Friday, June 17, 2016

Fo: Reyna #2

My Reyna #2 has been laying finished, blocked to my new foam mats for several days. At first, it was left alone to dry before heading out to the Wisconsin Dells for the weekend, but then I just got busy. You know how it goes, I bet.
I used my own personal KUAS Yarns fingering weight skein of "Fairy Cove" for this project, and have a like-dislike impression of this colorway used for mesh lace. It's "nice," but I think these colors work best blended together into stockinette stitch.

I extended the pattern a little bit, so I played a horrible match of "yarn chicken" (the race to finish a project before the yarn runs out) for this one. It was a match so horrible that I lost to 29 sts in the bind-off. I had to pull an emergency "slide remaining sts onto a spare needle, then psso all the way across starting from the very end and back to where I ran out of yarn" because I didn't have yarn close enough to be a proxy yarn. It was a tight faux-bind-off, but it did the trick. I had about 435 yds for this project, and could have used about 437, possibly.
Yarn: 1 skein KUAS Yarns fingering weight yarn in the colorway "Fairy Cove"; 435 yds
Needles: size US 5 circulars
Start date: 4/18/16     Completed: 6/10/16
Mods:  Lengthening the last mesh portion, as well as the last garter section, adding visable eyelets running down the middle of the shawl. 
I decided to make the eyelets in the middle of the shawl visible for two reasons: to help open up the shawl while blocking, and for visual appeal. To do this, instead of knitting/purling the increases through the back of the loop, just knit/purl them as normal.
I think that this is a great shawl for any beginner. Just be sure to either knit the pattern in sport/worsted yarn if following the pattern exactly, or to extend the bottom of the shawl for 10-15 rows if working fingering weight yarn, because the shawl most likely will not be as long you wish for. At least that is my opinion and the common census for this pattern from users. 

Next up: finishing my "Skimmer Socks" that are short, no-show socks. Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Toe-Up Socks ("Skimmer Socks," aka "no-show socks")

I am really excited because I forced myself to learn a new skill: Toe-Up Socks. Well, actually, this involved two new skills because I first had to learn "Judy's Magic Cast-on" in order to do this.

I've knit plenty of socks, but I've been really stuck in my ways knitting them all cuff-down. Seriously, I would always say "Ok, self: the next one I'll try toe-up," but I never got around to actually doing that. Well, not until the Skimmer Socks (no-show socks) pattern. I bought myself a new pair of white Peds shoes, and this free pattern would be perfect for non-slip no-show socks!

So, in the car, on the way to the zoo, I decided to learn this new cast-on technique (word of the wise, it is best to NOT learn new techniques while in the car!) with the cellphone in my lap and needles at the ready. I used this video below to help me:
 And...voila! Several increase rows in, it's starting to look like the tip of the sock. Success!
Yarn: Paton's Stretch Socks (colorway: Sugar)
Needles: size US 1.5 (2.5mm) Addi Turbo circular needles
Skimmer Socks (by Sheila Toy Stromberg)--Source from Ravelry Pattern Database
I'm doing the sole right now. It's working up mighty quick. I can't wait to have a finished pair.
I decided to go with an elastic blend cotton/wool so that it can do a little bit of stretching; the blend should make for a sock that isn't too warm. My only concern is that the yarn is on the thin side, so I hope the sock won't be too small, overall.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Live Video Streaming--Tomorrow at 8pm CT!

Join me for some knit 'n chat on my Facebook group page while I do my first LIVE video streaming session.

What's live video streaming? I make a video, and you can write to me (chat, ask questions, etc) while I am video-taping. I can see your comments, likes, etc, and can talk to you in "real time." Cool!

Upcoming Live Video Stream: 8pm CT!
The Knitting Up A Storm FB Group

Monday, April 25, 2016

WIP: Reyna #2

I just couldn't help myself. I had to cast on for another Reyna Shawl.

I was originally planning on knitting my second one using sport or worsted weight yarn, but I couldn't help but wonder what my handpainted sock yarn might look like in this shawl.

