New Pattern Release: Mhara Baby Blanket

Introducing my latest pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket! Mhara means “sea” in Gaelic.

IMG_3606

IMG_3603

Pattern: Mhara Baby Blanket

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 through Knit Picks IDP or $2.50 on Ravelry

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Tranquil

Design/Skills Needed: This fully reversible baby blanket is worked on the bias in garter stitch. Step-wise increases and decreases are embellished as you go with crocheted waves. Explicit directions for stroller- and crib-sized blankets are given, but the pattern is easily adapted for larger or smaller blankets. This pattern includes complete photo tutorials for the step-wise increases and the crocheted embellishment. For ease of printing, these tutorials appear at the end of the pattern. Experienced knitters may print just page 2 for complete pattern with no extraneous photos or information.

Familiarity with crocheting is helpful, but not necessary. Almost any yarn will work with this pattern, provided you use appropriately-sized needles.

IMG_3604

IMG_3605

IMG_3602

IMG_3601

Advertisements

Zombies Heart Brains: Mini-Skein Swap

I have succumbed to hexipuffs!

IMG_3565

My goal for 2012 is to make one hexipuff each day … but of course I started in February, and sometimes I miss a day, so my tally so far is a mere 20 of 366. I was also hampered by a distinct lack of the right kind of sock yarn.  I have a scrap blankie also in the works, and for that one I am restricting myself to yarn from socks/shawls/etc. that I have actually knit — it is more of a memory blanket, and I love looking at the squares and remembering the projects I made with that yarn.  But, for my beekeeper’s quilt, I’m being a bit snobby — I want to use “fancy” sock yarn only, and have no repeating colors.  It says something about my knitting habits that I was able to make 20 little puffs that meet this requirement, using only what I had lying around. But aren’t they pretty?

IMG_3566

In order to get enough different yarns, I have jumped down the mini-skein swap rabbit hole. The basic concept is that 19 or 20 mad knitters totally sane people agree to each take a perfectly good 100-gram skein of sock yarn and chop it up into 5-gram miniature skeins, good only for hexipuffs, blankie squares, and the like.  I’ve signed up for six different swaps so far, and the first batch arrived yesterday, hooray! This swap had a “rainbow” theme — each swapper signed up for a color and went from there. Joy! I actually knit four hexipuffs last night (the last four from my own stash), so that I could give myself permission to start in on this batch.

IMG_3561

Which all brings me to … Zombies Heart Brains! I’m hosting a swap!  The theme, naturally, is zombies — all kinds.  As of this writing, I have filled 14 of the 19 slots — which means 5 slots are still open to you, dear reader.  Allow me to tantalize you will some of the yarns already in the swap.  Surely you want 5 grams of each?? 🙂

 

FO Friday: Yggdrasil in Blue

I finished this about a month ago, but I think it slid directly off my needles onto my lap. My Yggrasil lap blanket is so warm and cozy!

IMG_3303

Project: Yggrasil in Blue

Pattern: Yggdrasil Afghan

Designer: Lisa Jacobs

Available: FREE! at Interweave Knits

Yarn: Knit Picks  City Tweed HW in Dungarees

You might remember this blanket from my “Finish it or Frog it!” post back in January. I’d already made some progress then, because it was my “neglected project KAL” target for January.  I won’t say it was “easy” to finish, not exactly, but I did eventually get into the rhythm of the border cables.  I do not think I will ever do this pattern again, and although I admire the finished full-size Yggdrasil Afghans out there, I have reason to doubt the sanity of those who accomplish such a gargantuan knitting feat.

The pattern itself is well-written and clear. Plenty of good charts.  I think this might have been my first knitted-on border, back in the day.  I also have a niggling feeling I may have grabbed the wrong size needle when I re-booted this project … the “old” border (right edge, upper right corner) looks a wee bit tighter than the rest.  However, this is invisible when I’m using it, so I am doing my best to let the slight difference go. I am definitely not going back and fixing it, ooooh no.

I continue to love, love, love City Tweed.  What a wonderful soft yarn with gorgeous colors, and it shows cabling so nicely! And it’s so warm and cozy!

IMG_3309

Tips and Tricks: Penance Knitting

Almost every knitter I’ve ever talked to has a project that they love, but can’t bring themselves to work on.  Sometimes it’s because there is a long stretch of “boring” knitting, like the endless stockinette in my Arctic Faery Ring Cardigan.  First there was the skirt (ENDLESS), which I powered through because at least there was decreasing every so often, plus cables to look forward to.  I did the sleeves two-at-a-time to avoid SSS (Second Sleeve Syndrome), but stalled out on the hood.  Seriously — I had the entire body done, the sleeves done and set in, but I couldn’t get myself to work on the hood. It was killing me.

1241 Arctic Faery Ring

Conversely, the other end of the spectrum of knitting difficulty can stall a knitter just as bad as doldrum knitting. I have a certain blanket that has languished since July because the border is tricky and requires my full attention. I can’t quit halfway through a repeat without paying (and paying) later on.  I don’t dare pick it up unless I know I have enough time and attention to finish a full repeat.  So my pretty, soft lap blanket sits with two borders done, and two still waiting.

0471 Yggdrasil blanket

The cardigan and the blanket both suffered further, because they were both for ME — no deadline, nobody waiting, no guilt to spur me on.  And, in the end, guilt is KEY for finishing this type of project.  I call the work “penance knitting” for a reason.  My technique is simple: I choose a very appealing project with pretty yarn and a fun pattern, and set it in front of myself.  Then, I require myself to knit a certain number of rows of my penance project, before I allow myself to work on the reward project.

I hate to say it, but right now my penance knitting project is my third (yes, third) Harry Potter scarf.  It seems like it’s taking forever, which is kind of true … because I keep looking at it and groaning.  Time to bump it up in the priority queue and get it done!  Here are the first two scarves, to further inspire and castigate me :).

9896 J models Harry Potter scarf

0381 HP Hufflepuff scarf

What project do you have, languishing in mostly-done state on the needles, that could be finished with a little penance knitting?