WIP: Aquae Tank by Hilary Smith Callis

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After much back and forth as to which summer project I wanted to start knitting first, I chose this cute Aquae tank and began knitting it on March 8th, 2016.

As you can see, it hasn’t gotten much love and has been very slow going for me.  Only because I’ve recently started sewing and that has taken up a lot of my time. 

*Shameless plug alert* Check out my sewing endeavors HERE at Flannel+Fleece Handmade.

And, it probably has some to do with the fact that I’m doing a 3 stripe sequence instead of the 2 stripe sequence that the pattern calls for. 

I chose to do a 3 stripe mainly because I wanted to use stash yarn and I had 6 skeins of this Lily Sugar n’ Cream yarn in gray, blue, amd green (2 of each colorway) that I wanted to use up.  I originally bought the yarn to crochet up a beach tote, but I like what I’m now using them for much better.

The pattern is very well-written, however, this isn’t a mindless knit.  At least not at first.  It can be mindless when doing the stripes themselves but just make sure you follow the increasing/decreasing closely.

My goal is to finish this for May which will be just in time for more consistently warmer weather here in Western PA.

  

Subtle shade shifting gradients- A brief description of my technique

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While most of my ombre gradients feature noticeable shade shifts, I have now introduced a more subtle gradient.  While I am still in the testing phase of choosing colors, some colors lend better to this technique than others. I will still incorporate 4 shades of a single color into these gradients but they will have a much more blended affect. 

Without going too much into the proprietary stuff, the technique I have been using is to first separate each skein into 4 sections. Then I pre-soak my yarn for about 20 mins. While the yarn is soaking, I fill up my pot with water and measure out my color with the darkest depth of shade in mind that I want to achieve. (Personally, I do my dyeing based off of volume and not weight.  I don’t weigh my dye powder in grams.  That’s just my preference.  Each of my gradients is hand-dyed so there are no dye lots. To each their own!) If I want the depth of shade to be dark, I add an amount of dye powder that will produce that.  If I want the depth of shade to be light, I adjust for that as well.  You go after the look you want to achieve- it’s that simple.  Once that is simmering amd close to a boil, I then add one end section of the pre-soaked yarn to my pot.  This is where it can get tricky if you don’t pay close attention.  Then, I pick that section up with my *heavy duty gloved hand* and dip it a few more times.  After about a minute or so, I then add the next section and repeat the process as I did for the first section until I get through all sections.  

This method would work well with sock blanks as well and could help save some time as far as prepping the yarn goes.

And here is the finished result for a custom order that I had: 

 

Looking forward to sharing more colors with you!

-Karen

Another serving of Oatmeal please!

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I finished my 3rd Oatmeal sweater by Jane Richmond a month ago and the more I knit them, the better they get.

I knew going into my 3rd that I wanted to make it roomier as the pattern is originally intended for a close fit or negative ease.

I decided to use Paton’s Classic Wool Bulky in their Green colorway. It was the perfect mossy green that I had been searching for. When I knit my gauge swatch, I was getting 3 stitches per inch. Knowing that the pattern called for 2.75 stitches per inch. So that meant that if I just picked a size from the pattern, with my gauge being .25 stitch per inch off, my sweater would end up smaller than the intended measurements of the sweater. But, I wanted the opposite effect and really loved that yarn. That’s where the math came into play…

Before I get into the math part of it, I purchased this class from Craftsy Yarn Substitution Made Easy with Kellie Nuss. There is a chapter in the video in which she discusses the math behind the substitution and using ratios to determine what size you will need to knit of a given pattern with the current gauge of your yarn that you are using. It was super helpful for me and totally worth the cost of the class just for that information (in my opinion) due to the size of my yarn stash!

So knowing that this time around I wanted an oversized fit, I knit the size 44. That size provided a finished bust measurement of 37.25″. That measurement gave me about 2″ of positive ease.

While I love the overall fit, I wish the neckline wasn’t as wide as it is.  But for now, this sweater looks greater over top of a long sleeved flannel.

