FO Friday – Kentia Hat

I recently finished my Kentia Hat, just days after starting it. Gotta love a good quick knit to clear the palate.

The usual details first:
Pattern: Kentia Hat / Ambah O’Brien
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Silk DK / Majestic and Overnight Oats
Needles: Size 5 on a 16 inch cable
Cast on: 8/23/2020
Cast off: 8/29/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

I said it at the beginning, but I’ll say it again. It’s really nice to throw in a quick knit into the repertoire every once in a while. A hat certainly fits that bill as it’s smaller, usually knit with heavier yarn and it’s split into three sections – the brim, the body and the crown. I think this last point really helps me cruise through hats as each section really does go quickly.

I knit this hat because I recently released a new DK base, my Silk DK base, which is 50% Merino Wool and 50% Silk. I wanted to bring in some more variety to the shop and this base just sounded so luxurious. AND. IT. IS. This yarn is the softest I’ve ever felt, but it’s so sturdy that I don’t see it breaking down anytime soon. I knew I needed to start dyeing on the base and also knitting with it.

I decided on a hat because this yarn makes for really great hat yarn as it won’t be itchy on your forehead. For that reason, if you want to knit a cowl, definitely check it out. I decided to dye up a brand new colorway in honor of the new base and Majestic was born. Majestic is a blue-green base with various blues and a burgundy speckled on top of it. It pairs with Overnight Oats, of course.

I went to Ravelry and searched for a DK weight hat and came across the Kentia hat pretty quickly. I know that Ambah is hosting a Knit August (or was at this point) and I think that helped move the pattern up in the queue. I mean, a ton of her patterns are always at the top, of course, but as she was discounting a pattern each day, this one must have been a recent one when I went on my search.

The pattern is a slipped stitch/Mosaic pattern that makes for an easy way to accomplish a really complex looking hat. I love that the slipped stitches bulk up the hat even more and make it squishier. I worked on the brim and the chevron design pretty quickly and then put the project down while I finished up another project. I think I then knit the body and the crown in a sitting. It really went that quickly.

I went down a needle size from what the pattern called for and also knit the small. It’s a smug hat, which means it’s not going to slide around. The fit is perfect for me! Once I wear it around in the winter more, I’ll be able to see if it stretches out. Mostly, this was made to be a shop sample, but I know I’m going to want to wear it all of the time.

So again, if you’re looking to mix things up, definitely give this pattern a go. It was nice to do easy colorwork on a fast project.

Check out more and see it in person here:

On the WIP Side – 9.2.2020

It’s Wednesday and I’m here to chat all about my current works in progress. I finished quite a few projects and have an exciting new cast on. As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during the work week. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”

For Ravelry users: There are links throughout this post that link to Ravelry. If you are experiencing issues with the new Ravelry design, you may not want to click on those links. You can also see pictures on my instagram account, youtube channel or feel free to go to the contact form and send me a note if you have any questions.

Total: 4 WIPs (1 active)
Knitting:
2 projects -1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
1 project – 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 2 projects
2020 Total Finished: 21

Rainbow Showers Wrap – DONE!
Pattern: Rainbow Showers / Dana Freed Fiddes
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay / Fino / Henrietta Mini Skein Set
Hook: Size E (3.5mm)
Gauge: IDK – I wouldn’t even know how to find out
Cast on: 8/3/2020
Cast off date: 8/29/2020

Done! My first crochet finished object. I’m really pretty proud of this one. It had a bit of a slow-ish start in that I had to restart it once, but considering I’ve never done much crochet, it turned out great! I was able to finish it this past weekend, along with the next project, which felt amazing. Look for an upcoming project highlight post soon.

Kentia Hat
Pattern: Kentia Hat / Ambah O’Brien
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Merino Silk base / MC: TBN blue and CC: Overnight Oats
Needles: Size 5
Gauge: I shouldn’t keep this here. I never check.
Cast on: 8/3/2020
Cast off goal: 8/30/2020

Another finished object. In one weekend. It was awesome. This was a really quick hat though. I think when I last checked in, I was past the design around the brim (or mostly) and so it was just a bit more before the decreases. The yarn is so shimmery and soft and the slipped stitch pattern adds some extra squishy-ness to it. Very scientific! This project will be highlighted on Friday.

Fish are Friends Socks
Pattern: Vanilla Socks
Yarn: Lazer Sheep Yarns / Lazer Sock / Fish are Friends not Food
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 7/18/2020
Cast off goal: 9/6/2020

Once I finished the other two projects, I was left with these vanilla socks. I have a new cast on (keep reading), but as that one was not set to go, it took me a long time to cast it on (more evidence at how much I love cast on parties). In the meantime, I was happy to have a cleansing vanilla socks project to work on. I finished up the other two projects just in time for a sit and stitch. My local yarn shop, A Knit Sheep, hosts a Sunday virtual sit and stitch and it had been AGES since I last attended. I committed to making it (mostly by talking about it in the day in the life vlog I was filming) and was so happy I did. While we chatted, I worked up about half of the leg of each sock. I’m knitting them two at a time, toe up, to put that into context.

