Category Archives: Knitting

Visit to The Yarn Studio 2018 (Casey, Illinois)

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On my way to pick up my brother (more on that later this week) I stopped at a local yarn store in Casey, Illinois.  This is where I bought my Kromski spinning wheel many years ago.

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They are known for having the world’s largest knitting needles and crochet hook.  It’s a thing ya’ll.  Owner Jannette also has funny sayings up on the wall such as “You have made 7,482 stitches correctly.  But let’s focus on that ONE stitch you twisted. – your OCD” and “Going on a trip.  Need about 4 skeins of yarn.  I’ve packed 152 just to be safe.”  We can all relate to those, right?

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I did some time sitting and knitting but I also did a little bit of shopping.  This is Three Irish Girls Adorn Luxe (an 85/15 merino/nylon blend) in the colorway Purple Rain.

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Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival 2018

Second fiber festival of the year is in the books! I spent most of my time teaching, a little socializing, and a little shopping.  It was hot and sticky (the sticky was worse than the heat) so I was motivated to get done what I needed or wanted to and go home to the air conditioning.

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I had three wonderful classes with some smart and fantastic students.   Unfortunately, I was so focused on the classes I didn’t take any pictures aside from one before the shawl shapes class.

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On Friday I taught Knitting From Charts and on Saturday I taught Continental Knitting and Shawl Shapes.  If you didn’t make it to either Hoosier Hills or the Fiber Event and you’re interested in one of my classes, please contact me to see about a private or semi-private lesson.  I had someone take my bead class as a private lesson and she loved being able to focus on what she needed to learn!

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Of course, I did a little shopping too.

Yaaarn & Goodies

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I bought some beautiful DK weight yarn at The Fiber Event from Bumblebee Acres Farm and found some fingering weight yarn this time I loved.  Colorway is King in the North (nod to Game of Thrones) and the base is their Bubble Sock, which is an 80/20 merino/silk blend.  It’s probably going to be a shawl, rather than socks though!

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There was a new-to-me indie dyer at Hoosier Hills this year – Youghiogheny Yarns and they have some truly gorgeous yarns. I loved the subtle speckle dye on the gray base and paired it with a solid red.  I was also intrigued with the inclusion of yak fiber in the yarn.  The colorways are Naiad (which is the speckle) and Cherry Red and the base is Woolly Yak (a 70/20/10 merino/yak/nylon blend).

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I was so excited when I saw that CraftyFlutterby would be at the festival this year since usually I only see her at Stitches Midwest.  She had so many beautiful pins of different styles.  I settled on one of the round ones called a Twirl Shawl Pin and the idea is you twirl (or twist) it around to secure the ends of your shawl. She also had to awesome kits (shawl pattern, yarn, pin) and some included beads!

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A DK weight self-striping yarn from Brenda and Heather Yarns.  I’m going to use this for an entrelac cowl (because I’ve decided I want to learn entrelac).  Colorway is Cowabunga (in reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

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So I’d seen these rulers in some of the knitting magazines before and decided to give it a try.  The bracelets are made out of leather and have inch and centimeter markings up to 16 inches (you wrap it around your wrist twice).  The rulers are made by Ilovehandles and I bought mine from SpryWhimsy at the festival.  He also sells a lot of the fun sheep wine glasses, Ply magazine and other fun items.

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Two skeins of Malabrigo Sock in the colorway Martes I picked up from my local yarn shop, Nomad Yarns.  I fell in love with this colorway and am going to use it for a design I’m going to self-publish.

 

 

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On The Needles – June 2018

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What’s on my needles right now!

With a couple things done, some more have been added.

  • Weirwood Shawl – I finished the first garter stitch section and originally planned to use a gray in the same yarn as the varigated yarn.  But the gray just didn’t work.  Then I tried bright blue, then electric purple and last night I wound up some black yarn to try.  I feel pretty sure it will work and not detract from the beautiful varigated yarn.  IThe pattern is Weirwood of Winterfell by Sarah Bench and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  I’ve used Destination Yarns Note Yarn (100% merino single ply) in the colorway MiraCLE for the garter stitch sections and Madelintosh Tosh Merino Light in the colorway Onyx for the lace.  Game of Thrones bag made by me with fabric from Joanns.

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  • Super Top Secret Project – I’m working on a super top secret project that I can’t talk about because it’s a gift for someone special.  I’m not working on it exclusively so it might be a while but I am enjoying the knitting.
  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  I work on this every now and then but it isn’t an “exciting” knit for me. Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.  Beauty and the Beast bag made by me with fabric from Joanns.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo. I’m a bit worried about running out beads at this point.  Forget yarn chicken – I’m going for bead chicken!

