First, let me just reiterate what I have said before – that I have never been more impressed with a group of knitters in my life. This KAL was definitely quality over quantity. Whether you finished in time for the giveaway drawing or not, give yourself a giant pat on the back for being part of a really inspiring and talented group of knit-wizards. This pattern was major. And the end result is gorgeous.
Here is a recap of the finishing participants’ Heliopath Vests! All the cables! EEEEP!
BUT don’t worry those few wizards who did not win the ‘official’ giveaway prizes – you will be getting a little something special too! Please just email (email@example.com) or private message me via IG @ GHOSTFACEKNITTER your information to receive an ‘unofficial harry potter kal’ present!
Well, now that it’s all over I’d like to recap that I LEARNED SO MUCH during this KAL, not only about myself as a knitter, but in working with other way talented crafters. I’m truly honored to be involved in a crafty community and culture that is so supportive and effing rad. I think this will be the first of many KALs. It pushed me, made me squirm, made me emo, made me feel smart and talented, humbled me, and overall allowed me to connect and work through some amazing knitting kinetics (yeah I don’t know I’m all mushy and doughy that this KAL is finito!).
Finally, I’d like to thank my co-host and KAL mentor this time socalmeaghan at the Unapologetic Kintter. Without her guidance, vigor, and enthusiasm this would not have even happened. So thank you lady! 🙂
ALACAZAM! We have reached the end of the Heliopath Knit-Along road. Can you believe it? I have to say I am way impressed with everyone’s epic knitter-wizard skills. Seriously, talk about some effing talented crafters – I have never been so motivated and inspired by a group of knitters in my life!
So I’ll briefly breakdown my ‘finish’ of the Heliopath and then we can talk about the good stuff – THE PRIZES.
For the armholes, I had to keep trying my vest on – I know we still had to block, but I typically get nervous leaving the entire ‘fit’ up to blocking. I ended up knitting past the recommended 6″3/4 mark to almost 8″ and then did the three needle cast off for each side. Now instead of using DPNs and knitting the ribbing I chose to go totally out of order here and block now. Why did I do this? Well, for starters I was convinced this thing was not going to fit right. I know blocking can be a miracle-worker, but I spend the last two weeks in a wee-bit of a panic about if I had just spent ~$85 and over a month on something that will fit one of my petite friends not me. I even dropped an extra stitch under the arm because I was FREAKING OUT. Seriously, I kept stretching it (even considering the pattern ‘give’ measurements) and just getting more and more and more worried. Especially once I had opened up almost every stitch it was very worrisome and I ended up making the last minute decision to open up and extra stitch under the arm. Anyways, I digress… blocking before ribbing. Why else did I want to do this? Well I honestly wanted to crochet every finish on and i wanted it to not be ‘too tight’ or ‘too loose’ when it was all said and done. Plus, let’s be honest I can never just follow the damn pattern 100%. There I said it. So here it is.
So for the PRIZES! There is so much and we plan on picking the winners over the next few days as we make sure to tally and include everyone who participated. I will be sending messages out to the ones on Ravelry and Instagram who participated to confirm their entry. There is so much to win!
Life has been so busy lately. I’ve been studying for the GMAT, knitting the Heliopath KAL, running/working out, and taking care of my tribe.
First things first, the GMAT. I have to say I’m enjoying working through the workbooks for this exam. I have never studied for a standardized test before so all the strategies and methodologies are fascinating. However, the testing material is intense. Nothing is ‘complicated’, but the way the exam is designed is to make sure you know the basics in-and-out. So I’m re-memorizing my geometry proofs, my algebra rules, basic grammar skills, and reasoning strategies. I have faith I’ll get the score I’ve set as my goal, but these next 9 weeks will be full of practice problems, practice exams, and workbooks.
The Heliopath KAL is coming along – I’m about to start the arm shape-ing. Honestly, I’m pretty tired of the cables so I took a few days break from working on it. Tonight I’ll get one side done and hopefully start on the back-piece/make head way on that. I did however rearrange my entire house/address my clay cat-litter ‘situation’ I ended up switching to World’s Best (again) so fingers crossed my asthma/Boris’ allergies are improved.
