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FO Spotlight Free Patterns Monthly Round UP

November 2020 Round-up

I cannot believe that November is over and it’s already time for another monthly round-up! The monthly round-up post is my opportunity to share with you what I’m knitting, my works in progress, my knit finished objects, knitting patterns I’m working on and MORE.

In this edition: my woeful neglected WIPs, a FREE hat pattern and my new crafting obsession…let’s dive in!

Current Knitting Projects

For Fox Sake Sweater

I wrote about this knit colourwork sweater in my October Round-up, and I had about 20 rows left in the yoke. Now I have maybe 5-7 rows left. I haven’t worked on it for the past few weeks, but I am done the foxes!

A recent photo of my For Fox Sake when I finished the foxes!

This is going to be my last sweater of 2020, if I finish it this year at all and it’s looking very possible that I won’t. But once I get through the yoke and the sleeve separation my pace should pick up quite a bit.

Vampire Vibes Socks

For a second I thought For Fox Sake was my only WIP, but I am also working on a pair of knit socks. These were my Halloween Cast-on if such a thing exists. I’m using KnitPicks Felici in the colour Vampire Vibes.

In my last post I wrote about my experience with my first afterthought heel and I’m going to do another afterthought heel on this pair.

I haven’t knit much on them, I’m mostly pulling out this project for knitting during movie night.

Coziest Memory Blanket

I mean…this a a forever WIP and I promise I won’t include it in every monthly round-up, but I do want to chat a bit about my scrappy mitered square blanket. I started this blanket in August of 2019 and in August of this year I realized that I was barely 10% through.

Scrappy Sunday mornings are becoming my favourite new habit!

A few weeks back I set a goal of doing 2 at least squares every Sunday and I’ve been pretty good so far at keeping that up. If I manage to stick to this goal all the way through the end of December I’ll be 20% done when 2020 ends!

Finished Objects AKA Mini-FO Spotlight

Bear Lak Cowl

The honour of being the only Knits of Steele FO for November 2020 goes to the Bear Lake Cowl (Ravelry link) by Kacey Herlihy. This was a test knit, when I saw Kacey post the testing call I fell in love with this pretty cowl. And it came at the perfect time in my cowl/DK obession!

I’ve been wearing not only my Bear Lake Cowl but all of my knit cowls recently when cozying up at home!

I used KnitPicks Capra for this project. It was my first time using this yarn and definitely not the last. It is so cozy and warm, the squish factor is unreal.

New (FREE) Knits of Steele Design

I released a new free knitting pattern a couple weeks ago! Hazelnut Latte is a simple knit hat is a perfect wardrobe staple for Fall or Winter. I wrote about it on the blog when it was released, you can check that out here.

And you can download your free copy of Hazelnut Latte from my Ravelry store!

Other hobbies

Part of the reason that my WIPs have been so neglected in November is that I’ve been really enjoying some other hobbies outside of knitting this month.

I did A LOT of knitting in the first three quarters of 2020 and I’m not losing my mojo by any means, but I have taken some time to think about slowing down in the amount of projects I’m knitting. Running out of space in my closet…

Cross stich

Near the end of October I thought that I might enjoy Cross Stitch so I purchased some beginner friendly kits and my journey began. And I love it! Look out knitting…just kidding, knitting will always be my love/obsession but it’s nice to have some variation in crafts.

My first completed cross stitch. So proud of my little sour lemon – don’t look at the back 😉

I haven’t posted much about my cross stitching other than an Instagram story here and there when I’m popping in to give updates. I don’t intend for this to become a cross stitch blog LOL. But I do think I will write a post in the near future about getting started with cross stitch, what my experience was like and some tips for beginners, from a beginner.

I’m approaching my cross stitch journey way differently than my journey with knitting and I don’t think cross stitch will ever reach the same level for me as knitting has what with this blog and my Instagram account.

And that’s exactly how I want it! Posting about my knitting hasn’t taken away my love for it, but it has made that love different and I view cross stitch as a bit of an escape from that.

