Sunday, September 30, 2012

Disastrous Knitting, Successful Sewing

So for the fourth time this year, I have knit a sweater that is too small for the recipient. Unbelievable. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I'm too distracted and therefore am not putting enough attention into each project?

My Miriam Cardigan is a bit snug. Tommy's Kangaroo Vest had an impossibly small collar that I had to rip out and re-knit. Audrey's First Day Cardigan was too snug, so I reknit it in the next size up. And now I have a fourth one to add to the list.

I was almost done my son's Raglan Sweater with Fully-Fashioned Shaping and stopped to notice something odd about all of the top joins of the raglans decreases, near the collar.

I know the pictures are hard look at, but see if you can spot the problem.

They look really sloppy, loose, and joined below the collar. Yuck! The sweater is knit in 5 parts before joining the raglans and then knitting the collar. I think the problem is that the first and second stitch of each raglan edge (of each part) is decreased right before it is put aside on scrap yarn. I think it would be much tidier if that last decrease was not made, but seamed together instead. Does that make sense?

It really doesn't make a big difference because I tried the sweater on Tommy and it "just fits." So I will have to make the next size up or knit a different sweater altogether. Ugh.

On a positive note, I did some sewing yesterday that went very well. I made both kids their very own gum-drop pillow.

Emma picked out her fabric (Hopscotch in hot pink -her favorite color- and Pinwheels in aqua from Sarah Jane Fabrics) and I selected Tommy's to match his increasingly nautical themed room (Anchors in Navy and Narwhal). I adore Sarah Jane Studio and her fabric line. Emma's fabrics are from her Children at Play collection and Tommy's fabrics are from her newly released Out to Sea collection.

He also has a print from the same collection framed in his room. So cute, right?

And a couple of weeks ago, I covered his toy chest with A Pirate's Life print from the Out to Sea collection.

At least something good came of this weekend of crafting.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pattern Sale!

Did someone say... SALE

I recently received some very exciting knitting-related news (don't worry, I'll share it with you soon). To celebrate, I'm offering a sale on all of my patterns both on Ravelry and at Etsy.

If you are a Ravelry member, then you will automatically receive 25% off all Meg Roke Knits pattern purchases from now through the end of October.

If you would like to purchase any Meg Roke Knits patterns from my Etsy shop, then enter Oct25 at checkout and you will receive 25% off your purchase.

Happy shopping!

This Is What Happens

What happens when a knitter is given multiple gift certificates to one of her favorite yarn companies... and then that yarn company offers a very rare coupon?

This is what happens...

Globe Trekker on Springvale Bulky

and this...

White Rabbit on McClellan Fingering (mine will be on Kells Sport)

and this too...

Irish Sea on Adorn Sock

and let's not forget about this as well.

Winter Birch on Springvale Sock (mine will be on Galenas Merino)

Needless to say, in 14-21 days, I will be one very happy knitter.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Monogamous Knitter

I can't do it. I just can't do it. I cannot handle working on several different projects at once.

I am going to toot my own horn for a moment and declare that in general I am a pretty decent multi-tasker. It's sort of an unofficial job requirement for teachers (my former profession) and parents too, come to think of it. However, when it comes to knitting I truly cannot juggle multiple projects simultaneously. In the past two weeks, I have swatched and cast-on for three projects. I tried going back and forth between them, and although all the three patterns were simple, I just couldn't seem to give my knitting the attention it deserved and found myself making many silly mistakes. So I ended the juggling and began all over taking one project at a time.

I suppose it is time for me to face the truth. I admit it. I am a monogamous knitter.


Project #1:
Audrey's First Day, designed by Elizabeth Smith (it's in the Fall 2010 issue of Petite Purls), is a cropped cardigan that had Emma's name written all over it.

What a fast knit! I was able to knit the whole thing (well, nearly the whole thing) twice in 1 week. Now, remember, it is a child's sweater ( = small) and it was knit on size 8 needles at a bigger gauge of 4 stitches per inch (= quick).  Hey, that's my kind of knitting. Emma's cardigan was knit in Berroco Vintage in Aster and Blush at a slightly smaller gauge of 4.25 sts per inch. Due to the smaller gauge, I chose to go up a size (the 5-6 size) for my girl. The first time I knit this sweater, I made it in the 4 size because even with the smaller gauge the chest size seemed huge. However, after making up the body and working through one whole sleeve, I tried it on Emma and (at the suggestion of my wise husband) chose to rip it out and go up a size. Because let's be honest, kids are outstanding at doing one thing... growing. She'll get much more use out of the bigger size.

It is  a rare day when I can say I love a pattern. Well, today I can. I love this pattern. The designer wrote the instructions clearly, provided stitch counts regularly (which I love, love, love in a pattern) and overall created an adorable, wearable sweater (the kind that you want to knit again and again). Kudos to you, Elizabeth Smith!