So I decided to go with my "Fairy Cove" sock yarn that I dyed back in 2007. It's been waiting patiently for 9 years to become something wonderful. 9 years. Wow. I really should open that sock drawer more often.

Spring is finally here, and it's wonderful to see plants come back to life. This photo was taken on my back stone patio by my lavander plant.
 Pattern: Reyna by Noora Laivola
Needles: Size US 4 circlar needles (Knitpicks' Caspian interchangeable tips)
Yarn: KUAS superwash blend fingering weight yarn, colorway "Fairy Cove" (lilac, periwinkle, silver, white and brown)
Start date: 4/18/16
The colors really look better in real life. I took this photo during twilight time, so the silver is not even showing up.

I hope you are enjoying the warming of the weather. Bring your project outside, sip on some tea or coffee and enjoy life to its fullest.

Friday, April 15, 2016

FO: Left Twist Rib Socks

Good morning,
Yesterday, I completed the pair of these Left Twist socks that I knit years ago for my grandma and published the pattern on Ravelry. I am quite happy with how they turned out. The great thing about this pattern, besides the fact that the pattern is really easy, is that you can use any yarn that you want. I mean, look how vibrant and variegated this colorway is...

The main pattern is a ribbing with a mock-cable, the LT (or left twist). I didn't even crack out a cable needle for the pattern, you use use your main needles.

Notes: the pattern is written for both DPN and Magic Loop users. 
Yarn: Under 400 yds Lorna's Lace Shephard Sock Multi in "Irving Park" (you can use any fingering weight yarn)
 Needles: one 40'' circular needle, size US 1.5/2.5mm

 The pattern is only 3 rds, so it's really easy to modify the length.
 Here's the original one from 2007:
 I hope you have a great weekend,

Thursday, April 07, 2016

WIP: Fall cardigan (knit during the spring)

I'm just a girl knitting a fall cardigan during the spring. Don't mind me.
Hey, at least it's been cold and snowy. It makes me feel a little bit better about my slacker self.

There will be pockets using the "afterthought" concept. I knit some stitches with waste yarn to unravel later so I can knit myself a stellar deep pocket.

You can track the cardigan's progress here on Ravelry.

Needles & yarn
US 10 - 6.0 mm
1,270 yards = 10 skeins
Pattern: My own design
3 skeins = 381.0 yards (348.4 meters), 300 grams
: Mesa Print
3 skeins = 381.0 yards (348.4 meters), 300 grams
: Desert Sun Mix
2 skeins = 254.0 yards (232.3 meters), 200 grams
: Taupe
1 skein = 127.0 yards (116.1 meters), 100 grams
1 skein = 127.0 yards (116.1 meters), 100 grams

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Knitting Up a Storm Craft Studio Tour

Welcome to my craft studio, dear friends.

My husband and I built this yarn pegboard organizer to store all of my favorite yarn, to give me the sense of being in a yarnstore and to provide constant inspiration. Underneath is a wooden frame, so that there is space between the board and wall to apply the hooks.

Sometimes I wander in the room and just glance at it, thinking of possibilities for each yarn. I've had some of this yarn for a long time, almost to the point where my project expectations are so lofty because of it's beauty, it's hard for me to use it because it won't be up on the hook anymore. Look at me talk like a crazy person. I get too attached.

In this small nursery-turned spare room, I will give you a wonderful, almost Willy Wonka-like tour of half of this room, which is mine. The other half of the room I will leave up to your wild imagination of what my husband has done to his (small) side for his "office."

This tour is jam-packed with eyecandy goodies--yarn, notion holders, project displays, how I store my supplies...etc. Hopefully this tour will give you some inspiration if you are wondering what to do with your own stash. Pretty yarn shouldn't be crammed in bins and shelves, my friends. It should be out to tempt you to use it.
Please keep in mind that this collection has been over a decade of hoarding years in the making. This doesn't just happen overnight. It's also not for the faint of heart. Oh, I'm not talking about you. I was talking about your husband, room-mate, etc.   :)

On the yarn shelf are three sock forms that I use to display my sock patterns. I try not to keep them on them because it will overstretch the socks out of shape. I have a few stitchionaries that I keep out. I have all of my other books on a narrow bookshelf on the other side of he room.

