Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pattern Expansion

When pressed to find the perfect cowl pattern for an upcoming birthday present, I looked and looked to no avail. Everything I found was either too plain, too ornate, too big, or just too expensive. I was saddened. That is, until it occurred to me that there was a large pool of selections that were untapped--that practically any slouchy beret pattern could be altered into a cowl very easily! Suddenly the possibilities seemed endless, and I eventually chose the perfect pattern, Fern Glade.
Here are the details:

Pattern: Fern Glade
Yarn: Fyberspates Scrumptious DK Color RJ1800 (aka purple) - an absolutely amazing blend of silk and merino wool that felt like butter while knitting
Purchased From: K1 Yarns in Edinburgh
Needles: US #6 Addi Turbos
Made For: A special person's birthday
Time to knit: about a month on and off (other WIPs were calling)
Modifications: Most notably, this hat was converted into a cowl with some simple changes. I did one inch of 2x2 ribbing, row 1 of the chart, then repeated rows 2-7 until it was 7” long. Finished with 1 more inch of 2x2 ribbing and bound off-- Easy peasy.
My hope is that this encourages you to get inspiration from pre-existing patterns. If what you're searching for doesn't appear to be in the pattern index, maybe something similar is waiting for you in another form close by!

More FO's to come soon--happy knitting everyone!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Hello! Here's a cute little knit that was just finished up for a friend's 1-year-old. I'm very satisfied with this project and would definitely make it again!
All finished!

Label detailing

Mommy & sweater
The Birthday Boy himself!

Here are the details!

Pattern: Presto Chango
Designer: Valerie Wallis
Needles: US #7
Yarn: Almost two skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece--Robin's egg blue
Time to knit: three days at a leisurely pace-- (it felt like sewing in ends and buttons took almost as long as the knitting)
Mods: I omitted the lace section and continued large stripes across the panel. Also, I began w/ 109 sts using a provisional cast-on. Then, I knit until the neck opening and followed directions for each side front until the bottom of the sleeves. I did a three-needle bind-off under the arms and then continued knitting the rest of the body. Sizing ended up between the 12 and 24-month-old sizes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This just in!

Ladies and gents, we interrupt this series of knitting flashbacks to bring you something current! Yep, hot off the needles, here is my most recent creation:

Pattern: Emerald Mitts
Designer: Lucy Sweetland
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette - AshNeedles: US # 4Time to Knit: 8 days here and there--a fun little project!Made for: What's that you say? A supreeez??Modifications: The most noticeable modification I made was knitting the rows following the bobbles tbl instead of through the front. Also, I decreased one stitch on row 16 of the chart by p2tog in the first stitch, then doing a P2K2 ribbing around the mitten except in the design in the front. Lastly, I must have misread the directions for the thumb gusset on the left mitt, because it looks completely different than the right. Regardless of the change, they both fit perfectly.

How about a close-up obligatory "mitts holding tea" shot? Oh look, here it is:

Huzzah! It was a fun and speedy project--I'm pleased with the final result and excited to get them to their mystery owner. Muaha. I love knitting surprises!
Oh, and here it is Raveled!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Next Up: Scottish Habitat!

Moving right along in the series of unreported FO's from this summer, we have a burly wool hat! A wool hat you say? Rachel, what possessed you to knit a wool hat in the middle of summer? I'll give you a hint: It might have had something to do with this man...
The Scottish Highlander

Okay, so, the man pictured above was the phenomenal highland tour guide from a 3-day bus excursion we took in northern Scotland. Graeme did everything possible to make sure we had a good time. Before the end of the trip, he commissioned a 'manly' wool hat so he wouldn't have to steal mine before leaving. Fast forward seven days later? Meet Habitat:

Pattern: Habitat by Jared Flood
Needles: US #7 Addi Turbos
Yarn: New Lanark Donegal Aran - 100% [Scottish] Wool
Time to Knit: One glorious week
Recipient: Graeme, the Highlander!
Level of Love: Cable swoonage took (and is still taking) place.
Modifications: zippo!

