Sunday, November 20, 2011

Smocking Stitch Tutorial

I'm working on a pattern that uses the smocking stitch.  I had used smocking once before on a child sized Coraline for my daughter (one that you'd think was knit from barbed wire, the way she reacts to it).  I remembered vaguely how to work the stitch, but wasn't 100% sure on the mechanics.  I knew that I had to slip stitches to a cable needle, then other stitches were slipped, and somewhere in there I had to wrap the working yarn around.  I just couldn't remember the exact order.  I googled how to work it, and found that there aren't many places on the Internet with the instructions I wanted.  You can just knit your piece in ribbing, and then use a tapestry needle with some yarn to smock the stitches after the fact, but seriously, who wants to add floats to the back of their work when it isn't necessary?  I thought I'd add my own and hopefully make it a little easier for those coming behind me.

  *Warning: this is very picture heavy.*

There are variations to the amounts of knits and purls in smocking, but the basic idea is the same.  There are knit stitches, purl stitches and more knit stitches.  The idea is, you want to wrap the knit stitches together, while leaving the purl stitches in between.  Wrapping the knits together, pulls them closer and creates the smocking in the fabric.  The smocking pattern is achieved by smocking together alternating knit columns.

In this case, we have two knit stitches, two purl stitches and then two more knit stitches.  We want to smock together the knit columns. 

Here goes.  Please forgive the single handed shots.  If I could have kit the camera trigger with my nose to get both hands in the picture, I would have.  Sadly, that doesn't work out too well.

Work your pattern until you arrive at the point where you will need to work the smocking stitches.

With the yarn in back of work, you will slip your first two stitches onto a cable needle and hold in front of work.

Bring yarn to the front of your work and slip the next two stitches to the right hand needle.

Bring your yarn to the back of the work again and slip the next two stitches to the cable needle.  You will now have 4 knit stitches total on the cable needle, and two purl stitches that you slipped to the right hand needle.

Now, you will wrap the 4 stitches on the cable needle using the working yarn twice (counter-clockwise).  It's a little fiddly, so probably not something you want to do in planes, trains and automobiles.

With the yarn held in front of work, slip the two stitches that you previously slipped to the right needle, back to the left needle.

Bring the yarn to the back of the work, ready to work a knit stitch.  Knit the first two stitches from the cable needle and leave the other two for now.

 Purl two stitches from the left hand needle.  Knit the last two stitches from the cable needle.

You're done, YAY!!!

See?  That wasn't so hard!

Now pat yourself on the back for trying something new cause you're awesome!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

You could win your Wish List

So yeah, there's this thing going on with Knit Picks, where you could win $50 of your wish list.  All you do is add items to your wish list, then share your list with a friend, and share on facebook or your blog.

Here's my hat in the ring!

Fingers crossed!

LOL, so apparently, because my mother used my account to place an order, her name is showing on the account now.  Pay no mind to that. It really is my cart...


Monday, October 10, 2011

Snowy Owl Cardigan

I had this idea in my head, and I was sure that if I worked hard enough at it, I could make one for my little girl.  What I wasn't sure about, was if it would translate to a pattern that people could read and produce into a little cardigan of their own.  After tons of work and testing, the Snowy Owl Cardigan pattern is complete and up for sale!

$ 2.99 USD
The pattern is up for sale on Ravelry here

For non-ravelry members, you can purchase the pattern directly

The Snowy Owl Cardigan is a baby/toddler/child cardigan with an adorable owl perched on a tree branch across the front.
The owl and tree branch are worked using the intarsia method.
The cardigan is knit in one piece (with exception of sleeves), worked flat.
There are both written and chart directions in this pattern. The chart is for the owl section of the cardigan.