Since then, as this is still my only real WIP (excluding scrap blankets), I’ve mostly finished it. I’m on the cuffs of the socks and then that’ll be it. I think I’m making the legs a bit shorter than I have been recently with socks, but back to the length I used to make them. They’ve been coming out longer than I’ve historically knit and I wanted to bring them back down a bit.

So, these will also be finished soon. 3 finished projects, that can only mean a cast on party is coming soon. I did cast on 1 project though…

Spark Cardigan – NEW!
Pattern: Spark / Andrea Mowry
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Worsted / Whisper (MC) and Cinnamon Spark set (CC)
Needles: TBD
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 9/1/2020
Cast off goal: 10/15/2020

That’s right, setting a bold cast off date right there. I am knitting this cardigan out of my hand dyed yarn in fall colors and so I really want to have this done fairly quickly. As it’s all over colorwork (oy vey), I’m trying to give myself some time. If you keep up with these WIP posts, expect to see a lot of this. I guess I’ll hold off on the cast on party.

Anyway, as soon as I saw Andrea post this sweater on Instagram, I immediately started dreaming up kits. I even launched a new worsted weight base just so I can knit this pattern. That’s love at first sight right there. At this point, I’ve only swatched and done a bit of the sleeve (you start with the sleeve) and so there will be more exciting news ahead.

Other
1. Spinning – I’m almost done with my first braid. I will do a longer post once that is finished.
2. Northeasterly – I have not worked on this as I need to pick out more colors. I’m really bad at working on projects if they are not ready to go.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
The Spark cardigan will be my past, present and future for the time being. We’ll be hitting #sweaterweather soon and that means so much fall knitting. If you haven’t already, check out the Pigskin Party hosted by BostonJen of the Down Cellar Studio podcast. It launches September 25th-ish and I’m a sponsor. During the launch weekend, I’ll be hosting a virtual kick off event (more details soon) but if you are looking for a fun way to connect with other knitters this fall and winter, you should definitely check it out!

Shop
The shop is feeling like fall. If you missed the latest video about shop news, go check it out. A lot of behind the scenes changes and so many new colors. Summer colors are still discounted at 25% off.

I launched a new Dye with Me Fade Series. You can participate on YouTube by checking out the series. I’ve already published the dyeing of the first two skeins, so go check it out! There will even be a fun giveaway at the end of the series.

1st two skeins in the Dye with Me series. Help decide what skein 3 should look like over on YouTube.


September mystery yarn clubs are now available
until September 15th.

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

Check out my recent behind the scenes/day in the life vlog to see what I was up to on Sunday!

#agahwFadeDyeALong Skein 2 – Thoughts of a Yarn Dyer

I’m currently dyeing up a fade kit over on my YouTube channel and I’ve been looking to the viewers to influence how the skein will be dyed next. I think it’s been pretty successful and last week, I posted the Skein #2 Dye with Me.

The event itself has certainly been a learning experience for me as a dyer. Yarn dyeing is certainly an art form and the way I see the skeins is certainly going to be different than how you might see it. The vision of the next skein may be so clear for both of us but if we said it out loud on the count of 3, what are the chances what we blurt out would match?

Whenever I sell a skein of yarn, I make sure that I like it personally. If I don’t like, why should I think a customer will? If I try to dye to the masses, I end up with less successful colorways than when I dye for me. I think we all have our own style and your best work is when you’re excited about what you’re doing. If I love a colorway, it’s going to show through in the yarn.

So try to match up that concept with asking viewers to tell you how to dye a skein! It’s been a challenge for me to dye up a skein that I want represented by my brand and also to make sure I’m not taking control of the process.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still dye what I think should be done, but would these skeins be what they are without you, the viewers? NO WAY! You are really are influencing this and I can’t wait to see how this fade ends in skein #3. I’ll be dyeing up the skein this weekend and I seriously could not tell you today what it will look like.

All that being said, skein #2 took me 3 tries to get it right. Yup! 3! I dyed up (and filmed) 3 skeins before uploading the dye with me. So what happened? In attempt #1, I dove in without much planning. I had the comments of the viewers in my mind, but I went with what I thought would work. It ended up not fitting in with what I imagined based on the comments or with skein #1. I have to say, I love how the skein turned out (hint hint Autumn Vibes hint hint), but it just didn’t fit in with this fade. You’ll have to wait and see why another day.

Autumn Vibes – available now!

In attempt #2, I had a better idea of what to do, but I took the comments too literally. I was trying to make too many people happy and the end result was not something I loved. Do you see what happened? Attempt #1 – too me. Attempt #2 – too everyone else. Attempt #3 – just right.

I plan to post a video at the end of the series with these missed attempts. In the meantime, check out how skein #2 turned out in this video here. The kits are still available in my shop at 10% off and Autumn Vibes is also available.

Exciting New Changes at agirlandherwool – August 29th, 2020

Check out the new colors and bases that are going into the shop. I also have some news about how the shop will be run and what you can expect moving forward.

