Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year!

i thought i'd fit one more post, one more finished project in before 2007 draws to a close. i had all of last week and today off work, and i've been pretty lazy, but i did manage to knit up this cute beret. it's wendy bernard's le slouch, and i've had my eye on this project since the moment it came out, but am only now getting around to making it. i love it! i'm in an instant gratification, small project kind of mood right now, and this was perfect. it took just two evenings, and i know i will wear it a lot.

pattern: le slouch yarn: peace fleece, negotiation gray needles: size 8 and 9 denise

i love how it looks like a sea urchin. i thought it would be a lot slouchier--i knit it to the full six inches before decreasing, but i think i might have misunderstood the directions for finishing the decreasing and finished it too soon, so i probably lost a little slouch that way. still, i don't think i would have liked it any baggier. i think i might make another one, possibly in red, and possibly in stockinette instead of the seed stitch.

happy new year everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2007

more handmade holidays!

merry christmas, a little late! i hope everyone had a good day, if you celebrate, and got all the presents your little heart desired. my friends and family spoiled me absolutely rotten, and i got some really wonderful things this year, as well as some really lovely handmade gifts. yay! i got so many books, i should be set for at least the next six months. i absolutely love getting books for christmas! ooh, and i also got another beardy man from my friend brooke, which was a really exciting surprise. i'm growing a little collection of men on my kitchen wall!

it's not all about the getting though, right? i definitely did my fair share of giving this year too, and much of it was handmade. besides what i've already shown off, i made a pair of the raven mittens (annemor #5) from terri shea's selbuvotter book. i picked this book up a few months ago and only now got around to trying one of the patterns out. besides the thumbs turning out weird, i think these turned out really great (even though they weren't done in time for christmas). the pattern is sized for small children; i went up a couple of needle sizes to get a small woman's size. still, they were a bit too small. they fit my sister-in-law, but i would have been more comfortable if they were a tad larger. i'll go up another needle size if i make these again.

pattern: annemor #5, selbuvotter: biography of a knitting tradition
yarn: dalegarn heilo, one ball each of navy and oatmeal
needle: addi turbo size 4

i also made several of these little clutches from bend-the-rules sewing. these are so fun and quick to make--i need to make one for myself now!

i have one other gift knit that's still on the needles. i really, really tried to get it done in time for christmas, but it just didn't happen. hopefully, soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

handmade holidays: sugar on snow

last year, i made this totoro hat for my friend's soon-to-be-born baby, cora. in the past year, cora has worn the hat a lot, and looked cute to boot, but as babies are prone to doing, she's grown out of it. so i decided to make her a new hat, one that would grow with her, at least for a while. enter sugar on snow, from the fall 2006 knitty. it doesn't seem like that many people have made this hat, and i don't know why, because it's so cute! the baby cable pattern is really stretchy, and a little different from typical ribbed hats. the size i made is supposed to fit a child aged one to three, and i think that's very well possible, especially since i think it's a little on the large size right now. room to grow! anyway, i really enjoyed making this hat. the knit picks swish, held double, made a soft, squishy fabric that knit up very quickly, and the leaves add just the right amount of interest and cuteness. i think i would make this in the adult size for me!

pattern: sugar on snow
yarn: knit picks swish superwash, in sand dune, two balls, and some red scrap yarn for the i-cord and leaves

needles: size 9 denise needles
model: cora. isn't she cute? check out that dimple!

(thanks to brooke for taking the photos!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

handmade holidays: a knit tie gift making is going...okay. i felt really confident and not stressed about a week ago, but now i'm not so sure. most of my big sewing projects are done (and gifted already! i'll have to wait till i give the last couple away til i show them off though), but the knitting is taking a lot longer. i really only have four knitted gifts in mind, and i finally finished two of them. the first one i can show here is a tie. my brother asked for an 80s-style knitted tie, and i said, why not! so i picked out a sock yarn that looked suitably 80s knit tie-ish and cast on. i couldn't really find a pattern that matched what i had in mind, so i just sort of improvised, using one of my husband's ties as a guide. i worked the self-striping yarn in seed stitch, and you know what? it really does look like an 80s knit tie! it's off the needles now and blocking. some of the edges look a little ragged, so hopefully blocking will tidy those up. i'll take a picture of my brother wearing it on christmas!