Main Color: Madeline Tosh DK 2 (2, 2, 3, 3) skeins
Color B (tree branch): Less than 12 yards of DK weight in contrasting color
Color C (owl): Less than 6 yards of DK weight in contrasting color
Small scraps for owl eyes, if you do not want to use buttons

US 6 or any size needle that will give you the correct gauge
US size 6 double pointed needles, or your preferred knitting in the round

Stitch markers
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
Scrap yarn for holding stitches
Removable stitch markers or coiless safety pins to mark where you’d like to put buttons on button band
Two buttons for owl eyes, OR you can use a small scrap of yarn to stitch eyes onto the owl for a more kid-safe owl
Buttons for cardigan (button band)

Skills used:
You will need to be familiar with the intarsia method, as it is not taught in the pattern
knitting flat
knitting in the round (for sleeves)
grafting (for underarms)
picking up stitches (for button bands)
working cables (for owl)

Thanks for looking!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Episode 02 - A Sweater Goal

Things I heart

Baby Cardigans.  They're quick to knit, take only a small investment of yarn and are so satisfying.  Baby knits are also a great way to practice different techniques without having to put a whole lot of time into a project.

On my needles

(All Ravelry links)

Still working on the Habitat hat for my Husband.  And I talk about how I would adjust the pattern for a child.

Still working on my Spectra scarf.  It seems to be a very popular pattern and has been mentioned in a few podcasts that I listen to.

I have a goal to complete at least one cardigan for each of my immediate family (son, daughter, husband and myself) before it really gets cold.  I'd like to do the same thing every year.

Finished a cardigan for baby boy out of Madelinetosh merino DK.  I used the Elizabeth Zimmerman percentage system and if fits great.  Finished it off with some choo-choo train buttons and it's adorable!

I've been working on a cardigan of my own design for my little girl.  It's worked seamless and uses intarsia to create a tree branch and little owl that is perched on the branch.  Sure, it all makes sense in my head, but that doesn't mean it'll make sense to anyone else.  :-)

I made a Coraline cardigan for my little girl.  It's actually an adult womens sweater, but I found some great notes here, here and here to adapt the pattern for a toddler.  Love the finished sweater, but baby girl doesn't like the yarn very much.  I'm hoping that once she is wearing a long sleeved shirt underneath, the scratchiness of the yarn won't bother her.

Still working on the sweater who must not be named.  I found the original garment that I am using as a guide, but have realized that it needs to be ripped back...AGAIN.  Ripped it back, started it again (for the 3rd time now...ugh) and have finished the back piece.  I'm about 7" or so up in the front, and I'm hoping I can finish this soon.

For my own, I'll be knitting the Heart Yoke Cardigan.  I want to use a more subtle color variation than the one used in the pattern.

I have two skeins of Pluky Knitter Primo Fingering in Ballpoint, that are just begging to become another little cardigan for baby boy.
I've finished my Hemlock Ring Blanket with 27 grams of Cascade Eco Wool left over.  That's only about 50 yards, and even though that may seem like a lot, it's not enough for another repeat.  I worked through row 65 on the chart, worked the knit on edging and am THRILLED with the way it turned out.  Can't wait to use it.

The Hex Blanket has been completed...sort of.  All of the hexes are complete, and some have been seamed.  I've seamed together enough hexes for three strips, and seamed those three strips together.  It's so pretty, but I may be buried with the rest of these hexes.  I just can't find the motivation right now to put it all together.

Pitter Pattern

Current Cardigan.  It's a fingering weight cardigan that is knit from the top down.  I LOVE the cabling detail on the collar and button band.  I only wish I had enough fingering weight yarn to knit one for myself right now.

Head over wheels

I haven't been spinning, but my husband and I recently talked about starting to spin again.  We've got TONS of fiber that is waiting to be spun into yarn for two sweaters, and it's not going to spin itself.  He's going to spin the yarn for his, and I'll spin the yarn for mine.  I'd like to practice a little more before I dive into a project that large.  I've got a braid of roving that I want to spin, but I need to decide whether I want the finished yarn to become a shawlette, or a pair of handspun socks. 