Shop Admin
The shop will be converting to in stock only. Historically, I’ve done mostly dyed to order and then transitioned to a combination of in stock and dye to order. As my business grows (thank you!), the most efficient way for me to properly run the shop is to have everything that is listed in stock. I’m more than happy to custom dye something if you don’t see the right amount of yarn skeins or the right sizes, so just send me a message via Etsy.

For all shop updates, follow me on Twitter, agirlandherwool, as this is where I will post a quick status update for any new listing or items that have been restocked.

NEW BASES
Yes, there are plenty of new bases to get excited about!

Worsted: 100% SW Merino / 8 ply / Worsted Weight / 218 yards per 100g
This base is a super round 8 ply base. It’s a cable construction meaning that there are 4 sets of 2 plys. It really does make for a round structure. I was in awe when I saw it and I was a little nervous about ordering this base. I don’t regret it. I plan to cast on a Spark cardigan this weekend and so make sure you follow along for how that goes. Kits will start appearing in the shop, so make sure you favorite my shop in Etsy or follow me on Twitter for the most up to date listing announcements.

Silky DK: 50% SW Merino and 50% Silk / 4ply / DK weight / 231 yards per 100g
If heaven is made of yarn, it’s this one. I’m not exaggerating, it’s a soft but dense base that will have you feeling so snuggly. I’m currently knitting the Kentia Hat out of this base, but I could easily see this making the most luxurious sweaters. Are you sensitive to wool around your neck? I highly recommend this base.

Sock Blanks: Single knit sock blanks / 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon / 4 ply / Light Fingering / 463 yards per 100g
If you haven’t tried a sock blank, now’s the time to start! The way these work is I dye up the yarn already knit. You can then knit directly from the blank for wind it up and soak it if you don’t like the kinks. In any case, I’ll dye up a fun design and it’ll be interesting to see how it knits up as you go. As the gauges aren’t the same, the dyes will work up differently from the blank. It’s an adventure! These might all end up as one of a kinds (OOAKs) but stay tuned to hear more.

The beginnings of a Kentia Hat on Silky DK. Can you see the shimmer?

New Colors
Fall is in full swing at agirlandherwool. See the latest colorways that have hit the shop or will be loaded soon.

The Gourd Place and What the Fork?
This pumpkin pairing was a mega hit last year and so it is back! These are made to be worked up together, but they are also so great on their own. They are currently in the shop on the BFL sock base, but they will get loaded on Sock and DK soon.

What the Fork? (green) and The Gourd Place (Orange)

Fall Foliage
Another returning colorway, but I’ve improved the formula to make this color even better. It’s an overall red skein with lots of orange, yellow, green and brown that will remind you of all the fall foliage scenery.

Fall Foliage

Autumn Vibes
A brand new colorway that I’m already obsessed with. It’s another variegated skein, but this one has all the moods. It’s an overall purple skein with reds, blues, browns, greens and lots of autumn vibes.

Autumn Vibes

Majestic
A not fall themed colorway, but I’m obsessed anyway. It’s a blue-green base with lots of blues in all shades and a deep purple/burgundy speckle. I’m using it in my Kentia Hat, but it’ll be available on multiple bases. I have a feeling this will be a hit!

Overnight Oats (left) and Majestic (Right)

R-Autumn-Bow
My fall rainbow is coming back soon! Stay tuned to see when it hits the shop.

A new Fall Mini Skein Set
…That’s still to be named. It’s such a great fall themed kit with cinnamon and purple tones. Perfect for fall. I’ll be using this in my Spark cardigan.

Those are the newest colors in the shop. The Rose Gold gradient is also restocked. Other colorways will be appearing in the shop and the best way to keep up with that is on my Twitter account. You can also follow along here and on Instagram. Finally, I uploaded a video to YouTube if you want to see and hear more:

On the WIP Side – 8.26.2020

It’s Wednesday and I’m here to chat all about my current works in progress. I’ve made some progress this week and I have a new cast on. As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during this tumultuous time. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”

For Ravelry users: There are links throughout this post that link to Ravelry. If you are experiencing issues with the new Ravelry design, you may not want to click on those links. You can also see pictures on my instagram account, youtube channel or feel free to go to the contact form and send me a note if you have any questions.

Total: 6 WIPs (3 active)
Knitting:
3 projects -1 hat, 1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
2 projects – 1 wrap and 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 0 projects
2020 Total Finished: 19

Fish are Friends Socks
Pattern: Vanilla Socks
Yarn: Lazer Sheep Yarns / Lazer Sock / Fish are Friends not Food
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 7/18/2020
Cast off goal: None

While I didn’t make too much progress on these and you’ll see why with the next project, I did knit the heels. These socks are back to vanilla socks. This means I just need to work up the legs and cuffs.

Rainbow Showers Wrap
Pattern: Rainbow Showers / Dana Freed Fiddes
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay / Fino / Henrietta Mini Skein Set
Hook: Size E (3.5mm)
Gauge: IDK – I wouldn’t even know how to find out
Cast on: 8/3/2020
Cast off goal: 8/30/2020

It’s basically a blanket at this point.

