WIPW: Green Grandpa Cardigan

I started this cardigan for that knitting challenge knitters do during the Olympic Games. Except I barely watched the Olympics, started knitting a week late, etc. Anyway, I was planning on making the Baby Sophisticate cardigan pattern for a while, and this January the right yarn came into my hands – except it wasn’t the right yarn when I realized that I should make a 2T size. Since it was a simple pattern I decided to mash-up this pattern with another that had my gauge and sizing (not to mention I’ve made several top-down raglans, so I have the construction down – I just needed some assistance with sizing). I’m not entirely sure I’m on the mark for size but we shall see. I’ve done a little bit of work on this since the photo was taken – but I’m stuck waiting for the right buttons so I can make sure my buttonholes are the right size.

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Meanwhile I have finished two things, the granny circle stool cover and I finally hemmed a skirt that has been kicking around my sewing space unhemmed for at least 2 (make that 2 1/2) years. And I think I managed to clear my sewing/cutting table which is helping boost productivity (I hemmed the skirt and a pair of pj pants for a friend).

April 2, 2014. Tags: , . Knitting. 2 comments.

How many socks in a pair?

I have this horrible curse of knitting three heels every time I make a pair of socks. This go round I actually knit three whole socks to get a pair. But the good news is it only took me 6 months to knit a pair of socks instead of my usual 12 months.

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Pattern: Go With the Flow Socks by Evelyn A. Clark from Favorite Socks
warning: despite being a republished pattern my copy still had errata (the number of stitches for the heel – which meant, yup I knit four heels)
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Solids in white – the final two socks weigh in at 62 grams total.

I started these socks this spring after my mom requested handknit socks she could wear with her sneakers. Of course I did a gauge swatch and determined I needed to find a pattern that used 60 stitches around instead of 64. I actually started knitting Hedera first, but for the second time it wasn’t working for me, then I settled on this pattern. It has a super simple repeat (4 rows and 6 stitches). The first sock knit up quickly and I actually thought these could become a mother’s day gift. Ha.

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Can you see what went wrong? I hated knitting these socks with 4 dpns so after I finished the first sock I bought a new set of needles and cast on for the second sock. But it took forever for me to get ahold of another pair of 2.0 mm needles. I eventually settled on a set of KP Harmony dpns. Finally in July I kitchenered the second toe. I had been counting rows like crazy to make sure the socks would be the same size. One seemed a bit smaller, I counted again and my numbers matched so I figured it block out. I tried the socks on and then I knew there was no way these socks made a pair – one was significantly smaller than the other! It took me over two weeks to realize that the difference between Clover bamboo 2.0 mm dpns and KP Harmony 2.0 mm dpns were the culprit. And then I couldn’t find the Clover dpns, I had managed to loose them in my house, and none of the stores near me carried them. Eventually I found a pair across town. And eventually I knit the third sock. And it matched the first! (Also I learned if I’m monogamous with my knitting, and pick it up everyday I can knit a sock in less than a month.)

November 19, 2013. Tags: , . Knitting. 3 comments.

knit decisions

For the last month or so I’ve had the strong urge to buy yarn. I think I just have project fatigue, two projects out of sockweight yarn at the same time might not be the best idea for me. After fighting it for weeks I almost gave in – I found a cute pattern on Ravelry that called for 3 skeins of a yarn I know I’ve seen locally, I was hoping that my usual LYS carried it  – they didn’t. I almost bought something else that seemed appropriate but didn’t. I still have the 5 skeins from the last time I did that (and the yarn totally didn’t work for the pattern I picked). In fact I have yarn for at least 3 selfish projects just waiting (one from a failed and frogged project). So I started to focus my attention to new pattern possibilities.

Shiny pattern #1: Gemini from Knitty Spring + Summer 2012 issue (Rav link)

pros: I’m trying to add more casual (non-t-shirt) tops to my wardrobe, its new and exciting, upon first glance it feels like a more straight forward pattern and project

cons: I thought this was a pro, but on second look my yarn doesn’t seem like a good substitution for the pattern specified yarn

Shiny pattern #2: Miette by Andi Satterlund (Rav link)

pros: Cardigan, I love cardigans, 60 degree summer days need cardigans to bridge the gap between seasonal dressing and dressing for the weather. It has a wee bit of lace which I enjoy. I like the shape and slightly vintage feel.

cons: I have to modify the pattern for my gauge and size. Sometimes this is fun but sometimes this blows up in my face. (Gail has lots of posts on this, and it is her yellow version that makes me hopeful that I could get a cardigan out of my yardage). I worry I won’t have enough yarn. I worry that I can’t pull off a cropped cardigan anymore.

