A Sweater Victory

After putting my sister’s sweater into time out for two weeks, I finally gathered the courage to finish it. Here it is happily blocking away2013-04-11 01.49.53

And here it is completely done and ready to be shipped off to my little sister for her birthday.

2013-04-11 02.58.24I know the picture is kind of weird but my white background is only so big.

In other news I have also completed a marvelous slouchy hat. I used Red Heart Eco Ways in Cinnabar. I can’t decide if I should block it into a beret shape or leave it as is. It is really soft and the yarn has a subtle color variation that makes the cables pop.

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I have also made considerable progress on my granny square stash buster blanket. I currently have 102 squares out of my planned 180. I think I will run out of my stash yarns that I have allotted for this project so I may have to supplement it a little bit.

2013-04-11 01.59.35My next big project is this lace-ish cardigan. It is called Fireside by Amy Christoffers.

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I have been wanting to try lace knitting but I really don’t want to dedicate a whole project to it so this sweater is perfect. I’ll be using teal Red Heart Eco Ways yarn for this project. I picked it up at Joann’s on clearance at $1.50 per skein. I almost felt guilty for paying so little for so much yarn.

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Sweater Beginnings

After successfully completing my first sweater, a simple cardigan (can be seen here) I promised my family that I would make them all sweaters for Christmas of 2013. I have spent much of January searching for perfect patterns for them all and much of February searching for the right yarn. Now I am finally to my favorite stage in the process, the making.

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I started my sister’s sweater on March 9. She asked for a simple black boyfriend style cardigan with some random hot pink stripes. This sort of simplicity is not the norm when it comes to my sister as she is usually decked out in every color of the rainbow. I am now taking her simple style choice as a sign that she is beginning to mature.

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The ‘Shapely Boyfriend’ Official Pattern Image

 

I am using a free pattern from Ravelry called the Shapely Boyfriend as the base of the sweater. I plan on omitting most of the shaping as my sister is a stick thin little lady with no shape whatsoever. I chose to use cheap and durable acrylic yarns for the sweater since my sister has yet to learn how to take care of her things. Maybe someday I will upgrade her from the Caron 1lb acrylic to a gentle and natural wool but this is not that day.

I will be posting my progress in my Ravelry notebook and most likely here as well.

I have also recently updated my Etsy store with a few colorful afghans (including my hexagon afghan from a previous post) and an incredibly cozy pair of mittens.

In Defense of Red Heart

red heartRed Heart yarn has a questionable reputation among the new wave generation of knitters, crocheters, and fiber enthusiasts. Red Heart products are known as low quality, extremely low price, and are often only thought of as ‘practice yarn’ for children and those new to their chosen yarn craft. Though these claims are true in some respects about the Classic, and Super Saver lines of yarn, they do not extend to their other product lines.

Red Heart has recently made a very obvious effort to catch up with the knitting community as it shifts and changes from prolific grandmothers looking for a good value to calculated artists looking for quality. With approximately 40 different lines of yarn now, Red Heart is able to offer their basic yarns in hundreds of colors as well as newer innovations that allow creators more variety.

My two personal favorite yarn collections offered by Red Heart are relatively new to their lines called Eco Ways and Debbie Stoller. The Eco Ways group is made of three differentRH Eco yarns, the Bamboo Wool blend made of 55% bamboo and 45% wool, the Eco-Cotton blend made of 75% recycled cotton and 25% acrylic, and Eco-Ways made of 70% acrylic and 30% recycled polyester. These eco-friendly yarns use environmentally conscious fibers and print all of their labels on recycled paper. This sort of sustainable thinking is necessary in any setting and being able to maintain it when crafting is a huge bonus. All three of these yarns are very soft and easy to work with. They also all come in a very unique variety of colors that are specific to the dye-ability of each of the fibers used.

RH debbieThe Debbie Stoller collection is composed of four types of yarn that are all centered around the inclusion of natural fibers. These four yarns are Alpaca Love made of 80% wool and 20% alpaca, Bamboo Ewe made of 55% bamboo and 45% wool, Full O’ Sheep made of 100% wool, and Washable Ewe made of 100% superwash wool. Of course, in true Red Heart fashion all four of these types of yarn are offered in a huge variety of colors with a focus on bright jewel tones.

These yarns can be bought in most chain craft stores as well, so there is no need to hunt online for a mass distributor. Red Heart has made quality craft materials accessible to everyone with the introduction of the Eco Ways and Debbie Stoller collections thanks to their always low prices.

Which Red Heart products have you tried and liked/hated? Let me know in a comment so we can compare notes.