Lots and lots of progress on this crochet wrap. As a reminder, I am brand new to crochet. This has been a really great project to get a hang of single and double crochets. Now that I’m 75% of the way through the shawl, I really have a hang of it. If you remember last week, I talked about how rough the beginning was for me. Now that I really took the time to watch some videos and think about what I’m doing, the project is definitely going smoother. Imagine that.

Each section of color is pretty quick (especially the white stripes) and so you do get that feeling of “well, let me just finish this color.” I do like how I separated the colors with the white vs having chunks of white as its own color.

You can see in the picture above that I’m reversing the order of the colors. This means that when the wrap hangs down, it’ll be symmetric. I’m kind of regretting putting the blue in the middle, which will land behind my neck. I’m definitely more of a blue person than green, so I wish the blue would show more. The shawl itself doesn’t seem too long and so I think it will wrap around more like a cowl and so I can probably skooch (sp?) it around until the blue shows more. We will see!

I set a new goal for the project to finish it up this weekend. I just have two colors left and I seem to get one day every other day or so, so I think this is truly reasonable.

Kentia Hat
Pattern: Kentia Hat / Ambah O’Brien
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Merino Silk base / MC: TBN blue and CC: Overnight Oats
Needles: Size 5
Gauge: I shouldn’t keep this here. I never check.
Cast on: 8/3/2020
Cast off goal: 8/30/2020

Can you see the pattern error up there?

Can you see the shimmer??? Oh my gosh, this base is scrumptious. That’s about how I can describe it. This is a DK weight, so it’s a good weight, but it has the sleek and shimmer of silk. Why? Well, it’s a silk base. This is a sneak peek at a new base that I will be offering in my shop. It’s a 50/50 Merino/Silk blend and it is as wonderful as it sounds. This will be the accessory and sweater yarn of your dreams. If I didn’t plan to sell the yarn, I’d just line my bed with it. Don’t worry. I haven’t.

The colors are a to be named blue (new color sneak peek!) and overnight oats. The blue is a great mix of various blues, green and speckles of a deep purpley-maroon type color. I’m obsessed and I know this will become a new favorite in the shop. Check out Friday’s video for shop news on YouTube.

Okay, the pattern. I have been a long time fan of Ambah’s patterns but unfortunately have never knit one! How is that possible? I’ve stalked plenty of them over the years, but I think I just never found the perfect yarn for the projects. I’m so glad that I cast on this hat pattern. It’s a slipped stitch (mosaic) pattern and so it is very easy for beginner colorwork knitters. As a hat, it’s going quickly and I expect to finish it soon.

The last row that I’ve done has an error and so I need to tink back, which I think is why it’s not done by now. Go check out the pattern if you’re looking for a fun, quick hat that will definitely be different from other ones you’ve made before.

Other
1. Spinning – I’m almost done with my first braid. I will do a longer post once that is finished.
2. Northeasterly – I have worked on this and will talk about it soon.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
Spark by Andrea Mowry. Definitely coming soon!

Shop
So much fall has hit the shop. There are returning favorites and new colors in the shop. More colors and bases will be released throughout the next week or so. Check out Friday’s YouTube video for all of the announcements.

I launched a new Dye with Me Fade Series. You can participate on YouTube by checking out the series. I’ve already published the dyeing of the first two skeins, so go check it out! There will even be a fun giveaway at the end of the series.

1st two skeins in the Dye with Me series. Help decide what skein 3 should look like over on YouTube.


September mystery yarn clubs are now available
.

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

I only upload WIP posts on YouTube once per month, but you can see last week’s posts for a recent update:

Yarn of the Month Club – July – September Recap

Today I shipped off the September shipment of the yarn of the month club. This is pretty exciting for me as it wrapped up the first 3 month yarn club as well. I can’t help but reflect back on the club now that three months have past. Did you want to order the September club? No worries, it’s still available. Just the preorders were shipped. Keep reading for a spoiler of the colorway.

July’s skein was based on the 4th of July as it featured fireworks. I didn’t want it to be a red, white and blue themed though, so I used a picture of nighttime fireworks on a beach. The fireworks were mostly pinks and purples, with some other colors as well. The inspiration picture is below:

July Yarn Club Inspiration

What I loved about this photo is that certainly is on the summer July theme, without being too cliche. I knew when I saw this photo that I could turn it into a skein of yarn that I would want to knit with. The most important thing for any colorway that I release into the shop is to love it for myself. If I don’t want to knit with it, why would I expect someone else to?

The yarn came out great and I brought out the dark sky in the contrast skein.

July Yarn of the Month club

The speckles remind me of the fireworks and while this is certainly a summer colorway, it doesn’t scream 4th of July at you. I loved bringing out the blues and seafoam green that you can see in the picture when you look closely.

So moving into August, I knew I had to have a classic summer color. This year has been a hard one for us all. I know that having that need to escape has overcome me more often than it really should. If I couldn’t get away on a vacation, I wanted to bring the vacation to the crafters through my yarn. I found a beautiful photo that had me feeling relaxed and sunkissed immediately.

August inspiration photo

I just loved the blues and brights in this photo. I couldn’t wait to dye it up. Before I finalize the inspiration photo and post it in my shop, I make sure I can dye up a skein that I like and does in some ways look like the photo. When I dyed up this sample, I was hooked. It was so bright and cheery that I couldn’t wait to ship out these skeins.

