Technical Tuesday: Colour Work!

I can’t believe I have not done a Technical Tuesday on colour work! I have been working on my secret project. I’ll drop you a hint and tell you that it includes colour work. I swear! That is all you’re getting though!
I have done colour work on a number of things and first and foremost in our minds are the fiddlehead mittens! I’ve knit two pairs recently, Sara’s Wedding Mittens and Shauna’s Mittens. This kind of colour work is very addicting to me. It feels almost therapeutic to go through a chart and see the colour pattern reveal itself. I am always checking what I have knit so far to see if I can see the design!

At first it is a little bit difficult, but once you get the hang of knitting with two colours it is nothing at all! I know I say this about everything, but if you keep on a technique long enough, it won’t be as painful.

I still remember writing a post about my loathing of double pointed needles and now I don’t think I could live without them. I harbour a deep and passionate love for DPN’s and pretty much every technique I used to hate. All the techniques I found really difficult but wanted to perfect are now all my favourites!

Regardless of how difficult a technique might seem I am telling you to keep on it because it will totally be worth it in the end!

Avocado Alert!

I know this might seem totally random, but I have a deep love of avocados. I find that a lot of people avoid avocados because they don’t know how to tell if they are ripe or not. I am going to give you all the tips I know about telling if one is ripe and my favourite guacamole recipe!

Ripe

The above guide gives the tip about removing the stem to check for ripeness, but the technique I use is slightly different. I press the top of the avocado around the stem. If it is going to go bad, this is where it would start. You would be able to feel if it were super mushy, and you will also be able to tell if it is not ripe. Around the stem should not be rock hard or mushy, but have a little bit of give. So far, this technique has NEVER led me wrong.

Pit and Peel

Now, I will share my favourite guacamole recipe!

3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 large tomato
3-4 cloves of garlic
¼ cup of cilantro
1 small lime
6 green onions, chopped

Avocat

Cut avocados in half, lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seed. Then, use the same spoon to scoop out each avocado’s flesh and add to a medium bowl.
Add diced tomato, chopped cilantro, pepper, minced garlic, lime and the green onion to the avocado and stir to combine.
I will not lie to you, I don’t mince or chop anything… I add all these ingredients to a food processor and let it do the work. Try to keep a little bit of texture because chunky guacamole is better than purely smooth guac. Best served chilled.

Yet More Finished Objects!

I am completely and totally on fire so far this year. Although now that I have said that… I am sure things will slow right down, but alas, it is exciting to be done Shauna’s Mittens!

Fiddlehead Mittens

I think this is the fourth time I have knit this pattern, and I love it more every time. I originally came across it in a kit where the designer Hello Yarn and Tanis Fiber Arts were working together! When I finally picked up this kit it was a true and everlasting love that has still not ceased.
Impatient person that I am, as soon as I finished, I instagramed the photo to Shauna and immediately got more than one person asking about their pair. On one hand, I thought ‘oohhhh, maybe I shouldn’t have posted that photo’ but on the other I love these mittens and want to share that love with the world!

J Socks

I’ve also been making some major headway on my January socks that I want to complete from #OperationSockDrawer on instagram. If you’re unsure what that is, head on over to the Knitmore Girls podcast for details. I have been hardcore binging on those episodes and I am quite close to being caught up! The yarn I am using for these socks was a limited time colour way called ‘Over the Rainbow’ from Knitcircus; they might not be offering this particular colour way anymore, but the yarns are lovely!

J Socks 2

If I haven’t ever endorsed participating before, I would like to take a moment to now. On instagram, Ravelry, twitter, facebook or any kind of platform you wish! I look at everyone else’s photos of socks and sock drawers and I am so inspired! I absolutely want to go and cast on about 100 more things. I know that I have not run any knit alongs, but the Stitch Please Ravelry group doesn’t have all that many members and there are groups out there much larger doing extremely excellent knit or crochet alongs. I highly endorse participating in these because while you are inspired to do better and create, you are also inspiring someone else. No matter that you are only one person! There is someone somewhere looking at a photo you posted and thinking what you made is pretty darn cool. Seriously, if you take away one thing from this blog let it be this. Engage! Participate! It’s pretty amazing and good for the soul in general.

Knitted Kitchener Stitch

Kitchener stitch is one of those strange things were you either love it or you hate it. I am one of the strange people who love it. I can’t get enough of Kitchener stitches; it gives me a great sense of satisfaction to finish a pair of socks and graft the toe together like it is nothing.
In order to convert as many people as I can, I managed to dig up this video on the knitted kitchener stitch. There is method to my madness, I promise. There is never only one single way to do something and at times, it can make it easier to learn a technique if you simply see it done another way.

This technique is not just for socks, but for a lot of other things as well! The underarms of sweaters usually need to be grafted together, in Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless hybrid sweater you have to graft part of the shoulder together. It is an extremely useful skill to hone and it makes you look really cool in front of all your knitter friends.
My name is Michelle and I highly endorse the kitchener stitch!

ChiaoGoo Spin Bamboo Interchangeable Needle Review

Now for the review you have all been waiting oh so patiently for! The ChiaoGoo interchangeable needles. I did get a set of Spin Bamboo Interchangeables and a set of Twist Red Lace Interchangeables; due to personal bias, I started reviewing the bamboo needles first.

