Knitting IN Progress

Currently, I have 3 WIPs in my knitting corner. This is highly unusual for me as I am a pretty monogamous knitter. I like to focus on one project at a time… well until I get to weaving in ends. Some of the reasons I have 3 WIPS is 1) one project has a deadline and 2) I got SSS (Second Socks Syndrome).My “oldest” WIP is my Zigzagular Socks. I really should have knit them two at a time. I really love the yarn and the pattern, but I just wanted to move on to something new. These socks are a fairly portable project and mainly sit in my work bag. This weekend we will be traveling so hopefully I can at least get past the heel flap.

The project with the deadline is the Lace Dress Body. The project is intended for my friend/ co-worker’s daughter. She is turning one in a few weeks and I wanted to make something special for her. I love lace so this project looked ambitious enough without going overboard. All I have to complete is the front, arm bands, and leg bands. Two weeks should be plenty of time.

Last in line is my impulse knit. Two color brioche seems to be everywhere. One of my favorite examples is the lovely purple hat made by DWJ author of the blog “Yards of Happiness.” I am a fan of Stephen West, but sometimes his color combos are too far out of the box for me. DWJ’s use of subtle colors really had me thinking I should give this brioche business a try. One YouTube video and 5 froggings later I was on the right track. Looks pretty good for my first attempt. I am letting this project lead the way.  I am not using a pattern and I  have no idea what direction this project will take.I am thinking 3 is the magic number for me right now. Something has to come off the needles before I think of something else to make. I much more like finished objects!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

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Back In Action!

Hello Readers! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I made it through the storm and feel like my creative juices are flowing again. It also helped that some of my family came to visit us in China. When living abroad it can get quite lonely. There is nothing like being able to laugh and just be yourself around the people who know you best.

Even though I was silent on the blog I was most certainly still knitting. I finished the Van Gough socks my husband requested. I bought this yarn in Tokyo and only indulged him because I thought the yarn concept was really cool. The color scheme was influenced by Vincent Van Gough painting Cafe Terrace at Night. This was my first time using this yarn (Opal 4-ply) and I really liked it. It has good stitch definition and good stretch (75% wool, 25% nylon). The colors on this sock are more muted than I usually choose, but my husband likes darker colors.  The finished socks are a little rough feeling, however, I have a feeling they will soften up in a bubble bath.

I used the Toe Up Socks with a Difference pattern by Wendy D. Johnson. I was drawn to this pattern as I wanted some practice with making toe up socks with a heel flap. This pattern instructs you to make increases in a triangle formation under the heel rather than using short rows. I liked this idea, but I don’t know if I could recall this method off the top of my head like I do afterthought heels. Nonetheless, I think I like the fit of a heel flap better.

The socks came out great and I am sure I will visit this pattern in the future. One can never have too many socks!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Knitting Mimic

Mimic is a pattern that needs you to make wise yarn choices. Early last year, I attempted to make this sweater with some older yarn from my stash. It was a wool/acrylic blend that I bought way back when. The pattern has a special note about swatching (hanging clothes pins from the swatch when wet to imitate the blocking process) so I made sure to follow it. My swatch looked pretty good.  About 1.5 sections into the sweater I noticed that the fiber I choose was not doing what I imagined it would do. The garment looked too stiff and boxy…not at all like the picture. I was dissatisfied with it so I frogged it. I still loved the pattern so I stashed it away for another day.

Looking at all of the yarn I bought in Beijing I thought this wine colored yarn would fit Mimic’s needs. This yarn is a lighter weight than my original choice and has a certain squish to it. I am again about 3/4 of the way done and things are looking much better. I believe I will achieve my desired look. I have just the back armholes to work and then I will be done!

When was the last time (if ever) that you put aside a project due to yarn-pattern incompatibility? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Knitting On The Great Wall

Greeting from Beijing! More specifically from the Great Wall of China! My mother-in-law (MIL), husband, and I are in the north of China for Christmas. It is mighty cold here, but the chill allows us to get great use out of our knitwear.

I am wearing a slouchy beanie I made a while ago. I used a swirling eyelet design that I free-styled. My MIL is wearing a Snuggly Loops Cowl that I made for her when I first published my pattern. Both of these items kept us nice and cozy.

The thing that surprised me the most about the wall was the steepness of the stairs. At one point, I had to use my arms and legs to hoist myself up. My husband pointed out we were on a wall on top of a mountain and steepness was to be expected (😬 duh!). In any event, we made it from towers 1-6 in a little less than 1.5 hours. I have to say the whole experience was quite impressive.