August Yarn of the Month

I really tried to bring out the blues and the browns in the trees without making this too dark or muddied. The contrast skein reminds me warm sand and my toes curled up in it.

When I was deciding what to bring out in September, all I could think of was back to school. When I was looking at colleges to decide where I wanted to go, the top item on the list was “what does the library look like.” I grew up an avid reader and I couldn’t wait to go away to college and study in a library. It had to be pretty and quiet and all of the things I’d always imagined.

I have to say that the college I went to did in fact have a beautiful library and I studied there everyday.

This photo is not from my University, which I did try and find a good one from there first, but it does just bring back so many memories. The smell of old books, the quiet in the library and the golden tones they all seem to have. I knew my September colorway had to look like this.

SPOILERS AHEAD! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THE SEPTEMBER MYSTERY YARN CLUB, LOOK AWAY NOW!

September Yarn of the Month Club

This skein really brings out the gold, brown and gray tones from the photo. It’s a great contrast to the brighter colors that I’ve been offering. You may be wondering about the contrast skein. I did take some artistic liberties here to bring a color that I thought looked nice paired with the skein. As the photo was all browns, blacks and golds and I didn’t want to make any of those the contrast (as I felt it would be too boring with the main colorway), I brought out a color I thought would match. If you look closely at the photo, there’s a dark blue-green book. While I didn’t make the skein super dark, I did use that as my inspiration.

So what did I learn from the first 3 months of the club?
1. It really is fun to create this mystery colorways and base them off of photos. A lot of my inspiration for colors comes from colors I enjoy and so to challenge myself by using a photo has been a lot of fun. I’ve even started to do that more and more with my regular colorways as well.
2. Make sure there is a good contrast skein. I test out the photo for the main colorway, but as September showed, I really need to make sure there’s a good contrast in there too.
3. Keep creating these because they are a lot of fun!

Let me know which colorways are your favorite because I may decide to bring them back to the shop! They are all exclusive to the clubs for 3 months and so you won’t see them for a bit but eventually they may return.

If you like September, it’s available in the shop now through September 15th. There’s also a new 3 month club that starts with September.

All clubs earn you reward points!
Each month, you earn points towards a 10% off discount code. You earn 1 point for every gram of the mystery color you buy and every 100 points earns you the code. So basically, if you order a 100g skein, you’ll receive the coupon code. However, if you only like 50g skeins, then you’ll have to order 2 months worth to get the code. The points accumulate though so you don’t need to order them back to back.
The 3 month clubs come with a code no matter how much you buy. The value of the coupon code is determined by the number of grams of the main colorway that you buy. If you buy the main colorway in 100g skeins, you’ll receive a 30% off coupon code. You can see this post for more details.

Inspiration photos for September – November

If you’re interested in seeing how I dyed up July’s colorway, check out this Dye with Me video from my YouTube channel:

FO Friday – Magnolia Socks

I recently finished my Magnolia socks, which is surprising to me. I really claim to not have much sock mojo, yet I keep finishing socks…

The usual details first:
Pattern: Magnolia Socks / Helen Stewart
Yarn: agirlandherwool / BFL Sock / Golden Hour
Needles: Size 0 dpns
Cast on: 5/26/2020
Cast off: 8/10/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

Well, well, well. Look what we have here. A pair of finished socks. A pair of patterned finished socks, that is. My feet certainly seem ready for fall, don’t they?

This pattern is from the original Handmade Sock Society, a collection by Helen Stewart. I purchased the ebook prior to any of the patterns being released and I guess it took me years to get through them. There are 6 total patterns and I’ve now knit 5. I really don’t have any intention of knitting the last pair, but I certainly think I got my money’s worth for the ebook.

Helen’s pattern really are great to knit up as she is very clear, lays everything out and has a percentage system so you know how far you are. This seems less important in socks than in shawls, but I can appreciate it. For me, the only thing I actually use in the pattern is the stitch design, otherwise I just do my normal sock pattern.

The pattern is a top down sock pattern, meaning you start with the cuff. I also knit my socks toe up (I prefer NOT to do a kitchener stitch, thank you very much). This means that the pattern is actually upside down from how it was intended. It doesn’t bother me though!

I mean, you can tell that it’s probably upside down, but it’s still a nice pair of socks

I really don’t have too much to say about these socks, honestly. If you like patterned socks, give it a go. There are cables, but I definitely recommend learning to cable without a cable needle. With only a couple of stitches to cross over, it’s really not that bad and will certainly save you a lot of time in the end. While it’s not the most intuitive pattern to memorize, I did not find that I needed to keep a copy of it next to me.

The yarn itself is some of my favorite to knit with. Yes, I’m biased, but I do love BFL sock yarn. I actually am knitting another pair of socks with BFL yarn that is not yarn from my own shop. It’s soft to work with but you can just tell how well it will wear. I loved using a mostly tonal color, but with bits of brown and gold to keep it fun and not solid. The pattern shows off well, but then again, so does the yarn.

