Weaving in Ends

I hate weaving in ends. I mean hate it. If I could avoid them altogether I would. Since I can’t hire someone to sit there in weave in my ends for me, I’m left to weave them in myself as I tell myself I can finish this before the baby wakes up.

Weaving in Ends

Finishing a project feels great, well finishing the knitting portion of a project feels great. And you can see that light at the end of your project tunnel. Then you see all the ends you have to weave in and that light turns into a small flicker. It’s so tedious and can be so time consuming. It feels never ending. When you’ve finished one end there’s still thousands (maybe an exaggeration) left to go. The only real accomplishment comes when you’ve weaved (woven?) in your last end and you look at your work in amazement because you’re finally done.

I hated them so much that I used to avoid projects with colour work so I could keep my weaving to a minimum. I’ve also stopped weaving in ends for stuffed toys. It seemed pointless. After a few washes they would start to seep out of the poor toy. Now I just make sure they are secured and won’t unravel my work (knot them really well) and leave them to hang out with the fiberfill stuffing.

I don’t shy away from projects with a lot of colour work anymore. The end result is just to beautiful. And the beauty outweighs my hatred for weaving in ends.

This is how I weave in my ends. She has a few videos on weaving in ends for different types of stitches, and I use them all.

I know there are some of you out there that don’t mind this part or even like it because it means you’re close to finishing. And I wish I felt that way. I want so much not to dread ending each project because I have some darn ends to weave in. Hopefully in time I’ll become a super speedy end weaver and it won’t phase me at all. A girl can dream right?

Do you like weaving in your ends?

Happy Knitting,

Ashley

Organizing Projects

I have such a sophisticated way of organizing projects it’s unbelievable. And boy does it ever look classy. Hahaha. All kidding aside my secret for organizing projects is simple: Ziploc Bags. That’s right, extra large sandwich bags.

Why I Love Organizing Projects With Ziploc Bags

  1. They are big. Really big. If I’m using the extra large bag, I can usually fit all the yarn I’ll need to finish my project in that bag, even blankets. I may not be able to do up the bag with enough yarn for a baby blanket but it’s still all in the bag.
  2. Everything I will need to finish the project goes in the bag, not just the yarn. Each project is different but most include a darning needle, stitch markers, scissors, scrap yarn, tape measure, different size needles (for sweaters), and the needles I will be using.
  3. It keeps my living room from looking like a yarn and project explosion. It has taken a while to find a good system to organize my project to give my living so semblance of tidiness and this by far is the best. I’m sure my husband will attest that there’s still yarn and bits and bobs everywhere but I can assure you it’s much better.
  4. It’s a time saver because everything is in one place. All that I’ll need is in one bag so when I sit down and work on a project I can do just that. No more getting up to find another stitch marker, or scissors or my DPNs. And with a baby that only likes to take 30 minute naps, being able to work for a full 20 minutes with no interruptions is glorious. (I give myself 10 mins for potty break and a meal – because well knitting is more important!)
  5. Travels well. All you have to do is zip it up and pop it in your travel bag (carry on) and off you go. I used to spend a few hours organizing my projects and yarn for travel. Now everything I have on the go is put in my knitting suitcase (you read that right) along with extra yarn (because I might have the time) and I’m all packed  up.
  6. The bag is clear. So even before I sit down, I simply have to look at the bag to know if anything is missing. This is the biggest reason why I love ziploc bags and the one of the biggest reason why I haven’t bought a cloth project bag yet.

Organizing Projects

What’s your favourite way to organize projects?

Happy Knitting

Ashley

Baby Shower Gifts

I have a set of baby shower gifts that I have been making for each new baby in our family and/or circle of friends. It started as a fluke. The first baby in the family I made a blanket as a baby shower gift, then a stuffed elephant when she arrived from the hospital and the Muti Dress for her first birthday. For the next baby, I decided to make all three as a baby shower gift. But with this one being a boy I made a sweater instead of the dress.

Baby Shower Gifts

  1. Blanket: Every baby needs a cuddly hand made blanket. In the past I’ve knit them, I prefer the tighter look of the stitches, but I’ve recently started adding some crochet borders.
  2. Stuffed Animal: It’s a while before the baby can play with the toy, but once they can there’s nothing better than a cuddly stuffie.
  3. A Garment: I choose a sweater for boys and a dress for girls.

