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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Well friends… We did it. We knitted the Heliopath garment sans ‘sleeves’ and button collar. I seriously feel like I just finished my thesis all over again, expect this time I have something really lovely to show off and very unabashedly say I MADE THIS! ME! I DID IT! I find it sounds like bragging when I say ‘I have my masters’ *say it in that snooty New England rich voice, but this vest I might carry a sign that says ‘YUP HANDMADE BY ME – THE GHOSTFACEKNITTER’. Also I’m sorry my photos are so small – I am in Denver for the weekend and having major tech issues with wordpress. (FML)
Anyways, we really are not done yet. In fact, aside from making sure you did a splendid job on you vest base garment, the finishing parts are the most important. Let’s talk about the big finish by breaking it down. Oh look a handy list!
2. Tying up loose ends.. (har har)
4. Putting it all together
5. Final Review – Press
6. Wear that SHIT!
Briefly, first we will want to re-read out pattern 50 million final times to ensure that we have indeed finished the pattern and can in fact cast off the garment. Second, we will tie up lose ends – meaning we will tidy up our work, any wonky stitches that need repair/ensure all drop stitches have fallen all the way to the cast-on/ etc. Third, blocking! There are so many ways, but if you chose a wool yarn you better be wet blocking! Fourth, add the sleeves/button collar and the buttons you chose. Fifth, look over the garment as a whole, if it needs light pressing go for it. Finally PUT THAT HELIOPATH SWEATER ON AND RAGE THE EFF OUT.
So instead of going into giant elaborate long boring detail here – I have found what I think are very clear and wonderful sites/explanations from other esteemed knitter wizards.
Obviously you can hit up the Ravelry Discussion Page for any last minute questions or clarifications – socalmeaghan has done a great job gathering all the info on the trickery parts of the Heliopath so please review any of those if you feel lost/confused.
Tying up Loose Ends – for stitch mending/manipulation I really recommend this page from the Twist Collective – if you missed some increases/decreases, have the wrong stitch count, effed the cables. Obviously if you made some mistakes at the beginning you’re S.O.L. now, but just remember the pattern is so so so busy that minor/even some major flubs probably won’t be noticeable unless you point them out. (PS I hate when people point out flaws of their work – especially if I compliment it and then they retort ‘oh but I messed up here’ it’s like ‘YUP YOU SURE DID IT SUCKS I RESCIND MY COMPLIMENT NOW – BARF’)
Blocking. There are many ways and words of wisdom. I would say start here. Vogue Knitting offers a great basis for ‘101’. Then graduate to the goddess status over on Purlbee. Blocking is the way to get the garment to look the way you want. In my case I have some extensive blocking to do, since well I’ll be honest…. I didn’t measure myself before I started knitting. There I said it. I’ll be making that eweewe Wooly Worsted work for all its pretty little pennies this next week on the blocking mats.
Putting it all together. Seaming flawlessly. We don’t have ‘too much’ to add this vest, but ensuring you piece together the garment properly will ensure durability and of course make it look it’s best. It’s easy to get lazy at this stage – and I would recommend blocking those ‘after-market’ pieces before adding on to the vest itself. If you choose to add them to the vest before either is blocked… that’s good, but I wonder the issues with blocking a seam….
The Final Review. Inspect everything, make sure buttons are secure and lay nicely when on/stretched, see if any other places need additional blocking or seaming. Then you can press the garment if you so choose. I think pressing would be rather, well pointless, here since the pattern allows for such texture and ‘bumps’ etc. The only reason I could see pressing occurring for this is if you have an odd seam fitting together – which you should fix not press out.
WEAR THAT SHIT. Basically I’m going to live in this vest. Like the only thing I will wear. SAY SOMETHING.
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!
Fellow Heliopath knitters! Let’s all take a deep breath in….. and out…..
Well the simple ribbing is done and now it’s time for the big guns. THE CABLED PATTERN.
