Off the Needles || Twenty Ten Cardigan

It feels good to be finishing up some projects again!  Things have been a little hectic around here, and I have a couple of projects going that still need to be shared.  This is one that I finished a few months ago and just recently sewed the buttons onto.  It may finally be worn instead of draping over my studio chair looking pretty!  The pattern is Twenty Ten Cardigan by Veera Valimaki, knitted in Knit Picks Billow yarn in the Turmeric colorway.  The finished garment turned out a little large, but I expected it to be a little oversized since the gauge of the yarn I used was slightly larger than that of the yarn the pattern called for.  By the way, everything I said in my previous post about Billow-- I still mean it.  This cardigan is so soft, and the moss stitch pattern has beautiful definition. I would love to use it again for a different project, especially with all of the gorgeous colors available.
Lastly, I feel like I just need to say something about this wall.  Wow!  Part of me felt like I was standing beside Frida Kahlo's La Casa Azul (or at least I was wishing it was), and the other part was feeling nostalgic for sidewalk chalk from back in the day.  I've been eyeing this building for a while, wanting to get FO photos there and the contrast with the turmeric shade was just right.
That's the final pattern from my Veera Valimaki project rule of threes!  Which designer should I move on to next?






dress - Old Navy; brown flats - Target, head scarf - thrifted

Off the Needles || Still Light Tunic

Still Light Tunic-- the "third heat" (so to speak) in my Rule of Threes, Veera Valimaki edition.  (First: Whispers, Second: Twenty Ten).  This pattern sat on my queue for a couple of years before I started working on it this past summer.  I'm always hesitant when it comes to straight figured dresses, because they often tend to catch in the wrong places which just leads to annoyance and discomfort.  I'm glad I decided to go ahead and cast on this project though, because despite my initial doubts the fit actually flatters.
Another fingering weight, stockinette project, it takes a while to feel like you're really getting anywhere, but it's also a pretty easy, mindless pattern that doesn't take much concentration.  The deep front pockets are a nice feature that make me reminisce on the days when I lived in hoodies.  The pattern recommends that you stitch them in place, but I decided not to do this and have had no problems with the pockets riding up.
My favorite aspect of the design is the boatneck - I would love to make a normal length sweater with this construction.  Instead of using a button at the top of the keyhole in the center of the back of the neck, I stitched it together.  My only other modification was in needle size.  I had a hard time finding the US 2.5 size of needle when I was about to start the project, so I swatched with a size US 2 instead and based on my swatch determined that I could knit the Small size of the pattern to fit.  After blocking, it turned out just right!
I used Knit Picks Gloss in the Robot colorway.  The yarn is 70% wool, making for a warm and cozy garment, plus 30% silk.  I wore it on Christmas Eve in a room full of my huge family and about burned up!  It's funny looking at the pattern page now, because I somehow unconsciously chose a yarn color and styled my outfit for the photos to look pretty much the same as the model.  It seemed like a good idea to make a neutral colored garment for once, so I can pair my brightly colored accessories with it!  I've been a colored tights girl since college, but don't have much of an opportunity to wear them anymore so I'll embrace it when I can!
So, which designer would you pick for a Rule of Threes?

Off the Needles || Whispers

The lack of On My Needles/Off The Needles posts would lead one to assume that I have abandoned knitwear as of late, but it's quite the contrary... Aside from a recent need to disconnect a little bit and center myself, it's just been a little hard lately to get in knitwear photoshoots for a number of circumstances. This project has been bound off, finished and blocked for a couple of months now, and draped over the back of my studio chair along with a couple of other FOs.  The bad part about this habit is that I never wear a piece until after I've gotten photos (to hell with wrinkles!) and given that it's the middle of January I'm not really in the best season for this sort of top, now am I?  It's the perfect piece to break out as soon as spring arrives, though, so I will eagerly await that moment --- just as I eagerly await seeing daylight after 7:30 PM.
This is Whispers, my first Veera Valimaki project.  Oddly enough, the two other FOs hanging out in my studio at the moment were both also designed by her... both of which will have posts coming up in the next couple of weeks.  I find that this garment is very flattering and comfortable to wear, especially with the length that I added to it.  Although, it's been so long since I made this and I did not make note of it in the previous post, I cannot remember exactly how much I added on! (Sorry to you prospective knitters, if that's something you were wondering about).  The split sleeves are a fun and interesting touch.
I wrote about the gradient yarn in my previous post about this project -- Black Trillium Lilt Sock Gradient kit in plum.  I do want to reiterate that the brilliant idea of using an ombre yarn for this particular pattern was not my own.  Cassy of Knitthehellout did it first, and truth be told her project is what sold me on this pattern in the end.  Kudos, Cassy!  If you're a fan of knitting blogs I highly suggest checking hers out.

