Friday, October 31, 2014

New Site

Just a quick notice that all content related to MediaPeruana Designs, including the blog, has moved to! I've managed to make the web version of the Learner's Per-knit blog redirect automatically, but the mobile version is not redirecting. So this post is primarily for readers viewing the site from their smartphones and other mobile devices: get thee to!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Socktober: Volteado KAL Progress Report

Did you see Volteado and the KAL on the Knitty blog this morning? I greatly appreciate the mention, and the promotion of the KAL, which is off and running. In fact, one intrepid knitter already finished a pair of socks!

I'm nowhere near finishing, but given that I'm wrangling 2 small people all day long, I don't think I'm doing too badly:

I had forgotten how quickly these socks knit up once you get the rhythm, and I absolutely adore the colors I chose. Inspired by one of the KAL-ers, I think I'm going to reverse the colors on the 2nd sock, just for fun.

The KAL runs through November 30, and everyone who finishes a pair of socks will be entered in a prize draw to win some YARN, so come join us!

Interestingly enough, in honor of Socktober all of my socks suddenly decided to fall apart. I recently found myself wearing a completely mismatched pair out of desperation, and decided enough was enough. So, because I have NO sock yarn in my stash whatsoever, I did a wee bit of shopping:

Some fun yarns from Knitterly Things (self-striping!) and Western Sky Knits. Now I'm fully stocked to knit up some plain vanilla socks that I can work on when my brain is just too tired for Volteado's stranding (which is most of the time, these days), or on the rare occasions that I find myself a passenger in a car and don't want to wrangle 2 balls of yarn.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The 5th Anniversary of My 29th Birthday

Celebrate with me, get 34% off pattern purchases in my Ravelry shop through Saturday at midnight with the code BIRTHDAY.

If you need me, I'll be watching all 8 seasons of That 70s Show--a great birthday gift from Oliver.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: Knitter's Pride Karbonz, Cubics and Bamboo Knitting Needles

Recently the nice people at Stitchcraft Marketing gave me the opportunity to try out a few different kinds of Knitter's Pride knitting needles. I've been happy with my current interchangeable sets, but it's always fun to try something new. I also believe in the importance of working with the best tools available--and you can't find the best tools if you don't try new ones occasionally!

Knitter's Pride has a wide variety of needle-types--straight, double-pointed, circular and interchangeable, in several different materials, so there's really something for everyone. I received a sampler set with 3 different interchangeable tips, as well as 2 different kinds of fixed circular needles. 

I first tore into the Karbonz fixed circular, and this one was definitely my favorite. They're made with carbon fiber, with nickel-plated tips. First--and a big plus for me--the size is printed right on the needle. This is true of all the needles I was given to try. I have eleventy needle gauges, but can never find one when I need it; having the size printed on the needle is much more convenient.

The carbon is lightweight and smooth--the stitches glide easily, even with superwash yarn, which I often find a little "sticky" on nickel-plated needles. The points are sharp, the cables are flexible (good for magic loop!) but sturdy, and the joins are smooth. The carbon truly does make for a much lighter needle, which can improve your knitting experience if you're working on a heavy project like a sweater--anything that reduces the weight is an improvement. You can find them in sizes 0-11, in 16 (only up to size 10), 24, 32 and 40" lengths.


I also got to try the interchangeable Karbonz tips--same needle, but as an interchangeable tip, available in sizes 2.5-11 and with 24, 32 and 40" cable options. The difficulty in evaluating interchangeable needles is that you really need to work with them a while to see how the joins hold up--do they loosen over time, get stuck, stop lining up correctly? It can take a few months for these kinds of issues to pop up, so I'll be reevaluating as I work with them, but assuming they do perform well, I'm considering purchasing a set. There are actually 3 different sets of the Karbonz interchangeable needles available: Starter, Midi and Deluxe. Deluxe, I'm sure you can guess, has all available sizes, while Starter and Midi have different subsets, so if you aren't ready to invest in the full set, you can buy a smaller set with the sizes you use most often. Since I'm a tight knitter, a 2.5 is often small enough for me to use for socks, so that's a great bonus for me: an interchangeable needle set that includes sock-sized tips. 

Next I tried the Nova Cubics. I was quite curious about these needles--they're square! The tips still taper to a rounded point, but the body of the needle is squared off.  According to the company, the "Unique ergonomic shape provides excellent grip and uniform stitch definition to the knit fabric." Sounds pretty good! They felt as natural to hold as regular needles, and my knitting did look nice and even. I don't--knock on wood--have any knitting-related wrist problems, but some knitters with wrist issues, arthritis, etc., who've used these needles found that they were able to knit for longer periods of time--fantastic!