Baby Shower Gifts

This was the first set I made back in 2014 for baby Middleton. I’m now working on another set for baby Middleton #2. All that’s left is the sweater (yup, another boy!)

Baby Shower Gifts 2

Most people love getting nice handmade gifts for their babies and I believe these three are the perfect fit. Sometimes I’ll add a few small items from the registry but I prefer remaining with my knit and crochet gifts.

Except for the first, who is now 2 1/2, all the babies have been boys. That’s plenty of sweaters which is great because I love knitting sweaters.

What are your favourite baby shower gifts?

Ashley

WIP Wednesdays

I only have one project on the go to include in my WIP Wednesdays this week. It’s not my usual amount but I’m trying to get a few items in the mail asap for baby Middleton #2. I’m almost finished the crocheted dog. The pattern can be found here on Etsy from the shop LovelyBabyGift.

I made a few alterations with colour, adding extra blue stripes to the paws (or hands and feet). I also  slightly changed the colour on the body. Instead of making a bunch of stripes I chose to do just one of each the blue and the white. I also made the body bigger by adding one extra increase row and two extra single crochet rows. I even added extra colour to the ears by crocheting the bottom of the ears white then a blue stripe then followed by the beige.

crochet dog no limbs

crochet dog limbs

crochet dog

Next on the agenda is a sweater for the new baby. She’s due at the beginning of February so these should be in the mail by the end of the week. But I’m not making any promises 😐

On the baby front, yesterday was a pretty eventful day. Not only did James turn 4 months (I can’t believe it’s been 4 months already) but he also rolled over for the first time. All that work is so tiring, he fell asleep when we went shopping.

Sleeping James

What’s on your needles/hook?

Ashley

Knitting or Crochet

I always get asked which is better, knitting or crochet. And for non crafters I’m sure they’re looking for a simple answer but in reality there isn’t. Although they both use yarn, there a differences between the two and each has its own set of strength and weaknesses.

Knitting or Crochet

Each swatch is only 12 rows. Such a difference in height between the knit and crochet stitches.

Knitting

  1. Uses two needles to achieve finished product. Each hand holds a needle and the yarn is held in either the right or the left hand depending on comfort and how you were taught.
  2. All of your stitches are live. Meaning that all the stitches that you’re working with are on your needles. The downside is if you make an error you have to work your way back to it or rip back a few rows.
  3. You work the front (right) and then you turn your work and work the back (wrong) side of your project.  Most have to drop the yarn that is being held to do this and then you set up your work in your hands again.
  4. Uses less yarn but on the other hand it’s usually more time consuming.
  5. Each stitch is approximately the same height regardless of the pattern you’re using. Some stitches create a tighter product width-wise but the height remains the same.
Knit Stitches

Garter Stitch on the left and Stockinette Stitch on the right

Crochet

  1. Uses one hook to achieve finished product. The hook is held in your right hand while the yarn and the project is being held in your left hand.
  2. The four main stitches are all different heights. You could finish a project faster using triple crochets because of their height than you could with single crochets.
  3. You only have one live stitch and that’s the stitch your working on. This is great because you only have to rip back to were you’ve made a mistake then pick up where you left off.
  4. Each side that you’re working is considered the front (right) side and this eliminates the need to drop your hook or yarn. In theory you could work an entire project with dropping either.
  5. Uses more yarn because of the height of the stitches. However, it takes less time to finish a project for the same reason.
Crochet Stitches

From left to right: Single Crochet, Half Double Crochet, Double Crochet and Triple Crochet

Knitting or Crochet: Which is better?

Taking all of this into consideration I can still say that I don’t have a favourite. However, whichever you learn first is usually the one you stick with or prefer. The coordination needed to handle two needles as opposed to one hook can be tricky and not easily interchangeable but it’s doable.

I first learned to knit (way back in grade 4) but desperately wanted to learn crochet. I tried books and videos but I wasn’t getting it at all. The only way I was able to learn was to take a class. It’s extremely helpful to have someone show me exactly how to hold the hook and the yarn, how to work the stitches and where I was making mistakes. Once I had the basics, I took a few Craftsy classes to increase my skills and now I love crocheting as much as knitting.

