FO Friday: Sweet Autumn Rays

I have an FO to show you!  Can you believe that? Surprising, right?  It’s been ages probably.IMG_0717

The Sweet Autumn Rays shawl was done with the knitting part more than a week ago, but I waited to block it until this past Saturday when I did the Blocking Demonstration that I mentioned earlier this week.IMG_0724

I remembered why I enjoyed designing this shawl the first time around, it’s simple and fun to knit – perfect for TV knitting, car knitting, social knitting with a brew or two – it’s got just enough interest that you won’t get bored, not so much that you have to pay loads of attention, and it’s an FO fairly quickly!IMG_0726

I exchanged this one with the original being hosted at Yarn & Coffee, so I won’t see it much, but it’s in good hands!IMG_0732

Pattern: Sweet Summer Rays

Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk Paint

Mods: None

Linking up with Tami!

What are you knitting this week?

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Blocking

After teaching my latest class at Yarn & Coffee on the Sweet Summer Rays Shawl, my students asked how best to block the finished project.  The conversation ultimately led to the decision to host a blocking demonstration at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill this past Saturday.IMG_0707

I want to thank everyone who came out, I was expecting a small group – maybe just the students, even – but we had a great turnout and I’m so glad that so many knitters were able to come and ask their blocking questions!IMG_0693

Here you can see my basic blocking setup – my blocking mats (kids’ playmats), my safety pins, blocking wires (welding wires, really) and my spray bottle filled with water.  An un-blocked Sweet Summer Rays lays on top of my blocking one, so you can see how much this shawl can grow with some aggressive blocking!IMG_0698

I love using the wires to block my straight edges, they keep the edges super clean and neat while also allowing me to save time by not using a jillion pins instead.  These wires are also flexible enough that they’ll allow for blocking of curved edges too!IMG_0710

When I block things like this shawl, I pin first and spray with the water bottle second, then re-adjust the pins if necessary and play with the shaping until I’m perfectly happy with it.  Many knitters will soak the knit first and that’s just fine, it’s only my preference to pin first and water second.

What are your favorite blocking tools?

Cover for a Shift Knob – A Pattern!

According to my stats, The Shift Knob Cover has been getting a heckuva lot of attention lately, so I thought it fit to revisit the pattern and make a few updates to it!  It was originally posted in August of 2011 and I think it’s so neat that people are still finding my blog searching for it on different search engines, so thank you everyone who found me this way!

Cover Numba 1

The first two covers I knit up were made for a Subaru although I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t fit a range of other makes and models as well.  I used worsted weight stash yarns for both covers, just a few yards is all you need really.  I imagine this cover can be easily sized up or down to accommodate different sizes by changing the yarn gauge or needle size.

Cover Numba 2

These only take a few hours to make (quick gift!) and not to mention, it’s a great way to use up some stash yarns that you haven’t the heart to throw away!

Materials:

a few yards of worsted or dk weight yarn

Size US 6  (4 mm) double pointed needles

1 stitch marker

Pattern:

CO 16 evenly across three of the needles leaving a bit of tail to use as a drawstring when we tie the cover to the shift knob.

PM and join in the round being careful not to twist.

Work in K1 P1 rib for 6 rounds.

[K3, kfb] repeat to end of round. (20 sts)

Knit for 2 rounds.

[K4, kfb] repeat to end of round. (24 sts)

Knit 1 round.

[K5, kfb] repeat to end of round. (28 sts)

Knit 4 rounds.

[k5, k2tog] to end of round. (24 sts)

Knit 1 round.

[K4, k2tog] to end of round. (20 sts)

Knit 1 round.

[K3, k2tog] to end of round. (16 sts)

Knit 1 round.

[K2tog] to end of round. (8 sts)

Knit 1 round.

[K2tog] to end of round. (4 sts)

Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches, tie off and weave in the end.

kinda looks like a hot air balloon

When putting the cover on the shift knob, it should fit fairly tightly, the most difficult part being stretching the ribbing over the largest part of the knob.  Once its over, pull the original drawstring-tail through the first row of stitches tightly and tie off, weaving in the end.

If you do knit one, don’t forget to link to it on Ravelry!  I want to see what everyone makes 😀

Pints & Purls Edition 11: Blue Moon Agave Nectar

This is the eleventh in a series of installments that will highlight one of my favorite brews and which knits to go with it!

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Brew: Blue Moon Agave Nectar

Brewer: Blue Moon

Malts: Pale, White Wheat, Munich

Hops: MittlefruhIMG_0672

Flavors:  This blonde wheat ale is subtly sweet, refreshing, crisp and malty with a refreshing touch.

