Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gore Place

This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous for the annual Gore Place Festival. It is always a fun festival with it's combination of history and fiber, and the weather completely accommodated this year.

There were adorable lambs.

And of course full grown sheep and llamas for shearing demonstrations.

I also loved these tiny little heritage breed chickens.

The whole day was really great. I got some kettle corn, but I didn't buy any yarn or fiber (still destashing). I also got to meet-up with a bunch of Ravelers for a couple of hours. It was great to meet many of these people for the first time face-to-face, though I did recognize a few friendly faces. By the end of the day I was sort of over-tired and sun-burnt, but I am so glad that I went.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tofutsies Anklets

I had just over half a skein leftover from my Reversai. I had started these as a simple on the go project that would use up these leftovers. They were actually done by Round 4 except for kitchenering the toes. They are done now just in time for the warmer weather. (It was 85*F/30*C a few days ago! We seemed to have gone straight from winter to summer, bypassing spring altogether.)

Yarn: Tofutsies in "Foot the Bill"
Needles: US 0 / 2.0 mm
Pattern: 68 st sock w/ eye of the partridge heel

This yarn is not my favorite to work with. It is more than a little splity and fairly inelastic, but the stockinette fabric it produces is simply lovely.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Something Yellow

I did make it through Round 4, though only by the skin of my teeth. I was the last of the 24 who will continue on to Round 5 (though of course everyone is encouraged to knit all the patterns).

Yarn: Patons Kroy Socks in mellow yellow (discontinued color)
Needle: US 1 / 2.25 mm
Pattern: Something's Shady (Round 4 Sock Madness)

I really enjoyed the leaf pattern, and the toe, in particular, was quite elegant. I was definitely hampered by the cable pattern on the back of the leg though. (Sorry I have no photos of mine, but you can see a great one of the stitch pattern here.)

I am not sure about how I want to dye these, and I think I will mull it over for a few days. I am not sure if I would rather go with red and orange for fall or shades of green for spring. As I am not crazy about the yellow though, I think I will probably over-dye all of it with graduations of the over-dyed colors.

I think Salvbard isn't quite sure if he should be pleased or disappointed that I completed this round. I am not going to stress about making the next round though. Although I didn't expect to say it, honestly, I am sick of socks for the moment. All I can think of is knitting are baby garments. I have been fantasizing about Baby Surprise Jackets and other adorable baby knits... Hmm I have a few days until round 5, maybe I will go cast something on.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Patriots Day & SM2 Round 4

Monday morning we got our Round 4 pattern for Sock Madness. I started the ribbing, and then Chiquita and I headed out to enjoy the Monday off. When we got off the bus to go to the post-office and looked both ways to cross the street, we saw something completely unexpected.

It was a man on a horse shouting that the British were coming!

Since Chiquita is home on school break, I am afraid my progress on the socks has been stop and go. We have been just doing a lot of stuff, and even with squeezing in more day-light knitting hours than I usually do I have spent a lot of time simply not knitting.

Here is my progress as of lunch time today. Chiquita announced that I should "KNIT KNIT KNIT!" after lunch. She even gave me a little foam sticker mascot to help me knit. (See him on my hand? He is even color coordinated.)

My grandmother alway told me as a child that my hands were my best feature. As such I find this an amusing self-portrait. (Love ya grandma! And thanks Chiquita for taking the photo.)

I am knitting these in some stashed Patons Kroy Socks in an eye-searing color that is ironically named "mellow yellow". I don't have a lot of solids in my stash though, and of them it was both light enough to over-dye and a color I didn't mind sacrificing.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

MDK & a Sunshiny Bib

I really can not imagine a world without libraries. I have been an avid fan of the library since I was little. It probably didn't hurt that my grandmother had been a librarian and had her living-room done with full wall built-in bookshelves. I adore being surrounded by books, but for the pocket-conscious you can not go wrong with the public library.

So when Chiquita and I went recently, I picked up a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting. I have heard so much about this book, but my glance over it in a bookstore didn't convince me that it was one I necessarily needed to own. Thus the library copy was the perfect solution.

