Friday, January 27, 2012

FO Friday - Isabella Bonnet

Thank you to tamisamis for hosting FO Friday!  Hop on over and check out what everyone else has to show off!

This is my first FO in a while and I can't wait to give it to the recipient.  For Ava's first birthday, I knit her the cupcake hat - over a year later, she's still wearing it.  It's so nice to knit for people who actually wear and use what you knit!  (Ok, at 1 and 2 years old, maybe the decision on what to wear lays more with the parents, but still, she's wearing it a lot!)  Anyways, I wanted to knit Ava a new hat for her second birthday (which was back in November).  I think the Isabella Bonnet will really suit her - especially in the hot pink color.

This was a really easy knit - it only took me so long to complete because I didn't have the time to work on it.  This is definitely one I'd knit again as a gift for a little girl (would even be great in a 'big girl' size). The instructions weren't always completely clear but it was easy enough to figure it out.

I like working with this yarn - not only is the color great but it feels nice.  It's acrylic but it is a micro-fiber yarn and it's nice and soft.  It reminds me of some of the bamboo yarns I've worked with.  It's machine washable which is nice for kids' clothing and accessories.  It's part of the 'collection' I picked up from the massive Dressew sale last year.

Now I have to determine what I will work on next.  I have a few projects 'hibernating' but I think I might just knit up some simple baby hats and do a bit of stash busting.  I know a couple people with new ones or that are expecting so I won't be at a loss for babies to give them to.  Baby hats are good too since I can make reasonable progress on them  by knitting during my study breaks!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WiP Wednesday - The Hat Full of Friends

I'm excited to have a WiP today to share!  I have a couple of friends expecting baby boys so I decided to work on some hats as I do my reading for school.

A while ago my boss was clearing out some of her stash and gave each of us who knits some yarn.  I received a beautiful skein of hand-dyed sock yarn in shades of blue (I'll have to ask her again what the fibre content is).  It seemed like the perfect yarn for the Easy Peasy Newborn Sock Hat.  Since most of this hat is just straight stockinette stitch, it's a project I can work on without having to constantly look at it (hence why it is a good project to do while reading).

One of the most exciting things is that I got to use my new skein holder/swift!  A friend's girlfriend found out that I knit (as does she) and gave it to me for my birthday (amazing!).   Using my coworkers ball-winder that she doesn't use, I was able to set this up:

I had some issues finding surfaces which I could clamp the skein holder and ball winder to but I think this worked quite well in the end.  No more putting my skein around the back of a chair and winding it onto my thumb!  YAY!  I think my cat had as much fun with it as I did :)

I ended up with three balls of this beautiful yarn.

I started working on the first hat (I should have enough yarn for 3 of these hats) and also finally got to use one of the beautiful stitch markers a friend gave me as part of my bridal shower present.

In one day, I almost finished the whole hat (I guess that is one benefit of having so much reading to do!) (I am not the fastest knitter around so almost finishing something in one day is an accomplishment!).  I'll share it in an upcoming FO Friday post.

I love that this hat is 'full of friends' - my boss/friend who gave me the yarn, the swift that was a gift from a friend, the ball winder who came from a coworker/friend, the stitch markers from a friend, the final product for a friend.  Having friends who knit rock!

Be sure to hop on over to Tamis Amis and check out what everyone else is working on!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Knitting More Quickly

Well, as you can see, since school started in September I had to take a break from blogging and have also had less time for knitting (which I really miss).  Sometimes you really just can't do it all!  But I hope to be able to fill my work and study breaks with some knitting and blogging now that I'm starting to get better at the work/school/life balance.

I've been working on the Isabella Bonnet for my friend's daughter, Ava.  Now, Miss Ava's birthday was in November and that is when I intended to have it done by.  But, September was my first month of graduate school AND working full-time (plus the post-wedding hangover) so needless to say, if I got dinner made a couple nights a week, that was an accomplishment!  I'm finally working on the bow for the hat so I should have it done soon (will take pics and post when I do!).

I have come to realize that if I'm going to fit knitting into my crazy life, then I'm going to have to knit more quickly.  I've been watching some videos on YouTube that have helped a bit.  However, it's going to take a while to adjust my style and get used to keeping tension.  In making the bow for the hat, I've been testing out a few different techniques and I can definitely see where I stopped one and started the other.  I don't think it's going to be noticeable (other than to other knitters) once it's on the hat though.

I also think that it's good to have a variety of techniques in my bag of tricks so that I can vary it up to prevent overuse injuries.  I notice when I knit a lot that I do sometimes get aches and pains.

Here are a couple videos on YouTube that I've found useful:

1.  The sound could be better on this video but I found that holding the needle in my right hand like a pencil does help a bit with speed and is quite comfortable.  I am totally one of those knitters she talks about who sometimes drops the needle in my right hand when throwing the yarn.

2. I picked up a couple useful tips in this KnitPicks video with Miriam Tegels (world's fastest knitter) but I wish that there would have been more close-ups and they would have also showed a clip of her technique slowed down instead of just at full-speed.