Friday, June 26, 2009


this is something i finished several weeks ago...i don't know why i haven't bothered to blog it, since i am so darn impressed with myself for finishing it. you'd think i'd want to do a little showing off. never mind. here it is now!

i started this swallowtail shawl several months ago (like, almost a year ago. yeah, that long). it was to be my first big lace project, and i began the shawl with much enthusiasm. well, let's just say that enthusiasm didn't last. i used lifelines throughout, and though i was glad to have them, it was still discouraging to have to rip back a repeat (or at one fool-hardy point...four! i got a lot more serious about the lifelines after that). so though my mistakes were all easily fixed, each simple error was often enough for me to shelve the project for months at a time. i guess i don't deal will with adversity!

finally, finally, i decided it was time to just get it done already. when i picked it up for the last time, i was on the final repeat of the budding lace chart, just about to start the lily of the valley chart (with the infamous nupps!). well, it turns out that the nupps were way more my style. i loved making them! the last few charts went exceedingly fast, and i actually found myself binding off this sucker. my reward was my first true blocking-as-alchemy experience. sure, i've blocked sweaters and hats and color-work pieces and whatnot before, and it makes your stitches look even and the finished piece smell pretty, but wow! i had no idea. i had sort of mixed feelings about the shawl until i soaked it, pinned it out on my bed, and came back four hours later. it was perfect! i mean, it definitely wasn't perfect, but to my eyes, i was just so impressed that i had made something so intricate and beautiful.'s really something crazy, isn't it?

pattern: swallowtail shawl, by evelyn clark
yarn: jamieson's ultra, 1.5 skeins, in clematis

needles: size 5

mods: none!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

oh, bloggy!

my mom has mentioned several times that i haven't posted on my blog in a while, so i better post something!

i actually have quite a little stockpile of finished projects. here are two:

first up, the adorable saartje's booties (rav link), for my niece, greta. these were to match the apple hat and quilt that i made her a while back. they turned out so cute, and they fit her (at least for a while)!

i used the debbie bliss cshmerino i had leftover from the hat, and some cute little apple buttons that i had in my button stash. an easy and sweet project!

next...i did another weaving project. this was a scarf that i made for a ravelry friend in sweden. we decided to do a little swap, and i sent her this scarf, along with a few other odds and ends. it was supposed to be a log cabin weave, but i did something wrong...i have no idea what, but it isn't log cabin. any weavers out there have any idea where i went wrong? i like how it looks anyway, but it would be nice to figure the log cabin out at some point.

the yarn was "weaving yarn," whatever that means, that i bought from my favorite local yarn store--it's harrisville designs new england shetland. it's a very rustic yarn, and it came in beautiful colors, so i thought i'd give it a try. it felt ok while weaving, but when i took the scarf off the loom, i was pretty sure i had just woven the itchiest, scratchiest piece of fabric ever. it felt like a burlap sack! i panicked, and prayed it would soften up after blocking. thankfully, it softened considerably, and developed a pretty nice drape as well. it's still not the softest thing ever, but definitely wearable. i think i will stick with my nice sock yarns for weaving from now on though!

that's it for now. i'm turning 30 this weekend, and i have to go finish making the lillet marshmallows that i'm making for my birthday picnic!

Friday, May 01, 2009

storm clouds are comin'

hello! it's really me this time! and i finally finished something! my non-knitting run is still going pretty strong...i'm knitting, just not very much. i think the tide is turning though...i hope so. i miss finishing things, and i have several nice things that are nearly done if i just got a little bit of inspiration.

i cast on for this project right after lolly posted pictures of her completed storm cloud shawlette, because i instantly knew that i wanted to use the alchemy temple yarn that i won last year in the knitters for obama raffle to make one of my own. i felt like it would be a really good match for the yarn, and would allow this variegated yarn to "behave" how i wanted...i always struggle with what to do with variegateds, because i often thing they muddy up a pattern and just look too busy knitted up (though they're so pretty in the skein!), but i thought it might work here.

this was just the easy, mindless knitting i needed! it knit up quickly over a week, and was soon off the needles. i really love this little shawl! the little ruffle is so sweet, and the colors look rich and peacock-ish. this one is going to be a gift, i think, but i will definitely be making another one for myself with a lingering skein of sundara sport merino. it's the perfect project for one or two skeins of really beautiful yarn.

pattern: storm cloud shawlette
yarn: alchemy temple, almost two skeins exactly
needles: size 8
mods: none!

i actually do have other finished things to show, but they are also gifts, so i probably need to wait until they arrive with the recipients before i show those off. soon though!