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  • Lambton Panes – This is also not a brain-dead project.  I think it will be gorgeous when its done but I’m a bit worried my gauge is too loose and I may need to start over.  Pattern is Lambton Panes by Cowtownknits and costs about $5.43 on Ravelry.  The gradient yarn is 50 shades of gradient from The Fibre Studio  at Yarns to Dye For in the colorway United and the gray is superwash merino in the colorway Noir.

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor. Bag is from Erin Lane Bags.

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  • Sock Yarn Blanket – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’m still on track to meet my goal to hit 100 squares by the end of the year. Bag is from Erin Lane Bags.

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The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2018

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a brand new new class!

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The new class is called “Master Continental Knitting” and teaches students how to make the switch from knitting American (or throwing) to knitting continental style.  Because it requires holding the yarn differently and moving the yarn differently it is a challenging class.  Thus, I provide pieces of chocolate for the frustrating moments.

This class, plus two new classes, will be offered at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in early June.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 158th and you can see class descriptions here.

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With Friday being my only day at the festival this year I shopped in the morning and immediately after teaching.

Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and one new.

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The Yarn and Fiber:

  • (Top left) The green fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • (Top right) The brown yarn is from A Good Yarn and is a superwash merino fingering weight yarn.  I bought this to go along with the mini-skein set I bought at YarnCon the weekend before.
  • (Bottom left) These two skeins are from a new-t0-me dyer, Bumblebee Acres.  This yarn is DK weight merino/nylon blend in the colorway Dracarys (from her Game of Thrones collection).
  • (Bottom right) The green/white/gray yarn is the colorway Blarney Stone on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns

 

Other Items:

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  • (Upper left) I would have missed finding this book except for a friend pointing it out to me.  I had heard about this book multiple times on social media but this was the first time I had seen it in person.  As a bonus, the copy I bought has been signed by the author!
  • (Upper right) I found a few of the nine-inch circular needles I use for socks in very small needle sizes (000, 00 and 0).  I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • (Lower left and center) The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year.  I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate.  This year I got three scents – lavender rosemary oatmeal, apple clove and oatmeal mint.
  • (Lower right) The tubes are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I had a singular goal in mind when I started stopping – to find her chocolate cherry lip balm.  And I bought the several tubes she had.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.

That’s all folks!

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YarnCon 2018

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My first year at YarnCon! This show has indie-dyers from the Chicagoland area and is held in the west loop of Chicago.  The show runs Saturday and Sunday and is held in early April.  The event is held indoors and food trucks were available for lunch (although they started to run out of food through the lunch hour).  The issue that would probably keep me from going back was the lack of available parking.  We got their 20 minutes after it opened and the designated lot was full.  It took 30 minutes of driving around and paying to park to resolve the parking issue.  WARNING: Picture heavy post.

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I went with a couple friends and met up with a few more when I got there.   By 11am it was pretty crowded, although it thinned out a bit around luchtime.  We shopped and shopped and shopped, before heading to a (very) early dinner at Lou Malnati’s for Chicago style deep dish pizza.  For the most part I made a pass through all the booths before making any purchases (with two exceptions).  There were many wonderful new to me dyers, and a few I hadn’t seen in a long time

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Bags’n’such:

  • (right) A canvas YarnCon bag.  It’s lined and the canvas is pretty thick.  Not huge but large enough for a sock project or a blanket square in process.
  • (center green) The center boxy-bag is really cool.  It’s from Beautiful Syster (Etsy) and is one of her Heather bags.  I got this bag primarily because I could carry it on my arm while knitting.  You can also make it into a box (and it has a pocket inside).  The material is a heavy duck cotton and it stands up on its own.
  • (left and bottom) A small bag and notion pouch from MidMitten Designs (Etsy).  I like the clear vinyl panels so you can actually see inside (and its something I don’t know how to sew).

Yarn (descriptions under each photo):

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A beautiful gradient ball from River’s Edge Fiber Arts, with SPARKLE.  I know, I’m not normally a sparkle kinda of girl.  but I was really drawn to this ball.  And it’s a large enough gradient to make a decent sized shawl (600 yards).  Colorway is Peacock.

 

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A pair of skeins from Grinning Gargoyle, who I haven’t seen in several years (since a prior Stitches event).  I plan to use these in a new design – a colorwork cowl.  The yarn is MCS Fingering and is a merino, silk and cashmere blend.  The colors are Sun Kissed and Turquoise.