The gym has been great. I got an outdoor run in on Sunday since the weather was lovely. I also ‘splurged’ and bought new running shoes, which I desperately needed. These New Balances are great. I honestly feel like my momentum and speed are soaring in them!
The Ugly Tribe. I spend so much time at home, these guys really make me so happy. Although during my first full length practice exam on Saturday, Vladimir would not leave me alone and would not stop fussing with stuff in the kitchen. I don’t think the GMAT people had a pesky sphynx in mind when they designed the exam. I may start going to the library to take those exams since I had to get up three separate times to sternly warn my eldest cat to GET THE EFF OUT OF THE SINK / QUIT KNOCKING OVER CLEAN BUT DRYING DISHES. Anyways here’s some photos of my weekend with them.
Yay the never ending ‘long-distance cable knitting’ is finally over! Was it just me or did inches 6-12 DRAAAAAAG on? I’m sure measuring at the end if every single row only added to the problem, but I was starting to get a bit squeamish wanting to FINISH IT. Well finally it’s time to start shaping the armholes. From what I have seen on our instagram #heliopathKAL, this can be a confusing part of the pattern. I agree there is a lot going on, but if you break it down it’s really simple. I was quite happy to see that Emma Welford was kind enough to calculate remaining stitches for just about every step. I HATE when a pattern makes you try to work it out while knitting only to realize at the end you forgot to descend somewhere and it’s not totally right. I know, I know – operator error, but there is a TON of info and direction in this stage of the pattern so a big THANK YOU for one less thing to worry about. I drew up a little ‘break down’ of the pattern for this part to help myself since I’m an economist – gotta always have a representative chart to accompany numbers!
So at this point we will be dropping the stitching, and binding off to begin shaping the armholes. It gets confusing, but counting the stitches as Emma so kindly described will make separating sides and keeping the work clean easy. At this point working the pattern should be old hat. So continuing with that needs no direction, but counting stitches will ensure you bind off the proper amount. SocalMeaghan at the UnapologeticKnitter also did a great job in filling in the information for dropping the stitches while decreasing and binding off. Please check that out here if you’d like more info on the drop stitches. I’d recommend it because at this point if I didn’t knit this up properly I would def go POSTAL and hold a wicken themed heliopath kal bonfire in the middle of the street. (WHAT? I’ve spent 40+ hours on this – that merits an insane occult meltdown.)
Another important note – you may consider using a larger needle to bind of the stitches for the arm holes and also when the back of the neck is bound off to ensure it’s not too tight. I’m guilty of binding off too tightly so I will be using a 9 to bind off. I’m working up to the ‘Finishing Step’ here.
What are the challenges some of you have seen on this KAL? I’ve personally been struggling with the amount of time the cable pattern took. I do need to learn the cable without a cable needle strategy, but honestly – between this and the GMAT studying my brain cannot hold new info this week! I’m up to my ears in practice problems and prep so this Heliopath KAL has been a good distraction. Plus, I have faith that if I can work through this type of pattern I can read the damn Critical Reasoning part on the GMAT with relative ‘ease’ (just kidding it’s so hard ugh).
Anyways, I’m off to take a practice exam and then go Haribo Gummy binge shopping at 5 Below. Happy Saturday!
Well, I am a few day behind on this post – PLEASE FORGIVE ME! But I was using my time to actually knit the Heliopath Vest versus talking about it here. It’s hard to believe in a few short weeks we will have a new garment to wear! I’m right on track with 10 inches of the cable pattern knitted up – about 5-6 inches to go for me though. I have to admit it is taking much longer than I had imagined it would. I find it takes me anywhere from 2-3 hours to knit the 16 rows of pattern now that I no longer need the pattern reference. Overall, it is exciting to see it get bigger and bigger, but I don’t think I have ever done as many cables as I have on this – like ever. Honestly, I was thinking about it and of all my cables combined – the Heliopath blows them all out of the water. But the pattern is gorgeous and I’m really hoping once this part is finished, the arm shaping will really give it that amazing wow factor! Also I have been soooo impressed with all our KAL crew and their progress/projects. All the colors and beautiful work is so inspiring. I just am so happy so many great knitters have decided to join in!
