Monday, 25 September 2017

New Knitting Needles -- my thoughts on Knitter's Pride Needles:

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Well, so I got some new knitting needles.  That, in and of itself, is not an oddity.  But the fact that I was at a different yarn store, and thusly ended up with a different brand of needle, well, that's the novelty.

I hadn't been to Romni Wools in ages, partially because they used to have a step up to the front of their shop.  Well, I found out at the Toronto Knitter's Guild meeting that they now have a StopGap ramp, so, over I went!  It worked out almost perfectly (I did have a moment of awkwardness with their door), but otherwise, yeah, the StopGap ramp did exactly what it's supposed to do! (P.S.  I also found out that The Toronto Knitter's Guild Discount applies to needles at Romni Wools, too!)

A sock in green yarn on a pair of double-pointed needles.  The sock and yarn are in a wooden yarn bowl, and there is a progress keeper with a rose charm showing in the work.Anyway, I picked up some double-pointed needles while there, but, of course, they were a different brand the ones I'm used to getting.  I've never tried the Knitters Pride needles before, and I'm fascinated by the results of my experiment, so, here goes!

The first set of needles was a pair of 2.25mm Nova Platinas, and I put them to work in the Bricks Birthday Socks.  I prefer dpns over magic loop for sock knitting, so I was glad to make the switch.  (If you're curious, I talked about the yarn bowl in the photo in my last post, and you can find the Rose Progress Keeper I'm using *here.)

The shaft of a metal dpn held against a green background.  Text on the dpn reads US 1 2.25 mmFirst, wow, the KP Platinas are much longer then my usual HiyaHiya needles, and I like it!  I'm also surprised and impressed that the needles have the size, and the name of the store, imprinted on the side.  The text on these needles is also much easier to read then the teeny-tiny text on the HiyaHiya dpns (and my newer HiyaHiya dpns don't have the size written on them at all).  Two points strongly in their favour there!
The shaft of a metal dpn held against a green background.  Text on the dpn reads Romni Wools They also seem a tiny bit sharper at the tip then my HiyaHiya's do -- I've put a tiny hole through the callus on my index finger!  And, the Regia Sock yarn isn't splitting nearly as much with the Platinas, either.  So, another point for the Platinas as well.

My biggest worry about switching needles was that there would be a noticeable tension difference where I made the switch. But the answer seems to be that no, that's not a concern, so I'm quite happy with that!

 So, overall, I quite like the Knitter's Pride Platina Needles, and if I need another set, I'll definitely look into these again.

Now, onto the second set of needles I got!

The second set of needles was also my very first set of square needles, and I have to say, I thought it would be more different to work with them!

I put them to work in my version of the Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.  I started the blanket ages ago, as part of Eat.Sleep.Knit's *Booster Club challenge, which is still continuing this year!  (You don't have to finish the entire blanket for the challenge, you only have to do 15 hexagons for this year, so if you're interested, I suggest you check it out -- it's a great way to use up yarn scraps!)

The yarn I'm working with for this hexagon is a thinner yarn, it's leftovers from a *MadelineTosh Unicorn Tail I got for another project, in the colour "Cousteau" (I really like this colour!).  I wanted to test these with a fingering-weight yarn, since that's most of what's going to be on these needles, so that's what I pulled out. 

Honestly, I expected more of difference when working with the cubics needles.  There really wasn't too much of a difference in the knitting!  I didn't have to alter my grip or change anything in my knitting process.   It does, however, seem that my stocking stitch is coming out a little crisper on the cubics, so there's a point in their favour as well!

End conclusion:  both of these are needles that I'm happy I bought, and I'll probably slowly add both of these brands to my ever-growing stash of needles. 



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Toronto Knitter's Guild: 2017-2018 Membership thanks to my Awesome Patrons!

Well, it's official!  I picked up my TKG (Toronto Knitter's Guild) Membership at the meeting yesterday (September 20, 2017). 

Image of the 2017-2018 Toronto Knitter's Guild Membership.  It has the TKG website (www.torontoknittersguild.ca) across the top of the card.  TThe centre of the card has the TKG Logo.  The bottom of the card has a Name and Signature Space.  Name reads: Sarah Dawn Adams.  Signature has been blacked out.
And, I couldn't have done so without the help of my Patrons!  Those who follow me on Patreon know that this was my first goal, which, with the awesomeness of my patrons, has been fulfilled! And, over on Patreon, I promised to show off my membership when I picked it up, so here it is!

