Pattern Update

 Four years ago, I published my "Little Mittens" pattern.  As my kids grew older, I added more sizes.  I decided to officially update the pattern with more sizes and more guidance.  I made YouTube videos of myself demonstrating the techniques, and links to those videos are in the pattern.

The pattern now has eight sizes to cover ages 1-12.  There is a schematic, many measurements, and a photo gallery.  I also changed the design of the fingertips to look more polished.

My pattern is available here:

T-Shirt Yarn, part 2: Cutting T-Shirts to Make Yarn

Part 1 of this series demonstrated dyeing t-shirts.  Once the t-shirts are dry, it is time to cut them into yarn.

T-Shirt Yarn, part 1: Dyeing to Get the Color You Want

A few years ago I heard about t-shirt yarn, and I started saving old t-shirts.  After a while, I noticed that my collection of homemade t-shirt yarn wasn't living up to my color expectations.  More than half was plain white, and of the colored yarn, most were dark colors.
I asked my husband if he could start buying colorful undershirts instead of white.  Since that wasn't a possibility, I got the idea to dye some of them.  This post will explain how to dye the t-shirts, and part 2 will demonstrate how to cut a dyed t-shirt into one long, continuous strip of yarn.

How to Make Plarn

One knitting/crocheting material that is growing in popularity right now is plarn (plastic yarn).  Plarn is made from shopping bags, something that we all have too much of in our homes.  Some of the common items that crafters are using plarn for include rugs, sleeping mats for the homeless, bags, and baskets.

Do You Need a Tech Editor?

I had been knitting for a few years before I first heard of tech editors.  As an English major, I had experience with proofreading students’ papers, so it made sense to me that anything that is written needs to be checked for errors.  Two years ago I acquired Kate Atherley’s book The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns, and it really resonated with me.  After reading it, I found myself critiquing the patterns I was knitting from.

ShawlStar Review

I had the opportunity to review something I was really excited about: an 85-page ebook called ShawlStar.  ShawlStar is written by Elizabeth Felgate and published by Knotions, an online knitting and crochet magazine.  I only heard about Knotions a few months ago.  If you are not familiar with them, you should subscribe to their newsletter because they have stunning patterns.  A few weeks ago, Knotions announced that ShawlStar, which was originally published in April 2018, is being updated and re-released in March 2019.  I am always eager to learn more about knitting construction, and I had been wishing for a resource that would walk me through different shawl shapes.  I jumped at the opportunity to review ShawlStar in exchange for a free copy.

Gwaihir Shawl

A pattern that I test-knitted has just been published: Gwaihir by Lindsay Scarey.  My Ravelry project is here.

I wanted to test-knit this shawl because I love bulky lace.  Also, the shawl is designed to look like the eagle from Lord of the Rings, and I am a big fan of those movies.  This shawl kept us company while we were watching the Olympics last winter.  It is the perfect thing to wrap up in when I'm at home relaxing.

The Danish Sontag Shawl

When I received my copy of Holiday 2017 Vogue Knitting Magazine, I was immediately drawn to Meg Swansen's "Danish Sontag Shawl."  There were a few changes I wanted to make, but I was confident that I would love it.  The only thing holding me back was the cast-on.

I like to read directions over and be able to picture them in my head before I knit, but with this cast-on, I could not picture what it would look like.  I couldn't find anyone talking about it online, so I had to figure it out on my own.  I hope this will be helpful to someone else who might be hesitant about getting started.

The Bleach Test

I recently acquired some partially-used yarn with no label.  There are two different ways to find out what the fiber content of mystery yarn is: the bleach test and the burn test.  While the bleach test can only tell you if your yarn is natural or synthetic, I have read that the burn test can actually narrow down the specific type of fiber, based on how the yarn smells and smokes when you burn it.  Unfortunately, I don't have a backyard in which to do the burn test, and I don't want my kids to see me making fire inside.  They might get ideas...

The bleach test is very simple.  If the yarn dissolves in the bleach, then you know it is a natural fiber.  If it doesn't dissolve at all, then you know it is a synthetic.  If only part of your yarn dissolves, then it is probably some sort of blend.