 

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Also from Grinning Gargoyle, I found these two skeins on sale. The yarn is called Seda DK and is a 50/50 silk/merino blend DK yarn.  Two skeins totals 450 yards.  The colorway is black over lilac and it a very dark purple.

 

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A beautiful (and spring themed) mini skein set from Lorna’s Laces called a String Quartet.  535 yards total of fingering weight yarn in a merino/nylon blend.  I need to find a contrasting color – I’m thinking a gray with brown undertones?

 

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A new to me dyer – Honey Girl Farms.  This yarn is on her Deluxe Sock bases in the colorway House Targaryen, part of the Game of Thrones collection.  This fingering weight yarn is a merino/nylon blend of 437 yards.

 

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Another dyer I haven’t seen in a few years – Icemelon’s Stash.  She has beautiful yarns with saturated colors.  Most notably right now she has a Supernatural (the tv show) collection, which is one of my favorite tv shows.  I fell in love with the I Don’t Like Poetry colorway and decided to get one skein in the sparkle (Alrisha) base and one in the merino/nylon (Desmos) base.  I

 

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Finished Objects – Ernesto the Bird

My first crochet project – Ernesto the Bird!

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I finally gave in and tried to learn crochet (like I can make four different stitches).  My first project is an amigurumi bird, who my friend named Ernesto.  It was kinda fun and I will likely make more animals as time allows.

Moving on to the details.

Hook – 4.5mm Clover Amour

Pattern – Jay the Bird (Ravelry pattern here) from Stacey Trock. I actually got this pattern as part of her Woodland Animals class of Craftsy.  I previously started another “Learn to Crochet” type class but didn’t really like how the instructor taught.  I viewed some of Woodland Animals class during Craftsy Unlimited’s free weekend (I didn’t subscribe to Craftsy Unlimited though) and really like Stacey Trock.  The class includes about four patterns/animals. The individual pattern is $5.00 US on Ravelry.

Yarn – All of the yarn used is Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, which is an aran weight acrylic yarn.  The colorway for the bird’s body is Scarlet and the beak is Mustard.

I stuffed the bird with poly-fil and attached the safety eyes.  My project page on Rav is here.

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2018 Upcoming Classes – The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana

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Its that time of year again!  Registration is open for The Fiber Event and I will be teaching one brand new class and two of my previously most attended classes.  I’m so excited for this opportunity.  I will also be at the Fiber and Friends event Friday evening for some quality knitting time.

The Fiber Event is April 13 and 14 in Greencastle, Indiana, which is about an hour west of Indianapolis.  A ton of vendors and a lot of great classes.  Registration fee is $45 for each three-hour class and now you can sign up on their website here.  You will see that there are a fixed number of spots available for each class so sign up now if you’re interested!

The Fiber Event Schedule

[please note with the exception of the continental class I will be teaching DIFFERENT classes at Hoosier Hills this year]

Friday, April 13, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Master Continental Knitting

Saturday, April 14, 9:00am-12:00pm – Lace Knitting 101

Saturday, April 14, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Bead Knitting Rockstar

If you can’t make it to the class or would like a specialized focus please see my page here for private lessons.

 

Classes:

Master Continental Knitting

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Are you ready to learn a different style of knitting that will let you knit faster and decrease the strain on your hands? Continental knitting results in smaller, quicker movements and makes it a snap to work colorwork, ribbing and more. We’ll learn the knit and purl stitches continental-style and explore different ways to tension our yarn for evenly knitted fabrics. Then we’ll practice our continental knitting with stranded color knitting and more complex stitches such as increases and decreases.

Bring to class: Samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching, 32 inch circular needle in a size US 5, and skein of fingering or sock weight yarn with at least 400 yards for a cowl

Materials fee of $4 (payable directly to me) covers the cowl pattern: Cinque Terre Cowl

 

Lace Knitting 101

UntitledLearn to knit lace like a pro! This class will cover yarn and needle selection, basic increases and decreases, chart reading, shawl construction and lifelines. After practicing with small swatches we’ll start a lace shawl you can continue knitting on at home. Learn tips and tricks that will take lace from scary to addictive.

Bring to class: 32 inch circular needle in a size US 6., at least 400 yards of fingering or sock weight yarn for shawl, extra samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching (I will have some but you are welcome to bring your own).

Materials fee of $10 covers shawl pattern, highlighter tape, stitch markers and handouts.

 

Bead Knitting Rockstar

UntitledLearn to add beads to your knitwear for texture and bling. You can choose small subtle beads for a shimmer or contrasting beads for a pop of color. This class will cover how to choose the right beads, two methods for adding beads to your knits (pre-stringing or as you go) and how to place beads for a desired effect.