Choosing whether or not to knit or crochet an item depends on what I’m making. For the most part, I prefer the look of knit stitches. So if I’m making a sweater or socks (I will eventually), I choose to knit them. I also knit hats and mitts if they’re for babies or kids where the stitches have to be tighter together.

However, I do prefer to crochet blankets and stuffed animals. The blankets crochet up so quickly that it’s sometimes frustrating to knit them. As for stuffed animals, I find it easier to shape when I crochet. Also the stuffed animals look better when crocheted because the increases and decreases aren’t as noticeable.

A weird quirk that I have is liking written knit patterns but preferring charts for crochet patterns. Typically, you’d prefer one or the other for both crafts but I’m weird like that.

How do you choose when to knit or crochet?

Happy Crafting,

Ashley

Works in Progress

I only have 2 works in progress. It’s a lot less than what I’m used to but it feels like I’m over my head in projects. It must be the new baby with the lack of time and the inability to give them my full attention. On a good day I can get James to sleep for 1.5-2hrs at a time 3x a day, which is glorious when it happens but it’s occurring less and less these days. But enough of the joys of motherhood.

First, I’ve been working on slippers. I started these last year, well three weeks ago but it can still be considered last year right? The pattern is the Two Hour Toe Up Slippers by Amanda Lillie and they truly are two hour slippers. Because you use bulky yarn they knit up in no time. I think these will be the slippers I make for one of my 2016 goals. It shouldn’t be a problem to knit about 8-10 pairs this years so they’re ready for cottage use next Christmas.

Knit Cottage Slippers

I’ve also been working on this baby blanket. My friend is due at the beginning of February and I plan of gifting her my usual baby gifts which are a baby blanket, a stuffie and a sweater (a sweater because she knows she’s having another boy). Again I used a bulky yarn so that it knits up quickly. I started this while James was in his good napping phase so I was able to knock this part of the blanket out in a week. But now that his schedule is a little messed up, it’s taking a while to get to the border. I plan to crochet a blue border using all single crochet to add a few inches to the blanket. If James gets to sleep at a decent hour tonight I’m hoping to get it started and almost finished. But I’m thinking I just jinxed my myself (hahahaha).

Knit Baby Blanket

I do have a stuffie and a sweater planned as my next projects which I can hopefully get in the mail by the end of the month. Baby Middleton is due to arrive the first week of Feb. and I’m running out of time. I’m hopeful I can get it done even with James’s unpredictable daytime sleeping schedule. I also feel like I’ve got a good head start on one of my goals. I’m planning on keeping this momentum so keep your fingers crossed (I know mine are!).

What’s on your needles (or hook)?

Happy Knitting,

Ashley

To Frog or to Tink

To frog a project: taking a project off the needles and ripping it back and undoing all the stitches. It gets it name from what your doing “rip it rip it” which sounds like a frog.

To tink a project: undoing your work one stitch at a time until you reach your error. So you’re knitting backwards and it so cleverly spells knit backwards.

I hate knitting mistakes. I mean hate hate hate them. I know most non-knitters won’t notice the error but I will and it drives me crazy. Every time I undo a project that I’ve started my hubby looks at me like I’m nuts and cringes. But you’ve already done so much he says. And for the most part redoing it without errors doesn’t take any time at all. But when it’s a fairly large project, like a blanket, and my mistake is near the end and I can’t decide what to do it it usually goes into the unfinished projects basket for a long time out.

Deciding whether to frog or to tink all depends on the project and how far along you are. If I notice an error a few rows away, I usually opt to tink. Especially if it’s a blanket and I’ve done quite a bit then tinking is the way to go.

IMG_20160106_091027

This blanket I had to tink twice. I was nearing the end and there was no way I would be able to frog it and not have a mental breakdown. So large projects like this are tinked or they go in a time out.

If I make a mistake that has no way of being fixed by tinking then I frog the whole project. This would be an item with an intense pattern or a lot of lace work that would be difficult to tink. Also, if it’s a fairly small project like a hat or mitts I usually frog it and restart since it takes no time to get back to where I was.

Muti Dress I had to frog

The Muti Dress I had to frog multiple times. I kept making mistakes with the repeats in the collar and there was no way I’d be able to tink it back without making more mistakes.

