Modification Monday: Legwarmers

Original Pattern: Garden Dream Mittens

Knitter Extraordinaire: Victoria (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the chart from the mitten design, Victoria made super warm stranded legwarmers. More images can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: How amazing are these legwarmers?! Victoria has done an amazing job, alternating the mittens charts (the flowers and butterflies are oriented differently on the right from the left)  and the cuff design. She also added side panels of a tidy row of hearts, forming a great stripe on both the inner and outer leg, which visually elongates the design and provides separation from the the charts on the front and back, which helps keep the design from looking too cluttered. I particularly like show she used a variegated and a solid yarn- the combination makes the design look even more complex, as though there is colourwork involved! For deep winter, I bet these are wonderfully warm, too.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This woman’s hobby is to throw fancy parties for squirrels and photograph them. And I’m totally jealous.

On getting comfortable with not knowing.

This was very interesting- I was trying to figure out the origin of the term ‘ squad goals’, and fell down an internet rabbit hole. I ended up at How ‘flawless’ became a feminist declaration and found it a fascinating take on how it is up to us to define our own standard of beauty in the age of selfies.

11 tips for getting ready faster in the morning.

My Favourite Pins This Week

You guys know rice dishes are my favourite dishes, right? I so love rice. This is a one pan Mexican style chicken and rice dish, so you know I love it. And if you are getting sick of chicken, I like to use shrimp sometimes – you can usually find some reasonably priced shrimp in the frozen food section, and be sure to look for sustainable sourcing logos.  Perfect for weekday meals, too! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

I know these are heart shaped cookies and valentines day is long gone, but you could use any shape cookie cutter for these, they are so delicious. The vanilla bean and cardamom addition to the batter makes these sugar cookies so much more delicious than your typical sweet-but-bland sugar cookie. You can decorate them any way you like, but the recipe includes some tips for dipping them in melted chocolate. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe is here.

How sweet are these little mice? I love this idea for scrapbusting fabrics or felt, as they are so wee they won’t take much. These little mice are perfect for children, or office buddies to sit on your desk or in your home, all elf-on-a-shelf style. Pinterest link is here, and the tutorial is here.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but this post from Tien about knitting for Syrian refugees and directing me to a Ravelry group that helps direct people on what to knit and where to send it so that it can get to those who need it. Also- how adorable is that little sock buddy?! A pattern that instantly went into my queue. Pinterest link is here, and her blog post with all the links can be found here.

I enjoyed this cheeky take on why knitting is better than a relationship, and I think felt exactly like this when I was dating in my twenties! Perhaps some of you can relate? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

The trouble with long weekends is that the shorter week feels a bit too short – for me, anyway. Suddenly I’m trying to cram 5 days worth of work into 4 days! I’m feeling very behind, especially on responding to emails! This weekend will be a catch up for me, I think. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Modification Monday: Morvarch

A long weekend means even though it’s technically Tuesday, it feels like a Monday! 😉

Original Patterns: Morvarch and Korrigan

Knitter Extraordinaire: Johanna (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Changed the gauge to a heavier weight,  changed the rectangular shawl to a square baby blanket, added cables at the corners from the Korrigan pattern. Project page can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: Johanna decided that the beautiful cabled shawl pattern would make an amazing square shaped baby blanket, but would need to make adjustments for the corners. Using the cables from the yoke of Korrigan, and using the central motif of Morvarch, Johanna was able to create this stunning cabled blanket full of Celtic style. Such a beautiful knit, and the texture is incredible!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Did you know that the Danish have a tv show called The Great Knit Off?! Amazing!!! Don’t worry, there are English subtitles.

As if it were possible to love Tom Hiddleston more. He’s so earnest! 

This video was absolutely fascinating – it’s a camera and microphone set up at a ten meter high diving platform, and it records the people who climb it to dive off or let their fear get the best of them and climb back down. It was so compelling! I couldn’t always guess who would and wouldn’t make the jump.

How to reduce your anxiety about the news. Some excellent tips here.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Creamy tortellini with sweet potatoes and spinach- because winter demands comfort food! And with all those veggies, it’s actually good for you. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

This cake makes me want to eat the screen. A London Fog is a latte made with earl grey tea, and this is the cake version! It’s like all my favourite things combined into cake form. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post can be found here.

Is it my birthday yet? Because I want this for my birthday. Prosecco poured over pink ice cream. It’s just an Instagram, but really, what more recipe do you need? Ice cream in wine glass. pour prosecco. Try not to inhale in one gulp. Pinterest link is here, and the original photo source is here.

I love embroidery on clothes, and this french knot gradient on the tank top looks so lovely. Talk about a beautiful way to upcycle a plain tank or tee! I think if you started now, you would definitely be ready for summer. Pinterest link is here, original source is here.

I am in love with this artist’s Instagram account. this nighttime bunny is one of my faves. Every time she sells anything in her shop it goes like hot cakes, but I’m hoping she restocks her shop soon and I can claim this bunny print for my very own! Pinterest link is here, original source is here.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! I hope you are keeping cozy. We have a long weekend here, so are looking forward to spending some extra family time together! And if you live somewhere with lots of snow, send it my way, could you?

