Totoro Mittens

I finished my first pair of mittens for the year, and I’m happy to be able to share these now that they have been given to the intended Totoro-loving recipient. I just couldn’t wait until Christmas, so I decided they would be a great birthday gift instead, even if she can’t use them for the next six months.

I’m very pleased with how these turned out, especially since the patterning had long floats (not quite a traditional fair isle pattern), and I did manage to do patterning on the thumb. The Knit Picks Palette yarn was a great choice for these, and I’m liking how the yarn is knitting up for other mittens I’m working on, too (and it’s the yarn used in my Diatom Shawl, so very versatile).

Size 4 US needle
Knit Picks Palette Yarn in White & Ash
(less than 1 skein of each)
Modifications include shortening the top and adjusting the thumb pattern}
My friend was so happy with these, especially since she was hoping to find a cute pair of mittens to wear this winter. I love it when I know my handmade gifts will be used often. Even though I haven’t watched the movie that these are based off of (My Neighbor Totoro), they were so cute that I almost wanted to keep them myself. But of course I have lots more mittens to make, including at least one new pair for myself this winter.
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Circular Shawl Love

This makes my fourth circular shawl to knit. I love how fast they start out and progress, but I always forget that the bigger it gets and the further from the center it gets, the more stitches I have on my needles, thus the slower it knits.

This particular shawl I started on my birthday back in March, thinking I would have it finished by Easter (which did not happen, so I ended up wearing a different shawl). I’ve been craving another white lace item to wear since the wedding, so I was happy to already have this kit in my stash waiting to be knit. The center and main body of the pattern emerged quickly (as seen in this photo), but now that I’m about 40 rows from the end, it’s taking a long time. The end will have gradient colors out to a dark grey, so I’m excited to see the finished piece with this fun color addition at the end.

I’m looking forward to finishing this soon (hopefully this month) so I’ll have a nice shawl to wear in the great cold indoors over summer dresses.

Finally Mittens

I started out the beginning of the year wanting to make this one of knitting mittens. It’s now more than halfway through April, and I’m just starting the first pair. However, I have plans to knit mittens through the summer, since they are small projects and won’t be hot to actually knit. Plus they will be ready to wear when it does get cold outside. I won’t be able to show much of the actual mittens I’m making, since most of these will be Christmas gifts for various family and friends this year. But here’s a sneak peek of the ones currently on the needles:

As I mentioned previously in this post, I’ve come to realize Fair Isle actually isn’t my favorite to knit, but I love the finished product so much that I can’t resist. Sometimes doing something hard or that you don’t like to do can be really rewarding. I think I enjoy Fair Isle mittens because they are small and knit up pretty quickly, even if I dread having to do that fiddly colorwork on the thumbs (which usually I cheat and just do one color, but I’m determined to stick to pattern and do colorwork thumbs for these next batches of mittens).

The Knitting of Evenstar

Because I was keeping my wedding shawl a secret from my husband before our wedding day, I wasn’t able to post pictures about it on the blog. Now that we’re married, I can post about it.

It took me four months to knit this Evenstar shawl, and it’s the most complicated, intricate pattern I’ve every made (the pattern is 20 pages long!). I pretty much enjoyed every minute of knitting on this shawl, and I didn’t get antsy to finish until I did the border (which I modified slightly to use less yarn, for fear of running out). It also ended up being huge, dragging the ground while wearing it the full length of my bridal gown. Here are the pictures I took while knitting my Evenstar and you can watch it grow:

 
 Evenstar Wedding Shawl
 US Size 4 needle
1760 yards of Knitpicks Bare Merino/Silk Lace yarn
Started 1 Sept 2012
Finished 8 Jan 2013

