Monday, October 13, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Until the end of August. A dear friend of mine emailed me and asked if I would be able to knit shrugs for three bridesmaids for a wedding in November. I wasn't sure about it, but I agreed. Yarn was purchased, and a pattern was determined.
This is the yarn, Webs Merino Tencel in the Grape Jelly colorway. I'm using it double stranded for an almost-worsted yet still lacy gauge. The knitting goes pretty quickly, but I'm going to have to fiddle a bit with the finishing to make sure it fits their needs.
The only problem? I am halfway done with the shrugs (finishing not included) and have less than three weeks left. Hmm! I know where I'll be during this time!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
The yarn for this is great, though -- it's Elann Sonata in a burnt orange color. It's a deep, rich color and it shows off the texture pattern very well.
This is the Josephine Top by Deborah Newton (in last summer's Interweave Knits). I'm not the only person knitting this pattern, or even in this color. I'm happy with the pattern and am now almost finished with it, except I have a problem: I might not have enough yarn. I'm carefully reorganizing the order in which I do the finishing steps (the neckline, the cap sleeves, the bottom edging) to make sure I have enough. Then all it will need is a good wash, and I may be able to wear it before the warm weather disappears completely. I also think that this pattern will look good as a layer, so it might get even more use before next summer.
So, soon this will be officially off the needles, and I will only have two things on the needles. But also 3 projects that are only half complete (Laila's Socks, Mom's mittens, and one more sock) so there are many unfinished ends. It's kind of hectic.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
You cut the strips into various widths (the smallest one there in the center is 3/4" wide) and rip one of the seems forming the tube.
Above: A block and a half. Do you see the penny for scale? I love the tiny, itty bitty pieces.
Six blocks sewn together equals this:
This is the way it will be oriented when it is finished.
Now, I'm not intended on making a full quilt with batting for a table. I'm going to layer this top with another one (more on that later) and use a layer of flannel in the middle. It's going to serve more of a decorative function than anything else, and no -- the table is not in a place that receives a huge amount of sunlight that will bleach out all of these beautiful reds too quickly. It's still a departure from tradition, but I'm enjoying it.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Enter Laila's Socks. This pattern must have been knit close to 1000 times already. (Or so it seems. I just checked on Ravelry and there are only 47 projects.) It's a great colorwork pattern for socks because you don't need to carry the second color of yarn with you around each of the rows. I decided a long time ago that they would be my first attempt at socks with a fair isle pattern.
I like the way the sock has the looks of colorwork without being double thick. One of my other concerns about the pattern and stranded socks in general was that they might not fit in any of my shoes. That isn't even a concern with this pattern, as most of the rows are knit single-stranded.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I'm not sure if I'm sold on knitting with cotton. The summer sweaters are so heavy that I don't get much use from them; they also are difficult for me to wash without a washing machine. I will be knitting some more of them, but I can't wait to get back to knitting with wool! And it's that time of year.
Pattern: Sleeveless Tuxedo Shirt, Interweave Knits Summer 2007
Yarn: Knitting Fever Intermezzo DK, 4 balls
Completed: July, 2008
Modifications: Knit 8 rows of garter stitch at the bottom of the sweater to prevent the reverse stockinette from rolling inward.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
It's a good thing I had so much time to mull this project over, because sometime between purchasing the fabrics and sewing the intial blocks I reread the book Sensational Sashiko. I had looked at it when I first purchased it, even before I made any quilts, and have browsed through it occasionally. Never before did I notice the technique for quilting blocks separately and then joining them together using sashing. I made a test scrap using the instructions in the book and it worked out -- the batting nestled together and it all looked proper.
The problem was, what would I do for the second side? I needed blocks that were the same size, and I could do something a little scrappier. I also wanted something that could keep a child's interest as he or she grew up. So I decided to make tic-tac-toe blocks using scraps of fat quarters and fabrics I already had. I quilted each of the squares, paying close attention to the orders of the blocks -- not only did I have to match up the right front and back blocks together, but I also wanted to get the orientation right. Each block was quilted with parallel lines 1" apart. I wanted to quilting lines to indicate that each square was quilted individually (and also to avoid mismatching lines through the sashing), so I arranged the quilting lines vertically in every other block and horizontally in the rest.