pattern: my own
yarn: universal yarn inc. ditto
needles: clover bamboo size 2 dpns

i also made my christmas cards with my gocco again. these look a little more rustic than i'd like, but i still think they turned out pretty cute. i need to break out the gocco more often than just for holiday cards!

now...back to the other knitted gifts.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

being naughty, not nice

sorry for the extended blog's not for lack of knitting, purely a lack of light to take pictures. it's impossible to get a good picture after work, since it's dark before i even leave. and even the daylight is pretty dim these days. but the darkness and cold does make for good knitting. i finished the noro silk garden lite socks, and i'm very happy with them.

these were my first toe-ups, and as such, the toes are both slightly wonky, and the short-row heels are not perfect, though the second one came out much better than the first. still, i really liked knitting these toe-up! i can see it being my sock knitting method of choice in the future. i'm a little bummed out that my stripes don't match - the second ball had the beige at the end of the ball, as opposed to the beginning, like the first. so my stripes were offset by one color throughout, but i made up for that by making the foot of the second one slightly shorter. the first sock is just a touch too slouchy, and the second one fits perfectly. and in the end, the stripes pretty much match up on the leg, but not the foot, which is fine. i've been wearing these as house socks, and also over tights and thinner socks, in my rain boots. comfy!

pattern: none really. i used the toe-up sock guide in the summer 2007 IK as a guide, but really, i kind of just cast on and went for it.
yarn: noro silk garden lite, color 2015, two balls
needles: addi turbo size 4

so...once the socks were done, i was supposed to get right back into my christmas knitting. here's where the naughty part comes in. instead of getting going with my gifts, i decided it would be a great idea to make myself a hat! i've had this frog tree merino in my stash since i went to the madrona fiber festival in january. i was flipping through ravelry the other day and realized that the yarn would be perfect for foliage.

i had some of the called-for malabrigo, but i thought that the variegation would obscure the leaf pattern too much. i'm glad i went for this solid yarn instead. it's super soft, and has a nice halo to it. it almost looks like it glows! i really had fun making this hat - it took just a couple of hours, and was an easy enough lace pattern to make while watching tv. and it's so cute!

though my version looks less like the autumn leaves in the original pattern, and more like a spring green version. or maybe a 1970s shag carpet version? it's very avocado! in any case, i've been wearing it non-stop, and it's kept my head warm this weekend when we had SNOW!

pattern: foliage, fall 2007 knitty
yarn: frog tree merino worsted, color 46, one whole ball and a few yards of a second
needles: inox bamboo dpns size 7, and brittany birch dpns, size 6

anyway...i will have progress shots of my holiday knitting soon! i promise, i really, truly am going to get to work on it now (though now i want to make myself more hats...namely, le slouch and tillie)!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

some good things

1. any carrie brownstein/sleater kinney fans out there? i found out the other day that carrie now has a blog on the npr website. i love her, so this excites me greatly.

2. i ordered
this on amazon this week. i'm picturing lots of evenings knitting in front of the tv in my future (as if that's not what i already do every night, but still...yay!)

3. i also ordered a beardy man print from ashley g, after spotting it on the design*sponge blog. i love those beardy men! (can you tell i just got paid and have money burning a hole in my pocket...?)

4. i started some noro silk garden lite socks this week, and they are flying along. the first one is done! they're my first toe-up socks, and i don't know if it's just the fact that i'm knitting them on size 4 needles or what, but toe-up seems so much faster! i think it's psychological...the foot part is always what seems to take the longest for me with socks, so getting that out of the way first seems so liberating. i'm so much in love with these socks.

i knit the foot slightly too long, but otherwise, it's really cute!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

kubota garden, and a finished drops jacket

this weekend we went to kubota garden. i'd never been before, and it's hard to believe this huge, beautiful spot is just a 15-minute drive from where we live. the japanese maples were flaming red, and all of the other plants were in the midst of their downward decay into winter-ness, which i think is so beautiful. i'm eager to visit the garden again in winter, spring and summer; if it's half as gorgeous as it is in the fall, i feel i'll be going back many, many times. here are a LOT of pictures!

i also used our visit to kubota garden as a backdrop for taking pictures of my drops jacket, which i finished early last week. i didn't really get any good shots, but here is one, plus another one in my living room.