Gaming

Like many people I got really into Animal Crossing new Horizons during lockdown when it came out earlier this year. But over the past couple months my enthusiasm for the game was waning. And while I didn’t feel like I wanted to play, I was sad about that because it’s such a cute game and I was having a lot of fun.

In November I’m happy to say that my Animal Crossing motivation was back and I’ve had a lot of fun improving my island (hello five stars!) and making plans for cute little areas I want to create in the future.

Pikman

If you’re not familiar with Pikman it involves cute little creatures called, well Pikman! I had one of these games for my Nintendo DS and Matt surprised me with the new one for the Switch.

I just started so I’m not very far along, but this game is also going to be keeping me entertained when I’m not knitting!

Bugsnax

This game is the reason I have played on the new Playstation more than Matt has! It’s so cute.

You can check out the trailer here.

One of the reasons I am loving this game is the world is so whimsical and cute it’s nice to escape reality for a bit. And it’s like Pokemon, but sometimes I find Pokemon overwhelming, in Bugsnax it seems really do-able to actually catch all the critters.

Knitflix

This blog is already loooong enough so I’m going to try and keep the knitflix section short! Here are the shows, movies, podcasts I’ve been enjoying while I work on my knitting projects.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

If you have been following me on Instagram than you know that Buffy is my favourite show. At the beginning of lockdown I started a re-watch and it has taken me until now to finish it.

This was my first time watching the series beginning to end since I first watched it back in 2015. When Buffy aired I was too young for it and although I caught some of the later episodes on cable when I was older I didn’t really follow the series.

I’m a bit of a collector and I have way more Buffy stuff than I realized. When I dug out props for this photo I had totally forgotten about that colouring book!

Now that I’m finished the series I’m going on to read the comics which pick up where the show left off! And if I can get my hands on it, I’ll re-watch Angel which is a spinoff show.

Big Mouth

Matt and I love adult animation and after watching Archer a dozen times and finishing Rick & Morty we needed something new. With the 4th season of Big Mouth coming this week we figured it was a great time to get into this show.

This show is SUUUUUPER for adults only – very R rated and if a lot of sexual content is going to make you uncomfy I would avoid it. That being said it is hilarious and has had us laughing out loud and cringing all at the same time.

Wine and Crime Podcast

I used to be really into the podcast Wine & Crime (this is another one with graphic content for adults only), but with so many podcasts to keep up with, and not having a commute in 2020 I’ve fallen behind on episodes. Near the end of November I started listening again and now I’m working towards getting all caught up.

I really love the format of this podcast compared to other true crime shows, it’s broken down into segments with each host tackling the background of their topic or a case. And they have a wine pairing for every show!

That’s a wrap on November 2020! I’m not sure how this post got so long when I feel like I’ve hardly done any knitting…I hope you enjoyed it. Please share with me in the comments what you’ve been up to this month.

What’s coming up in December….I mean who knows, but I think I can say that the December Round-up will include a few words about chunky knits, a new cross stitch project or two, some Christmas knitflixes and maybe even an FO!

OH and my Christmas Eve cast-on because I already have that planned! Maybe I’ll even share some of my favourite cookie recipes here on the blog.

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FO Spotlight Tips

My First Afterthought Heel

There are a few things on my knitting bucket list from brioche to toe up socks and one of the techniques on that list was an afterthought heel on a pair of socks.

If you’re not familiar with the afterthought heel technique, basically you knit a sock tube with a cuff and toe, but no heel. Then when you’re done the sock you go back to place your heel by picking up stitches and…cutting into your knitting!!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The idea of cutting into your finished work can be kind of scary, in the whole afterthought heel process that’s what worried me the most. But after I learned how it’s done I saw it’s really not that scary at all!

About my socks!

Before getting into the technique, I want to share a bit about the yarn that I used for these socks.

I used Lion Brand Mani Pedi which has been in my stash for FOREVER in the colour Boot. I only used one 50g skein and I was expecting these to end up being shorter than they turned out, so I’m please how much leg I actually got out of just 50g.

I actually didn’t want the stripes to match on these socks, I was just aiming to use the full skein and so I didn’t care if they matched. And they ended up being exactly the same practically down to the stitch!