I did find, however, that they made my knitting even tighter--whether because I was holding the needles differently or for some other reason related to the shape. As I am already a tight knitter, this isn't a result I'm looking for, but if you're a loose knitter, maybe they can help you tighten up! I plan to keep using them to see if that issue resolves itself as my hands get used to the unique shape. The Nova Cubics circular needles are available in sizes 1.5-11, in 16, 24, 32, 40 and 47" lengths. The interchangeable tips come in sizes 6-11, with 24, 32 and 40" cable options.

My last test drive was of the Bamboo interchangeable needle tips (shown here with Ollie's Christmas stocking on them!). I don't use wooden needles very often because, again, I think they tighten up my already tight knitting, but I do find them useful to have on hand for very slippery yarn. These are very lightweight, with a smooth finish, and even with the "sticky" Wool of the Andes yarn I'm currently using, the stitches are gliding over the needles quite easily. 

The Bamboo tips come in sizes 2.5-15, and fit with the same interchangeable cables as the other tips, available in 24, 32 and 40" lengths. I did not try the fixed circular needles, but they are available in sizes 0-15, in the usual 16 (up to size 11 only), 24, 32 and 40" lengths. 

Overall, I enjoyed working with these needles--I like that the sizes are labeled, I found the joins to be smooth and the cables flexible yet sturdy across the board, and the tips are sharp but not dangerous. All the needles come in a broad range of sizes with standard cable lengths, and the variety of materials and types of needles should meet most knitters' needs. 

The only con I found for these needles as a whole is that the cables are black--this can make the stitches hard to see if you're using dark yarn, knitting in dim light, and/or if your eyesight isn't what it used to be. It's not enough to dissuade me from using or buying them, but it's something I would change, given the chance.

The Karbonz get my vote for the best of the bunch, but I encourage you to get your hands on any of the Knitter's Pride needles and give them a test drive!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pullover #2: Aunt Fred

Yes, it's true. It's the TENTH month of the Year of the Pullover, and I've finally finished another pullover!

Pattern: Aunt Fred, by Pamela Wynne, from The Rhinebeck Sweater
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee; Cypress (6 skeins) and Leek (4 skeins)
Needles: US 5 and 7 (2 sizes up from pattern suggestion)


This is the first sweater I've knit from The Rhinebeck Sweater, though I ultimately expect to knit almost all of them. I actually bought the book for Pumpkin Ale, which is still my dream sweater, but it doesn't fit into Year of the Pullover, so it will wait until next year.

I finished most of this sweater in July, but wasn't happy with the collar, so I ripped it out and redid it.
I'm still not happy. The instructions for the short rows are a bit vague, and I'm not sure I've done it correctly. The edge seems tight. The seam at the base of the collar looks rather messy too, but I made a good faith effort to do it neatly, and don't see any way to improve it.

I originally purchased 5 skeins of the main color, and as I got close to the end, panicked and ordered a sixth. When I started the collar, instead of using the rest of the fifth skein, I started right away with the sixth so I wouldn't potentially run out in the middle. So whether I actually needed a sixth skein is unknown, but I was happy to have it.

This sweater was my first adventure in steeking, which you can read about here. I'm happy to report no unraveling or other steek-related issues!

Overall, I'm happy with the sweater, but still need to lose some baby weight before I can actually wear it.

So, where does that leave me for Year of the Pullover? I'm still working to finish up my I Heart Aran, and have started Artichoke French, another great sweater from The Rhinebeck Sweater. Can I squeeze 2 more pullovers into 2014? Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

End of Month Reminders: KAL, Pattern Sale

Volteado socks

 A quick reminder that our Volteado KAL starts tomorrow, October 1! In honor of Socktober we're getting together and knitting the Volteado socks, available for FREE in Knitty's Deep Fall issue. Grab 2 skeins of sock yarn and come join us! There are prizes! Yarn ones!

Also, today is the LAST day to get my Pumpkin Butter sock pattern for just $3.50! The price goes up to $5 tomorrow, so don't miss out.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Sampler: 8 FREE Knitting Tutorials

With all the extra time spent indoors, fall is a great time to learn a few new skills. Here are 8 FREE knitting tutorials I've found to help you ramp up your knitting this season:


 Cabling without a cable needle, from the Knitting Daily blog (essential technique IMO).

 Methods for joining new yarn, from STITCH This!

 Knit Picks shows you how to set in sleeves.

 Short row shadow wraps, from Signest

 Anne Hanson offers a free mini class on grafting over at Craftsy.

 Ysolda teaches you the tubular cast on (which is a bit labor intensive, but really does look astonishingly better).

 And my photo tutorial on magic loop.

What new technique are you interested in learning?

Monday, September 22, 2014

KAL-ing, Pattern Preview and more!