New Pattern

I finally published my first official pattern!  It is available on Ravelry: Little Mittens.

I designed these mittens because I needed some for my little girls. I couldn’t find a child-sized pattern that included the design elements I like in adult mittens, so I developed my own pattern that combines those design elements with children’s sizing. This is a revised, expanded version of my previous pattern, “Toddler Mittens.”

Review- ChaioGoo Spin Bamboo Interchangeable Needle Set

As a brand-new knitter, I saw the Boye interchangeable needle set at Walmart.  I had never heard of needle sets before, and I thought it was a genius idea.  I received it for Christmas, and in the ten years since then I have gotten tons of use out of it.  Over time, I started hearing about other brands, and I realized that Boye is not the best when it comes to quality.  This past fall I decided it would be good to get a set of wood needles, too, because wood needles are good to use with slippery yarn.

Free Your Fade

When I attended Knit Stars 2 this past fall, one of the instructors was Andrea Mowry, and she included a free copy of her "Free Your Fade" pattern.  A lot of the other knitters were working on their shawls right away and posting pictures to the Facebook group, but I didn't have suitable yarn for it yet.

For Christmas I received a gift certificate to a local yarn shop, and I set out to find the perfect yarn.  This pattern is typically knitted with speckled yarns because those create a really smooth transition between colors, but there weren't any good speckled options at my local yarn shop.  I spent almost two hours there laying yarn out on a table and putting different combinations together.  I finally decided to get Mirasol Khusku, a fingering-weight yarn, in three colorways: "Rio Amazonas" (blue), "Camino Inca" (pink), and "Lineas de Nazca" (orange).

On My Needles

My experience with Knit Stars 2 pushed me into a flurry of casting on.  First I finally started the Estonian scarf I have been thinking about for a few years, a skinnier version of Nancy Bush's Madlis Shawl.  Nupps have a special place in my heart.  Estonian lace is slow but beautiful.

Knit Stars

My knitting world was turned upside down this past fall when I attended Knit Stars 2: Needles Flying.  Last year I heard about Knit Stars 1, and this year I decided I had to participate.  Knit Stars is basically an online knitting conference, where you get to learn from knitting instructors from your living room. 

Mending and Blocking An Estonian Shawl

About four years ago I made the Queen Silvia shawl from Nancy Bush's book Knitted Lace of Estonia.  I loved working on it, and it turned out beautifully, but I hadn't washed it since then.  I recently soaked it in some woolwash (by hand, in my tub) and then re-blocked it.

During the blocking process, I discovered a hole.  Because it was in garter stitch, the hole looked bigger than it actually was.  Only one row had unravelled so far, across three stitches.  I started by picking up all the loose stitches on stitch markers.

Purple Purse

I decided recently that the purse I have had for the past five years is impractically small for a mom, so my sister gave me a gift card for Christmas to buy a new one.  In a moment of inspiration, it occured to me that if I knit myself a purse, then I could use the gift card to buy clothes, instead.

Baby Things

I recently finished the entrelac baby blanket.  It was my first time doing entrelac, and I really enjoyed it.  Before I started reading the pattern I watched a video series on YouTube on entrelac, and I found that really helpful.  It's very interesting structurally, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes second-nature.

The First Wool Diaper Cover

I recently finished the wool diaper cover I was making, and it was a success.  My plan was to make a size small and felt it down to newborn size.  (Felting helps covers hold in more moisture.)  After I finished the knitting and weaving-in ends, I felted it.  I had never felted before, so I wasn't sure how I would do, especially since I have a front-loading wash machine.

Recent Projects

Life has been busy lately.  We are expecting our first baby in April, so I have been preoccupied with organizing the apartment.  This will be a review of everything I have been working on the last few months.

A Lace Gauge Swatch

After the wonderful experience I had with blocking my Queen Silvia shawl, I was eager to being my next lace project: the Triangular Summer Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia.  I decided that this time I would make a gauge swatch and block it before I began my shawl.  I had made gauge swatches before, but I had never blocked one because I was always too impatient to begin my project.  I figured that since everyone recommends it, it must be important.