My Free Patterns

Friday, April 27, 2012

The search for satisfaction

I'm really rather happy to announce that I finished the first Tanvi cardigan.  It turned out really pretty, and better than I had hoped.  That said, am I satisfied?  I'll have to withhold judgement until I have blocked it.  You can see in the pictures below that the neck line is all stretched out.  Should I blame the yarn, the children, or knitting a size bigger than I should have??  I don't know yet.  

Pattern: Tanvi
What I learned: I'm starting to get more comfortable with  my knitting skills, and changing up patterns to suit me.  There were a few things I didn't like about the way this pattern was written.  I was happy with the results when I changed them.

Here are my models in action:
She wasn't happy I made her stop getting ready for school to take pictures.  Puts on a nice smile anyway.

I'm showing the back twice with different amounts of light to try to show the diamonds.  This picture was taken before we added the buttons, and you can see the neck isn't as stretch out.

Here are the buttons that Rori picked out:

Before I go I've got a question for any quilters out there.  I have a bunch of receiving blankets from when the girls were babies, which I saved to one day make into quilts for them.  In my cleaning frenzy I've decided I should do it now (why do we always give ourselves so much to do when pressed for time?).  I was thinking of just doing a strip quilt, but I don't want it to be too boring.  Or too hard.  Any pattern ideas?  I want something a little girl will like, but one that won't drive me mad piecing together.  Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Have a wonderful weekend.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's all about the yarn

The mere fact that I am not showing you the lavender cardigan again this week is cause for celebration! 

Instead I've started the same Tanvi cardigan in a new yarn for my other daughter.  The yarn she chose is Sirdar Snuggly 4ply.  it is 55% nylon, 45% acrylic.  It is soft, and lovely, and I'm enjoying knitting with it.  I'm also finding that this time I don't mind making a second one, as there were a few things that I didn't like the first time around.  Before I blame the pattern on being poorly written in sections, I need to figure out if it is just me (pretty sure it's me!).

So without further ado, here's where I'm at:

See how I tried to sell that and I'm only a couple of inches into it?  Oh well, these appear to be quick knit cardigans, so I'll check back in next WIP Wednesday and we'll see how far I've gotten.

Before I go, I'll quickly add in the books I've been reading.  First up is The Sheik, by E.M. Hull.  

How I came to read a romance/adventure novel written in the 1920's by a farm housewife, I'll never know (or maybe it is just that I am sucker for free e-books?).  Why I kept reading it is a no brainer.  It was fun!  Overly ridiculous, yes, but I don't read romance novels so maybe that is normal. 

I'm also just finishing up Organized Simplicity.  I've been seeing it about in blogland, and I loved it!  Seriously, I want to get rid of 1/2 my stuff and get on a plane to a new life.  Check back in a year and let's see how close I am to making that happen!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What's the Bzzz?

I've written before about being a Bzzz Agent, but let me quickly refresh your memory.  BzzAgent is a social marketing company.  They supply people (like me) with free samples of products and then we report back on what we think, and share information with others.  This is not a sponsored post, and I'm sharing my real feelings with you about the product. 

The past few weeks I've been reviewing Activa Pouring Yogurt.  First off, I think the idea is a good one.  I love to have yogurt with cereal, and this makes it easy and fast.  I tried the strawberry flavour, and it was good.  To me it tasted a bit.....chalky, but not in an in-your-face kind of way.  It might have to do with the fact that it is less than 2% fat, for which I am willing to make sacrifices.

Being liquid it is also excellent for smoothies, but to be honest, I would buy a cheaper carton and use a spoon.  I'm just that frugal.  It is also an excellent texture/thickness for drinking, if you like to drink yogurt.  It would probably be cheaper and more environmentally friendly that those little tubes of drinkable yogurt.

All in all, I think it's a good product.  I've got coupons/vouches for £.50 off, if anyone in the UK is interested.  Just shoot me an email with your address and I'll send it along to you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tree of Life Bag

I'm jumping the gun, but I haven't had a FO post in a while, and I have sent this little beauty off.  I have this compulsion that as soon as I make something for someone I want to send it to them right away.  Anyone else like that?  So even though this is a present for my Mom for Mother's Day, it is already winging its way to her.

Years ago I made myself a bag out of a two blocks, knit rather large.  I sewed them together and put on a handle.  I even lined it.  It is not the worlds best made bag, but I use it ALL the time.  I knit it in fisherman's wool, held double on 7mm needles, and for whatever reason it never made it to my blog.  So here it is, in all it's glory: the prototype.

Now, several months ago my Mom joined Ravelry and the first thing she said was that she loved the tree of life block that I had made.  It is actually called Tree Breeze, but we both prefer Tree of Life.  I had been thinking of remaking the bag, but this time in the round--I just hate seams.  Thus was the next bag born.  Here's what I did:

Bought some gorgeous wool.  It is called Araucania Lauca, and it is 80% Wool, 10% Silk, 10% Camel.  Camel for goodness sake--how cool is that?  I chose green because I thought it suitable for a bag with a tree on it.  Buying wool for presents doesn't count in my wool buying ban, see, another loop hole!!

To make the bag I used the Tree Breeze block from Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein I've talked about this book on numerous occasions, I love it!

Using a circular needle I did a provisional cast on, enough stitches for a block front and back, and then an extra 20 for each side.  I joined in the round, placed my markers, and off I went. I made the same block on each side so it was reversible.  Here's what it looks like:

I lined it as well, because hand sewing anything really shows your love.  At least, it does in my opinion!