After each block was quilted, I assembled all of the blocks and put the border on the quilt. There was a lot of hand sewing for this part, as each of the white sashing strips needed to be sewn down by hand and I also sewed the binding by hand.
I labeled the quilt on the back with Baby's name and birthday, packed it up, made a tag and mailed it off, and they love it. Each of them has their favorite squares, and baby boy is doing well.
Pattern: My own
Fabric: from Repro Depot and Joann Fabrics, various designers including Alexander Henry, Eric Carle, Denise Schmidt and others.
Finished: September 9, 2008
Contents: 100% Cotton
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My computer hard drive crashed, and the photo-editing software needed to be reloaded. Since we take raw images, we needed the software for the images to be read, and it took a while. I'm sorry.
In the meantime, something big happened in my family.
It was a crazy weekend: two cakes, four loaves of bread and three full meals. No knitting, sewing or quilting, but plenty of baking. These cakes are made by scratch with nothing more than flour, eggs, sugar and the basics. Including the frosting.
Yes, 100. That's my grandmother. I'm holding the second cake that's on its way to the table in a blur. Happy 100th birthday, grandma!
(Oh, and my grandma's best friend, who made the trip across the country to be with her, said that my pie crust was as good as hers. That's one of the best compliments I've ever heard in my entire life, given that I have been hearing about her own talents in the kitchen since I can remember.)
Up next: reorganization, quilts and socks.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This is Harrisville Cashmere Blend, and is a marvelous yarn to work with. I'm so happy with the smooth stitches. This mitten isn't even finished, much less blocked, and my stitches look fairly even. I had some other colorwork experiences recently that did not go so smoothly, alas.
I was sidetracked by a busy summer and craziness, and so I have not gone back to the second mitten. As I recall, the hand of the first one did not take too long, but the cuff -- and especially the fringe -- were rather painful. I'll finish it up, though, hopefully in time for Christmas!
Friday, August 22, 2008
I did modifly the pattern after my experience with the Flying Geese quilt. I think most of these quilts were made in strips, but I knew my strips wouldn't be even because I still have not perfected the 1/4" seam allowance. Instead, I chose to make this pattern into a block that was 4" x 6". Each block has a 4 x 4" white square on the bottom and on the top a 2 x 2" color square and a 2 x 2" white square. This allowed me to check my measurements for accuracy and square up the blocks before I joined them. It might not have been necessary, but I enjoyed doing it this way.
I still haven't figured out how to quilt straight lines -- but I kind of like the wobbles. I'm enjoying them right now, and I'll branch out later. The back is a lovely Kaffe Fassett print surrounded by the front border print. I bought both of them on reprodepot.com, and did not intend for them to go together. Then, when I put them together they worked well, and the border gave the front of the quilt just the right amount of unity.
Friday, August 15, 2008
At the Corning Museum of Glass I discovered I enjoy glass-blowing. They have workshops where you get to blow your own glass. (To be fair and provide full disclosure, you get to choose the colors and blow into the glass rod, but the museum workers do the majority of the work). We had to get our ornaments shipped to us, and I was so happy when I opened mine up.
I'm lucky enough to live in an area where I can take glass-blowing classes. Hopefully there will be one in my not-so-distant future.
On San Juan Island outside of Seattle I found a basketweaving kit. A friend called and as we were talking, she asked me what I was doing. "Basketweaving," I responded. I think it's pretty funny that she didn't question it at all.
This was a great kit, and it was affordable, also. They supply to national parks, museums and historical reenactment sites. I'll be keeping my eyes open for some more.
And, of course, some knitting. I haven't been knitting as much as I had been, what with all of the distractions. I do have a lot more to show, though!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
This is Wordle, which I borrowed from Lolly. It's called Me, and I did it here.
