Freeing My Fade

The knit-along I chose for the shop this month is Free Your Fade by Andrea Mowry. We had a Trunk Show in June with Helena from Oink Pigments – an independent dyeing company. So I carefully chose my three skeins and of course one of them was blue. Typical. I used Oink Sock in Zoot Soot Riot, Teal Appeal, and Spring Forward (which has yellow in it – really outside my comfort zone but I love it)!

This pattern is really simple and easy to follow – it consists of garter stitch, eyelets, slipped stitch edges, and a picot bind off. I love finding patterns that are good for knitters who want to tackle new projects, and this is a great first shawl pattern. You can see my ravelry project here. It’s currently on the blocking mats! Below are some in-progress photos, and stay tuned for the finished project photos!

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A new shawl project…

Ok so I’ve never knit with lace weight yarn before, and let me tell ya, it takes FOREVER. However, I am very much enjoying it because this yarn is so beautiful! It’s Manos del Uruguay Marina in the colorway Frozen. This skein has a whopping 874 yds! I’m working on a new design here – a shawl with a pretty dropped stitch look (except you actually double wrap the knit stitches and drop the extra on the next row). I’m hoping to continue with this stitch pattern for a while, but eventually switch it up and make a border on the other end that is knitted vertically instead of horizontally! It should be a fun design adventure!

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Dad Sweater

My dad has begged me for 13 years to knit him a sweater. Ever since I learned, he’s been one of my biggest supporters and can you blame him? I mean, who doesn’t like hand-knit things? Monsters, that’s who.

So the man wants a sweater; a simple, warm pullover. I decided to use Rowan Hemp Tweed because it’s warm but is still a blend (so he won’t overheat in this thing!) Hemp & wool seems like the perfect fiber combo. Plus it’s a tweed yarn, my favorite! I had him pick out a stitch pattern and ambitiously decided to design it myself. He chose a chevron pattern with just knits and purls. I have never designed a sweater before but I used Karen Templer’s Improv Sweater post as a guideline. I created charts on my KnitBird 2.0 software and began!

A couple weeks later, I was only a few inches into the project and decided it was just way too much. Too much improv for a giant man sweater, too much time, too much brain power being used. So I frogged it! Then I chose a simple pattern to follow, Adirondack Pullover by Elizabeth Morrison. It has a broken rib and I think it looks like exactly what he wants. Below you can see my progress! I am trying to get to the armholes by next Sunday so he can try it on!

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Needle Organization

So I’m 24 years old, living in an apartment with 2 other awesome ladies, 2 cats, and a fish. Even though we have an extra bedroom and a studio, there’s still not enough room for all my craft supplies. I have a table-top loom, 2 sewing machines, and way more needles & yarn than I need. So lately I’ve been trying to organize and de-stash, as well as put all of that information on ravelry so I know what I have. We’re having a Stash Sale at the shop next weekend and I’m ready to get rid of stuff I’ll never use!

The continuous struggle I have is organizing my circular needles. I feel like I organize them once a week, yet whenever I try to find a needle, I have to take all of them out of the case to actually get the one I’m looking for. In true Kylen fashion, this has gone on for years and I’m finally just now making an effort to change it! I found some inspiration on Pinterest, and these are my favorites!

 

Someday I’ll have an entire room to house my craft supplies, but for now this will have to do. Do you guys have any suggestions?

 

Finding My Fade

I don’t know how or when I became the kind of knitter who frogs a whole section of knitting on a whim, but it happened. I have been having a really difficult time with this shawl not because of the pattern, but because of the colors. I had to choose 7 colors and I’ve already changed the order of my colors/omitted some about 4 times. I also ran out of my second color, and had to make up for it in the other sections. I’ve realized that I usually rely on textured stitches to create an interesting piece, rather than numerous colors. This is something I’d like to work on this year!

So pictured below is my Fade shawl and I had finished the whole next section with that skein of turquoise yarn, but then found a different color in my stash and frogged it all. And I didn’t even mind because I know I’ll wear this shawl all the time once it’s finished! It’s always worth it to frog a bit if you know the finished piece will look better; you don’t want to have any regrets!

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The littlest sweater.

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My childhood friend is pregnant, having a baby girl in July. I knew the shower was coming up, but I was in Brazil the week before and had totally forgotten. So I got back from my trip and I realized that the shower was only 6 days away…and I didn’t yet have a gift. This is a typical Kylen move. It’s a good thing I’m a knitter [and work in a yarn store] because that same day I started a snuggle wrap, which is essentially a small blanket with a little hood. A few days into the project I realized I wasn’t going to finish it in time, so instead of continuing on, I decided to knit a baby sweater. I had made it before and it was cute & quick, so I picked out some Berroco Pima 100 cotton yarn & started on Quaintly Dk by Kelly van Niekerk.This pattern is awesome and is available in 16 different sizes!!! It only took me a couple of hours and I just love how it turned out! My friend keeps mentioning to me how much she loves it.

My trip to Brazil!

The biggest decision I have ever had to make is what knitting projects to bring on a week long trip to Brazil. Just kidding, but I’m not going to lie, it was a tough decision. There are just so many great things to knit out there in the big wide world of Ravelry! So after weeks of contemplation (I know, I’m dramatic), I decided to bring a pair of socks and a top.

