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knitting

A Kit To Brighten The Day!

Sometimes you get it right first try.

Other times you knock it out of the ballpark the second attempt.

I gotta say, Ikaika nailed it both times!

You all met Ikaika a bit ago HERE. She was knit with two strands of Helix held together for a comfortable cardigan with playful asymmetrical vibes.

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Now I am pleased to share Ikaika 2.0 as she has been lovingly dubbed. Knit in 1 strand of Helix and 1 strand of Penumbra, the cardigan has a fresh feel for springtime knitting—and wearing!

The soft fabric created with the strand of wool paired with the strand of mohair blend is almost indescribable, but let me borrow the model’s reaction to wearing it in the shoot: “It is so light! I love the softness!”

The drape of the revamp really had me stoked. Think gentle, contouring, fluid. No extra bulk. Not a stiff stitch to be found…

And the HALO! 

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The glowing aura around this knit isn’t the fuzzy-wuzzy, “look at all this hairy-hair” kind. It is that subtle halo that you catch in just the right light, the kind that has you lightly running your palm over the fronts, it adds to the overall feel of the sweater as it gentles the switch definition ever so slightly.

The revamp includes new yarn duo, new gauge info., patterning detail additions, thoughts on sleeves, and closure options. I share how adding a wee button *here* and *there* can give you what you are looking for!

And speaking of the most adorable buttons e v e r… meet the new kit!

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This kit is  •b e y o n d•  awesome!

Included:

  • all the hand-painted Penumbra & Helix yarn you’ll need to complete the project – 1600 yards in all/800 of each
  • My favourite 10 / 6 mm x 80 cm bamboo circular needle
  • Two beautiful brocade pouches to store knitting notions and supplies
  • The most perfect of accents: Hand-tied Chinese ball buttons to compliment your yarn choice
  • metal stitch markers in three colors
  • a yarn needle
  • a kilt pin in case you choose the sans button version (use those buttons for something else!)
  • The printed Ikaika pattern and a downloadable version with the original and updated versions
  • A two-color pattern-marking pencil
  • AND MY FAVE:  a brocade-covered notebook!

You all know how I feel about journaling. I love it! Journaling about knitting projects, sketching out future dream knits, recording thoughts of the day just finished…anything at all can go inside this beautiful notebook.

To grab your limited edition kit in the new version or original Head Here!

•Be sure to use the “withmel” code at checkout for an extra treat!•

Hoping you see your Monday as a chance to re-do another adventure this week! Revamps aren’t just for knitting patterns!

Peace, Aloha & Happiknits to You,

Mel

By the way: subscribers to the With∞Mel newsletter are in for a treat this month! Want in? Sign up for our newsletter by heading here! 

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4.25.75

April 25th, 1975 was a good day for me. I got my start in life. Today I celebrate that start and 40 year journey. I don’t feel young or old. Just happy and loved.

And

T H A N K F U L !

I am thankful for many things, the list brings such joy to me! On that list I include YOU!  When you read the blog, share your thoughts, knit my patterns, watch the podcast,

i t • m a t t e r s •  t o •  m e! 

To create and share things with you is a present I have daily, so mahalo!

Quickly to share:

  • There was a fun giveaway activity on Instagram where you all showed off your desks or “flat surfaces” where you work and create. Winner of the decadent camel skein is: needlesbythemarsh  Be sure to email me dear one to claim your prize!{connectingwithmel at gmail dot com} It is fun to connect with you on Instagram and I look forward to more fun to come!
  • Speaking of fun connections…and open to readers of the blog =) head over to Instagram now for a bit of birthday celebratory fun. Find a photo of Ikaika (the yellow sweater featured above) in any of my photos on IG and tag one person you would love to knit this pattern with in the comments below it. I will choose a duo to give the pattern to on Monday, April 27th when the pattern gets  it updates and the new kits release! Already have the pattern? You can still give the pattern to the knitter of your choosing and pick a different pattern! Enter as many times as you want, but only tag 1 friend per comment please
  • Not on Instagram? Still some fun here! Choose your 2 faves from the yarn photo below and share in the comments! The top choice will be added to the kit selections on Monday! image

 

Mahalo or your part in making my life fuller and more vibrant!

Mel

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A Great Start For Substitution
collaborations, helps, patterns

Changing Yarn for A Cardigan

Do you love changing yarns? Do you sometimes nail it and other times grumble? Let’s chat for a minute! Give me 10 minutes and your full attention and I may be able to help! 

Changing yarn happens for lots of reasons. The original yarn may no longer be available. Perhaps it is difficult to source. The fiber content may not suit you. You may have a stash that rivals the Local Yarn Shoppe’s inventory!

Whatever the reason substituting yarn happens all the time! I want to share how I swap yarn successfully. To frame that last statement in the best way, Boy! Have I learned LOADS from my mistakes! I want to share swapping yarns specifically with Ikaika, my newest pattern to release. It is available now as a single pattern purchase as well as for free when you purchase the kit from Infinite Twist.

  1. Understand the Original Yarn
    • What properties does the intended yarn showcase? Fiber content? Drape? Incredible stitch definition?
    • Are there things that make this specific yarn requirement unique? New on trend colour? New yarn components for easy care or climate control? Yarns are always changing and companies striving to improve them, so dig a bit and see if this yarn has something interesting to unearth!

