Friday, February 6, 2015

Brioche Knits

More Doubled fabrics!

I have been all about double knitting lately and these projects are no different. I fell for brioche knitting and with all the hoopla as of late, it looks like many others out there have as well!


So what is brioche knitting? Brioche knits are sort of similar to the brioche bread that you are familiar with. Similar to the bread, the knitted fabric is a bulky, lofty, and ridged fabric that looks like stitches sitting on top of one another. The fabric creates lovely pronounced columns where the knit stitches litterly pop off and appear to float above other stitches. The fisherman's rib produces a similar final outcome but the method by which one gets to the result is different. In brioche knitting you slip one and create a yarn over. On the next row the slipped stitch is worked with the yarn over. In the fisherman's rib you knit through the stitch below, essentially creating that yarnover as you knit.

Either way, the brioche knit and look is in right now. Nancy Marchant is famous in the brioche knits world, just published a new book: Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns. Knitting Daily sent out a number of brioche-related stories lately. And I saw brioche patterns and spotlights in a number of knitting magazines this winter.

So why not jump on the brioche bandwagon?!

I will be teaching a Brioche Cowl class at WoolWinders Yarn shop this weekend. I think it's actually sold out. But good news... it'll be offered again in the spring so stay tuned for the dates and times.

What cowl will I be teaching? Well I'm glad you asked. I'll be teaching two of my own pattern designs!

The first is the Twisted Brioche Cowl.


Available for free from Ravelry
Needles:  US size 10 (6.0 mm)

The second project is called Button It Brioche Cowl.


Pattern available for $2.00 on Raverly
Needles: US Size 10 (6.0 mm)


Both patterns are available here on my website, under the tab: Designs http://www.drchopsueyknits.com/p/drchopsuey-knits-designs.html). Both links will kick you over to the DrChopSuey Knits page on Ravelry where you can download the patterns. 

Both projects are fun and relatively quick knits (once you learn how to do the brioche stitch). The reason the one pattern is paid for... I had to do some math.  :)   

If you try out my patterns please link to it on Ravelry and let me know if you find any issues so I can quickly fix and post errata. Enjoy and stay warm! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Double Knit Knit-A-Long!


I've been obsessed with the idea of double knitting for a while now. Last year I attempted the technique but the pattern and I were not getting along. I figured out the technique no problem but the pattern  was not written well and it just became a huge mess. This year I decided I was not only going to master the technique, but also teach it AND have it as a fun month-long knit-a-long (KAL)! Luckily Amy, the owner of WoolWinders, lets me try out crazy ideas and we have it scheduled for the whole month of January. So starting in January (the 10th if you will) I'll be teaching a class where people can choose their OWN double knit pattern and join along for a month of knitting fun!



Yarns: Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Fathom and Antler (75% merino, 15% silk, 10% cashmere)
Started: October 11, 2014
Finished: November 29, 2014

The pattern I chose for the store sample is actually for a fair-isle blanket that is worked in the round and then steeked (!!). Actually I'm totally intrigued and want to try knitting and steeking the blanket. But for now I just used the pattern for inspiration for my scarf.

I really love my snowflake scarf. It's so warm and soft! The two layers of cashmere blend yarn are heavenly. If you ever want a luxurious feeling scarf draped around your neck go for the Madelinetosh Pashmina. Actually Rosie loved sitting on my lap while I knit this because the warm and soft cashmere would just drape around her. What a spoiled little pup!


I'm hoping that people will try different patterns for the January KAL. I'll be knitting the There and Back Again, Hobbit story scarf for the hubs in a brown and cream combination (request by the hubs himself).
By FrivoliteByHand
The other cool thing I'm attempting this class will be a virtual "hangout" twice during the month-long KAL. Two in-person sessions and two virtual sessions. These virtual knitting hangouts will either be a complete awesome success or huge awesome failure. Fingers crossed for fun and success but either way, I'm excited to try it out!



Lastly - I have to plug it one more time. Are you tempted to join me in the KAL? There are still a couple more slots available! Go to the WoolWinders website to learn more and register! How to double knit and a month of fun... sounds awesome to me!
Till next time!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Reflections



As I've mentioned before, I'm not one to make resolutions for the new year but I always like to take time to think about what has happened in the past year, reflect on lessons learned, the good and tough moments and think about how to make the next year even better in all areas of life.

But of course for the purposes of this blog I always have to list out my fiber-related accomplishments:
Screen shot of finished projects in 2014 (from Ravelry)
New DrChopSuey Knit logo!
Of course knitting is not all I do (believe it or not). A couple additional fun accomplishments to note: 
  • #1 item - still cancer free! Let's keep this one going! 
  • Read 34 books (12 more than last year!)
  • Walked/ran 4,161,997 steps and  9,612 flights of stairs (that's 186,002 more steps and 2,446 more stairs in 2014!)
  • Traveled to Europe for the first time (I had only traveled to Asia previously), not just once but twice
  • Completed a year (pretty successfully) at work (they haven't sent me packing yet, ha!). 
  • Met a lot of amazing people from all walks of life
Screenshot of book covers from 2014 books read (from GoodReads)

Clearly 2014 was a great year for my fiber life as my knitting teaching career really took off. I never thought I'd be teaching but I have to say in absolutely loving it. I am learning to become a better knitter and communicator by teaching others.  It's an added bonus that I've made a little money and amazing friends along the way.

So what does 2015 have in store?  Obviously we have no idea yet.  What I do know is that my career (that actual work thing I do with clinical terminologies, not my fiber hobby) is also starting to take off so I'll be busy with that part of my life.  And the hubs is getting involved me with his profession too. So this family may have a very busy professional year in 2015. But whatever happens - it should be fun.  Looking forward to spending time with you and sharing my adventures for another year!



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014 - New Hampshire

Happy Holidays!

We just returned from a trip to New England to visit the family for Christmas. It was great seeing the family (my little nephew is just the cutest thing ever!). But we didn't go alone - we also brought the pups and the bunny:
Getting cozy during the 12 hr car trip. 


It only took one evening of the dogs (my parent's pooch, Dutch and our two) being leery of one another before they became fast friends and tore through the house playing and chasing one another. Every evening we'd see the pups flop out tired from a day of play:

Dutch, so tired he fell asleep on Ryan's lap with his head on the table!
Boe Bear flopped out on the bed but with TWO tennis balls at the ready should he want to wake up and play!
The week wasn't all dogs and play (okay so it might have been). But I did get some knitting time in. In fact, I knit the world's ugliest sock:

Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98% cotton, 2% other) 
Needles: US 4 (3.5mm)
Started: December 24, 2014
Finished: December 25, 2014
So ugly Rosie can't even look at them! 
They fit Mumma Roy perfectly!
This yarn is so odd - it's a stretchy cotton which makes nice socks but a beotch to knit with. They are a DK so they knit up quick (hence the one-day to complete the pair). I CO on the 24th and lo-and-behold, Mumma Roy had a new pair of socks to wear on Christmas! Too bad it looks like the socks had a little too much eggnog and threw up on themselves! Ah well... Mumma Roy seems to like them.

Aside from ugly sock knitting I had other fiber-related goodness: I visited the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe in Goffstown, New Hampshire. I thought this was a new LYS but I was surprised to learn it opened around four years ago.


Image Credit: https://bonnetsandbowties.wordpress.com/tag/knitting/ (it was a dreary day and the photo looked terrible). 
Chip the Mascot! 
The shop is adorable and has a great selection of yarns and a HUGE selection of Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns -- sooo soft and luscious! The owner Bruce was great. We chatted about yarns, patterns and all things knitting while Mumma Roy and I browsed the store. Also very impressive - the exclusive patterns made by Bruce for the shop:
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/BruceN/simply-lined-hat-knitting-pattern

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/BruceN/simply-lined-slippers-knitting-pattern

The Simply Lined Hat Knitting Pattern and Simply Lined Slippers are soft, cushy and quick knits perfect for gifts or for yourself! Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures inside the shop - I was too busy chatting and shopping. But if you are in the area I recommend a stop!


Last fiber-mention about my Christmas trip... the French Press Slippers I gifted to Mumma Roy and Sandy. I used Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool again (see my previous post about these slippers) to make these slippers. I knit the slippers and wrapped them without felting so they looked like this:

Waaaay too big for a human to wear. And I couldn't wait to see their expressions when they unwrapped these monsters:








You can tell from their expressions they thought these monsters were hilarious. Only after I explained that we'd have an afternoon of felting did they get it. And did we have fun later that day felting and stretching/forming to feet! BTW - blame Mumma Roy for the lack of finished object photos... will post those once she sends them to me. 

Overall we had a blast up in NH. It's always nice to see family especially during the holidays. I miss them already! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Amsterdam Trip


It's been a couple of weeks  months  and I think it's about time I show you my fiber finds from my Amsterdam trip!

Unfortunately work got in the way and I didn't have enough time to explore (dang work!) but I was able to stop by one shop -- Penelope and Stephen! One of the finals days we had a little break in the action so a colleague friend (who is just as addicted to knitting as I am) and I jumped on the tram and hurried into town to visit and patron the Penelope + Stephen shop:

 

The small shop was beyond cute. I mean, even before you got in the shop you saw knitterly goodness. Yep that is a crochet cozied bike! 


And the inside was just as adorable: 

 And of course, filled with yarns!




 Oh so much pretty yarn! Many were yarns that I could find here in the states. But some were unique colorways that I had not seen before. Mostly I just had fun looking around and squishing every bit of yarn possible.


The ladies working were very nice. They even gave my colleague and me a free measuring tape (pictured below) for shopping with them! 

Yes... we had fun! 
So I have to admit, I was a little bummed that we didn't see Stephen. HOWEVER, as we were heading back to the tram (we did, after all, have a conference and work to get back to!) a very pale, beautiful man, riding a bike COVERED with colorful knitwear rode by. Oh you KNOW I squeealed like a little school girl as he rode by. Maybe next time I visit the Netherlands I'll pounce on him!

Such a cutie!
Okay so now I know you are wondering... what did you get?!?! Okay, we'll start with the money shot of all the items:

And now I'll tell you a funny story. So I purchased this pattern book because I love knitbot and I had never seen this particular book. I checked the date and sure enough, knitbot Essentials is from 2012. Because it might be difficult to find the booklet again I purchased it. Fast forwards weeks later when I'm looking at my knitted sweaters on Ravelry and a friend mentions she likes the Lightweight Pullover I knit ages ago. As I'm checking out the design I realize it's a Hannah Fettig - huh, apparently I liked Hannah's designs even before I became a huge fan. As we're digging around more I'm noticing my e-pattern book is very familiar. I check out the cover... and sure enough! It's this same knitbot essentials book! So now I have it both e-format and in paperback. Oops! I guess you know I like the patterns.


An 80/20 (80% merino, 20% nylon) fingering weight yarn, dyed in Amsterdam. I walked by the yarn a couple of times and didn't think too much of it. I mean nice colors (the yellows and greens really popped!) but the yarn wasn't the softest. And I couldn't really think of what I'd do with it. Then the shop assistant told me it was all dyed by a lady who lives in Amsterdam -- okay sold! Apparently she specializes in yellows and greens so I had to grab a green. And I love purple so I though why not. But I have to admit, I'm kicking myself for not getting the neon yellow?!?! Ah well... next time. 



Yes I know it's available in the US but I really liked this particular colorway (24 carat!). It's 90% merino and 10% nylon, and oh so unbelievably soft! I'm thinking this might become a little shawlette rather than socks just because of the softness.



Three Irish Girls - Glenhaven Gold Sparkle
Yes, I can get 3 Irish Girls anywhere - even at WoolWinders! But this, THIS, yarn is an exclusive from the Stephen and Steven Tour! I know, I didn't attend but I don't mind grabbing some of the leftover yarn from the rockstar tour! I love that it has just a hint of bling in it - just enough to make a lovely shawl.




Another image of the lovely yarn. 
 And a shot of all the snacks I brought back... I promise I shared with others! Although I haven't had a stroopwafel in a month and now I'm craving one!


And finally, I'll leave you with some pictures of the lovely city. I went on a couple of early morning jogs and a walking tour with a group of friends. Here are some of the images:

De Gooyer Windmill
View from my hotel room. 
Another view from my hotel room - no that is NOT Hogwarts, but it's the place where we had our conference!
Things are so much prettier in other countries... even the details above doorways!
Beautiful canals.
The line to get into the Anne Frank House
More canals. 
For some reason my hotel thought it was important to let me know how many sunshine hours there were each day. 
I'm not even going to tell you how many croissants I had during the week-long stay. 
I had too many stroopwafels too.... 
So there you have it - my trip to Amsterdam. Okay I actually mostly worked but I tried to get a little fun in where I could!

This post should go up as the husband, dogs, bunny and I are driving up the NH. Not sure if I'll be able to write up a post while visiting with the family - so if not - happy holidays and see you on the return!