I brought a beautiful skein of MadelineTosh Twist Light in Nighthawk to make the Speckled Space Socks by Amanda Stephens. I worked on sock #1 on my way to Rio de Janeiro, and ended up finishing it while I was there! It’s a great pattern and I’m currently working on the second one. The socks are knit toe-up with a really fun and visually appealing stitch pattern. I am really liking the toe-up construction lately, although can I just say that the first row after the cast-on is insanely tight & tough to do?!

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The other project I brought was a design I’ve been working on – a top-down ombre sweater with lace introduced at the bottom. I don’t have an updated photo of this top, as I’m about to bind-off & weave in ends, but here are two pictures from the process.

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So now I will just show you pictures from my amazing trip to visit my dear knitting friend Lorraine! My adventures included lying on the beach at Ipanema, visiting the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens), Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), and visiting the Escadaria Selaron (Selaron Steps). I also wore my Beach Tank by Jess Schreibstein and my Cancun Boxy Lace Top by Erin Kate Archer while I was there!

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New pattern – Cerulean Mist!

Today I am excited because I just published Cerulean Mist, which I talked about a couple of weeks ago here. My test knitter gave me some feedback and I published it on Ravelry yesterday! I feel really good about this one; I think it’s well written and easy to follow. Something I hear a lot in the shop is frustration about not being able to understand directions within patterns. “It’s not written clearly” or “why do I have to flip back and forth to follow the chart and written instructions – couldn’t they have combined it?” So I took it upon myself to simplify all the language used and create a pattern that would be easy to follow for a beginner shawl knitter.

This shawl can be worn as a scarf with the point in the center front, or as a shawl around your shoulders! I used a light color as my MC but my test knitter used a dark one! I think it would also be cool to play around with your fingering weight stash yarn to make each eyelet section a different color.

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The two photos below are of my test knitter’s sample! Doesn’t the darker version look great too?

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Let’s talk about frogging.

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My new start!

When you’re a type B knitter, you don’t do much frogging. You just k2tog where you have an extra stitch or drop down and create a yarn over. I started out as a Type B knitter and have migrated more towards the middle, which I like about myself. I don’t frog/tink if it’s something I can fix from above, but I’m also not afraid to rip the whole thing out to make it look better.

I recently went to the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival and stupidly thought I didn’t need to make a firm budget. HA WHAT A FUNNY JOKE. Turns out I’m a money-spending maniac when let free at a yarn festival. Whoa. So I spent a lot of money but we’re not going to talk about it anymore and that’s that.

I bought a lot of hand-dyed yarn because I think it’s the coolest thing ever, and totally appreciate all the work that goes into each skein. I had been eyeing Andrea Mowry’s Find Your Fade shawl for a couple of months and realized that this would be the perfect place to get my yarn! I chose a variety of grays fading into greens, fading into blues. I had to buy 7 skeins of yarn that looked good together and this was really hard for me, being the indecisive lady that I am. So I had my best friend and the woman from Oink Pigments (clever name, amirite?) helping me out. But when I got home that night and wound the yarn, I realized that one of the skeins just didn’t fit. I started it anyway, convincing myself that “yellow is ok and it will look fine” even though I kind of despise yellow most of the time. So I finished the first color and moved on to the second color and then was like WAIT NO IT’S YELLOW. I frogged the whole damn thing. Honestly it hadn’t taken me that long and so it was a fine frogging experience. So I re-started it, moving some of the colors around and now I’m excited again!

People always ask me how I got so proficient in fixing mistakes – it’s about 65% of my job at the shop. I always say “I made a lot of mistakes when I first started knitting and didn’t have anyone to help me, so I just figured it out!” My biggest piece of advice for new knitters is to experiment and try to just wing it. Type A knitters don’t like it when I say that but it’s true! And frogging – well, I say try to fix your mistakes first, and then frog if it’s still wrong. If you always frog, how will you learn to fix a dropped stitch or a wrongly placed yarn over?

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My colors for Find Your Fade! I’m eliminating the skein with the yellow & switching the grays in the beginning!
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Before I frogged.

A New Design Coming Soon!

So I have realized something about myself. The thing is that I pretty much only knit with fingering weight yarn these days. In my stash I pretty much have an equal amount of all the weights, but the fingering weight has a lot more turnover than the others. I don’t remember the last time I pulled some worsted weight out of my shelves and used it. But that’s ok! Because fingering weight is beautiful and fun to work with.

IMG_7942At any given time, I try to have at least one project going that I’m designing. In the last couple of weeks I have been working on a shawl pattern with two different colors of fingering weight yarn. One of the skeins was a gift from my best friend – she got it on her family vacation in Chincoteague from a LYS. It is merino wool and it’s the most beautiful light blue with purple and green hues. The other skein was also a gift, this time from my boyfriend’s mom who is also a knitter. It’s String Theory Caper Sock, which is a merino and cashmere blend. This one also has the most interesting colors in it – dark blue, purple, & green.

I wanted to knit an asymmetrical triangular shawl because that’s my favorite shape of shawl (to be honest I never wear them as shawls, but rather scarves). It’s the best shape in my opinion. I made an eyelet pattern mixed with a lot of garter and I’m really happy with how it turned out! It is currently being test knitted by a friend of mine, so more details will be coming soon!