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Visit with Matthew (and Megan and Greta)

*edit* this is what i get for leaving myself logged into blogger when i go visit my brother, i guess. i was going to delete it, but i decided to leave it because it made me laugh, and because i've been so lazy about blogging lately. a fake post from someone else is better than no posts from me....right?!

This past weekend I drove to Vancouver to visit my brother Matthew, his wife Megan, and their new baby Greta! Greta is too cute. Megan was great. But what I was the most impressed with was how amazing my brother Matthew is. Not only is he handsome and fit, but he is so smart, caring, and insightful. I have decided that from now on, I will only knit for him. I am going to start a sweater for him now so that it will be ready for him when the fall comes. He's so great!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

confession time

i have a confession to make. with the exception of this evening, when i went to knit night, i haven't knit in a week! not even on the weekend! this just never happens. i'm either stuck or bored with all of my current projects, and what's more, i've been busy with things like yoga and gardening, and just hanging outside in the glorious sunshine we had this weekend. i don't think i've ever had a knitting rut like this before! hopefully it will all be over soon. in the mean time, i don't have much of interest to show here.

i can show the awesome package that jodi sent me last week, though. about a year ago, i signed up for jodi's pay-it-forward deal. the idea was that jodi would send me something in the next year, and in exchange, i would send something to three others, and so on and so on. well, i have another confession to make: i think my year is just about up and i haven't sent my packages off yet! all three are underway though. so kate, karen, and shannon? i'm sorry! just hold tight and i will get them to you very soon.

but let's not focus on my shortcomings...let's focus on the cool stuff jodi sent me! i got a beautiful, squishy spring scarf (which i have already worn tons, and my knitting group loved it!), some gorgeous alpaca/merino sock yarn from the plucky knitter, and some cute sheepy soap (which smells just like snowcake, from lush, one of my favorite soaps ever). and some tea, which is already gone, so i can't show you that. anyway, it was a lovely, lovely thing to receive last week, so thank you so much jodi.

that's all i got for now...hopefully i'll be back soon with something other than excuses!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

happy things

things that are putting a smile on my face these days:

  • the fact that i FINALLY got a p-patch (or community garden plot, for those not in seattle). i've been on the waiting list for two years now, and i finally, finally got a plot. at my first-choice garden, too, two blocks from my house. i've been lustily browsing through seed catalogs the past few days, planning and scheming for a bountiful garden this summer.
  • my knitting group's yarn swap that we had last weekend. i offloaded some odds and ends i didn't want anymore, and came home instead with a skein of handspun (love!), a cone of harrisville shetland wool, some vintage mohair/wool blend, some peace fleece, and a few other good things. new-to-me yarn! for free!
  • cherry blossoms in bloom on my street. though our winter was pretty mild this year, i have been craving spring more than usual. it's finally here!
  • this story.
  • this place. and another one opening soon in my own neighborhood!
  • and finally...these happy, crazy socks! i started these all the way back in july 2008, and they have been my background knitting project since then...the one i turn to when i'm in between projects, or when i just needed something easy. i finally pushed myself to just finish them, and though they are a little loud, they are certainly cheerful.

i wanted to use every last inch of this yarn, so these socks are pretty tall. i did calf-increases, but they are still a tiny bit snug--definitely still wearable. and i'm so pleased with my matchy stripes!

yarn: vesper wee skeins kit
needle: size 1.5, magic looped and knit two at a time (my first time trying this technique, but not my last!)
pattern: really, none. i knit these toe-up, and just kind of winged it. i referred to various online sources for how to do the short-row heel, but i don't remember what they were. i know, lame.

hope you're enjoying your spring (or fall, for those in the southern hemisphere)!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

you're a woman, you love to weave*

i can't believe i haven't blogged in almost a month! i just haven't felt like it lately, despite having quite a few little projects to blog about. but i'm back now, and i'll try to catch up!

i think i mentioned a while back that i bought a cricket loom. well, after a couple of false starts and frustrating hours trying to warp it, i finally figured things out. and i'm really enjoying it! i've made two scarves so far, and i've learned a ton. the learning curve with weaving seems to be pretty the end of my first scarf i felt really comfortable, and the second one looks miles better than the first. and it's so fast! each scarf took about five hours total, including warping up the loom. not bad!