It's nothing too fancy in terms of the actual card.  The back of the card has the various guild meeting dates and some contact info.  But, this little card does so much for Toronto and GTA area knitters!  It gets you into all the guild meetings (guests pay $10 at the door), and discounts at a bunch of GTA yarn stores!  In addition, through the guild you'll often connect with a whole bunch of other awesome groups, including the TTC Knit-Along, Knitted Knockers, and more!

I'm really looking forward to the guild year, and the September meeting was -so- much fun (there was a lot of laughter at some of the more. . . interesting. . .  fashion choices to come from the Fall/Winter 2017-2018 runways)!  There's more interesting things to come, and, as always in April 2018, there will be the Toronto Knitter's Frolic once again.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Sterling Cables Birthday Sweater

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.**

Hello, and welcome back to WIP Wednesday

I'm heavily into the Birthday knitting at the moment, it seems.  This time around, the pattern I'm working on for my roommate's birthday (which is, as always, looking suspiciously like it's going to be a belated birthday gift) is a pattern by request, so it's not one of my own designs. It's the Sterling Cables Sweater by Bernat, and it's an . . . interesting pattern.  And don't worry, my roommate knows what she's getting.   She picked the pattern and the yarn, so there's no risk of ruining the surprise.  It's also my entry into the *Eat.Sleep.Knit Third Quarter Rhinebeck Sweater KAL, so I've really got an incentive to try and finish this up.

A woman wearing a cabled aran-style sweater.  There is a central cable panel, and smaller cables on each side of the panel. There are also cable twists running up the sleeves.
Photo courtesy of yarnspirations.com
Anyway, my roommate originally chose the pattern because it's gorgeous, and it is!  Just look at those cables!  But it's definitely a pattern with a few, well, lets just call them 'quirks.'

First, it's clearly written to save as much space as possible in a print pamphlet.  While I haven't yet seen the dreaded "at the same time"
 instruction, a lot of the instruction is inferred.  For example, the pattern gives you the shaping increases and decreases, but tells you to just 'keep cont of pat', that is, keep the continuity of the cable patterns intact while you do the shaping.  It's not necessarily difficult knitting, but it requires you to have the knowledge and make the judgement call about how, exactly, to continue the pattern and where, exactly to put the shaping.  It's not difficult for me to figure out, as someone who has several sweaters completed, but it's not something I'd suggest if you're not comfortable modding and playing with patterns.   Also because of the clear space constraint, the main cable pattern is written out over a page break!  So I'm constantly flipping back and forth between pages.   Surprisingly, it is charted as well, with all the cable motifs charted on the last page.  But the Chart A is printed in one orientation, while charts B and C are printed in another orientation, on the same page, so that all the charts are, in fact on one page.  There's absolutely no way I'm going to try and read a complex cable chart sideways, and it's a pain to flip the orientation of the PDF pattern on my tablet every single time I change motifs.   So I'm stuck with the written instruction for the cables, which is split over two different pages.  Not the smartest pattern design.

Second quirk is the shoulder shaping. The shoulder shaping is done primarily by binding off stitches at the top of each shoulder.  That's fine in and of itself, but it makes if very difficult to convert to in-the-round knitting (which would be far and above my preference).  and, because of the stepped shoulder shaping, it's going to be a pain-in-the-behind to seam.  There are a few mods that will help the seaming be easier, but again, that requires you to be comfortable modding a pattern.

That said, it's working out to be absolutely gorgeous, and the actual knitting isn't difficult, so long as you're comfortable with cables!  I do strongly suggest a cable needle; I've found that since there are a few 7-stitch cables in the pattern, they're just too bulky to be done without a cable needle, at least for me.