A Little Random

Saturday knitting at the LYS.  I'm always so happy when my husband has a Saturday off, so that I can leave the kids with him and go to my LYS and knit alllll day.  Unfortunately, it doesn't happen very often because he almost always works on Saturday and has Sunday off.  I got the most FANTASTIC email from my LYS saying that they will be open on Sundays from noon to 4pm during this season.  Can't even begin to explain the joy that this announcement has brought me.

Thank you SO MUCH for the reviews to the podcast.  You've made me a very happy girl!

Big hugs to everyone.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Episode 01 - Here's to the first of many!

I talk a little about how I learned to knit...FROM YOUTUBE! Yes, youtube...for shame.

On My Needles

(All Ravelry links)

The Habitat hat for my Husband.

A Tweed Baby Blanket that I've adjusted to make larger by using a little math, thicker yarn and larger needles.

A Whispy Cardi that I'm knitting from Madelinetosh Lace. LOVE IT!

A Hemlock Ring blanket. This is just so beautiful and adapted from an antique doily pattern to make this beautiful blanket. You can read more about it and get the free pattern here.

Vanilla Socks...always have a pair of these on the needles.

The Spectra scarf. SO addicting. Also, the Pitter Pattern of this episode.

The Salvio Hexia Pullover. The Knitter's Quarrel for this episode....ugh....just ugh.

And my first crochet project in a billion years! Hex Blanket. I'm working this blanket inspired by This one. I'll be putting it together a little differently, and I used different amounts of each colorway. Instead of using half and half, I did almost all in the lighter colorway, and only one ball of the darker one. I'm going to have the darker hexagons randomly scattered throughout the blanket. I guess it'll sort of look like a bee honeycomb that is filled except for a few random spots...know what I mean?

Pitter Pattern

This episodes pattern is the Spectra scarf. SO much fun and SO addicting to knit, while still being pretty simple to do. LOVE working on this!

Head Over Wheels

I talk about the very first fiber I spun. Great wool for teaching someone to spin. Long staple length, very "catchy" on itself so it doesn't slip very easily. I bought 8oz. of it from Smoky Mountain Fibers on etsy. Here is a listing for the exact same stuff. It's fairly inexpensive, which is another added bonus to using that as a teaching or learning wool. Aside from that, it's a little scratchy, I'd say spin what you's too short.

A little Random

I share a little swatch tip, that I use to remember what needle size I knit the swatch with. This is particularly helpful if I don't get to cast on for the project right away. I guess you could always pin a note to it, but my way leaves the needle size built right into it and it can't get lost. Well...unless you lose the swatch, but then I guess you're out of luck no matter which method you use.

I cast on however many stitches I need to get a minimum of about 4.5 to 5 inches in the center plus 3 more stitches for each side. I always like to swatch to get a good 4 inches of stitches that I can count, without getting too close to the garter on the side. That way I don't get a wonky stitch in there that can throw off my gauge. Knit a few rows to get a garter stitch bottom, and keep knitting the first and last 3 stitches throughout the swatch so that it doesn't curl.

I never really try to get row gauge unless the pattern specifically calls for a certain number of rows and not inches or cm.

I'll work my swatch in pattern or stockinette (whichever is called for) and when I've got two or three inches, I throw in the corresponding number of purl bumps to the size needle I'm using (on the right side of the fabric). If I'm using a size 3, I will put 3 purl stitches somewhere in the middle of the row by doing a purl, knit, purl, knit, purl then knitting to the end. Then I work a few more rows in the swatch and bind off. If I'm trying to get a different fabric with another size needle, I will just knit a few rows to get a couple garter ridges to separate the different sections, and repeat. If you're swatching in pattern, you can always knit a couple rows of stockinette before you do the purl stitches, so that you'll be able to see them easily. Just make sure you have enough rows in pattern, so that the stockinette portion doesn't affect it where you count your stitches.

Gee, that took more typing than I thought.

Also, a big hug and congratulations to the Knitmore Family for the new baby that will soon be in their lives! Yay Baby! Babies are great! New human smell is way better than new car smell, hands down!

