One down.. 399 to go?

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Starting with the Beekeeper’s Quilt has been a goal for me for a while now, and I am proud to say that I’ve finally knit my first Hexipuff! Since my feet aren’t that big I usually end up with a lot of sock yarn leftovers. Some of it will be recombined and turned into a new sock, but most just ends up not being used. So I figured starting this quilt would be the perfect way to make good use of my leftovers.

But I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t use this as the perfect excuse to buy even more yarn. So a while ago I purchased these lovely, super squishy mini skeins on Etsy. It’s 31 mini skeins of 100% Merino and each is enough to make one hexipuff. I really fell in love with the colour palette and it should give me a great start to my very own Beekeeper’s Quilt.

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The pattern to make a hexipuff is wonderfully easy, so it’s a good project for on the go. My first puff is finished, now what? I’m not quite sure yet how big I want my quilt to end up or where it will end up (debating between living room and bedroom right now). I’ve set a goal of 400 puffs and then I’ll see if I think it’s big enough already. I’m not in a particular hurry to have this finished, but it would be nice if I could finish a couple of puffs each month. My main goal is to end up with a big and colourful quilt, but looking at my sock yarn stash that shouldn’t be a problem either.


hexipuff

For now I’ll be puffing away, one puff at a time. And big bonus, my cat seems to be happy with the first puff (doesn’t he look thrilled to have a puff on his head). I’m sure he will take many naps on the quilt once it’s done and in the meantime he might have to pose for pictures with a puff or two. 🙂


hexicat
 

Lakeside 2.0

In the beginning of the year I finished this pair of lace knee socks (lakeside pattern) as part of the Sock Knitters Anonymous January knit along on ravelry. I already fell in love with the pattern a while back but was too intimidated to start them. Surely socks this beautiful are wildly complicated to knit? Well luckily they aren’t.  The most complicated part for me turned out to be the hem. Which, just to be clear, is NOT complicated, but compared to the rest of the sock it took me a bit longer to figure out. It features a provisional cast on so that later on the hem can be closed and you can weave an elastic band in it if you wish. Even if you opt not to include the elastic band it still leaves you with a pretty looking cuff, so it is worth the little extra effort it takes, compared to a more boring ribbed cuff.

After seeing the finished result my sister also asked me to knit her a pair. Of course I couldn’t resist her request and it gives me a chance to make a small tutorial on how to get started with these socks. Also she asked if I could use wool-less sock yarn, since the yarn I originally used (Schoppel wolle admiral uni) was a bit itchy against bare legs. I usually don’t have any problems with this, but there are plenty wool-less sock yarn options out there so it is a nice chance for me to try something new as well. In the end I bought 2 skeins of Rico Design superba cotton stretch in colourway 002 (creme). It’ll be nice to see how this yarn knits up and how durable it turns out to be compared to the admiral uni.

I’m knitting these socks on 4 double pointed needles (my trusty Karbonz DPNs in this case). First you will need some contrast waste yarn (around 150 cm will do) and a crochet hook (any size should be fine, the first one I found in my material stash was a 3mm and that worked just fine).

We start with a provisional crochet cast on (click on the image for a larger view):
1.  Make a slipknot and place it on your crochet hook. Keep the long tail to your left
2. Place your double pointed needle over the long tail of the waste yarn
3. Move you crochet hook over the needle and grab the yarn
4. Pull the yarn through the loop on your crochet hook
5. Place the tail of the yarn behind the knitting needle again
6. Repeat until you have 76 stitches on your knitting needle

Once you’ve finished casting on be sure to leave a crochet chain at the end and pull the yarn through the last loop on the chain. This is to prevent the cast-on from already unraveling. Don’t worry about it looking messy, you will pull this yarn out again anyway. You should end up with something looking like this.

Now you will have to knit across all stitches, starting on the side of the crochet chain. Once you reach the end of the needle you cast on 4 stitches using the back loop method. This means that you make a loop as shown in image 3, place the loop on your needle(4) and then pull the yarn tight (5). Divide all 80 stitches over 4 needles and join in the round, being careful not to twist the knit work.

Once the work is joined in the round, knit 11 rounds, purl one round and then knit another 12 rounds. It is now times to close up the hem. Fold the provisional cast on inward (2) and pick up the first 20 stitches using an additional DPN (in my case the bamboo needle, picture 3). Now carefully unravel the waste yarn. To close the hem you need to knit together one stitch from the first needle together with on picked up stitch on the second needle. I did this by moving the stitches onto the same needle and then knitting them together (5). Repeat this for 18 stitches, the last 4 stitches are knit separately. Now there are a total of 22 stitches on needle 1. Repeat this for needles 2 and 3. When you get to needle 4 there are only 16 stitches to be picked up. Knit 2 stitches together 14 times and then again knit 4 stitches separately. All picked up stitches are knit and there are 4 stitches left to knit alone. This leaves a hole inside the hem, which is totally fine because this is were an elastic band can be weaved in!

And tadaa, the hem is all done! Isn’t it pretty? Give yourself a big round of applause!

Now you can start knitting from chart A. As I said before, it’s a bit more of a hassle than standard ribbed cuff, but in this case it really finishes of the sock. Happy knitting! 🙂

Owl inspiration

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Owls, I absolutely love them. They’re both cute and majestic and have inspired many a knitting designer. One of the reasons I decided to get seriously into knitting was an owl inspired sweater, so I’ve put together 5 of my favourite owl inspired knitting patterns!

5. Sleepy owl by KnittingPony

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Because owls get sleepy too. Imagine having your own owl to snuggle up to on the coach, what a hoot! Some crocheting involved.

4. Viking Ugla by Hilde Aas

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Viking owls, ha! I bet owls would make awesome vikings. And although actual viking owls will most likely stay in my fantasy forever, hopefully these socks will be in my sock drawer soon.

3. Owl Mittens by SpillyJane

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What’s not to love about these cute owlie mittens? The colours in this picture are already perfect but I can also imagine many other variations. How about the main colour in a yarn with long colour repeats? Bonus, the pattern is also available as socks!

2. The Woodsy Association by Tiny Owl Knits

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 The best thing about these fingerless mitts is that they feature barn owls, which are, if I was forced to choose, the prettiest of all owls. Once you’ve finished knitting up these you can proudly join in singing the Woodsy Association Fight Song! The pattern also includes patterns for wolfs, badgers, and deer.

1. Owls by Kate Davies

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This sweater has over 7000(!!) project on raverly! Besides that this is actually the most important reason I got serious about knitting. I saw a picture of it online but couldn’t purchase the sweater anywhere, the only option seemed to knit it myself. Now a couple of years later I have to admit I still haven’t come round to knitting it, mainly because I want it to come out perfect and I’m not sure I can live up to my own expectations just yet. But I always have this sweater in the back of my mind somewhere, and who knows, maybe 2014 will be the year I finally knit the owl sweater.

Know any other great owl patterns, share them in the comments!