Here some shots of it finished on me. The great thing about the hat is that the more he wears it, the warmer it will become. I chose this design because the coarse fibers of the wool (when wet from the frequent rain) will felt themselves together making a denser material better at blocking out wind. Who doesn't like a hat that does that?
The intricate cables and starburst design near the crown were a bonus because (I can say from experience) the weekend bus ride was spent looking at nothing but the back of his head. I figured the future tour members might appreciate something interesting to look at (besides the breathtaking Scottish Highlands, of course!).
Lastly, I'll leave you with this video of me [intentionally] sliding down a hill in the Isle of Skye. The filming is a tad shaky toward the end (motion-sickness prone be warned), but that's because the guy filming saved my DSLR from crashing to its almost certain doom. Egads.
Great memories in Scotland. Great memories. More knitting to come soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

I've been told by my good friend Julie Andrews that it's a very good place to start. So, let's see. When we last left off, knitting wise, I was slowly but surely chugging along on this:
Between that point and the time I finished it, I reached a point of frustration. You know, the stage when you feel like you've been working on the same project for ages and it just won't finish itself? That'd be nice. If a project could just finish itself. Obviously in my case that didn't happen, and piling it on my head seemed like a more viable solution than actually getting it done at the time.
Luckily, around May 25th I found the mojo necessary to finish the edging charts and get the whole thing blocked. Just in time for my trip to Scotland (woohoo!).Isn't blocked lace awesome? It maintains to be my favorite part of the process. Okay, how about some details?

Pattern: Springtime Bandit
Designer: Kate Gagnon Osborn
Yarn: 4.5 skeins of Artyarns Supermerino - Sapphire
Needles US #8 Addis
Time to knit: laughable. I began March 15th and well...yeah. May 25th.
Level of Love: High! Very wearable, warm, colorful, and squooshy!
Mods: I added 2 extra repeats of the leaf motif--that's it!

And here are some of the FO shots!So there you have it! This project got a lot of wear during my trip and will continue to do so now that the weather is getting cooler again. I'm glad I'm finally getting to share these projects with you, there are many many more in my FO arsenal waiting to be seen--stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Analysis Paralysis

There is so much I'd like to do with this-here space of mine that I've stumbled into my common state of "analysis paralysis". Does this happen to anyone else? When you have so many ideas going on in your head about what you'd like to do that you end up not doing anything?

Sigh. This is where I'm at right now. Please forgive me. Let me make it better by giving you a friendly wave "hello":
No? that didn't fix the problem? Hmmm...

Would you like to know the worst part? I have SO MUCH to share with you! Actually, now that I think about it, that sounds like the best part. Give me a day or two to develop that-- I have a feeling I'll come up with a solution in no time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eye Candy - Stash update

Hiya! I'm back in the states and ready to do some serious knitting. To help expedite the matter, I decided to get organized. Take a look at these bad boys!

Those are my most recently purchased stash all photographed and cataloged on Ravelry. As you can see, one of those photos made the cut as a new blog header; it's a handpainted, handspun yarn gifted by my wonderful sister-in-law (thank you, Keri!). The change isn't too drastic, I just needed a little change of scenery to keep up with things around here--Whee!

That stash ought to keep me busy for a while, eh? More [actual] knitting updates to come soon (I promise).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An update!

If you're wondering why there has been a severe lack of communication on my part over the past 42 days it's because...well...

a) I'm in Scotland!
b) I'm exploring things (in Scotland).
c) I'm meeting people (in Scotland).
d) I'm taking 6 credits (in Scotland).
e) I'm having a wonderful time (in Scotland).
f) And lastly, I'm exhausted (in Scotland).

Though my blog has fallen by the wayside temporarily, I have not forsaken all internet-related communication. To prove it, have a look at some photos from the past 41 days!