Knit Pairings:  This beer screams Summer Time!  Flax and linen and cotton, the longer time passes, the sweeter and softer the yarn gets.

Notes:  I wanted to feature a beer that was more widely available than many of the local brews I’ve been talking about, and who doesn’t love a tasty Blue Moon every now and again?

Let me know what you think!  Suggestions for future beers, more/different information to include, this is a work in progress so I won’t be offended by constructive advice!

Garden Update

Remember all those weeks ago when I gave you a photo-montage of my garden area being built?

The space is doing remarkably well and my plants are flourishing!  Just the other day I woke up to find some HUGE squash blossoms coming out of my 3 squash plants!  Seriously, they’re the size of my hand!IMG_0654

And shortly after that I found a little bean had grown in the night.  IMG_0650

Now I also have 4 little tomatoes!IMG_0646

The “Carrot Forrest” as I like to call it seems to be doing well, although the carrots kind of make me nervous because I don’t exactly know when to pull them since they’re, well, underground and I can’t see how they’re doing.  IMG_0651

Late start to the growing season, but it looks like it’s hopefully going to be a fruitful (and veggie-ful) one!IMG_0653

Are you gardening this year?  What’s your favorite plant to watch grow?

Pints & Purls Edition 10: Something Else a Little Different

This is the tenth in a series of installments that will highlight one of my favorite brews and which knits to go with it!

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This past weekend, while hanging out with my awesome friend Freshy (who’s blog you should totally go read, she’s had some amazing adventures), I had an epiphany of sorts.  An epiphany that circles around this here series and how I should include other types of posts within it.  Today is my first attempt at said epiphan-ic idea.  Instead of focusing on a specific beer by a specific brewer with lots of very specific qualities, I’m going to go more general (sometimes)!  I’m going to attack a style of brew – one of siblings in the family of beers.  Today? It’s the most beginner-friendly beer I know.IMG_0540

Brew: Hefeweizen

Brewer: Many

Malts:

Hops:

Flavors:  Hefeweisens usually have no hop bitterness, plenty of fruit and clove flavors with a tart finish.  “Hefe” means “with wheat” and this accounts for the beer’s typical cloudy look.  If you’ve enjoyed Hefeweisen’s before, you may have noticed that many of the bottles will request that you gently swirl the last inch or so liquid in the bottle before you finish pouring it into a glass (or your mouth) to really kick up the rest of the “cloud” that may have fallen in storage.

Knit Pairings:  The first thing I want to address, is the color of this yarn so perfectly matching the color of the brew.  The yarn is Madeline Tosh Merino Light in the Candlewick color.

Second, wheat beers like the Hefeweisen, are very good beginner beers – they’re not aggressive in flavor or scent.  Unlike the cheap-0 beers, Hefeweisens actually have flavor – complex flavor at that!  Add an orange or lemon slice, and it’s the perfect intro-beer for newbies.  Cascade 200 is a good beginner yarn – it’s not expensive, it comes in a range of colors, can be found at most LYS’s, it doesn’t have any extra fluff or novelty bits and it doesn’t squeak or ruin your wrists on the first row.

What can I say? We were both excited to see how our beers and knits matched!
What can I say? We were both excited to see how our beers and knits matched!

Notes:  Hefeweisens are really great any-time beers – day drinking, night drinking, summer, winter, with friends, family, strangers – it’s all good!  Bring along some good any-time knitting and you’re all set for an awesome, easy time!

Let me know what you think!  Suggestions for future beers, more/different information to include, this is a work in progress so I won’t be offended by constructive advice!

Weekend Adventures

This past weekend was a super fun one. My awesome friend Freshy flew in from Seattle and hung out with me!  We hit up all the yarn stores, some of the breweries, plenty of tourist-y spots and had some quality veg-out time on the couch with tea (or wine) and our Ravelry queues. I instagrammed a lot of it, if you don’t already follow me, sometimes I post pretty pictures 😉

Some pictures from the weekend? Sure, why not!

Yarn Store at Nob Hill
This is the mural on the Yarn Store at Nob Hill
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Hiking around on the top of the Sandias
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“The Rock House” on top of the Sandias
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Oddly similar tastes in beer colors as in yarn colors
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Sometimes you just have to hug the yarn up close and personal

And look what she brought me all the way from the Pacific Northwest! Isn’t it beautiful? Not a clue yet what I’ll make with it, but it’s soft enough to hang out around my neck anyway.IMG_0553

What did you do this weekend?  Fun adventures, even if they’re in your own town, can be had regularly and I highly recommend it!