Heliopath KAL & a case of the FUMBLES

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.

the swatch finally done. with one drop stitch panel. and one handwritten pattern translation. oy!
sometimes my helpers make knitting hard.

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.

gonna look sick.

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?

Onward to week 2 of the Heliopath Adventure!!

XXX
GFK

The Crochet Virus

Last month I contracted the crochet virus. Sigh. It has been getting in the way of my knitting and aside from the Harry Potter Heliopath KAL I’m co-hosting, I haven’t touched my knitting needles in three weeks! (GASP) Anyways, here are a few pictures of the crochet things I’ve been working on. Overall, I think crochet is just so easy. I don’t wanna discredit it as a craft because I’m not into craft shame-ing, but it’s just mindless for me. Single, Double, Triple crochet is like the best/easiest way to make something so pretty and as long as you’re in the groove it’s way hard to mess up like knitting. PLUS my knitting projects have become quite complex in terms of patterning, so crochet in the round has been the jimmy jam for me lately too.

boris wearing a cowl as a robe dressed as mrs horowitz.
ghost face cowboy bandana single crochet cowl.
double crochet cowl in the round with phydeaux design yarn from the FEB 2014 yarbox
ghostfacecrocheter? nah.
first cowl. single crochet in the round.
the craft cult.

Heliopath KAL Week Uno

HERE WE GOOOOO.

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.

WIN THIS EWEEWE YARN!
WIN THIS FROM BLACK MARKET WOOL!
WIN THIS FROM JUSTRUNKNIT

Okay to start, Meaghan really had a wonderful point on her blog about the swatching of this KAL vest. Obviously, using more expensive yarn requires the prep time to ensure your garment comes out as beautifully as it can THE FIRST TIME. I wish I could summarize and do her justice for her hard work, but you should really just pop over to her lovely page and read the post yourself. It is worth it and I think the best place to start for this KAL. Again HERE.

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.

LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUUUMBLE.

The String Theory Yarn Company

In preparation for my Harry Potter KAL with socalmeaghan, I traveled down to The String Theory Yarn Company in a village outside of Chicago. I love that the little towns/suburbs call themselves ‘villages’ by the way. I was super impressed with the little main street and will go back in warmer weather to wander around.

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*

cute little website.
cute little website.
ewe ewe - my KAL yarn.
ewe ewe – my KAL yarn.
coolest yarn i've seen in a while.
coolest yarn i’ve seen in a while.
love love love this. the colors the pattern. the buttons. <3
love love love this. the colors the pattern. the buttons. ❤
adorable kids sweater.
nice mixed selection of yarn / fiber types.
nice mixed selection of yarn / fiber types.
front entrance with select straight needles.
front entrance with select straight needles.
super cute wood felting needles.
super cute wood felting needles.
the shop.
the shop.
i love the layout of the yarns/store.
i love the layout of the yarns/store.

Heliopath Vest Knit Along!

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!

Heliopath_Vest_Welford_250.jpg-500x375

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!

luna1

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.

ewe ewe

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!

blackmarket

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!

Ravelry Page

Instagram you progress at #heliopathkal

We are so excited to start this super fun and adorable KAL! Join in on the fun!

xxx
GFK

Fair Isle Goat Pillow DONE

Well, it’s done. It only took total 10-11 hours which is not that bad considering it was my first real Fair Isle project. I’m really pleased that I did NOT try this as the glove. I think it would have turned into a AMF knitting project (angry mofo), if I had tried DPNs with my first time Fair Isle. Anyways, there’s a few mistakes – it happens. I really dig this as a pillow and will be doing more pillow/tapestry designs in the future. I will however go a step further and knit in the round next time. All my mistakes were on the purl side (WS) so being able to see the knit side the entire time would aid in banishing those little flubs.

Finished pillow front being 'blocked' it's acrylic so it's not like that did anything.
Finished pillow front being ‘blocked’ it’s acrylic so it’s not like that did anything.
added some 'french knots' to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
added some ‘french knots’ to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
i really like the split in the goat.
i really like the split in the goat.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
new sweater blaster - embroidered 'B" for the baby boris.
new sweater blaster – embroidered ‘B” for the baby boris.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.

Adventures in Fair Isle

Before the holidays, we had a secret santa at my work. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Mastering Colored Knitting book for my gift. I still in fact have no idea who gave this book to me! They won’t fess up, but when I finish my more intricate pattern I’ll send an email thanking/inquiring again. Anyways, I’ve been just practicing a few little projects and I love it. Just like most knitting techniques, I’m mad I didn’t learn this sooner. SO FUN.