Who knows…a 4th Oatmeal may very well be in my future!

  

Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Spin 2016 attendees PLEASE READ Re: Etsy Card Reader

Yesterday during the 2016 Pittsburgh Indie Knit & Crochet show, Etsy’s card reader was giving some of us vendors problems. One problem I encountered was when swiping a credit or debit card, it was saying it couldn’t read the card. It didn’t happen on every credit/debit transaction, but I’m trying to be as proactive as I can. So then, I would try again and it eventually ended up working. Because of that, it may have caused duplicate payments. When I heard yesterday that it caused duplicate payments for another vendor, I requested Etsy to call me back and they did yesterday evening. At that time, I was told that it didn’t look like anyone was duplicate charged. At this time, I ask that you please check with your bank or online banking to make sure that you didn’t get duplicate charged. If you did and both charges have posted, please contact your bank to dispute one of those charges. Unfortunately, this happened to me before and my bank advised in order to dispute one of the charges, the duplicate would need to be in posted and not pending status. Please accept my sincerest sorry for this issue. Unfortunately, Etsy doesn’t accept phones calls so I have requested that they call me ASAP tomorrow. Again, I’m really sorry for any headaches this may have caused you.

Take care and thanks,
Karen Bachman

A Crafty, Crafty Christmas & A Reflection of 2015

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Well, it’s almost 2016 and as I sit here and reflect back on 2015, I have to say that I’ve accomplished a lot with regards to my crafting – both new and known.  Earlier this year,  I taught myself how to draw (better) and even learned how to paint with watercolor – all thanks to Creativebug.  It was both awesome and fun.  It’s always nice to have other creative outlets to break up the monotony of the usualities of knitting/crocheting.

Mid-way into the year brought me to try my hand at a few other things: a Kickstarter campaign, knitting my first short-sleeved summer sweater and my first Custom Fit sweater, learning how to hand-card punis (spinning fiber), and having my very first ombre gradient sock yarn wholesale deal with Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh.

Moving into Fall was awesome because it was filled with 3 more completed sweaters!  I was pretty addicted to knitting the Oatmeal sweater by Jane Richmond so much so that I made 2 and am currently working on a 3rd!  I also got to pick raspberries and can my own jam which is what I’ve been longing to do for a while now.  And lastly, I tried Periscope.  I lasted 3 scopes before it got to feel more like a chore.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.  But it did help me discover that I may one day start my very own video podcast….stay tuned🙂

And last but not least, we are here.  The end of December. While I feel like 2015 lasted a good bit, the month of December sure felt like it flew by.  Maybe that’s because I was on a complete hand-made mission.  I spent many a December night up until sometimes 1 / 1:30 am making these gifts.  I had 10 days off of work for the holidays and my time off , every day of it, was spent doing some sort of Christmas crafting.  This year was also the first year I decided to hand-make my Christmas cards and was so thankful that Creativebug had some awesome watercolor how-to videos that I was able to put to great use.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been gifting my family with hand-made crafts.  In 2013, it was Christmas wreathes and no-sew blankets, and in 2014, it was crocheted ornaments and hand-made spa goodies.  For this year’s theme, I decided to go with “comfort” items.  I decided on cozy hand-knit slippers (another awesome class on Creativebug), hand-poured soy candles, plaid infinity cowls, and home-made raspberry jam.  I gifted each of the women in my family with these items and they loved them! Altogether, I cranked out 12 pairs of slippers, 6 plaid infinity cowls, 12 jars of jam, and 15 candles.  Lastly, I cranked out 4 painted reindeer feet canvases for the grandparents from my son and for my sister’s son.

Crafting is such a big part of my life and I am so thankful for it.

So thank you, 2015, you were great.

Stay crafty, my friends & here’s to an even craftier 2016!