Below is a plate lazy suzan that you use for little tea sandwiches or desserts. It has a lovely grey bird design on it that I got at Marshall's. While not in use, I store yarn on it.
So this is where I keep my dpns. I love the idea of storing these puppies in a tall coffee mug. Seems cozy. I have two necklace stands in this room. This one is for my "Lovely Cords" pattern. The other one is holding my ecclectic bird necklace that I made.
My straight needles have always been stored in a whimsical looking wine case. You can find these at a craft store such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby or Joanne's. Once again, it's the perfect height for most needles so you can see each size. I don't use straights anymore (I'm a huge fan of circular needles for any project), but I feel I should keep them at least for a decorative purpose.
On the right side of the pegboard, I have most of my circular needles (expect for some interchangeable needle tips and such that are in the binders that the set came in) organized by size and length. The top is all of the long cables, and the bottom are the shorter cables.

Psst- the painting is from my mixed media artist friend Gina Lee Kim, who regularly is featured in the Cloth, Paper Scissors magazine. It looks great next to my sunset yarns, but I really need to find a proper frame for it and hang it up.
I love Victorian things and anything that reminds me of a garden (one of my favorite childhood books is "The Secret Garden"), and so I like to use something like a teacup to store odds and ends, and also this little plastic twist container for things such as pins, travel sized thread and buttons. 
Now, I want you to realize that my organization is NOT perfect or pleasing to the eyes. I do have plenty of closet space crammed in with bins and everything non-yarny. This is the spare bedroom closet, but my own closet has more craft bins and various yarn crammed in shelving spaces. 

In the bins are beading supplies, buttons, glue guns, stamps and endless things that I've collected over the years. I also have all of my leftover sock yarn that I will eventually use to make a memory-keeper's blanket. I have yarn dyes hidden behind, as well as my collapsible yarn swift, ball-winder, sewing supplies and more. 

I don't even have room for my spinning wheel in here anymore. I keep it in my bedroom, along with the roving in a long bin shoved next to our dresser and our wall.
However, let's just look at the pretty places. Places filled with inspiration and  wonder. My son is photobombing, weighing some tee-shirt yarn on my little scale. He literally told me "mommy, you're always around this yarn. It's all about the yarn, isn't it?" Yes babe. I think you are starting to understand my ways. :)

So this is my desk. It's old, probably from the 90's, but I have matching shelving (a book shelf of knitting books that isn't in this picture tour), and also the yarn shelves next to it. I like lightly colored wood and the fact that it's a corner desk. I don't actually sit here ever though. If I knit, it's usually on the couch or at the kitchen table while watching podcasts. 
I recently bought this project journal. I am filling it with yarn labels, yarn scraps and notes. I also bought this awesome faux-luggage box for my knitted socks. Some pairs are missing from the box when I took this photo. I've seen lots of podcasters talk about this journaling and sock box idea, such as the YarnGasm podcast. I figured I'd go to Ross and see if they have these items for cheap. They did.
My KnitCity bag from NY and the "Winter is Coming" bag that my husband ordered me for Christmas is hanging on the door. Next to the door is "Victoria," my knitwear model that I got from TJMaxx a few years back. Right now, she is wearing my "Forget Me Not" shawl that I designed while my grandpa was in the hospital with a stroke. He's no longer around, so I think of it as a memory shawl for him.
In the bins are various weighted yarn that are caked or commercially balled. Most of my sock yarn is in the top two bins. The yarn visible has multiple layers of variegated or striping yarn, and I always look at them and think, how can I learn to knit socks faster so I can get to these? 
On the pegbaord, the yarn is also organized by weight. To save on space, I have put about 3-5 skeins per hook on there. 

Well folks, that's about it. If you have any questions, shoot me a message. i have I have inspired you for your own little crafting nook. 
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