Busy Bee

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The last couple months have been super busy. First, I decided to sign up and participate in Sock Madness this year for the first time. This is a competition to knit socks as fast as you can, and try to beat others in your group for a spot in the next round. In addition to fast, you also have to be accurate. The socks have requirements that have to be met to ensure that every one is making the same thing. We’re about to go into Round 3, and I have a spot in that round already. Right now I have a few days left of down time before the next round starts, so I am getting as much done as I can.

First of all, the garden is in. We still have some mulch to buy and put in place, but the plants and seeds are all in place. That means we are in maintenance mode there for a couple months. We should see some seedlings popping up in about a week. Fingers crossed the weather stays nice. 😀

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The shrubs on the sides will all be mulched when we are done, along with between the planters. The shrubs are both screens as well as pollinators. We wanted to make it look nicer than just having metal planters, and we needed the pollinator garden. That is supposed to help with vegetable yield. I know right now that the bees and butterflies have been very busy!!

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On top of that, we have the qualifier round, plus two rounds of Sock Madness socks that are complete (ignore the red thread in the second photo. I needed that for the moderators to be able to count):

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And yes, those last socks have pockets. 😀

I also made an extra pair of socks in there. These are Vanilla is the New Black by Anneh Fletcher:
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I finished my Sea Glass Tee by Wool and Pine, that I started last summer:
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And I also finished Joe’s Edinburgh Sweater, by Kate Bostwick:
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I’ve been just as busy as those little bees! I am also hoping to finish the edits on a blanket that has finished tested and get that released in a couple weeks. It needs a good look over by me to make sure I have everything up to par before it goes for it’s last edits. 😀

I hope you enjoyed seeing all the work that is going on around here. It has been a lot of fun being able to just knit without a reason. Sometimes that is just the rest we need to get those creative juices going again. And now that the garden is going I’ll be able to sit outside and enjoy that soon.

New Releases

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I had a very busy January. I did a lot of work and managed to get 3 hats and a blanket finished. Two of the hats have now been released, with the third hat going up shortly. Every January, my hockey knitting group does a Hat Trick January. That means three finished hats during the month. I tend to do at least one of those as my own pattern, but this year I did all three as my own design.

Hat number 1 is my Memento Mori hat. Memento Mori is the practice of remembering your death. It’s not as morbid as it sounds, but is more about keeping your focus on what really matters. For Christians that will mean focusing on doing what you need to get to heaven. This is traditionally displayed as a skull and bones, but I chose to just do the skull for this hat. Even though it was my intention for it to be related to Memento Mori, you can obviously just alter the coloring and make it more of your style. Whether that be something more like Day of the Dead or Halloween, or just a great skull hat. 😀 Since this hat was more for Lent, I went with the skull color of purple.

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Hat number 2 is a fun bobble hat. This is my Bubble Gum Hat. The bobbles add a fun playful design to the hat. They were designed to bring a smile to peoples faces. 😀

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In the near future you’ll see a color work hat being listed and a log cabin style blanket. I also have a few other projects in the works, but I am still knitting those samples. Stay tuned!!

New Releases!

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Now that the studio is complete I am playing catch up on all the projects I have on the go. This week alone I published 2 new patterns. My brain has decided that it needs to do everything right this second, which has resulted in complete overload. lol I’m slowly reeling myself back in to actually have a bit of focus. So, to start things off I wanted to let everyone know what is new right now.

First off, I published a new pair of fingerless mittens. These are called Caterpillar Mittens. They are made with fingering weight yarn, and have a very simple lace pattern that will resemble fluffy little caterpillars going across them. They are thick enough to keep your hands warm on a cool fall day, but have a little breathability so you don’t overheat as much as full mittens. 😀

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I have also released a sock pattern called Flying South Socks. These socks have ‘V’s’ on them to resemble geese flying south for the winter, which is perfect for this time of year. We’re seeing a lot of birds flying south right now. Can’t say as I blame them, since we’re now getting frost and freeze warnings overnight. The lace pattern is pretty simple, with just yarn overs and some decreases, but it gives a bit of movement to the socks which is fun. 🙂

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And lastly I released a scarf pattern. This is my Abstract Scarf. It’s a very gender neutral design that can be blinged up with your yarn choice. You can go all in with a sparkle, or do a dark neutral. It’s very easy to customize this for your special someone. 😀 I do love how the pattern pops with a light color or neutral, but the world is your oyster with this one.

