Sunday, December 29, 2013

Evolution of a knitter

I've not been good with numbering episodes of the podcast and was surprised to see that this is number 9!  Trying a couple new things at this stage to be more like a podcaster...  I switched to YouTube Capture to record and edit instead of iMovie and I created a Ravelry group!  So, give this video a watch and let me know what you think in the group :-)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yarn tasting

While I was at the Knitting in the Mitten (KitM) retreat I was able to participate in a yarn tasting.  While I enjoyed the set up she had of 'grab a mini-skein and knit a bit' I wanted to have a GREAT finished object.  I saw CoggieTM (the retreat host) made a magic ball and made a crochet blanket and that got me thinking.  I looked up how to make a magic ball and got to work.  This is where you take small bits of yarn and tie them together in such a way as there are no tails or breakage.  I took all my yarn samplings as well as the yarns from my goodie bag and arranged them in a nice color order.

Then I knotted them and skeined the yarn into a cake, 92 grams!

I wasn't sure what to make, but I always find a way to wear shawls so I thought that would be the best bet if I wanted to get use out of the finished object.  I cast on 5, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, purled back and continued with that increase method.

Up first was the Great Lakes hand dyed, Ifrit Sock which was 40 yds in a colorway called 'Frogs Breath'.  I enjoyed the color, it's name, and it's so soft!  I really like the gauge the size 8 gives me with this yarn... Squish factor is nice too.  Got almost 6 inches out of this amount of yarn.

Next up, a little pastel with green, pink, purple and blues...  A sample from the yarn store (all of these could be Debbie Macomber, Louisa Harding, Berroco or Cascade, or something else entirely!).  Feels silky while I knit with it.  Did a purl ridge at the color change.  Knew it wasn't as much as the green, must be like 10yds?  Didn't even get an inch out of this one...

Onto another yarn shop sample of unknown specs in green- may be a cotton? Not rough but thick feeling, after the purl ridge I didn't even get a 1/2 in.  

The transition to the next yarn was lovely timing, the llama felt amazingly soft.  I know no other details again but looked forward to the next two llama samples!  Very loosely plied single ply, high snag possibility, a deep greenish blue-gray... Got a little over an inch with this.

The bright and bold blue that is next feels thicker than the others also, but I think it's a wool (another yarn shop sample).  Another yarn that could use a larger needle size but relief is on the way-only 1/4 an inch out of the sample.

And more llama is next!  This one is a light blue I believe, buttery soft also!  This appears to be a 2-ply and has a nice twist, so I wonder if it's really llama because of this difference...  I feel like it didn't go as far as the first one either.

The transition to the next yarn is almost seamless, the colors are very similar and this one also flows smoothly through the fingers, but the bumps give it away.  This is beaded!  I'm quite certain this is Louisa Harding yarn from the yarn shop.  Never thought I'd like sparkle or glitter but I do enjoy the look of these beads.

More llama, this one more like the first but more green-blue.  It's shorter than both before so definitely losing width of stripes due to the growing width of the shawl.

The next yarn is much thinner, possibly even lace weight?  This is from RJ's QTs and it is a soft white, smooth yarn but feels like it will plump a bit.

I think this is Lahitum ex machina and it was paired with the sparkle yarn.  It is lovely shades of grey in a fingering or sock weight.  It is warm and sturdy, perhaps there is some nylon in it.  I got around 1/2 in out of this which seems good for the width of the shawl at this point.

Up next is my first sparkle yarn!  Also from Lahitum ex machina, it feels even softer than the previous yarn but I believe it's also a fingering weight.

A dark grey in possibly a DK or Sport weight is next.  It is also soft and feels substantial.  It's a nice solid color but it doesn't go very far at this point in the shawl.  Another unknown from the yarn shop sampling.

A bright bluish purple in fingering or sock weight doesn't go far either, yarn shop samples are a little small for the width of the shawl now.  Doesn't feel as durable as some sock yarns.