This book was a cute read, and I enjoyed the back and forth between the authors that is also so evident on their blog. I could see too how it might be liberating to have the discussion about knitted items just for use rather than just "heirloom" items. As you might be able to see from my blog however, I do not have such a hang-up. I am glad to have read it, but I don't know that the patterns are ones that I would knit often. I did make one simple item though:

Pattern: Baby Bib O' Love
Pattern Source: Mason-Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria
Yarn Source: Somerville Yarn Swap

This yarn was in the bag of partials at the Somerville Yarn Swap, and I am really happy to have had a chance to work with it. It is so soft and such a happy color that I knew immediately that I wanted to make a baby item with it. Plus, cotton is so wonderfully washable!

I found the instructions to be clear, though the pattern is also fairly straight-forward anyways. This will be going in my box of baby items for the numerous babies that are due to arrive this year.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WIPping through Wednesday

It occurs to me that although I have been posting, I have not exactly been verbose recently. Sorry about that. Life has been pretty crazy with research type stuff, and I haven't had much energy to do more than post photos with links and lists of modifications. Things are not so bad that I don't have time to craft, especially since a lot of that time is carved out of "wasted" time (such as on the bus, waiting for school dismissal, or standing in line).

For better or worse that sort of stolen crafting time really is best suited to knitting, and as a result my other crafts have suffered a bit. I would like to say that they will return this summer, but I guess that will depend on the progress of my thesis.

What is on the needles you ask? Well, three projects off and on, but only one of them to any significant degree. The bulky sweater is too cumbersome to travel with me for the most part, and the Latvian child's mitten is too complex if I don't have time to sit with it.

The remaining project is a simple pair of socks made from the leftover Tofutsies from the Reversai. Unfortunately this picture completely lies about the progress on them though. Not long after the half-way decent light went away for the evening I discovered that they were to small for Chiquita, the intended recipient, so they have been ripped out and started again. C'est la vie. Good thing I just find the knitting soothing.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Birthday Poncho

With Chiquita's birthday coming up, I asked her what she might like me to make for her. She didn't even pause for thought: a poncho. Really... a poncho? Are you sure?

So I sat down and worked out the details with her. It should be in blue, purple, light green, and pink ("not a light pink"). There would be black trim. And it should be crocheted, not knit. Ravelry to the rescue! We looked at many patterns, and she selected one. Then she picked out some colors, and we were off and running.

Pattern: 89-6 Crocheted Poncho with blossom by DROPS design
Size: 8/10 years
Yarn: Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids in Country Rose, Light Mint, Medium Purple, Turqua, Black & Lion Brand Pound of Love in Denim
Hook: I/5.50mm

This still needs a run in the dryer to soften up the acrylics and give them more drape, but Chiquita wouldn't wait to give it a test run. I am just relieved that it seems to have exceeded her expectations. You never know with little ones.

I think my favorite detail about this pattern is actually the rose pin. It seems like a fabulous little girl accessory, and I definitely could see myself making more without necessarily making the poncho. Since it is a separate piece, Chiquita has already been planning on what else to wear it with.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gryffindor Striped Socks

Round three of Sock Madness completed! Onward to round four.

When I had originally bought the yarn for these socks, I was hoping that we would do them early in the competition so that they would still fall under the Project Spectrum's "fire" months. Oh well, but by the time I had finished the legs they looked un-mistakenly Gryffindor to me.

Pattern: Slippin 'Stripin' Socks
Yarn: Knit Picks Shadow in Campfire and Sunset
Needles: US Size 2/2.75 mm (Thanks again Patonga!)
Method: 2@once magic-loop

This yarn is the closest that I have come to purchasing yarn for Sock Madness, as I used Ravelry to swap for the orange. Otherwise though I have been doing pretty well with working from stash. Yay! And since it was double stranded, these used more than 900 yards of stashed lace weight alone!