The yarn I used for this shawl was a gift for my birthday in 2009, which was the last birthday my sister Heather celebrated with me before she passed away the next month that same year. I have been saving this yarn ever since, knowing I would use it to make a shawl for my wedding. When Mr. Sheep moved back to Arizona, I started knitting this, counting down the days until we would be engaged and then get married. It was nice to have something with such special memories attached to it to wear on the wedding day. I felt as though all my prayers for my husband and our future marriage, as well as the love of my sister, were wrapped around my shoulders as I walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

I was glad to have this shawl on the day of our wedding, since it was about 55 degrees outside the whole day. I couldn’t bear to put it away, so I also wore it during most of our outings on our honeymoon in Payson, where it snowed the 4 days we were there. This shawl will be a special one to wear on our anniversary every year, as I will always remember wearing it on our wedding day.

Business Cards

 
I’ve been wanting to get business cards for a long time now, but kept forgetting to either create my own or find a place that could. But after being stopped in a movie theater over Christmas break by a person asking about my hand-woven scarf, and then asking for my contact details, I decided it was time I finally get my own business cards. Especially now that I will be a full-time fiber artist, I wanted to have something to give to strangers who see me displaying my work and show interest. Also, if I ever decide to someday start participating in craft shows of some kind, I’ll have these all ready to go. I’m really pleased with how these came out, especially since I found an inexpensive pre-made template option that matched my website design, which meant a lot less work for me. The other great thing was that they came with a free card holder, so I can just throw it in my purse or project bag and always have them handy when needed.
I am grateful, though, that I waited, because now these have my soon-to-be new last name! It’s a little surreal seeing a different last name next to my first name; I’m so used to my maiden name that it will take some getting used to spelling out this new long, hyphenated beast (although, I’m grateful it at least spells the way it sounds, unlike my maiden name). Only 16 days until the wedding!

The Year of Mittens & Stash

As of today, we are exactly one month away from the wedding! I’ve been so busy crafting and planning that I haven’t had a chance to post on the blog much (above picture is just a sampling of the fabric flowers I’ve made for bouquets). Quick recap: we had a wonderful first holiday together, celebrating Christmas with my family and then just spending a quiet evening at home for New Year’s Eve that included lots of candy, a movie marathon, sparkling cider and a first New Year’s kiss at midnight.

The only thing about the holidays this year that I didn’t like was the fact that the only handmade Christmas gift I was able to squeeze in with all the wedding crafting I’ve been doing was a mistake rib knit scarf for my love. I started it a couple days before Christmas and literally finished it at like 11:30 PM on Christmas Day, so it still technically got finished on Christmas Day. It was my official first handknit for my husband-to-be, and it felt so good to wrap that woolly scarf around his neck (and he’s worn it nearly every day with his coat since).

So in lieu of resolutions (which I don’t make), I like to make crafting goals for the year instead. Last year was the Year of Color (which I did lots of interesting color combos for blankets). This year I have 3 crafting goals:

  1. As of January 31st, I will no longer be working outside the home (yay!), so that means I get to be a full-time fiber artist (and soon, full-time wife). I’d really like to build my Etsy shop up and start creating a lot more handmade items for selling and for custom orders. I will also have time to do more blogging and other social media to help build my audience. (Side note: I finally ordered business cards! I’ve had several opportunities to give out my website links to complete strangers who find my yarn items interesting, so it’ll be nice to have something to hand to someone when they ask.)
  2. I want to have more handmade gifts for friends and family this year for Christmas. Namely mittens. So after the wedding, I’m gonna start crafting mittens right away so that I can hopefully prevent last-minute knitting in December.
  3. I plan to work on personal projects mainly from the stash this year. I’m blaming it on the size of the apartment we will be living in once married, and also the fact that I have some wonderful yarn and fiber saved up that I’d really like to use. 

I think 2013 is going to be a great year!

The Stockings are Hung

No, sadly, these stockings do not hang in my house, but they are hanging in someone else’s house–a family who is very fond of their new handknit Christmas stockings. And even though I didn’t get to keep these, it didn’t make me any less satisfied with the finished product. In fact, this is probably one of the hardest projects I’ve done, partially because I had to do the same pattern 4 times, and a very hard pattern at that, and I think that made finishing them all the more rewarding.

