If you know me at all, you know that I can knit most everything except sweaters. Over the last ten years, I’ve attempted and failed at several sweater patterns. Then I received bulky yarn as a Christmas gift this past Christmas. So, maybe I’d try a sweater AGAIN! Looked up a pattern on www.ravelry.com. The yarn was a super bulky Bernat yarn and I was given four balls. With a top-down sweater, I couldn’t lose, right? I even knit a swatch, for goodness sakes! I knit about four inches down and…..I hated the yarn! Really, really!
So, back to the drawing board. First, because of the sale, I stopped in at my local www.joanns.com. I found some fabulous Alpaca blend bulky in a beautiful dark rosy pink color.
Back to Ravelry, and to a new pattern. It’s the Fiona Sweater from Quince & Company. I swatched the yarn and voila! It’s a go!
So I started the sweater just before Knitting Goup on Tuesday and it’s now Saturday. My sweater has grown substantially. Points to me! Stay tuned to see if I finally finish it! Cross your fingers!
Although I have been teaching beginning knitting to family
and friends for years, I recently branched out to teaching a beginner’s knitting class at a local community college. But I have to admit, I was not as prepared as I should have been since I thought that no one would sign up. Was I wrong. I have 6 really special students and I am really enjoying teaching them the joys (and occasional frustrations) of knitting.
Now that I have a couple of “professional” sessions…..although why I think getting paid to teach makes me more professional than when I taught for free, I’ll never know. Another thought for another day.
- Name tags help a lot. Have name tags for each class until you feel that you know your class well.
- Handouts are a must. I didn’t have any handouts prepared (although I was working on them) until the 2nd week. Here are the handouts I’ve used so far…*Welcome with information on local yarn shops, local Sit-N-Knit meetings, my phone, email, Ravelry name, etc.
*Learning objectives and lesson plans (so your class knows what you will teach each time).
*Easy pattern to try. I basically wrote my own slipper pattern with two different types of toes so the class could work whichever style they likes.
- Be prepared to have one or more who will need extra help. If you have a friend who can assist you, you can tag-teach and she can help some of the others while you do one-on-one teaching.
- Enjoy yourself! I did not realize how much fun it would be until I let myself relax and enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship.
I love mysteries….mystery books, mystery movies, even mystery food! I just enjoy watching or reading (or tasting) to see how it ends.
That’s why I love Mystery KAL’s. A Mystery KAL (or knit-a-long) is one in which a part of a pattern (clue) is released on a regular basis. It could be released weekly, every-other-day, or even monthly, depending upon the designer’s whim. You really do not know how the final product looks until you finish the last stitch.
There are all kinds of Mystery KALs as well as Mystery Crochet-alongs. You can usually find them in the afghans, bags, shawls, socks, and dishcloth threads on Ravelry. You can even join Mystery swaps.
If you would like to join a Mystery KAL or CAL, there are a few tips that I have learned:
- Plan to use more yarn than the design calls for. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Some Mystery KAL or CAL patterns are free; others are for a small fee. Most designers, if they charge, often charge a bit less if you purchase the pattern before the KAL or CAL ends.
- Find a local buddy to follow the KAL with you. You and she/he can serve as inspiration and nearby help.
- Always knit/crochet a swatch before beginning the first clue to make sure that you have gauge.
- As each clue is revealed, wait a day or so until you begin knitting that part. While designers work very hard to to have error-free patterns, it does sometimes happen. You’ll save yourself a lot of frog-pond time if you wait.
- Check your KAL’s Ravelry thread often for pattern errors.
- If you get in trouble, go to the Ravelry thread and ask. You can email the designer, but most often someone else has had the same problem and can help. Likewise, be willing to answer if someone else asks and you can help.
- Keep in mind there is a chance that you will not fit/like/need/want the final product once you have knitted it. It IS a MYSTERY knit-along after all. If that’s the case, either give it away or frog it and use the yarn for something else.