See! Visual proof that I am actually out doing things. Admittedly, Project 365 has temporarily taken the place of a "blog" since school ended. If you're interested in following my antics over the next few weeks (until I get back to blogging regularly again), you can do that here!
"Ummm...I'm adorable."

I promise I'll get back on a normal schedule sometime in August, but until then, take care & happy knitting!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Guess what!

It's true.

My mom is one of the most important influences in my life-- I don't know where (or who) I'd be without her.

As for the heart, it was [REALLY] quick and simple!

Pattern: Hearts
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Yarn: di.Ve' Autunno (This pattern would be great for scraps!)
Time to knit: 15 minutes undisturbed (or a medium length Skype convo in my case.)
Level of love: I <3 style="font-style: italic;"> (Get it?)

That's all for now...

I love you, mom--very much. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Hey look, a WIP!
Photographic evidence that I am still, in fact, a knitter. The project above is (an almost completed!) Springtime Bandit shawl. It's made with 5 skeins of the sproingiest yarn I've ever worked with (Artyarns Supermerino).
"OOOoooo... Ahhhhhhhhh"

Updates on this project and others to come soon--Whee!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh dear...

My poor, neglected little blog...how I miss you so! I have no excuses for you, other than... ummm...these:
  • College
  • A promotion (yay!)
  • flickr 365 (probably the guiltiest of the 3!)
To be quite truthful (as a result of the list above), I really haven't been knitting much lately. It pains me to admit that, but hopefully I'll regain steam sometime soon and start stash-busting like mad!

Despite not having knitting to show you, I do have an update to share!

ohai! I'm excited!

That is the expression of one happy girl who has (in her possession) the flight arrangements for studying overseas in Scotland this summer! I'll be studying both photography and history while living 15 minutes outside of Edinburgh-- I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to this trip! The one that begins exactly ONE MONTH from today! Gah!

Apologies again for neglecting this neck of the woods for so long--I will do my best to remedy the absence!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

When yarn speaks, I listen

Though this isn't an FO post, it is a rather exciting one for any fiber addicts out there! This past Friday, my mom and I did some serious mother/daughter retail bonding at our favorite yarn shop--it was fantastic.

One of the highlights is the yarn pictured - it is [10 skeins of] Rowan Felted Tweed and it's going to be made into a longerish-length Minimalist Cardigan. Have you ever just had yarn speak to you? Well, this yarn said:

"Rachel, please knit me into a wonderfully tweedy grandpa sweater"

So I listened.

More finished goodies to come soon!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meet Ishbel

Welcome to round two of my belated project sharing! This one is a little on the larger side. With that said, let me introduce you to Ishbel:
Hello, I almost caused Rachel's fingers to fall off.
The details:

Pattern: Ishbel
Designer: Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace 2 ply
Needles: US #7 Addi Turbos
Time to knit: 6 days(...?!)
Made for: Mrs. P
Level of love: Total adoration (and exhaustion)

A closeup of the vine detail.

In short, Ishbel was a deadline project knit for a close friend's mother. She initially asked if I'd be able to complete this shawl back in July explaining that it would be needed for an event on February 20th. "February?", I thought--that's AGES away, of COURSE I'll have time by then! Well, leave it to me and my knack for procrastination to wait until the absolute last possible moment to start this project. It was begun on Sunday, February 8th and completed late Saturday, February 14th. Yikes. Over 40 hours of knitting was put into making this wonder, and I must say, it gave me quite a sense of accomplishment. My roommate verified that it was the most she'd ever seen me knitting in a 6-day span of time. That's a lot of knitting.

I had never worked with Misti Alpaca Lace before, but I had heard lots of swooning over it by other knitters (always a good sign). The project was requested in a neutral color-- Ivory, grey, or black. Since I'd already completed an ivory shawl, black won hands down. Until this project, fingering weight yarn was the lightest yarn I'd used, and I couldn't really imagine knitting with anything any lighter. Right. At many times I had to adjust my tension due to fear of breaking the yarn mid stitch (that never happened) -- a tad on the nervewracking side.