I mention the charity segment that I had forgotten to include in the Preview Episode. Big Hearts

A Knitter's Quarrel

I talk about the Salvio Hexia pullover that I'm reverse engineering for my husband, and how everything can go completely wrong by taking measurements from an ill fitting sweater. A word to the wise, make sure the recipient tries on the garment that you're using for measurements. Just trust me on this.

Here is a good tutorial on setting in sleeves for a sweater.

That's all for the first episode. I hope you all enjoy it and tune in for the next episode! AND I hope that it's in a more human volume level this Thanks so much for listening.

You can download the episodes directly from libsyn here.

And it's available Here on itunes.

You can also subscribe with your chosen feed reader using this feed link.

Big hugs to everyone.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Just moved!

Hi everyone!

I've received some questions about the podcast. I promise I'll answer all of you. We've just moved to a new home and I'm up to my eyeballs in boxes and babies. As soon as we're settled in, I'll have some time on the computer.

Thanks for listening!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Episode 00 - Preview episode for My Knitted Heart podcast


I got my equipment and finally recorded the preview episode for the podcast.

This preview episode covers a little about me and the show segments.  Not a whole lot of information as far as knitting goes, but I wanted to make sure everything is working as it should before I try to post the first real episode. I'll be submitting this to itunes as well and will update this post with the info once that is up and running.

Have a listen and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Equipment Ordered!

That's right!  I ordered the equipment for the podcast.  I already have the software, so all I needed was a good digital recorder with a decent mic.  I didn't want to be one of those podcasts with terrible sound quality early on.  Very soon, I'll have my first episode uploaded for all to hear.  Stay tuned!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Knitted Heart... A Podcast!

Well folks, I'm jumping into the podcast pool.

I've been mulling this over in my head for a while, trying to get my thoughts organized on what I want the podcast to be....and I've finally decided it's time.

I'm working on getting all my equipment purchased and set up right now, so I should be recording my first episode really soon.

Here is a list of my show segments and the type of content they'll cover.

Things I heart - This can be knitting related, or just something I love in general.  I will try to keep it knitting related, but I won't limit it strictly to knitting all the time.

On the needles - This will mostly just be about my current works in progress.

A knitter's quarrel - Here I'll talk about things that have gone wrong with my knitting.  Whether it's my own mistake, or just errata in the pattern.  I'll also try to make sure I include what I've done or found to correct it.

Head over wheels - This will be my spinning segment.  I'll talk about what fibers I'm spinning, how I'm spinning them and what I'd like the finished yarn to become.

Pitter Pattern - It just doesn't get as cold here (or for as long) as other more northern parts of the country.  Living in Florida usually means that you get a smidge of spring, a loooong summer, a bit of fall, and a few days of winter temps (without the snow).  It's not uncommon to wake up to 30 degree temperatures in the morning, and find mid 60's at lunch time during the winter months.  Because of that, we tend to do a lot of lighter layers that we can peel off into the afternoon, and put back on into the evening and night.  This segment will cover patterns that I love for our type of weather, such as cute shawls and shawlettes, cowls, fingerless mitts, lightweight cardigans and pullovers. 

From time to time I'll also include reviews.  They'll be knitting related in some fashion.  Probably mostly consisting of patterns, pattern books, yarn and tools.

I think there are a lot of podcasts that are knitting related, but I haven't heard of any that focus on warmer weather knits.  Regardless of how beautiful a design, I find it a little hard to cast on a sweater with a bulky weight yarn for our type of climate.  I'm hoping to shed some light on things for all of us knitters that don't live in a wintery wonderland three months of the year.

Here's to a new adventure!  Wish me luck!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New stash and a new love...

New stash!

There's nothing better than new yarn.  I heard there was some new yarn at a LYS and had to go check it out yesterday.  I've worked with the Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Lite before and it is heavenly.  This is the DK version of the same yarn. I'm really looking forward to knitting with it.  I knit a Citron out of the Lite in the Calligraphy colorway, and it's probably my favorite shawl to date.  I've only got a picture of the work in progress, below.

