Pattern Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015

Pom Pom Quarterly is one of the newer print (and digital) knitting magazines, based out of London, UK. Their aesthetic is all about modern, cool new knitting patterns.  The awesome team at Pom Pom Quarterly sent me a copy of their new Summer issue for review, so let’s get into it! Here are the details:

Patter Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015 | knittedbliss.com

 This issue has 8 patterns, 7 knitting and one crochet; and includes articles on how to plan for summer knitting while on vacation, the golden ratio and why it’s important for knitting. There is also a recipe for a delightfully summery sangria, and an interview and recipe/tutorial from Anna & Juan (a Swiss Dyeing Collective) on how to dye yarn naturally with onion skins- full of great photos! The digital version is available for £8 (British Pounds), which is approximately $14 US. One o f my favourite things about the issue is that the photo story feels like an exotic vacation.  No boring department store catalogue photos here!

Most of the tops in this issue are cropped, ending around most people’s natural waist. This is definitely a modern, on-trend silhouette; but if you are not feeling the vibe, I’d suggest getting an extra skein or two and knitting a little bit more through the body to add the length you are looking for.  Or maybe you like this silhouette, but are unsure of how to wear it? Cropped sweaters look amazing over untucked  button up shirts (short sleeve take on it here), and fantastic worn over dresses (like this great Ravelry FO, here).

So, want to see my favourites from this issue? Then let’s go!

Pattern Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015 | knittedbliss.com

Talavera 

A lace tee with a slight cowl neck, knit from the bottom up in one piece until underarms are split, then worked flat for front and back. Lace is an 8 row/round repeat with resting rows on ever even round, lace is written and charted.  Hardly any seaming, shoulders are closed with a 3 needle bind off.

You should totally knit this top if: you love lace, knitting in the round, and easy layering knits that look great over a tank top. I also think that given that most sizes require only 2 skeins of fingering weight, this would make great vacation knitting.

You should definitely not knit this top if:  you only like top down knits, you aren’t that into lace or haven’t knit lace before, you never wear sleeveless shirts.

Pattern Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015 | knittedbliss.com

Manzanilla

A light summer cowl that is more like a beautiful piece of knitted jewelry. perfect for making an instant outfit out of whatever you are wearing. Takes a bit less than 500 yards of fingering weight yarn, and great for yarns with drape, like the Shibui linen this one is knitted from. It’s knitted entirely in the round, lace is fully chartered and written out (a 63 round repeat with resting rows every even row- it’s such a long repeat because the stitch count changes as you work the lace and requires you to move the marker that denotes beginning of round or repeat).

You should totally knit this cowl if: you love knitting cowls, lace that will up your skills, and pretty, feminine accessories. Again, this would be great vacation knitting if you know you’ll be travelling for a while- this would be a great project for sitting in the car for a long drive to the cottage.

You should totally not knit this cowl if: You are new to lace, and shifting stitch counts that require you to move your markers between rounds drives you crazy.

Pattern Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015 | knittedbliss.com

Alcomar

This top-down knitted tee is stockinette on the front, and lace on the back. The construction features the contiguous method, which involves short rows. It is mostly knit in the round, except for a brief portion where the front and back are separated after the sleeve cap has been completed, and then rejoined to work the rest of the tee in the round after the underarms.  The lace is fully charted, but if you prefer written instructions for the lace, the issue comes with a download code that yu can enter on the website and get a pdf of the written lace instructions.

You should totally knit this tee if: you love the contiguous method or are excited to try it, you love knitting top down and in the round.

You should totally not knit this tee if:  you think short rows are the worst thing ever, or would never wear a lace back tee.

Pattern Review: Pom Pom Quarterly Summer 2015 | knittedbliss.com

Michelada

A cropped, richly textured sweater that is perfect for layering. If you prefer longer sweaters, you could add two more skeins to your yarn total and add an extra 4 inches to the body (approximately, we all have different torso lengths) to get a longer version.

You should totally knit this tee if: you adore texture, have two row-counters that you would love to use more often (or have been looking for an excuse to get some new row counters!), and don’t like aggressive blocking- this tee requires hardly any blocking at all!

You should totally not knit this tee if: the idea of knitting a front and back piece separately is really unappealing, or you have difficulty keeping track of two sets of simultaneous shaping (you know, the ‘at the same time…’ instructions).