Solar Flare Fibers goodie bag offering is next.  I love LOVE this colorway!  It's a lovely purple with pops of a neon bluish purple throughout.  Very soft but could be sock yarn, might feel some nylon in there.  This gave me almost 3/4 in!

Look at those sparkles! Kind of understand it now, fun to look down at your knitting and see that glitz.

I grabbed two of the purple yarn shop samples which may be a merino sport yarn.  It has beautiful stitch definition and got me almost 1/2 in.

I had three bunches of this variegated sock weight in pinks, blues and purples from the yarn shop samples.  I switched it up at this point by doing some ribbing with this yarn.  The width of the shawl at this point didn't make those three go very far.

I finished it all up with this pink thick and thin yarn.  I only did the bind off with it and almost didn't make it!  I did a stretchy bind off so it did use up more yarn than others might.

I didn't use this last bit of the variegated so I could switch to the bind off yarn at an edge.

And this teeny bit is all that remained of the pink yarn!

I'm very pleased with the result, it ended up at a very nice size and blocked beautifully! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Handknits

A comment on an Instagram photo of myself in a shawl I'd knit got me thinking...  They said I should post pics of all my knits and at first that seemed like a huge task, but the more I thought I came up with a way to do it in a manageable way.  

A quick pic every day for the next 30 days of me wearing at least one of my handknits.  So starting today and going up til Christmas Eve I am going to (try) and post these pics to Instagram with the hashtag #30daysofhandknits.  Maybe a little explanation of the item if I have the time or remember much about it.  There may be days where I'm wearing more than one item.  

Will you join me?  Either by participating or following me, I'd love it!  You can find me on Instagram as denmoma or become a fan of Denknits on Facebook...  I hope to see more handknits or maybe some 'love' or 'likes' :-)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Knittin' in the Mitten Retreat

I had the opportunity to attend the Knittin' in the Mitten retreat hosted by CoggieTM from the High Fiber Diet Podcast up in Grand Haven, MI last Saturday as a 'day tripper'.

I'll start with the good stuff, enabling with my market purchases!

A little more enabling in the form of the goodie bag that was given to each attendee...

And I have done some knitting over the past month, so a couple of finished objects (FOs) and a few works in progress (WIPs) are discussed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

All the Things - Video Update

I had some spare time to do a video update of 'All the Things'...  Lots of FO's, WIP's and acquisitions covered along with some knitting talk.

Thanks for watching!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Darn Good Affiliation

As you may have noticed, I now have a small ad on my blog for Darn Good Yarn.  As you may have also noticed, I've been a little bit in love with them lately :-)  

I don't even remember how I first found them, but when I did I make a purchase of some Recycled Photon Rainbow Sport Weight Recycled Silk Yarn.  While waiting for it to arrive I thought about what I could make with it.  I didn't find anything on Ravelry that went with this kind of yarn so I figured I would make something up myself.  Once I got my hands on it I got to work.  The idea in my head translated fairly well and I thought it was pretty good, so I submitted the pattern into a contest Darn Good Yarn was running.  I ended up a winner with a little spending money for more Darn Good Yarn.  

Of all my purchases, I was most intrigued by a Banana Fiber yarn and thought it could use a good pattern.  I had picked 5 skeins in colors that resembled a sunset and started thinking of how this one would work up while I waited for the shipment.  Once again, the idea in my head worked up nicely with the yarn and once it was bound off and blocked I was amazed at how warm and cozy such a silky fiber could be.  I sent in the pattern to the Darn Good ladies and in a day heard back that they were interested in it also.  

In between designing patterns for Darn Good Yarn I decided to join their Affiliate program.  It doesn't amount to much, but if anyone clicks through to their store from my blog ad, they will give me a small percentage of the sale.  I want to be upfront about that, but also let you know that I wouldn't do this with just anyone in hopes of making money.  I like to think of myself as caring about the planet and such, however I do tend to be fairly lazy...  I recycle and like to bike, but with Darn Good Yarn I really feel like there's some good being done.  They utilize a whole range of recycled materials in their products and also help out women in countries where they can't get a job that makes the money needed to support a family.  I also love the unique yarns they offer that I haven't seen anywhere else.  

