Categories
Musings

Knitting Goals 2020 Check-in

I can’t believe that we’re already in July of 2020! I wanted to take this opportunity halfway through the year to post an update on the knitting goals that I posted about earlier in January. I’ve made some good progress, but there are definitely areas where I need to step it up.

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 didn’t include this in my January blog, but I just passed a knitting milestone for 2020!

At the beginning of the year, I set my project goal at 23 projects. In 2019 I completed 22 projects, so 23 was a one project increase. Well, halfway through the year and I’ve completed 25 projects. WOW!

I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have any plans for a few months. I still have quite a few projects in the queue for 2020 so who knows how many I will end up completing. 

Here is an update on the goals I wrote about earlier this year:

Colours

One of the goals I set was around colours, specifically doing more colourwork projects and using more bright colours in my knitting. I love bright pinks and teals, but I have tended to lean towards a lot of navy blue in my knit wardrobe. 

I recently completed my Sonya Tee which is the most complicated colourwork project that I have done so far and I love how it turned out. 

I purchased the blue/purple colour which is Magician from Sweet Georgia back in 2018 and then it took me a while to choose a contrast colour. I have a terrible time choosing contrasting colours and I was going to use a neutral like a grey colour, but I wanted something that was going to be a bit more dramatic. 

So I used a colour wheel and picked orange as a contrast colour and then found this beautiful soft orange called Peachy which is also from Sweet Georgia. I will definitely use a colour wheel next time I’m having trouble picking colours!

I also recently finished my Campside Cardi in this pomegranate red which is a colour that is way outside of my comfort zone, this is one of only two red items in my closet!

And I haven’t just been using bright colours I’ve been reaching into some lighter coloured neutrals as well. I’ve just started swatching for my Simone Pullover and I’m using a taupe-y grey colour which is a colour I have never used before. 

Scrappy Projects

Another one of my goals was to knit more scrappy projects to use up the bits and pieces I have leftover from other projects. 

I have a Coziest Memories Blanket that I started in August of 2019 to use up leftovers from socks. But I wanted something a bit more because I only use about half a 100g skein to make socks so that leaves quite a bit leftover for scrappy knitting. 

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown Jessie Mae launched a free KAL for the My Little Secret Crop. I finished two of these using leftover fingering weight held double. 

For the first one I did a marled fade starting with two yarns held double, fading into the second colour held double and then fading into a third colour at the top. 

The second one I used some leftover self-striping sock yarn from Nomadic Yarns held double with another fingering weight yarn. I love the way this one turned out and the striping became almost a variegated colour over the full circumference of the top.

I cleaned up my yarn and realized that I have quite a bit of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick scraps. So I’ve been brainstorming ways to use these up, you may have seen my Free Scrappy Knit Coasters Pattern. Stay tuned for more patterns and ideas for using up super bulky scraps. 

Stashbusting

This is one of the most challenging goals that I set – not buying yarn!! And I think I did pretty good, but not perfect. 

I’ve used up a lot of scraps in the projects I mentioned above and I stashed down in about 11 projects this year and I have purchased two sweater quantities of yarn and some other single skeins here and there. 

I still have quite a few projects to knit from stash before I go too wild buying more yarn!

Designing and Pattern Releases

I’m doing pretty well on this goal, between paid-for and free patterns I’ve released X patterns in 2020. You can view all my designs here on Ravelry.

I have two sock designs in the works, one of which I’ve been sitting on for about a month trying to build the confidence to send it out for testing! I am hoping to get out these sock patterns this Summer, I’m planning to seek a tech editor to make sure that my sock formatting is up to snuff. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the two designs:

I have quite a few ideas floating around so stay tuned as the colder weather comes because I’ll likely have a couple of patterns out this Fall!

Categories
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!

Categories
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!

Categories
Tips

Digital Tools for Knitting

Obviously, knitting originated before the time we had the internet and computers. But just as knitwear styles have kept up with the latest trends, knitting has also kept up with the latest technologies and there are many digital tools for knitting or ones that can be used for knitting.

You know, as a millennial I need to bring a little bit of digital into every I do. So I wanted to share with you some of the online tools I use in partnership with my knitting.

A white hand holds two knitting needles with white and blue knitting hanging off, on top of a white desk, a keyboard is in the background
Digital tools like these can really help enhance your knitting experience

I’m focusing here on the tools I use as a hobby knitter and not the tools I use on the business side of Knits of Steele. That will be a separate post, although I do touch on some of them here and there is overlap.

Ravelry

If you’re not already using Ravelry you are missing out!! This is the greatest online resource for knitters.

Ravelry is a really huge database of knitting patterns, and it’s also a great tool for connecting with your fellow knitters and planning and tracking your projects and your stash. There are so many features I’m sure I’m not even taking advantage of all of them.

How I use Ravelry

  • To search for and purchase patterns
  • Favourite patterns to keep track of things I’d like to knit when I need ideas (as if I’d ever run out)
  • Queue up the patterns I’ve purchased in the order I want to knit them
  • Track my WIPs and FOs and keep pattern notes, really helpful for socks and mittens so for the second one I can remember what I did
  • Connect with other knitters through groups
  • See projects for certain patterns or yarns the notes other knitters make are really helpful 
  • To sell patterns of course!

What’s great about Ravelry

  • Totally free!! 
  • Biggest pattern database out there
  • They stand against discrimination in our community and ensure a safe space
  • And I don’t use this feature because I’m too unorganized, but you can track your stash and search for yarns 

Click here to check out my Ravelry page, projects and add me as a friend!!

Young white woman wearing an orange knit hat poses in front of trees with yellow leaves
Let’s be friends!

 

Google Drive 

If you haven’t heard of Google I don’t know what to tell you! So I don’t think much intro is needed here. 

