Crochet Vegetables

We are slowly approaching 3 months of isolation here in China. Life in the city is beginning to move back to pre- Coronavirus times, but you can sense the trepidation. There is still anxiety out there of contracting the virus. One positive sign is out school just made some of the final decisions to reopen in a few weeks. We will finish out the last six weeks of school on campus. The plans are a little sad for the kids (e.g., They can only play in designated areas with no equipment and at a distance from each other) but I am sure they will adapt.

For the last month, I have really been on a crochet kick. Especially with making toys. One of the fun projects I embarked on is making crochet vegetables for my daughter. Who knew produce could be so fun?

I am attempting to use up my scrap yarn, which has driven a lot of the color/ veggie choices. So far we have a cucumber, mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, and eggplant. Currently in the works is some broccoli and a carrot.

I am not using patterns, nor do I have extensive crochet construction knowledge, so I am just going with the good old intuition method. The hardest one to capture has been the red bell pepper- or capsicum as my Australian friends call it- due to the bumpy contours. With this one I used triple crochet stitches mixed with single crochet stitches to try to get the bumps near the stem just right. Not bad huh?

My mushroom needs a little something I think. Depending on what angle you are looking from, people have confused it with garlic. Maybe it is the color?

I will continue plodding along with this little project as the scraps make themselves available. It is a good filler for those times I am between knitting projects.

Anyone else exploring new crafts?

Until Next Time,

4 Square Cowl

Designing isn’t something I do on the regular, but sometimes and idea hits and I run with it. Meet the 4 Square Cowl now available on Ravelry!

This cowl was created so that all knitters have the chance to incorporate multiple colors into their work without using complicated techniques. If you know how to knit and slip a stitch you are definitely able to make this cowl!

What I love about this design is the endless color combinations to choose from. Love sports? Use your team colors! Holiday coming up? Get festive with your knitwear! Have a skein if gorgeous variegated yarn? No problem! The 4 Square Cowl has endless possibilities.

This pattern is intended for worsted weight yarn and knits up pretty quick. The pattern repeats in a series of five stitches so it is very easy to adjust the circumference of the cowl.

Supporting independent designer is something I try to do often. How can you? Head to Ravelry to purchase the pattern and/or favorite it. Also you can follow me on social media (@knitsbywhitsf) and hit the like button. 😁

Until Next Time,

Leaf Love Dress

I was working on a shawl as we were traveling through Austria only to discover I forgot to pack the second ball of yarn. 😑 Lucky for me the internet saved the day. I found a yarn shop in Innsbruck and a pattern on Ravelry and was good to go.

My little one is acquiring quite the knitted collection. It is so nice to have someone else to knit garments for. I chose the Love Leaf Dress mostly due to the yardage and yarn specifications listed. I didn’t want to get into another yarn chicken situation. This pattern is a top down raglan construction with a lace panel down the front. I made the dress more of a tunic length so the skirt is about 5 inches rather than 8.

Now let me tell you about this yarn. It is from Ferner Wolle (Austrian Brand). Wow is it soft and I really enjoyed working with it. It does not have a tight twist, however, I don’t think that affected the definition of the lace panel that much. Since I didn’t bring extra needles I popped into another craft shop along our journey and purchased a pair of Addi circulars. Wow oh wow! I love Addis! They are pointy, light weight, and the cable is super pliable. I may have to look into purchasing more needles from this brand.

It is starting to look like it will warm up around here so I think baby will not have many more woolly knits. Time to investigate garnments meant for spring.

Until Next Time,

CardiZen 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-

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,

The Lake Reed Hat

The cables continue! The Lake Reed Hat is composed of two different cables that keep intermediate to advance knitters on their toes (in a good way 😊). This hat was defiantly not a Netflix and knit project. Let’s just say there was a lot of frogging going on around the crown. It was most certainly knitter error. For some reason I could not read the glossary (abbreviations) directions correctly. Once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing things fell into place.

I used a Chinese brand yarn called Zuodan Nu which is a wool/acrylic blend. This isn’t my favorite yarn yet, I like the color and the stitch definition. This yarn is more on the worsted weight side so the final object is a little dense, which just means better protection from the elements.

One Christmas gift down and 4 more to go!

Until Next Time,