Need…warm…things…

too much snow!

This was my car after our most recent heavy snowstorm.

Okay, so it has been COLD here. We’re talking negative teens for the overnight temperatures over this past weekend. Combine that with all the snow we have, and I’m just about done with winter.

We’ve already gotten over 43 inches of snow here in Connecticut this month alone, with up to another foot coming in tomorrow night. And we still have two months left of official winter.

At least that gives me plenty of excuses to make nice winter accessories, right?

Well, I’ve certainly kept busy doing just that.

prism scarf

I just love these color changes!

I finished my Prism Chroma rainbow scarf that I mentioned in my last post! I was actually really happy with it, because the scarf came out to just about 5 feet long after two full color pattern repeats, which turned out to be a great length for the way I like to wear scarves (I like to fold them in half, drape them around my neck, and pull the ends through the loop to secure them).

The yarn itself helped my color cause, because my ball started in the perfect spot on the red colorway and continued to the orange, so I was able to make two perfect color repeats.

rolled scarf

Doesn’t that look cool?

Another reason I love this Chroma yarn: scarves made from it look really pretty when you roll them up.

rainbow hat

I should have gone about 4 stripes longer.

Of course, I had to have a matching hat to go with my new rainbow scarf. however, I didn’t make the hat long enough, and it only covers the very top of my ears. 😦 I think I’m going to give this one to my younger sister and try again, I’ve still got about 5 colors (so just under a full color pattern repeat) of that Chroma colorway left, so it should be enough to make another hat. Plus, this one will be mostly blues and purples in the main section, which are my favorite colors! 🙂

It fits!

However, considering my rainbow hat was too small, and knowing we had subzero temperatures coming up, I decided to make myself another new hat to beat the cold. This one I made out of Bernat Alpaca blend, because it’s a bulky yarn so should be thicker and warmer (plus I was not home and therefore did not have access to my stash). I decided to just go with a simple 10 rows of k1p1 ribbing and then a stockinette hat, to ensure a quick finish.

As it would happen, I first cast on too many stitches, then got distracted while knitting, so I didn’t finish my “Emergency Hat” in time for the first really cold day, but I did have it in time for the second and third subzero evenings, so all was well.

I made sure this hat would be long enough by knitting it until the length I’d normal go before decreasing (about 6 inches), then continuing for another inch, inch and a half, just to make sure the length was there.

Sure enough, it fits! I finally have a hat that completely covers my ears without having to resort to earflaps!

Andean Silk mittens

You can even see here how loose they are.

Now I have to finish the matching mittens I’m making. I have a pair of mittens I made last year out of Knit Picks Andean Silk that I love, but I made them too loose and long. I’m considering felting them, but I don’t know how well they’d do (anyone ever felt Andean Silk? Does it felt well?). The only thing that has kept me from felting them so far has been my fear that if I felt them, I’ll destroy the pretty cable pattern on the backs.

Therefore, after making my Emergency Hat, I started on a pair of matching, tighter, shorter mittens – in other words, mittens that actually fit my hands. I’ve got one mitten done (sorry, I haven’t taken photo yet!), so hopefully the other will be done by the end of the week so I can turn them in for a class in the HPKCHC.

Other than the projects for myself, I have been working on a couple things for my sisters.

Owlings

Aren’t those owl cables cute?

I’ve made good progress on the Owlings mitts I’m making for my 13 year old sister. She requested a pair of fingerless gloves in bright orange yarn, so I found this KP Swish in the perfect color, and figured the owl cables would be perfect for her considering she is a huge animal lover.

I’ve actually finished one mitt (except for the thumb) but haven’t gotten a full photo of it yet.

And, last but not least, I’m working on another rainbow-colored Chroma scarf for my 18 year old sister. This one is being made using the Lollipop colorway of Chroma, which is more pastel/neon rainbow colors than the yarn I used for my own scarf.

This rainbow is a bit lighter and brighter than the other one.

Happily, I encountered the same color situation with this yarn as I did with my yarn: the ball started perfectly in the middle of the red/pink. I think I was just lucky with these two balls, because my Prism ended with yellow, and this ball of Lollipop ends with green, so I don’t think they’re able to start every ball at the beginning of the rainbow.