 

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Thanksgiving Sweater

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I began knitting my most recent sweater, Flax by Tin Can Knits, on September 12th.  It took 2 months + 2 weeks to the day as I feverishly knitted away these past few days hoping I would finish just in time for Thanksgiving dinner at 4 pm today.  I’m so glad I finished!

First, I’ll talk a little about the yarn used for the sweater.  This is Woobu by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the colorway Pond Scum.  If Thanksgiving could be described by only one color, I would say this would be the color in my opinion. At first glance in the skein, it is very unassuming, but once it is knit up into fabric, it transforms into an entirely different look.  I like this sweater best with navy or medium colored blue jeans, but I think it would also look wonderful with hunter green, burgundy, and many other fall colors.  Anyone familiar with Woobu knows it comes with great yardage for the price – 620 yds. per skein! So needless to say, you can make a nice sized average adult sweater with only 2 skeins. That’s my kind of yarn.  More bang for your buck! I had 142 grams left to the second skein and figured out that I used about 850 yds. So, I still have about a little less than half a skein left.

Second, I’ll talk about the pattern.  Flax is part of Tin Can Knits free patterns that they offer. It is a very well written pattern.  But, you will notice my sweater is knit up differently than the way Flax is written.  I definitely didn’t intend for that but totally my fault because instead of paying attention to only making a center panel of garter stitch for the sleeves, I knit the sleeve caps in full garter stitch.  So when I determined that, I was at a bit of a standstill because I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do for the rest of the sleeve.  For fear that my arms would look too bulky, I decided to just knit the rest of the sleeve in stockinette stitch.  While I would have loved to knit the Flax the way it was written, once I realized my duh moment, it was too late and I had to make the best of it. And I can say I’m happy with my choice.

Next, I will talk about my lesson learned.  While this is my 5th sweater I’ve knit for myself this year..4 for me and 1 for my sister…I will say that this sweater enlightened me about gauge swatching.  Yes. Always make a gauge swatch for any garment that needs to fit you nicely.  What I learned was something very elementary when it comes to gauge swatching but what always confused me.  Since Flax calls for a worsted weight yarn and I was using a sport / light worsted, I knew my gauge was gonna be off right from the get go.  I was getting 22 stitches over 4 inches when the pattern gauge called for 18 stitches over 4 inches. I thought no big deal, if it’s a little big then great…if it’s a little small so what, it’s meant to be form-fitting.  Well….well…………..well.  Here’s where my kick myself moment comes into play.  When I measured the body, I got between 14-15″ across which converts to a 28-30″ bust. I’m 36″ across. Whoops.  I was able to quickly steam block it to a size 33/34″ so that it could be worn today.  I’m hoping that when I block it for real and soak it that it will block to a size 36″.

Big lesson learned- if you are getting more stitches per inch than the gauge, your garment will end up smaller because the stitches are smaller so you would need to go up in needle size.  If you get less stitches per inch, then your garment will end up bigger than intended because the stitches are bigger and therefore you would need to go down in needle size. I can’t believe I didn’t ever realize that!  But in my defense, a prior sweater was a custom fit sweater by Amy Herzog🙂 so I didn’t have to worry about it and my summer short sleeve sweater I had gotten gauge on the first go around.  Another lesson I learned was that I need to pay better attention to the yarn weight the pattern calls for and use the same weight or at least do some math if I use a different weight of yarn.

Here is a great article that explains some of the above and hopefully can help someone in this predicament.

Now it’s time for me to start my Christmas knitting.  Luckily, I don’t have much to complete, but I will be returning to sweater knitting afterwards.

Happy Holidays!

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Plush sock Fall Colorways

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Here are some new Fall colorways on my Plush sock base which is 75% Superwash Merino & 25% Nylon.

Major squish factor goin’ on with this yarn and great yardage for the price, too!

462 yds. to each skein; perfect for a cozy pair of socks, a small shawl, or what about a light weight sweater?!

Available in the shop!

Candy Corn 

  

Autumn Harvest

  Deep Forest


Burnt Toast with Butter
 

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