Knitting Through It

They say it’s Spring, and I can see it, at least from where I’m standing. I spent, practically, all of winter recovering from this cold bug or that one, and knitting when I could. I dove deep into the pile of UFO’s that had accumulated during my Christmas Sock Project, which was a complete success. I knit socks for everyone of my East Coast family members, and hand delivered them. From what I’ve heard, my project was a complete success. But, starting back on things that were not socks after making seven pairs of socks in-a-row was difficult.

In an attempt to reignite my creative spirit, I contacted a friend about a sweater request she had made a year ago. I know, I’m a little behind but I’m trying. Anyhow, after getting some key measurements and letting her pick out the main color, I whizzed straight through the first half and onto the second. Half way through, I stopped. I had been staring at this half-finished blanket I’d abandoned thinking, “I should finish that.” It was stuffed in a project bag with an accompanying tote that carted the remaining yarn required for the rest of the blanket. It was intimidating, and probably more work than I had originally anticipated, which is why I started a new project instead of finishing the blanket. But, my enthusiasm for 11 inches of stockinette ran out somewhere close to my goal. My stamina had been weakened by the two-socks-at-a-time method I’d been using in the previous few months. So, I did what any crafter would do: I dropped the sweater and picked up the blanket. It was a much larger project, and I knew I should have stuck with the sweater, as it was a gift, but that didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted.

The blanket, indeed, was a much more time- and work-intensive project than I had expected but it wasn’t technically difficult. The Kex Blanket by Stephen West was my plaid dream. I had originally chosen some of the yarns I used for a vest, but on the brink of starting, I decided those colors would be put to better use in the blanket. I’m glad I did because it turned out great. I call it the Stolen Blanket Project since I stole half the yarn from a different project. I also managed to finish the sweater since then, and have added a cowl and an MKAL to my 2018 accomplishments.

Though I have two more projects in my UFO pile, I’m not sure what to do with them. One is a vest for my Dad–yes, the very vest from which the yarn was stolen. The weather has warmed up so I am afforded the luxury of pushing the due date to next winter when things cool down again. For some reason, I’m having difficulty getting it done. It’s another Stephen West creation, and it’s beautiful, but my brain isn’t in the right place to repeat moss stitch as much as is required. The other is a sweater for my sister. I started it before I knew she was pregnant and she won’t need it for another two years so I can either finish it and sit on it until then, or I can use the yarn for something else, though I don’t really see her as much of a cardigan person. I may have to rethink everything. Since I have been gifted time on both, I started something new.

My oldest is turning 11 this year and I want to represent my Hogwarts House Colors in time for that occasion. If I can find the right colors for my Husband, I’ll knit him a little something, too. While I wait for that to happen, I will be working on the Thayer Street Cardigan by Melissa Wehrle in Hufflepuff Yellow and Black using doubled up fingering weight yarn to achieve gauge. I went through a lot of trouble to find the right shade of yellow, which is why I’m equating gauge. This can either blow up in my face or be an achievement–only time will tell. But, I have to willingly start another project that needs to be done in the next two or three weeks, in time to be mailed out as a birthday present. I’m trying to build up my stamina with the sweater but the gloves are something I sat on too long. They have to get done first, but that doesn’t mean I have to quit the sweater, entirely. It’s all enough to keep my recently short attention span satisfied.


Holiday Update

It’s December 6, and the Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent Calendar 2017 MKAL is under way. I am not very far, but for good reason. I have a smattering of Christmas presents that need to be finished, and I am quickly running out of time. But that’s not stopping me from enjoying the Calendar! The biggest surprise so far? NEEDLES! They have provided me with a pair of interchangeable needles to get the shawl going, and they’re nice. They also provided me with a printout of the instructions, which I was not expecting. Smaller touches like the glossy cardstock used for the daily cards polish the Calendar a little more from last year. It looks like they’ve stepped up their game in a big way, and I’m excited to see what is in store for the rest of the month!

That 70-Qt. Bin is my Nutritionist

Well, it looks like I haven’t posted in four months.

I wasn’t in the mood. I was in a pretty bad head space that prevented me from doing some of the things I enjoy. Maybe it was a bad reaction to some medication I was taking, maybe it was a severe case of the Summer Blues, maybe it was stress. Whatever it was, it consumed me. I actually would have preferred to get a cold so I could feel better about feeling miserable. Thankfully, that never happened; the depression never reached my immune system.