The yarn, GGH Linova (Rav link), I have 660 yards in my stash in a light purple. Originally I made it into Petrie but despite a huge gauge swatch (washed and blocked), and copious amounts of math to add waist shaping I somehow made a top that was far too big for me – plus I didn’t like the drape of the cowl neck with the turned hem edge treatment.

I guess the next obvious step is to just make a new gauge swatch since I probably shouldn’t trust my swatch from 2010 (if I even find my swatch notes).

June 21, 2013. Tags: , . Knitting. 2 comments.

Weekending with Yarn

A few months into 2013 and I realized that one of my goals is to take more classes, jump on more opportunities (like visiting every shop on the Rose City Yarn Crawl even if I do it solo). So when I learned that Sock Summit was no more  (so so so glad I managed to experience the first Sock Summit) I stopped waffling about the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival and jumped on the class I had been eyeing.

We started the Saturday off our usual way, muffins, tea and ‘tubing (as we have call browsing online). Those muffins, btw, were delicious – I have a standard muffin recipe that I have memorized, but I tried a new recipe that involved folding about 2/3 cup of jam into the batter and baking at a lower temperature for a longer time. They turned out delicious if a bit sticky, with pockets of jam getting all caramelized near the edges.

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I drove to Hood River on Saturday to take Carson Demer’s Ergonomics for Knitters class and experience a little bit of the CGFF. Because I was running a bit later than I wanted (muffins, internet…) I didn’t really have time to stop anywhere on the way there, I arrived about 25 minutes before my class which was just enough time to check-in, find the classroom and find a spot to eat my lunch. Then class, our classroom had a view of the Columbia River. Finally after class I went to the marketplace. Now, the CGFF has a lot of classes geared towards spinners and so the marketplace also is geared towards spinners. But there was also a good amount of handspun and/or hand-dyed yarn to purchase. The second booth I walked to I spotted what I wanted, but I was good and waited until I went around the entire marketplace. Then I was back in Lavender Sheep’s booth evaluating every fingering weight skein of the Mountain Sunset color that I could find. I settled on her Superwash Merino Wool sock yarn but was mighty tempted by a couple lace weights – I’m just not ready to go back to laceweight yet. And I totally forgot to go back to the BarMaids booth for a new travel size lo lo bar, luckily several shops in town carry that (but the booth at events always has the best scent selection). I don’t think I’ve managed to capture the color of this yarn in the dozen or so photos I snapped, so this will have to do.

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And I headed home. I wish I had been a passenger so I could snap some photos of the drive, because it is such a pretty drive even when you stick to the interstate. But I did make a 2 minute stop on the way home at Multnomah Falls, because how could I not? I snapped this (things I take photos of too often: my dog, moss on trees and waterfalls).

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April 26, 2013. Tags: . Knitting, Life. Leave a comment.

Rose City Yarn Crawl late recap

I wavered on whether or not I should do the yarn crawl. I spent most of last year on a yarn “diet”, trying to not buy yarn; but truthfully I still haven’t knit-down my stash to my satisfaction (frogging projects doesn’t help matters). But then that Thursday afternoon I thought, “I have the time now, so why not?”. I went and took some money out of the ATM with a goal of only spending that cash. I had a few things in mind that I was looking for (a few patterns I’ve been eyeing, a very specific skein of yarn). Due to my last minute decision this was a solo project.  Being solo was one of the reasons I was hesitant, 18 yarn shops, a few on the perimeters of the metro area (in my eye anyway), it felt a little bit wasteful. Also, the first year I just went to a couple shops, and while I am decidedly an introvert, I still find it hard to do solo events when I am surrounded by groups of buddies. But I rallied my spirits, swallowed my pride and did it by myself.

I’m so glad I did. I visited shops that I wouldn’t have (even though sometimes I do go on epic yarn-hunts in the city searching for that perfect yarn for a project). And having some gorgeous nearly 60 degree and sunny weather didn’t hurt either. I visited all 18 shops, spread out over all four days (I also managed to go to PMQG’s all-day sew on Saturday too). And I splurged a little bit, but really I didn’t go very far over my initial budget. I got things I had been looking for (sock yarn, shawl pin) and things I had not (yarn, and my  perennial weakness, buttons). I made mental notes of many yarns that I want to try…eventually. I feel like I have better sense of different shops strengths & weaknesses. I got to hold a two-week old lamb!

I am sad to say, however I didn’t get any good shots of places/things that aren’t yarn-related (like the very cool leaning abandoned house in the country, darn you rain + truck following me or the bridge in Oregon City). The haul:

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Impulse yarn: Malabrigo Rastita in Indiecita. Planned yarn: Cascade Heritage Sock in White. Nifty notions from Hiya Hiya: pretty colored tapestry needles with bent tips (my fav tip) and interesting bulb shaped safety pins. A Shawl Pin. Vintage buttons. A fat quarter (I wonder how many yarn crawlers bought fabric). Patterns (it turns out I just got the patterns that were designed specifically for the crawl).

