Pattern & Yarn Review: Cry For Spring

I’m just going to waltz in here like you saw me yesterday (not since September) so I can tell you about one of my latest projects. 😛

One of my goals for the year is to try different knit/crochet techniques on smaller projects before I tackle them in larger ones.  I’ll tell you more about that goal in an upcoming post but for the month of February, technique chosen was “twisted stitches” (not to be confused with twisted knit stitches that are the result of an error).  This technique is used to create a cable like texture (aka faux cables) and can be used in a variety of ways: replacing ribbing on hats, fabric design on clothing, blankets  and socks).   I used it to replace the ribbing on a hat that was part of the Winter Ravellenic Games and my review of the pattern and the technique are as follows:

  • Pattern: Twist & Slouch (free)
  • Designer: Kali Berg
  • Pattern Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The twisted stitch pattern itself was really easy and I memorized it after the first repeat.  It was lovely to see the yarn working up into those beautiful faux cable stacks but the clear error in the decrease portion of the pattern was a no-no for me.  Before someone comes and attacks me with a pitch fork (cause after all, the pattern is free) I still stand by my review.  I probably wouldn’t have been so anal if the stitch count was high but when I make things I always think about newbie knitters especially those who might not be a part of a real life knit group and are self taught.  The error is enough to throw a newbie off and might leave them wondering how to conclude the finishing.  Let me get into that …

The pattern has a cast on amount of 78 stitches with no increases throughout (meaning the pattern stays at 78 stitches for the entire project). At the point of the first set of decreases it asks the knitter to k2tog (knit 2 stitches together) until the end.  The result would be 39 stitches.  The next round is a straight knit round but the round that follows that (the second decrease round) asks the knitter to decrease again using the k2tog option.  Mathematically, this doesn’t work.  The knitter would end up with 19 resulting stitches from the k2tog and 1 extra stitch.  I’ve been knitting long enough to go ahead and fudge this but a newbie might not know what to do with that last stitch.  I went ahead and just knitted it by itself so it didn’t remain not worked, then I finished the hat as per the pattern’s instructions.

It worked out alright but I thought maybe the designer could have updated the pattern to a round 76 or 80 stitch count rather than leaving it the way it is.  If she knitted her own sample there is no way she would not have seen this error.

I typically read the notes other knitters make on Ravelry before I do any project and one remark which kept popping up is that knitters found the brim a little tight.  I solved that problem by knitting the entire hat with a size 9 needle rather than 8 for the brim then 9 for the body.  I got the perfect fit from that.

  • Knit Again Meter: Absolutely!  Next go around I’m going to make the body shorter so the hat fits like a beanie instead of a slouchy.
  • Technique Review: From what I’d read, the resulting fabric from the twisted stitches is supposed to be very stretchy.  Initially it didn’t feel that way but by the time the brim was done, it really was.  I’m glad I didn’t follow my mind and add more stitches to the cast on.
  • Yarn Review: The yarn used in this project was a skein of Papaya in Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran Weight.   The content is 100% merino so this hat will be relatively warm.  The only descriptor of the yarn I don’t agree with is that it’s aran weight.  This is more like a regular worsted weight and my trusty spinning w.p.i (wraps per inch) tools told me that I was right.  But it was lovely to work with and the colorway reminded me so much of Spring.
  • Additional Technique Resource: Knitting The Twisted Stitch (Interweave site)

It feels weird to be back here … but in a good way.  Familiar yet unfamiliar.  I know and love this space but I feel as if I’m trying to find my writing voice again.  Know what I mean?   I guess that’s what happens when you stay away too long.  I hope you’re all doing well, let me know in the comments how you’ve been and what you’re working on.  ❤

N

 

Determination

I’m not even going to start going on about the Harry Potter House Cup on Ravelry.  Y’all already know what a Potterhead I am so let me just get to the project.

The Quidditch cup matches have been insane this term and the fourth match was a speed round.  We were given 6 projects to choose from — knit & crochet — to test our concentration and speed abilities.  First day submission equals maximum points and with all the other houses gunning for Slytherin this term (we are three in a row, Quidditch cup and House cup champions) it was all systems go on the first submission day.   This was one time I was extremely glad that I know how to knit and crochet.   My submission was this slouch:

Slytherin Girl I

Slytherin Girl III

Pattern: the Hadley Slouch and my  Ravelry notes are here.

I finished this in 2.5 hours and will definitely do it again.  My fingers were in pain from the death grip I wielded on that hook but I got it done in time!   It didn’t fit me like a slouch although it fit Ziva (my hat dummy) just like it should.  On my head with my fro unleashed, it fits like a beanie.  I think I’ll work the pattern again and add  extra rows to the body to make it more slouchy for my head/hair.

The other crafty bug that’s gotten under my skin is spinning.  My spinning wheel and I are still not talking so I’ve gone back to spinning on my spindle.  Well … as at yesterday.  I honestly think I need to sit with someone to help me with wheel spinning but the places I’ve contacted in NY regarding wheel spinning classes want upwards of $595 and I just don’t have that laying around right now.  LOLOL!  Even if I did, I still don’t think I’d want to pay that much for classes.   One woman even told me that I MUST take her studio’s spindling class before she would have me in her wheel class and that first class is upwards of $195.  Needless to say I declined because there is NO place in spinning history where spindling MUST precede wheel spinning.  NO PLACE!  Some crafters do one or the other or both, but there’s absolutely no learning “order” so I let that go too.  But I’m determined — I’m going to be on someone’s Tour De Fleece’s team in July.  So as at today, I plan to spin for 30 mins a day.  My goal is to start learning to ply by the end of the month.  Fingers crossed!  No scratch that … I’m going to do this!!!!

I posted this pic on IG but ended up changing my spindle to a Bosworth high whorl one instead of the Turkish one shown.

spindle and fiber

I also changed the fiber.  The fiber I chose initially need a shorter draw and at this point I only know how to spin using the long draw.  The spindle was a little wobbly and unbalanced but I believe it’s because I was trying to do a long draw on short staple length fiber.  The fiber kept breaking and the spindle kept crashing to the floor.  I guess they’re not named drop spindles for nothing.  I switched fibers to BFL (Blue Face Leicester) that has a long staple length making it easier for beginners to work with and I used my Bosworth which is worth every dime!!!  Good for me, one of the teams I supported at my old job gave it to me as a thank you gift on my last day before the agency closed.   Now I think I need another well balanced high whorl spindle so I could split my fiber and get to plying faster.

So there you have it.  Some of my goals for the next couple of months.   What are you planning to work on?

ETA: this post was brought to you by the letter U for Umpire: something to do with sports in my Scavenger Hunt 2015 Stashdown challenge.