I never stopped knitting, though.

I was quite active, actually. I knit my first pair of socks, a Harry Potter-inspired beaded shawl, a lace front sweater, a Wonder Woman-inspired shawl, some Halloween accessories for my Husband and myself, a cowl, and a couple of Christmas presents. I’ve started a blanket, a sweater, a vest, and a couple more Christmas presents. I know: five is a lot of WIP’s to have but that’s just how it’s gotta be right now.

I’ve been doing a lot better lately, thanks. Lots of change has occurred in the last few months, which is good. It was necessary. My Husband has been the greatest agent of change, and I thank him for listening to me. He has his stuff to work on, I have mine, and we have ours. And our biggest project to work on is getting out of our house.

The time has come to start singing that old moving song we started singing a few years ago. The first time we started the process of moving, we were met with some galvanized piping that required an ENTIRE REPIPING of the house. Inside and out. It was painfully expensive. We decided to take the house off the market because we were gonna get hosed on the price. Since then, we’ve had to replace two water heaters, more irrigation pipes, lots of pool stuff, and a 5-ton air conditioning unit. We’ve repainted, re-knobbed, and re-handled almost everything to get rid of the tropical nightmare we bought. We took out an obnoxious water feature and had to get rid of some plants after a parasite destroyed them. Recently, we repainted the exterior so it wouldn’t be the five-color nightmare we bought. Now, the house is one color, the gates are another, and I got a TARDIS blue door. I love my door.

After all these improvements, you’d think I’d want to stay. But I don’t. A lot more work would have to go into the house to make it more like “us”, and I ain’t in to it. Plus, our neighbors aren’t very friendly. Remind me to relate the story of the night we moved in. Real quick: they called the police on us. Or the time I opened my front door to answer a question about my house only to be met with age-ism. Apparently, that fellow homeowner didn’t believe that we A. owned the house and B. were old enough to understand who installed things in our own house. He just backed away while I was talking. So, yeah. We’re moving.

I’ll admit I’ll miss certain things–like the view. Nope, that’s it. I’ll miss the view.

But we’re not ready to move just yet. We have a little reorganizing and decluttering to do so the potential buyers can “see” themselves in the house. Hello, storage space! And what do you think is one of the first things Ms. Everdeen over here volunteered to put in the storage unit? Yep. Yarn. I decided to keep the large 70-qt. storage bin full of fingering weight yarn I have, an under-bed storage drawer full of miscellaneous yarns (most of which have been matched to projects), and a large gift bag of stuff that wouldn’t fit in any of the other bins. The rest is stored.

I kept the fingering weight yarn because it is the most abundant of my collection. I figured, at the very least, I’d be able to stash-down a bit and move yarns around so everything can eventually be binned, properly. I promised myself I wouldn’t add to the clutter: No buying yarn until the house sells! Well, that didn’t last. One of the stores in my area closed down and kicked off their Store Closing Sale with 50% off everything. I mean, COME ON! I did my best to keep it classy but I’d be lying if I said I was completely successful. But, I am ready to begin–again.

I wouldn’t say that I’m going on another yarn fast. I’d liken it more to seeing a nutritionist; I’m doing alright but I could do a little better. I want to stash down because it would be easier to move without so much yarn. Also, I think the restriction of working from the 70-qt. bin (and associated yarns) will enhance my creativity. I kind of miss the freedom found in the restriction of my previous yarn fasts–which this is not. I had to answer A LOT of questions before I ever cast-on anything, and that kind of deliberate knitting is the kind of accountability I need right now. I’ll deal with the stress of showing the house and moving as it comes. Right now, I’m introducing some structure before things get out of hand, with the help of my nutritionist, which looks like a 70-qt. storage bin.

Ziggy Wore Gloves

When the world lost David Bowie, there was an audible gasp and whimper. Tears flooded the streets. Art was made to celebrate his life, and express the sorrow and loss. I bought a zippered pouch featuring an homage to Ziggy Stardust from Slipped Stitch Studios–one for me, one for a friend who has a love for Bowie that runs very deep. At the same time, the genius over at Pandia’s Jewels came up with her own tribute to the Man from Mars in the form of neon orange blotted yarn. The color was named Ziggy Played Guitar, and I bought it in the Snug base (fingering weight, 75/25 Merino wool/nylon) in anticipation of making something for this same friend who loved Bowie and Ziggy. However, I had no idea what it was going to be.