Did you hear (erm, read?) the news? I'm hosting a Socktober knit-a-long! Please join us over in the MediaPeruana Designs Ravelry group to knit your own Volteado socks! Remember, the pattern is FREE, so you just need the yarn. The official kickoff is October 1, but we've been doing some pre-cast on chattering about yarn. And did I mentioned there are PRIZES?! So go check it out!

I think I've settled on the colors for my KAL pair--more Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label, this time in Poppy and Orange Blossom. I'm going for an "autumn leaves" look. But I may have also ordered a skein of Lucky Penny, just in case I change my mind.

This two kids thing is really limiting my knitting time. I still have 2 pullovers nearly finished, but am making almost no progress on them. My focus has primarily been on a new baby/toddler cardigan pattern:

Here's a little sneak peak. It's currently with testers, and I'm knitting up a 2nd sample in the newborn size so I can get pattern photos on both my boys. Then it's off to the tech editor, and hopefully published in late October!

And speaking of patterns, if you like the Abrigado pattern, check out this cute, behind-the-scenes video on the Creature Comforts collection (and don't forget to order your copy of Creature Comforts during Knit Picks' book sale, it's only $8.99!):

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Volteado: In Color

All photos courtesy of Tanis Lavallee / Tanis Fiber Arts

If you're planning to knit Volteado, I bet you're excited to pick your colors--that's half the fun, isn't it? Imagining all the possible combinations and how they'll look together. Deciding and then changing your mind, and then changing it again until you finally settle on the perfect color combo.

Or maybe not. Maybe choosing colors stresses you out. So much room for error. What if your chosen colors don't work well together--there's not enough contrast or one makes the other look washed out? Too much pressure!

The yarn used in my sample socks comes from Tanis Fiber Arts. Tanis has some of the most gorgeous and unique colorways I've seen, and I can't seem to stop myself from placing a couple orders each year--even though I have to pay for shipping from Canada! It's totally worth it.

No one knows these colors better than Tanis herself, so I asked her if she could suggest some color combos for Volteado, for the color-averse among us. Here are a few of her ideas:

Oh, I love this one. I ogle Lucky Penny every time I'm on her site, trying to decide what I would do with it. I already have a skein of Gold. I might have to just go ahead and grab Lucky Penny and make myself a second pair of socks.

So bright! So fruity! Lemongrass looks fresh and clean, and Grape would be a gorgeous complement.

Another one I LOVE! I also have a skein of Iris. I'd love to see how it would work in these socks.

A more muted palette, I love this combo of blues. This might work for a masculine take on the sock, too (the larger size could work for a gentleman whose feet aren't exceptionally big; you might also try playing with the gauge to make a larger size.).

And for fun, here are two combos I considered when planning my socks:

 Very autumnal and cozy looking.

And in contrast, very bright and spring-y!

Tanis also pointed out that Charcoal, Chris Grey, Natural and Sand are neutrals, so they work with pretty much every color--if you're just dipping your toe into color mixing, you might choose one of these for your contrast color, to make the decision a little less intimidating. You just have to narrow down your main color from this beautiful selection:

(That's just the ones I could fit in a screenshot!)

Incidentally, Tanis also said some very sweet things about the Volteado socks. Isn't that nice? I love fiber people.

I hope this look at color jump starts your planning process for Volteado. Be sure to visit Tanis' site to see all the colors she offers (she also has two other fingering weight yarns that would work for these socks: sparkly Cosmic Blue Label and Purple Label with cashmere!).

And if you are planning to knit a pair, would you be interested in a KAL? I'm consider hosting one in the MediaPeruana Designs group--maybe I could even rustle up a few prizes! But I want to gauge interest before I commit, so if you're interested in KALing, leave a comment here, or visit the Volteado pattern thread, and tell me you'd like to do a KAL!

ETA: The KAL is a go! Join us here!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pattern Debut: Volteado


What did I tell you about autumn, huh? Season of knitting, season of NEW PATTERNS. Yep, another one.  Introducing Volteado!

I'm excited to share that you'll find this one in the Knitty Deep Fall issue! So you know what that means--it's FREE!

These socks used two skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight. The sample is knit in Plum and Sunset.

Purple is my color, lately. And this is one beautiful purple.

They're knit cuff down, and available in two sizes: 8" and 9" foot circumference. The sample socks are the smaller size--they fit my size 7.5 foot quite nicely!

The color repeats are short, which results in short, stacked floats that are extra thick and warm, particularly on the soles. Cuffs, toes and short row heels are done in a solid color to contrast.

Now that the pattern is live, I can stop protecting my sample pair and start wearing them!

Stay tuned, my previously exclusive Pumpkin Butter sock design goes live Monday--more colorwork socks!--bringing my September pattern release total up to 4!