New Pattern || Exoskeleton

This pattern has been a long time coming, so to say I'm excited to finally release it is an understatement.   I experimented with elongated stitch a few years ago, which involves a series of drop stitches creating the unique oval texture you see in the body of the shawl.  The entire time I was knitting it I kept thinking of watching roly polys (or doodle bugs, everyone has their own name for them) in my back yard as a kid.  The crossing and length of the stitches in this pattern reminded me of their little shells, their exoskeletons.  Thus, the origin of the name, Exoskeleton.  While I chose the name based on an association with the stitch pattern, I think a shawl in itself is a sort of second skin, another layer of protection and warmth.

Thank you to my lovely friend Jenna for modeling for me, despite the fact that it took me over a year to put the photos to use.  Cheers to shawl season!

On My Needles || Still Light Tunic

It seems like I've had a slew of "On My Needles" posts lately, but have a stack of finished projects in my studio just waiting for a photo shoot to wrap them up.  One of my plans for this weekend is to work on getting images of some finished pieces, so by next week you should be seeing completed projects instead of just those that are in progress!
This is my Still Light tunic, designed by Veera Valimaki.  I had never made anything she designed before Whispers, so it's funny that the very next thing I cast on was this project.  It's been on my queue for a couple of years now, and I actually bought the pattern back in 2012 or 2013, so I felt like it was time.
The yarn is Knit Picks Gloss in the Robot colorway.  I normally like vibrant colors for my knitwear projects, but this time I decided that I need a neutral piece in my wardrobe.  Plus, I also love brightly colored and patterned tights, and this would be perfect to wear with those.  My gauge was a little smaller than what the pattern called for, so I added in some repeats and length, which i will go into in further detail on my final post.
Overall, this pattern entails a ton of stockinette.  It's knitted top down, a really simple construction, and is great for mindless/meditative knitting (my favorite kind!).  The space above the pockets sort of balloons out, and then comes back in.  It looks like a flattering fit in the pattern photos… we shall see.  As long as the form turns out right it will be a perfect, cozy layering piece for the fall and winter months with a soft blend of wool and silk.
I just have a few more inches of stockinette stick along the bottom to go, then the ribbed edge, sleeves and pockets.  Maybe by Halloween there will be something to show for it...

On My Needles || Whispers

I feel like I should state up front: this was not at all an original idea.  The Whispers pattern by Veera Valimaki has been floating around in the back of my head, appealing to the part of my brain that regulates "start-itis" since it appeared on Ravelry one day.  It's an adorable, feminine pattern that's great for the changing of the seasons (or even summertime, if you use some plant-based fiber).  I was sold on the prospect of making one for myself after I saw Cassy's project on Knitthehellout.  She used this gorgeous ombre dyed yarn by Black Trillium Fibres on Etsy, and I couldn't stop looking at the FO, it was so pretty.  I went online to check out the shop and ended up buying myself a 31st birthday present of the Lilt sock gradient kit in plum and downloaded the pattern.  Normally, I'm not one to copycat, but I give Cassy full credit for this brilliant idea and hope that mine turns out half as great as hers did.  Truth be told, it's already bound off and waiting for blocking - hopefully I can get some finished photos in the next few weeks!

We're nearing the beginning of Autumn here in Oklahoma, which is music to my ears!  Today is supposed to be the last miserably hot day before we get hit with a couple of cold fronts that should keep us in pleasant territory for a while.  This means it's hiking season again!  I'm excited to get in a little outdoors time this weekend.  What are your favorite things to do during the transition of seasons?

