Friday, August 10, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
I used about 3 1/2 skeins from Handpaintedyarn.com, in the "Lettuce Violet" colorway. (FYI: The yarn was more vivid than pictured online, but that's the gamble with a kettle-dyed product.) The pattern was free, courtesy of Lion Brand, but you have to be registered there in order to see it.
And why the title, you ask? Well, I was racking my brain, trying to figure out why the color scheme seemed so familiar, when the answer dawned...
Very fitting for these last few days of waiting for Book 7!
In less exciting news, I'm going to have to cool my knitting heels for a few weeks. There's a spot on my wall that's calling for a gigantic cross-stitch sampler. Hopefully, the knitting will forgive me upon my return. :)
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Yarn: Cascade 220, in a russet-brown heather, under 3 skeins used for the 38" size
Pattern: Back-to-School U-Neck Vest, from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits
Lessons Learned: The shaping created by the front darts is quite nice. I also *love* the look of the waffle stitch. But most importantly, I realized that I can't fully judge a project until all the design elements are in place. I put off the neck and arm edgings for weeks, because I thought the vest was looking silly on me. But once I buckled down and added on the edgings, it looked, well, complete. Brilliant insight, eh? :P I could have picked up more stitches around the neckline, but I'm happy with it as is.
ETA: I forgot to mention that the book's instructions for the dart increases (RLI and LLI) are really confusing, and are not even included with the vest! I came across them in the Alexandra pattern. Instead, I followed the instructions for "Raised (M1) Increases" from the glossary of the Summer 2006 IK -- same move, just described (and pictured) much more clearly.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
This is from www.handpaintedyarn.com, in Lettuce Violet. My sister requested a poncho for her birthday in July, and chose this colorway herself. It's always a joy to make things for her -- she's a crafter herself, so she likes handmade gifts and appreciates the time that goes into them. :) You can view the pattern here, but I think you have to be registered for the Lion Brand website.
So, I'm still plugging away at the Petunia Tote, the Vine Lace Scarf, and the U-Neck Vest, and a Squatty Sidekick bag, but I'll be giving the poncho some quality time as well.
Monday, June 25, 2007
But, the curse must be broken, because the very nice Anne of Knitspot informed me yesterday that I'd won a prize in connection with her MS fundraising raffle (held to support Claudia's bike ride)! Woohoo!!! I got to choose a skein of sock yarn from these lovely offerings, all dyed by Judy of Ball and Skein. I honestly tossed and turned over my choice, but decided to go with "Leaf" -- love those vibrant greens.
I would have been happy to contribute anyway, just to have taken a part in Claudia's awesome fundraising total, but I'm thrilled to have won pretty yarn, too. :)
Monday, June 18, 2007
Pattern: Alexandra Ballerina Top, from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits
Size: 38", but FK patterns run large! My gauge was small, so this worked out perfectly.
Yarn: RYC Soft Tweed in Kingfisher, 8 balls
Needles: US 10.5
Time: TEN DAYS!!!
Thoughts, Mods, and Lessons Learned:
I didn't want a "cropped" look, so I used just about every last bit of yarn on the length. But after final blocking, I discovered that it was too long, so I had to rip back and shorten it. I'm pleased with the final length.
My best discovery during this knit was the miracle of back darts, now my most favorite shaping tool. I'm very short-waisted, so I'm a little leery of waist shaping, as it can exaggerate my squashed torso. However, the darts created a sleek, unfussy, and flattering fit -- woohoo!
I went back and forth on the yarn as I was knitting, but now that I'm finished, I'm glad I used it. RYC Soft Tweed isn't plied -- it's most like one felted-looking strand -- so I wasn't sure if it was the most suitable thing for cables. But once I blocked and shaped the cables, everything looked much better. The best thing the yarn's got going for it is the content: 56% Wool/20% Viscose/14% Polyamide/10% Silk. It's soft and cozy without being suffocatingly heavy and hot.
This is my third adult sweater, and it's definitely a keeper. :)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Knitscene's designs are often just a little too funky for me (let's not even talk about Knit.1), but I can usually find a gem or two in each issue, such as the Central Park Hoodie. This time around, the stand-out patterns seem to be staple pieces for the guys, such as the Hero Pullover and the Notting Hill Vest (which I especially like). I think they're trying to live down this.