Modification Monday: Exeter Modified

This modification Monday shows how great substituting the focal stitch design can really be!

Modification Monday: Exeter Cardigan | knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Exeter

Knitter Extraordinaire: Sari (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Changed the cable lace to feature a more chevron design, mixed and matched sizes for the body and the sleeves, and knit the body in one piece instead of separate pieces.  Project page can be found here (but the blog has all the details).

What Makes This Awesome: Sari had an advantage of having knit this cardigan before, and so she was well versed with it’s construction and in a great position to make modifications. I love how different the chevron lace design is, it looks fantastic. And the overall fit is wonderful- Sari is expecting a little bundle of joy, so keeping the sleeves a bit smaller and having a bit more room in the body helps ensure she can wear this beautiful knit well through her pregnancy and beyond. She has great details on her blog post, including a complete chart for the chevron lace she used! Don’t you love it when knitters share awesome things like that? It’s an utterly beautiful sweater!

Modification Monday: Exeter Cardigan | knittedbliss.com

Friday Pin Ups and Link Love

Hi, everyone! Trying out something a little bit different with Pin Up Fridays- adding some links for interesting reads that I’ve come across that moved me, made me ponder, or wowed me in some way. Let me know what you think!

Trying is always worth it. If you only click only one thing in this post, choose this one.

If we’re friends on twitter, then you might thave seen this awesome article about how  they’ve trained African pouch rats to find landmines all over Mozambique and Tanzania, and alert their handlers. It’s all humane, no rats are hurt. And their retirement sounds pretty sweet!

I received an honourable mention in a poetry competition recently. If you are interested,  you can read the poem here.

And now for our regularly scheduled Pins!

Pin Ups: Garlic and Cheese Bread | knittedbliss.com

This easy-peasy garlic and cheese pull-apart bread is going to be your new go-to recipe for when you want to serve bread along with dinner. The best part? You don’t have to bake the bread from scratch- you can buy the loaf, and then customize with the butter, herbs, and cheese and pop it into the oven. Everyone will think you are a culinary genius! Pinterest link is here, the original  post is here.

Pin Ups: Chocolate Peanut bUtter Pudding Pie | knittedbliss.com

 This chocolate peanut butter pudding pie is a perfect summer dessert- a fabulous cool and pudding-y middle and a graham crust. This is the kind of dessert that people remember forever- so you could be that famous person in your family or friend group who makes the amazing chocolate peanut butter pudding pie! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: DIY Geometric Pencil Holder | knittedbliss.com

I love this DIY geometric clay pencil holder! I would love to make one to use on my desk, with pens. Simple, but striking- and shouldn’t all office supplies (or art supplies) be that way? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups: How to Make New Outfits with the Clothes You Have | knittedbliss.com

I love these five tips on how to create new outfits from the clothes you already have- who doesn’t want a wardrobe makeover, but without spending the cash? This is a great solution, and will have you looking at your clothes in a whole new light. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

Pin Ups: Side Braid Tutorial | knittedbliss.com

I love this double side braid tutorial, and even if you have shoulder length hair, it will still work- just tuck the end of the braid underneath. And aren’t braids perfect for summer? Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Our plans involve trying to declutter our place a bit, and figure out how to get Lila’s room better organized, now that she’s moved into her big bed. Anyone else have decluttering on the agenda this weekend?

Life Lately- and a Knit in Progress

Let’s start with the knitting, shall we? I’m working on the Firefly July sweater, and I’m loving it- the overall texture of the mesh stitch is very ‘me’, and I love that the stitch repeat  (multiple of 4 stitches and four rounds, and every second round is a ‘resting’ round) is very easy to memorize, and I’m excited to block it out and really open up the stitch detail. It’s knitted bottom-up, and I asked the designer (Andrea Sanchez) about it, because it’s always interesting to hear more about why a designer chooses a certain construction, but she chalked it up to her personal preference for knitting bottom up sweaters – she likes how by the time you join the arms to the body, you’re almost done!  I am halfway through the yoke now (although the photos below were snapped just before the joining) and she’s right, it’s the home stretch! The sweater and the sleeves are both knit in the round, so the finishing will be very minimal.  I’m excited to finish it soon!

