Outlander MKAL 2015 - It's Happening!

I am so excited to announce that I will be hosting another Outlander MKAL with Jimmy Beans Wool! This time, it will begin with the premiere of the second half of season 1 of Outlander on Starz, which I am sure we are all super excited to watch. I know I can't wait! Craigh Na Dun

In the beginning of Season 1, Claire’s journey begins when she steps through the standing stones at Craig Na Dun. The circle continues to play an important role in her story throughout the rest of the episodes, and of course it will continue to do so for the remainder of the story. For that reason, both the Lorna’s Laces limited edition color this month, as well as this mystery knit-a-long have been inspired by Craig Na Dun!

The shawl will be knit using 2 skeins of Shepherd Sock, and the pattern will be released over the course of 5 weeks, beginning with the premiere of the second half of season 1 of Outlander on April 4th.

I have included 2 different unblocked gauges,  1x1 ribbing and garter stitch. This will allow you to check your gauge in the the first few inches of clue 1 to see if you are on track!  Gauge is not super important with this pattern, so no need to stress too much about it :) Below is a pic of what the color looks like knitted up...gorgeous, right?!

Craigh na Dun garter stitch swatch.

You will need a US 4-40" circular needle for the MKAL, though you can of course start with a shorter circular, or even straight needles, and just move to the long circular as the shawl grows. Also, in the course of designing the pattern, I found that I was much happier on a "grabbier " (technical term, right?) needle, rather than a super slippery metal one. I was dying to try out the Knitter's Pride Marblz, mostly because they are so pretty. They were the perfect mix of smooth and a little grabby, plus a tip that is pointy, but not too much so. Plus, the size 4 is hot pink, so how can you go wrong!?

 

Everything you need for the MKAL, plus some of my favorite extras!

I hope you all join me and Jimmy Beans Wool for the MKAL, you can find an active, fun and friendly community in the JBW group on Ravelry. Happy knitting!

Once Upon A Time MKAL - Clue 4

It's time for Clue 4 of the OUAT MKAL, we're over half way there! For those of you that guessed that we would be joining in the round, you were totally right! In this section of the cowl, after joining in the round and purling a row, you will be switching to star stitch. This continues the same texture from the mitts for a nice matching set. I know this stitch can be a little hard on the hands, and if you find that you are having trouble, you may want to go up a needle size for this section. Also, try and keep your stitches as loose as possible because that will help! I know some people insert the needle into the 3 stitches to be knit together purl-wise, and then pull on the stitches a bit to loosen them before doing the stitch. It is an extra step but it may be worth the time and effort to save your hands! If you find that you really don’t want to do star stitch than you can just keep doing the woven stitch from the first clue. It will still look nice with your mitts, and be much easier on the hands!

How is everyone liking how the Frozen characters are fitting into the Once Upon A Time plot so far? I am finding that I am really enjoying it and I am very intrigued to find out what happened to Anna and what the story is with the crazy snow queen! It is nice to have some fresh characters introduced into Storybrook and I'm excited to see how the story unfolds!

I found these comparison images between the movie and the OUAT characters. I think they did a pretty good job with the casting! What do you think?

Elsa from Frozen and OUAT.

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It's not to late to join in the fun! You can get the Frozen Upon a Time yarn from JBW and the OUAT MKAL pattern from Ravelry and easily catch up. Happy knitting everyone, and don't forget to head over to my Etsy shop and check out my  line of hand dyed yarn!

The Ultimate Enabler

My fiancé Chris is a tech geek and both of us are completely hooked on Apple products. Naturally, when the iPad debuted last year, Chris was an early adopter. I was a little scared by the price, so I decided that it was a piece of technology I could do without. This year, when the iPad 2 was released, Chris decided to upgrade which meant that I inherited his old iPad. I figured I would use it for reading and maybe a little Internet surfing here and there. Boy did I underestimate what I would be using it for. Not only do I read on it, but it is my go to for quick Internet searching and Facebook and Twitter updates. Also, we have a tethering package on our phone plan so I can hook up to it even when we aren't picking up wifi. I love it! But here is where it gets totally awesome. On top of all the stuff I have already mentioned, I now use it almost exclusively for knitting patterns. It has allowed me to go paperless which is great for the environment as well as for me since I don't own a printer. When Chris gave me his iPad, I also inherited all his apps including a PDF reader and editor called iAnnotate PDF. It costs $9.99 which is a little pricey, but it is totally worth it. Chris suggested that I import all my knitting patterns into it, which I did, and they showed up organized in the same way that they are on my computer.

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That was useful in itself, but then I learned how to edit patterns within the app, and save the edited copy back on my computer. This meant that I could save the original unedited pattern, as well as an additional copy with all my notes and any changes that I made while actually knitting the object. Here is the Seeta fingerless mitts that I recently knit with all my notes and changes in pink.

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After I started using iAnnotate PDF to take notes on my patterns I was ready to give up paper completely EXCEPT... I was worried about charts. How, I wondered, was I supposed to keep track of my place in a chart without a chart reader in some form or another? Well, it turns out that iAnnotate has a solution for this too! There are several edit options when you hold a finger down on the screen while in a PDF. One of them is "draw" and after selecting it, choose the "line" option and you can use a finger to draw a straight line across the page. Then change the width to approximately the same as a row on the chart and choose whatever color strikes your fancy. Voila! A chart reader! The bar is completely adjustable and you can move it up as you go, or back down if you have to go back a few rows. In the photo of the Traveling Woman shawl (the free version) below, I have put a solid blue bar across chart A indicating that I am on row 7 and a transparent purple bar across chart B indicating that I am on row 12.

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I particularly like the transparent option because on a complicated lace chart I will use the purl row to check my work. This allows me to see what the stitches on the previous row were supposed to be without the possibility of losing my place or the annoyance of constantly moving a bar around. As you can see, you no longer have a need to print patterns or buy a chart reader which I think cancels out the initial cost of the app!

Ok, so I know this entire post sounds like one big plug for Apple, and I will freely admit that I am kind of an Apple junkie. But the thing is, I love anything that works well and simplifies my life, which this device undoubtably does. Never again will I lose half my paper pattern somewhere, or run out the door and leave it sitting on the couch. As long as my iPad is with me then I have every single digital pattern I own, and the ability to download any that I don't. Let's just call my iPad (which we have affectionately nicknamed PaddlyUnraveled) the ultimate enabler. You know you want one...