If you are as interested in Darn Good Yarn as I am, please check them out...  You can find the "Cowl Neck Poncho" as a kit on their site right now (it's even on sale!) and the 'That Sunset is Banana's" kit should be coming soon.  You may also like a Sari Silk Wrap skirt (I've bought two!) or maybe some notions, they sell needles and pouches to name a couple.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Darn Good!

Videos are up for your viewing pleasure...  Darn Good Yarn pattern contests discussed, yarny goodness from DGY and some LYS, podcast winning, storing yarn and projects.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hugs and Love Cowl

I wanted to make something special for someone who is dealing with a very close friend's poor health.  I knew I wanted to use the XO cables somehow but couldn't find a pattern that included those and was just right otherwise so I set about making my own.

The Hugs and Love Cowl was designed using two sets of 14 XO cables with knits and purls in between and at the beginning and end.  Created using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme it has beautiful drape and is long enough to loop around your neck twice on cold days.

 This item has since been gifted but in the spirit of the gift I wanted to keep on paying forward the love and am offering this pattern for free for a limited time.

It's only been knit the one time by myself so if there are errors or questions they will hopefully be found and answered while it's free.  Then after I knit the second one I can make any needed corrections and upload the revised version for purchase.  I plan to make variations available in the pay-for version including different lengths.

Go to Ravelry and get the download or contact me if you aren't on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Michigan Fiber Fest

This weekend was the annual Michigan Fiber Fest which is held at the Allegan County Fairgrounds.  It was my second year going, but my first year hardly counted.  I had gotten the weekend mixed up and only realized late on Sunday, but decided to drive down and check it out anyway.  It was an hour or two before the official closing time so many booths were gone or packing up.

Anyway, this year I really planned it out.  We got to see a sheep shearing :

The rest of my adventures at the fest, including acquisitions, as well as other knitting talk can be found on these videos:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Getting organized

Another video entry!  I am trying to create segments in these videos so I can keep speaking to the non knitters while expanding to talk for knitters.

I had to split it in two in order to upload to YouTube.  The first video will cover my knitting keeping non knitters in mind.  
The continuation video talks to new knitters for the most part.

Thanks for checking it out!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I've managed to record episode number 3 of my video series and am making plans to continue expanding.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Style Handknits

I've put together a fairly short video as a test run for possible video pod casting or something along those lines.  I could explain the whole thing or let it speak for itself, so here it is, enjoy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The best timing?

Not that there is any good time to get sick, but on the last day of spring break as opposed to the first does seen like good timing.

Too tired to research Ravelry for projects I decided to give my big, size 50 needles a whirl... Some leftover mohair blend seemed like a perfect match so I got started. I cast on just 10 st but it could easily be 5 inches width-wise. I'll just go until the yarn is gone and end up with a nice, lightweight summer scarf.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A couple days, a few more, and a couple more

Well, I guess I remembered why this took so long to finish...  Just when I thought I was on a roll and enjoying the afghan, it started to seem like it was getting nowhere again.  Then I ended up with more work than I anticipated.  So a couple days turned into a few more, and then a couple more, and a week later, I have finished knitting the afghan!

Started well over a year ago (2/24/12 to be exact-Thanks Ravelry!) it seems rather appropriate this knit containing yarn colors Dublin, Peapod, and Umber would be completed on March 17, 2013-St. Patrick's Day.

It measures a bit over 5 feet (long enough to cover me head to toe!) and probably about 3 feet width-wise (ankle to waist on me, or outstretched arms-able)

This used up almost every bit of my 3 skeins of Dublin, 2 and a bit of the 3rd skein of Peapod, and 3 plus 2/3rds of the 4th skein of Umber.

I ended up modifying the color pattern in the end because I was running low on the colors called for and had plenty of Peapod left.  Honestly, Peapod is my favorite color in this, and I wish I would've used more of it...  But this is for the living room and that may have come across to bright.  