One of the things that attracted me to this particularly skein of Indiecita was the blends of blues and aquas. I knew from a past purchase of that colorway that it could vary quite a bit, and I wasn’t sure I’d find that combination again (or when). I never thought I’d fall for such a variegated yarn. Take a look (the shawl is knit out of malabrigo sock, but still):

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March 25, 2013. Tags: , , . Knitting, Life. 5 comments.

Project stall

I thought Rosie the bear was going to be a quick knit. By yardage it is, but I’ve stumbled and stalled a few times on this project. Missing my deadline didn’t help (though if my SIL doesn’t say anything I doubt my niece will notice I got her first birthday present to her rather late).

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I ended up ripping out half the head and reknitting it. I stopped to experiment with different increase and decrease methods, because for some reason I couldn’t keep them straight in my head and couldn’t bring myself to trust my trusted reference sources. My bear head is so much the better for my patience regarding this shaping.

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And now I’m over the hump, both arms are done, Rosie just needs some end weaving, stuffing and eyes/nose/mouth embroidery. Hopefully I didn’t jinx myself with the word just.

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March 19, 2013. Tags: . Knitting. Leave a comment.

One Pan Blondies (and yarn)

A couple weeks ago I had a hankering for some blondies. I have a few different recipes (Vanilla Garlic, Smitten Kitchen that I go to regularly, well as regularly as I make blondies) but I had also bookmarked this recipe, and that day it caught my eye because you only need one pan. A 10″ cast iron skillet (how awesome are 10″ cast iron skillets?). I did end up using a second pan to toast my pecans, but if I had decided on nuts ahead of time I could have done that before I melted the butter.  Oh, and the other joy of blondies, it is a cookie you can make from frozen butter (I generally have a couple pounds of butter in the freezer) and it is so very adaptable to mix-ins. Since I didn’t quite follow theKitchn recipe I’m going to write out my version.

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Blondies riffed from theKitchn Skillet Blondies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted, lightly chopped pecans (or your favorite nut)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup candied* or crystallized ginger, chopped (aim for chocolate chip size)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Toast your nuts in the cast iron skillet in the oven. This takes around 5 minutes depending on the nut, shake a few times, sniff often. Remove the nuts from the pan and set the pan on the stove-top. Add your stick of butter and let it melt. Once it is melted add the brown sugar and stir (until dissolved says the recipe, mine never dissolved so I just made sure it was well mixed). While that happens grab everything else and chop or measure as needed. Pour and scrap the butter-sugar mixture into a bowl, let it cool a little bit before add the egg and vanilla extract. Add your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, espresso powder) and stir together. Mix in your mix-ins. The chocolate chips will probably melt a little bit. Pour back into the cast iron skillet, you will probably need to press it down a little bit to make sure the batter is an even thickness. Bake around 20-25 minutes. Let it cool before slicing.

* I’m partial to a Trader Joe’s product called “Uncrystallized Candied Ginger” and it’s generally sold along side their dried fruits (when they stock it at all, which sadly they don’t).

I already have plans for tweaking the next batch, but one thing that is definitely staying is the candied ginger, every bite I got with a bit of ginger was so awesome (admittedly, I am a ginger-aholic – but it didn’t scream ginger to me, just a nice warmth and zing) I sliced it into 12 or 16 wedges and only had a few leftover (the picture above is the morning after baking).

What about that yarn? Well I brought these to what is normally my knit night, though that evening my LYS was hosting a yarn tasting of Shibui yarn. We got to check out sample garments and play with mini skeins of 7 different Shibui yarns. One of the sweaters caused me to exclaim, “I want to swim in a bathtub full of this!” it was so luscious and soft and drapey. I didn’t get very far on my own swatches and so I’m still quite a bit undecided about exactly what combination I want to work with the most (or what project) but I think that Silk Cloud will probably be in that mix.

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This photo below gives a slightly better representation of the three mixes I swatched so far.

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I started with Staccato, then Staccato + Silk Cloud and then Silk Cloud + Cima.

March 19, 2013. Tags: , . baking, Knitting. 2 comments.

WIP Wednesday: Rosie

I’m making my niece a stuffed bear. This pattern has been on my list for a while, originally I was going to use some stash yarn, but I worried about gauge and the yarn is very pale, not good for a bear that will hopefully be loved a lot.