ETA: Please join us for a Volteado knit-a-long! We'll be starting October 1, but you can join in the pre-cast on chatter here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pattern Debut: Abrigado

Autumn is the season for knitting--and for new patterns! I certainly do have a lot of them for you this month. Here's the latest, Abrigado.

Abrigado is a textured throw knit in bulky weight yarn, and it's part of Knit Picks' new Creature Comforts collection. This collection features 8 cozy knits for your home that you'll want to snuggle up with when the weather turns.

I designed this throw with speed in mind--knit with thick yarn and large needles, the blanket features a textured chevron-style pattern that will hold your interest, but isn't as fussy or time consuming as cables or lace. The chevrons mix with slipped stitch columns, and the whole thing is set off by a simple garter stitch border. You'll have it done in no time!

The Creature Comforts collection is currently on sale as part of Knit Picks' book sale, so it's only $8.99--that's a steal! Or buy the individual pattern for just $4.99. If you're not quite ready to buy, show it some love over on Ravelry!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pattern Debut: Narcisos

Socks are often thought of as the quintessential "any season" knit, but I'm going to put in a vote for fingerless mitts. Wear them as the weather turns cool or when it fails to warm up quickly enough, wear them when your office is over-air conditioned or under-heated, dressy or cozy, bulky or airy--they work in all seasons and situations, and it's essential to have a few pairs in your handknit collection.

Introducing Narcisos--a light, airy pair of fingerless mitts just in time for fall's first chill (or equally lovely for spring, as seen in these photos!). As the air turns cool, keep your hands warm with these delicate mitts. Simple stockinette adorned with lace, top and bottom, for an airy feel, and knit in fingering weight wool for warmth against the early season chill.

Narcisos calls for a single skein of beautiful Forbidden Woolery Fortitude--Leann updated her shop this week and has some absolutely gorgeous skeins of this yarn available right now! It's a soft but sturdy fingering weight yarn, 100% superwash merino wool, with a generous 435 yards per skein. I'd grab a skein of Gillyweed if I were you!

A quick knit to welcome the fall season, and available in my Ravelry shop for just $3.99! And while you're over on Ravelry, check out the new group for Forbidden Woolery!


Size: 1 size, to fit hand circumference approximately 7.5” / 19cm

Gauge: 32 stitches and 36 rows = 4” / 10cm

Yarn: Forbidden Woolery Fortitude (100% superwash merino wool, 435 yards/100g), 1 skein; shown in Heather.

Needles: Set of 4 US sz 2 / 2.75mm double point needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Stitch markers
Scrap needle or stitch holder
Yarn needle

Mitts are knit in the round. Lace portions are charted; chart reading required.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Sampler: Early Fall Knitting

Boy it's been a while since I've done one of these!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that, by my definition, September is the start of FALL, the very best season of the year. Fall is, of course, a great time for knitting anything and everything. But maybe you're overwhelmed by your options and don't know where to start. Or you're having trouble prioritizing. Or you're just not feeling inspired by your queue.

Fear not! I am here to help. Without further ado, Ten Spectacular--and FREE--Fall Knitting Projects:

 Photo courtesy of Emily Ringelman / Knitty

 Delaware is for Cables by Emily Ringelman. So cable-y. Great with a rustic yarn. Quick to knit in aran weight. And I'm in favor of building a varied hat wardrobe for fall, as you'll see.

 Photo courtesy of Andi Satterlund

 Lace Shrug, by Andi Satterlund. Perhaps a bit spring-y, but cold shoulders are a risk any time, and lace is perfect for a subtle early fall chill.

 Photo courtesy of Megan Wright

Rhapsody in Lace and Ruffles, by Megan Wright. A heavier shawl in DK weight, perfect for when the weather finally turns COLD.

 Photo courtesy of Jessa Kalani

Rikke hat, by Sarah Young. Lovely garter squishiness!

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Clayoquot Toque, from Tin Can Knits. A free hat pattern to match the cardigan in the new Road Trip collection! Great introduction to stranded knitting.

 Photo courtesy of Tin Can Knits

Another freebie from Tin Can Knits, Barley, a squishy hat featuring a simple stockinette and garter combo and sized from Baby to Adult.

 Photo courtesy of Nancy Green / Knitty

Thisbe by Nancy Green. Love this cable and lace combo, and you can ALWAYS use more handknit socks.

Photo courtesy of Raveler verabee
Wurm by Katharina Nopp. Another squishy hat, and looks like a good candidate for handspun!

Photo courtesy of Purl Soho

Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho. A quick, cozy knit in bulky weight.

Dungarees cowl, by yours truly. The openwork is straightforward, but the lateral braids are a challenge--try something new!