A peice of knitting laying flat, still live on a circular needle.  There's a large central cable motif and two smaller cables on either side.  The knitting is done in a tonal yarn that varies between emerald green and almost black. Alright now. Since this supposed to be more then just a pattern review, lets show you folks where I'm at!  I'm currently working my way up the back of the sweater, and am just before the cast-offs for the armholes.   I've given in to the pattern and decided that yes, I will have to seam it, even though I'm not looking forward to it. But, working it in pieces helps keep it from being too bulky on the needles -- it's rather heavy as it is, so I think the full sweater on circulars would be uncomfortably heavy.

The progress keeper in the centre is exactly that -- it marks my progress each day!  I've found that sometimes, when I'm sticking to one project for a deadline, it's hard to keep my motivation, since it's hard to see my progress. Each day, I set the progress keeper to my first row.  So I can always see that I've done some work.  It really helps with motivation, especially on bigger projects.

Needles are my Hiya  Hiya 4.5 mm needles, with the *24-inch cord, I believe.

Yarn is the now-discontinued Dream in Color Groovy, in "Emerald Darkness."  It's a bulky-weight 100% Superwash Merino. Luckily, Dream in Colour has replaced Groovy with Mammoth, which is very similar, and is currently (as of Sept 20, 2017), on sale at *Eat.Sleep.Knit!

That's about it for this WIP Wed. It was a longer post, with my feedback on the pattern, so thanks for your patience!  The TLDR (too long, didn't read!) version is that it's not a horrible pattern, it's just an awkwardly written one.  If you're comfortable knowing how to keep pattern continuity while shaping, and knowing what decreases/increases to use when they're not specified, then you shouldn't have too much trouble, though I would suggest re-writing the cable chart to a single page!  The result, so far, has been worth the aggravation.

Until next Wednesday, folks!

Friday, 15 September 2017

FO Friday: Winter Mandala Tam

Well, the first Winter Mandala Tam Prototype is done!

A top-down view of a stranded colourwork hat.  The background colour is a blue gradient, and the forground mandala pattern is a navy blue.
Yes, it's definitely only a prototype.  Those who follow my Patreon behind-the-scenes know that this hat. . . well, there's a tale.

Long story short, this hat had to be frogged back from where you last saw it, right back to the brim, because of a pretty spectacular math error on my part.

That, on it's own, would have been bad enough, but the CC yarn, the navy blue, tangled and stuck horribly.  I actually ended up having to cut my yarn in a few places, and there was much crying involved.  It was not a fun night.

And, after all that, (and and a dash of rum to quell the tears), well, the hat still didn't turn out right.  It's not horrible, but my tension wasn't right over the colourwork section.  I really should have gone up to 2.5 or even 2.75 mm needles for the colourwork -- so even with blocking, the tam isn't a proper tam, more like a weirdly shaped beanie (I'll spare you the embarrassing pictures).  That said, I've redone the math, and I'm hoping to finish a second (and better!) version of this before the end of the Ravelry Designer's Challenge.  I should have more then enough yarn to do so, though if I'll have enough time is in question!

It is done, though, and it is a functional proof of concept, which is exciting, since this is the first tam I've designed!

I'm still not sure exactly what I'm going to do with this version, though. It's not worth unraveling, because the CC yarn sticks so badly, and it is a functional, if slightly strange-looking, hat.  Plus, I still love the colours!  So, I've put it away in my drawer of hats for now -- maybe it will grow on me?

Well, regardless of my ambivalence, that's it for this Friday's progress.  Check back for more FO Fridays and previews of patterns, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Bricks Socks

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Well, so far, WIP Wednesday is going well!

This week's installment is something I just cast on this morning, so there's not much to see yet.  The pattern has the working title of 'Masonry Socks' or 'Bricks Socks' -- I prefer the first one, but it seems like the second title is the one that's stuck in all my notes, so, that's what I'm going with here for now!

These are a belated Birthday Gift (like most knitters, I tend to fall behind in my gift-giving, embarrassingly!) and I'm hoping they won't take me too long to knit up.  The pattern's already gone through one iteration, so there shouldn't be (hopefully!) any really big surprises on sizing or tension this time around.

A cuff down sock on a circular needle. It is knit partway through the cuff in 2 by 2 ribbing.  The yarn is dark green, and needles, sock, and yarn, are resting in a wooden yarn bowl.Yarn is Schachenmayr Regia, in the wonderfully named colourway "1994". This yarn was actually a lucky find -- a bunch of friends and I had gone to a theatre prop sale. There was a community theatre near us that was selling off a lot of their old props to clear some space, and it was a treasure trove of random things.  One of the things I found was a basket full of all sorts of yarn, and in that basket were two 50g balls of the Regia Sock Yarn!  So it was a wonderful frugal find.