Looking back, I'm certainly glad I have the experience of 2 ply under my belt, but boy did it slow things down! The end fabric was absolutely to die for--one of the softest materials I've ever felt. How so much warmth can come from something so lightweight and dainty, I'll never fully understand.

Ysolda's pattern, as per usual, was absolutely fantastic and easy to follow-- I will definitely be making this again (but maybe in the smaller size). That said, however, I will NOT be doing any more crazy marathon knitting in the near future. As a knowledgeable fellow knitter said to me:

"A stopwatch is for athletes; not knitters".

Well spoken.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Straun: Too much rock for one state

Well hello! By now I'd imagine my absence for over a month is [unfortunately] seen as nothing out of the ordinary. Though no excuse is a good excuse, I can say that I've been so wrapped up in the new semester and Project 365 that my poor blog has gone by the wayside.

On the positive side? It means I have quite a bit share! These next few posts might be slightly out of order as far as finishing dates go, but I promise they all happened within the last month. First up? Straun:

Pattern: Straun
Designer: Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted - Blue graphite (.8 skeins)
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Time to knit: 1/26 - 2/5
Made for: Darren aka Darius Twin
Level of love: total BAMFness

I had been itching to cast on for this hat for quite a while, but (as is often the case with knitting projects) just because I see something I love doesn't mean I'll then have a use for it upon its completion. Luckily, I was able to find an open and willing recipient who possessed the "cool factor" necessary to pull this hat off (unlike me pictured below...*ahem*).

Technique-wise, this project has added a few to the belt. First of all, the invisible loop cast-on method. It was a tad on the tricky side initially but lent itself well to the final product (plus the links in the pattern were very helpful). Because the hat was knit from the top down, it ended with the hemming of the brim portion. Mind you, that process involved grafting 105 live stitches up inside a hat that needed to be kept even vertically while also minding the hem length & brim tension. FUN!

All things considered, however, I really love how this hat turned out and am very (very) pleased with the final product. I'm not 100% certain, but from the looks of it, it would appear the recipient is too!

(Photos & artistry below are a product of Darren Pearson!)
Glad you like it Darren, you rock.

And what's to come? Looks to me like a hat, a pair of mittens, and *gasp* a lace shawl-- Hooooo boy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A hat for Sam

Just a quick post to share a [very] quick project. I seem to be developing a trend...

Pattern: Well...it's more of a recipe, really
Gauge: 5.5 sts per 2"
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Yarn: 2 half skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers held double
Made for: Sam
Time to knit: 2 discs of Arrested Development (Season 2)
Level of love: easy, peasy, & awesome

Hi, I'm Sam.

This hat was so fast and enjoyable it makes me smile. It was made to recreate a hat that he currently has in black & white and wears all the time. I took a gauge, some length measurements, did some swatching and went to town. I really am pleased with the finished product (and I'd like to think he is too)!

Hey, look, a label!

All in all, these little projects are basically all I have time for these days--I'm in the middle of taking a very condensed (and intensive) interim accounting course which leaves little to no brainpower for knitting. I do have several more challenging projects lined up for when I'm not spending every waking moment dealing with debits, credits, and posting to T accounts. That day can't come soon enough.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's official

Okay, this really isn't knitting related (well... maybe a little), but definitely exciting enough for me to share! Today I stopped by the Office of International Education to get the application needed to study abroad this summer...

...in Scotland.

(that's one VERY happy college knitter.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wham bam

The first project of the new year is completed! Let me tell you, folks, it was a quickie. (And I said I was going to challenge myself this year? Hah! It's a garter stitch rectangle-- doesn't get much simpler than that!)