I started with a search on Ravelry that filtered out patterns in my library that used no more than 462 yds. of fingering weight yarn, since that was the estimated amount I’d be getting. I looked at EVERYTHING. I wanted to use as much of the yarn as possible while still making something functional. Functional meant some kind of accessory like a shawl or a hat since I only had so much yarn. I filtered through accessories until I found four or five sets of long fingerless gloves that made me cry out in excitement. I messaged my friend to see if long fingerless gloves might be something she’d like to have. She responded very positively. I assigned the yarn to the pattern I liked and saved the pairing. I had to delay starting the gloves until I had finished some of the other projects ahead of it.

Recently, I finally found the time to devote to make the fingerless gloves. There has been a lot going on at home, adding a bit of stress, which always sends my Knitting ADD into overdrive. Though I had three or four WIPs, I needed to have something small and repetitive that traveled well so I could fit it in my purse wherever I went. It was kismet when I finally pulled Ziggy out of its project bag and located all the needles required. I hadn’t planned on getting it done now but it fit all the requirements I had: small, repetitive, easily memorized, with the bonus of lace. It was time to cast on.

The Opera-Length Lace Gloves by Shiri Mor start with a small 3×3 rib around the fingers, which moves into the first set of the lace pattern repeat, which is only six rows long. I expanded it to include two lace repeats because I liked the look better, but the pattern only requires one. From there, the hand is put on hold in favor of starting the thumb, which is also the length of one lace repeat. Then, the thumb is attached to the rest of the hand and the glove takes shape. Rather than use a thumb gusset to taper the hand, the shaping of the glove is achieved through changing the size of the needles. Start with US 2 for the first bit, then move to US 1 for a few lace repeats, and down to US 0 for a few repeats until the wrist is complete. Then it’s back up to US 1 for the forearm and on up to US 2 for 15 lace repeats that will finish the length of the gloves. Then, US 7 needles are used to make the final few rows of 3×3 ribbing and bind-off.

The gloves don’t take a whole lot of time to make, if you like monotonous repetition, which I do. It does, however, take a much longer amount of time if it’s a distraction project from a double knit scarf, a blanket, a second sock, and an endless amount of I-chord. Like I said, the Knitting ADD has been tickled a bit aggressively lately. Oddly enough, the neon colors were soothing. I liked the way the yarn worked with the lace. I was a little worried about the way the color was pooling during the US 0 needle portion but it kind of looks like Ziggy’s iconic lightning bolt, so I can’t be mad at it. It’s hardly even noticeable when the gloves are worn. I think they look fantastic.

I named these gloves Ziggy Wore Gloves to pay tribute to the man who inspired the yarn. I chose long fingerless gloves to reference Ziggy Stardust’s sweater outfit that included arm warmers, leg warmers, and a body suit. I’m extremely happy with the results, as is my Husband. I feel good about these gloves, and about giving them to my friend. If I were to do a pair for myself, I’d probably switch to larger needles and adjust accordingly since I have larger hands than the average woman. The gloves still fit, as is, but it’s a little tight.

I sent them off to my friend, and she said they came at just the right time. My bright, happy Ziggy gloves were already working their magic. When I told her the name of the yarn and the inspiration behind it all, she agreed it was all very fitting. I couldn’t ask for more.

Hello, Vice Yarns. Goodbye.

Vice Yarns was a small brand of hand dyed yarn created by Elizabeth Inman. I first found her stuff on Etsy where I was looking for some ombré yarn to make a shawl for my MIL. I looked through her shop and found Into the Whorl, an ombré yarn of dark green, blue, and purple in a 500 yd. cake.

I bought it immediately and shelved it indefinitely because I decided to take the shawl in another direction. I looked around the shop for a different color scheme but I couldn’t commit to anything. A few weeks went by when I had finally decided to buy something for myself (sorry, Mom). That’s when I found out the Vice shop had closed for a fiber festival. Unfortunately, it never reopened. So, I went over to my favorite online retailer, Jimmy Beans Wool where I found more Vice Yarns. Since their selection was very different from the Etsy shop, I had some browsing to do.