pattern: drops jacket
yarn: rowan yorkshire tweed chunky in damp, exactly seven balls
needles: size 11 denise needles
buttons: vintage plastic

as excited as i initially was about this project, i ended up feeling disappointed in the end result, and feeling like i should have known better than to use such a chunky yarn. my disappointment is two-fold: i think the finished sweater is way too bulky and wildly unflattering, and also, the finishing of the sweater turned out very poorly. i shouldn't have used the chunky yarn to seam the sweater, but i did, resulting in very bulky seams. also, the yarn kept breaking! i liked the yorkshire tweed though - the tweediness itself is beautiful, and it created a soft fabric. i will probably still wear this as a house sweater, and maybe occasionally out. it's very warm, and it does have those cute vintage buttons working in its favor! at least i feel like i learned some valuable lessons with this sweater. next time will be better!

now that the drops jacket is done, i'm back to work on the back-to-school u-neck, and have also started three (!) other projects. i'll show those off, plus some pretty new yarn, later this week!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Handmade Holidays -- 30 Days of Gifts to Sew

have you all heard about the sew, mama, sew project that's going on in the month of november? i'm super duper excited about it (yes, super duper!). every day in november, sew, mama, sew will post tutorials for a different handmade gift. today, kicking off november, is aprons. i never do too well at cranking out loads of knitted gifts each year, but sewing? i think can probably do a little better with that. i was already planning to make a lunch bag for someone, so i especially look forward to that tutorial, but i'm also interested in the baby items and household items.

what do you plan to make for holiday gifts this year?

Monday, October 22, 2007

my knitting gets a new home

how has it been two weeks since my last post? i have no idea! i'm sorry to say i still don't have much to report on, but yesterday, i did get some exciting mail. a month or so ago, karen made a fabulous knitting bag, and i fell in love with it. she suggested we do a little swap, and then she proceeded to make ME! a fabulous knitting bag too! after the postal service sent the bag on a little adventure from new mexico to washington to georgia and then back to washington, it finally arrived on my doorstep. and it was worth the wait!

i love the nautical theme karen went for, and i love the combination of mint green and red. so cute! she's really thought through her construction of these bags as well, and has included little nooks for needles, notions and projects. plus, i think it's the perfect size for carting around town. i think i'll be getting a lot of use out of it. she also kindly sent along some cute fabric-covered buttons, some candy, some vintage bright red knitting needles (!) and an adorable pin cushion that i am obsessing over. of course, i don't have pictures of any of that, but rest assured, it's all good, and i'll try to take pictures over the weekend when i have some daylight hours for picture taking. thanks again karen! i'll swap with you any day.

in actual knitting news, the drops jacket is getting very close to being done. i just have to finish up the right front and do one other sleeve (the first one only took a couple of hours), so i'm anticipating finishing this up maybe this week? don't hold me to that though!

what are your thoughts on blocking before vs. blocking after seaming? this sweater is going to be heavy...i'm scared that if i block it after seaming, it will never ever dry. but blocking all the pieces separately seems like a pain. i don't know. you tell me!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

sweater love

it's gotten chilly here in seattle these past few weeks...maybe it's always like this this time of year, but to me it feels colder much earlier this year. not that i'm complaining! i live for this time of year, when i'm perfectly justified in making a little nest of blankets/cat/knitting on the couch and settling in to watch lots of movies (i pulled out our american splendor dvd the other day...i love that movie so much!). it's also when my mind turns to sweaters--the cozier the better.

with that in mind, here's one i've been working on for a while actually, but haven't had time to blog about. it's the back-to-school u-neck sweater from fitted knits, done up in some pretty cascade 220 heathers. i'm just past the boob darts, which didn't go
so well, but i think they'll do. just an inch or so more of the waffle stitch, then i can split for the arms. i'm really liking this sweater! the cascade 220 is squishy and lovely as always, and the color, paired with the waffle stitch, reminds me of honeycomb. i'm a little scared that all that ribbing will be unflattering, but i plan to wear it over another top, so hopefully that will reduce the clingyness.

then this weekend...i accidentally cast on for a new sweater, that drops 3/4-sleeve jacket that is so popular in blog land right now. i knew i was going to make this, i just didn't expect to make it right now. and yet, here i am! this is knitting up very fast - i finished a sleeve in a day, and am now well into the back (too bad it's an unphotogenic sweater...i could not get a non-blurry shot of it!). i've heard of people knitting this up in four days, and i don't think i'll finish that fast, but i think i should be wearing this one pretty soon. and i have the most perfect turquoise vintage buttons that match the blue, tweedy flecks in this yarn. i'm going to be so sad if they turn out to be too small!

