Monday, December 29, 2008

short and sweet

so, i had this lone ball of merino/alpaca blend that i bought in london two years ago. i wanted to do something nice with it, because it's a really lovely yarn that i don't think i can buy here, but i was somewhat limited by just having the one ball. it seems a lot of people have made fetching with this yarn, but i've already knit that pattern three or four times, and i really don't need more fingerless gloves.

(this is a photo of my scarf laying in the snow. did i mentioned we got a LOT of snow last week?)

after a little searching, the anthro-inspired scarflet seemed like a possible match. i saw this project first on jodi's blog, then scattered around ravelry, and it seemed like the solution to all of my problems (or at least the problem of what to do with that ball of yarn!). i cast on one day and finished the next. easy, instant gratification knitting. it required a light steam blocking to get the edges to lay straight, but other than that, i barely wove in the ends before throwing this thing around my neck and wearing it happily (and warmly).

the bonus here is that it really does look like a scarf at anthropologie right now, and that is a major plus in my book (ooh...i got this for christmas. i love it).

pattern: anthro-inspired scarflet (free download on ravelry)
yarn: rooster almerino aran, in colorway "rooster", 1 ball
needle: size 8

that's it! like i said, short and sweet, and now i've finally used that ball of yarn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

comfort and joy

merry christmas everyone!

i decided this year that i wasn't going to go the handknit christmas gift route this year...i tried that last year and nearly killed myself. but i still managed to make a few gifts this year.

first, grrr, a super cute little lion washcloth, for my friend's daughter. i loved making this! it was super fast and easy too, and making the loop stitch was fun. i definitely recommend this as a fun little gift for kids (or adults!). i'll definitely be making more of them.

next, i made a couple of logcabin pillow toys for my cat and my friend's kitten, using scraps of fabric. i stuffed each with copious amounts of catnip, and i can't speak for my friend's cat, penny, but my darling little spike
adores this toy. he can't get enough of it! success!

and finally, for my friends and family this year, i made some cranberry apple preserves and cranberry curd. both were so good! i made sure to keep a jar of each for myself!

that's the extent of my handmade holidays this year...modest, but i think successful.

i hope everyone has a lovely holiday tomorrow, if you celebrate. we are totally snowed in here in seattle...we've gotten well over a foot in the past week and a half, which i realize isn't crazy winter weather for most people, but it's enough to shut this hilly, normally non-snowy city down. i'm hoping to dig my car out and be able to safely drive to my mom's tomorrow.

anyway...i just wanted to take this chance to say thank you to everyone who reads and comments on this little blog, and to everyone whose blogs i read and enjoy. i'm grateful to you all, and am glad to have you in my life!



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

my new sweater

hello! i've suddenly found myself with lots to blog about, knitting and otherwise, so i should actually be posting more often, at least for the next couple of weeks. today though, i wanted to show off my cute new sweater!

i started elizabeth zimmermann's seamless yoke sweater at the end of august. as i do with most big projects, i worked on it for a while, put it down, and picked it back up later. but finally i finished it last week. this was a sweater that was not technically difficult to knit at all, but it was frustrating. i knit the two sleeves first, using the first as my gauge swatch. when i moved on to the body, i used the gauge i calculated from the sleeve to determine my cast-on number for the pattern. well, i really don't know what happened, but my swatch lied. totally lied! i knit along for about ten inches of the body, and even putting in quite a bit of waist shaping, when i tried it on, it was a good three inches too big. the only thing i can figure is that my knitting relaxed somewhat with the long stretches of stockinette. anyway, i wanted a pretty fitted sweater, so this was disappointing. normally, i am not good about ripping things out and redoing them. if it's a small item, and it's for me, i'm usually happy to live with my mistake. but this time, i felt like not redoing the body would mean i would never wear the sweater. so i knit the body again, and i'm really glad i did. the finished sweater fits me perfectly...almost like it was made for me!

this sweater is really all about the yoke, and i gave what i wanted to do for my yoke some serious thought. i knew i wanted something simple, but not plain. i really loved the color of the yarn (
a beautiful blue somewhere between robin's egg and turquoise, with olive and fuschia tweedy flecks), and i kind of wanted that to be the focus. when i saw blueskysun's (rav link) ribbed yoke version of the sweater, i knew i had found my solution. she was kind enough to give me some pointers on how she did her own yoke. i think it's quite genius on her part--the ribbed yoke is very flattering, and hides the yoke decreases very cleverly.

(looky, it snowed!)

overall: i'm very happy with the end result. it's probably my most successful sweater to date, and one i expect to wear a lot.

the details:
pattern: elizabeth zimmermann's seamless yoke sweater, from knitting without tears and other books
yarn: peace fleece worsted, in lena's meadow. i used 4.5 skeins to make about a 41" bust size.
needles: size 8

i'm ready to start another sweater now, and it will be none other than melissa's garter yoke cardigan, using some pretty blue/violet beaverslide that i've saved up just for this pattern. i'm so excited!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

crewel intentions

oh, the potential for 'crewel' puns is rife, isn't it.

at the beginning of the year, i made of list of goals, or things i wanted to try, in 2008. one of those things was crewel, and i can now check it off the list!

this is 'birthday candles' from the new crewel.

i had embroidered before, but never creweled, and i found that i really enjoyed it. i guess the main difference is the thread you use: with crewel, you use a very rustic wool thread instead of embroidery floss. all of the stitches are otherwise the same. i think the wool thread made all the difference for me, because i vastly preferred this project to other embroidery projects i've undertaken in the past. or maybe i just really love satin stitch, another first for me with this project. anyway, there are several other patterns in the book that i think i might like to try some time, so this probably won't be my last crewel experience. maybe i'll even have a crewel, crewel summer (sorry!).

a closeup:

my french knots are a little wonky, but otherwise i think i did a pretty good job!

i used the recommended appleton crewel wool, but i can't remember which colors i used. i bought some of it here and some of it here.

i was happy enough with the end result to want to display it, so one trip to the thrift store and two coats of paint later, i was able to frame the piece and hang it in this little nook in our kitchen, along with my porcelain quails:

p.s. sorry for the very long absence. life, both good and bad, has been getting in the way the past few weeks. hopefully things will be returning back to normal soon though...