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That is everything that is new. I hope you all love what I have come up with this year. I have a sock pattern on the go right now, and a cowl that is about to go to an editor, so there is more coming down the pipeline before the end of the year, I hope. Keep an eye out for those. As always, if you want any sneak peeks, be sure to follow my Facebook page. That’s where I usually post my quick little snippets. I am also trying to be more active on Instagram with all that as well.

So You Want to Knit 12 – Yarn and Substitutions

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I talked about yarn in the first part of this How To in the Materials section. However, there will come a time when you will not have or be able to get the yarn that is called for in a pattern. Not to fear! There are substitutions that can be made. Thankfully yarn substitutions are much easier than baking substitutions. hehe

So, where to start. When you get your pattern you will find that there is a section of important details such as gauge, needles, and a yarn section. Those yarn details is what you need. It will likely list the name, weight, fiber details and amount you need of that particular yarn. The first step to take is to do a search for that yarn. You can do this through a site like Ravelry, which I mentioned in the last post, or you can just do a general search online to find it. The important thing to look for is the Knitting Gauge. This will give you all the important information on exactly what that yarn weighs. You see, the problem with yarn designations like Fingering or Worsted is that all of these are ranges. That means they will vary in actually weight (the width of the yarn) by potentially a lot, which will make your project not work as you would have hoped.

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As you can see from the above photo from the Knit Picks website, I have circled the yarn weight. This happens to be their Wool of the Andes Tweed, which is a worsted weight. They give you the details on how many stitches you should get per inch if you on a particular range of needles. So, in this yarn you should get 4.5 stitches per inch if you knit on size US 6 needles. This range is the important detail that you want. You can now go through your options for worsted weight yarns to find something with a similar range listed.

Another important detail is the fiber content that is listed. This yarn has a high wool content, which will mean that when you block it (which I will cover in a later post) it will grow. That means the yarn will expand in size. Your pattern will tell you what gauge is needed to get the desired look they have listed, and that is almost always after blocking. If you chose a yarn that is not the same fiber content, which is most likely to be the case, you will want to knit a swatch and then wet block it. You can take your measurements of how many stitches and rows per 4 inches you have to make sure you match the pattern.

The next detail to look at is the number of yards/meters. The yarn listed on your pattern will tell you how many skeins you need of the yarn they suggest. Simply multiply the number of skeins for your size by the yards/meters listed for the suggested yarn. Then you can divide that by the number of yarns in your chosen yarn to get the number of skeins you need of that yarn.

As you work through a few things, you will begin to notice the differences that come up with the different yarns. Some yarns just don’t bounce back like other yarns. Wools definitely bounce back nicely after washing. Yarns like cotton will tend to stretch and won’t really shrink back up when you wash it (making sure to wash it based on the directions the yarn gives you). That is why fibers like cotton, silk and linen are not recommended for socks. They will just end up droopy and saggy.

I really hope that this helps you with coming up with yarn substitutions. It does require a bit of research as you are looking for a yarn you like, but it’s very worth it. I skipped this when I was starting out and just went by the weight, thinking all worsted weights were the same. I was very wrong. It wasn’t the end of the world, but trying to figure out gauge does get more complicated. If you do find a yarn you just love, that doesn’t match the yarn gauge, you do have the option of doing swatches to get to the gauge your pattern calls for. It could mean you go up or down a few needle sizes, but you can still achieve the desired look. The next post in this series will be all about gauge, so you’ll be able to do those calculations for yourself. 😀

Thanks for reading!!