WIP: slogging along

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Lovely lighting in my home around 5 pm yesterday… I finally spent some quality time with my blackberry cozy sweater.  I’ve been stuck on this sleeve since December, mostly because I refocused on a making christmas gifts.

First I knit a couple of inches and discovered that my new skein was visibly different.  So I ripped that out as well as a few inches of the body of the sweater.  I restarted the sleeve alternating rounds with the body yarn and the new skein.  The color has been fixed but around 4 inches in I realize that my gauge has changed (from 4.33 sts/inch to 4.5 sts/inch).  I decided to plod on anyway and cross my fingers that it will wash out.  Yesterday I finally made it through all of my decreases and a good bit of the ‘work plain’ portion of the sleeve.  Only today I count my stitches before starting my decreases for the ribbed cuff and discover my stitch count is off.  Now I’m very tempted to rip the whole sleeve and try again.  But I also really thought I’d be wearing this sweater by now and I’m not ready to stomach that sort of set back.

February 23, 2012. Tags: , , . Knitting. 2 comments.

Finished a while ago – baby gifts

Early this year I learned a friend was having a baby and shortly after learning this I saw cute freezer paper stenciled top by Tricia at Made by Me, Shared with You.  Math jokes are popular with my crowd and Tricia was kind enough to share here stencil with me so I didn’t have to go messing with fonts to get it just right.  And thus began the freezer paper stenciling plot, finding the right paint colors (not a great selection at Michael’s), grabbing a co-conspirator (and thus cutting the number of unique stencils I had to come up by 75% um, I just had a glass or two of wine, do not listen to my math right now).

I F.P.S two shirts and she F.P.S. two shirts and we shared all four paint colors (though we each had our definite palatte).  And of course I forgot to take photos of her shirts, oops.

The above mentioned shirt copy

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And then I traced a few butterflies from my Sublime Stitching book and made this (I used a tiny paint brush and free-handed the small swirly details)

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At some point I learned that there would be a baby shower so I decided that I needed to have more than two little infant  if-your-lucky-they-will-fit-in-it-more-than-once onesies so I made a small stack of flannel burb cloths.

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They are simply two rectangles (10″x16″) of coordinating flannel stitched right sides together (with rounded corners, I used a cd as a template), turned right side out and top-stitched. The first two are made of the top two fabrics and the second two are made of the bottom two fabrics. I’ve had conflicting reports from mama-friends of mine on the best size for burp cloths….

And finally I knit them a useless yet ridiculously cute stuffed owl.

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This owl is from a pattern written by Susan B Anderson, the queen of cute knit stuff for babies, and published in Knit Simple’s Holiday 2010 issue. I left off the feet and modified the irises of the eyes to be crocheted because I could not managed to knit a decent looking circle that size. I think I made 6 sets of irises before settling on the dark blue. This was also a very refreshing “screw gauge” knit.

October 21, 2011. Tags: , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 1 comment.

WIP Blackberry Cozy

When September hit I knew I wanted to start my long overdue second sweater.  I bought the yarn two summers ago and had the pattern picked out since 2007 (but then I reconsidered and decided to make Indigo Playmate instead, same designer, different pattern).  So I started swatching, of course the first swatch was off so I swatched again, did a bit of math and finally cast on September 21.  Two weeks later I was finally ready to divide my sleeves off of the cardigan.

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But then I realized that the v-neck, when worked according to pattern was incredibly shallow, and it didn’t follow what the pattern image showed (though it did follow the pattern diagram, I was swayed by the pattern image showing a deep, wide v-neck).  And so I snapped this photo right before I ripped the whole thing out.  Luckily I was at knit nite at my LYS and so I was able to use their ball winder to rip and re-cake the yarn in one step.

Since I was reknitting anyway, since my careful calculations weren’t working, I decided to follow my knitting gut.  The fabric I was creating with US 5 (yes 5 when the recommended needle was a 7 and I was still a smidge too big in gauge) felt a bit stiff so I decided to cast on with a US 6.  I figured that since I had picked the smaller size that would give me negative-ease as written (the next size up had too much positive ease) it would work out.  Oddly enough my gauge (pre-wash measurement) is now closer to pattern (and yarn ball band) than before.

And I did a little perusing of other v-neck, top-down raglan rates of increase for the neckline and decided to modify my cardigan to increase at a slower rate (every 6th row), thus creating a slightly deeper v-neck.  And now two weeks later, I’m ready to divide my sleeves and work on the body of the cardigan.  Which means my knitting looks exactly like it did two weeks ago in the picture above.

