From Beach to Snow

My husband is always saying “California is the best state.” I don’t know about all that. Yes, California is awesome, but I still have a special place in my heart for my original home state of Massachusetts.

The one thing I can say is that California has one of the most diverse geographic landscapes in the USA. We have beaches, mountains, desert, farmland, and great cities all in one state. From San Francisco alone, you can drive to the mountains, coast, farmland all within 3 hours. This winter break I got to do quite a bit of adventuring, 1,389 miles to be exact. At times, it was a little exhausting, but it was fun to see so much of California in a week in a half.

My adventures began with driving from San Francisco San Diego, CA.  I really enjoy  San Diego. I love that it is warm with great views and has a city feeling to it, but it is not overwhelming. While visiting we headed to Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town San Diego, the Gaslamp District, and La Jolla.

My college friend headed back up to San Francisco with me and we got to do a little hiking in Muir Woods/ Mt. Tamalpais State Parks. In these parks, you can take in the fantastic views of the bay as well as the giant Redwood trees.

For Christmas, my husband and I headed north to Sacramento. It was lovely spending time with family. I also got the special surprise of a ukulele! Kind of random yes I know. However, one day my husband and I were talking about things on our bucket lists and I brought up how I wanted to learn to play the ukulele. Here is me in my Red Rosina (don’t worry a future post is coming about my sweater) attempting to play.IMG_1369[1].JPG

Last, but not least, we headed to the Sierra Mountains to visit my husband’s extended family. Boy was it cold! I am used to being in 55-degree weather and it was 19 degrees one morning…Yikes! The snowy landscape was very pretty and we got the chance to walk through the snow covered pines along the Feather River. The Sierra Mountains have a unique beauty, but the winters are most certainly not for me. All and all a great trip yet, I am in need of a little vacation from my vacation.😉

 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Rick Rack Cowl

We have been doing quite a bit of traveling via car this holiday season therefore,  I have had plenty of time to knit. 

Remember this yarn (see below)? I started making the Dovetail Scarf from Purl Soho, but things weren’t working out. The body of the scarf was looking a little too stiff. So I ripped it back and did a little research. That is when I stumbled upon the Rick Rack Rib Scarf. I ❤️ both Barbara Walker and Purl Soho so the decision was made. 

I love how the Rick Rack Rib texture is subtle and doesn’t compete with the color changing. This texture helps the piece lay flat as well as it feels super squishy. It kind of reminds me of a Fisherman’s Rib. I used Ella Rae Seasons in Rainbow (09) and US Size 15 needles.

The pattern is pretty easy when you get the hang of it. The Purl Soho website has a nice photo tutorial of how to work the stitches. My suggestion: Use pointy needles. It makes it way easier to pick up the stitches. 

In the end, I decided to sew the ends together and make it into a cowl. San Francisco is pretty windy so loose scarf ends can be a pain. I am really happy with the finished project. The cowl is interesting in both color and texture and is super cozy. 

Until Next Time,

-Whit- 

Exploring Colorwork

I have to admit stranded colorwork isn’t my favorite. Why you may ask? Well, it is hard. I have issues with maintaining the right tension throughout the color section. Lately, I have been trying to use the one in each hand method (color A in the left hand and color B in the right hand). This method helps with keeping the yarn in line and not twisted. However, my left-hand knitting is a little shaky. The reality is I need to practice if I am going to get better. I really want to take a stab at creating a pretty elaborate stranded colorwork sweater. They are so beautiful but look so challenging.

For me, hats are the best way to practice a specific technique. They are big enough to get enough repetitions in, while still keeping the project small in the event of failure. So here are my latest “practice pieces”:

This is a baby hat was made using Rowan Hemp Tweed and Paton’s Classic Wool. The colorwork was fairly easy on this hat as there is only one band where I alternated the colors 1×1. By the end of the color section, I had a pretty good pace going between my two hands.

This beanie is knit with Berroco Comfort (black and white) and some red acrylic yarn from my stash. I was inspired by the Branches and Buds Sweater. I have to say by the end of this hat my tension issues were working themselves out. Holding yarn in my left hand is still a little odd, but it is becoming more comfortable.

I hope to get a few more stranded colorwork pieces (hats or cowls) under my belt in the next few months so I am ready for the ultimate goal: a sweater.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Lil’ Pixie Hat

Here is a new item off the needles. I call her Lil’ Red Pixie. She is knitted from Plymouth Encore Tweed in Ruby.

 After casting on 90 stitches, I knit 5 rows in garter stitch. Within the first few rows I made sure to add a yarn over so I would have a button hole. 

Next, I decreased every 2nd row on each edge 10 times. I then knit for 3 inches.

In the end, I used a 3-needle bind off and sewed in the loose ends. I added a button to close the hat under the chin. I can’t wait to see this on my friend’s daughter. She is going to look super cute!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

The above is a general outline. The sizing is geared toward a 3-4 year old child. 

Green’s Day

Every year my husband’s aunt hosts Green’s Day at her ranch. Basically, it is a bunch of crafty people getting together to eat, drink, and create holiday wreaths.The barn is over a 100 years old and is one of the largest barns in county. The rustic ambiance, twinkle lights, and smell of pine was the perfect way for me to start the holiday season.

It was requested that I make a gold and red colored wreath to honor my husband’s other love…the San Francisco 49ers football team 🙄. For my wreath, I used glittered and traditional poinsettias and some wired ribbon to dress up the pine branches.  It took me awhile, but my wreath was born.

I also took a stab at make a cork Christmas tree that I saw on Pinterest. I am not really pleased with how it came out…doesn’t look as good as the picture 😕. I might try to add some colored  ribbon to jazz it up.

What are some of your favorite things to do to get ready for Christmas?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Fun Socks

The Backstory: My husband and I were in my LYS shopping around. He wandered over to the sock yarn and started commenting about how he would love another pair of handmade socks. Since his birthday falls a week after Christmas, I said yes to the socks. My thought… One less gift I have to think up myself (😉).

 He selected Cascade Heritage Prints (Merino Wool/Nylon), which is a self-striping yarn. The thickness of each strip came out fairly even. The color saturation is awesome and the yarn has a tight twist so the stitch definition is A-MA-ZING!

I wanted another go at the afterthought heel so I casted on 68 stitches and knit and knit and knit. It was requested that the socks be identical twins (extreme eye roll) so I double magic looped them. I then went back and added in the heel. If you need a good tutorial on how to do this please check out this one from The Knit Girllls.Afterthought heels are pretty easy to knit into the sock. You just need to make sure to account for the approximately 2 1/2″ that the heel with take up when knitting the tubular section. You don’t want to make the foot too short.Well another X-mas gift completed! Woot woot! I most certainly recommend Cascade Heritage Prints yarn the next time you feel the need to make some fun socks.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

 

FO: Kōpekapeka Hat

Finally done and photographed!

 IMG_3781 copy.jpg

Kōpekapeka Hat, by Francoise Danoy, is a pretty enjoyable knit. I love classic shape and  unfussy texture.  The zig-zag pattern keeps this easy knit from getting stale, while not making the hat look too busy. I can certainly see this hat becoming a fall favorite.

I did add one modification, which was that I added an additional zig-zag repeat to make the body of the hat a little longer. I like to pull my hat down real low when the weather gets cold.img_3795

Location: Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, NH

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Royal Purple (100% wool)

Needles: US Size 6/ 4.0mm (Knitters Pride Dreamz)

A big shout out to my lovely sister for taking amazing photos. 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-