You can see where the slub was.

So far, I have been pretty happy with the Chroma. The only time I’ve run into issues has been with my sister’s scarf. In the first round of green, I got a huge slub that’s pretty noticeable in the knitting, and then a few yards later it pulled apart in a fluffy spot (which, admittedly, was a concern I’d had with the Chroma being a single).

Overall, it didn’t end up being the biggest issue ever. I showed my sister the slubby part and she didn’t mind (extra of her favorite color!) and I was able to splice the broken yarn back together. I wound the rest of my ball and didn’t see any more slubs or breaks, so I think it should be good now. I haven’t looked at my other ball, so I don’t know if there will be any problems with it, but I’m optimistic because I had no issues with my first ball.

Looking ahead now, my goals for the rest of the month (i.e. the next week) are to finish my mittens, finish my sister’s scarf, finish a hat I started for my boyfriend’s nephew, and make a warm winter hat for my boyfriend. Hopefully the snow this week will motivate me to get them done. 😉

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Season of the scarf (plus a tip!)

Now, I like a challenge. I like knitting lace, because it captures my attention. I enjoy cables, because I have to pay attention to what I’m doing.

So how is it then, that I’ve ended up doing almost nothing but scarves this year (all one week of it)?

striped scarf

I like how the grey and black look together, don't you?

First up was the beginning of my Boyfriend Scarf.

My boyfriend needs a nice warm scarf, and I had a Michaels gift card from Christmas, so we went and picked out some yarn.

We originally planned to get some Lion Brand Amazing to do a Noro Striped Scarf, but the store was out of stock. So, we ended up with some black and some grey Patons Classic Wool, and I started going at the scarf. Not the most exciting pattern in the world, about 40 stitches of k1p1 ribbing per row, but I planned to change color every other row, and it was for my boyfriend, so it wasn’t terrible.

I got about 7 or 8 inches in before getting wrapped up in my next project…

Evan's scarf

Okay, so a 3-foot-long toddler scarf isn't bad...

My Evan’s Scarf.

A family member’s toddler was in need of a scarf, so I offered to make one. After all, no one wants to see a little kid cold. And besides, little kids are so cute when they’re all bundled up!

Of course, it also gave me an excuse to go to the yarn store during their New Year/LYS anniversary sale and get a raffle ticket for door prizes (I won a small bottle of Eucalan!).

I picked up some Plymouth Encore and started another, smaller k1p1 scarf. As it was for a toddler, it only took a couple days to finish.

Which brings me to my current project: my Prism Chroma scarf.

Prism scarf

oooooh, look at all the pretty colors!

The day after I finished my Evan’s Scarf, I got my Knit Picks order in the mail, containing some of their new Chroma yarn (which I posted a review of yesterday). I had ordered the Chroma so that I could make Noro Striped Scarves for myself and my sisters.

So far, I’ve gotten through one full repeat of the rainbow. Luckily, the colors are changing often enough to keep me interested, despite the k1p1 knitting. And the yarn is soft and nice to work with.

hair elastic tip

Hair elastics are a scarf's best friend.

At least while I’ve been working on all these scarves, I’ve developed a good tip to avoid frustration: as your scarf gets longer, fold it up and secure it with a hair elastic.

This keeps the hanging length of the scarf short, preventing it from dragging on your lap/table and getting twisted, which is something that I know has personally frustrated me when working on scarves.

What’s nice about this tip is that it keeps the scarf compact, making it perfect for working on on the go, too!

 

Knit Picks Chroma yarn: the good, the bad, and the (definitely not) ugly

I’d like to introduce a new feature on my blog: yarn reviews. Yarnies on Ravelry have access to information on yarns through comments, but I rarely see thought-out, in-depth reviews of the yarns. So, I’ve decided to start writing my own.

KP Chroma

The colors in this yarn are just fantastic.

I recently ordered several skeins of Knit Picks’ new Chroma yarn, which is more or less their answer to Noro.

The yarn, a single ply, comes in a worsted weight (198 yard/100g balls) and a fingering weight (396 yard/100g balls).

Overall, I’d give this yarn an 8.5 out of 10, would definitely order it again, and would recommend it to a friend.