The most exciting part about these socks is how well it reinforced to me that my cast on party was a success. A few months back, I had a cast on party, where I cast on quite a few projects. I didn’t necessarily view them all as current projects, but they were a safety net to know that I had something I could grab if I wanted to. The Magnolia sock came in so handy when I finished a project during a movie (at home) and didn’t want to be a big hold up. I just was able to grab this project, with the toe already cast on and just start knitting the pattern. Yes, I had to look at the pattern, but I didn’t need to find needles, wind yarn, download the pattern or count stitches. It was much easier to just go.

Since I had no rush to finish the pair, I ended up not casting on the second sock until recently. Actually, I did it during my second cast on party. I think I ended up focusing on just getting that sock done and now I have a finished pair. Something about having the project ready to go just makes it more likely to be worked on. It really has been working for me during this slight time of a rut.

This isn’t the most interesting post, but again, I haven’t been too thrilled with sock knitting in general and maybe that’s showing. I’m definitely looking for good inspiration for upcoming projects, so let me know what you’re excited about!

Check out more and see it in person here:

On the WIP Side – 8.19.2020

It’s Wednesday and I’m here to chat all about my current works in progress. I’ve been working on a crochet project. Yup! You heard that right! As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during this tumultuous time. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”
For Ravelry users: There are links throughout this post that link to Ravelry. If you are experiencing issues with the new Ravelry design, you may not want to click on those links. You can also see pictures on my instagram account, youtube channel or feel free to go to the contact form and send me a note if you have any questions.

Total: 5 WIPs (4 active)
Knitting:
2 projects -1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
2 projects – 1 wrap and 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 2 projects
2020 Total Finished: 19

Altheda Sweater – DONE!
Pattern: Altheda / Jennifer Steingass
Yarn: Rauma Finull PT 2
Needles: Size 1 Needles (neckline), Size 2 Needles (Body) and Size 3 Needles (colorwork)
Gauge: 20 st in 4 in on size 1 needle
Cast on: 6/9/2020
Cast off date: 7/31/2020

Check out my FO Friday post from last week to read more about my finished sweater! This sweater was knit in the blink of an eye!

Magnolia Socks
Pattern: Magnolia Socks / Helen Stewart
Yarn: agirlandherwool / BFL sock base / Golden Hour
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 5/26/2020
Cast off date: 8/10/2020

I’m not even sure if I had cast this second sock on when I lasted posted about my WIPs. I did a second cast on party with my mom, which you can watch on YouTube here. During that party, I cast on the second sock, and what do you know? It’s done! I’ve still been pretty monogamously and like the sweater, this sock seemed to just knit itself. Check out the FO Friday post this week to read more about the socks.

Fish are Friends Socks
Pattern: Vanilla Socks
Yarn: Lazer Sheep Yarns / Lazer Sock / Fish are Friends not Food
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 7/18/2020
Cast off goal: None

The cast on date here is a little deceiving as I did cast these on during the cast on party. I am using the day I officially brought out the project as the start date though. DON’T CALL SHENANIGANS! (Do people still say that?)

Anyway, I’m knitting up a pair of vanilla socks out of this hand dyed yarn that I bought back on a San Diego trip a couple of years ago. It was nice to buy some locally dyed yarn and now I get to enjoy knitting with it. The socks are vanilla, meaning that they are plain stockinette and I’m using my standard sock pattern. I am knitting them magic loop, two a time, toe up. Nothing really to write home about. A good pair of socks to pick up during work calls and while I’m reading. Stress free, fun knit.

Rainbow Showers Wrap
Pattern: Rainbow Showers / Dana Freed Fiddes
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay / Fino / Henrietta Mini Skein Set
Hook: Size E (3.5mm)
Gauge: IDK – I wouldn’t even know how to find out
Cast on: 8/3/2020
Cast off goal: None

Well, here it is. A crochet project. See, I wasn’t lying! This is the Rainbow Showers wrap, a simple crochet pattern that I’ve already managed to screw up and rip out. You know how it goes. I think I barely watched a video on how to crochet and went for it. Anyway, I knit crochet (I will do that a lot) most of the pink mini skein and ended up with this (photo on the left):

You can see how not straight the edge is in that photo. The quality is so poor because it’s a screenshot of a vlog I filmed. On the right side, you can see my second attempt and how much better it came out. Practice and education definitely helps.

So, back to the beginning. I bought this yarn from my local yarn shop, A Knit Sheep, during a virtual trunk show that they held with Manos del Uruguay. They had kits set up for this pattern and I thought it would be a great way to experiment with crochet and to see if I like it. The pattern calls for 2 sets of mini skeins and the kits had two different sets. Each set has 5x20g mini skeins. I decided to buy two of the same set instead of two different ones, just because of my color preferences. My sets each have 1 white mini and then 4 color minis. I decided that I’m going to add in a stripe of white between each color instead of using the white as a 5th color in order to break up the colors and also avoid a chunk of plain white. I will also crochet one set in the order Pink -> Green -> Purple -> Blue and then go in the reverse order so that when the scarf hangs, it’ll match up.