If you haven’t heard of Google Drive it’s part of Google’s suite if free cloud based programs. If you have a Gmail address you have Google drive! 

How I use Google Drive

  • To store patterns I’m working on. It’s great because there’s no need to print and can access from all my devices if I need to check a stitch count quickly I just open it on my phone or I can read my pattern off my phone while I’m knitting on the go.
  • To write my patterns and blog posts. I’m writing this post write now on Google docs on the subway and I’ll finish it up on my computer when I get home.

What’s great about Google Drive

  • It’s free up to a certain amount of space (it’s tons of space) and if you’re using Google you already have it.
  • You can access anywhere from any device, and there’s a mobile app.
  • It’s cloud-based so no need to worry about losing your patterns and documents if your computer crashes.

Using Google drive has really simplified my knitting and has allowed me to take advantage of commute time to work on my patterns and blog. 

Trello

Trello is a web-based project management app and the free version offers all the features you need to use it to organize your knitting. I was introduced to Trello at my old job where we used it as a team to manage our projects.

You can set up multiple boards, and within the boards you have lists and cards that you use to organize your tasks. You can set deadlines, add labels and to-do lists and lots of notes. 

Picture of Trello card, yarn quantities and a check list of knitting steps are listed
Here’s one of my cards, I’m using it to plan my yarn for For Fox Sake by Maxim Cyr

How I use Trello for my knitting

  • Track my queue because I’m able to add additional information and notes that aren’t available in Ravelry. I can add notes for how much yarn I need for my size, links to the yarn and comparing prices. And I set up a checklist for each project.
  • Track custom orders. During the holidays I take customs to make a little extra money for Christmas presents and Trello helps me track when orders are due and how much people owe me.
  • I also use this for my blog content and patterns to (try to) stay on track and plan out a few months in advance.
  • I use it on the go if a pattern idea strikes me I can jot it down in my pattern ideas list, and you can attach photos so I can attach a picture of my sketch and not worry about losing it!

Why Trello is great

  • Freeeee 
  • Another one that is cloud based and accessible from anywhere. There is a great mobile app. 

Instagram

I use Instagram for the “business side” of Knits of Steele, of course, to grow my audience and promote my blog and patterns. But Instagram is also a huge part of my hobby knitting. 

Instagram is one of my fave digital tools for knitting, it’s where I got started with Knits of Steele way back in 2017. I know it’s weird to think of it as a “tool”, but I think it is. 

A striped shawl in warm pink and brown tones lies on a light hardwood floor
My first Instagram post from October 2017

How I use Instagram

  • To connect with all of you! 
  • I love sharing what I’m working in and it’s the best place to see the hottest upcoming patterns and follow dyers and designers.
  • I use my feed to show off pretty knitting and my stories to give more of a behind the scenes look at my day-to-day.

Why Instagram is great

  • Free (are you noticing a trend?)
  • Connect with other knitters and see beautiful knitting pictures but also behind the scenes.
  • Use hashtags to follow the trends you like, there are tags for certain patterns, yarns and designers.
  • Make sure you’re following #knitupjoy and #knitsofsteele to see my posts on Insta 🙂 

If you’re not already following me on Insta click here!

 

Well there you have it. 4 of the digital tools I use to enhance my knitting experience as a hobby knitter. Stay tuned for more of how I use these tools and more on the business end of Knits of Steele.

Categories
FO Spotlight

Shag Carpet Shorties

Seeing as I wore my Shag Carpet Shorties this week and fell in love with them all over again I figured I’d feature them in today’s FO Spotlight!

Close up picture of feet in red hand knit socks, legs are crossed at the ankles
My Shag Carpet Shorties knit in December of 2018

I want to apologize in advance about the passionate shouty caps in this post, but I just love these socks so dang much. 

The pattern is by Nicole of Woolfield. Nicole has tons of great sock and accessory patterns, I have many of her sock patterns and they’re some of my faves, you should definitely check her out. And her Instagram is beautiful!!! It’s a pink and purple pastel dream.

6 pairs of hand knit socks of different colours laid out overlapping on a bedspread.
These are all my Woolfied socks!

I knit these socks in December 2018, they were my second pair of socks ever! 

So of course as you can see the cabling on these socks is GORGEOUS. And this being only my second pair of socks I was a bit nervous about doing an intricate cable, but Nicole’s pattern writing is so clear and an easy to follow it was really no problem.

The yarn is a cotton-nylon blend I bought from Knit Picks – looks like they don’t have it anymore, I couldn’t find it on their site to link. 

Because I was new to sock knitting, I was not aware cotton isn’t the best for socks. But honestly, I haven’t had an issue with them. I’ve knit three pairs total, the other two as gifts, all in the same yarn and they turned out great and have held up over many many wears.

This red is so vibrant it was perfect for a pair of December socks, sock #2 was my Christmas eve cast on that year. The cables really pop in this bright colour, but they also look great in neutral tones. The pair I knit my mom for her birthday is a soft beige colour and they look so elegant! 

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

 

I can also picture these socks being so so so PRETTY in pink. Definitely thinking I need to make a pink pair….

Other than being pretty to look at, these socks are COMFY. They feel like an absolute hug on your feet, I love DK weight socks for this reason. I love that Nicole chose to design these in DK I think it really gives a nice weight to the cables of course and the squish factor is unreal. 

Close up picture of feet in red hand knit socks, legs are crossed at the ankles
Are you tired of seeing my feet yet?

What more is there to say? I love cables, I love socks, I love DK socks, I love shorty socks. I love Nicole’s patterns. I just love everything about the Shag Carpet Shorties. I’m definitely planning to make another pair this year in merino/nylon blend when I finish stash busting.

I hope you enjoyed reading this absolute love letter to the Shag Carpet Shorties and maybe you’ll even knit your own pair!