I love the premise of this sock, and I hear that the pattern will be available for free soon after Sock Madness. (Would those of you not affiliated be interested in me posting when these patterns become available?) I think that the average sock-knitter with at least a few pairs under their belt would be able to take the concept of double stranding lace weight in alternate strand combinations to make a great sock though.

This particular pattern had a lot of areas that I found a wee bit confusing , especially regarding the heel. I also got the stripe sequence "wrong" though ultimately that ended up being unimportant and resulted only from my own poor reading of the stripe instructions.

Due to the number of rows required in the foot for the competition these are way too long for me, which is sort of funny given that I knit really tightly and have a relatively high row gauge. A little bird has told me that there is a Gryffindor I know with appropriately sized feet though, so I will mail these out in the next few days as a surprise.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Charlie Bag

I am a huge fan of reusable grocery bags. I use them all the time, and my Chico bag is always on my carabiner. How cool then to find a great sewing pattern to make something similar for free, no less!
open Charlie bag

Pattern: Charlie bag (download here with instructions here)
Fabric: random remnant upholstery fabric, navy stripes on white
Fabric Supplier: Fabric Corner

folded up Charlie bag

Modifications: I added an extra seam at the bottom of the bag for additional strength and hemmed the curved edges for the handles.

I really liked the look of this pattern. If I were to make this pattern again (which I probably will) I would make all of the curved edges with a turned hem from the start, which would give a neater appearance or do a full lining as mentioned in the last step of the instructions. (Note: obviously you would need more fabric.)

Also if I were to use a heavy weight fabric like this again, which I really like for strength, I would make the pouch a little longer, with (more importantly) a longer flap.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sampler Afghan Complete

Wow I can't believe that I have been working on this project for this long. I started this blanket in May of last year with the Craft Daisies Learn to Crochet Lessons. At that point I knew the basics of crochet, but through those lessons I was able to pick up several techniques that I hadn't used before. By the time the class finished, most people had a lap-sized afghan, though I knew that I wanted something a little larger.

When the weather got hot though, I abandoned it for a little while. When the weather started getting nice again, I knew that it was time to finish this project, before it got delayed again.

Yarn: Lion Brand Pound of Love in 110 Denim (blue) & Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids in light grey
Pattern: Craft Daisies Learn to Crochet Afghan

The finished size is just a little small for a twin bed (shown above). The final result is not perfect, but I am just so glad to have it done that I don't entirely mind.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Black Man-Socks

Given that the weather seems to be acknowledging the approach of spring, it is inevitable that I would be finishing these self-declared winter socks. I kitchenered the toes over Falathwen's house yesterday, where Chiquita and I had a lovely time visiting with her family.

Despite their current lack of usefulness, these socks are just in time for Salvbard's birthday. Fortunately he is a man who is more than happy to receive hand-knit socks as a birthday present. I guess he will just have to put them away to use next year.

Pattern: Gentleman's Plain Winter Sock with Dutch Heel by Nancy Bush
Pattern Source: Knitting Vintage Socks
Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm
Yarn: Lang Yarns Super Soxx
Yarn Supplier: Stoff bei Stoff in Lübeck

This yarn was souvenir yarn from our visit in Lübeck, Germany. Only love could convince me to keep knitting these fingering-weight solid black socks, though the interesting construction helped too.

The wide toe went over well, but I think that these will have to be worn for a while to get the final verdict on the Dutch heel. His initial impression is "different, but still good." I have to admit the detail that cracked me up is the faux back seam. (To accent his shapely calves?)

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Friday, April 04, 2008


Round 2 Sock Madness socks, check.

Pattern: Reversai
Yarn: SWRC Tofutsies
Needles: US Size 0/2.00 mm

The premise of these socks is really interesting. They are completely reversible, and look the same inside or right-side out. Since I was knitting them in a cotton-blend yarn I opted for the slightly shorter cuff, and for a pair of US Women's size 7 socks I went to row 24 on the foot. I think that the garter stitch toes, heels and soles would make these great for children's socks though, since they are very stretchy lengthwise, and would accommodate growth well.