I’m making great progress on this now and am already through some of the 3rd color. I definitely caught onto the crochet quickly (once I actually learned how to do it) and am cruising through it. I do have to look at the project so even though it’s now a bit mindless, it’s not the best tv knitting. Anyway, stay tuned for more!

Other
1. Spinning – I’m almost done with my first braid. I will do a longer post once that is finished.
2. Northeasterly – I have worked on this and will talk about it soon.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
Still thinking through this. Let me know if there are specific patterns you like seeing samples knit in.

Shop
I launched a new Dye with Me Fade Series. You can participate on YouTube by checking out the series. I’ve already published the dyeing of the first skein, so go check it out! There will even be a fun giveaway at the end of the series.

September mystery yarn clubs are now available
. Use code BACKTOSCHOOL for 15% off the single month and 3 month clubs now through August 21st.

Skein 1 of the Dye A Long series

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

You can watch me talk about these projects on YouTube:

The Short and Long of Knitting Sleeves

At this point in my knitting “career” (but really, knitting hobby, spare time, whatever we want to call it), I have knit myself 7 sweaters. Ironically, most of them are all the same-ish color, but that’s not the point for today.

When I started knitting sweaters, I followed the pattern exactly. This makes the most sense, right? I didn’t know what I was doing and if I followed the recipe, I’d end up with a sweater. That’s how it works, right? Follow recipe, have sweater.

First sweater I knit for myself and followed the pattern as is

Generally, this is true, but for us knitters, we also like to have a sweater that FITS US. It’s not enough for us to just make a sweater, we actually want it to fit and look nice. This generally means that when we do knit, we often change patterns in order to better suit our bodies or what we really want out of the garment. There’s really nothing wrong with that. That is, once we learn how to make these adjustments and actually know what we do want. I mean how many times in life do we know we don’t like something, but we just can’t explain why?

While there’s plenty to discuss in terms of adjustments to make to garments, I have had found that for me, I have struggled the most with sleeves. So that’s what we’re talking about today. Sleeve knitting.

As I mentioned before, early on, I knit a sweater pattern as is. I knit a swatch, figured out which size to knit based on that and went on my merry way. This worked out fine for the first few sweaters. I’m not sure what changed after that (my body, my knitting, the patterns I was choosing), but something changed. My sleeves were no longer fitting on my arms even though the rest of the sweater was okay. I think the sleeves were always a bit snug, but once I knit the Sipila sweater, it was too tight to wear. We put so much work into knitting a sweater that it’s not worth having one sit in the closet that you never want to wear because it’s not comfortable.

You can see how the sleeve didn’t fit and I couldn’t even turn it to lay correctly

For that sweater, I did make the tough decision to rip out the sleeves and redo them. They were colorwork sweaters, might I add. I knew in the end, the sweater wasn’t wearable the way it was and it was more important to me to want to wear the sweater than not re-knit the sleeves.

A lot of people have mentioned over time to go up a needle size for the sleeves because most often, we are knitting them magic loop, where the bulk of the sweater was either knit flat or in the round. In either case, the gauge swatch knit for the sweater is probably not the same gauge as the sweater. We could knit a new swatch or just follow the general rule to go up a needle size.

This definitely helped me, but it actually wasn’t enough. For that colorwork sleeve, you may be thinking that people also need to go up an additional size for colorwork and I took that into account as well. The upper arm doesn’t have colorwork though and so that wasn’t the issue.

For me, I have a fairly petite frame (although add some quarantine to it), but I seem to have larger upper arms. What I came to realize, for me, was that following the same size for the sleeve instructions just didn’t make sense for me. If I measured my arms, it actually had me go to the next size up from where my body measurements had me in the pattern. For the Sipila sweater, I ended up adding a few stitches to the sleeve right at the beginning and then proceeded from there.

That’s not all! In the end, I measured my arms right above my elbow, kind of the meat of the bicep and found that my arm hadn’t narrowed yet. I find that in many patterns, you knit a couple of inches and then start to taper down evenly throughout the sleeve. This would not work for me considering my arm doesn’t taper evenly. Instead, I knit about 6 inches (the length from my under arm until my arm actually tapered) and then started to decrease from there. Since then, I have knit the sleeves of my arms just like this and it works well for me. My arm then does slim down pretty quickly, so I end up doing decreases more often than the pattern mentions and I always end with the recommended number of stitches. I just crunch in the decreases into a smaller section of the sleeve.

The sleeve lays correctly and even have some extra room

I also use the trick of using a stitch marker at every decrease so I can remember where they were. This help for when I knit the second sleeve and can line them up to be the same. You don’t see it in the picture below, but I generally go in rainbow order so I don’t need to count them and then use the same color stitch marker on the second sleeve.

You can see in the picture above how quickly I knit the decreases and how far down the sleeve they are. Now, my sleeves are fitting pretty well and I’m comfortably in my sweaters.

There’s a lot to learn about fitting a sweater and I know there are a lot of great resources out there. To me, it’s just so ironic that after having a sweater fit, it came down to the sleeves not working out. It’s just not something I thought would be so problematic after knitting everything else.

Pavement sweater – Used my same formula of knitting straight for 6 inches, then decreasing quickly.