Pattern: Wham Bam Thank you Lamb (ravelry)
Designer: Insaknitty
Yarn: 75 yards of handspun, handpainted (in my favorite colors) merino wool gifted by my [wonderful] sister in law, Keri!
Needles: US #13 Addi Turbos
Time to Knit: 2 hours? really? are we serious?
Level of Love: Well considering I haven't removed it since these photos were taken, I'd say unreasonably high.

Talk about instant gratification, this project was great. Not only was it quick and easy, but it was a great piece for showcasing the beautiful yarn too. And yes, I've gone a little bit from hat happy to cowl happy, but (in my defense) I didn't actually get to keep the last two. Anyway, this pattern comes highly recommended--I'm sure I'll be making it again!

**Oh! Also, I've decided to start Project 365 on Flickr for 2009--who thinks I can do it?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A year of Knitting in Review

The obligatory FO photo mosaic:

I managed to pack in 20 finished projects for 2008. They included:
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 cowls
  • 2 lace shawls
  • 1 pair of mittens
  • 3 pieces of miscellanea
  • and, of course, the 11 hats
I'm feeling very good about what I was able to produce over the course of the year. In 2009, I plan to challenge myself with my knitting, test my hand at designing, and make time to knit every day (even in the depths of my semesters). I think these three things are certainly both reasonable and achievable. I'm also in the process of building myself a brand new website (a holiday present I purchased for myself this year!). The launch of that site will be seen sometime within the next year--I will obviously be keeping everyone posted!

Lastly, special thank-yous and well wishes to the wonderful support of all the fabulous knitters, crafters, and passerbyers that have stopped by in 2008. In my opinion, the knit-blogging community is one of the most friendly and supportive groups out there; thank you for making me feel a part of it. Looks like that's a wrap for this year, I'll be back soon in the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Luck

Hello! I just had to sneak one last project in before the new year quickly approaches. This piece was "commissioned" by a good friend as a gift for his mother [who is fantastic]. I finished it a little later than originally planned (sorry Nick!), but I'm pleased with the final product. I will say this though, it was considerably more difficult to get decent pictures of this one as opposed to the Chickadee cowl which stood at attention without me even touching it. Detail time!

Pattern: Good Luck Cowl (ravelry)
Designer: Christianne Gerstner
Yarn: 1.3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas, Alpaca Silk - teal
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Made for: Mrs. P
Level of Love: reasonably happy camper

Modifications: I omitted one pattern repeat (for sanity's sake) and used a 2x2 ribbed edging instead of the original purled border. I like that it gave the piece a cleaner edge that wouldn't scallop.

I did enjoy this project but admittedly got bored working on it for long periods of time (which is probably why it took longer than expected). The lace pattern is fun, but it's extremely similar to the one done in the Bousta Beret which I completed not too long ago. Though I thoroughly enjoy the finished product here (and I've received word that the recipient does too), I'm not entirely sure I'd knit this again--there are just too many patterns out there to make, right?

That's all for now--travel safely for the remainder of the holiday season and have a fun-filled (and happily knit) New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Chickadee

Hello everyone--Merry Christmas to those celebrating today! I wanted to drop in to show you one of the items getting delivered for holiday gifting later this afternoon. Here it is:

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl (Ravelry Link)
Designer: Kirsten Kapur
Made for: Ms. A
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky - Velvet grapes (yum)
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Dates:12/19 - 12/23
Level of Love: lots and lots

I really enjoyed this project. It was quick, it was fun, it was mindless, and the final product is very pretty. The pattern uses a linen stitch which is especially beautiful with variegated yarns (plus it breaks up pooling too!). With the linen stitch on the outside, it creates something along the line of seed stitch on steroids on the inside (shown above). The final product is a very dense (yet surprisingly flexible) fabric that is capable of standing on its own, which will effectively block out pesky winter wind. Success.

That's all for now--take care and have a wonderful holiday (tonight is night #5 here)!