Quick Photo Wall DIY

So…..you know that Shutterfly promo that’s been goin’ around? The one where they’re promising to give away unlimited 4×4 prints fo’ free? Yea. I took advantage of that. I loaded up my cart and only paid shipping for more than 70 photos!IMG_3455

Now that I have 70 mini photos, what should I do with them?

We had one narrow blank wall in our room that needed some love (I’m real big on having stuff on the walls). And so I took some push pins, leftover white sock yarn and the tiniest clothespins I could find at Joann’s and made this photo wall!IMG_3462

When I get bored of the pictures or the configuration, I’ll just switch ’em out with the other prints I’ve got – that’ll keep things fresh without my having to spend more money and I really do love all the pictures. Memories, people and places I love, Lisa, mountains….you can’t go wrong!IMG_3465

Any recommendations for what do with with the rest of the pictures? I’ve got about 50 left that didn’t fit here and although I could do this same treatment in a few different spaces in my house, I’m open for new options too!

(This post isn’t sponsored in anyway, I just wanted to share the good deals!)

Snapshots Lately

The knitting looks largely the same this week and instead of bore you with the same ol’ pictures and “it’s coming along slowly but steadily” routine, I figured I’d share some photos of non-knitting things I’ve been up to!

These first 2 shots are from the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even though it seems a little counter intuitive to go to a garden in February, you can still see some neat things and great color combos! Who else thinks those plants would make for some awesome yarn dying inspiration?

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These last 3 are from my weekend in Salida with my best friend mom. The first was seen in the downtown area, the second was near the alpaca farm and the third was taken at Elevation Beer Company just outside Salida in Poncha Springs. You can see me starting the Peony Shawl (and the sweater is the Joan of Arc pullover which I actually wear a lot – I don’t think the original photos do this sweater justice).

What non-knitting shenanigans have you been getting into lately?

Pattern Release – Mountains Beanie

I’m happy to announce my 2nd pattern of 2016! The Mountains Beanie is another tribute to my favorite places. This pattern features six mountains in three sizes (and only two charts!). The mountains grow out of a ribbed edging and into a stockinette skyline on the crown of the hat.

The yarn is Kona Sport from a local, Boulder-based yarn shop called Gypsy Wools and it’s fabulous. I love the depth that the colorway has and the stitch definition is just perfect.

Being in the mountains is meditative for me and so was knitting this hat. The ribbing is a great starting point then the mountains start growing and there’s a little bit of excitement watching each peak take shape. Understated but special, rhythmic but not boring – my type of knit!

The Mountains Beanie can be found on Ravelry, LoveKnitting, Craftsy and Etsy!

FO Friday: The Cascades Pullover

It’s done and it fits and I love it! 

This was a thoroughly fun pattern for me, I was able to memorize the chart patterns quickly which made this a good, portable project. I should have done the sleeves first because, I’ll be honest, working all that waffle stitch after doing the interesting body was a bit of a drag. 

The Shepherd’s Wool was, again, fantastic. I’ve used this yarn (in this exact color, even) before for my Molly hat and knew it’d make an excellent sweater. It’s warm without being bulky, the stitch definition is excellent and it’s so so so soft.

Mods: I added waist shaping to better fit my pear shape. To do this, I started with the stitch count for the second size and decreased in the waffle stitch sections to get the numbers for the first size for my chest. I made the sleeves according to the second size because I don’t like tight upper arms or underarms. I added in a few extra decreases in the raglan shaping to finish off the yoke as the first size.

(yea, those are alpaca behind me. and mountains. it’s ok to be jealous)

What have you been working on lately? Any FOs to share?

WIP Wednesday: New and Not-As-New

Exciting stuff this week folks! I’m not working on the Cascades anymore and instead have not one, but TWO projects on the needles that I’m excited to share with you.

As my post on Friday stated, I’m getting back to the Hualpa Kimono by We Are Knitters. I picked it up again the other day and am enjoying the colorwork while crossing my fingers that the bumpy textures block out (I know they will but that’s the worry with all colorwork, is it not?).

The other project is the Peony Shawl by Kat Riddell. This one I’m knitting out of some long-stashed Hazel Knits Entice MCN in the appropriately named Hoppy Blonde colorway.  This yarn is special (and not just because it’s a merino, cashmere and nylon blend). My friend Freshy brought me this when she visited me in Albuquerque in 2013!IMG_3232

What are you working on this week?

Blocking is Important! Here’s Why

IMG_3222Blocking is something that folks either seem to love or hate. Personally, I’m on the blocking side of things – my knits don’t feel finished unless I’ve blocked them. I always block my swatches (even though swatches can be lying liarpants anyway) and I’m always pestering my knitting family and friends to be sure to block too!

It’s such an important thing. Why, you ask?