Off the Needles || Featherweight Cardigan

Phase four in my saga of Hannah Fettig patterns.  This cardigan was knit with lace weight yarn.  Yes, lace weight!  It certainly lives up to its name, however, as it's light as a feather.  Featherweight.  As I've said with all of these Knitbot projects, despite the small gauge the stockinette pattern makes it a breeze to get through.
I added an inch to the body length since I'm not a big cropped top type of person, though it's still not what I would call a "long" garment by any means.  Perfect for a high waisted skirt or perhaps worn over a tunic, however.  I had to block it a little more aggressively than usual to stretch the arms a little, because initially they turned out a little tight.  The cardigan is fitted, but has great drape so it's not the sort of piece that I feel like I'll be tugging on all the time or uncomfortable in by any means.  This will more than likely go into my bank of repeatable patterns and eventually I'd like to have one or two more in solid colors!
The final comment I have about this project is related to my folly in recognizing that my yarn came in different dye lots.  I was halfway through the first sleeve before I noticed that the yarn used for the body was much duller than the rest which had more of a chestnut hue (the living room where I mostly knit is rather dim…)  Since both sleeves were knit with this other dye lot, it turned out rather symmetrical and to be honest I don't really even notice the difference much.  Sigh of relief!

Top - Loft; Skirt - Forever 21


On My Needles || Toulouse

The moment I spotted Toulouse by Leah Thibault in Knit Scene last year, I knew that I HAD to make one.  Maybe it's because I had a mean case of hat envy (seriously, I love floppy hats but hats just tend to look terrible on me), but I think it had more to do with the beautiful reminiscence of vintage blouses incorporated through the neckline tie.  The tie is what did it - the tie.  I can't believe I went all this time without expediting this project to the top of my queue, but here we are and maybe it's a good thing... the anticipation has just made it that much sweeter.
One thing I should point out is how vibrant, yet earthy and neutral the yarn color is.  I'm lucky enough to have a mom who is even more into knitting than I am - I'm a fledgling in comparison, as she's been a serious knitter since her teens.  Anyway, one of the really cool parts about having a mom who knits is her exuberant yarn stash... and the opportunity to every once in a while take some of it off of her hands.  Such was the case with this yarn - some supremely soft Cascade Alpaca Lana D'Oro.  Thanks, Mom!
I was about halfway done with the body when I took these photos the other day, but at this present moment I'm working on the bottom ribbing section and may even get to move on to the sleeves tonight!  More top-down, seamless, easy stockinette knitting.  The project has gone really quickly and considering how long I've waited on making it, that's a great thing!  You'll likely see an Off the Needles post for this baby soon.
Also on the finishing list is Cardoon, which has but one sleeve left to be seamed and set in.  And maybe one day I'll get to unpack all of my studio boxes, find my Lanesplitter skirt and a strip of elastic and get that one out of the black hole that is my unfinished objects list too.  Another day...

Off the Needles || Color Craving

Top - Athleta, Skirt - thrifted, Tights - Target, Shoes - Minnetonka, Shawl - Color Craving by Stephen West knitted with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine
Since Momentum Tulsa ended, I've been trying to knock out all of my pending projects so I can start anew once we move.  There are a couple I've started on that haven't even been shared in an On My Needles post.  Soon!
Despite falling about a month behind, I continued with Color Craving using the mystery KAL instructions (although if you're interesting in knitting this pattern it is now released in its entirety on Ravelry.  Color Craving was designed by the talented Stephen West, and this is the second shawl of his that I've made (the first was Daybreak).
I'm not sure if I got too hasty in trying to finish this up or if I got distracted by the sob-fest that was my Parenthood Season 4 marathon on Netflix a few weeks back... but my stitch count was waaayyyyyy off on clues 2, 3 and 4.  Because of my determination to get this dang thing finished, I decided that fewer repeats would not change the appearance of the piece that much beyond the size so I just winged it and did as many as I could before running out of stitches on the short rows.  I think it turned out fine and I'm happy with the size, so no harm done.  Isn't it nice when accidental modifications work out?
Being the Ultra Alpaca fan that I am, I used some jewel tones in the Fine gauge, and man is this shawl ever cozy.  The breeze was a little crisp when I was taking the photos, but my arms were nice and warm underneath the shawl.  The large end is wide enough that it makes a really great hood/head wrap (as you can see below... too far?)