I’ve come to realize something about myself: I absolutely love fair isle and colorwork designs, but when I’m in the midst of knitting them, I tend to not be so fond of it. This is definitely one instance when I am merely a product knitter and not a process knitter. However, I love the finished product too much to give up on colorwork, but it’s helpful to know that I may just always hate the process.

I think the design element that makes these stockings even more charming than all that wonderful argyle and snowflakes are the crocheted initial patches. The recipient’s names were too long to embroider on, so I came up with this alternative. Luckily I was thumbing through a crochet dictionary I rarely look at; as soon as I saw the pattern for these letters, I knew that I had to do that for these stockings. I’m just thrilled with the results.

4 months of knitting is definitely worth it to create a lifetime of family tradition. I would definitely make this pattern again. In a few years (wink wink).

Visit my shop to see what I currently have for sale to stuff your stockings this holiday season.

For more details about the making of these stockings, visit my Ravelry project page here.

Copy Cat

Do you remember this blanket the Yarn Harlot made awhile back as a group project? It’s always been one of those projects I kept stored away in the “inspiration” part of my brain (aka, the blanket was made in the days before Pinterest; otherwise, it would have been tidily pinned to my virtual board). When a good friend of mine found out she was having a sweet little girl, I knew that it was time to try to recreate this blanket.

After digging through my stash and coming up with an assortment of pink yarns, I knew I had just enough of the right shades to make this blanket work. I studied the picture, looked at several different patterns that were similar, and then with a “what the heck” cast-on and started knitting.

I can’t tell you how deliriously happy I am that the blanket I made came out as a nice little copy cat of that original blanket. I ended up using bits and pieces from a couple of patterns and then just my own knitting know-how to fill in the rest.

Just looking at these pictures again makes me want to knit more. I enjoyed this project immensely, especially knowing it would wrap up a precious little girl. I think it’s time to start making another one, because there never seems to be a shortage of new babies being born around me, and that’s always a good excuse to knit more blankets.

Argyle

Finally making some visible progress on the stocking. I completed the argyle section and it was a success. I just love the mix of stripes and argyle on this, and can’t wait to see what the snowflake section will look like knitted up.

I think the colorwork knitting will be a bit easier for the next stocking, but I’m pleased with how it’s coming out so far. I foresee a lot of argyle in my future, first with this series of stockings and then eventually at some point with regular socks. My guy is fond of argyle socks, so that makes my knitter heart happy (and, well, he makes my whole heart happy!).

July

I know it’s August now, but I want to talk a little bit about July. As I mentioned at the end of my last blog post, there was a very happy change that took place in my life. And that change would be that I started dating a wonderful, handsome, sweet, godly guy. It’s been such a huge blessing, but also very hard since right now we are living in two different states (and also the fact that relationships are just plain hard work, but so worth it). Luckily in September, he’ll be moving here to the same city where I live, so it will make things a bit easier. I’m so excited and can’t wait for next month!

 

In the meantime, I have lots of projects to keep myself occupied. At the end of July I started the first Christmas stocking in a series of four that I’m making for a cute little family of four just in time for this Christmas. I’ve had a bit of a slow start, due mostly to the fact that I’ve been a bit disinterested in yarn (hm, wonder why? perhaps “distracted” is a better word), but I plan to really buckle down and start cranking out these fun stockings. I’ve picked four colors: red, green, blue, creme, and the stockings will all be a bit varied as far as color placement.

I’m just now starting the argyle section of the first stocking. It’ll be my first time doing an argyle pattern, but I plan to modify it a bit so it’ll be easier to make, mainly, use two colors instead of three. I can’t wait to see how this traditional, yet quirky pattern works up, and I’m delighted that my efforts will hopefully become a cherished family tradition and heirloom.