knitting the second cowl

Remember how I’m making two cowls for my mom (one for her, one for a friend)?  I’m using this pattern from Ravelry to make it but I’m doing it in thinner yarn and adapting the pattern a bit.  She wants something thinner — more like a necklace.  Well, here’s how far I am on #2:

This one’s going much slower, and it’s not just because I’ve already done one and the novelty has worn off.  That’s not it at all, really — this one I’m making with a thinner yarn but the same needles.  The first cowl was sock weight, and this yarn is about half that size.  It will be much more lacy, which I think will look equally cool, but it’s taking longer because I’m not used to working with such lightweight yarn.  It keeps sliding through my hands so my tension is wonky and I have to keep adjusting to keep it right.

As you can see, my knitting is resting on my laptop, which is in turn resting on the arm of the couch.  My boyfriend is often taking up the TV with his video gaming (which is fine), so I usually sit here on the couch, using my computer to watch movies/TV or listen to audiobooks with my headphones on.  When a pattern is difficult for me, I’ll postpone those things in favor of turning all my attention towards my knitting, but for stuff like this cowl, which is an easy pattern, I like to listen to things.

Do you do things while you knit?  If so, what?  I need some new ideas — I’ve practically memorized all of my audiobooks and movies (lines and musical scores).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you visit again soon!



KnitPicks needle set review

I’ve had the Options Sunstruck Wood Interchangeable Needle Set by KnitPicks for long enough to review them.  Here’s the set in all it’s beautiful glory:

I got a couple of extras, like extra cables, ID tags, and cable joins.

I will confess I was a little worried at getting the whole set without trying any of their needles out beforehand, but I’d heard/read good things about them, so I was mostly confident.  The set was expensive, but I saved 19% buy buying all the components together instead of buying them separately over time, so to me it was worth it.

what the set contains:

This set of laminated birch needles contains needle sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, and 11.  There are two metric sizes between 10.5 and 11 that are not included (7mm and 7.5mm).  They have the 7mm tips sold separately but do not offer 7.5.  The set also includes two each of the 24″ cables and the 32″ cables, a vinyl needle case, a vinyl cable case, 8 end caps, and 2 cable keys.

the review:

So smooth and beautiful!

love this set.  Now I’ve never had an interchangeable needle set before, but I can confidently say that I wouldn’t even bother trying other brands out because these are just perfect.  The cables are very flexible and [so far] do not kink up while knitting like my old ChiaoGoo fixed circulars sometimes did.  The joins from cable to needle are smooth and don’t snag yarn.  The wood is silky soft and smooth, but since it is wood it has a nice grip to it.  I like wooden needles because they are lighter than aluminum/nickel so they don’t weigh your work down, they stay nice and warm in your hands, and they have that good grip on the yarn so you never have to worry about your stitches sliding off (even with double points).  The tips of these needles are way pointier than the ChiaoGoo needles, as you can see here:

ChiaoGoo on the left, KnitPicks on the right.

Getting into stitches to do complicated twists and cable work is so much easier with these pointy tips!  The difference is amazing!  Also, I think that since these KnitPicks needles are made of laminated birch, they will be stronger than the ChiaoGoo bamboo needles (which would sometimes chip at the points during tight sections and cause an awful lot of problems).  Also, the caps are really handy — it will be great to be able to keep my projects safe, secure, and on the cable while I use the needles for something else!  That’s one reason I wanted the interchangeable set instead of fixed ones.  The cable keys may seem unnecessary, but they help make sure the cables are screwed into the tips nice and tightly for use.  The cases are OK — they’re just regular clear vinyl, but they get the job done.  Maybe someday I’ll spring for a beautiful cloth needle roll or something, but for now this is just fine.

availability of Sunstruck needles:

Since the Sunstruck needles are relatively new, they don’t have any double point sets like the Harmony needles do.  Hopefully they’ll make some soon, because while I’m sure the Harmony quality is the same as the Sunstruck, I really would prefer my needles to not be multicolored so that I can see what I’m doing better.  I think a set of Sunstruck double points would definitely be in my future if they make them (and if they don’t, I might end up getting the Harmony ones anyway because I love the sharp points).

that’s it!

So that’s my review!  If you’re in the market for a set I’d highly recommend this one.  It may be a little expensive for poor grad students like me or others on a budget but I think the quality is worth the price and more.  I love them, and I think they will last a very long time!

Thanks for stopping by, hope you pop in again soon!

one down, one to go

As I think I mentioned in my last post, my mom asked me to make this pattern for her and one of her friends.  She wanted a thinner version though, so we got some pretty variegated sock yarn and I used size 6 needles.  Here’s the first one:

Didn’t the yarn turn out lovely?  It’s Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox, and the colors are gorgeous!  I enjoyed making this, which is good because I still have one more to make!