Just a simple one peeries for practice.
Just a simple one peeries for practice.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
First heart project on modified sweater (no cable obviously) for Boris.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Gloves have inspired a pillow 'flat/larger' project.
Gloves have inspired a pillow ‘flat/larger’ project.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Slowed down by headache/cat kisses.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go - adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too.
Almost done. Still have 15 rows to go – adding inverted cross to top right design panel. Red to left crisscross pattern as french knots too. I’m hoping some of the gathering goes away with blocking/pressing. Damn you tension.
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
Valentines Cards? Can I Fair Isle this?
This is for a child. I'm thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves - especially for my ape like arms)
This is for a child. I’m thinking it would look awesome as vest. (no one wants to knit sleeves – especially for my ape like arms)

Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible

After my ‘finishing faux paw’ (harhar) on Boris’s new sweater of sewing the arm holes closed I realized I’ve knitted too many pet sweaters to be making such a silly mistake! So I’ve been inspired to share a few of the patterns I’ve made here.

a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.
a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.

Obviously I knit a lot. I knit for people and of course animals. I have talked a little bit about the knitted items I’ve made for the animals before, but without a doubt all the patterns are from Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible. I can’t even tell you how many sweaters I’ve made for mine and others’ pets, but here are a few of the patterns and a lot of sweaters I have made from this book. (PS If you click the book link it takes you to the Ravelry page with other knitters’ works too!)

Despite his grumpy demeanor he's warm.
Despite his grumpy demeanor he’s warm.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
All dressed up and no where to go - also ever since I took this photo I've wanted to make an all grey 'knight' suit for Lee.
All dressed up and no where to go – also ever since I took this photo I’ve wanted to make an all grey ‘knight’ suit for Lee.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold's.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold’s.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around and you know grab a cup of coffee.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Vladimir's favorite summer spot.
Vladimir’s favorite summer spot.
"The Anti-Firework" Balaclava..... aka "The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat"
“The Anti-Firework” Balaclava….. aka “The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat”
Again "Laugh Hysterically"
Again “Laugh Hysterically”
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.

They have a LOT of wonderful color pattern knits in this book too. I think I’m gonna turn the page from the sweater section and start making a few other fun animal items. Coveting it now? Buy it here.

SERENITY NOW!!!

Gee Whiz, it has been quite the week here in ‘Chiberia’ and it’s only Tuesday. First let’s just get it out of the way – it’s so cold I can’t even believe it. Second, Chicago has really sucked it up on being ‘prepared.’ The CTA (our transit system HA) ran yesterday with MAJOR DELAYS – that meant that instead of waiting an average of 5 minutes for a train or bus (even less most days) the wait for the bus was 15 minutes each way to work (exposed mind you) and 15 minutes for the train. The only saving grace yesterday was that a lot of people stayed home. This morning we were not so lucky because the buses are back to business as usual but the train still for some reason is running incredibly infrequent and late.

let's not even talk about this cold.
let’s not even talk about this cold.

Regardless, the crap weather didn’t stop me from taking an amazing class at The Needle Shop on Saturday to learn the famous Amy Butler Gumdrop pillow. I had a blast. I met some great women and learned some awesome new patterning and hand sewing skills.

Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.

I also started a new sweater for my sick kitten Boris.

Boris' new sweater.
Boris’ new sweater.

My neighbors and I exchange little ‘trinkets’ from time to time and this was what I made for their pup Lola.

Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.
Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.

I made some ‘winter shorts’ notice I’m wearing long underwear under them haha.

new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.
new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.

Sewing is interesting with two nosy sphynx cats.

my two 'assistants'
my two ‘assistants’
the inspector.
the inspector.

Finally – a chuckle at how ridiculous Leopold looks in his winter outfit.

a man with a mission.
a man with a mission.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great day of new beginnings. I woke up with some congestion that has been upsetting my asthma and driving me insane. I’m going to grab some Mucinex for later, but any respiratory ailment scares me, because it can get so out of control so fast for someone with asthma. Bleh – woe is me!

Other than that, I embroidered (which is fast becoming addictive) and knitted on a little surprise gift for someone. I’m determined to get the pattern out of my Harry Potter book and start on the ‘Luna’ vest I love from there too this week. Anyways here is a few photos from my lazy 2013/2014 switchover.

Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
First Project of 2014 Complete - Cowboy Pup.
First Project of 2014 Complete – Cowboy Pup.
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Cowboy Pup the Robber.
Cowboy Pup the Robber.