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I snapped this photo last weekend, now I’m onto the bear’s head. I’ve stumbled a few times, questioning the way the pattern is written (which is fine, I just wanted to do things a little differently, and due to the magic of Ravelry I was able to confirm with the pattern designer that I wouldn’t screw it up making those changes). I wish I had done a provisional cast-on, but I hadn’t. However in stockinette you can un-work the cast-on (or snip a stitch and un-work a row), then put the newly liberated live stitches on your needles and proceed. I’ve heard that un-working the cast-on can be horribly tedious, so I tested it out. Not easy, but not too bad over the course of a couple easy to follow tv shows. I did a test run before diving in on my work, because while you can always frog and re-knit I’m on a timeline.

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Testing with a 20 stitch tube instead of something 3 times that. If you look closely you might notice that the live stitches are not quite lined up – what constitutes a column of knit stitches changes depending on which edge you look at – that is ok for stockinette.

February 20, 2013. Tags: , . Knitting. Leave a comment.

The Good Stuff

I did finish things last year, and yes, I never expect a period of time where I won’t have WIP or be dreaming up new projects. Hopefully this year I’ll be better about photographing the progress (and the finished objects, I’ve spent the last few days gathering and photographing things).

I finished my spring garden quilt and it was in a quilt show!
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I made pants. I find this so amazing I must say it again, I made pants – honest to goodness trousers with a front fly and a blind hem and they fit me.  Honestly I think sewing up the muslin and having help with the fitting (I took a class for the pants) possibly took less time than I sometimes spend shopping for a pair that fits.
And then my photo was a total bust, no worries I’m making another pair.

I made a bag for my featherweight sewing machine. I was told that since I have an original case I should baby it and not carry it by the handle if possible.
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I made a cute little zipped boxed bag to store knitting projects.
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I made a cute little drawstring bag to wrap a christmas present.

I made a carseat cover for my SIL (and niece).
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I made a chart keeper for my knitting.
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I made a tote bag and zipper pouch as part of a gift (I also made a second unlined tote bag).
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I made this fabulous small ironing station with storage.
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I finally finished this pillow (it started out as a rectangular mini-quilt).
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I finished my Quilt Club Block-of-the-month quilt top (and the back, now I just need to sandwich, quilt and bind it).
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And according to my Ravelry project page I finished the following things:

I made my sister a darling headband with cute crochet flower.
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A keyhole scarf for my nephew.
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A ribbed & buttoned neckwarmer.

A darling February Baby Sweater (and it fits my nieces!).
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A zig-zag (stranded colorwork) hat.
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The Aviatrix hat*, it’s been on my to-make list forever and I used scrap yarn!
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A pair of ankle socks.
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Two Baby Bibs*
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A Gretel Hat* (which will be frogged significantly or entirely)
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A Farm Hat*
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A cozy cardigan* (which I then decided to redo, but for today’s sake I’m counting it).
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*Yeah, these weren’t done in the official sense (end weaving, button sewing, that sort of thing) but I’m counting them anyway, some of them need to be re-done in some manner and so they managed to make both my WIP list and my  FO list.

January 13, 2013. Tags: . Knitting, quilting, Sewing, Thoughts. 4 comments.

Looking back

It is that time of year where the various craft blogs I follow post beautiful photo grids of all the things they have completed in 2012.  All I can think of it what I didn’t complete.

  • My Blackberry Cozy Sweater (it was done, but I had to, had to rip it for wearability sake).
  • My mom’s christmas gift, a hat & scarf, though in my defense I essentially completed the hat only to decide the whole thing must be frogged, again.
  • My nephew’s hat, again, I completed it (ie finished knitting), on NYE, but it looks too small and I’m seriously considering frogging that hat too.
  • My Backyard Baby quilt kit, I bought this semi-impuslively at Sew Expo, worked on it almost exclusively during sew days and am so close, I could have finished it during the last sew day of the year but I choose to work on something else, oh yeah, a bag to carry my featherweight.
  • My sprockets pillow (top is done).
  • My quilt club quilt top is just a top, not a finished quilt.
  • Basically all of the quilts that I planned to make in 2012, I need to check the list, but I’m not sure I actually started any of them either.
  • The christmas table runner (and bonus pot holder from the scraps) from a kit I received last christmas – I should have assembled it quilt as you go style, but I wasn’t thinking ahead on that at all.
  • The grey skirt I started back in fall 2011 (basically I need to seamrip it back to pattern pieces and reassemble if there is any hope at all of me wearing it).
  • The yellow skirt I cut out in November (never mind when I bought the pattern and fabric for it).
  • And I almost forgot, the improv charity quilt on my design wall.

The number of yarn projects I manage to complete this year is lower than any other year, never mind having photos for a quarter of them.

…And I’ve been sitting on this post for nearly a week, waiting to pull photos off my camera. Nevermind, photoless post it is.

January 8, 2013. Knitting, Sewing, Thoughts. 3 comments.

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