My ski bonnet is currently on hold until I decide whether or not to do one more repeat of the band pattern before going down the other side of it, and whether or not I can actually do the math to make it work out alright in the end.  Since I’m new to knitting, it might take me a few days to be sure of what I’m doing.  When I do decide, though, you’ll be the first to know!

That’s all I’ve got for today, thanks for stopping by!


I’m so excited — I’ve got some new goods!  Usually I’d post new yarn on my crochet page but I know ahead of time that this is for knitting.  My parents got me this yarn for my birthday!

Those first two pictures are of two kinds of sock yarn.  I’m going to make two of this cowl, one for my mom, and one for one of her friends.  The pattern calls for chunky yarn and bigger needles, but I’m going to use this sock yarn and some smaller needles to make more of a necklace type thing (that’s what she wanted).  We’ll see how it goes.

This lovely multi-hued blue fingering weight yarn is for this shawl.  Can’t wait for that one!

And I’m not sure what this will be for, actually.  It’s enough to make a hat.  It’s the softest yarn I’ve ever felt — it’s Royal Alpaca — and it is gorgeous!  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s actually more of a neon yellow-green…

So that’s my new mini-stash, and I can’t wait to get started!  But that’s not all the new stuff: my parents also got me something not related to yarn.  The new Fame perfume by Lady Gaga.  You may be thinking “ew, perfume by celebrities is always really gross,” and normally I agree, but this stuff is great!  My parents liked it, my boyfriend likes it, and I love it!

That’s still not all, though.  I also got this for my birthday:

It’s the KnitPicks Sunstruck Interchangeable Needle Set, which includes needles sizes 4-11 (including 10.5), two each of cables 24″ and 32″, vinyl needle case and vinyl cable pouch, end caps, and cable keys.  I also got two 40″ cables, some cable connectors, and some size tags.  I’m so excited.

You can imagine how incredibly happy I am with all these awesome new knitting things.  I can’t wait to get started, but for tonight I might just stare at it all, grinning goofily.  Although honestly, while I’m really happy, I also feel guilty for having so much new knitting stuff when my boyfriend and I are struggling so much, even though it is for my birthday.  His birthday last month was terrible — I didn’t have the money to do what I wanted to do for him and he didn’t get any presents.  I tried to make up for it later when I did have some money but it still wasn’t enough.  I’m really grateful for everything I have, and I want to make my boyfriend as happy as I am by being the best girlfriend I can be.

Well, that’s all for today.  You can of course look for posts soon of my progress with those projects.

how to properly knit a ski hat

I’ve had a bit of success with the ski bonnet!  About time, too — this is attempt number 4.  I figured out how I needed to knit the band.  First, I knitted the first few rows on double points, because it was easier for me to keep things from getting twisted that way than it was with the magic loop method:

I’m liking the magic loop method much better now.  It feels less like I’m wrestling with a large wooden spider and it’s going quicker.  I’ve gotten 24 rows done so far, and you can begin to see how the pattern will look:

The yarn looks extra pink here. The first picture is more accurate color-wise.

So far, no mistakes (that I know of).  I’m crossing my fingers for continued success, because I wouldn’t know how to go back to a previous row with this pattern of complicated cables and twists if I did mess up.  Well, it’s complicated to me, at least.  But hey, I wanted a challenge, right?

I am actually worried that the band is too narrow — I believe it should be about 4 inches wide and mine is about 3.  Maybe once it’s blocked?  PLEASE don’t tell me that  I should start over and go up a needle size.  Well, actually, do tell me if I should, but don’t expect me to be happy.  What do you think?  I don’t want to redo it, but I do want it to be perfect!

frustration wins this round

While I’m happy with how my blogs are looking after some changes, I’m frustrated with the ski bonnet.  Last post I mentioned that I ripped out my first attempt (which was only about 13 rows but actually took a long time.  Well, here’s my second attempt, using scrap yarn so that I could get the pattern down:

I messed up the twists in the bottom right corner but it got better.

As you can see, I chose to use my double points instead of the circular needle.  Crazy as it seems, it feels less cumbersome to me (especially when starting off).  So after achieving satisfaction with the sample, I brought out the magenta yarn again and tried for the real thing.  Again I got to about row 13 and realized I made a mistake in row 5, and I had no idea how to go about fixing it.  So I’ve done rows 1-13 three times now, none of which have been satisfactory.  I considered just keeping going, but I want this hat to be perfect, so I frogged it again.

Maybe 4th time’s the charm.  I’m going to try to be less distracted by other things while I’m knitting this time so I can follow the chart properly.  No more Japanese anime with subtitles!  Maybe some good ol’ Harry Potter audiobooks.