- Most Mystery KAL’s have two threads in their Ravelry group. One is for pictures to be posted by those who have completed the clues (a spoiler thread) and one is for no pictures (no spoilers) but just questions, comments, etc. You can choose to either peek or not to see how the product is coming along.
Have I helped you clarify the mystery in Mystery KALs?
Posted in knitting, shawl, socks, sweater
Tagged advice, CAL, KAL, knit, knitting, mystery, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl, sock, socks, swap, yarn
Yes, dear friends, I am going to stop knitting my sweater for the Ravellenic Games Sweater Triathlon. My wrists are aching and I have a headache that will not quit. I will have to quit knitting on this project before I develop carpal tunnel syndrome.
It’s okay, though. I learned a long time ago that I am a PROCESS knitter not necessarily a PRODUCT knitter. It does not bother me to tear out two weeks worth of knitting. I think that I have learned quite a bit during those two weeks.
What have I learned? Well, that both patterns that I chose to help me overcome my lack-of-sweater-knitting skills were very good. Each of them gave me new skills that I will be able to use in my knitting.
I also tried two different types of yarn. Unfortunately, I did not swatch yarn #2 very much to realize how tightly it would knit on size 6 needles (which was gauge for that sweater). And yarn #1 just did not feel right for the pattern I originally chose. Maybe I will make a sweater with yarn #1 and pattern #2; but just not this week.
And that’s okay with me. I am going to finish watching those marvelous Olympians reaching their personal goals while finishing up a shawl and winding yarn for an upcoming Mystery Shawl knit-a-long. If you want to join me, check it out on Ravelry: Fantasia Mystery Shawl Group and find your yarn at Fiddle Knits Design.
Posted in knitting, shawl, sweater
Tagged advice, diy, knit, knitting, medals, Olympics, Pattern, Ravellenicgames, Ravelry, shawl, yarn
I am so very proud to announce that I have received my second Ravellenic Games Medal. It’s for the Toy Toss! I had to knit something that was a toy.
So I made a really cute and super fast Bunny Blanket Toy.
I have been enjoying the Olympic Games and knitting so far, but my hardest project is yet to come….I know, I know I should have started it first (and I actually did, but I put the first one aside and changed yarn/pattern/needles/etc.) Even if I don’t get it knit in time to be awarded a medal, I am determined to knit myself a cardigan.
I still have 2 more medals to come–both for the same project. I have finished the project and submitted it for the medals, but it takes time to get to the “podium.”
How about you? Do you like to knit and watch sports on TV? I have a friend who loves to knit and watch NASCAR. I still don’t care to knit complicated projects while watching sports, (especially if I have to count stitches or rows) but so far these projects I’ve done have been pretty easy. I’m more of a Masterpiece Theater knitter.
Well, back to the Games! Knit on!
Posted in knitting, toy
Tagged Baby, blankie, bunny, comfort, knit, knitting, Olympics, Pattern, quick, Ravelry, toy
Have you ever purchased a yarn just because it looked so pretty? That’s how I ended up with my pink/white/blue Zauberball.
But I had no clue as to what to do with it … until recently. I saw on Ravelry a Wingspan Shawl and shazam! There it was.
It’s a very easy short-row pattern that is all garter stitch so you can knit while watching TV.
The colorway I purchased was very feminine-looking, so I am calling my shawl “FairyWings.”
I can’t wait to finish it.
Posted in knitting, shawl
Tagged clothing, diy, easy short-row, fashion, knit, knitting, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl, WIP, yarn
Some Ideas for today (or tomorrow)
- Write a new yarn pattern
- Check out Ravelry, a special “Facebook” just for knitters and crocheters
- Go to a yarn festival or shop
- Organize a yarn bombing. (Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.)