which one will i finish first? i'm feeling more excited about the drops cardigan right now, but the u-neck vest is further along, so i guess only time will tell which sweater i'll be wearing first.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

oregon flock and fiber

this week i turned one in blog years! blog years must be something akin to dog feels like i've had this little blog for much longer than just one year (in a good way!), but the numbers don't lie. i remember starting it on impulse while bored at work, thinking i would probably abandon the idea in a short time, but instead, it turns out i really like blogging. so here's to another year!

saturday morning, jenna and i got up early and drove to the oregon flock and fiber festival. it was such a nice day! we got to the festival a little past noon, and immediately hit up the blue moon fiber arts booth, where i scored some much-coveted socks that rock lightweight in oregon red clover honey. i'm so in love with this color, and i contemplated buying it in the silk thread and lace yarns as well, but my better sense prevailed.

i also picked up a cheapo mill ends skein of the medium weight, in a color i've admired for some time, blue moonstone. i'm really going for the semi-solid yarns these days.

i had planned to buy some yarn to make the drops cardigan that everyone seems to be making these days, but i didn't find anything suitable at the festival. instead, the only other thing i picked up was some sock hop handspun in 'my boyfriend's back' -- this will hopefully become calorimetry here shortly.

so three skeins of yarn - less than $40. i was pretty well behaved!

of course what fiber festival would be complete without some cute, fuzzy little animals? we saw goats, sheep, bunnies, alpacas, llamas, yaks and even two teenaged camels.

and that was our exciting day! we headed home at around 5:30 (not before getting some great photos of the clackamas county fair and rodeo queens and princesses), stopping near mt. st. helens for some roadside mexican food, and got home at about 10. it was a long day, and i was glad for sleep, but it was a really fun little road trip. i'm looking forward to going again next year!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

fo: chevron scarf

so my plan was to get this done before i moved back home, and i almost made it. i had all of three inches, plus the border, left to do the night before we were to move, and i fully planned to come home and finish it up, but my car had other plans. i ended up spending that night waiting for a tow truck, so scarfy had to wait. if only i'd had the scarf with me at the time, that two-hour wait wouldn't have been so bad. but i did finish it the day after i moved back - i can live with that!

the end result is, i think, really great. i had kind of a roller coaster of emotions about the color combo all the way through - i love it! it's too green! it's too burgundy! it's perfect! in the end, i think i am happy with the colors. it's not a subtle scarf, for sure, but i think the blend of goldenrods and olives and navies and peaches is actually quite lovely, and will match many things in my closet - including my new navy coat!

it's funny though - these two, disparate colorways look nice together, but individually, i think they've got to be two of the ugliest skeins of yarn i've ever bought! or not ugly exactly...just really not to my taste. watermelon tourmaline is way too pastel-y, and farmhouse reminds me of the early 90s when people wore mustard and forest green jeans and thought that was a good idea. yet somehow the two together work!

i did not knit it to the full 72 or so inches called for in the pattern - i knit it to 65 inches, which is how tall i am. it seemed like a good place to stop. i blocked it though, and it grew several more inches - i haven't measured, but it's probably around 70 inches now - a good scarf length. a good weight too - i used socks that rock lightweight, as opposed to the medium weight that many others have used, and it makes for a warm but not heavy scarf that feels really nice around the neck.

i'm so pleased with my new scarf!

here are the details:
pattern: chevron scarf, last-minute knitted gifts
yarn: str lightweight, in farmhouse and watermelon tourmaline. i used a little more than half of each, so i have enough for baby booties or something else small in each color still

needles: size 5 denise
modifications: i added two stitches at either end to prevent curling, which worked pretty well. i also made it shorter.

yesterday i went to oregon flock & fiber with jenna - i'll show off my goodies later this week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

home again, home again

we are finally back home! it's been a hectic couple of weeks getting everything finalized and getting moved back in, but it's pretty much calmed down now, and we are now homeowners! even though one of the benefits of buying our apartment was that we wouldn't have to move, it pretty much felt like we had to move anyway, even though most of our stuff never left the apartment. everything was boxed and moved to one side in the living room so construction in the kitchen and bathroom could take place. our house was an absolute mess of dust and boxes and crumpled newspaper. so i took thursday off to unpack and get settled, and i spent a whole lot of the weekend doing the same. but who cares about that...want to see some 'after' shots?

first, the kitchen 'before,' in case you forgot what it looked like pre-remodel:

and partially through the process, when i thought it would never end:

and finally...ta-da!

i really like it, though it feels way fancy. i can't actually believe it's our kitchen. i was worried it would look a little too show-homey, but i've tried to put in some personal touches, like all our colorful plates and mugs, and some art, and lots of photos. and already, it feels like home again.