It’s funny because within the pattern there is very cute comment about how if she were knitting this, Luna would have made mistakes, thus the adorable drop stitches. I seriously know from being a Potter fan and Luna supporter that home girl would not have gotten past the first swatching for this bad-boy – Nargles and this pattern would be ridiculous. I digress. I’m really excited to actually begin the work on the cabled pattern now that I got over my emo-swatching issues. The most important part of this is the set up. I chose to knit the second size vest and therefore have 151 stitches on my needles. Based on the pattern and ‘borders’ on the button front of the vest, I will knit three (3) ‘side by side’ pattern pieces and due to my extra long torso of steel I will knit either 5 or 6 of the 16 row pattern. My gauge was spot-on for the swatching, but depending on how this piece looks and where it rests on my hips I will make that call when I get there.
For the next two weeks we will be knee deep in this pattern – then comes the exciting dropping stitches and decreasing parts!
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?
Hello KAL knitter buds! Well, yesterday the Heliopath Vest knit along began! I’m so excited, this is the first KAL I’ve helped with and I have to say I owe a GIANT GIANT HUGE BIG thank you to socalmeaghan at The Unapologetic Knitter. Not only is she a total knitting wizard; with major skills, but she organized the huge amount of give aways that this KAL has! There are 3 YARN prizes to enter to win from Black Market Wool, Eweewe Yarns, Justrunknit, and a beautiful cowl pattern from Eweewe yarns ALSO.
So, I have casted on and begun my ribbing on my vest! I had a weird busy week prepping for this and I can’t wait to start working on the patterned piece!! I will have some more information as the week and my knitting progresses and PLEASE pop over to SocalMeaghan’s website The Unapologetic Knitter to check out her awesome knitting.
The shop itself was super nice, cozy, and bright. All the good measures of a fantastic knit shop. The selection and breadth of fiber was also top-notch. I discovered several new brands that were just lovely and their knitted patterns from Ravelry were very original and cool. I get tired of seeing the same scarves and ‘trendy’ stitches. Plus the lovely lady who was working was the perfect amount of friendly. She checked in on me and then let me do my thing, but was available and ready for questions. Unlike a few Chicago knit shops that you have to try to steal yarn in to get a second glance. *Chicago yarn store rant*
Well the time has come my friends! A while back I shared with you this adorable Heliopath Vest from the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits book and me and a superb fellow knit-wizard SocalMeaghan over at The Unapologetic Knitter are hosting a KAL!
Here are the BRIEF details.
1. The start date is March 1st.
2. We will have 6 stopping/check points along the way over 6 weeks. (Scroll down for exact details)
3. There is a Ravelry page as well as our webpages to share information, tips/tricks, or ask questions.
4. There WILL BE A PRIZE!
Okay now let’s expand on those brief details. The calendar for the KAL is six weeks. That means that by Easter you will have a gorgeous new vest!
March 1 (Sat): Knit swatch and measure gauge.
March 7: Cast on and work 2″ of rib (per pattern)
March 14: Begin working Cable and Lace Chart for 7″
March 21: Continue working Cable and Lace Chart for 7″ more (to the split for the armholes
March 28: Shape Armholes and neck.
April 5: Finishing and armbands and buttonhole row
Here is pattern information. I bought the digital one and I suggest you do that too – message me here in the comments or email me if you are having any questions or issues about the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits 2013 pattern book.
In terms of what yarn to use, you can follow the pattern suggestions of course. Meg and myself will be using the lovely Ewe Ewe yarns! If you haven’t heard the buzz about Ewe Ewe then please do yourself a favor and head to her website or IG (eweeweyarns) to be marveled and awed.
Finally, and the part you wanna know…. THE PRIZE! Well we decided to award one lucky knit-alonger with a skein of Black Market Wool!
Anyways! If you have questions about the KAL or want to join please feel free! I have the info on the side bar to the right and you can play along with us on Ravelry and Instagram!