  • Evens out stitches
  • Yarn often will bloom and/or soften
  • Sets the shape and size of the item
  • Shows the true character of the fabric
    -may turn out drapey
    -may grow
    -may shrink
  • Can remove wrinkles

With some projects, like lace, blocking can be used to “stretch” the knit, open up the yarnovers and show the detail and with other projects, it’s used to set the shape, it’s great for all projects to even out the stitches and solves a host of other issues that may arise when knitting. With my Cascades, for example, I wanted the fabric to relax (like I knew it would because I blocked my swatch) and I wanted to make sure that it would fit in all the right places.IMG_3218

If you remember, I added some shaping to this sweater since my hips are a few inches larger than my bust. When I blocked it, I measured the hip and bust areas to be sure they’d fit my curves the way I wanted. Luckily, math and the Universe were on my side and it totally fits the way I hoped! (modelled photos coming later this week ;))IMG_3221

Which side of the blocking fence are you on? Do you do it eachandeverytimenomatterwhat? Or not at all? Or maybe just for certain projects?

Move Along

I think all those good vibes ya’ll sent me the other day really made the knitting magic happen! The Cascades is finished and blocked but I don’t have modelled shots yet so you won’t get to see that today.IMG_3117

Instead, I want to share my next plans! If you remember, I got a kit for the Hualpa Kimono from We Are Knitters a while back and I’m definitely taking that on my weekend trip (for which I leave in just a few hours – yay for mountain time with mom!). This project has been sitting on my desk giving me sideways glances every chance it gets – somehow it knows just when to look ignored enough to raise my guilt-meter.

I’m also going to be taking yarn for a new project I’ve mentioned for too. I’ve wound the yarn, downloaded the pattern and found the needles for Peony by Kat Riddell. IMG_3236

What are your weekend plans? Have you finished any long-standing WIPs lately?

WIP Wednesday: So Close Yet So Far

The Cascades continues to grow but with 2 days until I leave for my girls’ weekend with my momma, time is shrinking.IMG_3198

Luckily the number of stitches on the needles is shrinking too. Not quite as fast as I’d prefer but it IS decreasing with every (other) round. At least the knitting is interesting, I do love the textures still and shaping is always a fun part of knitting for me.IMG_3203

I’ve had to mod the raglan decreases a tiny bit because of my need to make the arms a bit wider (I don’t like tight sleeves in the bicep area or tight underarms) but I think I’m on track to finish this up with the numbers for the smallest size. Fingers crossed I can bang it out before hitting the road and heading to Salida!

What are you working on this week?

Substituting Yarn

substituting yarnOne of the most common alterations made to any given pattern is when the knitter uses a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern. This can happen for a multitude of reasons – the knitter wants to use stashed yarn, the yarn isn’t available in his or her LYS, the knitter has an allergy – or maybe even just a preference – for a different fiber, the suggested yarn doesn’t come in the desired color, the suggested yarn has been discontinued – the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason, it’s a pretty safe bet that at some point in your knitting life, you’ll want or be forced to use a different yarn than recommended.

How do you know which yarns might be a suitable substitute?

There are a lot of things you should look at when choosing substitute yarn including:

  • Gauge. This one is very important. It is important to check gauge even if you ARE using the recommended yarn. Knitting is like handwriting, everyone’s is unique to them and even if you’re using the recommended yarn and needles, your gauge could be off no matter what and you’ll have to change something (usually needle size). When substituting a yarn, ALWAYS remember to double check your gauge.
  • Fiber content. Different fibers behave in different ways. They fall differently, have different memory capacities (this does not mean the yarn knows when your birthday is), block differently and react to wear in their own unique ways. If the yarn called for in the pattern is 100% wool, it’s unlikely that a 100% silk, even if in the recommended weight and even if the gauge swatch comes out perfectly, will be a perfect match because these two fibers produce completely different fabrics.
  • Yardage amounts. Just because the pattern recommends 5 skeins of the suggested yarn, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need 5 skeins of the yarn you’re substituting with. Check the yardage amounts per skein for the suggested yarn as well as your substituted yarn, you may find that you need twice as many skeins, or possibly half! (but who would complain about having “too much” yarn? I’m not sure that’s even a possibility.)

This is just a brief overview, but I hope it helps some of you make decisions regarding which materials to use in the future! Have you ever substituted yarn when working a pattern?  How did it turn out? How did YOU choose which yarn to work with?

Pattern Release: The Forest Cardigan

Happy Friday knitters! Today I’m excited to announce that the Forest Cardigan is available for download on Ravelry, LoveKnitting, Etsy and Craftsy!

The Forest Cardigan was inspired by my favorite place – the mountains (I try to be really creative with my pattern names, can you tell?). The colors in my original sample, the woolly texture of the yarn, the stitch patterns are all reminiscent of the rocks and trees that I love so much. My buttons even speak to the inspiration being made of wood!

This sweater is knit from the top down with raglan shaping, then stitches are picked up at the end for the button band and collar – no seams!

Worsted weight wool: 300 (350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650)yds in color A & 200 (250, 300, 350, 400, 450, 500, 550)yds in Color B
Size 9 (5.5 mm) circular needles (cir) 32-40” depending on size being made and set of double-pointed needles (dpn)
4 Stitch markers
Darning Needle
7 1.5”/3.75 cm buttons

What are the colors of your favorite places?