Lois – my mom (and my nickname for her) came to visit over the weekend. I was so glad to just hang out, run errands, and eat super tasty food with her. Honestly, I forget that I’m here alone, because of social media and phones. But, I LOVED having her here even if it was for a few short days.
We both started watching Chicago P.D. and got addicted.
Don’t worry I don’t have my mom come all this way just to watch TV! We were working on our Heliopath KALs!
Then, I have been on the market for some vintage Pyrex – but I’m still too cheapskate to pay the retail prices for it now. I mean, all the sellers know it’s popular at the moment so for a set of 4 nesting bowls it’s common to see $100 price tag attached. I’m more into the designed square refrigerator ones so it’ll take time to ease in to that hobby. BUT. We went to this great Vintage/Retro Kitchen store in Chicago called Jazze Junque and it was way cool. She had loads of vintage Pyrex, $500 cookie jars, plates, mugs, kitchen sets, glasses – I was in heaven.
We ate amazing Polish food at Staropolska in my neighborhood too. I tried to practice my Polish, but I’m too shy and got way too nervous. But the waitress was really nice, even after I made an ass out of myself trying.
Ya! Week two already in the Heliopath KAL with @socalmeaghan over at the Unapologetic Knitter and things are finally getting set to start the pattern with prep done! I have to say I had a tough first week on this considering it is something I’ve been looking forward to knitting for a long long time. I had a gnarly cold that made knitting just not happen for several nights (gotta love those 12 hour sleep sessions). Then anytime I did pick up my needles to knit the cable/lace swatch I would just flub it. EVERY DAMN TIME. Without doubt, on the third or fourth rows I would get all confused and biff it. I ended up casting on, restarting, and ripping it out more than half a dozen times easy. Finally I realized that I was just not gonna be able to follow the chart as it was written in the pattern. This happens to me sometimes, I have to work it out before the pattern ‘makes sense.’ Once I get it though, it’s easy as pie. So I just did what I had to do and re-wrote the pattern without a ‘key’ and just in straight “K”, “P”, “K2”, “P2”, “YO” – this made it so I could just go through it. I’m sure watching Bones Brigade and then 80’s Skate Videos the entire time while trying to do this did not help for my concentration, but hey! that’s my style. Now I can look at either chart and knit it with ease, but DANG that knitter’s block and the fumbles really had me shook for a minute.
I know this craft is hard. It’s easy to forget the days of struggling with the basics, especially for some of us knitters that are more advanced and are able to often work on advanced patterns. This pattern is not difficult, but sometimes you just have to look at it in a different light. I think any knitter can agree with that. Sometimes you really do have to just take a deep breath, put the needles down, step back, and re-evaluate. Especially if you have invested so much in fiber and the pattern itself. The simple mistakes are what ruin a project. The accidental drops, the inverted rows, reading a WS/RS backwards. We all make mistakes and most often our projects are not entirely 100% mistake-free, but understanding to step back and look at it in a different way is what makes us stronger as knitters and crafters. I’m happy I struggled so hard with this swatch, because now the basic pattern is pretty worked in my head. The frustration finally lead to the break through of understanding the idea and the set-up. Don’t ask me why I made it so hard for myself, maybe it was the cold, maybe it was because I’m on a time-line with it, or maybe it was my major lifelong crush on Tony Hawk, but by golly I figured it out.
Moving forward this week we will just cast on for the ribbing and knit that. Not too bad and the perfect little mental rest before the cable/lace pattern picks up. Overall, this pattern is great so far. I love that it’s one large piece and knitting all those swatches really put the process and understanding of the drop stitch during the BO/decrease into perspective for me.
Where there struggles for anyone KAL? How did the gauging/swatching go?