Knit in Progress: Firefly July Sweater | knittedbliss.com

firefly wip 4

I’m especially excited to be using up yarn that has been in my stash for I think about five years- this is Knitpicks Palette in Iris Heather, and I’m totally crazy for the muted heathering that is happening in this yarn. And I have the exact yardage I need! I’ve just started my last skein and I’m halfway through the yoke, so I’m confident this will use up the stash like I had hoped. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when I have half a skein leftover from something, and then continues to sit in my stash for years.

And as for life lately, Guy took a trip south to Detroit to visit some friends and rollerblade all the time (Guy feels about rollerblading the way I feel about knitting, so a mutual support of each other’s madcap obsessions is a cornerstone of our marriage), which meant I was solo parenting this weekend. Here are some scenes from our life lately!

Forgive me for this first-time mom newbie moment, but I had no idea that if your three-year-old takes a dance class that they have a recital. I mean, talk about a crap shoot- maybe she will do the routine and maybe she won’t, but I guess it’s just the combined forces of cuteness of a bunch of three-year-olds in tutus stunned by the bright lights of a stage. You never know what will happen! This is a photo from when we went for the group photos, we still have the dress rehearsal ahead of us and then the actual recital.

knittedbliss.com Here she is in her costume before they did the recital photos.  

Lila has dance class and soccer on the weekends. Fortunately, we live within a 30 min walk of all those activities, so even though Guy had the car this weekend (and we are city people, so we only have the one car), we got around just fine.

knittedbliss.com A little post-soccer ice cream! She wanted ‘a big cone!’ It’s a regular sized, and I ate about half of it. Good thing we both like Strawberry!

Lil and I had a good weekend, and Guy got to spend some time doing what he loves- everybody wins!

Last night we moved Lila from her crib to her ‘big girl bed’, and she was thrilled. It was a lot of work reconfiguring her entire room  and we’re not entirely finished, but I’ll get some photos soon.

This photo was from the last days of playing as a family beside her crib:

knittedbliss.com

She likes to play a game where we all pretend to go to sleep for 2 seconds and then she wakes us up. And why yes, we are using a giant stuffed sheep as a pillow.

Finished Knit: Mystery KAL Knitted Turtle

I so love knitting toys- they are just really satisfying to put together, and so perfect for destashing odds and ends!

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle | knittedbliss.com

Pattern: Rainy Day Turtle 

Yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in ‘Pesto’ and ‘Celery’, and Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in ‘Buttercup’

Needles: 4.5 mm (US 7)

Mods: None.

I had previously posted on participating in this mystery KAL here, and absolutely loved the whole process. The preliminary information stated that the designer used two shades of green and then an ‘accessory’ colour, and clues were revealed slowly, starting with the accessories (hat and rain boots). I knit the hat and boots in some leftover ‘Buttercup’ Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label I had kicking around. I deliberately went out and bought the Rowan handknit cotton for this project, because it’s one of my favourite yarns for knitting toys with- it machine washes well, and the smaller skeins work well for knitted toy sizes.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle | knittedbliss.com

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle | knittedbliss.com

The shell was tricky for me, but it was my own fault- there were options to knit it either flat or in the round, but I accidentally skipped around and amalgamated the directions together into one, so there are some slight flaws in the decreases for my turtle’s shell, but it all worked out and is actually quite difficult to see. That’s what I get for trying to do knitting and decreases while also wrangling a toddler! It’s cleverly constructed, and I like the front panel- I added some yellow into my stripes for a little more flair, and I think it goes nicely with the star buttons that are on his shell straps.

Speaking of the toddler- Lila, like so many toddlers, really enjoys taking the hat, boots, and shell off the turtle right away, and then asks me to put them back on, so she can take them off again, and so on. We repeat that little performance for quite some time, although I’m trying to get her to learn about putting his shell back on herself.

Finished Knit: Rainy Day Turtle | knittedbliss.com  You can see the turtle’s tail more clearly once his shell is off!

I do think that’s a key detail that makes a knitted toy that much more awesome- accessories. Having great articles of clothing that can be taking on or off helps children interact with the toys in a much more meaningful way.  That’s something I think Barbara (the designer) does really well- she has lots of clothing bundles for her toys, and the patterns always come with an article of clothing or two.

If you haven’t knit a toy before, I recommend it- but be aware that they all have finishing tot hem, so if you would sooner die than seam anything, they might not be right for you. but if you love destashing and knitting for kids, then these are absolutely perfect.