My intention was to look with the shawl in mind. I wanted a long ombré where the color change is subtle. The cake I already bought had too many color changes for how I wanted it to look. I found some nice yarns but I wasn’t sure any of them would suit my MIL. I did, however, find something for myself. I know. I have a problem. That admitted, I found this GORGEOUS gradient kit that NEEDED to come home with me. Once I figured out a way to justify buying all available kits, I placed my order.

The kit is called My Bloody Valentine and it’s made up of six mini-skeins of fingering weight yarn in a red scale. Each mini-skein is a different color ranging from pale pink to deep blood red. My plan is to use it as the background color for a two-toned sweater pattern I saw in the Fall 2015 issue of Vogue Knitting. I roughly calculated that I could  double the yarn to fudge the sport weight required for the sweater.

As it turns out, I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Just before I had decided to start the project, I looked at the yarn requirements again. That’s when I found out I had grossly underestimated my solid contrast color by half, and I’d ended up about one full kit (600 yds) short of the doubled length I’d need to make the ombré background. So, I did what any knitter would do: I went back online to find more.

The Etsy store was closed but the Vice Yarns website still worked. I started at the top of the list of retailers and worked my way down the page. Forty websites, 15 redirects, and three phone calls later, I had guaranteed myself one kit from a little shop in North Dallas, TX named Yarn and Stitches whose owner, Hope, hoarded as much as she could when the gettin’ was good. Hope said she had one kit in the store and she’d have to check her back stock at home to see if she had more. She promised a call the following day with the results of her search. Hope became my shining superstar when she called back, as promised, to tell me she had two packages ready to be sent by her husband at the Post Office, if I still wanted two. I affirmed my desires and we finalized our transaction when my credit card was accepted.

I ordered two just make sure I was covered. I could guarantee four kits would make up the yardage but the extra fifth kit was just in case my math was wrong–or if I ended up needing any bit more of any individual color. When the kits arrived a few days later, I discovered I had ordered two new kits for a good reason. Two of the colors in the new gradient kits are off from the kits I already have.

JBW kit on the left. | Hope’s kit on the right.

This is when getting two skeins comes to my benefit. To fix the issue, I will mix the lots. As long as I always have one skein from the JBW bunch held together with one from Hope’s bunch, everything should work out so there won’t be any obvious lot changes. I’ll still use the extra kit if I need to, but I keep hoping I won’t have to use much, if any at all.

Even with all the drama and the fixes, I can’t start the project yet. I still need more of the contrast color to fill out the rest of my yardage needs. But, I know all of this will be totally worth it because I’ll have an amazing, and very unique sweater. It wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t found Hope. She had the exact kit I needed, and she has lots more Vice Yarns. Please, if anyone needs to stock up on some Vice Yarns, give Hope a call. She’s got it all.

Couldn’t Wait Tank

I was at my local craft supply–the good one with the magazines–when I saw the new Knitscene Summer 2017 hanging out on the rack. I thumbed through it and saw a few tank tops, most noticeably the Pivot Tank by Lana Jois. I was in the middle of a bunch of half-finished projects but I NEEDED to cast on. I went home and ransacked my cotton to see if I had enough to make the tank. The answer was yes, and no. Yes, because I had enough theoretical yardage of Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima Cotton but not in the quantities requested. According to the pattern, I was going to be a little short on Teal but I was good to go with the Aqua. So, I did what any problem-solver would do: I added a third color to make up the yardage.

I abandoned any and all projects I had in progress so I could see if I was a genius or a fool. Adding White as the third color to make up for yardage worked, but after I finished the first panel, I did some math and realized that I only needed one extra skein of my deficient contrast color instead of two. So, I frogged the whole thing and ordered a new skein of Teal and hoped the new dye lot would match. When I started over, I made both sides simultaneously so introduction of the new dye lot wouldn’t be glaringly noticeable. If the stripes change hue at the same point on both sides of the tank, it is considered a design feature, not a flaw. It’s a flaw if it suddenly changes hue 2/3 of the way through the second side, and I would not stand for it. I hopped online and ordered a new hank of yarn that matched the color code on my hank at home, and some other cotton to satisfy my thirst for summer knits.