Planning to buy this issue!
It's been a crazy last day or two, as I cast on for the Alexandra Ballerina Top on Wednesday night and...couldn't stop. :P I'm usually not one for bulky yarns, but it sure makes projects come together quickly! I've used up 3 balls of my RYC Soft Tweed so far to get to this point:
My cables seem somewhat wonky, but I'm hoping that a little blocking and tweaking later on will help that. I was quite pleased with how my swatch reacted to a wash -- the stitches smoothed out and took on a very pretty luster. I was glad, too, that I re-did my swatch to make it in the round -- it made a definite difference. Looks like I'll definitely be able to finish this before the end of the month!
I've also picked up my other Fitted Knits project again, the languishing U-Neck Vest. I'd been worrying that the vest would make me look too much like a busty barmaid, but once I actually seamed the shoulders together, it didn't look that bad. I've just got to do the shoulder and neck edgings now:
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
And even though it really is summer, I do so love the colors of autumn:
This is KnitPicks Memories sock yarn, in the Redwood Forest colorway. I'd wanted this forever, but it was the "Clearance Colors" tag that spurred me into action. I wonder what that's that all about? Are new colorways in store? It's a nice, squishy yarn for the price, IMO. I haven't used it for socks yet, but I made a pair of Fingerless Mitts in the Fly Fishing colorway last year. They pilled TERRIBLY on the first wearing, but once I took a sweater shaver to them, they never pilled again.
Also in the KnitPicks package were DPNs to finish the Back-to-School U-Neck Vest, and Options tips to begin the Alexandra Ballerina Top, also from Fitted Knits:
I'd already ordered the yarn for this baby -- RYC Soft Tweed from WEBS, in Kingfisher. I'm trying to branch out from my reds, greens, and browns. :) I can't believe how light and, well, soft the Soft Tweed is -- thank the content (56% Wool/20% Viscose/14% Polyamide/10% Silk) for that.
My personal mandate it to now drop the Petunia Tote and Vine Lace Scarf, to see if I can finish these two garments by the end of June. I want to be able to enter the prize drawing in the Fitted Knits KAL. Eeep!
Saturday, June 2, 2007
This is my first time using Cotton-Ease (scored on Knit Swap), and I can see how the stuff has earned its cult following! It's soft, lightweight, and honestly, I have never seen my stitches look this even (in the portion in the round). It must be something in the ply. I'll take this any day over Sugar 'n Cream.
Also on the needles is a lace project -- a converted Convertible. Few repeats and no buttonholes, basically. The star of this project is the yarn, Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Sock Yarn in Inner Sanctum. SO PRETTY. The hues range from rosy blush to rust to tomato red to deep terracotta...*sighs* Lace takes me ages, but I've been chipping away at this one, a few rows at a time:
There have been a few (incredibly boring) FOs around these parts lately, too...
A 1x1 ribbed scarf with a slip-stitched edge, done in KnitPicks Decadence (100% alpaca). Normally, 1x1 rib would drive me batty, but the bulky yarn eased the tedium and most importantly, the scarf doesn't curl. The Decadence is wonderfully soft and squishy stuff, but it just...doesn't want to do anything, pattern-wise. So, even though there's nothing terribly eventful going on this scarf, I'm going to pretend that it was supposed to be simply elegant and streamlined, like in a Michael Kors sort of way. :P (This was given as an end-of-the-year gift to my daughter's teacher, whose favorite color is purple.)
Yes, another felted bag. I think I've had my fill of them lately, although Amanda's Squatty Sidekick certainly is cute. This bag was for my daughter in response to her
My last, long-suffering WIP is the Back-to-School U-Neck Vest, but I'm waiting on needles to finish that baby off.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
Friday, May 25, 2007
I came across this vendor while checking out the stockists for my friend Axelle's gorgeous cashmere. I'll pause now, to allow you to pick your jaws up off the ground. :D Anyhow, I was surprised at the selection of hand-dyed yarns, mostly sock, that WoolGirl offered -- many from dyers that I'd never heard of. I was click click clicking along, when...I found it. The *perfect* yarn for my Clapotis. My knitting rite of passage. :P
Now, I'd come across several yarns earlier that had tempted me for this project (Lorna's Laces in Gold Hill and Patons SWS in Natural Earth were contenders), but nothing had fully "clicked". Sock yarns offered the greater variety of colors, but a Clapotis in sock yarn would take me forever to knit. So, imagine my delight when I saw this ENORMOUS, 560 yd. skein of pure worsted loveliness:
This is Miss Babs 100% Superwash Merino in Bronzed Plum. There was only skein left, and so I pounced. The colors are much deeper and muted than they appear in the picture -- just fabulous.