- Teach someone to knit or crochet
- Do something for charity
- Wear a knitted or crocheted item
- Give a gift of yarn
- Take your yarn to work day
- Host a yarn-a-bration party
- Knit, crochet and craft in public
I love to knit for babies! You can knit so many different cute things and they don’t complain about the colors, style, and/or pattern! I try to knit a few baby things to keep on hand for when I am asked to attend baby showers, as baby gifts, etc.
Yesterday, I attended a baby shower for my friend, Shea, and while I did not get a chance to take a picture, her gift was the ever-popular Baby Surprise Jacket. After the gift-opening time, several of the ladies rushed forward to get a glimpse of the jacket and asked me about the pattern. As of today, there are 15,311 Baby Surprise projects on Ravelry. Wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few more after this shower. It’s really a fun and easy knit!
I also enjoy knitting Kids’ Fruit Caps by Ann Norling. I have knitted quite a few of these and they are great gifts! One year, for the fall, I knitted Pumpkin Hats for all of the babies in my Sunday School Class!
I have even knitted a few baby blankets, but most of them were ‘way before Ravelry and so I don’t have pictures. But, I did start a new circular baby blanket yesterday after the shower. It’s more of a Christening Blanket/Shawl. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. Since it’s 100% Merino Wool, it should block beautifully!
I probably will start some more fruit caps, as well. I have plenty of yarn in my stash!
Posted in knitting, shawl
Tagged Ann Norling, Baby, blanket, Elizabeth Zimmerman, gifts, Hat, knit, knitting, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl
Completed yet another shawl this summer, the Heartland Lace Shawl, designed by Evelyn A. Clark. I knitted it in the DK weight of Misti Alpaca Pima/Cotton blend that I purchased from my favorite LYS — Atkinson Farm Yarns.
This shawl is unique in that I actually used the yarn that I purchased the pattern for. Normally, I start a project with one type of yarn and end up using a different yarn for one reason or another. But this yarn was a dream to work with and so soft to touch that I did not want to put it down. That’s why it took me only ten (yes, 10!!) days to complete the project! I spent a few nights knitting ‘way into the early hours as I was so fascinated by the pattern and the softness of the cotton/silk blend.
I was a bit worried as to how it would block, but as you can see, it blocked like a charm. I can’t wait to wear this shawl. Yes, folks, this one is for ME, ME, ME!
But, not to worry, I already started on another Christmas shawl;
this one is a beautiful blue tonal lace weight from Knit Picks. The pattern is Charlotte’s Easy Lace Shawl, designed by the wonderful designer Lily M. Chinn. The pattern itself is very, very, very easy. Almost boring, in fact. But it’s looking great and I think I’m about half-way through the ball. I am hoping to have this one done by the end of August 2011. I already have another shawl in the que for another Christmas gift.
At this rate, I’ll get everyone’s shawls done early. At least that’s the plan.
Posted in knitting, shawl
Tagged Atkinson Farm Yarns, Christmas, gift, knit, knitting, Pattern, Ravelry, shawl, Vincennes, yarn
I absolutely love, love, love hand-made gifts! But, until recently, I never gave that many out to my friends and family. So, what changed? My knitting organization plans!
Now, beginning every July and through December, I use the first two weeks to knit Christmas gifts only. The last two weeks can be whatever kind of knitting I want to do–even Christmas knitting, if I so choose.
It worked beautifully last year so I am really putting it to the test this year as I am giving away a number of shawls and shawlettes to some of my good friends.
To help me organize, I pulled out the yarn that I wanted to use (nearly all of it is stash yarn), then chose the patterns I wanted to do. I then put all of the patterns in plastic sleeves and into a one-inch binder. The patterns that I used and completed are in the back of the binder. That way, if I decide that I want to knit another shawl/etc., the pattern will be nearby.
How do you plan your Christmas knitting? I would love to know!
What’s on my needles today? Well, since it is still in the LAST two weeks of the month, it’s something for me. A shawl, of course.
Heartland Lace Shawl