I couldn’t contain my excitement when my packaged arrived in the mail a few days later. That tank would be finished in no time! I ripped open the bag to find I had ordered the wrong color. Seriously? It turns out, there are two hues of teal: Teal and Major Teal. The dye code on my yarn matched that assigned to Major Teal when it is actually Teal. I don’t know where the mix-up occurred because I bought the original yarn YEARS ago so, much could have changed in that time. I let out an exasperated breath on sound, packed it up, sent it back, and ordered the right color. My quest to make a quick tank top had turned out to be a much longer exercise in patience than I had anticipated.

While I was waiting for all the return/exchange processing to occur, I heard the calls from the other WIPs I’d abandoned, and new projects. To ride out my small defeat, I put the finishing touches on the Katniss Vest, started and finished the Vickie Cowl, started a blanket, and started a double knit Star Wars scarf. The devil finds no refuge in my hands.

Once I had the right yarn in hand (with perfect lot blending), I continued working on the tank, which really did knit up quickly once I had everything I needed. It starts with a 1×1 ribbed hem, then switches colors to start the stockinette body. Each color stripe is knit for four rows. There is zero body shaping, only tapering at the arm hole. I made it a size bigger than I usually like it because I wanted it to stay an oversized, lazy tank. Both panels are knit the same with the colors reversed. The neckline of the tank is finished with an I-chord hem the opposite color of the last knit stripe. The straps are made in a 1×1 rib as part of the tank’s side, extending up and over to connect and match the other panel. The striping on the straps changes every two rows and features a really great break at the side seam. The first and last 15 stitches of the tank are bound off, as are all the stitches that constitute the dangling strap, but the stitches that will be sewn together to form the seam are kept live. Those stitches are brought together for a 3-needle bind-off done in the opposite color. It is the easiest break I’ve ever made. I love it.

I couldn’t wait to start this tank, which is why I named it the Couldn’t Wait Tank, but it seems an ironic title since I did a whole lot of waiting during its construction. I was too eager to start, which lead to some panic-induced yarn assignments, rushed starts, lots of frogging, A Case of the Wrong Dye Code, and a slight cursing of the Gods. It’s okay, they know me. I ended up with a tank top that is exactly how I thought it would be. It billows a slight bit but doesn’t make me look shapeless and boxy. I could probably go down a size if I were to make it again, but I might add a slight bit more length to the body since I’m tall. Though it took way longer to construct than it should have, I’m happy with the result. I have a new summer tank to wear with my new summer shorts. All I have to do is finish a few of my other projects and I’ll be able to cast on the OTHER tank top I liked!

Vickie Cowl

img_4884Please allow me to introduce the first in the series Things I Made While You Were Mad at Me. I call it the Vickie Cowl. I had originally conceived the idea to make a cowl for my dear friend last year. I had planned on giving it to him as a Christmas gift using a gorgeous ombre yarn he had picked out. I ended up using a birthday gift yarn a knitter friend had given me years ago because my swatch made me switch. Though I was reluctant to use a different yarn, the cowl turned out better than I had envisioned.

Originally, I started with a yarn he picked: Lima Colour by Rowan in the color Mongolia which is shades of green that gradually change from grass green to a deep jungle palm green. It’s beautiful. Lima Colour is 84% baby alpaca and 16% Merino wool/nylon blend in a chainette construction. He had picked it out as the kind of green he liked the one time he accompanied me to a yarn shop that was within walking distance of his apartment at the time. When he excused himself outside to escape personal boredom, I bought a couple of skeins to make him a gift.

I wasn’t ready to start working on this former Christmas gift until recently, though. I was getting ready to start the project in early December when things between us took a bad turn, which is the last time I heard from him. I’ve been told to leave it alone, which gives me difficulty. I can’t sit on my hands. I knit with them. I turn fidgeting into productivity. I knit through everything, including my problems. So, what happens when one of my projects becomes part of the problem? I needed to figure out my deal with the pattern, and the yarn so I could carry on. I found my answer in the form of this series.

I decided I wanted to make the cowl, regardless, because it was a good pattern and the ombré yarn would look lovely in cowl form. I was so very excited to work with the yarn that I kind of forgot what fiber I was using. I should have known better. Alpaca is a notoriously slippery fiber and would never make the stitches pop like they did in the magazine sample. I would have stood a chance if the alpaca was an accent fiber to add softness, not the main feature. It needed some coarser fiber to make the stitches stand out. Nothing popped and the pattern got lost in the fuzzy lusciousness of the baby alpaca. I couldn’t let the yarn disgrace itself in this tangled mass of stitches it had become. It deserved better. I kept the pattern, shelved the yarn, and leaped headlong into my worsted yarn bucket for a solution. I resurfaced with a small gamble.

