Friday, August 31, 2012

Under Construction

Am working on reorganizing the Blogs-to-Read lists.  So please sit tight while the site goes under construction for a day or two. Hopefully, next post you will see a list of:

Knitting Blogs
Knitting Podcasts
Sewing Blogs
Photography Blogs

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The 5,000 Giveaway!

This morning, I checked my blog stats and discovered that the Meg Roke Knits blog has been viewed 5,000 times! That's right. I said...


I can hardly believe it! I am so touched that so many people have stopped by to read my posts over the past twenty months.

In appreciation to the viewers for giving me their time and attention, I will give something back.

Leave a comment below and a way for me to contact you (email or Ravelry username) and I will pick TWO winners to receive a special something from me.

One winner will receive a beautiful skein of yarn. How does this look to you?

And the other winner will get to select two of my patterns for his/her prize.

I have only one request. When you leave your comment, would you please either share something you've enjoyed about this blog and/or topics you'd like to see more of in the future?

You have one week to post your comment. On Wednesday, September 5, I will use the random number generator to pick the winners.

Thanks, again!

xo Meg

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Feel Famous

A couple of months ago, a fellow Raveler and blogger, Nataly Alves from the Knit by Nat blog, contacted me requesting to feature one of my patterns on a new segment of her blog called "NOT Knit by Nat." She said that this would feature great designs from budding designers who had to meet her list of criteria including (and I quote):

  1. Less than 10 designs published on Ravelry by the designer
  2. Less than 100 “hearts” on the design to be featured
  3. Nice photographs
  4. Fabulous design
Her objective was to highlight some great designs that people might not otherwise see. And so my Cable Rimmed Cap design was selected! I feel incredibly flattered and am overwhelmed with excitement right now!

Check out Nataly's post and be sure to visit her blog site again and again!


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Zippy Sweater

This is Zippy.

She is the University of Akron's mascot.

She likes to have a good time.

My husband works at the university, so what sweater could possibly be more appropriate to make for our son than this?

Kangaroo Vest, by Hannah Fettig, is an obviously adorable children's sweater featuring a kangaroo image in intarsia. The pattern calls for dk weight yarn, but knit at a sport weight gauge.

Initially, I cast on (the 12 month size) using some stash Knit One Crochet Two Creme Brulee in a taupe brown (more like milk chocolate) and had intended to use some stash Knit Picks Swish DK in Sky (a bright light blue). However, after knitting a couple of inches, I decided that the yarn was too wooly for a baby. Rip-it....

A baby has very sensitive skin (especially my sweet baby), so I chose to go with Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino and Sublime's Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK (both stash yarns). Overall, I'm pleased with my choices. However, if I were to knit this or any item with intarsia again, I'd recommend using a primarily wool-based yarn. Baby Cashmerino is 55% wool, so that fits the bill. Suggly Baby Bamboo is only 20% wool, and therein lies the problem. Snuggly Baby Bamboo is a lovely yarn that has a beautiful sheen and stunning drape, but it is not ideal for intarsia. Intarsia (and fair isle alike) really look best with a woolier yarn because the stickiness, fuzziness and/or loft of the yarn help blend the images together and also hide any small flaws made along the way.

Speaking of flaws...

After completing the back and knitting up to the kangaroo's tail on the front, I realized my intarsia looked a little sloppy. I had knit the roo's legs in a fair isle method, which was the wrong thing to do. Quite sloppy. Rip-it, rip-it...

The pattern is written clearly until the last step. Now I am definitely a fan of Hannah Fettig's patterns (looking through my Ravelry projects page I can count 6 of her patterns), so I won't hold what I am about to write against her because no doubt I will knit more of her patterns in the future. That being said, it seemed like she gave up at the end of this pattern. Her instructions on picking of the collar and armhole stitches were to "pick up an even number of stitches". Sorry. That is not specific enough for me. I don't mind when a designer recommends picking up x# of stitches out y# of rows, but to give minimal direction is quite disappointing.

So, foolishly,  I picked up 2 stitches out of every 3, which came to approximately 60ish stitches around the armholes and 80ish around the collar. There. Done. Or so I thought.

Finally, after knitting, ripping, re-knitting, ripping and re-knitting some more, I finished the sweater. Blocked it and took pictures like these.


Then I tried it on Tommy... and it didn't fit. How could a 12 month sweater not fit a 5 1/2 month old baby? The collar was too small. I could not for the life of me get it over his head. Does this sound familiar? It should. I made the same mistake with Emma's pullover in the fall. Rip-it, rip-it, rip-it...

So, off went the collar. this time I picked up every stitch, which I think was 98. And now?

It fits.

Well, it is a little big (as it should be! I don't breed giants, ya know).

And yes, that is the tail of yarn flopping around in the pictures. I was not about to weave in ends and then find out it still didn't fit over his head.

Can you tell we are working on sitting up... and falling over? He's got the falling over part done packed.

