August KALS : Crossroads Set with yarn prize & Illume

I’ve long been meaning to post about something I started up at the end of last year. I started a group on Ravelry for knit alongs that are free. In the beginning I would choose a pattern from the copious free knitting patterns avaiable in Ravelry’s database once a month. People joined my group and could jump in to knit the project together, posting photos as they went.

Projects are normally of beginner-intermediate skill level and a reasonable size for completing in a months time. This size project makes for a great way to use up that one or 2 skeins of yarn one may have just sitting around waiting to be used.

It wasn’t long before knit-wear designers were offering some of their patterns that normally one would have to purchase, and offering them to the group free with a coupon code. Now this group has the opportunity to obtain and knit these lovely patterns they would normally have to purchase for FREE! It is a nice way for the designer to gain some exposure of their pattern, and to advertise themselves free somewhere someone ay not have noticed their patterns before. Win, win!

So once a month I will try to remember to announce which KALs we are doing over in the group, and then post progress photos if i decide to attempt any of them.

FOR AUGUST:

KAL #1: Crossroads Set

by Elena Nodel

This pattern is normally for purchase, but can be obtained by joining the KAL. Elena is offering a skein of her own Dia Merino DK  yarn to one lucky finishing participant at the end of the month.

KAL #2: Illume

by Melissa Schaschwary

This pattern can be found FREE on ravelry. I was one of the test knitters for this hat, and may I say I absolutely love testing patterns for Melissa when I get the chance. I think her designs are just so lovely.

So if you are a knitter, come join in the fun!

her fall sweater

I knew fall was on it’s way, but it wasn’t until last week that I realized it was actually here!

I had been doing all of this knitting for our little one in the womb, while Piper was all grown out of all her cold weather clothing from last year! Oopsy! I had to remedy that problem post-haste I worked all of last week on a sweater that would be fit for the outdoors this fall and for the indoors this winter. Not only am I pleased with the outcome, but Piper gets the biggest smile on her face when I ask if she wants to wear her new sweater! Yay!

 

Sweater pattern is Cascade and can be found on Ravelry.com free!

around the house

Once again I am inspired by Inspired.

//LATELY//

I’ve been on top of washing my dishes. I can’t tell you how much it makes me happy to relax at night knowing I don’t have a sink/counter/stovetop full of dishes.

We have dried off the goat. Since having stopped drinking animal’s milk, P has had noticeably better digestion. I am thankful for improved digestion, but bummed out that she won’t be able to have dairy at all. We have started giving her almond milk, which she seems to be enjoying.

Homemade dinners have been sparse these days, but I’m really learning how to stretch a budget and a chicken! One day I’ll be as good as my mom. I’m determined.

Over the weekend was the Common Ground Fair. We weren’t able to go, though we desperately wanted to. However, my sister and brother went and stopped in to get the latest copy of Taproot for me from Amanda Soule. I’m itching to start knitting the Family Mittens pattern found within it’s pages!

And finally, Piper is about to get herself a new hat! Did I mention that I’m a little obsessed with knitting right now?

drinking the knitter’s kool-aid

My mom knitted when I was little. She would knit hats and gloves for my siblings and me as children. I remember loathing those handmade items; itchy, hot, uncomfortable things. I realize in hindsight that she wasn’t exactly a knitting diva and couldn’t afford (or just didn’t know of) anything other than cheap acrylic yarn from a craft store or maybe she just used some rough itchy wool that was handed down to her. I also had an aversion to sweaters as a child. Cotton sweatshirts for me, please!

As a result of my childhood aversion to all things knit, I had absolutely no desire to learn to knit for myself. Why would I? Sweaters and knit caps would never become fashionable…

How wrong was I?!

In my 20’s I started wearing sweaters and hats and fingerless gloves – all bought at retail clothing stores.

Halfway through my 20’s I met the man who is now my husband. When we were dating, he was knitting himself a scarf, and then he began to teach me to knit.

About the same time I met Joe I started reading Soulemama‘s blog and through these posts I found out about a social community called Ravelry. At the time, Ravelry was by invitation only and I had to wait months to get mine! Oh the frustration! Now it seems like anyone who knits is on Ravelry, which I think is fantastic!

I took to knitting like a fish to water. My first project was the pixie hat like Soulemama’s and then I knit a WWII style hat for Joe (at the time he was just leaving reenacting).

Through Ravelry I have come to the knowledge that there is a whole knitting language and possibly subculture. Not just knit 1, purl 2. But I had never heard of blocking, and once I did find out what it was, I had no idea it was necessary (unless you knit with acrylic)! Blocking is the act of soaking your finished project in water, squeezing (not wringing) it out, laying it out flat (all the better if you have blocking matts) and pinning it into the proper shape/dimensions.

I am still (and may always be) intimidated by the ladies who work (live?) at lys-es (local yarn stores) and have their little knitting cliques at the tables in the back and who always have the perfect gauge, best blocking techniques, and design their own flawless patterns. They actually expect me to know what weight yarn and/or brand I’m looking for when I go in there. They don’t sell (or even talk about) anything by Red Heart, Lion, Bernat or Caron – heavens no! Is it my imagination or does this 4’11” woman looking down her nose at me? But I always walk out with the most beautiful yarn, a smaller bank account, and cold sweats! I think I should start shopping with a support group.

Anyway, I knit now and I absolutely love it.

Like my other hobbies, it comes and goes in phases. But once I start up it’s just so hard to stop. With baby #2 on the way, all these tiny little items are finished so quickly, and the back and forth rhythm of yarn over needles make every project both therapeutic and satisfying.

tiny knitting

Pixie Hat pattern found here

Puerperium Newborn Cardigan pattern found here

I’ve been a little busy these past couple of days. I just can’t seem to put the needles down! I can’t help searching for what cute little baby things to knit next! I’ve even started a group on Ravelry to keep me motivated to stay knitting. Oops! (Please feel free to join!)

In other news:

  • I had my first midwife appointment this week and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat!
  • I’ve been able to use our flannel sheets on our bed this week! I’m very much enjoying this cool weather.
  • Joe made blackberry/huckleberry wine.
  • I picked 6 huge summer squash from the garden!

getting back to it

I think I finally got that burst of energy today! Piper’s nap time came around, and I didn’t feel like crashing (for once). So instead I thought I’d pick up my knitting and do something quietly productive.

Also, I actually got around to canning something, which I was starting to think wouldn’t happen. Yep. I made my first ever relish. Dill relish. I hate sweet/bread & butter. I don’t know how it has come out yet, but next time we grill I’ll find out!

Next on my to-do list today will be spicy pineapple chicken. Can’t wait!