here's the first one. it is, i believe, 'warp faced,' meaning my up-and-down yarn is longer looking than the weft, or side-to-side, yarn. or something like that. i used up some leftover sock yarn from my chevron scarf, two shades of socks that rock (farmhouse and watermelon tourmaline, if you're keeping track). i figured that those two crazy, disparate colorways looked nice in the chevron scarf, so it might work here too. one thing i love about weaving is how well it works with variegated yarns. i had kind of sworn off buying variegateds some time ago, because i hate pooling, but this has me reconsidering that policy. anyway, for a first project, i think it turned out pretty well. it's more of a scarflet though...i severely underestimated how long to make the warp!

and here is my second scarf! i'm calling it the arizona scarf, because the colors of this yarn really remind me of my home state. the yarn is hello yarn sock yarn, in the nymph colorway, and this skein of yarn is one of the reasons i decided to learn to weave. i just knew it would look really cool as a woven fabric, and i was right!

it looks like a sort of free-form plaid, doesn't it? this one also turned out a little short (i think i've figured out how to correctly calculate my warp length now though, so hopefully i'm done making stumpy scarves), but it's a MUCH more even weave, and my selvedges turned out pretty tidy. i'm so proud of this one!

weaving is so much fun, and i love that i can crank out a scarf in just a few hours. you will definitely be seeing more weaving from me in the future!

*i love this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

fruits of my labor has been an exhausting couple of weeks, culminating in an even more exhausting weekend. my brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby (i get to be an aunt!) in about six weeks, and i hosted one shower at my house for friends, and helped host a second shower for family members at my mom's house. two showers in one weekend--i think that is officially my limit! the above pink cookies were my first attempt at french macarons (well, actually third attempt. the first two batches failed!). these were cherry vanilla, and were a hit! i might be a little obsessed with these now.

before all the cleaning and baking, i first did some crafting for the baby. my main gift was an apple-themed baby quilt, which i hand quilted. the fabric was green and yellow apples on one side, and red and white polka dots on the back
. it turned out really cute, but alas, i didn't get a proper picture of it before i gifted it. have i mentioned that i hate quilting? i think i am officially retiring from it after this one, which i finished at midnight the night before the shower. i don't think i've felt that kind of relief in a loooooooong time.

to go with the apple quilt, though, i made a matching apple hat--a much more pleasant, and quick, experience. so cute! i love this hat (i kind of want a red one for myself!). you can also see the quilt in the background here.

pattern: apple of our eye
yarn: debblie bliss cashmerino aran, almost one whole ball of the light green, and just a tiny amount for the leave. i used some scrap brown yarn for the stem
needle: size six and size 8

i can't wait to see my little niece wearing this!

the baby showers weren't my only excitement this friend and i hit up target on friday for the release of the orla kiely collection. i had been eagerly awaiting this day more than i care to admit...and i may have bought a lot of stuff. this isn't all of what i bought, but isn't it cute! i'm a sucker for those pears.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

rubber hubby*

this winter, i've been cold. really, really cold! we've had less rain than normal, but the good thing about the rain and clouds here in seattle is that they kind of act like a blanket over the whole city. it's actually pretty nice. so less clouds, paired with no functioning heater in our bedroom, means that i get pretty chilly at night. my husband is no help...he always has freezing cold hands and feet, so he actually makes things worse. i decided that what i absolutely needed was a hot water bottle. requires no electricity, is easy to use, and will never, ever be mean and torture me with its cold perfect solution. and what does my new hot water bottle need but its own little sweater!

i found a free pattern on ravelry, and chose some pretty kool-aid dyed yarn that jenna gave me for my birthday two birthdays ago. i held the yarn double to achieve the called-for chunky yarn, but knew almost immediately that i was going to run out. i also immediately decided to make a lot of changes to the pattern, namely not doing a ribbon/eyelet at the top, and instead doing a button band at the bottom. i knit until i ran out of the pink stuff, then switched to a sort-of matching browny purple cascade 220, which is obviously lighter weight, but it didn't really matter, since i ended the cables with the pink and started up in seed stitch. i can't tell if it looks weird like that or not, but overall i am happy with the end result.

and guess what? this thing really does keep you warm! and wool feels so much nicer against the skin than rubber, so this is one project that is very useful and will be very much appreciated for winters to come.