Delicious.  So soft and the colors are amazing. 

Now if you take a look at the picture below, you'll see 5 skeins total of the DK weight.  Two in Charcoal, one in Tart (the red), one in Mare (the blue, brown and black) and one in Terra Verte (the green).  The two Charcoal are for me, and the other three are for my hubby.  Can I say that I LOVE having a husband that spins?  Because he spins, he has an appreciation for soft and wonderful fibers, whether commercially spun or handspun, and that is a BLESSING to a knitter.  No trying to justify a yarn purchase or time spent knitting.  He just understands.  It probably doesn't hurt much that I've ALWAYS got something on the needles for him.  :-)

Back to the yarn.  We went to the store originally to get me some yarn, maybe a sweater quantity even.  Well, he takes one look at the yarn and starts grabbing skeins left and right for me to knit up for him.  First, he thinks he wants a scarf.  Then, he thinks he wants hats.  Then, he's back to the scarf.  Back and forth we go until he decides he'd rather have three hats, than one scarf.  After all, I've got three scarves worth of yarn for him that I have yet to knit up.  Hats are quick, he likes the colors and he gets a lot of use out of them during the  I'm happy he decided that way, because while beautiful, this yarn is a single, and I'm afraid it would likely pill from stubble on his neck.

The last addition to my stash is actually my very first handspun!  But first, a little back story.  I've been wondering what it's like to spin.  Not that I really wanted to get into it much (I definitely don't need another hobby), but I was curious nonetheless.  When Arturo was getting into spinning, we bought some practice wool along with a bunch of pretty hand painted roving.  I'm not knocking the practice all.  It's just not really as soft as the other stuff.  Arturo spun his first yarn, and I knit a Pebble vest for Jacob.  A few pics...

After seeing this wool, turn into singles, then plied into a beautifully rustic yarn, then knit by me into something for his future baby boy, he was hooked.  Immediately, he started spinning a gorgeous braid of superwash merino, leaving the rest of the "practice" wool, unused. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  Not wanting to ruin any of the pretty roving that he has, I figured I'd try my hand at spinning with the left over practice stuff.  It's scratchy, and will probably become something like a potholder, or a cover for a jar, but it's my first, and I love it.  So without further ado, my very first handspun!  It's a 3 ply, probably bulky weight, natural gray shetland blend.

So relaxing and fun that I went and bought myself this little gem for my next handspun.  I think it' really wants to become a shawlette.  What do you think?

So there it is, my new stash, and my new love. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Deja Vu...

Well, I started THIS insanity all over again.

Apparently I had used a sweater that wasn't quite the best fitting for the measurements.  It was off enough from the ideal size, to make it so that I couldn't correct with creative blocking.  Oh well.  (I may punish that other ill fitting sweater for it's indiscretion by setting it ablaze in my driveway....we'll see) 

I took apart the seams and the bind off for all the pieces, ripped the whole thing back, re-skeined the yarn and gave it a nice bath.  I had to put the whole bag of yarn on time out for a while to keep myself from giving up on the whole project altogether.  I was just too sad to even look at the yarn, much less start it over again right away.

I'm happy to say, that I've fallen in love with the idea of this sweater again, and cast on for the front late last night.  I've finished the ribbing for the bottom and am starting the pattern stitch tonight.  If you've seen my project page in Ravelry, and have read my notes, you'll know that this is my first adult sweater.  It's also my first set in sleeve.  So there's a tri-fecta of possibilities for failure here.

1. first adult sweater...ever
2. first set-in sleeve...ever
3. creating the pattern as I go

In short, not only have I never knit an adult sweater, or done a set-in sleeve, but I'm going to do both for the first time, while creating the design myself!  Oh! and I'm putting in a zipper, which I've also never done before. Yaaaayyy...crazy lady with needles!!!