October 19, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting. 1 comment.

FO: Camp Scarf

Due to my self-imposed summer UFO challenge, I didn’t have a great car-knitting project. Every weekend, before we left the house for our weekend fun or errands (drive to the coast, farmer’s market) I’d get frustrated since I wasn’t loving my lace project or its needles. And once July rolled around I was itching to start a new project; I grabbed a single skein of yarn, some needles and added the pattern to my shiny (ipod Touch). Despite my “gauge doesn’t matter” decisions it wasn’t the right yarn-pattern fit so I ripped out that day’s work. And on July 4th I mashed together two, maybe three patterns (Textured Shawl Recipe, Simple yet Effective Shawl and Lacy Baktus) and started this scarf. I’ve made a couple design decisions I regret but it was a fun project and flew by with the large yarn and needles.  Then it languished waiting for blocking. It ended up a smidge smaller than I’d prefer, and I probably could have gone up another needle size or two for better draping.  But now I have a non-precious scarf to keep my neck warm around the campfire (next year). Gauge appears to be about 3″ per inch in stockinette after blocking, but there aren’t any large portions of stockinette for a really good measure. Ideally I would have ended this with a section of garter stitch but I ran out of yarn after the last yarn-over section and when I cast off I had just enough to weave-in my ends. I’m not sure if this yarn will prove to be too itchy for my neck and I suspect I might need to add a cute button to help keep it wrapped since it isn’t long enough to bring the ends back around my neck if I want to wear it “cowboy style”.

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Yarn: 1 skein of Stitch Nation Full o’ Sheep (Honeycomb)
Needles: Us 9 (harmony)
Size: hypotenuse measures 34.5″ after blocking, 14″ from center point to hypotenuse (was is that called?  geometry fail)

September 30, 2011. Tags: , . Knitting. 1 comment.

WIP: My Fall Challenge

The Collette Fall Challenge has been percolating in my brain, for far too long. I failed within the first week with my inability to create a mood board, I made and lost a color palatte, and then got frustrated because I’m in a bit of a fabric destash challenge (and even if I weren’t, I’ve seen very little fabric in the colors I’d prefer). I also did a little bit of virtual window shopping (collected in Pinterest) in an attempt to find some inspiration, but not a whole lot jumped out and triggered that “want to wear it” feeling. I made a second attempt on a color palatte, but it isn’t quite right, also I just realized that I fell into my old trap of picking colors that are all in the same value (ie no lights, no darks, but all medium intensity colors, convert my palatte to black and white and you could hardly tell they were 5 different colors).

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But then I thought about the things I’ve been meaning to make and how they kindasort fit my color palatte. And so I created this nice little outline of my intentions. I’ve yet to sew a thing but I am feeling more focused. And I put together this nice basket of fabric and patterns – everything else is stashed away in the garage (except some quilting stuff).  So I’m thinking of this as my fall challenge (summer was the UFO challenge).  And while my fabric doesn’t exactly match my ideal palatte, I think it will all fit nicely within my wardrobe (I have a mustard cardigan and a peacock/teal cardigan that fulfill those colors).

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Knitting: Indigo Playmate in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted in Blackberry (I’ve started this!)

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Sewing: Pintuck Skirt from Stitch Winter 2008 in grey cotton twill fabric (pattern has been traced, adjusted and traced again… it is cutting time)

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Sewing: Boat-neck, 3/4 sleeve knit top in raspberry mystery fiber knit fabric

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Sewing: Denim pencil skirt, most likely with Butterick in ages old dark denim fabric (IIRC it has a touch of spandex)

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Sewing: Dress in purple and white houndstooth fabric.  Most likely with Butterick 5277 view C (though the new Collette Peony is tempting)

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Sewing: Embelished bag in grey faux-suede fabric.  I scored this fabric (it is woven, but reminds me a lot of ultrasuede) from a thrift store several years ago.  I think I bought it inspired by a Blueprint spread on ultrasuede; and then I’ve plotted several bags.  Then I saw this flower adorned grey bag on Pintrest, and then saw a non-fringed version of the Amy Butler round hobo bag and I knew that was what I wanted to do (though if I found straps I liked U-Handbag’s pleated tote looks promising).

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Sewing: Blouse, but in which pattern? in this slinky poly I bought from JoAnn’s.  The colors aren’t quite right for my palatte, but I have the fabric and believe they will work with my closet overall.

And thus ends my fabric-pattern combinations.  I have a few more ideas and if I make good progress on culling the stash I will buy more fabric.

