Mother’s Day Scarf???

I had an idea that I would make the moms – mine and my boyfriend’s – scarves for Mother’s Day. Of course, I’ve left it till the last minute, so now I’m scrambling to find a nice, quick pattern that *hopefully* won’t take too long to knit.

So, this is a test swatch of the Drop Stitch Scarf by Christine Vogel (available as a free Ravelry download) knit with Berroco Karma in Purpurite (3422).

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It’s quite nice, but I think maybe this yarn is a bit too funky for the moms… and the search continues 🙂

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Alpaca & Wool Scarf

Well, I did it! I finally finished my boyfriend’s scarf 3 weeks ago, just in time for him to wear it for the last few weeks of winter.  Thank goodness, because today we have thundershowers – very uncharacteristic March weather for Montreal, Canada.  We are normally still up to our necks – well, up to our knees – in snow, but we have had a steady stream of warm rainy weather over the past couple weeks, so there is very little snow left anywhere.

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Anyway, back to the scarf.  This is my first completed knitting project.  Woohoo!  It’s a really nice feeling.  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve started and stopped lots of projects over the years, so it feels really good to finally get one under the belt.

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More importantly, my boyfriend has been wearing the scarf, and he loves it.  At 7 ft, it is longer than he is tall.  I guess he was the right incentive.  Now for the matching hat…

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I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky yarn in sandy brown, and I followed the Christian’s Scarf pattern by Agnes Kutas Knitwear Design which is available as a free download on Ravelry.

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Knitting faster… or trying to

So, I am trying to learn how to knit faster. The super-long scarf I am knitting for my boyfriend has finally driven me to it. Yup, this is the scarf that makes you want to learn how to knit faster LOL! I throw my yarn, completely taking my right hand off the needle to do so, and it slows me down considerably. This is how most of us learn, before eventually migrating to a more efficient style.  So 34 stitches by 288 rows later, I am resigned:  I must change my technique.

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I found this video https://youtu.be/eSqPYt4EReA  by Felicia from The Craft Sessions, which demonstrates 4 different methods. I’m quite fascinated by Lever Knitting/Irish Cottage Knitting and I definitely intend to give that a go, but I’ve started with Continental Knitting, which should speed up both knit and purl stitches. You can see my attempt above… lots of mistakes in those first few rows. Unfortunately, I am not finding it particularly intuitive. Once I get the hang of it, I’m off to a brisk pace, but the next day I can’t seem to remember how to wind the yarn around the righthand needle and I have to look up a video again. Ugh, frustrating, because it’s not a difficult style to learn at all! I’m almost finished my boyfriend’s scarf, so I’m certainly not going to mess with the gauge by changing knitting styles on that project, but I do want to pick up the pace, so that I can make more things 🙂

Learning to Crochet

Crochet puff scarfOK, so technically this isn’t a knitting post, but I wanted to write about my experience learning to crochet, and since this will probably be my only post on the subject, it seemed as good a place as any to put it.

After stumbling across online images of some truly gorgeous crocheted pieces this past summer (crochet puff stitch hat, and one-skein chevron scarf http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/one-skein-chevron-scarf), I decided that I wanted to learn how to crochet, because who wouldn’t want to be able to make these? I found a couple of really great videos – there are so many to choose from, bought myself some pretty pink worsted yarn and a 5.5 mm (I) crochet hook and I was on my way. It didn’t take long for me to master the chain stitch and single crochet stitch, but what I discovered is that, ultimately, crocheting is probably not for me. The repetitive jabbing motion of the crochet hook was really taxing on my arthritic fingers and knuckles. My hands were noticeably sore after about half an hour. Knitting somehow – thankfully – doesn’t seem to apply the same pressure to my joints.

Chevron crochet scarfCrochet stitches are such precise, pretty-looking stitches, though, and it’s so much fun to master something new that I won’t say I’ve given up on it completely. Let’s just call it another UFO and put it on the back burner for now. After all, I still have my boyfriend’s scarf to finish… 😛

If you’d like to give crocheting a go, I found the following two videos very helpful.

In this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdK-WWdHCQU&list=FLCbXSnpUUwC_qZqie1Fs7UA&index=36 by Mom of 5 Daughters (epicabundance), the simple and concise explanations just make it seem so easy. In fact, her pretzel-shaped slip-knot is so easy to do & is such a cinch to remember that I have adopted it for knitting too.  You can visit her web site here http://www.momof5daughters.com/index.html

I also really liked this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hoc9pNfVfU&list=FLCbXSnpUUwC_qZqie1Fs7UA&index=30 by Chandi. Not only was her tutorial easy to follow, but her enthusiasm was infectious! Oh, and did you see how fast that girl can crochet???!!!  You can check out her blog here http://blog.expressionfiberarts.com/

If you do end up giving it a try, please feel free to post a comment and/or photo. I would love to hear from you! 🙂

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The Scarf

I LOVE knitting.  I wouldn’t say that I’m at an intermediate level, but I’m not bad.  I especially love discovering new patterns, finding the yarn and then jumping in.  But I have a problem:  I never finish anything!  I get excited about a project, work on it for a few weeks, then my attention wanes and I’m either onto a new one or that’s that.

My G.P. – a wonderful woman and an avid embroiderer – shrugged off my concern with 4 little words:  “we call those WIPs”, she said.  Then she explained:  works in progress or UFOs:  unfinished objects.  “I do Japanese embroidery,” she continued.  “When I work on a project, it’s not a questions of weeks or months, but years.”

“Wow,” I said, “that’s takes dedication and patience.”

So, I’ve started lots of scarves… I shouldn’t feel so bad, right?  And really the problem is that I’m a very slow knitter, because I have arthritis and my hands just don’t move very quickly.  Then again, if I had just stuck to 1 scarf instead of starting 4, I would at least have had a finished one to show for all my hard work.  Sigh…

Well, I have a new challenge:  I have begun a scarf for my boyfriend, and if I don’t finish it, he will never let me hear the end of it.  There is nothing like the fear of eternal mocking to provide incentive 🙂

After slacking off for most of the summer, I have – oh say – another month… month and a half before it gets cold enough for him to need it.  And I may have bitten off more than I can chew, because I’ve sort of promised to knit him the matching hat as well.  I’ve never knit a hat before, so we shall see how that goes.

Above is a picture of my WIP from earlier in the year.  I’m quite a bit farther along now, more than half way through.  I’ll post an updated pic soon.

This is the pattern I’ve chosen:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/christians-scarf