No matter.  I can do it.  Dad always told me that I can do anything I set my mind to.  Thanks dad :-)  We'll just have to wait and see if he was right, or if I'll end up in a padded room somewhere.  Winter is quite a bit away, so I've got plenty of time to figure it all out.  There are a few other projects that I have going right now, that take more of a priority.  A shawl for mom as a Mother's Day gift, a baby blanket for my friend in Miami (Due early June) and a Bloom out of cotton for Rachel to wear this summer.  Other than Jacob's 12 month cardi, the rest of my projects are mostly just for fun and there isn't really a due date for any of them.

Thankfully,  it's a simple enough stitch pattern that the body of the sweater is autopilot knitting until I get to the armholes.  I think it'll make for nice evening tv knitting.  I'll update on this as I progress.

more soon!


Monday, March 28, 2011

A little something

Working on a few's one.  This is a little something I'm working on for baby boy Jacob.  I'm hoping this will fit him next winter.  He's only 2 months old right now, so it's a little hard to gauge how big he will be when he's a year old, but we'll see.  I'm making it a little on the big side, just in case.  I can always roll up the cuff on the sleeve if it's a little big, but I can't make it longer if it's too small.

It's my own design, and it's going to have a grandpa sweater type collar.  I think those are just the cutest on little boys.  I don't think I'll be posting a pattern for different sizes, but I'll likely write one up for just this size.  It appears to be a 1 - 2 year old size, and I'll make sure to include the measurements so that anyone wanting to make one, will know whether it will work for them. 

It's a pretty quick knit so far, and using a modified drop shoulder makes it so easy to put together. I'm also knitting the body in one piece because I prefer to limit seaming.  I'm almost done with the body of the sweater (as you can see below).  I'll knit up the sleeves, attach them and pick up the stitches for the collar and button band. 

I'm knitting this out of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn.  Yes, it's acrylic, but it's for a little boy, and truthfully, they get dirty and they grow really fast.  I'm looking for something I can throw in the washer and dryer and not worry about.  If it were to get ruined somehow, I won't hurt so much knowing that it only cost me like 5 bucks worth of acrylic yarn and a little time.  I have some nice yarn in my stash for when he's a little older, and can wear his stuff for a couple seasons.  I've knit him some cute things in expensive yarn that he's already outgrown, and that adds up.  I knit him the most adorable little romper with matching hat, mitts, and socks out of Malabrigo Sock  It took two skeins, so that's about $40.00 worth of yarn, and he only wore it 3 times.  Lesson learned. 

I'm hoping to get this done soon, so that I can write it up before it leaves my brain.  The whole thing is in my head right now with just a few notes written down.  I'll post the finished pics on this with the pattern for it when I'm done.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Minute Mitts!

I just realized I never posted this pattern on my blog.  What was I thinking? it is.

This is a simple straight forward pattern for fingerless mitts.
The instructions are written only, as a chart really isn’t necessary.
They are a quick and easy knit, and can usually be finished in one to two evenings. They were designed as a last minute gift for my mom, and she loves them!

$ 1.49 US
The pattern is up for sale on Ravelry here

1 skein of Joann's Sensations Kashmira, OR approximately 140 yards of any sportweight yarn that will get gauge
US 3 (3.25mm) needles (for your preferred method of knitting in the round)
US 4 (3.5mm) needles (for your preferred method of knitting in the round)
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

6.5 stitches = 1 inch in Stockinette in the round, using US 4 needles

Average Woman's Hand

You’ll need to be able to knit cables, knit in the round and pick up stitches.

Just about any sport weight yarn will do. I used almost exactly half of a skein of Joann's Sensations Kashmira yarn, which comes to approximately 140yards.  If you are going to substitute with another yarn and you think you might run out, please be sure to get a little extra.  Always best to have too much, rather than too little, when it comes to yarn for a project.
Please feel free to email me with any questions at

Thanks for looking!