Cardi-Zen Cardigan

I am not a big fan of bulky yarn. I have a hard time knitting for long periods with big yarn and the big needles needed to work it up. Plus it is always tricky to weave in ends so that they stay secure. However, I saw CardiZen by Denise Bayron and knew I had to make it. I loved the motojacket feel of the cardigan.

CardiZen is a super well written pattern! The cardigan is constructed sideways, but Denise walks you through every step. She includes ‘tips’ and relevant schematics for each section. This was super helpful as the construction was new to me.

The tip I did not follow was to use an all natural fiber. My funds did not allow for this. Instead I used Loops and Threads Cozy Wool. Due to the small acrylic content in the yarn I could not just fuse the yarn together with wet splicing. I managed to weave in all the ends pretty well, but we will see what happens as I wear it.

The only modification I made was knitting a full sleeve rather than a 3/4 sleeve. My wrists get cold really easily! Overall, I am really happy with this cardigan. It is so cozy. My husband even made comment that he thought it looked cool (this is saying a lot as he rarely comments on my fashion). My only dilemma now is how to style it!

Until Next Time,

Yarn Shopping: Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is such a charming town I almost have to pinch myself to make sure it is real. Imagine pastel colored buildings seated in front of snowy mountains that follow the curves of a gorgeous river. This is Innsbruck in a nutshell.

Being that the town is set in a snowy place I suspected there was a yarn store. My suspicions were correct. I found this small shop on the outside of the Old Town.

Glattverkehrt is about what the sign advertises… wool. If you are not a wool lover this yarn shop is not for you. Aside from alpaca and a very tiny cotton section, the stock in this shop is all about wool. This disappointed me a little as I was looking for a bit more variety as I live in a super hot climate and wool can be worn maybe 1-2 months per year.

Another warning… this shop is very narrow. I was with my infant and her stroller barely fit in the shop with enough room to walk around. However, the shop keeper was super nice and helped me get the stroller in and out of the shop without destroying anything.

A plus side to Glattverkehrt was that it had decent price points as well as a great stock of sturdy sock yarn. This yarn is the stuff you use when you want socks to last and last. So did I buy anything? I did! I purchased a DK weight Austrian wool. I picture it will be a nice cowl or maybe tunic for the baby.

This shop wasn’t terrible, but it wouldn’t be my go to LYS as I like to knit with a little bit of everything. What kind of fiber do you like stocked in your LYS?

Until Next Time,

Solving the Underarm Gap While Sweater Knitting

Why have I not investigated this earlier? This is the age of technology for heaven sake! All knitting related knowledge is often just a Google or YouTube search away. I like to try to figure out things on my own, but let’s be real that takes up valuable knitting time. Especially if someone has figured it out already.

I had just finished my third Flax Sweater in the family of Flax Sweaters I had been making for Christmas. I got to the armholes and was again frustrated by the gaps that appeared at the underarm. Ugh! Normally I duplicate stitch the holes, but I figured there has to be another way out there.

So I finally took the time (this was after I had finished all of the sweaters) to look up some tips for ‘minding the gap.’ Better late than never right? I plan to try this on my next sweater.

What is your favorite technique for avoiding underarm gaps?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Yarn Shopping: Marblehead, Massachusetts

Over winter holiday we headed back to the USA to visit family in Massachusetts. We stayed for two weeks so we had ample time to do some day trips. My parents recommended that we head to Marblehead, MA to take a stroll around the historic town and see the harbor. When people recommend places for me to go, the knitter in me immediately does a yarn store search. Lucky for me there was a yarn shop listed on the main shopping street. Yippee!

Marblehead Knits was a cute shop in a lovely location. It was small, but stocked from top to bottom. Like many of my favorite LYSs there was a selection of high end yarn down to budget options. I was happy to see that the higher end items ($20 USD+) were not just the standard Madeline Tosh yarn. I wasn’t quite able to detect the organization of the shop yet, I was browsing so it didn’t matter to me.

So what did I find? Two skeins of Three Irish Girls yarn, which I had heard about before and have not had the chance to see in person. I also picked up two skeins of yarn dyed by a local indie dyer. I found this really lovely shawl pin as well.

Marblehead Knits is a delightful yarn shop to stop by if you are ever visiting the Boston area. Take a half day trip to tour the town, grab some lunch and stock up on a few skeins. 😉

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Crochet Blanket

I have a fickle relationship with crochet. I enjoy the intricacy of the stitches and the ease of incorporating color into a piece. However, the creation process is just not as relaxing as knitting for me. Knitting has the advantage because I don’t have to look at my hands all the time. With this being said, I generally have a crochet project languishing in my yarn bins. Case in point this blanket. It has been sitting around for about a year. Every now and then I pick it up and add a few rows and then it gets cast aside once again.

Last week, I decided I had reached a point that this WIP should move to FO status. It is big enough to be a baby blanket or lap blanket if your thighs are cold. I used acrylic based yarns with a size 7.0mm hook. I just made up the stitch design as I went along. I kept the general idea of a granny square while adding some other elements.

I need to give this blanket a good wash and blocking and then it will be all set to find a new home. I don’t think I will search for a crochet project anytime soon, but I never know when my hands will get the itch to change it up.

Until Next Time,

Braided Headbands

Natural thick curly hair is generally not compatible with beanies. Especially, when I wear a puff. Thankfully the trend of knitted headbands saves the ears on a cold blustery day!

The Woven Cable Headband was such a gratifying knit. And those cables! I love love the braided look. It appears super complicated, but really it is not. Did I also mention this is an excellent project for the knitter on the go?

The benefit of knitted headbands is that they are an awesome way to use up the extra yarn you have lying around in your stash. I used Yak Wool in White to whip up my first headband. My yarn was on the chunkier side (aran weight) so I went up a needle size and decreased the number of repeats in the pattern.

I also had a wee bit of Malabrigo Worsted in Frank Orchre left from another project so I created another headband with a smaller circumference. I think the Malabrigo yarn showed off the beauty of the cables a wee bit better. I also quite enjoy the depth of the gold/ yellow color.

Either way I am happy with the finished results and plan on making more over the Christmas holiday.

Until Next a Time,

P.S. Check out my self-published pattern for the Crossing Diamonds Headband. This is a great selection for those who want a quick knit or are just embarking on the journey of cable knitting. Headbands make great holiday gifts for friends and family!

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Bearly Bonnet

A quick post for a quick project! The Bearly Bonnet is one of my favorite baby knits. It has a variety of sizes and creates such a cute finished product.

I used a Chinese brand wool/acrylic blend (worsted weight), which lead to me needing to do some math. I ended up with 16 sts over 10 cm using size US 7 needles. So I casted on 56 sts and calculated the rest of the changes based on the cm requirements in the pattern.

I wasn’t in the mood to sew more than I had to so I opted to not make the ears. The great thing about this hat being handmade is that if I change my mind I can always add them on later.

Until Next Time,