For the cuffs, heels, and toes I used Lion Brand Sock Ease in the colour Grape Soda which has also been in my stash for a while. I’ve used this yarn for cuffs, heels, and toes before.

Tutorials

I looked a quite a few tutorials and how-tos when I was preparing to start these socks and also when I was figuring out where to place my heel and how to pick up the stitches and cut my knitting.

The resource that I used most is this video tutorial from KirbyWirby. She takes you through the whole process of how she does her afterthought heels. I watched this video before I started my socks and then I watched it as I did the afterthought heel completing it step along with the video.

I watched the tutorial from KirbyWirby during the entire process. it was a huge help!

I also referenced these blog posts/articles about afterthought heels while I was trying to figure out where to place my heel.

Process

Because I knew I wanted to use as much of this 50g skein as possible, I weighed my skein as I knit. Once I was about 25g through the skein I started the toe on my first sock.

I did about 28g left to make sure I wouldn’t be cutting it too close I ended up with enough yarn leftover to put a square in my Coziest Memory Blanket (Ravelry link).

I knit both of my tubes before starting the heels so that when I measured and placed my markers I could be certain it was the same on each sock. I definitely didn’t want a pair of socks with different foot lengths!

For the heel I really just followed all of the steps from KirbyWirby’s tutorial.

For placing my heel I followed KirbyWirby’s instructions for measuring. My foot length is 9.5 inches (women’s size 8) and so I subtracted a quarter of an inch for a snug fit because you want some negative ease in your sock.

The toe of my socks were 1.75 inches. So 9.25″ – 1.75″ = 7.5″ from the tip of the sock toe to placing the heel.

Right after cutting and undoing the stitches in my first afterthought heel!

Once I knew where I was putting the heel it was pretty easy to count the stitches down the socks and place my markers. Although I have to admit my eyes were a bit sore after from looking at the tiny stitches for so long. Especially because I double and triple counted to make sure it was correct.

Challenges

The hardest part for sure for me was figuring out where to place the heel. I agonized over this part it probably took me longer to actually place the heel than it took to knit it LOL.

But I ended up following KirbyWirby’s instructions to the letter and it worked perfectly!

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Measure your foot from toe to heel – I also compared to my shoe size and how many inches it should be based on that to know my measurement was correct.
  2. Subtract a quarter inch to make sure you have a snug fit.
  3. Measure your sock’s toe from tip to start of decreases and subtract the length of your toe.
  4. Measure that length from the tip of your sock and that’s where you put your markers for your heel!

Would I do it again?

YES! Here’s what I love about the afterthought heel:

Compared to a short row heel it’s much cleaner especially if you follow the tips from KirbyWirby’s video tutorial for keeping the corners tight.

You can see in the picture above which is a short row heel done with the wrap and turn method that the heel is not as clean and there are small holes at the corners.

The afterhought heel has cleaner corners and no holes along the side.

The thing I love most about this method is that you can can just knit and knit and knit a tube without worrying about when you have to do the heel.

It’s great for knitting during movies or on the go. I’ve taken socks with me when I go camping and trying to do the heel while talking with friends or in the darkness around the campfire is the worst! But with afterthought heel I could easily knit up two sock tubes and not worry about heels at all.

Working on a heel flap during a camping trip last Summer!

And thirdly, because you’re knitting the heel in the round you can have a striped heel! When you do a short row heel or a heel flap your self-striping yarn won’t really follow the pattern in this area because it’s a smaller amount of stitches, so it ends up more colour blcoked than striped.

But with the afterthought heel you’re knitting the heel in the round, so you can get a fun self-striping heel. I’m planning to do this on an upcoming pair so follow my Instagram to see those when I knit them!

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FO Spotlight

FO Spotlight: Campside Cardi

Today I want to share some more information about my Campside Cardi.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

I had this pattern in my queue for a long time when I saw that Purl Together was hosting a Campside Cardi Knit-a-long! I had some Cotlin DK from KnitPicks left in my stash from my Daybreak tee, but I was a bit short on yardage.

I decided that I would go ahead and make the Campside Cardi out of this yarn and figured I’d just do short sleeves. But as it turns out I didn’t have to because I managed a full length sleeve and I still have about 300 yds left.