I have not forgotten about the blog. I'm still around, and I've been keeping myself busy. I haven't taken any pictures recently, and am about to disappear again, but I'll keep you posted!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
This is the Frock Camisole, out of Elann Adara in Fern. I love the pattern, especially the way the shaping around the neck creates a lovely curve. Unfortunately, I had been paying too much attention to my sewing patterns, and added a few inches around the hips, since I am a size or two larger there. I also did not wash my gauge swatch before I made this decision. So, not surprisingly, the completed Frock Camisole is far too wide. This will be easily remedied, as I have run into this problem before. Normally, I do not advocate machine stitching knit fabric, but in order to alter a garment without ripping the whole thing out seems like a reason to change it.
Here's what I plan to do, just as soon as I am near a full-length mirror and a sewing machine in the same place:
1) Sew sideseams into the Frock Camisole using mattress stitch. (It is knit in the round.)
2) Try it on and make sure it fits appropriately. Perhaps even wash it to make sure it doesn't grow anymore.
3) Zigzag stitch outside of the mattress stitching. Densely.
4) Stitch in a straight line between stitches on the outer edge of the zigzag.
5) Cut just to the outside of the straight stitching
6) Zigzag the edges one more time
7) Repeat steps 3-6 for the other 3 sideseams
I'm actually wearing Isabella today, and just took a peek at the side seams I chopped off. The stitching is holding fast, and I think it will last a considerable amount of time. I think the tradeoff -- finishing not quite up to snuff but a wearable garment -- is worthwhile. I know some people may disagree, but I don't want to knit the same pattern twice....
Monday, June 2, 2008
I also finished up my portable project:
These are the Candy Socks. They are knit on 66 stitches, and the only thing that makes them remarkable in the least are the heels. Can you identify which heel is the Dutch heel and which one is the regular heel-flap heel? That's right -- it turns out that when I was knitting the second sock (on the right) I forgot how one does the short rows to get a nice trapezoid on the bottom of the heel. So that sock turned out with a Dutch heel. Both socks fit, so I'm not too concerned about their fraternal nature.
Socks, on 66 stitches. Rib is 2x1.
Yarn: Knit Picks fingering, dyed by me in January
This is a simple stockinette swatch for my next project. Actually the first half of the project is off the needles, and the second half is not yet cast on. The yarn is cotton and so it shows every glitch. Usually on my reverse-stockinette sides I row out, and you can see the gaps. This time I didn't, at least not that much. I love this yarn! It makes a fabric that is truly smooth and sleek. It's Intermezzo DK.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The raglan increases at the shoulders. I love Cat Bordhi's method of doing left- and right-increases from New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I use them all the time now, because they turn out so neatly.
I saw one project on Ravelry that had a button on either side of the closure and a tab across it like a military jacket. I decided to adapt that look, and made large i-cord tabs with delicate buttons.
I'm very happy with how it all came out. It was hard to tell whether the lace was right when I was knitting it up. I did stop a little bit earlier than I thought, because I knew the cotton (and lace) would grow and lengthen. Now it hits me perfectly at the hip. I would give you more information, but I don't remember any of it. I think I used size 3 needles, but I'm not really sure.
I've begun spinning some more, but more importantly, I made my first project with my handspun! I ended up with a lot of yarn left over, so there may even be a second project in the future with it!
This is Cat Bordhi's Moebius Cowl. I found it on Ravelry, and got to fiddle with the Moebius cast on. It's unbelievable how you knit both sides at once.
I love the way the colors change so gradually. It's much more subdued than I anticipated when I spun the yarn. It's just too bad that the weather is getting warm enough that I barely need to bring a jacket with me, much less a wool cowl!
And lastly, I bring you something not crafting-related:
This is another project I have been working on, with five other people. I wrote about a third of the top book in the past two months. It's what has been sucking up my time, especially when a colleague and I had to edit and format the entire two-part document into 450 pages of useful text. Now it's done and in the final form, and I'm proud!