That blanket

Sep 13

Last year I decided I wanted to make a blanket.

 
I had a lot of nice wool leftovers and thought it would be a great idea to put them together in one project. The original plan was to make an Age Before Beauty blanket, sort of patchwork style, expecting it to be pretty in an ugly sort of way, but something ultimately that would be mine and I would love it, use it and really appreciate it. I affectionately named it “My ‘I’m 37 and not old’ blanket” because, at the time, that was the birthday that was approaching and if you’re a Monty Python fan that line is all you can think of at that age.

Fast-forward to a more than a year later.

I’m no longer 37, having had another birthday. I wasn’t really loving the way the project was turning out and it was hibernating. I went looking for some other yarn related thing, found this project and decided to rip it all out to make something else that I would love, use, and appreciate. Immediately I started to rip it all out. I was obsessed, frogging all day Friday. Then I sorted all the yarns I had set aside for this project (a nice mix of wools, mostly Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica and a few handfuls of Lambs Prides and Malabrigo Worsted) and grouped them by color. I came across the Somewhere Over the Rainbow pattern and got to work, modifying slightly with a larger number of stitches cast on and holding two yarns together at a time. The following Monday evening it was done!

 

It’s big enough to cover my bed, but I am keeping it downstairs on the couch. Jackson has taken to it, as did Lorelai yesterday morning when we had beautifully cool overnight temperatures.

It’s exactly what I was hoping for in a blanket!

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Ravellenics 2016 Success

Sep 09

I had big, vague plans for the 2016 Ravellenic Games, and I am pleased to report that I was a successful competitor! I ended up competing in 3 events: WIP Wrestling with two projects, the Toy Toss, and Shawl Sailing.

Nutmegknitter's Coffee Shop Crochet Shawl My local shop, Madison Wool, put out the call for their team and I went in with a few ideas for projects. I had just spotted the release of the Coffee Shop crochet shawl from Mamachee so that was at the top of my list. Lucky for me gradients were on sale to boot, so I went with it. I cast on during opening ceremonies Friday night and WHOOSH, I had a completed shawl on Monday. Super quick, great project to have if you need a travel or tv project, very easy on the brain. I would totally make this again! I did cast on more stitches than called for, but could have started with even more because I didn’t even get to the last color in the gradient! The yarn is from Two Hands Knitting, the Sock base, a local CT dyer.

Nutmegknitter's Totoro for Violet

My niece Violet celebrated her third birthday last month. My Neighbor Totoro has been on replay a lot this summer for her, so I made her a Totoro. He is so much fun to make, and pretty cute too. Violet thoroughly inspected him when she opened the bag, especially the nose! The yarn is Juniper Moon Neve, a 100% cotton that was great to work with for crochet – not too hard on the hands and soft.

Nutmegknitter's Stolen Moments Socks

I started these Stolen Moments socks back in the Spring waiting to make a preschool pick up. They have done a bit of traveling with me in June, to Washington, D.C. for TNNA and to NYC for an Indigo Girls concert. I finally finished them for a WIP Wrestling project. I did knit them two-at-a-time, magic loop, and I am digging how the color pooled almost inversely in the pair. The yarn is Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in the Intergalactic Colorway, a special colorway for the eat.sleep.knit Yarnathon.

Nutmegknitter's FLOTUS shawl

My fourth project is also a WIP Wrestling winner. I started my FLOTUS Shawl, aka Caffeine Queen, on my birthday using Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Birch and Narwhal Needlework Lyra in Coffee Bean. This is a great shawl pattern, easy going and generously sized.

I’m ready for cool fall weather so I can start using some of these projects!

 

 

 

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Sample Knitting: Atwood Shawl Edition

Aug 22

How’s your summer going? We’re looking at the last few weeks of it here and I am pleased to report that I do have quite a bit to show and share! Next time you’re at a fiber show, keep an eye out for my last sample knitting project, an Atwood Shawl in Bijou Basin Ranch!

Atwood Shawl Hanging photo

Back in June, I received a beautiful cake of Tibetan Dream yarn. The color in the center of the cake was almost daffodil yellow, shifting to a subtle green, then sky blue. If you look on the BBR website, it’s closest to the Cote D’Azur colorway. At one point when I was knitting, my son spotted it from the backseat of the car and asked if I was knitting a flower!

IMG_4803 (Edited)

I made the smallest size from one cake, with a bit of yarn leftover; no yarn chicken here. If I were to make this again, and I would consider it, I would make the larger size. The small size, while still 35″ wide and about 16-17″ deep, left me wanting more. It would be fine to tuck in around your neck with a coat, or under a vest, but with a yarn this lovely, bigger is better. It’s a beautiful yarn, the gradient is amazing and trust me, it’s enjoyable to knit with. I’d put this on my personal “look for” list for Rhinebeck! I did edit the photo above to get a brighter yellow, my camera kept toning it down.

Jackson and my photo set up

Speaking of taking pictures, here’s a behind-the-scenes peek of my layout. I love the light that comes into the sunporch, but the carpet is less than ideal as a background. Foam-core to the rescue! Until Jackson wanders in and expects treats for posing with the handknit. I suppose I have trained him over time for this sort of thing. He’s good, he doesn’t go on the knit item but does get close.

Jackson posing

Dog does know how to pose.

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Ready for the Ravellenic Games

Aug 05

Who’s excited for the Olympics? I am!

My current knit and crochet WIPs are totally out of control, I will admit, but that is not stopping me from eyeing my stash and queue for projects I can start as part of the Ravellenic Games!

Ravellenic Games 2016 image by Sadbhyl

During the 2012 Games, my one project was the “Modular Relay” and I knit 20 hexi-flats for my Beekeeper Blanket. I was victorious, and it was a challenge! What am I considering for 2016?