SBI 1

The first thing I will say about these needles is RUN AND BUY THEM NOW. Since reviewing the ChiaoGoo Red Lace needles I knew they were a quality product, but I am totally in love with these interchageables.

SBI 6

I am getting ahead of myself though. The very first thing that really struck me about these needles is the case they came in. Everything was organized and labeled inside, each needle had it’s separate place with the needle size stitched onto the outside casing.

SBI 4

The only thing I would have changed on the inside would be a place to keep the cords. When the package arrives they are in their own individual baggies within the needle case, but it would be nice to have pockets for them or a zippered section.

SBI 2

There is a zippered section on the outside of the needle case which comes filled with a needle gauge and stitch markers. I love it when companies add in the little touches like this. It really shows how much their customer services shines through and gives the impression that they are here to equip knitters. They’re not going to give you a hard time, they just want you to knit.

SBI 3

The zippered pouch on the outside could be used for the cables, depending on how you organize your things. The cables were actually very interesting to me. There were two different sizes; a small and a large. Not in length either, in the gauge of the orifice where you screw in your needles. The bigger needles (5.5mm/US9 through 10mm/US 15) have a larger base. The bottom part you screw into your cable is physically a different size than the smaller needle sizes. I am not really sure how I feel about this because it really means you would have to buy double of any extra cables you want. I haven’t reached the point where it would become annoying to me, but I think it would depend on which needle sizes you would use more. There is no fear of mixing up the cables because they are both labeled as small or large.

SBI 5

Now, for the needles themselves. I started a project on these needles and everything slides so easily. The connector that screws onto your needle twists all the way around which prevents the cables from unscrewing on their own and your cable doesn’t get tangled as often as it would normally.

SBI 7

The tips of the needles are wonderfully sharp. This is always my fear with trying out new bamboo or wooden needles, is that they will be blunt. I had a few bamboo needles from an independent yarn store, which were horribly dull. It made increasing or decreasing a nightmare and regular old knitting was no walk in the park either. Although I would highly suggest it if you are trying to get out of the habit of knitting too tightly; it is simply not plausible with dull needles, you would never get the stitch off the needle on the next row.
The cables do not lay as flat as the red lace, but the cables are just plain plastic for the interchangeable set. That being said, they are much less stubborn and curly than your average interchangeable needle set. I can’t wait to review their stainless steel counterparts!!

First and Last

Paul’s middle brother Chris married his lovely fiancee this past Saturday. It was simultaneously the first wedding of the year and the last one we are involved in for a little while! It has been kind of crazy with all the wedding events and then the weddings themselves, but they were all really great!

Paul and Michelle

Alli looked completely amazing and Chris wasn’t too bad either, they had a beautiful ceremony and an awesome reception.

Chris and Alli

I was quite sick the entire time, but started to feel a bit better towards the end of the night. I was determined to stay and not miss anything though.

Pat and Michelle

I am sincerely glad I did not miss one second of their wedding and am so happy to have a sister! CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!!!

Nguyen Women

Everyone has fled the cold weather on honeymoons and vacations, so I instagrammed this picture the other day to show them just what they were missing.

Baby its Cold Outside

First Finished Object on 2015

I finished the haaaat! It was a really great knit because there are miles and miles of stockinet stitch. I find what I am knitting really reflects my state of mind and when I don’t have a lot of mind to spare I like easy things.

Easy Hat

This hat was perfect for being off sick and just knitting plain rounds. It went a lot faster than I thought it would. The total length of the hat is 14 inches, which seems really extreme, but makes the perfect slouchy hat. The pattern is called Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure and it is my favourite slouch hat pattern so far!

Easy Hat Two

I’ve also been working on Shauna’s mittens. I think I started them in the beginning of last year and let them languish over the summer. When you finish a pair of mittens for someone and it is hot outside, it really doesn’t have the same effect. I have been gradually working on them here and there to finish them off while it is still cold outside. I have the outside of both mittens completed and blocked; the lining never takes a really long time to complete. Hopefully I will have them done for her within the week!

Shaunas Fiddlehead Mitten

I’ve been thinking about what I am going to work on next and I really want to finish off my Grandmother’s sweaters. I realized I had started a sleeve a while back because I have done two back pieces and have started the front of one. If I had the sleeves finished, it would seem a lot closer to being done than it actually is. I hope to really buckle down and work at least a couple rows every day until it is done. I was thinking about having an easy project and before I get to work on the easy project, I have to complete a few rows of the sweaters first.
Does anyone else have to trick themselves into doing things they should, or is it just me?

Technical Tuesday: Kitchener Stitch Revisited

I have had so many requests for another post on kitchener stitch that I am actually going to repeat a post. I’ve been sick with a really horrible cold and completely bed ridden, so I am re-blogging this from last year!

A lot of people absolutely hate doing the Kitchener stitch because they don’t really understand how to do it. It can be confusing when you only do it once in a blue moon, but I think it is really amazing . The very first time I did this stitch right, I was amazed! You can’t even tell where it was grafted together!