On My Needles || Ines

It feels like an eternity since the last On My Needles post, but to be honest there just hasn't been much time for any "just for fun" garment knitting this summer.  I picked up the Manos del Uruguay Design Team's Serena - Collection 1 booklet at my local yarn store a few years back, around the time that I was drooling over a lot of knits but not really making many of them.  The top on the cover, Ines, has been on my wish list since that time - there are several eye catching knits in the booklet, but this one grabbed my attention as soon as I glanced at it and was pretty much my reason for the purchase.
In looking for a summery piece of knitwear, I decided to seize the opportunity and cast this one on.  The thing is, however, that Oklahoma summers are ridiculously hot.  The yarn this pattern calls for is mostly alpaca, and that just wouldn't do at all.  While alpaca is one of my favorite fibers to work with it's just not suitable for a short sleeved top in the Lower Midwest.  I decided to go with Knit Picks Swish worsted, in Macaw, an EXTREMELY summery color, in all its glory.  It reminds me of cool grass.  Cool grass distracts me from gross, humid heat.  As does the cotton/Modal fiber it's made of - oh, beautiful, breathable, drapey yarn!  Plus, it's soft.  And... let's be honest.  I'm a tree hugger.  A tree hugger's favorite color is almost always green.  My gauge is slightly smaller than what the pattern calls for, but with the amount of ease provided in the pattern I'm thinking it will be okay- just a little more fitted.
Thus far, I've finished the front piece and am working on the bottom edge of the back.  If I dedicated this week to it, I could probably finish.  There are other projects that require my attention, however, so that daydream has to go on the shelf for a bit.  Just like stitching in the elastic for my Lanesplitter skirt, another knitwear project that's been collecting cobwebs.  Just because I haven't been working on things for myself, however, does not mean that all knitwear has been pushed to the side.  Part of that time has been dedicated to finalizing some original patterns that will hopefully be released in a few weeks!  Linger nearby, my dear knitters.  More on this soon.




On My Needles || Lanesplitter

 My LYS recently started a knit-along of the Lanesplitter skirt, which I was of course ecstatic to join in on despite my already never ending list of projects.  Loops in Tulsa is one of my fave yarn stores in the state, and it's also probably one of the hippest yarn stores I've ever been to... right up there with Purl Soho.  It's pretty great. Also, when I say "local" yarn store, I mean like 90 miles away local.  And when I say "knit along", I mean that I'm following the Ravelry thread and staying in the "loop" that way (see what I did there?).  So anyway, I haven't done any of their KAL's before and it seemed like a great opportunity to try out a type of garment I haven't knitted before... and here I am.  My progress has been gradual... very gradual... but I got it out for just a little while on our cabin getaway this past weekend.  And oh, the yarny, naturey bliss that was had by this fair cotton garment...
Sure, the porch is nice... but let's take it down to the creek bank, shall we?
Moss and more moss... a view of a stream...
What one wouldn't give to wander off into forested oblivion... forever...
Two balls of yarn, destined for adventure...
Two balls of yarn, facing the future with boldness.  Where no yarn has gone before....
Aaaaaaaaaannnnnnnndddddd I'm done.  But really, who doesn't want that?


On My Needles || Hitchhiker

The Instagram-alongers Ravelry group has been working on Hitchhiker, a shawl by Martina Behm this month.  My progress on it is slow, but since it IS something I've been working on gradually, I thought I would share it.  Partly because I like my progress photos.  The shawl looks complicated, but it's actually a really easy pattern to memorize.  I ended up using some Bare Merino Knit Picks yarn that was in my stash for the project.  Since I do still have an aspiration to knit socks this year I just couldn't let any of my Malabrigo Sock yarn go for this one.  I'm tempted to try dyeing the bare garment once it's finished, but this would be my first dye attempt and who knows how that could turn out?  If anyone has experience with dyeing knitted garments as opposed to roving and has comments on the differences in results, please let me know!


Off the Needles || Palladio

I figured I should post a finished object so I can prove that I have in fact been knitting all these winter months... Really, I have.  Fingering weight sweaters just take such a dang long time!

Palladio is a beautifully romantic boatneck top with high waisted ribbing and lovely fluttering sleeves.  It knits up pretty quickly, and if you're looking for a project to work on this spring for light, summer wear, I highly recommend it!  I finished this top a few months back, but there are only so many photo shoots I can get myself to do in the cold so I opted to wait a little while to show it off.  In actuality, I think one of my last photo sessions - the flu ridden snow flurries one - had something to do with that.  I'm hoping to get a lot of wear out of this beauty this year and there are several other patterns in the same booklet that I would also love to make.  Berroco Captiva is a luxurious, beautiful yarn.