The icing on the cake, however, was all the thoughtful attention that WoolGirl put into the packaging:
Wrapped in tissue, complete with ribbon, shiny sticker, Soak sample, and handwritten note. Not only that, but I ordered the yarn on a Friday, and it arrived on the following MONDAY.
WOW. They've won me over. I'll be back. :)
Monday, May 21, 2007
And doesn't the yarn look happier?
NOTE: The lace patterns for the bags are interchangeable, but there is a one stitch difference. So, cast on accordingly, and when you get to the upper hem/eyelet portion, be sure to follow the directions for YOUR stitch pattern, which may not necessarily be the ones for your bag size. I choose to use the Pierced Diamonds pattern, but in the water bottle version.
Of course, the bag and I did have a few of those early-relationship misunderstandings along the way. For starters, it seemed like I would have scads of yarn left, and so I added an inch or two to the body portion. Oops. As I got to the upper hem portion, I realized my folly. But because of time constraints, I didn't want to rip back, and so I made the upper portion with eyelets only and no picot facing. The top rolls a bit, but it's a nice, casual look.
Then, try as I might for the bottom of the bag, I just could NOT manage to start knitting and increasing in the round with only eight stitches. If I'd had the time, I would have jaunted over to the LYS for help, but again, because of time constraints, I improvised. I'm normally not one for the maths, but I managed to knit a sort of octagon/circle piece with a 20 inch circumference, just what I'd need to fit the bottom. When pseudo-mattress stitched, it fit perfectly (not that you can necessarily tell that from the angle, but it did fit):
And finally...the cord. As my yarn shortage was becoming increasingly apparent, I decided to forgo the long strap for a simple drawstring closure. Really in crunch-time now, I cut several long lengths of Cotton Fleece and began braiding. I thought it might look tacky, but really, the final result was a cute "design element" (as I'm calling it). I just didn't realize how much yarn a braid would eat up, so it turned out rather short. Luckily, my mom is also short, so this was the perfect length for her to sling over her shoulder.
So, while we didn't experience clear sailing in the making, I *was* pleased to gift the final result, and I'd like to make a proper, by-the-book one for myself at a later date:
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
1. Antiques and vintage clothing give me the heebie-jeebies. I like retro and vintage styling, just not the actual objects.
2. Also, street clothes on my sheets = heebie-jeebies. Jammies only on the sheets, thank you.
3. I used to write Harry Potter and Firefly fanfiction. My kids now sap too much of my brainpower to write anymore, which I don't mind, as I'd rather be knitting anyway. :P
4. I speak Russian.
5. I don't like to take naps, 95% of the time.
6. I don't consider myself high-maintenance (in the "When Harry Met Sally..." sense of the term), but one thing that I'm really particular about is my soda. I like *just* the right amount of ice, *just* the right spike of lemonade to my Diet Coke, etc.
7. I've yet to make my first pair of socks, and yet I have what you might call a "sock yarn problem". I'm just a sucker for color.
And for good measure,
8. Once in college, a random guy visiting the apartment mocked me for being "domestic" (my sewing machine was out on the kitchen table). I got mad and threw a box of cake mix at him. :P
I really don't know many knitbloggers yet, so if you'd like to take this and run with it, go right ahead! :)
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Yep, I've been revisiting a few tried-and-true patterns lately, and I make no apologies. So without further ado:
I'm sure this one needs no introduction! I deviated from my usual Silky Wool for this scarf, though, and used some KnitPicks Elegance instead. I didn't think when I was knitting that it showed off the pattern very well, but as usual, BLOCKING made all the difference. Once blocked, the scarf took on an amazing and, well, extremely elegant drape. I want one for myself, now!