*while working on this at knit night a week or so ago, amelia informed me that in australia, a hot water bottle is referred to as a rubber hubby. i found that kind of hilarious, so that's what i'll call it from now on too.

pattern: toasty hot water bottle cosy (links to PDF)
yarn: mystery sport-weight wool, dyed with grape kool-aid (and still faintly grape scented!), two skeins held double, plus about a quarter of a skein of cascade 220
needles: size 8
mods: omitted eyelet row, added a seed stitch button band, made six button holes at end, and did not close up the end with the three-needle bind-off as called for.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

blog, i missed you!

i'm back! i have a computer at home again, and can upload photos. i'm like a new woman. actually, it was kind of nice not having the computer at home, especially on weekends. whole days went by where i didn't check my email...and it was good! but still, i'm glad to have what my husband deemed the "fourth member of our family" back.

so...what did i do while i was gone? well, not much. i feel like i go through this phase every january where i'm just really overwhelmed by my desire to make EVERYTHING, all at once. i start tons of projects, and none of them really stick. i just want to finish something, finish everything. it doesn't work so well. so i'm plugging along on my garter yoke cardigan, which i haven't even posted a picture of yet. it's looking really beautiful, and i'm past the waist shaping, so it should be done fairly soon. i'm also working on some smaller projects, plus some deadline baby shower knitting and sewing. hopefully at least some of this stuff will be ready to show off soon.

but first...i absolutely had to make something from this book. i got it with some christmas money, and i immediately fell in love with pretty much every project in the book. i found a blank canvas bag at the thrift store, so the patchwork pocket bag got to be my first project from the book. and it turned out really, really cute, if i do say so myself.

it was a total pain to use the seam ripper to remove the canvas straps (and i stabbed myself once, and bled all over the bag. nice!). but the rest was a piece of cake...definitely my kind of sewing project. i made it one lazy sunday evening, and then hand stitched the pocket onto the bag the next evening. i used a lot of fabric scraps that i had lying around, so the actual out-of-pocket costs for this project was the dollar for the bag. not bad! i will definitely be making more things from this book.

back soon with some knitting! though...i should warn you...something arrived in the mail today to further distract me from my many works in progress. i got one of these!

Friday, January 02, 2009

12 months = 1 year

wow, it's 2009. i meant to post this yesterday, but our laptop broke, bringing 2009 in with a bit of a heavy sigh and an unintended trip to best buy, who assure us we should have our computer back in 2-3 weeks. that's a long time! so no pictures here, either. but nevermind, i'm sure we'll survive. afterall, what is work for if not to play around on the internet. the beginning of 2008, i made a list of goals for myself--things i hoped to try out, accomplish, or improve upon in the coming year. here's the
original list, and here's how i did!

1. i did take a spanish class, and was somewhat surprised to find that it was actually too easy for me. i took a conversational, speaking-focused class, and i realized that i haven't actually forgotten that much of my four years of high school spanish, at least the vocabulary.

2. i did bake bread in my new dutch oven. i also made stews, pot roast, and other yummy things. i love my dutch oven.

3. i just barely did read 30 books this year. nevermind that a couple were audio books, and a couple were graphic novels, but still. if i could rate it on goodreads, i counted it, and my final number was 30, with a 31st finished up yesterday, just a day too late.

4. i made jam three times this year. the first time was a complete, total failure. the second was technically better, but not great. the third time was a success. i think i've got this down now.

5. i got a book about preserving food, but didn't really progress much further than that.

6. i tried to grow some herbs...they all died. i blame the wimpy summer we had. and i am STILL on the waiting list for a community garden plot. it will be two years this spring that i've been waiting. maybe 2009 will be my lucky year.

7. my most exciting accomplishment...i got a REAL bed and a new, memory foam mattress. our mattress is no longer sitting on the floor. best money we spent all year.

8. i knit one sweater, and one little sweaterlet/shrug thingy.

9. major fail on this one. i barely broke out my sewing machine all year.

10. i creweled! and i loved it.

11. i also quilted. didn't love this quite as much, but at least i tried.

12. eat less sugar...hmm. i had mixed results with this one. i did really well at cutting out some of the sugar-loaded culprits in my diet for a while (hello, yogurt. you have a lot of sugar in you). but now i'm kind of back to where i was before. this is definitely something i want to work on again in 2009. oh sugar...why do you taste so good?

so...not 100% successful, but pretty good. i don't think i have too many goals for 2009, other than the sugar goal. i also want to learn to weave this year, and would like to use some of my stash that's been lingering for a while. other than that, i'm taking it easy on myself this year.

happy new year everyone!