Due to the large number of stitches around, I went with a fine fingering weight yarn, but that might not be a great idea if you were as much as a size 8, at least with my gauge. If I were doing these not for competition I would probably want to do my swatch in double seed stitch rather than stockinette, which I would highly recommend to other knitters as to avoid tears later.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Blueberry Skirt

I am going to start of with the fact that although my sister is an amazing quilter and seamstress, sewing has never been my forte. I have played with it off and on, and I have done several projects with guidance. So this project was a major first for me.

At the Fabric Corner the other day, my favorite nearby source for buttons, I saw this lovely fabric by the cutting counter/register. It has blueberries of varying degrees of ripeness, leaves and bell-like blueberry flowers. Cute, but I don't do enough sewing to get more fabric.

Chiquita, who was with me, happened to look at it too and asked, "Mom, could you make me a long skirt out of that?" Well let's see. I have never made a garment ever. I hadn't used my new sewing machine at all, even to test tension. So sure!

Pattern: McCall's 2129
Fabric: Robert Kaufman "Fruit Basket" Blueberries on Ivory
Fabric Supplier: the Fabric Corner

You knew there had to be some right? I made the size 4, which gave me 3 inches in the hem. As I hope to let this skirt out as she grows this was important. (Note for later curiosity: length = 27") I completely changed the shape/size of the darts as Chiquita does not yet have a need for the same hourglass shaping to account for hips. Also I plan on adding a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Owl Ahoy

Squee! A wonderful package was dropped off by owl yesterday while I was out from my HSS3 pal. Thank you so much Patonga Pinkstone!

I love how carefully and beautifully she did her presentation. Chiquita has already claimed all of the tissue paper and ribbons for an art project.

And look at these contents! The yarn is dyed by Crazy4Dyeing and is so perfectly squishy and soft. I have never worked with this dyer's yarn before, but I am greatly looking forward to it. Her soft graduations of green and silver in this Slytherin colorway are simply lovely.

I am pretty excited about working with the KP Harmony circulars too. I have one set of the DPNs, and have found in the last month or so that they are the only wooden needles I have enjoyed working with. I think it is the sharp points and slick laminated surface. Since I generally knit my socks on circulars these are just perfect!

There were lots of other goodies in there. Chiquita already claimed a chocolate frog and the enclosed card. Among all of the wonderful items in there I was especially stuck by the snitch cards. I love the clean, simple lines of them and just generally find them incredibly striking.

And of course we can't forget the stunning socks that she knit me. I am not certain of the yarn she used, but they are quite comfortable. (I wore them all yesterday.) Aren't they beautiful?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Smores Sweater

I am frantically knitting away on my Sock Madness Round 2 socks, but in the meantime here is a recent FO that I sewed the buttons on yesterday. This is yet another gift for a baby boy born to Salvbard's coworkers recently. Between the shoulder buttons (for ease of getting on and off) and the cotton blend yarn (for ease of washing) I hope this is a sweater that will see a fair bit of use.

The yarn was one I bought at Mind's Eye Yarn's Sock Madness last year. I love the colors of this, which are both boy-friendly and remind me of smores. Salvbard, stick-in-the-mud that he is, says they remind him of the desert.

Pattern: Baby Sweater by Sandi Rosner
Pattern Source: Not Just Socks
Size: 1 year
Needle: US 2 / 2.75 mm
Yarn: Regia Cotton Surf Color (~87g) in color 5420
Yarn Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns

Looking at several of these finished garments in Ravelry, I was really struck that the rolled edge, followed by ribbing before the stitch pattern seemed to give this garment sloppy undulating edges. So I skipped the rolled edges completely starting right with the ribbing instead careful to make the ribbing to line up with the stitch pattern (unclear in pattern), which I think combine to give it a much neater appearance.

Also I knit the sleeves shoulder down and in the round both due to my distaste for seaming and because I think decreases on sleeves tend to look neater than increases. This required more math, but ultimately was the same as if I had done them as directed.

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