Two variations on the Sophie Bag, made with a single strap because
Lastly, a variation on the Booga Bag, made with three skeins of Patons SWS in Natural Earth. Such a pretty colorway! Seriously, I love any sort of earthy, muted colors. I didn't have the pattern for this handy, so I just sort of winged it...which is why this only looks like a third cousin to the Booga Bag. Still, I think my friend will like it.
That's it for now!
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
To be honest, I think he’s progressed far enough to no longer technically qualify for his earlier diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. Still, his little mind doesn't process the world in the same way as most kids around him, and he requires a very different sort of parenting than his older sister.
It’s frightening to watch a sweet, happy child “slip away” from you. I’d always noticed that he wasn’t very interested in toys, but I chalked it up to his individual personality. But then odd sensory-seeking behaviors began to emerge at 18 months – walking on his toes all day, incessant spinning, putting tight elastic bands on his upper arms. His burgeoning communication skills turned into what felt like all-day grunting, screaming, flailing, and thrashing. He stopped responding to his name, too intent on repetitively flicking a light switch or hooking a latch to look at you.
As he got older, I would hear the usual comments from family and our pediatrician: “Boys take longer to develop.” “He’ll talk when he wants to.” “Oh, he’ll catch up.” But when I'd try to interact with him, I wouldn't sense any latent language skills lurking under the surface. No, it felt like speaking to a brick wall. No back-and-forth, no comprehension, nothing even closely resembling a conversation. Fortunately, he was always very emotionally attached to me and the rest of the immediate family, but that was about it.
At two and a half, my son entered an early invention program. It was a godsend. Bit by bit, he learned to point and (occasionally) make eye contact when asking for something. He would use (sometimes) join in during Singing Time, and even sit in one place for more than a few minutes. I’ll never forget the day when he held up a puzzle piece of a sheep, pretended to feed it, and said, “Sheep eat corn”. Most of his language up until that time had consisted of one-word requests for immediate wants, such as “bread” or “water”. Shortly before his third birthday, I heard him say his own name for the first time.
He continued in early intervention for a few more months, later transitioning to our school district’s “special needs” preschool program. Last fall, he gained a new teacher – a loving and committed woman named Miss B. He began to thrive in her classroom.
You’re probably wondering how knitting ties into this, if it does at all. Well, I began knitting after my son turned three, tempted for months by the beautiful things that my LiveJournal friends were making and displaying. I had learned to crochet as a kid – knitting couldn’t be much different, right? Just one more thing to hold? ;) And it was certainly more transportable than my sewing hobby. I started out with the requisite cheapie needles and Sugar ‘n Cream, and eventually discovered the fun of wool, alpaca, and silk. I’d been knitting for almost a year when, one November day, my son made a surprise request:
“Mama,” he said, “you want make Miss B purple scarf?”
I did a double-take. This was the child who used to stare through his grandparents when they’d try, again and again, to get his attention. The child who would circle and observe other playing children, but never show any interest in joining in. The child who used to have absolutely no concept of social gatherings. (When guests arrived for his second birthday party, he screamed at them, ran away, and hid in the basement for two hours. Getting him to join us and stay at the table for a family dinner had been a nightmare.)
But now he’d made a connection with Miss B, and he wanted her to have a purple scarf.
After checking in with Miss B to make sure that she actually liked the color purple, and didn’t have a drastic wool allergy, I got to work. It wasn’t a terribly special gift – a skein of plum Cascade 220, the Roman Stripe stitch, and a bit of fringe – but the end result was pretty. More fun than the knitting itself was watching my son monitor the scarf’s progress and enact, with dramatic “ooohs” and “aaahs”, how “boootiful” his teacher would say it was. Miss B later told me that on that last day before Christmas break, he wasn’t even off the school bus before he yelled out, “Miss B, I got purple scarf for you!!!”
Thinking over this, I wonder if it’s the “spectrum” part of his nature that makes knitting so fascinating to him. I once saw a video that illustrated the subtle differences in play between autistic and “neurotypical” young children. The normal child listened and took in the story while a book was read to her, looking and pointing at the pictures. The autistic child ripped the book away and turned it around and around intently, as if to say, “What is this thing, how is it put together, and how can I take it apart?” I used to even call my son “my little engineer”, given his fixation on motion, construction, and mechanics.
