format on Ravelry by clicking HERE.  If you do make this pattern and have any feedback (positive, negative, or constructive), I would love to hear from you.... seriously.  Enjoy and Happy Knitting!

Tango Hat

I am ready for Fall. I am ready for long walks on cool sunny days with crunchy golden leaves under my feet and and white puffy clouds in a bright blue sky over my head.  Oh, I love Fall in Colorado!

I'll be wearing my new cap.  It's made from Tahki Yarns "Tango" (a wool/acrylic/nylon blend).  Since the yarn is bulky weight, it knit up quickly.  I tried to make a pattern called "Heidi Hat" (it had cables in it) but ran out of yarn so I started over on size US 8 dpn needles. 

Cast on 72 stitches and completed k2,p2 rib for six rounds. Then I switched to size US 9 dpn needles and knit in stockinette until the hat was a nice height (and I was worried I would run out of yarn).  I completed the decrease rounds with no plain rows in between (k10,k2tog, followed buy k9,k2tog, and so) until I had just a few stitches left. All that remained was about 12 inches of yarn! Now that's calling it close.

Happy Fall to you!