When My Mistakes Happen

  1. I’m too tired and I can barely keep my eyes open but I want to finish a project. Happens more often now with the baby and lack of sleep. I should probably be napping when he naps but I just want to craft without baby interruptions.
  2. I’m watching tv and it’s something interesting. So my attention is split between TV and knitting. Unless it’s a simple project like a hat or mitts or a simple sweater, I have to either turn to something I’ve seen or turn on the radio.
  3. Not using stitch markers with a complicated pattern with multiple repeats. This is what happened with the Muti Dress that I frogged more than twice.
  4. Not properly tracking cable rows. I love the look of cables but if I don’t track exactly where I am then I often add the cable row too early or too late and throw off the whole pattern.
  5. The last few rows of a pattern. I’m always so eager to finish an item once I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that I make stupid mistakes. Dropping a stitch is the most common mistake I make near the end of the project.

How do you decide when to frog or tink a project?

Happy Knitting,

Ashley

James Joey Fernandes

Last year our little family of 3 (yes we consider our dog our fur baby) became a family of 4. James Joey Fernandes was born September 19th at 10:49 am weighing 8lbs 1oz and measuring 20.75″ long.
James Joey Fernandes

Keith and I found out we were pregnant last January and we were thrilled to be expanding our family. Contrary to what everyone made us believe, it happened quite quickly. Only one month of trying and bang we were pregnant. We weren’t expecting it to happened so quickly, we planned on it taking a few months  but nonetheless we were excited.

It took no time for exhaustion to set in and it was no joke. I spent an entire weekend sleeping and I still woke up tired. It does disappear during the second trimester but it comes back with a few friends in the third. And by a few friends I mean heartburn and tiny bladder. I also had a major lack of motivation throughout my entire pregnancy. I had no motivation to write a blog post or update my Etsy shop. I was torn with knitting and crochet projects too. I wanted to make sweaters so badly but I couldn’t decide between girly or manly sweaters and I was not feeling unisex at all. So I simply didn’t knit anything until I found out the gender of our baby – a boy!

James and Crosby

James Sleeping

The first month or so of parenthood was a complete haze. My days were spent in a sleepy fog nursing my baby and changing dirty diapers. My mom stayed with us for a 3 weeks after James was born and it was a glorious. I would have never been able to do it alone! And I hate to sound like a cliche but its so true. No one can prepare you for parenthood and a baby. I was so sure I was ready and knew exactly what to expect. I’m still laughing at my old self – and I’m sure every other mother out there is also.

James and Mom

I’d say by the middle of November I was starting to feel like my old self again. Maybe I was finding my groove with the baby or maybe I had just gotten used to sleeping in 3/4 hours stretches but I wanted to start knitting and crocheting and blogging again. I started with knitting and crocheting when the baby was napping because he napped on me. I know I know a baby sleeping sin but it worked for us. When I noticed that James no longer slept peacefully on me or even in his swing, I moved him to his room for naps, about mid-December. Now that he naps for about 2 hours 3x a day I find I actually have some time to get things done. So here I am.

James

James

JamesHe’s such a cutie pie and I really hope I didn’t jinx his awesome sleeping habits.

Happy knitting,

Ashley

Happy New Years and a Few 2016 Goals

Happy New Years!!! 

Last year was a bust for this blog, I didn’t even post a single entry. This year however, I want to get back to blogging and working on my Etsy shop. I guess you can say those are my goals and/or resolutions for the New Year. Although I’ve never been one to keep resolutions, I’m hopeful this year will be different (hahahaha a girl can dream right?)

I also make a list of items I’d like to knit/crochet during the upcoming year. Again I never fully get through the list (I don’t think I made one item from that list last year) but I like having a plan, an idea of what I’d like to make. Even though it changes by Feb. 1st.

For 2016, I’d like to accomplish:

  1. Adding at 6 new blanket patterns in my Ravelry and Etsy Shop
  2. Creating a simple baby sweater pattern that you can customize with your own pattern (I hope this is doable)
  3. Crochet a Christmas Tree Skirt for our Tree. I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years but never got around to it. This will be the year!
  4. Knit a handful of slippers for my parents cottage. Some that everyone can wear in the evening or during the winter months.
  5. A nice pair of socks. This has been on my list for a few years now and I’ve never been able to actually get it done. I even took a Craftsy class on toe-up socks and still haven’t managed to knit myself a pair. Will this be the year? I sure hope so!

Happy New Years from my Family to Yours!

Happy New Years

Ashley