Are there any adjustments you’ve learned to make over time to fit your sleeves better?

FO Friday – Altheda Sweater

I recently finished my Altheda sweater and I think it’s taken me longer to write this blog post than it did to knit up the sweater.

The usual details first:
Pattern: Altheda / Jennifer Steingass
Yarn: Rauma Finull PT2
Needles: Size 4
Cast on: 6/9/2020
Cast off: 7/30/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

The story of this shawl begins a cold night, a few winter seasons ago. How poetic. There was a black friday I think in 2018 where I bought myself quite a bit of yarn. I then asked my husband to wrap it up for me. The idea was to basically buy most of the yarn I would use in the following year as I was most definitely hooked on knitting at that point. This was before agirlandherwool was born and so all of my free time went to knitting, without having to worry about a side hustle.

I bought this yarn (on sale for sure) from The Woolly Thistle with plans to make the Silver Forest pattern. Colorwork yoke sweaters were at their peak then and I had plans for a few. I wanted to try the Rauma yarn because I heard so many good things and I also know how non-superwash wool is the best for colorwork. This is true, you can totally see the difference in how the stitches look in superwash yarn vs non-superwash yarn. The non-superwash yarn will blend together more for a more complete looking image at the end without seeing the individual stitches.

Sometime in early 2019, I did a gauge swatch for the Silver Forest sweater and couldn’t believe that there was no way for me to get the right gauge for the sweater. I ended up looking at the projects on Ravelry for this pattern and found someone had a similar experience with the pattern and yarn pairing. Further research showed me many people end up knitting DK weight sweaters with this yarn in order to get the correct gauge. I was so disappointed for sure that the sweater went on the back burner. By that point, I was probably getting closer to opening up my shop that the knitting time drastically decreased. Funny how that works. You stock up on yarn, plan all of the projects, then give yourself a side hustle and take away all of your free time. Wouldn’t change it.

So now we are in 2020 and I really want to knit down most of my stash. This sweater quantity was the only one that I had in my stash and so I committed to finding the right pattern for it. I actually have a video on my YouTube channel about searching for the pattern and talking about some of this in more detail if you’re interested. Here’s the link.

I spent a bunch of time looking for patterns that would use all of the colors I bought for the original pattern, which is a main color, plus three contrast colors. If you look at the Altheda pattern, it only calls for one contrast color. However, I saw a great project that used multiple contrast colors and I thought “this is it!” I then grabbed my swatch to see which needles I needed and what do you know, I had absolutely no way to tell which needles I needed. I didn’t do the knot trick using the end to mark it (where you make 1 knot for every size). Even though I knit a very good sized swatch, it was useless and I basically guessed at which needles I needed. Oh well. I tried, right? It would have just lied to me anyway, right? Right!

The original yarn. Still have the two on the right left. (haha right left.)

I ended up casting this on during a cast on party where I prepped a bunch of projects that would be ready to go when I needed it. I mean, imagine it. I need a new project and I would have had to go through ALL OF THE ABOVE before I could have a project. It was so nice to sort all of that out and when I was ready for the project, it was ready for me.

I knit the yoke on and off for a few weeks, but then after I finished the Mountain Springs Lake wrap (post coming soon!), it became my focus. I think I knit the body in a week and the sleeves were done soon after. It really went that quickly. Normally bodies of sweaters without shaping, like this one, become movie theater knitting and so I end up working on them sporadically. Well, there hasn’t been any movie theater goings recently so what do you know? I knit the sweater in a few weeks.

Once I got to this point, I blinked and the sweater was done.

With it going so quickly, there’s not too much to add there. I contemplated whether or not to knit the hem as ribbing or garter as the pattern called for garter. I ended up doing it as written since the neckline was already done and I figured it should match. So that was that drama. Not drama. I did knit less of the garter hem on the sleeves, so there’s my rebellion for ya.

In terms of needles, I used Size 2 for the body. This means I went down the hem to a size 1 and up for the colorwork to a size 3. I also went up to a size 3 for the sleeves as those usually come out pretty small for me. I knit the sleeves in 9in circulars, which probably leads to a tighter gauge.

So, yeah, let’s get back to the gauge. This sweater came out HUGE. I don’t know if it was gauge (I didn’t check it afterwards) or if I should have done another size. It actually is a perfect fit for a comfy, oversized sweatshirt, but not so much for a flattering sweater. I’m totally fine with that. It is so warm that I will wear it as an outer layer for cooler fall days or as an extra layer for cold days.

My husband finds the yarn scratchy, but I don’t. It’s certainly not merino wool, but for me, I like it. If you haven’t tried the yarn, I would try it and let me know what you think! I think it’s more comfortable than Jamieson and Smith and so this will be my go to yarn for colorwork in the future.

Oh! I didn’t mention. I ended up only using the white contrast instead of all four colors. This just means keep an eye out for the others. I love the slate blue and I’m thinking of knitting a sweater just out of that color and so I might be buying more of that

In the end, I love the pattern. I will definitely knit more of Jennifer’s designs and the yarn was great too. I just need to be a better swatcher (so say we all) and go from there.

Check out more and see it in person here: