Category Archives: Knitting

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: First Edition

Welcome to Work-in-Progress (WIP) Wednesday!  I hope to be updating you every (well, most) Wednesday on various projects I am working on.


I have been knitting pretty continuously the last few months.  I recently finished a project that I will be sharing with you soon.  I just need to take some pictures (hopefully on Sunday as I will be wearing the finished item for Mother’s Day).  I pretty much immediately started a new project that I am quite excited about.

Meet Larch:

Larch Shawlette

It’s a little shawlette or scarflet that I have been wanting to make for over a year.  I had just been waiting for the right yarn to find me.  The yarn and I finally crossed paths recently and I love it!

Back in January I started my first pair of socks as part of a mystery knit-a-long.  This is how far I got:

Focus Pocus

The project stalled for a couple of reasons:

1) I started a Downton Abbey KAL at the same time I started these socks.  I discovered that I am  a one-project-at-a-time girl, and this is the one that didn’t get worked on.

2) After trying on my socks, I found that the cast-on edge is quite tight around my ankle, which discouraged me.  I think I will start over soon with a looser cast-on.  I want the finished socks to be comfortable to wear!

Home Improvement

In other news, I finally started a home improvement project I have been talking about for years!  I am turning our spare bedroom into a freshly painted and revamped bedroom for my daughter.

I have ripped out molding, removed doors, pulled down shelving, and sanded down flaws.  By the end of this project, I will have learned how to paint a room (can you believe this is my first time?), install baseboards and molding around a door, install a closet organizer, and all sorts of mundane home improvement tasks.

Door in Progress

Now I would like to get some opinions about the closet.  I have already removed the original, boring shelf and bar and will replace them with some sort of closet organizing system (I haven’t designed it yet).  I am trying to decide what to do about the doors.

Original Closet

These are the original sliding doors that were installed when the house was built.  They are in good condition and function well.  I have some fun ideas about how I can spruce them up and make them more interesting.  But, I am also considering replacing them with bi-fold type doors.  Any opinions?  Pros and cons for the different types of doors?  I would love to hear what you think!

Whew!  I have a lot going on!  What projects are you working on?



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FO: XO Raglan Cardigan

XO Raglan Cardigan Closeup

I have exciting news!  I finally finished my sweater!!!  As a reminder, I made the XO Raglan Cardigan, from the Winter 2009/10 issue of Vogue Knitting magazine.  According to the notes in my Ravelry project, this sweater took me 4 years to the day to complete.  I cast on February 6, 2010 and sewed the final button on February 6, 2014.

XO Raglan Cardigan Buttoned

I actually finished the knitting over 6 months ago.  It took me this long to get the pieces sewn together and the buttons put on.  I was a little scared to do the seaming as I had never done it before, and a bad job of it could have ruined my sweater.  It was tedious, and I took my time, but it’s finally done!  I got my buttons from Benno’s Buttons & Trimmings.

XO Raglan Cardigan Side

The fit of my new sweater is great.  For a first sweater, I am very pleased.  I adjusted the pattern a bit to make somewhere between a size M and size L.  I credit my sewing experience with giving me the confidence to alter a knitting pattern for fit.  My only complaint (and it is minor) is that the sleeves are a little loose below my elbow.

XO Raglan Cardigan Unbuttoned

I love my new sweater!  I learned a ton doing this project, and fulfilled a lifelong dream to knit myself a sweater.


Pattern:  XO Raglan Sweater by Tanis Gray.  Available in the Winter 2009/10 issue of Vogue Knitting magazine.

Yarn:  Rowan Classic Silk Wool DK in Greenhorn.  It is 50% merino wool and 50% silk.  I bought it at Jimmy Beans Wool.

See my Ravelry project for additional pictures (you must be a Ravelry member to see them).

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FO: Mini Mitts

Adorable Fingerless Gloves

My daughter has always struggled with gloves and mittens.  They just don’t fit her well and it’s hard to get her hands into them.  Not to mention the fact that she just doesn’t like the way they feel and rips them off almost immediately.  Her poor hands get so cold in the winter!

Last year while I was making my own pair of fingerless gloves, it occurred to me that a well-fitting pair of fingerless gloves might work for her too.

Great fit!

After some searching, I settled on the free Adorable Kids Fingerless Gloves pattern.  I wanted something simple that used a lightweight yarn (fingering in this case).

Since I wanted these to fit very well, and not be too loose and bulky, I carefully considered what size to make and how to adjust them to fit.   Her hand measured on the upper end of the size range, so I made a size large and added some length.

Mini Mitts

I am very pleased with the fit of these gloves.  They fit, well, like gloves!  (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)

Unfortunately I didn’t get these finished in time for the cold snap we had in early December, and it has been quite warm since.  But she did get a chance to wear these on a recent morning, and she wore them all the way to school without taking them off!  Success!  Hopefully we have some more cold weather so we can make use of these some more, and I am sure they will still fit next year.


Pattern:  Adorable Kids Fingerless Gloves by KiwiYarns

Yarn:  Stroll Multi Sock Yarn from KnitPicks.  It’s a fingering weight.  The content is 75% Superwash Merino Wool, 25% Nylon.

See my Ravelry project for details on the adjustments I made to the pattern for size.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning


I have decided to occasionally participate in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, whenever inspiration strikes and the theme fits into my blog.

When I read this week’s theme, I immediately thought of this image I took last week.  Two skeins of yarn, caked and ready to be transformed…into ???


January 6, 2014 · 7:00 AM

FO: Colormatic Cowl MKAL


I recently participated in another mystery knit-a-long (MKAL).  This one was sponsored by Knit Purl Hunter and The Skacel Collection.  I have really enjoyed the two KALs I have participated in:  they keep me on track so I can actually finish the project (hmm…related to my procrastination problem?) and the camaraderie on Ravelry is a lot of fun.

Like the last MKAL I participated in, this one had me learning new techniques, which is part of the fun!  I have never done any kind of color work before (I wasn’t even sure I wanted to), and making this cowl was a wonderful, gentle introduction.  We also learned the Kitchener stitch, to graft the two ends of the cowl together.

Colormatic with Black Coat

The recommended yarn was Kenzie, by HiKoo.  I decided to go with the recommendation.  I still consider myself a newish knitter and am still learning how to choose appropriate yarns for my projects.  This gave me a chance to try a new yarn, and not worry about making a poor choice.  Kenzie was great to work with and I love all the colors.  It was very hard to choose which colors I wanted to use!

Colormatic Cowl

I learned something about myself while making this:  I don’t like scarves.  For me, they are awkward and unruly.  I find it difficult to get them into a position I like and keep them that way.  The cowl solves all those problems.  Pop it on my neck and I am good to go.  I think I will be making cowls and not scarves from now on.

I love my finished cowl!  I chose the colors to go with my black winter coat, and I think I chose well.

Cowl with Coat

If you are interesting in making your own Colormatic cowl, the free pattern is available here, or you can find it on Ravelry.  Check out my Ravelry project for additional pictures, and see all the other beautiful cowls too!  Note:  You must be a member of Ravelry to see it.

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Project Update: XO Raglan Cardigan

I have hit a major milestone with the sweater I am knitting!  I finished knitting the main part of the sweater! It has only taken me 3½ years…

Right now it is being blocked.


Blocking the Sweater

Next up, I need to sew all the pieces together.  I am a little nervous about that part because I have never done it before.  I have read how to do it in a couple of books, and I plan on watching the videos on, but really I think I just need to go for it and learn as I go.  Anyone have any advice?

Right Front Near Neckline

Top part of the Right Front

Once the sweater is sewn together I need to knit on the collar.  That part should go quickly!

Right Front Pocket

Pocket and bottom edge of the Right Front

Finally, I need to find the perfect buttons and sew them on.  I am so close to finishing this thing!  I can’t wait to wear it this fall and winter!

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In Progress

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately!

On the Needle

I have maintained my enthusiasm for knitting and am continuing work on my XO Raglan Cardigan.  I am almost, but not quite, halfway through the right front piece.  It’s a good thing the buttonholes (my first ever) are in garter stitch because they are far from perfect, but the garter stitch hides them nicely.

Almost halfway done...

Almost halfway done…

I like the look of the little pockets.  Someone described them as the “cutest little non-functional pockets ever”, and I agree!

Cute little pocket

Cute little pocket

I hope to finish the right front in the next few weeks so I can then block the pieces and sew them together!

On the Cutting Table


Now that we are headed into Spring, I have decided to hold off sewing my daughter her second pair of sweatpants.  She won’t have any use for them over the next few months, so if I wait until Fall I can make sure they will fit before making them.

Earlier this week I completely packed up my sewing stuff to make way for a home improvement project.  I guess I will have to satisfy my creative urges with knitting for a while!

Bye-bye sewing stuff!

Bye-bye sewing stuff!

Home Improvement

Our sewing/guest/dump-everything room is being converted into a bedroom for my daughter.  I have been talking about doing this for years and I am now going on public record to declare that it is actually going to get done this Spring (I hope I didn’t just jinx myself!).

We will be getting rid of the ugly popcorn ceiling in this room and two other bedrooms (actually, the guys came and removed it yesterday, yay!) and replacing the outdated light fixture.

Ugly Ceiling

Ugly Ceiling

Wallpaper has already been removed (thanks, Mom!) and I will be painting the walls a pretty lavender.  The moulding desperately needs to be updated, so that will happen too.

This old trim needs updating!

This old trim needs updating!

The finishing touch will be some sort of closet organization.

Once my daughter’s new bedroom is complete, I will turn my attention to a couple of the other bedrooms with the end result being a room dedicated to sewing and crafts!


Filed under Home Improvement, Knitting, Sewing

FO: Downton Abbey Mystery Gauntlets

Lady Violet's Gauntlets

FYI:  The “FO” in the title stands for “finished object”…

I finally finished my Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-a-long project last week, officially known as “Lady Violet’s Gauntlets”.   This is the most complex project I have made to date and I am very happy with how they turned out!

Blocking the gauntlets

Blocking the gauntlets

There are eyelets along the outside edge of each glove.  The cords in the photo above are now laced through the eyelets, and the fit of the gloves can be customized a bit.  Here is one “fully extended”:

"Un-rouched" glove

“Un-ruched” glove

And here is the same glove ruched a bit:

Ruched glove

Ruched glove

You can see how the lacing works a little better in this photo:

UndersideI have worn the gloves out a few times and I really like them being fingerless when I am driving.  It is so much easier to get my daughter buckled in, get the music playing, steer, etc. with my fingers available.  They are also nice for keeping my hands and wrists warm in the evening while I’m watching TV.

I really, really enjoyed this project.  The pace was perfect and I was able to keep up with the group each week.  The discussion on Ravelry was friendly and helpful.  I learned a ton, both from working the project and from the other participants.


Here is a list of all the things I did for the first time while knitting these gloves:

  • Crochet provisional cast-on
  • Magic Loop – I love it!
  • Lace
  • I-cords
  • Thumb gusset
  • Using multi-colored yarn – it was fun seeing how the colors changed and worked together
  • Elastic bind-off

This project was a real confidence booster.  Now I feel like I can knit anything!  Well, maybe now the “intermediate” patterns…

High Tea

Thanks to Jimmy Beans Wool and Kristin (the designer) for hosting such a fun KAL!  If you are interested in this pattern you can find out more here:  All my pattern notes can be viewed on my Ravelry project page.

JBW is hosting another mystery KAL inspired by the show Game of Thrones that I am seriously considering doing because this one was so much fun!

I just want to say, taking pictures of one’s self wearing gloves is not easy!  Enjoy a few of the “failures”:


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In Progress

Welcome to what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here at From Scratch.  In this new feature, I will be sharing updates on my non-cooking projects, such as the Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-a-Long I am working on.  If you see regular updates, that means I am actually working on projects (not just hoping to be working on them).

Let’s get started!

On the Needle

I have two knitting projects in progress.  First let’s take a look at the Downton Abbey KAL.  If you haven’t heard, we are making fingerless gloves!  Or gauntlets, as they probably would have been called back when DA takes place.  I am having a lot of fun with this KAL and learning tons!  Here is my first glove, as of the end of Clue #4 (of 8):

There is a panel of lace roses on top of the glove.

There is a panel of lace roses on top of the glove.

At the top, there is a row of eyelets which will be used to gather the gloves.

At the top of this picture, there is a row of eyelets which will be used to gather the gloves.


I really like the way the colors pooled differently on each scallop in this lace section:

Pretty scalloped lace

Pretty scalloped lace

Since taking these pictures I have completed Clue #5, which involved knitting an I-cord to lace through the eyelets and casting on the second glove.  I can’t wait to wear these!

I have also done some work on my sweater, and completed the first half of the front:

Left front of the sweater

Left front of the sweater

I am probably going to redo the top corner.  Since finishing this, I have learned how to cast off the neckline more smoothly.  I also want to complete the final twist in the cable pattern to close the top “O”.

The neckline portion that I will probably redo.

The neckline portion that I will probably redo.

Once that is done, all I have left is to complete the second front piece.  Then I can block it and sew it together!

On the Cutting Table

I don’t have much going in the sewing department, but I did make a pair of sweatpants for my daughter after modifying the pattern I used for her Halloween costume.

Altered sweat pants - they fit much better!

Altered sweat pants – they fit much better!

They fit great and I hope to make a second pair soon.


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Downton Abbey Mystery Knit-A-Long

I am kicking off the new year with an exciting new knitting project!  It’s a mystery knit-a-long (KAL) hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool.  The project is inspired by the show Downton Abbey and JBW’s limited-edition yarn, “Christmas at Downton“.

I have only recently climbed aboard the Downton Abbey bandwagon.  I started watching the DVDs from Netflix a few months ago and quickly got hooked.  I am looking forward to the new season starting on Sunday!

My yarn wound into a ball and ready to go!

My yarn wound into a ball and ready to go!

The mystery part of the knit-a-long is that we don’t know what we are knitting.  Pieces of the pattern will be revealed every Sunday for the duration of Downton Abbey Season 3.  We know it’s not a hat or socks, and that it is inspired by the character played by Maggie Smith, Violet the Dowager Countess.  Theories have ranged from fingerless gloves to a shawl to a scarf.  I think it will be something worn around the neck, but I’m not sure what.

While the project was designed to use the “Christmas at Downton” yarn, it is not a requirement for participating in the KAL.  I love the colors, so I decided to go ahead and use the suggested yarn.  The colors are much more vibrant in person than they are coming across in my photos.  And lucky me got to pick up my yarn in person since Jimmy Beans Wool is local to Reno!

Christmas at Downton.  I love the colors of this hand-dyed yarn!

Christmas at Downton. I love the colors of this hand-dyed yarn!

One thing that attracted me to this project is that it only uses one skein of yarn, so I know I can keep up with the group and actually finish the project.  I also like that I will be learning some new techniques.  In particular, magic loop and crochet provisional cast-on.  There will be an optional lace panel in the project.  I have never done lace before, so I plan on waiting until we get the lace instructions and practicing a bit before I decide if I will include the lace or not.

Here is my swatch. I love how it looks knitted up, and the yarn is so nice to work with.

My excitement over this project has reignited my excitement about knitting in general, and I have even been working on my sweater.  I really hope I can ride the wave of enthusiasm until the sweater is finished!

If you are interested in participating in the KAL, you can find more information on the Jimmy Beans Wool Blog or on the pattern’s Ravelry page.  The first bit of instructions will be posted on January 6, 2013!

Who else out there is watching Downton Abbey?  What knitting projects are you working on?


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