It will not surprise anyone if a few additional projects make their way on the list and in the pile.

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How to take Great FO photos! (it’s a work in progress)

Jul 18

My FO Photography is an ongoing Work-In-Progress

I like to think that I am an unofficially qualified knitter. And blogger. And photographer. I’ve been at this for 8+ years, on and off, but mostly on. I’ve knit a wide range of projects, yarns, and fibers. I knit for myself and others. I’ve taken classes! And this? This is the best I can do for a finished object (FO) post?

Thumbs up! Finished objects are the best.

No! It is a pet peeve of mine when bloggers just throw up a photo with a lot of excuses (it’s dark, it’s late, it’s early, I’m tired, I’m on a moving train…). I have done the same thing. I am sure it wouldn’t be hard to find an example of this, I get it. But when it happens in post after post after post, I don’t want to read your blog. I’m getting on my soapbox. Here are my pointers:

  1. Take a LOT of photos. Don’t stop to examine each photo, just keep shooting. Did you know your iPhone has an auto-shutter feature that will snap a burst of photos after 3 or 10 seconds? Set it up, and do a dance, wiggle, whatever. Sort it later. Pixels are essentially free. I got lucky, in my opinion, with the photo above. I was snapping away and my daughter happened to pop the shawl on her head. It made me happy so I told her “Thumbs Up” and that’s the shot we got. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nutmegknitter/tea--picots
  2. Try for natural lighting. Don’t wait until you’re settled in on the couch with your evening work in progress (WIP) to take a photo. That light is awful. There are shadows. It just doesn’t work and you won’t be happy. I totally fall for this on a weekly basis. I try to grab a photo of Jackson and my project and either it’s grainy or the colors are off BECAUSE it’s dark and the light bulb is a low wattage. Then I get annoyed. I do better when I get snap a photo on the floor near a window or outside on my porch. Lighting is a tricky thing, but so it photography. Here we were by a window (not outside). The project is 100% bulky wool yarn. The weather has been ridiculously hot and humid. I can only push my model so far. The natural lighting here was better than being by a lamp, but not the best. I was stressed and getting stuck on ideas.Blocking in progress
  3. Use real people and give the “model” something to do. Got a copy of a knitting magazine? Take a look at the pictures closely. Or the photos on Ravelry for a pattern you like. Even if the model is holding a stick, they are still doing something.  Hats are meant to be worn on your head, shawls are wrapped around shoulders, and socks are on feet. Modeling something flat can be helpful for showing a stitch pattern detail or how impressed you are by blocking (as I was)! Most of the time in real life, your knit item is going to be taking up 3D space and not be flat.
  4. Get in the photo. I handed my phone off to my daughter because I liked how the color of my shirt looked next to the colors in the yarn. She told me she zoomed in, and out, and just kept taking photos. Great! Many of them were blurry, but so what? Pixels are free and there is something about this one that I like. Action shot.  Asymmetric shawls are tricky, yo.
  5. Keep taking pictures. Did I say this already? I was snapping away and giving light directions. I think this is my favorite FO shot that actually shows the shawl. Tea & Picots shawl knit by nutmegknitter

    So what did I knit?

    Wouldn’t you like to know more about this shawl? The pattern is Tea & Picots, knit in Knitted Wit Cotton Candy on US 17s. I picked up the yarn at TNNA. I loved it in the skein and seeing the sample on display. This took just a few nights of knitting. The trickiest part was figuring out how to photograph it. I think I’ve done ok. Do you have photo tips for your knit and crochet items? I’d love to try them!

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So it’s summer

Jul 01

Don’t let my lack of posting fool you. There’s no summer slide here!

It’s just that the project I’ve been devoting the most time to is a sample project. For now, that is staying under wraps. I have been working on my Stolen Moments socks. I managed to turn a heel when I took them to see Lucy Wainright Roche & the Indigo Girls in concert in Central Park. Yay! for knitting in public!

Nutmegknitter knits in Central Park at SummerStage

Summer brings a change in schedules and attitudes. I have come to terms with not being able to complete my Camp Loopy project for June, a Cache Cache Cowl. I’m bummed about that, as the last two years I’ve been able to get the projects done, but in the grand scheme of things – it’s only yarn, it’s meant to be fun! I’ll keep working on the cowl and will probably start my second camp project over the weekend anyway. Here’s wishing you a great holiday weekend! I should have lots more to post about next week!

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To TNNA and Back Again

Jun 16

TNNA Welcome Sign

Last weekend I travelled to Washington, D.C. for the TNNA Summer Show. Though I have knit many samples for this show, this was only my second time attending. It is not an event open to the general public, rather it is for the yarn companies, designers, book publishers, and equipment makers to present what’s new and exciting for the shops to offer in turn to the general public.

Camp Loopy Project at Philadelphia

 

The weekend was chock full of meetings and yarn squishing and walking, so much walking. But it’s all still yarn and yarn is good. I did a bunch of knitting on the train down – here’s my Camp Loopy project as we passed through Philadelphia, and my Stolen Moments socks in progress.

Stolen Moments Socks in Progress

I now have weaving on the brain from this weekend. In five different conversations, weaving came up, and I’m really curious about trying it. I have a Zoom Loom but that’s tiny. I’ll be looking into my LYS and local art studio to see about classes for Rigid Heddle Weaving. At this show, buying opportunities are limited to Cash-and-Carry. I really wasn’t planning on doing much purchasing. I have my mental notes for future shopping trips, and we all know I have plenty of yarn… but I still fell down at Knitted Wit. The patterns and colors have totally grabbed me – how could I resist some big fluffy yarn and sparkly yarns? Also apparently I’m powerless against neon now. Who am I?

Knitted Wit yarns

 

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