I’m not sure how that magic happened, but I’m happy that I was able to complete the full cardigan. A short sleeve version would have been nice, but the long sleeves make this a great layering piece for chilly summer nights.

This pomegranate colour is a bit out of character for me, I don’t really gravitate towards red. I was gifted a sweater’s quantity of this yarn from a friend who was de-stashing. And I’ve managed to get two garments out of it!

I’m not sure what I’ll do with the remaining yardage, maybe it’s enough for a My Little Secret Crop (that would be my third one!).

The Campside Cardi is part of a whole pattern line by Alicia Plummer. Each of the patterns includes this stunning eyelet lace pattern.

Sometimes I struggle with lace, but I found this project was a joy to knit and I love how the different lace sections come together to form the finished piece.

I tried out a new bind off technique for this project. The pattern recommends using a stretchy bind off, I wanted to make sure my collar and bottom edge weren’t scrunching up so I looked up the instructions for a stretchy bind off.

I ended up following this tutorial from Very Pink. It was so simple and I’ll definitely use this technique again when I need a stretchy bind off, especially for 2×2 ribbing.

I even used this bind off on the sleeves, I would typically do a tubular bind off on my sleeves, but I didn’t feel like doing the set up for 2×2 ribbing. I do feel that on the sleeves it’s a bit too loose and they flare out a bit. If I were to make this again I would do a regular bind off on the sleeves.

The Campside Cardi is a raglan construction, and I think I’m beginning to learn that I don’t love a raglan construction for a cardigan…this is my second raglan cardigan, I knit Harvest by Tin Can Knits about a year ago. I always had issues with my Harvest slipping down off of my shoulders and I just figured it was because it was heavy cotton and also it’s a bit too big. But I’m finding the Campside Cardi does the same, especially if I wear a tank top underneath.

But at least the slipping is not so bad with a t-shirt because of the friction, it’s actually much much better with a t-shirt. It’s a bit of a shame because I like to layer with tank tops, but that’s okay. I still love this sweater.

Cardigans are one of my favourite wardrobe pieces, they’re so cost and versatile. And I’m definitely putting a cardigan with set-in sleeves on my queue! Any suggestions?

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FO Spotlight

Perrin Cabled Scarf: FO Spotlight

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

Today the Finished Object Spotlight is on the Perrin Cabled Scarf, this is a knit gift for dad that I made for his birthday last year! 

Dad is all smiles posing in his Perrin Cabled Scarf!

You may recall that in honour of Mother’s Day I posted an FO round-up of the knitted gifts I’ve knit my mom over the years. And wow there was a lot, everything from socks to a knitted dinosaur. I haven’t knit my dad as many things (although he does have his own dinosaur), but as Father’s Day was last weekend I wanted to showcase his favourite handmade gift from me. 

Dad’s GIANT Ichthyosaurus (used bulky instead of sport…whoops)

The Perrin Cabled Scarf is designed by Leslie Alcock who is a fellow knitter and designer that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know through Instagram. Go give leslieslakelife a follow to keep up with her knitting and design adventures! 

This classic cabled scarf will suit anyone’s style and with the ability to use any colour combination you can dream up it will also suit every personality. It calls for worsted weight yarn and a US 10 needle size, which I found was a great gauge to work at.

Bold stripes, meditative garter and a cable detail make this a timeless scarf design

This would be a great first cable project for a beginner knitter and Leslie has even included tutorial photos in the pattern that show cabling step by step. 

The garter stitch is meditative while the striping pattern and cables keep the project engaging. It was such a joy to knit. And it’s definitely a pattern I will knit again! I’ve been thinking of making myself one out of some leftovers using a different colour for each section, maybe even doing some marling by holding lighter yarns double.  

I chose grey and black for my scarf as those are my dad’s favourite colours (very exciting right?! lol) but there’s nothing wrong with neutrals and the result with this pattern is an elegant scarf with a high contrast stripe that doesn’t feel overwhelming. 

I opted not to add any fringe or tassels, this scarf looks great with or without fringe! When I make one for myself I think I’ll probably add fringe.  