Emma dressed herself that day. I love how she chose to wear 3 different handknits!

I haven't been exclusively sweater knitting lately. I completed one new design, played around with some swatching for another design, finished a cowl and I have one more kiddie sweater I want to knit before I throw myself back into Meg-sweater-knitting.

Project #2:
Here is another great pattern from Melissa LaBarre, the September Circle. 

Even though the pattern calls for fingering weight yarn (I used Schoppel-Wolle's Crazy Zauberball in the Flussbett colorway), it is knit on size 7 needles with an easy-to memorize lace pattern. So the whole thing knits up quickly. I'd definitely recommend using stitch markers to separate the pattern repeats. It makes for sane knitting.

Project #3:
So after finishing the cowl, I cast on a raglan cardigan for Tommy and so far, that too, is knitting up super fast. The back and front sides are done already!

Altogether, it has been a productive couple of weeks. Sweater #9 is done. Sweater #10 has been started. And I am de-stashing like crazy! Not bad.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Birthday Swap 2012

This past week, my knitting group (Akron Stitch 'n Bitch), held our annual birthday swap. Much like our recent ABC swap, the planning included filling out a questionnaire about yourself and then later one of our group members assigned recipients to each participant. This year, I was assigned to give a gift to my friend, Juniper.

And here is what she received from me:

Gluten-Free Desserts cookbook
2 chocolate bars
Gift certificate to Mustard Seed Market (our local specialty food store)
Kitschy Kitchen Apron (made by yours truly)

And here is what I received from my friend, Stacey:

Embroidery thread
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery needles
Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray
2 cotton towels
2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora
2 skeins of Elsbeth Lavold Eucool
1 skein of Araucania Calafaquen

Once again, I made out like a bandit! What can I say? We have a very fun and generous group of knitters in Akron, Ohio.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Know Your Wool: A Review

If you have never browsed through or taken an online class from the increasingly popular site, Craftsy, then you are missing out!

Craftsy is a (free) members only website where you can find patterns, workshops (aka craft-a-longs), shared projects from members, a blog, shopping deals and best of all... classes in twelve different crafting categories.

I came across this site months ago, signed up but never really took the time to investigate it further. Craftsy also sends out newsletters highlighting deals of craft supplies and featured classes. It was one of these emails that caught my attention: a free class on the basic use and care of sewing machines called Sewing Machine 911. I jumped on the chance to watch this video course because I wanted to learn how to properly clean my machine. The beauty of the online course is that you can start, stop and continue watching them whenever you want - a handy feature for someone who is constantly disrupted by little ones.

I enjoyed this class so much, that I looked into other free classes and came across Know Your Wool.

The subject of this class struck a chord with me. I have long wanted to know more about the different breeds of sheep and their fiber characteristics. Clara Parkes' popular book, The Knitter's Book of Wool, delves into this subject beautifully, but I am a visual learner, so the video course fit the bill.

In the class, the instructor, Deb Robson introduces many different breeds of sheep (origin, current status, images) and shares their fiber characteristics and how they look knitted. She also recommended different websites where someone could find and order yarn made of the various sheep mentioned including Blacker Yarns,  Solitude Wool, Local Harvest and Etsy. I really enjoyed her skills as a teacher and found her easy to watch, listen to and very knowledgeable in her subject.

Know Your Wool has inspired me to start a new project in 2013. I haven't worked out the details yet, but at this point I plan to order and swatch wool from different breeds of sheep to compare their qualities for myself. A book and video can only take you so far. At some point, a knitter just needs to knit.

I'd highly recommend taking this course and looking into other courses offered by Craftsy. In fact, I just added another class to my cart yesterday and can't wait to watch it (during kiddie nap time, of course).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


And the winners are....

...drum roll, please....

1. Beebeehart! You will be receiving a lovely skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the mail in the next few days.

2. Ne-knopka! You can chose any 2 of my patterns!

I will contact both of you today to share the good news:) Congratulations to the winners. There will be many more giveaways to come this year, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One More Day

Only 1 day left to put yourself in the running for some fun giveaway prizes. Take a few seconds to leave a comment on The 5,000 Giveaway post now. Tomorrow, I will pick 2 winners!!!

In the mean time, some fabric I ordered arrived this week. Any guesses on what I'll, be making with these?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All Tidy

The blog is all tidied up and ready to go.

The appearance of my patterns (on the left) are bit neater and the blog lists are completely reorganized.

On the right side of this page, you will find a list of blogs (I read and recommend) for knitting, sewing, and photography. Plus, there is a short list of knitting podcasts too.  Everything is listed in alphabetical order.

Back to knitting Sweater #8.

Happy blog reading!