Bring to class: Fingering or sock weight yarn(you are welcome to bring multiple samples), 16 or 24 inch circular needle in a size appropriate for your yarn.

Materials fee of $10 covers beads, crochet hook, big-eye beading needle and handouts.

 

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Finished Object – Themisto Hat

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I wish I could say this was a quick knit.  Not sure if it was the cables, the length (slouchy rather than true beanie) or being distracted by finishing my cape that slowed me down but it took about a month to actually get this finished.  I had finished a hat for someone else, and then lost my favorite gray and red thick hat, so I was in hat mode.  It won’t replace the one I lost (it was so thick and squishy) but I love the cables on this hat.

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – Themisto (Ravelry pattern here) from Tori Gurbisz.  This is a slouchy style hat worked in two colors by alternating row colors and working a cable panels in one of the colors (and slipping those stitches on the other color row).   Two contrasting colors would work best.  I liked that the pattern included charts and written out instructions – and the body pattern was very easy to memorize.  You will need TWO cable needles for this pattern.  Pattern is $5.00 on Ravelry.

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Yarn –  I used Leading Men Fiber Arts Box Office (Rav link) (Leading Men Fiber Arts website) in the colorways Poison Apple (red) and Darkest Hour (black). Box Office is a worsted weight 100% super merino plied yarn that is an almost solid kettle dyed.  I actually love that is ISN’T solid because it gives each color some depth.  The colors are very saturated and I did not encounter any problems with the yarn (knots, thin spots, etc.).  I will definitely use this yarn again.

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Pattern Mods and Notes

1. Circumference – the pattern indicates a large will fit a 22 inch head.  See notes below regarding the fabric look but this hat is a bit snug on me.  I wish there had been one size larger since most men’s heads are even bigger than mine.  I didn’t figure I could go in and create a larger size without loosing the nice decreases at the top.

2. I used 55 yards of the black and 87 yards of the red, which means I could get a second hat out of the two total skeins (one of each color) I bought.  I wouldn’t even have to invert the colors.

3. Pattern calls for US 6 and US 8 needles.  I could (kinda) get gauge with US 6 and US 7 but the fabric was nowhere near dense enough.  I used US 5 for the whole hat.

4. I added some length.  The pattern says to knit until you have 5 repeats of the body pattern but had I done so the hat would have been a beanie, not a slouchy.  So I added an extra two repeats of the body pattern.

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On The Needles – February 2018

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What’s on my needles right now!

With a couple things done, some more have been added.

  • Themisto Hat – I’m about 1/3 to 1/2 done with the already and that include a near start-over due to skipping a pair of rows (I wondered by the first cable was so short.  I lost my favorite favorite red and gray thick hat and am hoping this one will kinda replace the lost one (although it’s not going to be nearly as thick).  The pattern is Themisto by Tori Gurbisz and costs $5 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both worsted weight.  I’ve used Leading Men Fiber Arts Box Office (100% merino) in the colorways Poison Apple and Darkest Hour.

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  • The Yet Un-Named Cowl – I’ve just started this cowl and it will be a new cowl designed by me. It will incorporate lace and a “faux” cable.  Stay tuned for more details!

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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  I’ve gotten a bit bored with it lately so haven’t worked on it in a couple months Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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Finished Object – Black Alpaca Cape

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You would think a cape knit from chunky yarn would be a relatively quick knit.  And yet somehow this took me a year.  To be fair – I did stop working on it when it got warmer.  Then I picked it back up this fall with the goal of finishing it by Christmas.  I was close with that goal.  I bought this yarn for myself as a Christmas present last year with the goal of having a warm heavy cape, especially for work.

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – I didn’t use a pattern for this cape – basically I just “winged” it.  I didn’t take very good notes either.  In general, I knit this as a top down raglan but without any sleeves.  It comes down to just past my elbows.  Somewhere past the shoulders I quit doing the raglan increases.  Around the cast on edge (I cast on 50 stitches) and the bottom I did a seed stitch border (6 rows).  After binding off I picked up stitches on each edge for the button band and knit about 10 rows (maybe a few more) of seed stitch.  My pick-up ratio was 3 stitches for every 4 stitches on the edge.   There are more detailed notes on the Ravelry page.

Yarn –  I used Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky (Rav link) in black.  Baby Alpaca Chunky is a bulky weight 100% alpaca merino plied yarn that is solid.  It’s wonderfully squishy and soft, and does knit up fast.  I used 538 yards of yarn.

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