Blue Mountain Cowl

Recently, I picked up my yarn and needles and let my hands dictate the design that unfolded. This process knit resulted in a gorgeous cowl.

I decided on the name Blue Mountain Cowl as it got some use on the trails of the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, Australia. Australia is in the middle of winter right now so the temps in the mountain were a bit chilly. We started the day with it being 1°C and I think it got up to 13°C in direct sun with no wind. The cozy Merino/cashmere blend felt like a little piece of heaven.Originally, I had socks in mind, however, the yarn didn’t have enough nylon content for me. I kept ending up with really baggy socks, which were a no go. I have suffered too many years with baggy sock. The curse of tiny feet! 😫

The yarn is String Theory Caper Sock in Stella Blue (merino wool/cashmere/nylon), which I purchased in Burlington, Vermont last summer. I love the subtle color variegation in this yarn. The yarn was also soooooo soft to work with. To be honest, I was a little sad for the project to end.

The Blue Mountain Cowl was worked over 4 DPNs. I wanted a texture panel, so I worked a modified seed stitch over the first needle. The remaining stitches were purely stockinette. I was aiming for one big tube, but then I remembered this cowl from PurlSoho. I loved how the front panel draped lower than the back. What a great idea! Don’t you hate tugging your neckwear down to seal the cold out of the front of your jacket? Inspired, I added about 1.5″ to the front section only.

Well here I am in my Blue Mountain Cowl in the Blue Mountains! It was a pretty spectacular day. The sun was shining and the cool air kept us somewhat temperature controlled during our 8 miles of hiking. It was good to be out in some crisp. I think my body is happiest in cooler weather.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Places You Can Knit

Since being out of China I have really had the chance to catch up on Instagram (IG) and my blog reading. Due to the internet restrictions, it can be really difficult to load pictures or really any internet content that isn’t Chinese. Social media, such as IG, is such an inspiration for me. I love to see what people are making/ creating as well as catching up on the latest pattern releases.

All this inspiration lead me to start thinking about how I express my passions in life. So I am starting a series of posts via Instagram (@knitsbywhitsf) about knitting while traveling Australia this summer. If you would like to join in spreading knitting love use the hashtag #knitwhiletraveling2018.

I look forward to seeing where you love to knit!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Zigzagular Socks

The Zigzagular Socks are a free knitting pattern on Ravelry. The construction is top down with a textured heel flap. Along the sides of the socks runs a basic cable pattern that moves back and forth in a zig zag pattern.

I made the smallest size using my Daruma Superwash Merino wool yarn. This is a Japanese brand. I was first attracted to this yarn as it looked super soft and cozy. I have to say I wouldn’t use this yarn for socks again. It was too loosely wound for me. I like a very smooth yarn that is tightly plied and has at least 25% nylon. I like how the nylon helps keep a tight fit on my teeny tiny feet.

The pattern for these socks was well written. I liked that there were written direction as well as charts included. I also love a pattern with lots of pictures. It helps give me a better idea of what I am going to end up with.

I will not be wearing these sock for a looooong time. It will be 90° F/30°C for pretty much everyday for the foreseeable future. So no socks required 🙁. But, if you are looking for a sock pattern to stock up on your cold weather gear during the summer months I highly suggest the Zigzagular Socks.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Lace Baby Dress

This weekend my coworker’s daughter celebrated her 1st birthday. It was a lovely party with good food and fun. I decided I would make her a cute cotton dress for summer. I landed on the Lace Body Dress by Pernille Larsen after a Ravelry search. I love a basic silhouette with a touch of lace.

I used a light blue cotton yarn that I found traveling in Vietnam. It is fingering weight, but it didn’t come with a label. The yarn was pretty nice to work with. It wasn’t rough on the fingers nor was it super splitty. When washed and blocked the yarn exhibited the lace pattern well.

The pattern, included charts for the lace section that were clear and easy to use. I really liked that the dress started from the bottom and you attached the skirt section without sewing. However, due to its bottom up construction there were a lot of other places that require cutting and joining yarn. I would have rather sewed the skirt on as I ended up with way too many ends to weave in at the end of the project. I did modify the pattern to fit my yarn. I used the 3 month sizing and added length to the body. For the skirt, I started with the 3 month sizing and used the top parts of the chart from the 24 month chart.

The gift was well received at the party. The birthday girl looked darling! I was a little worried initially as the neck seemed a little snug to fit over the head. However, her daddy used his special parenting powers and popped it over her head like magic.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

2017: A Review

Well it has been a wild year. Not only did I move half way across the world, but I got some good knitting in. In 2017, I made 10 sweaters. 4 for babies, 2 cardigans, and 4 pullovers. Sprinkled in there were a lot of cowls and hats, and a few pairs of socks.

The longest project to complete was my Forever April Sweater. The gauge was very small (US size 4 needles) and by the end of the body it was hard to keep going. I think I just wanted a change from the stockinette.

My favorite sweater was the Red Leaf Top. I love the lacy yoke and the color is the perfect shade of red!

Here are the other top 9 items that I really enjoyed creating this year:

I hope your knitting year was fruitful and you can reflect back on the things you learned along the way.

Have a Happy New Year and I hope to have many new knitting adventures in 2018!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Back To Reality

Well my week of vacation is over. We enjoyed our time visiting the Phillipines. I loved that our trip had a combination of the beach and mountains. As much as I love a beach, I also love standing on top of a mountain and staring down at the world around me.

I was able to get in quite a bit of knitting during the holiday. My cardigan is measuring in at ~5.5 inches . I could have knit more, but my progress was halted as I ran out of the burgundy yarn.

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I am using an intarsia method to add a little geometric element to the cardigan. I always have the tendency to pull the floating yarn too tightly across the back. Some of the stitches look a little wonky, but I think they will get worked out when I block the final piece.  Hopefully, I will be to the armholes by the end of next week [fingers crossed]. This may be too lofty of a goal considering I have 4 parent meetings coming up this week. In any event, please check back for my progress!

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Until Next Time,
-Whit-

Yarn Alley

This weekend I headed to Guangzhou City to trying find some yarn. This took quite a lot of preparation beforehand. Fist of all, I don’t speak or read Chinese so I needed to research where to find yarn and the mode of transportation to take. I ended up concluding that I could take the Metro to Sun Yet-Sen University to the big textile marketplace.

This place was huge! I didn’t know where to begin looking. So I began wandering. I  weaved through the shops filled with fabric, beads, buttons, and embroidery patches  for about 20 minutes. Eventually I came to an alley with some furry fabric. Maybe it was my inner yarn radar, but I felt a pull to investigate this alley.

Luckily, my yarn radar was correct. I found 4 or 5 shops with some yarn in them. Let me just say these yarn shops were not like the US. They had all of the yarn stacked up and it was still in the plastic. I had to be very very careful while shopping. I didn’t want a mountain of yarn toppling down on me.

I ended up purchasing 6 skeins of yarn for ~$11USD. I bought 4 skeins of acrylic yarn (2 red, 2 blue) that were very very soft. At my new school, I am teaching a kids’ knitting class so this yarn will be perfect for them to practice with.

I also bought something called “milk cotton.” Not sure what that is, but it feels like a  soft cotton blend to me. I choose blue as my friend is having a baby in December. I am still looking for a good pattern, but I am thinking a little cardigan would be best.

Overall, this was an interesting shopping experience.  I really didn’t like that the yarn not out on display. I am so use to the tactile experience of yarn shopping. I am going to still keep an eye out for an actual yarn shop so keep checking back for my progress.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-