Sunday, January 12, 2014

Current Project - the Baby-to-Toddler Cardi

How cute is this?
This Baby-to-Toddler Cardigan is going to be a gift for my niece Hannah.

What appealed to me about it was the simplicity of the pattern, and the fact that it was designed with sizing for 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, and 4 years.  That's a real plus.

It's a Red Heart pattern, and calls for 5 balls of Baby TLC yarn in Strawberry Orange for my 24-month size.  However, I substituted 1 big ol' ball of LionBrand Pound of Love yarn in Lavender, and it is working just fine.  I will post pictures later.

I'm using a size 9 bamboo circular needle to get the correct gauge.  I have to say, I LOVE bamboo needles.  They make things go much more smoothly, and are easier on my hands (Carpal Tunnel can make knitting an adventure).

I also want to mention another really neat find.  I use stitch counters almost constantly, since I've been working with some bulky yarn lately, and sometimes it's easy to drop a stitch, and not so easy to pick it up again.  I tend to put the counters every ten stitches or so (or five, depending on what I'm working on).  After getting very frustrated using the split-ring style (which kept breaking after a multiple rows), I went to the store to find something else.  Since it was shortly before Christmas, I found nothing.  Looking around for something I could substitute, I came upon an option that has become my absolute favorite.  They were little rings used for making jewelry, and some of them were the perfect size to slip on - you guessed it - a number 9 needle.  Of course, after a little research at home, I found out that there are actually metal stitch markers, which look almost exactly like what I ended up grabbing.  They only fit up to a size 10 needle, though, so I'm certainly open to suggestions if you have recommendations for durable stitch markers!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

So Here We Are...

Howdy!  This is Knittin' Kaboodle.  It's a place to explore the resurgence of my love for knitting, which culminated this year in a large number of Christmas presents (and a bit of exacerbation in my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).  I'm also hoping to include some crochet items, since I've just learned how to do that.  And I'm aspiring to pull my Mom in here, since she's wonderful with both knitting and crocheting.

I plan on discussing pros and cons of different types of yarn, sharing patterns, sharing helpful hints, etc.  Hopefully, this will become a community of knitters, where we can share ideas.

We'll see. 

To start with, here are the patterns I've used this year - all Red Heart (all links open in new window).  In some cases, I had to substitute yarn.  Where I've done so, I'll let you know what I used.

Funky Fun Hat & Scarf
Really cute set for kids, this hat is closed by two ties on the top.  Simple to knit and goes fairly fast. 
Pros:  Easy to knit, fast, lends itself well to substitution of yarn.  Made this for my niece.
Cons:  Lolli yarn proved difficult to find.
Purchasing Notes: 
Substitutions:  Couldn't find the Lolli yarn anywhere, so I used Bernat Baby Blanket yarn in Peachy.
Knitting Notes:  The ties are a little tough to do on the baby blanket yarn.

Out of this World Cowl
I simply loved this pattern, and it looks wonderful when finished.  It's very soft and the Boutique Stellar yarn has little silver strands that really class it up.  Made one for each of my sisters this year. 
Pros:  The instructions are clear and the rib pattern is simple.  Looks great when finished. 
Cons:  The scarf is about seven feet long before you join the ends, so if you're a slow knitter it may take a while.  The Stellar yarn is very chunky, and it can be tough to take out stitches if you make a mistake. 
Purchasing Notes:  I could not find this in stores; got mine at Amazon.
Substitutions:  I could not find the Infinity in stores or online, so I ordered two other colors - Meteorite and Comet.  Both came out great.
Knitting Notes:  Other than the difficulty in taking out stitches when you make a mistake, this one is a breeze.

Keyhole Tuck Scarf
I love the way this one came out.  It's soft, looks great, and the keyhole is a nice feature.  Made this as a present for my boss.
Pros: Fast project, this could be done in a matter of a few hours.
Cons: See the Knitting Notes below.
Purchasing Notes: Again, couldn't find the yarn in stores, so I bought it online.  I bought Teal and Magenta.  The Teal I gave to my boss.
Substitutions: None
Knitting Notes:  The first stitches are very hard to work with, and if you drop a stitch, it's tough to pick it up again.  Also, the way the pattern tells you to do the keyhole confused the heck out of me.  I finally had to look up how to knit a keyhole on Youtube and do it that way.

Knit Hat and Scarf
Knitting this one was an adventure.  The pattern is simple, but for some reason, I kept messing it up in the first few lines, so I had to keep starting over.  It could have been simply the amount of knitting I did in the month before Christmas.  Made this as a gift for Mom.
Pros:  Looks wonderful, nice soft feel.  The hat has a nice loose fit, so it's very comfortable.
Cons:  None
Substitutions:  None, but you will likely need to do so as the Collage yarn has been discontinued.  I ordered mine on EBay in both Crimson Maple and Wood Trail.  The Crimson Maple looks fantastic - haven't made one in Woodtrail yet.
Knitting Notes:  I used a circular needle for the hat, although the pattern does not call for one.  Made things a lot easier. 

So those are my completed projects.  I am working on two projects now, and will post on those at a later date.  I will be including pictures in the future, too.