I couldn’t resist trying this scarf on before handing it over

I used Bernat Super Value for this project in the colours True Grey and Black. I chose this yarn because I wanted something that was going to be easy for my dad to take care of and would hold up over time. I wanted to make sure he felt like this was an item he could use every day in Winter, and not something delicate he could only pull out for a special occasion.  I also chose this yarn because it’s the suggested yarn for the pattern.

My dad absolutely loves this scarf and, as I think I’ve mentioned, so do I and I will definitely knit it again. Keep an eye out as the colder weather comes because you’ll probably see some posts from me about a scrappy marled version. 

You can check out the Perrin Cabled Scarf and Leslie’s other designs in her Ravelry store! And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram to keep up with what’s coming next!

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FO Spotlight

Mom is Knitworthy: FO Round Up

In honour of Mother’s Day this coming weekend I thought I would do a bit of an FO Roundup of knitted gifts that I’ve made my mom! My mom is really knitworthy and she’s one of the only people I knit gifts for.

If you follow me on Instagram then you’re familiar with her. This is Brenda!

Okay…Here’s a nice one…also an old one, clearly mom and I need to step up our selfie game!

Mother and daughter smile at the camera, wearing Winter jackets and scarves,
A picture of mom and I enjoying a walk from a few years ago

The first gift I ever made for my mom is this cute little dinosaur. I went through a whole dinosaur knitting phase, and I actually have a couple long-abandoned dino WIPS…I should pick those back up!

A purple and green knit Mesosaurus on a white blanket

Mom keeps her on the bed with her decorative pillows. Her name is Debbie the Dino. Debbie is a Mesosaurus knit from Knitted Dinosaurs by Tina Barret.

The second gift was this cowl. I made this many years later when I picked my knitting back up in 2017.

A woman smiles at the camera wearing a winter coat and a red, pink and grey striped knit cowl
Mom wearing her striped ribbed cowl at the mall in 2017

I used Caron Cakes, I think this colour is Red Velvet. It’s just a simple 5×5 rib pattern. This was right at the beginning of my Instagram career so of course, we had to do a photoshoot with this Christmas decor at the mall!

mother and daughter smile at the camera in front of a gold decorative background

I didn’t knit this hat specifically for her, or for anyone. It was just part of my Braided Cable Beanie obsession! But she took a liking to it so I gifted it to her in 2018, complete with a faux fur pom pom.

A knit striped hat in red and purple tones on a white background

Unfortunately, I don’ have any pictures of her actually wearing it!! This is also knit with Caron Cakes, but the Chunky kind.

What else is there…birthday socks!! Okay, I’ve knit way more things for her than I thought I keep remembering more as I go.

These are the Shag Carpet Shorties by Nicole Bracey. It’s one of my absolute favourite sock patterns. I’ve written a whole blog post about the Shag Carpet Shorties, it really reads more like a gushy love letter I love them so much!

Hand knit socks with an intricate cable in beige yarn
Close up of the beige version I knit my mom

When she asked for a sweater for Christmas in 2019 how could I say no?! I let her pick the style out of a few options I already had in my Ravelry library and she picked The Weekender by Andrea Mowry. But I kept the colour a complete surprise!

Read my The Weekender FO Spotlight (you haven’t already) for the project details! This is my favourite project for my mom, and I think it’s probably her favourite too. Just look at that happy face.

A white woman stands against a grey wall wearing a green knit sweater

…and I love it too. It was hard to give it up!! I’m definitely going to knit myself one.

A young white female takes a selfie in the mirror wearing a green knit sweater

Most recently I knit her a pair of Bun Bun Slippers for her birthday which was a couple weeks ago in April. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown, I haven’t been able to give them to her yet, but I know she’s looking forward to cozy feet!

A pair of red knit bunny slippers on a comforter

These slippers are really cute, I have a pair that I made myself and I’m planning to make a few more to use up some of my Thick & Quick stash.

Well, that’s it…I think…al the things I’ve made my mom. As you can see she’s very knitworthy and she appreciates and loves every piece. Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I haven’t picked out my gift…I guess it’s time to hit Ravelry!