Monday, September 17, 2007

eight random things

carrie tagged me for the eight random things meme. how exciting! i've never been tagged before. i know practically the whole blog world has done this already, but this is a first for me.

so let's see...

  1. apparently i'm a really picky eater, even though i don't really feel like i am. i don't like most cheese, mushrooms, pickles, olives, cottage cheese, or cantaloupe. *shudders*
  2. when i was little and learning to write, i would pick up the pencil with my left hand and start writing, and then halfway across the page i would pick up with my right hand and finish writing. my mom made me just choose a hand, so now i write with my left, though i do a lot of other things with my right hand.
  3. i have a regular, m-f job, but on sundays i also work at lush for a few hours, purely for the discount. i've worked there over two years now!
  4. i'm obsessive about getting my hair cut, and keeping my fingernails really short. if i let either go too long, i go nuts.
  5. i have lots of little random collections: vintage japanese mugs, vintage buttons, and old state postcards - the ones with the map of the state and little drawings of that state's industry and attractions all over. i don't have all 50 states yet though, so if you have any you don't want, let me know!
  6. i lived in england for a year, for grad school. london and i didn't really click - i liked it ok, but couldn't wait to come home, though i still desperately miss marks & spencer!
  7. i have a big and totally irrational fear that when i pull out the plug in the bath tub when i'm done taking a bath, cockroaches are going to swarm up the drain and attack me. i've never even seen a cockroach in seattle! i grew up in phoenix though, and everyone has them. they tormented me throughout my childhood.
  8. i drink a LOT of tea. i live in seattle, where coffee reigns, but i don't drink the stuff. i do, however, drink several cups of tea a day, and i have a whole cupboard devoted to the stuff at home. my favorite is vanilla earl grey with milk.
sheesh, that was hard! i don't think i'll tag anyone in particular - if you want to list eight random things about yourself, consider yourself tagged.

i have two posts-in-progress that i'm working on. i'm just waiting on the chance to get good pictures. more later this week!

Monday, September 03, 2007

brigitte = bad

hello! thanks for all the tag blanket love!

unfortunately i have some fugly knitting to report on. i finally got around to finishing brigitte, and it's awful. really, really awful. i really like the pattern in theory - i was picturing a cute, open, sort of retro tunic-y type top to layer over summer dresses. that's definitely not what i got. i started to get a bad feeling about this top pretty early on when i had to keep doing raglan increases way past the point that the pattern indicated. i was using the called-for yarn, and had the correct gauge, but still, the sweater was knitting up way too small. it also was a lot less elastic and stretchy than i expected - the pattern said that it was a really stretchy top, and the huge spans of measurements for each size suggested as much as well. it just didn't even really look like the top in the picture! it was so frustrating.

i decided to persevere anyway because it was such a fast knit, and i figured i wouldn't ever find another use for the rowan cotton braid that i used. so i used up all of the yarn, which should have been enough to knit the largest size, and still the sweater comes up three inches shy of my belly button when i put it on. i think it's safe to say that i'm not bothering to weave the ends in on this one. i've been talking to
jenna about it, as she had a similar experience with her attempt at brigitte as well, and i really don't know if there's something wrong with this pattern, or if we just both had bad luck. who knows...i guess my cute little summer top just wasn't meant to be though.

and about that yarn! i kind of went out of my comfort zone a bit with the rowan cotton braid, as it's definitely in novelty yarn territory, and i also don't usually go for oranges. i learned my lesson for sure. no more orange! and easy does it on anything so poofy!

at the very least, i can now cast on for another sweater guilt-free, and hopefully i'll have better luck with this one. tonight i got started on the back-to-school u-neck sweater from fitted knits. i'm using cascade 220 in a pretty heathered mustard color. i looked at some other people's finished sweaters on ravelry tonight and i'm super excited about this project now! everyone else's looks great, and i'm hoping mine will be a very wearable piece. pictures soon!