Sweater # 7 of 12, done.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Knit-Night Games

Last night, my friend Mary hosted our knitting group at her home. What a great night! She had delicious snacks (complete with a no-bake mocha cheesecake - yum), good music, lots of space for the knitters to spread out and best of all... knitting games.

Mary was quite clever in coming up with a selection of really fun knitting games. She asked us all to bring a spare set of size 7 or 8 needles and some spare worsted weight yarn (about 10 yards or so). I think it's safe to say to we were all quite intrigued and excited about this mysterious request.

So if you are searching for some laugh-inducing knitting games for your next knitting party, read on.

1. Speed knitting: All of the knitters were asked to cast on 20 stitches and knit one row. Then the timer was set for 1 minute. The knitter with the most rows completed won a prize. (Our fastest knitter completed 2 rows.)

2. Blind knitting: All of the knitters were asked, using the honor system, to knit one row with their eyes closed. The first knitter to do so won a prize.

3. Behind-your-back knitting: All of the knitters were asked to knit with their needles and yarn behind their backs. The first one to complete one row won a prize.

4. Potato-sack knitting: Knitters were paired up  to knit one row with one knitter holding/manipulating the left needle and the other knitter using the right. The first pair to complete one row one prizes.

To say that we had fun would be an understatement. There was quite a bit of laughter and I do believe I saw a few hands wipe away some laugh-induced tears. I'm not sure which was more fun: the actual games or unveiling the prizes. Mary picked up some silly prizes at the dollar store, which in my opinion, were absolutely perfect! I was lucky enough to walk away with some travel toothpaste (for second fastest behind-the-back knitting) and lint rollers (for potato-sack knitting).

Good times, good times.

I can't wait to see what the group comes up with next...

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Month of Gift-Knitting

Now that my last knitted gift of the summer has been delivered, I can share with you my projects from July (aka my month of gift-knitting).

I chose to take a break from sweater knitting in July to focus on (or in some cases, catch up on) some gift-knitting. The events: 2 birthdays, 1 baby shower, 1 new baby, 1 due-any-day-now baby.

So here are the finished projects:

The Cambrian Cowl, designed by Alana Dakos, was made for my sweet friend's birthday. It was knit with a few yards shy of one skein of Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Grande, a simply heavenly yarn to knit with.  One skein has 110 yards of sumptuous bulky yarn that is 100% alpaca. This the first time I had knit with this yarn, but I can assure you it won't be my last. The project knits up quite quickly and comes from a beautiful book chalk full of lovely patterns, Coastal Knits.

 I made 2 Malibu Beanies, designed by Amy Miller, using some left ofter Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn in shades of blue (Frost, Peacoat, Glacier, Birds Egg) for two different expecting friends (can you tell that this is the year of baby boys?) This project is great because the 6 months size cap takes less than 60 yards of sport weight yarn. Great little stash buster.

The Solitaire Beret, designed by Natalie Larson from Weekend Hats, was a birthday gift for my cousin (a fellow knitter) out of Malabrigo Worsted in the Pagoda colorway. This yarn is very popular for small projects and it is easy to see why. The soft, single ply yarn feels wonderful on your hands while knitting. Unfortunately, this project was a little disappointing. The cable does not pop as much as I expected, like it does in the pictures in the book. Also, and this may seem silly, but I'm not sure which is the best way to wear it?


The last knitted gift has been resting on my needles for months. I started it in April and quickly became disinterested because I knit the same Cable Blanket, by Debbie Bliss, for my son this past January.

That one was knit with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. And here is the recently gifted version knit with Knit Picks' Swish DK (in the Sugar Plum colorway) for my friend's baby girl.

Now back to sweater knitting...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Boy Sweaters

Late last night, I finished the last project in a month long of gift-knitting (and no sweater-knitting). I'll go into further detail about that in my next post. I swear that the instant I wove in the last threads I shouted, "Huzzah!" Because now I can get back to my 12 in 2012 mission.

Time for some boy sweater-knitting. I plan to make a few baby boy sweaters during the next month especially since I made 3 sweaters for Emma early on (seen here, here and here), it is now her baby brother's turn to benefit.

I cast on for this one, but I'm not crazy about the yarn. It is a bit wooly for a growing infant. So I think I may frog it and start over using some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and Sidar Snuggly Baby Bamboo (both stash yarns) instead.

I also hope to knit this cardigan with some yarn I bought earlier this summer, Plymouth DK Merino Superwash, and use these sweet Peter Rabbit buttons I found in an Amish fabric shop.

Beyond these two projects, I'm not sure what else to make for him.

But here are a few of my latest  finds...

Lancelot in Cascade 220
Fisherman's Pullover in Osprey   
Ballinagree (from my latest knitting library addition, Contemporary Irish Knits, what a fab book!) 

I know. I am getting ahead of myself. Let me make those first 2 sweaters and then I can plan out the third sweater. Sigh...