Pros:

  1. scarf

    The Colors – Of course the colors are on the top of my list. They’re bright, vibrant, and the repeats are long and subtle enough that they self-stripe fetchingly without pooling (unless you were to use it for a very wide object like a blanket). If you like bright, spring/summer colors, there is a lot of selection for you. I also like that they do include two solid colors to pair with the other colorways for things like striping and fake isle knitting.

  2. The Texture – This yarn is soft. Being a single, the strand is very smooth and slides easily through your fingers.
  3. Consistency – While there is a bit of thick-and-thin to the yarn, it’s not really a huge variance, and I’m not noticing it affecting the appearance of my knitting.
  4. The Price – As usual, it’s very hard to beat Knit Picks’ prices. For $9, you get either 198 yards of worsted weight, or 396 yards of fingering weight. That’s compared to 110 yards of Noro Kureyon (worsted) for the same price, or 195 yards of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi (fingering) for about 50 cents less. It averages out to 4.5 cents a yard for the worsted Chroma vs. 8 cents a yard for the Kureyon, and 2.3 cents a yard for the fingering Chroma vs. 4.4 cents a yard for the Mini Mochi.

Cons:

  1. Not Plied – As I mentioned before, this yarn is a single. Granted, it is mostly a personal preference thing, but I generally prefer to knit with plied yarns over singles. The spinning in some areas of this yarn seems a little loose, and while it doesn’t seem fragile, it’s easy to accidently poke through a strand while knitting, especially if you have sharp needle tips.
  2. Not Many Dark/Muted Colors – While there are 16 non-solid colorways, only 5 or 6 contain darker/muted colors without bright colors. While the bright colors are nice, it’s good to have some muted colors to pair with and help showcase the brights.
  3. No Black Solid – I think it’s great that there are solid colorways offered to pair with the more colorful ones, but I think there should be a black colorway in addition to the brown and white solids.

New Knit Picks yarn, yay!

I got a package from Knit Picks yesterday! I always love getting my Knit Picks packages because I always get so much at once (have to qualify for that free shipping after all! ;)).

Here’s what I got: 6 skeins of black Wool of the Andes, 3 skeins of their new Chroma yarn (I got Prism, Lollipop and Galapagos), 1 skein of orange Swish, and 2 skeins of blue Capra.

Noro Kureyon

If the Chroma came plied in these colors, it would be pretty much perfect.

The Chroma is similar to the Noro yarns, but is a lot softer – it’s 70% wool and 30% nylon. Overall, I like the Chroma better than Noro because it’s much, much softer, the colors are great, and you get almost twice as much yarn for the same or less money (I got a 110-yard skein of Noro Kureyon at my LYS for $9, the Chroma Worsted has 198 yards for the same price).

However, I’m not a huge fan of the fact that the Chroma is a spun single – with some loosely spun areas – so I’m a little afraid of it breaking (but so far so good!). I’m actually thinking of getting 2 balls of the fingering weight yarn next time I order from KP and plying them together to see if that adds strength, or at least peace of mind while knitting.

Anyway, I was super-excited to get this batch of yarn, because it meant I could start my OWL (mutli-month project for the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry), which is going to be a pair of Owlings fingerless mitts (with the Swish), a pair of London Eye Glittens (with some Patons Classic Wool),  a pair of Celtic Moonrise Mittens (with the Capra), and 3 Noro Striped Scarves (with the Wool of the Andes and Chroma).

This is my fifth term competing in the HPKCHC and I haven’t successfully completed an OWL yet. This term, though, will be the term I finally finish one. How do I know this? I know I can do it this time because two of the scarves and two of the pairs of gloves are for my sisters, and they will ask after their things until they get them!

striped scarf

I like how the grey and black look together, don’t you?

My plan is to work on one scarf at a time, and switch between the three gloves so that I don’t get bored. I’m hoping that the color changes in the Chroma can keep me interested enough in the scarves that I don’t get bored.

Of course I’m also going to be working on several other projects at the same time. I’m making a grey and black striped scarf for my boyfriend (on the right), a ribbed hat for his nephew, and an earwarmer for myself (after all, I do get some reward for all this knitting, right? ;))

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