Free Pattern || Big Heart Beanie

Love is in the air, but truth be told that even if it wasn't hearts seem to be making a comeback in the accessories/fashion world...  At least that's what the Blogosphere tells me.
J and I aren't huge Valentine's Day people, although our 7 year anniversary of when we first fell for each other falls during this week.  We always celebrate in some way or another.  Early dating stages around Valentine's Day make for an AWKWARD "day of love"--- Do you get them a gift?  Will it seem too serious too soon?  Will they be offended if you don't give them something?  Fortunately, neither of us ever really put too much weight on the holiday, so that first Valentine's Day went pretty smoothly for us.  Now we just pick a day during the week to go out for a nice dinner (any excuse to eat great food is enough for us -- we picked sushi this year!) and chat in disbelief at how long ago we found each other.  Just about a quarter of my life ago.  Madness.  But it makes me so thankful for him.
This beanie is an homage to all of the big hearts I've seen floating around the web lately on garments and accessories.  It's a super quick knit using worsted weight yarn -- the yarns listed in the pattern are the two types I had in my stash and used to make the hat pictured.  The heart may be appropriate for the season, but it's also on trend enough that it could be worn on into spring too.  Happy Love Day!
Download the Big Heart Beanie as a PDF through my Ravelry store.


Off the Needles || Big Herringbone Cowl

This project came about spontaneously - while I've been eyeing the pattern for quite some time, it wasn't very high on my queue until I came by some incredibly soft yarn by chance.  When I was planning out Replier, I ordered some Malabrigo Worsted yarn, only to discover that it was backordered.  In a panic, I ordered the Quince and Co. yarn instead because I knew I was running short on time for Christmas knitting.  Lo and behold, the Malabrigo Worsted yarn arrives during the week after Christmas, and I now have this luscious wool with which to make something of my own choosing.  Something not a gift.  Something self indulgent.  The Purl Soho Big Herringbone Cowl instantly came to mind, and I cast on just a week and a half later.

I've always been curious about this stitch, because just at a glance it looks really complicated.... but it's not at all.  Basically, you are knitting two stitches together all the way across.  Instead of dropping both of those stitches off the needles after knitting together, you only drop the one closest to the end.  Essentially, every stitch gets knitted into twice.  Each row alternates knitting through the front or back loop to create the opposite slants.  In a nutshell, the pattern is very easy, but just takes twice as long as a normal cowl of its size due knitting each stitch twice.

I guess I finished it just in time too, because I came down with this nasty cold over the weekend and laid around with this cozy cowl around my neck.  Even if it couldn't do anything for my symptoms, at least it lifted my spirits, right?  Good thing I got the photos in before I really got knocked down - I sort of have sick eyes there, but a few hours later they were watering so much they were nearly swollen shut!  I hope this post finds you in better health than me!


Off the Needles || Daybreak Shawl Part I

I cast off this shawl a few weeks ago, and then it took a couple of weeks to finally block it... and another couple of weeks to get photos of the finished product (post coming soon).  The pattern is Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West, and I used Knit Picks Chroma yarn in Bittersweet Heather and Orchard.  Only one skein of each was required, which made for an inexpensive but beautiful knit.  I fell in love with the colors as they laid out in the pattern and the medium size is just right for a nice scarf that won't fall off of your shoulders constantly like some of the other triangular shawls that I've made in the past.
One thing that I would do over if I could would be to purchase some blocking wires.  As you can see in the bottom photo I had pretty close spacing with my pins but the scalloped edge couldn't really be avoided.  I'll just have to say that it was on purpose.  :)  Photos of how it looks in wear are coming soon!

Off the Needles || Ishbel Shawl

Admittedly, I finished this shawl WEEKS ago.  In fact, I've finished two more since then (hey there, Christmas knitting).  However, as I've moaned about before, I feel like an idiot running around with my camera and tripod in hand in public places taking self portraits.  Plus things have been really busy lately.  Seriously, it's a little pathetic.  Sooo... I got up early on Saturday morning and managed to find a nice secluded spot by an abandoned building on a street that no one seems to drive down that early in the day.  That sounds a little rapey, doesn't it?  Well, no one was there and the area surrounding the building was very open so I would have seen someone if they tried to sneak up on me.  In any case, I finally got some photos of my Ishbel, so now I can start wearing it!  Yes!  I should also note that it was about 45 degrees outside, but I felt that wearing it with a long sleeved shirt would look frumpy and would not complement the lace.  So there you go, I shot photos of myself in public wearing practically nothing on a super cold Saturday morning JUST FOR YOU!  I hope you enjoy them.  The Ishbel shawl is a design by Ysolda Teague.  Additional project details may be found on my Ishbel - On My Needles post.