I pulled out two skeins of Vickie Howell’s yarn Sheepish, a single-ply 70/30 acrylic/wool blend distributed by Caron (now distributed by Bernat), in the color Gunmetal-Ish. It was a birthday gift a friend had given me years ago. I loved the color and, of course, Ms. Howell, but I hadn’t found the right pattern to match the yarn. I finally found it in the Fiddlesticks Cowl. It’s a simple cowl that is knit in-the-round, beginning and ending with an I-chord border, and uses traveling stitches to create a crosshatched design across the fabric. The pattern called for a worsted weight yarn to be knit on size US 5 needles which would result in a relatively stiff fabric. The Sheep-Ish was a gamble because some single-ply yarns like to flatten out. The swatch, however, showed me this yarn was up for the task. The yarn did a very good job keeping its shape, and had good stitch definition. Though it did still flatten out a bit, the traveling stitches were enhanced much better than the original alpaca swatch. When knit up, Sheep-Ish has a pearlescent sheen that is enhanced when caught in the light. That sheen makes the stitches visually pop. I’m rather taken with the effect.


When I started the project, I was determined to make this specific cowl with that specific yarn (Lima Colour). But, the more I worked on the swatch, the clearer it became that it just wasn’t a good match. I had to give up the idea of what I wanted, face the reality of what was in front of me, and figure out what was best for the pattern, and the yarn. The life lesson is not lost on me.

During this process, I discovered I have a real attachment to the Lima Colour, and I may drive myself a little crazy matching it to a pattern, but that’s a problem for Future Me. I am happy enough to have finally put my birthday gift to good use, and to see the pattern realized so well. I named it the Vickie Cowl as an homage to the yarn (and lady) who came to the cowl’s rescue. It looks nothing like I had imagined but that’s a good thing. I imagined an impossibility. It could never exist. What I have in front of me is better than what I imagined. In reality, it’s probably the most versatile accessory I’ve ever knit. It could go with anything! And, it made good use of my birthday yarn, which is most important. I always try to show my greatest respect to my yarn through pattern matching, and I’ve got myself a winner here.

Katniss Vest

I got a request for a vest like the one Katniss Everdeen wore in the movie adaptation of Catching Fire of the Hunger Games series. I was totally in to the whole idea but I was picky about my pattern. I wanted it to look as much like the movie as possible but I knew it would be difficult since it looked like it was woven rather than knit.

A very exhaustive Ravelry search later, I had a decision to make. I was torn between two patterns: one used applied fishtail braids to achieve the look while the other used some wrapped tubing to achieve a more accurate look around the collar. I’m going to be totally honest and say that a trip to the hardware store is what killed the other pattern for me. I shelled out a whopping $10 for the PANEM Katniss Cowl Wrap by Dahlia in Bloom, which is easily the most expensive single pattern I’ve ever purchased, and consulted on yarn.

I trotted down to the local craft supply store and picked up some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick Tweed in the set color theme of dark gray or black. I ended up with some charcoal tweed that looks more like a heather black when knit up. I started with three skeins, which quickly expanded into 5 skeins when I read about customization and embellishment.

Once I finally cast on, it was a very quick knit. The vest is knit in two pieces: the cowl and the body. Both are knit flat, seamed or grafted to make it circular, and sewn together to create the vest. Both pieces start small but increases on one side create a drape for the shoulder and under-arm portion. Knit and purled channels are formed through the body and cowl to create a guide for future braid placement. Fishtail braids are created separately and sewn in the purl channels for embellishment. The middle is worked straight, then decreases on the same side as before to create the same effect on the back as the front until the remaining stitches equal the original cast-on. I needed to customize the size to accommodate the body circumference of my recipient, which was not listed in the included sizes for the pattern. Customizing was really easy since it only required adding or subtracting inches to work during the part that loops under the arm. I also added an inch or two to the cowl circumference. There were no instructions to do so but I did it anyhow because it seemed like it needed it.