The pattern was easy to memorize, but did require constant counting.  I tried to get away with knitting by sight only to find that wouldn't help until it was too late.  I will definitely use the pattern for another blanket because I really love the look of the zig zags.  Two more are on my list, and the yarn already purchased, variegated and self-striping.  It will be fun to see how those turn out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

More shop updates!

Another four listings have been added today, all neckwear.

One cowl, the Owl Cowl, which is a nice shade of brown. It can also be worn as a ponytail hat.

A purple and orange scarf; it has 'hairs' of purple spiking out amongst the orange suede. Very fun!

Shades of pink in fluffy ruffles makes up another fun scarf. It is long enough to wrap 2-3 times around your neck.

The last listing contains two color choices for the same scarf. Ice, which is light blue, and Sweetheart, which is light pink, are fluffy and warm!

Go to DenKnits on Etsy to see it all.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Long overdue..

I started an afghan for the living room... Over a year ago. I took my time deciding colors, yarn content, and pattern. Then I ordered the yarn, Knit Picks Brava Worsted, a machine washable worsted weight yarn. The pattern that inspired my afghan was the Updated Ripple Pattern which I found through the Lion Brand Yarn pattern pages. The actual knitting is the same for my project, but I organized my three colors in a Mossimo inspired pattern. Thick and thin stripes of brown, dark green and bright green zig zag through my afghan.

I worked rather diligently on this at first, but the never ending feeling had me moving on to smaller, quicker projects. On a couple occasions I was inspired to pick it up again and thought I might be done. I'd mapped out my pattern for so many rows and when I finished that I thought the afghan might be finished... The length just wasn't there and I had plenty of yarn left, so I added to the pattern and kept on... for a bit... then lost interest again.

This weekend I decided to start up again and am now determined to finish it. I have less than 100 rows to go, three skeins of yarn... But compared to what I started with its looking good. I've made good progress just the past couple days so I think in a couple more I could be done.

And it's about time!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shop update and coupon code

More items were added to the shop today, mostly neck items. Scarf, cowl, ponytail hat/cowl, and a fashion scarf. Since I sold the Dropped Raspberries hat yesterday, I added a listing for that hat style in your choice of color, made to order!

In celebration of the restocking of my shop I'm offering a coupon code for free shipping... Message me through any site and I'll give it to you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Etsy shop updates

Finally getting around to updating my shop on Etsy,!

Today's additions include a colorful chevron cowl, two colors of mini bandanas, a ribbed hat, a drop stitch hat, and a selection of colors in a cables and ribs hat.

Tomorrow I plan to add a few more neck warming items, so be sure to keep an eye on the store page!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Productive knitting weekend

Starting this past Friday I found myself with more free time on my hands than expected and was happy to fill that time with knitting related things.  I'd slowly worked through knitting several baby items over the past couple of months and was able to finish the sleeves on a baby girl top and then rinse/block the whole lot. (No pics on those yet as I am cautious about ruining the surprises)

While those were drying I started up a project with some souvenir yarn from boucle in Fargo ND.  I bought the one skein thinking it could be a hat, cowl or possibly socks.  Once I was ready to work with it, I felt like a hat... unfortunately the yarn did not.  I tried two different simple styles and neither was working on my head, so I easily converted it to a cowl.  I've worn it a couple days now and think it is a nice addition to my collection.  The seed stitch and the yarn combined to look like pixels to me so I called it the Pixelated Sunset.

I had another skein of souvenir yarn, this one from ImagiKnit in San Francisco, that I'd been wanting to turn into something so that was next.  I'd actually had this skein for about 4 months and had been thinking about what it would be for that whole time.  As it usually happens, I couldn't find an existing pattern that was what I wanted so I set to make one up as I went.  The Cowl/Kerchief was born.

Having finally accomplished knitting things out of my most recent purchases, not to mention items just for me, I decided to work on a quick knit that will be part of a more complicated piece requested by DH.  For Christmas this year I made my boys Mohawk hats and was surprised that my husband kept trying to steal them.  I had enough left over yarn to make another one but hadn't gotten around to it yet.  In the meantime, he went skiing and saw people with what he describes as viking mohawk bearded hats.  So the fairly simple mohawk hat now needs a beard piece as well.  I quickly knit up the grey ribbed cap part but have set that aside while I search for bulky yarn in a white shade.