Needles are HiyaHiya 2.25 mm circulars.  They're the same ones I had the Winter Mandala Hat on, (that hat's now off the needles, so stay tuned!) and, yes, I still forgot to check the cord length.  From the way the cord is while I'm magic-looping the socks, though, I'm almost sure they're the *24 inch cord.

The yarn bowl was an Etsy find from the wonderful Wayne of *NaturalKnotWood in Winnipeg!  It's maple and walnut, and is surprisingly quite light!  I've carried it in the bottom of my knitting bag to events without any trouble and, I've got a couple more of his bowls in my Etsy favorites, I fully admit!

I'm hoping I can finish up these socks relatively quickly -- they're already belated to their gift-ee.  So, wish me luck, and until next time!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Winter Mandala Sneak Peek

**This post contains affiliate links.  Any link marked with an * will give me a reward or commission if you purchase something using that link.** 

Welcome back to another installment of WIP Wedensday!

For this week, I've been focusing on a new pattern prototype, one inspired by the Ravelry Designer's Challenge August/September theme: my Winter Mandala Hat!  Those who have already read my Patreon Behind-the-Scenes post for this week will note that, annoyingly,  I'm not that much further ahead then when I posted yesterday.

A tam being knit from the brim inwards.  The top of the tam is a colourwork pattern.
Part of the reason for the name is the yarn I used for the Main Colour -- The Blue Brick Yarns Killarney Sock in "Iceberg".  It's an absolutely gorgeous colour, and it definitely lives up to it's name!  As you can see from the link above, it cycles right to a white at the other end of the yarn.  I'm not sure I'll get that far, but I think it will work out all the same.
The CC is a ball of navy blue stash that I've had in my stash for what feels like forever. It's acrylic or an acrylic blend, but I'm comfortable with the mixing of the fibers (though it does mean I'll have to block it differently then I usually would)!

The needles are HiyaHiya 2.25 mm circulars. I honestly don't remember if they're the *24 inch or *36 inch cord -- I'm pretty sure they're the 24 inch cord, but I don't want to pull them out to check!  Right now, I'm using the traveling loop method of working the hat, as the brim decreases.  It's not quite small enough (yet) to magic loop this, so the traveling loop works well.  Plus, it's still too many stitches right now for dpns. (Also, any time I don't have to go hunting for enough dpns is a win in my book!)

This has actually been an adventure to design. The chart is one of the biggest charts I've done to date; and I actually screwed up my math when I was first designing.  I had originally planned for a 6-wedge hat.  Each colourwork repeat was a wedge in the top of the hat, and it would repeat 6 times.  Well, somewhere along the line, I made a mistake, and it's actually a 7-wedge hat!   It's still working out just fine, though, so mistake in math quickly turned into 'but I like it that way!'

And I know I have reason to be happy with it - I was knitting it while waiting for an appointment today, and 4 different people commented on how gorgeous it was!   So I hope the finished object will be worthy.  I'm trying to finish it for a Friday event (can't go into details yet on said event, but it should be fun), so hopefully this will be finished up soon!

Friday, 1 September 2017

September Featured Pattern and Mini-KAL: Snowdrop Lace Cowl

The September 2017 Featured Pattern is here: The Snowdrop Lace Cowl is 50% off at $2.75 CAD for the month of September! 

A woman holding a bulky-weight knitted cowl over her nose and mouth. The cowl has a lace and cable pattern
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
 http://www.ravelry.com/redeem/sarah-dawn-designs?sale=89625

You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, and be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!


Now, onto the Mini-KAL!

For the month of September, any finished Snowdrop Lace Cowl has a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Snowdrop Lace Cowl(s) in the comments of this post by September 30, 2017.  Please note that the Cowl doesn't have to have been started in September, just finished in September!

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, and in my Ravelry Group, giving 3 chances to win in total!*

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry.  That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

*One entry per person for each project per platform (three entries total for each completed project). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.