I'm pleased with how it turned out.  I used the Kitchener stitch on the provisional cast on at the bottom, and it does appear to be seamless.  I also really like the way the yarn variegation shows up.  All in all, a success.  Love you Mom!!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And thus it grows

I've been working away on Rori's cardigan, and it is looking better than I had hoped. Will it be warm?  No, probably not.  But it will be pretty (I hope!).  I think I only have another 3-4 diamond repeats and the border to finish and it will be done.  We are going button shopping this weekend, so the pressure is on!  I need to get my act together and do a test swatch for the next one, to be sure I have the right size needle.  If I have to order a new size I want it here and waiting for me when I need it!  Nothing is allowed to thwart my knitting.
Starting to look like a cardigan!

Diamond pattern

Last night I made the mistake of knitting while upset and tired (will I never learn?) and ended up 1 stitch short at the end of the row.  Sigh.  So I have that to look forward to today, I hate ripping out rows that have YO's.

I'm also still plugging away on the fan and feather blanket.  I'm loving this blanket, it is just so therapeutic to knit.

That's it for me, now I need to hustle the kids out the door and get myself ready for work.  I seem to be getting up earlier and earlier in the day to get things done!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And then, you know!

Here's my observation of the week.  I am well and truly addicted to knitting.  What, you're not shocked?  I go to work and I do not think about knitting, I think about whisky.  I cannot knit at work, and I read my Kindle at lunch.  Then I get home, and all I want to do is knit!  I don't want to make dinner, or check my email, or ugh, do laundry.  I want to sit and knit and go away into my own little world.  Bliss!

This week I've got two WIP's.  I have started the Tanvi for my youngest (ok, only by 9 minutes, but she is younger).  I am always a bit alarmed at the difference between yarns, even of the same type.  I am using 4ply, and starting with the Sirdar Luxury Soft in cotton.  It is just so--thin!  The other 4 ply I will be using is thicker and I got gauge straight away.  I had to go up an entire needle size to get gauge for this yarn, and I was (and still am to be truthful) wondering what kind of cardigan it will produce.  I went so far as to try to persuade my daughter she would really rather have another type of yarn altogether.  She would not be swayed (and for that I am proud).  So on I knit, fingers crossed, and we'll see what happens.  I should be approaching the division for the sleeves soon, so I'm happy with the progress thus far.  I've just got to accept things will take me longer now.

To begin with I followed the pattern and did a 1x1 rib for the collar and along the edges.  However even with slipping the first stitch, it looked terrible.  It was too loose and floppy and I just wasn't happy.  I got about 22 rows before I came to this conclusion however.  Sigh.  Once I announced to all present that I would just have to rip it back and start over--it apparently became comfortable for sitting.  Or perhaps it is just my fault for photographing on the floor.  I am now doing a garter stitch border and collar and it looks much better.  It will better match my Tappan Zee as well, so it was worth while.

I've also still working on my fan and feather lap blanket.  I often do this at night while watching tv with the hubby.  He sometimes gets annoyed with the click click click of my metal needles, but the one I'm using for the blanket doesn't bother him much.  It amuses and annoys me that he is so sensitive to sounds, but were it me, I would want him to respect my foibles, so I do try!

I'm adding colours between the cream (which I have the most of) and so far it is navy and a dark green.  I was debating adding in grey, if I have enough.  Any thoughts?  Should I just keep it cream, navy, and green?  This will be interesting as I progress, to see if I have enough yarn! 

Have a great rest of the week everyone, happy crafting!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Loop Hole

Hello and Happy Friday!  Let me tell you........ this going back to work is difficult!  I've been feeling a bit under the weather and swamped with both work and home life, and I'm just not getting much knitting done.  That said, my new job is fun, and I am already comfortable giving the distillery tour, so that's a bonus. 
This is what I woke up to on Tuesday.  Apparently Mother Nature didn't get the memo that I'm ready for spring!

Before I show you my FO, I wanted to tell you about my Loop Hole!  This relates to my not buying more yarn, and trying to knit down my stash.  Some of you will think I've caved, but I like to think of it as finding a way around the rules (even if they are my own rules).  I've recently been selling off stuff on Ebay, and it occurred to me that I could use the profits in my Paypal account to buy some yarn, and it wouldn't really count as spending money in the bank.  I like to think of Ebay as one big place to trade stuff around.  I sold some of my girls old baby clothes (and a few other things), and used the money I made to buy the yarn and a pattern to knit them spring/summer cardigans.  SCORE!  So I don't feel guilty, they get something they need, and I get to have fun with a new pattern.  I should even have enough money left over to get the Irish tweed wool I want for myself, but I'm not going to buy it until I have the time to knit it.

After admiring my Tappan Zee cardigan on several occasions, I asked the girls if they would like something similar.  They said yes, so I went hunting on Ravelry.  I found the Tanvi which has the same eyelets and diamonds, only more of them, making it super cute for wee girls.  The girls picked out two very different 4ply yarns, so this should be an interesting experiment to see how two cardigans of the same pattern but with different yarns turns out.  Stay tuned!!
The bottom yarn is a lavender/lilac colour that didn't show up well.

For my FO this week, I've got the second Ramona tank top done (finally!).  I didn't think I'd have it done in time, but after work yesterday I pushed myself to get the i-cord bind off done and get it sewn up.  I finished just before I collapsed into bed.  My models are both still asleep (at 8:50am, that's unheard of!), so I'll have to just show you a boring picture. 
 That's all from me this week, have a lovely, craft-happy weekend!

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