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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! 

Categories
Musings

2020 Knitting Goals

Hi Friends! 

As we just entered a new year (and a new decade – I can’t believe it), I wanted to share my 2020 knitting goals. 

I know that a lot of people create a Make 9 for their knitting goals, but the Make 9 isn’t really my thing. I tried it last year and I found that it felt restrictive and it left me feeling guilty if I made something that wasn’t part of the 9. So I tossed the whole thing out the window.

This year, I’m focusing on broader goals like certain colours, techniques and types of projects, with some specific projects included as well. And I have some goals relating to my own designs.

I think I’ll do a follow-up post – maybe a video so I can show off the yarn – about the specific patterns and yarns I want to knit up in 2020!

So here we go:

Colours

This year is going to be a big year of colour work for me, I have a few stranded colourwork sweaters in my Ravelry queue. And I have a few faded projects in mind as well, I’ve never knit a fade before so I’m excited about that!

Last year I feel like I knit a lot of darker colours and neutrals. I’ve started some projects recently that have pinks, and nice teals – I’m really into the dark grey and greens/blues combination in my Overlander Shawl.

A grey and green knit shawl in progress with the fingers from a hand holding a new ball ready to be joined
A progress pic of my Overlander Shawl with the third colour ready to be added

These are the types of colours I’d like to keep working with this year. And I think that at the end of the year they’d all work nicely together in a scrappy project like an AquaMarline, pattern by Park Williams. Which brings be to my next goal…

Scrappy projects

Last summer I started a Coziest Memory Blanket to use up the scraps from my sock knitting, I knit a lot of socks last year! And I really loved the opportunity to use up those leftovers in a fun way. 

A Caucasian hand holds two knitting needles working on a patchwork blanket
The most recent progress photo of my Coziest Memory Blanket

This year I’d like to do something similar with my scraps that aren’t sock weight, like the AquaMarline or the Home Sweet Home Formula by Tina Tse, maybe both. It depends on how much knitting I get done!

Stash busting

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having a large stash! But for me, having a lot of yarn and projects on my queue is a source of anxiety. I look at all of the yarn and I just see the projects unfinished and it’s overwhelming. 

An orange cat curled up on a comforter with a pink skein of yarn in front of it
This pretty skein from Hello Stella is one of my last yarn purchases of 2019

This year I want to clean up my stash and complete the projects that I already have yarn for first. Then I’ll move onto pattern stash busting and knit through the things on my Ravelry queue that I don’t have yarn for yet.

The goal here is to enter 2021 without an overwhelming yarn stash and Rav queue! Is it too soon to be talking about 2021?!

Designing and pattern releases 

I have so many ideas for designs that I just need to sit down and knit up. As well as a couple that I’ve fully written and just didn’t have the confidence to put through testing and release. 

So my goal is to get through some of these. I’m not going to put a number on how many I’m going to release or put too much pressure on myself, but there are 5 or 6 patterns that I hope to release in 2020. And I have yarn for all of these! So that’s also stash busting.

Some of these new designs will be free on the blog and others will go up in my Ravelry store

Young Caucasian woman wearing a blush pink knit infinity scarf
The Luxurious Velvet Infinity Scarf can be found free on the blog

 

So there they are, those are my knit goals for 2020. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I’ll be focusing on this year, and maybe took some inspiration for your own goals.

 

Categories
FO Spotlight

The Weekender – FO Spotlight

Today’s FO Spotlight, and the very first FO Spotlight, is on the sweater that I knit my mom for Christmas. My mom knew she was getting a sweater, and she picked the pattern – out of a selection of what I had in my library. I wanted to make sure it was an item she would wear and love, and I needed her measurements of course!  And she chose The Weekender by Andrea Mowry

I gave it to her on Christmas and she was thrilled. She put it on right away!

IMG_20191225_170546-01

I kept the colour a secret from her so that there would be some element of surprise. And I blocked her from Insta to make sure she didn’t get any sneak peeks while I worked on it. I used Cascade 220 superwash in the colour Shire from Yarn Canada.

I chose this yarn because I wanted something that was going to be durable and easy for her to care for. And also something that wouldn’t break the bank, because listen I love my mom but Christmas is expensive already and I really needed a value yarn. 

Now onto the pattern. 

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern, although it did take me a bit of time to get started. Not any fault of the pattern, but I had to start over three times, I read the needle size wrong, the measurements wrong…it took me two weeks, maybe longer to finally get through the ribbing. 

I really was worried that I wouldn’t finish in time. But luckily, this sweater is a joy to knit. The right side texture of reverse stockinette is so beautifully simple, but the sweater is knit inside out so you get all the mindless knit stitches that you want. While the seam up the centres of the front and back keeps you engaged. 

The only modifications that I made were to speed up the last sleeve decrease by a few rows because I was running out of length before the ribbing. And I didn’t do the tubular cast on because after I had to start the sweater over twice, I just couldn’t be bothered with it. So I did a long tail cast on and I don’t think it’s had a negative effect on the garment overall.

IMG_20191224_133642-01
The ribbed texture on the shoulders and the drop shoulder has got to be my favourite feature of this sweater!

Let’s talk about the fit! I thought “wow 10 inches is a lot of positive ease”, but it is so comfy and flowy and the fit is perfect. After a good block the shape of the sweater really came through. 

I tried it on several times and I was so in love, and I don’t know…if my mom didn’t know she was getting it for Christmas I just might have kept it for myself. Lucky for my mom, she’s very knitworthy. 

I am planning to make a Weekender for myself. I’m not sure what yarn I’m going to use, but I know I want a heathered grey colour. As far as modifying the pattern further for my second go, I plan on making the back hem a little bit longer to exaggerate the split hem.

If you’re looking for a really comfy sweater that’s simple, but with nice details, The Weekender is a great choice.