Wish me luck, and thanks for stopping by!  Hopefully I’ll have a photo worthy sample soon.

ski bonnet: begin!

Remember that awesome ski bonnet that I wanted to make?  Well, I’m gonna make it!

I’ll be using 3 skeins of Berroco Vintage in their Dewberry shade, which I had to purchase today, even though I said I couldn’t afford yarn this month.  I swear, this yarn was the cheapest yarn in the store that still felt soft.  I’m gonna just say this is my birthday present to myself.

My dog is not interested in the slightest; she’s so used to yarn.

So I started the pattern, and I was immediately struggling.  I know how to do the magic loop method but I’m still not good at keeping the breaks between the sides tight and even, so that was all over the place.  Maybe I should try it on double points, which I’m more used to, so I don’t have those “wings?”  In row 1 I immediately had to learn two new things, as well: the Left Twist and the Right Twist.  I think I’m doing them right.  (Check out those links for video tutorials on YouTube.)

In the end, my first 6 rows looked so shabby that I frogged it.  I think I’m going to practice with some spare yarn to get the hang of the pattern first before trying it again with my nice magenta yarn.  Anybody have any advice for me?

finally, something’s done!

I finally finished my Hermione Hat #2!  You probably don’t remember #1 because it was so long ago, probably before I separated my blogs.  #1 was too short by about 10 rows, because I read the chart wrong throughout and just skipped them.  This one was done properly (although it’s still a little short/snug for my taste, but I’m sure I can block it).

#1 is on the left, #2 on the right. You can tell #2 looks much bigger.

The eyelets were fun, but I’m not sure I like making cables… my stitches get so tight.

I’m so excited to have this done!  I did all of the decreasing top part tonight because I wanted to get it finished.  This will definitely be going on my Christmas trip to England with me.  It might not even get cold enough here in South Carolina this winter for me to wear hats (it didn’t this past winter), so I’m excited for the opportunity to show off my hard work!  I know it’s not the most complicated hat pattern, but for a beginner I’m really proud of how it turned out!

Oh and if you want the pattern for this hat, it’s here.

Thanks for stopping by, that’s all for today!

longing for a hat

Do you ever come across patterns that are slightly over your head but have the prettiest pictures and most enticing allure?  Happens to me all the time.  I love to ogle the beautiful knits I see online, even if there’s probably no way I could ever make some of them.  I found one recently, however, that I feel like is just barely out of my reach.  Check it out:

It’s a lovely neon ski bonnet!  And see the Ravelry page, with the maker looking so awesome while wearing it.  I want this so badly!  It would be perfect for Christmas in England — at least I think it would, does it get that cold in December there?  I don’t know, I’ve never been in the winter.

Anyway, This is the cutest ski bonnet, but I am unsure about making it.  I could do the cables on the front band easily enough (I think), but I’ve never tried the pattern of the back portion so it looks intimidating to me, along with the idea of having to knit pieces together, which I have never done before.  I am unsure of how to pick up stitches along the edge of one piece and attach it to another piece.  Well, I’m sure I’ll find out soon, because my wip Weasley sweater will call for that eventually, but I sure do hope it’s easy, because I can’t wait to at least try this!  Know of any good online tutorials or videos that might help me out?

As always, thanks for visiting!

a new technique

I tried fair isle knitting today for the first time!  It wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be, but I think I still need some practice.


I began working on the letter H because that’s what I’m going to put on the front of my Weasley Sweater since my name is Hannah.  I got bored with it though, so I quit early.  I’ve got the gist of it, and I think I’m going to do intarsia instead of fair isle on my actual sweater because I don’t want to do so much stranding:


So you see, it doesn’t look that great because there are so many strands and the tension differs a bit on a few of them.  Here’s the H:


So on my actual sweater I’ll use the H on the right (the biggest).  And speaking of my sweater…



I’ve finished the back!  I did what the pattern said and safely bound off the shoulder parts and put the neck part on a large stitch holder:



So it’s 82 sts wide and 26″ long.  It’s curling both at the bottom (which it is supposed to do) and at the sides (which will be fixed once I sew the front to the back).  I started the front piece but it’s not worth a picture yet because it’s just like the back piece is so far.  Once I start the intarsia I’ll post an update on how that’s going.

I know it seems really simple to many knitters, but I’m really proud of what I’ve done so far because knitting is so much harder for me to learn than crochet, and it’s taken a lot of time and concentration to get this far.  I just hope I can finish the sweater before the middle of December because that’s when I’m going with my parents to England, and I want to wear it on the trip!

So that’s all for today, thanks for stopping by!