I did sneak in a row or two on my Chuck Sweater. I thought I would have it done by now, but time ran away from me. It would have been perfect for this freezing cold weather.

What a great day! I got to see another New 7 Wonder of the World in addition to getting some serious exercise in. Win-Win for Whit!

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Pivot Cowl

This summer when I purchased this yarn I had no plans for what would come of it. Cut to a week ago when I realized I brought no real cold weather clothes to China. Now that the weather is finally changing, and I have some trips planned to head north, I need to whip up some cold weather accessories.

First, I was going to make the Duotone Cowl with a matching hat. However, the colors I was using didn’t contrast enough for my personal liking. I did a little more research and found the Pivot Cowl by Purl Soho. I loved the simplicity of the pattern and knew it would let my yarn shine. The Pivot Cowl is super easy to create yet, has construction elements that keep even the advanced knitter interested. I made some modifications to the pattern that you can see here on my Ravelry page. Basically, I made the cowl shorter to fit my measurements better. I also used a variegated yarn (Magpie Fibers in Frankie Says Relax) on the front panels to give the cowl an additional dimension.

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While I was knitting, I used my Knitter’s Pride Dreamz fixed circular needles. I love these needles. They are lightweight, perfectly pointed at the ends, and have good slip. The glide of the wood and the super soft yarn made this project fly off the needles. I have to say the rhythm I developed while knitting was quite addicting! On Sunday, I couldn’t put the project down. I ended up finishing my cowl while a binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix.

Sadly, yesterday when I sat on the couch I pressed my hand into the cushion as well as my needles! One needle snapped clean off the joint! 😭

My beautiful needles!!! I immediately went into fix it mode. I have to save these needles. They are some of my favorites! I may be able to fix the situation with some super glue. The break was pretty clean so there may be hope!

Despite this tragic hit to my needle collection, I am super happy with my new cowl. I am loving the slight sheen and drape that the cashmere combination adds to the wool. If you have the chance (and the budget) I highly recommend picking up a skien (or two or three or five!) of Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

B Is For Baby (Sweater)

Awhile ago I bought this cotton yarn from a small store in Guangzhou. I purchased royal blue with a special person in mind. Well I should say “almost person” as he hasn’t been born quite yet. One of my good friends is due to have a little boy in December. Her and her husband live in a mild climate so I opted not to use wool. I used the Baby Sophisticate cardigan pattern by Linden Down. I love shawl cardigans and the fact that this is baby size made it even more cuter.


This pattern is quite easy to follow and best of all instantly gratifying. Using size US 8 needles and worsted weight yarn made for a speedy knit. I finished the sweater in about 3 days. It looks so tiny, but the chest measurements came out to be 16 inches, which was the dimension in the pattern. I looked it up and newborn chest sizing is about 16-17 inches. I think some heavy blocking will give me an inch of wiggle room. 

I don’t  have any of my finishing  tools with me right now so you will have to imagine it with buttons. I have wooden ones picked out, but I might go to the shops to see if there is an alternate choice. 

I had about a half of a skein left of yarn so I started making a little beanie to match. This hat is pretty basic. It is 45 stitches with a garter edge. 

Hopefully, mommy and baby will like the set! 😊

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Calais Shawl

My Calais Shawl is complete! Well it was completed about two weeks ago. The issue with posting was the photos. I’ve been having a tough time finding the perfect photo spot in my new apartment. I defiantly need to invest in some white poster board. All of the floors and ledges are tile and the reflection is terrible.Overall, I am quite happy with this shawl. However, the sizing  was a little tricky for me. The pattern stated the blocked sizing should be “48 inches wide by 22 inches deep.” I will admit I didn’t make a swatch and wet block it. MISTAKE! Lace is super deceptive when knitting as it bunches up until blocking time. I knew this, but convinced myself I could skip the prep work. Due to my laziness, the body of my shawl came out shorter then desired. Thankfully, the edging of the shawl allowed me to make up for it. I continued the edging section for a total of 7 inches.This pattern called for a Double Strand Estonian Bind Off. I have never used this technique before. It was simple to execute. The result was a really nice border that reduced the amount of curling at the edge. I most certainly foresee myself using this bind off method in the future. Previously, I had concerns about using a variated yarn with this lace pattern. I am glad I took the risk because I really like the combination I ended up with. The colors did not interfere with the pattern making the piece look too busy.

If you are looking for a lacy shawl pattern, I recommend you consider the Calais Shawl. It is a great way to practice knitting lace patterns.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-