Dad's Socks 3

The very first time I attempted the Kitchener stitch, I was knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless hybrid sweater. There was a short description about how to complete this stitch and I followed it to the best of my abilities. Considering that I had only been knitting for a few months, I doubt I would have understood.

I use the Kitchener stitch most commonly on sock toes. By grafting the ends together you cannot tell where they were separated. It looks like solid knitting the whole time. I feel very sad when people don’t knit a pattern specifically because they have to graft something. Here is the video I found most helpful when I was learning.

Once you get the hang of it, I always say out loud “Knit-wise, purl-wise; purl-wise, knit-wise.” When I was first starting out, saying the directions out loud helped me to keep track of the stitches in my head. Now it is more of a nostalgic comforting thing; if I start to annoy people I turn my volume down quite a bit. Here is another video that I found decent.

The above two videos are more of a basic understanding of Kitchener stitch, so for the more advanced knitter, here is a video showing how to Kitchener stitch without a darning needle. I could have used this on my trip to Cuba, I didn’t think to bring a needle with me.

I really hope this has shed some light on the Kitchener stitch and made people a little braver to try it. When others talk of grafting, they usually mean the Kitchener stitch, it is just another way to describe it. As always, if anyone has any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to comment below or email me. I am always happy to help!

On TV

I am a notorious TV knitter; I knit while I watch television constantly and find some really good things to watch. I thought I would share them with you here, so if you’re looking to get into a TV show, you would have some ideas. Since I watch TV with Paul, there are a really wide range of things I watch, but the most recent thing has been re-watching Doctor Who.

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Let me explain how the seasons work. Doctor Who has been on TV for over 50 years so there are many MANY seasons. From 1963 to 1989 there are 26 seasons, in 1996 there is a television movie and in 2005 the series start. I have not personally watched all the old seasons, I may one day, but you do not need to in order to understand the show or get the premise. In series one (2005) I think they were looking to introduce a more modern Doctor Who but kept the graphics low quality as a nod to the older episodes.

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A lot of people are put off by Doctor Who because of the graphics in the first series. They are really quite terrible, but back when the show first started in 1963 I am sure they seemed quite good. As the series progress, there are nine now, the graphics get better and the story changes a little bit, but it is a really good show!

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I’ll try to give you a little cliff notes teaser of what the show is about without giving away anything. The Doctor is an alien who travels through time and space in his TARDIS; Time And Relative Dimension In Space. The TARDIS is a kind of spaceship that can go anywhere and anytime; sometimes it is pulled towards a place where the Doctor’s help is needed.
Mostly the Doctor travels around to see time and space, but he also helps out where he is needed. He usually has a human companion with him because even while traveling and meeting all sorts of interesting characters, he gets lonely. The companion also helps to bring him closer to the events around him. Since The Doctor can travel all of time and space, he can forget that he makes a difference. Even just saving one person or one small act of kindness can change things in a very real way.

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I am not usually into sci-fi shows or any kind of alien movies, but this has an engaging story line and it is very well written. I would highly suggest this to anyone looking for a new series to start and depending on how ambitious you are, you could start from 1963 or 2005.

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Ambitious

Holy moly, a new year already. I managed to finish nothing lately and cast on several things. I know… things are looking promising for 2015. I swear my resolution of this year is to finish things! I am planning on getting all those really old projects out of my queue on Ravelry (Fairy mist cowl and Grandma’s Sweater I’m looking at you!).
Now that I have made that declaration, I am sure everything will go swimmingly…. I trust you guys to hold me accountable!

Hat New Two

One thing I have done is to update my 2014 Finished Objects page! I think it is a really therapeutic thing to keep is a running record of all the projects you finish throughout the year. When you look back on it, you feel this really great sense of accomplishment. It’s not quite the same as looking at them in Ravelry because there is no year divider (that I know of anyway). You just forget about the small things or the things you whipped up really fast. I would say it is good for the soul and just leave it at that.
What have I cast on you ask? Well there is one super sneaky project, which must be kept on the down low so as not to alert the recipient, but it is pretty awesome!! I am really REALLY excited to talk about it, but that will all be in due time.

Hat New One

 

One thing I CAN talk about it the suuuuuper cute hat I am working on! I originally bought the yarn a while ago, I think I was going to attempt to make a shawl with it. I have realized that I am just not a shawl kind of person. I will wear sweaters and scarves, but not really shawls. It is really pretty yarn and I didn’t just want to make socks with it either, so I decided on making the same pattern as my piano teacher’s hat. This is the yarn size the pattern originally called for, so I decided to take it. I wanted to make one of this hat anyway and the yarn will make a great hat. I may make some fingerless gloves as well since I have two skeins, maybe a small cowl if I can eek out enough yardage.
I am really serious about getting old projects done though, I am going to finish off Shauna’s mittens, then work on the Fairy Mist Cowl and my Grandmother’s Sweater. They are going to be my next projects, I might throw in the odd pallet cleanser, but it will be something simple, like my hat!
I am really hoping I will have a finished object to report by next week. At the very least the hat should be done! Considering that it took one sitting to finish most of it the first time around.