Below is an excerpt from Cate’s quick post on virtues of holding the yarn double, which hit on some great points I considered with Ikaika and the heart of point number one. Start reading and then click the link to finish the rest of the post.

“If you’re wondering why a sane knitter would choose to double the amount of yardage they’re using on a project, there are a number of good reasons. Holding the yarns this way changes the resulting knitted fabric (for the better, in my opinion), blends colors, and speeds up your project. It’s also a great way to test-drive a fine yarn with reduced commitment.”  HEAD HERE FOR THE REST OF CATE’S INSIGHT!

So now you can see a few reasons Helix held double for me worked. I did try it held single…smaller needles, more knitting, longer time commitment…The overall feel of this sweater was supposed to be a satisfying fun knit that you could start one week and hopefully wear the following weekend!

So for this experiment I asked one of my test knitters to knit Ikaika for you, You the knitter who may want to substitute yarn from stash! I really dug in to my available stash and found some of my coveted ByAnnieClaire yarn in the colour that suited Michelle and we worked together on the substitution.

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Here is a bit about the yarn straight from ByAnnieClaire’s site :

Farm : Full Belly Farm, CA.
Fiber : 100% organic wool, 2ply
Yarn : Fully Belly Feel Good : Worsted weight : 250 yds : 4 oz
Naturally dyed using : Scotch Broom

“A mix of organically raised Rambouillet, Lincoln, Suffolk, and Merino sheep wander the pastures of Full Belly Farm. Whilst they are known more so for their wonderful array of fruits and vegetables, Full Belly Farm raise their sheep to help maintain the pastures and grasses as well as providing the fleeces which produce an amazingly real yarn. The yarn is washed and spun at Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont where care is taken that all processes are done organically.

I do not use plant extracts, I harvest the plant and steep it, and so each dye lot can be quite different. Please make sure that you purchase enough for your project!
I came to my organic, naturally dyed yarns out of the desire to become more connected with the yarn I take so much time knitting with, and hope to make this connection available for others too.”

I had LOVED working with Helix and have used it enough to know its properties. This yarn was a great match based on what interaction I had with both before…which brings me to step two.

2. If possible, substitute a yarn you have some knowledge of already.

I had been a vegan for quite some time but embraced a vegetarian lifestyle when marrying. (I promise this has EVERYTHING to do with the last point!) Our first Thanksgiving Dinner about 20 years ago was material for a sitcom. I was in charge of the turkey…My Man had 86ed the idea of a Tofurkey…so off I went.

This was my first Thanksgiving dinner as hostess (Yup! Over the river and through the subdivision to Mel’s house), my first as a wife, my first cooking meat! There were a few other dishes I was going to try out as firsts for this dinner. Rutabaga was the only unaltered, unadjusted dish I was making. It turned out perfect and was such a source of calm in a crazy storm!

To wrap up my disastrous dinner in a short take away nugget: When cooking a turkey, do not add citrus and apples and onions in to the cavity of the poor bird unless you remove whatever stupid things the manufactures placed in first. Take away nugget two: If you usually eat turkey, don’t put the girl who never will in charge of the centerpiece of the meal unsupervised. Yeah, I will tell you the whole story another time…

But the BIG PICTURE from that: Don’t do everything new all at once. Unfamiliar pattern knit in unfamiliar yarn that you want to substituting more unfamiliar yarn for may just add to confusion!

So, I give you a possible solution and bullet number 3:

3. Learn from someone who has done it before.

In this example, Michelle and I worked together. Here are her take away thoughts:



 

Aloha Mel,

Here are my thoughts on the Ikaika.
This was such an enjoyable knit from the moment I cast on to the moment I was finished. The way the pattern is written, from the lace portions to the decrease sections, it kept me wanting more of this sweater. It definitely was a fun knit. The pattern makes you want to knit one more row to see how the lace portion moves across the back panel.
The pattern, even though it has lace portions in it, it becomes a comfort knit; one does not have to look at the pattern the whole time to complete certain sections.
 Mel was very generous enough to gift me by Annie Claire yarn, which the colourway is Horsetail, which I thought was very fitting to this design, because the inspiration for Mel was from a horse back home in Hawaii.
I knit it with size US 9 knitting needles, circulars, even for the sleeves. The yarn created a dense fabric, and yet the drape is very nice, not too stiff. The cardigan is very cosy against my skin and I actually plan on wearing it for Thanksgiving. I also think this sweater could be dressed up or down. Wear it with a dress, or jeans and a t-shirt.
The Ikaika was very enjoyable that I definitely would like to knit it again.
All the best,
Michelle


Behind that summary were loads of messages, texts, chats where I checked in to make sure it was all going well.
It was! Which makes me feel awesome!
I designed a sweater in the best yarn for the design as I see it. I of course strongly encourage you to knit it in that (especially since the kit has so many free treats in them! One knitter tweeted me that she couldn’t believe all the awesome things included!)
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But now I feel confident to encourage you to knit it anyway! Grab some stash yarn that seems to be a great match for Helix or the ByAnnieClaire yarn (which is why I put the specs to her yarn above).
I wish you success in knitting new things in new ways!
Much Aloha,
Mel

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