Finished Knit: Harebell Cardigan

Every now and then, you knit something that totally kicks your butt and teaches you all sorts of things that you thought you had already learned. This Harebell cardigan has been my school of hard knocks. And I love it more than you can imagine.

Pattern: Harebell by Amy Christoffers

Yarn: Berocco Tuscan Tweed in ‘Laurel’

Mods: I half-assed a neckline mod, and it came back to bite me in the behind.

Ravelry project page is here.

What I Love: Focusing on the Positive

The yarn. I love the yarn so much. I knit this hat for James in it, and now that I have been wearing my new cardigan regularly for weeks I can tell you that it is warm and cozy and goes with everything and brings me so much joy to wear. It doesn’t pill quickly (hasn’t pilled yet!) and I love the colour. It’s a deep, cool green that works for me. The texture and drape of the knitted fabric is exactly what I wanted. A word to caution to those that run hot or live in warmer climates- it results in a very warm sweater. Which works great for me, because I live in Canada and it is clearly snowing.

So let’s get to the mistakes, shall we? Because I made a bunch of dumb mistakes. Truly embarrassing that someone with as much knitting experience as I have even did all this. Let’s get this shame parade going!

Mistake: I thought I could just wing it.

This pattern attracted me because it was simple, no frills, and looks like the kind of cardigan I needed in my wardrobe. I wanted a wear-with-anything cardigan that was comfy and cozy, and all about the lovely tweed yarn. But crew necks look terrible on me. A combination of being medium-chested and sort-of-short means that crew necks are not my friend. “No problem,” I said to myself. “I’ll just widen it, make it a boat neck, and it’ll be great.” And then I set about making no plan for this whatsoever. I just cast on stitches for a larger size to get a bigger neckline.

The result of my half-assed approach? Fabric puckering on the fronts.  But do you think I noticed it early on? hahahaha, not at all. Because….

Mistake #2: I knit a top down sweater and NEVER tried it on.

Dumb, right? I totally know better. I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous it is to knit something top down for yourself and never actually try it on to see how things are going.  But that’s exactly what happened. Can I claim baby brain? Sleep deprivation? Temporary insanity?

Mistake #3: I rushed the button band.

I’ve knit many things, but I don’t knit button bands very often. In my rush to finally finish this sweater, I did not carefully plan out my button holes to ensure they were properly spaced. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if I never sewed buttons on it, because that’s when you could really tell that they were not evenly spaced – and as we work our way up towards the neckline, the buttons get further and further apart.  To top it all off? I never wear cardigans buttoned up. I have no idea why I even made buttonholes or bought buttons. Where was my brain during all this knitting?!

What I (re)Learned

Lesson re-learned: When modifying a knit – especially the neckline –  think about how your modification is going to impact the rest of the knit and what you are going to do to fix it. I should have realized that with a wider neckline, the fronts of the sweater wouldn’t sit flat unless I drastically reduced the increase ratio when making increases for the fronts, back, and sleeves. I needed to re-calculate the rate of increases in order to compensate for the wider neckline.

Lesson re-learned: Try. It. On. Make sure that the shoulders, front(s) and back are sitting as they should. Probably should do this before you get to the waist, but definitely make sure you do this again when you get to the waist. And again at the hips. and again when you are thinking of starting the hem.

Lesson re-learned: Get out the removable stitch markers and plan exactly where you are going to be putting those yarn overs for your button holes before you start knitting, and make sure they are evenly spaced throughout the length of the button band. Measure! Triple check this. Don’t wing it on the fly while watching a movie.

You may notice that the fabric in the front doesn’t look like it’s puckering much. That’s because I ‘fixed’ it. I folded over the front raglan seams and sewed it down. I’m amazed that it worked, but it did- you can barely notice it. It doesn’t even add any visual bulk, despite there being a fold of knitted fabric behind that raglan seam.

Something that I did well – I decided to try a sewn bind off, which I have only done once or twice before. Since it’s not usual for me, I actually paid attention. I liked it quite a bit, but wish I had done it on the hem of the sweater, and not just the cuffs and the button band. The funny thing is, I’d be tempted to rip out the button band and try again but that sewn bind off took me so long, I’m loathe to unpick it. That’s the thing with a sewn bind off- it looks wonderful, but if you make a mistake, it is painstaking to undo it.

I think the moral of my knitting story is this- A lot can be forgiven if you love the yarn you are working with. A simple stockinette cardigan really shows off the yarn you used, so if it’s a great yarn that wears beautifully, the odd knitting error here or there won’t be such a big deal. Perfectionists out there are cringing right now, I can feel it through the screen.

I love the length and the fit, which is a miracle considering I never tried it on. While this wasn’t a crowning achievement in the realm of knitting prowess, I knit a cardigan that I love and actually wear regularly.  And really, that’s what I wanted- a comfy sweater I love to wear.