But really, all I know is that with that one request, my son moved beyond “handful” to “hand-knit appreciator”. And those are always great to have around. :)
Friday, April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Pattern: Wicked, by Zephyr Style
Yarn: Cascade 220, color 9407 (celery - about 3 1/2 skeins)
Needles: US 8
Time: Errr, off and on, over 3 or 4 weeks?
My gauge was small on both 7s and 8s, so I decided to go up a size and hope that move would work out. I probably could have done fewer raglan increases, but I'm still pleased with the fit (I wanted something comfy, not super-snug). For the pocket, I picked up stitches on the body and began knitting it from there, and not as it's own separate piece. I think this created a nice even line across the top of the pocket. I also did the bottom in the cross-over rib, as seed stitches takes me an eternity.
And while I'm here, here's my progress on the Back-to-School vest from Fitted Knits (love this book!):
Monday, April 16, 2007
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Now, I don't expect everything I make to be received with fanfare and confetti. I completely understand that for some people, handmade gifts just aren't their thing. But it's always fun to discover the people who are delighted by them, because creating a gift for them is an entirely different process. It's a joy, not a drudgery.
Why have I been thinking about this? Well, last Christmas was my first season of giving knitted gifts. One person requested "Branching Out", in a pretty periwinkle shade of Silky Wool. I came across the scarf again two months later, still in its gift bag, still sitting on her dresser (in her defense, she's probably of the "It's too nice to wear!" mindset). But then I happened to see my grandmother last week, for the first time in several months. One of the first things she said to me was, "I love the scarf you gave me for Christmas! I wore it all winter!" I had to stop and think for a second, before remembering that I'd also whipped up something for her, a simple lace pattern in Silky Wool. And she'd worn it all winter!
So, yeah, Grandma is getting cashmere for next Christmas. :)
And now on to the KNITTING QUEUE...
(I must preface this by stating that I seem to be one of those boring monogamous knitters. I just can't take the guilt if I have too many projects on the needles at the same time!)
In Current Production:
Wicked (from Zephyr Style -- I should finish this by Easter!)
Back-to-School U-Neck Vest (from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits - join the book's KAL!)
Waiting in the Wings:
CeCe (from ChicKnits, in Soft Gold Cotton Fleece)
Socks! (I'm going to have a go at the Jaywalker, Pomatomus, and Monkey patterns)
Saturday Market Bag (for Mother's Day, in Mauve Cotton Fleece)
Of course, that's not all the yarn I've got flung about here, but those are the projects I plan to dive into next. :)
(And so this post isn't just a jumble of links and words, here's my swatch for the U-Neck Vest!)
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Pattern: Central Park Hoodie, from the Fall 2006 Knitscene
Yarn: Brown Sheep Waverly Wool, in the most glorious shade of red imaginable, purchased from these nice folks
Needles: sizes 6 and 7, mostly KnitPicks Options Circulars
Comments: This was my first adult sweater, and I love it to itty-bitty bits! (We'll ignore the fact that 2/3 of my existing wardrobe is already red.) It's warm, squishy, and the cables look deceptively harder than they were. I began it while recuperating from foot surgery, so considering I was knitting on painkillers, I'm glad it turned out as nicely as it did! It's not perfect, but I did my best, and I'll fear the cables no more.
I waffled for some time over whether or not to add buttons, but it think it looks nice as it is. I hate straining buttonbands, too. Although I have a 38" bust, I'd heard the CPH ran snug, and so I went up to the 44" size. My gauge was a teensy bit small, and so this move worked out perfectly.
Lessons Learned: I was concerned about yardage, so I thought I'd take off an inch of ribbing on the bottom and sleeves (I have short arms). Of course, then I went ahead and forgot to actually subtract those inches from the final measurements of the pieces. Oops. Fortunately, I had over one skein of yarn left (which means I only used $36 dollars worth!), so yardage wasn't an issue.
So without further ado...
Artsy photographs courtesy of my kindergartner. :)