With time still on my hands I decided to browse my Ravelry favorites for something to work on next.  Since I'd just finished two cowls at hat was on my mind.  I finally found a project in the Meret hat by Woolly Wormhead, a free pattern by a designer I'd been meaning to knit.  I had some yarn that would work at the top of my stash and I cast on for the small size, mostly because I was worried about yardage.  After a day and a half and half way through the hat I realized two things.  There was plenty of yarn left and the hat was a little small.  I cast back on for the medium and am back to knitting.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cowl Kerchief

I had a hank of Berroco Campus that I purchased as souvenir yarn at ImagiKnit in San Francisco a few months ago that I'd been trying to decide what it was meant to be.  I'd finally gotten some downtime from my 'real' job this weekend and set out to create what I'd come up with in my mind.

I love the shawls that can be worn as triangle kind of scarves but they don't usually stay in place or fit around my neck right.  I thought something like a cowl would be good to fix those aspects.

Since I just created as I knit, and only have the one example, I'm posting my directions as a free pattern here.

Berroco Campus is a 130 yard wool/acrylic/alpaca blend bulky yarn.  I used size 11 circulars as I have a tendency to be a tight knitter.

CO 54 stitches and join in the round, place a marker at the join
Knit one row, *purl one row, knit one row, purl one row, knit four rows, purl one row*, knit six rows, Repeat * to * one more time
Place a marker on stitch 27
Knit six rows, increasing on the first stitch, the stitches before and after the markered 27th stitch, and the second to last stitch
Purl one row, knit one row, purl one row, knit one row, BO stitches between markers and knit the rest of the row

The cowl portion is complete and the triangle part will be worked next

Purl one row
Work decrease row as follows K2tog, k to last two, slip one, knit one, psso
[Knit one row, knit one decrease row, purl one row, knit one decrease row, purl one row, knit one decrease row, purl one row *Purl 2tog, purl to last two, slip one, purl one, psso, purl one row*, Repeat * to *, knit one decrease row, purl one row, knit one decrease row] two times
Knit one row, knit one decrease row, *purl one row, knit one decrease rows*, repeat
BO last three stitches

Optional fringe: Cut 38 12 inch long pieces of yarn, use a crochet hook to add on at the purl rows as well as three evenly spaced in the 6 knit rows

Monday, February 18, 2013

Baby knits, a wedding shawl and a doggie sweater

Work has been quite busy lately and while I always find time to knit, I don't always find time to keep things related to my projects updated.

After getting all my holiday knitting done I was able to finish a couple items for myself with special skeins. A shawl from CJ Kopec yarn I purchased at the Michigan Fiber Fest, an Entrelac cowl out of Noro from a shop I visited in Fargo and a hat out of Malabrigo from the same shop.

I designed a lovely (if I do say so myself) shawl for a cousin's wedding, which took a good amount of time between designing, knitting, and note taking. When things slow down a bit I hope to write the pattern out to share.

There are three babies due (or already done) in my life so I had lots of items I wanted to finish for them. I've gotten a pair of tiny socks, two pairs of booties, and one sweater finished with a second sweater on the needles now. Another set of booties are planned to finish a set and then possibly one more baby item.

Between all the baby stuff I had a request... One of my holiday knits was a dog sweater, and it was such a big hit that a second one was in order. He's a smaller dog so it's a quick knit and I am back to the baby stuff.

So many things are on the ever growing list and I've tried a couple ways to keep that in order. One thing I've tried to do more often is utilize all Ravelry has to offer in the way of pattern organization. As far as the yarn goes, I've gone as far as putting together a bag for a particular project with needles and everything (only to have it sit so long I picked most everything out) to my current, simpler process of just keeping the yarn I want to use soon in a special bag that's always handy.

No matter what though, I'm sure I'll never run out of things to knit or yarn, inspiration and organization are easy to get along the way...