The pattern required one fishtail braid, each, to be applied to the purl channels at the top and bottom of the cowl, and the bottom of the body. After that, any extra braid placement is up to personal preference. I took a look at the vest after I got the required braids sewn on and it was basic. Like, it was so basic it came with a pair of leggings and an antioxidant drink calling itself Kate. Truth be told, I didn’t want to add more braids because I hated the process, but the thought of letting Katniss become Kate hit me right in the Strong Female Role Model and I had to fix it. I was supposed to make the braids independently and attach them to the vest, sewing in two knotted ends. Uh-uh. Not happening. I did that for the first three and it was nonsense. I decided to double the length of yarn needed for each braid and fold it in half, with the halfway point anchoring the soon-to-be braid to the purl channel through two or so loops of knit fabric. That left only one end knot to sew in per braid, which is a much nicer way of doing the braids, in my opinion. The braids provided more structure for the cowl to stand up and gave more depth to the body. It looked way more badass than its previous self. Kate took a walk, and Katniss was back.

The Katniss Vest was a fun knit, and I’d gladly do it again for myself or as another gift. The pattern, itself, was easy to follow, and there were a lot of helpful tips and explanations but I still think it was a bit over-priced. I’d consider one of the other patterns that uses a herringbone stitch to make it look woven, though the prudent part of my brain says that I should apply the herringbone to this pattern and see what happens. The braids are yarn-gobbling monsters but they really make the garment, so be sure to buy PLENTY of yarn to allow for experimentation. I had to buy an emergency sixth skein to make and sew on the last braid. All in all, I think it was a very good adaptation of an on-screen garment, and I know it will make its recipient very happy.



I Am My Own Monster

I started a tank, abandoning all other projects in progress. It was ill-advised and has caused a slight bit more trouble than it might be worth. The tank is a two-tone stripe-y kind of deal but the patterning is reversed from front to back. Cute, right? Totes. However, I wanted to make it in the Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton yarn I already have. Unfortunately, the quantities given told me I’d need more yardage of any given color I have.

I decided to add a third color stripe to make up the difference in yardage. My chosen colors were Teal, Cool Mint, and White. I really wanted to use the Teal and Mint but I only had one Teal whereas I had two of the others. Teal became the accent color that would get me through the end. I worked up the first panel and got half way through the second panel before I decided to experiment. I frogged the active panel and restarted using only the Teal and Cool Mint. If my calculations were right, I’d only need four skeins worth of yardage instead of five. I’d be able to save the White for another project and get away with using the Teal and Cool Mint to get this tank done. I’d have to buy one more skein of Teal to finish the tank but, I’d have to buy one more skein of yarn for the pattern reserved for the White, regardless, so I didn’t feel too bad about adding to my stash. Lots of frogging and math later, I discovered I was right. I scoured my favorite websites (and even gave it a week to see if quantities improved) until I found the right combination of available yarn that would require the least amount of additions to my stash.

What started as a quick side project turned into a perfectionist nightmare. However, during the time I was knitting and frogging, I put the finishing touches on the Katniss Vest. I still have a second sock to finish, a cowl to work, and some brain matter to sew on a hat, not to mention the new tank to finish and at least three other projects in my mind. This tank has been a little reminder that instant gratification isn’t always the way to go. It would have been better if I finished all my WIP’s first.

Hold on, Let Me Cast-on One More Thing

I’ve been hit by Knitting ADD.

A month ago I started a Katniss vest for a friend. I stalled work a little because I didn’t want to sew on the braided decoration. So, I started my first pair of socks for my Husband then started working on the Brain Hat for the Science March. After finishing the cap for the brain hat and one sock, I wanted to reward myself with an easy little cowl. Well, once I started knitting it, I realized the stitch definition of the pattern wasn’t showing up well on the yarn I chose. So, I kept the pattern, switched the yarn, and saved the other yarn for a future project. I was half way through two projects and starting on a third when I took a stroll through the periodicals section of my local craft store and found some tank tops in the Summer 2017 edition of Knitscene. I had to cast-on IMMEDIATELY!

I still have a second sock to finish, yards upon yards of I-chord to knit for my brain hat, the cowl to finish, some extra braiding to attach to the vest, and now a tank top to create. (Yes, I have to create it because it’s my instant gratification project.) I briefly considered doing something with the rejected cowl yarn, then I came to my senses and called it a Frog on my Ravelry queue. Five WIPs are enough for me!