Sewing: a jade colored camisole to go under a sheer chiffon blouse I already own.  (Oh please don’t sell out of the fabric I’ve been eyeing before I get to this).

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Sewing: a shirtdress.  I have several possible patterns, but no fabric in mind yet.

And then there is that pinstripe brown fabric in the basket. It just doesn’t match much in my closet, I don’t, as a general rule wear brown, but it is definitely a fall fabric. So I might aim for a wearable muslin… not that wearable has worked for any of my muslin’s yet.

September 29, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting, Sewing, Thoughts. 2 comments.

FOF: knitting plus sewing

FOF=Finished Object Friday.  It is kind of sad when you can’t remember the last project you posted on your own blog; luckily the blog still exists even though I didn’t include it as part of my Summer of UFOs (unfinished objects).  But I did finish several things, which I will be slowly revealing on Fridays.  That is the plan anyway.

In May of 2010 I decided to make this cute pattern (Rav link), the Two Summer Sundress by Natalie Larson, involving a quick knit top and sewn skirt, to be exact I decided to make three of them.  I managed to finish two of the three tops last summer, but only finish one completely, which worked just fine since that little girl lives in the tropics, but once September hit I put the other two away since sundresses are no good in Nebraska falls, winters or springs.  But I tackled them and sent them off before this summer was over, thank goodness they are sized to fit for more than one year (though it is yet to be seen if they will fit the girls for a second summer due to my procrastination).

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The first completed Two Summer Dress.  The 18 moth size was made with one skein of Cascade Pima Tencel (a lovely soft yarn), dot fabric (Robert Kaufman IIRC) and some heart lace trim I’ve had around forever.  I finished the inside with ribbon per the original pattern, but I followed my own sewing-sense for the skirt construction.

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The second Two Summer Dress. Another 18 month size was made with one skein of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, a yard of quilting cotton (I’ve forgotten the line, I bought it summer of 2010 though), and I finished the hem with a fabric ruffle.  I made the ruffle 2x’s the skirt width.  I also used straight grain strips instead of ribbon to finish the inside.  I hand stitched the strips in place, but machine stitched the skirt to the bodice since I could hide that line of stitching between garter ridges.

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And the final Two Summer Dress.  This is the 8 year old size and it took 2 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Worsted, the skirt is made from a Robert Kaufman print I found at Jo-Ann’s at least 4 years ago, the inside is again finished with straight grain strips and the rick rack was picked up recently to finish the skirt.  The rick rack is larger than average, but not jumbo rick rack.  As you can see the straps look significantly longer than the 18 month size.  This is the bodice that required re-knitting since my first version ended up not following within pattern schematic measurements and the top originally would have fit me and I don’t fit in girls size 8 tops.  I found the back fastening on this bodice to be problematic.  I think the physical weight of the bodice was too much for the simple buttonholes and buttons so I added a hidden snap to hopefully mitigate gaping in back.

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I wish I could further explain my skirt modifications, but all I remember is this: 1) I attached the skirt to the bodice while it was flat and sewed the final back center seam just before hemming and 2) I followed the pattern’s finished measurements but not the sewing instructions.  A few more pictures are in my flickr account and perhaps a wee bit more information in my Ravelry Project Notes.  And while I enjoyed these projects overall I think I will probably try another knit bodice+sewn skirt=dress pattern that a knitting buddy told me about next time since that pattern uses raglan shaping for a pullover with little cap sleeves instead of long skinny garter stitch straps.  Though that will probably only make a one summer dress.

September 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 2 comments.

WIPW: dreading the ramen

I’ve put off this day for months and months.  Finally I sat down with a Mad Men DVD (season 2, disc 1) and picked out the seaming, took some “pre-wash” measurements on my humongous actual item sized gauge swatches, and frogged the front.  I left the back piece intact and plan on washing it to get a few ‘post-wash’ measurements for [hopefully] more accurate gauge information. Because I still want a simple purple tank top from this yarn.

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And well, looky here, it appears that I never blogged this project. I started Petrie (Rav project link) last summer, at the end of June and almost finished it at the end of August. It was seamed and mostly hemmed – I just had oodles of ends to weave in when I tried it on and realized I wouldn’t ever wear it. What happened? I don’t know. Clearly something is amiss in either my gauge or my math for the waist-shaping addition (of course the shoulders don’t fit either).

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March 16, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting. 3 comments.

WIPW: Hot Pink Spring

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March through June might mean grey skies for me but my knitting will be vibrant. Malabrigo Lace in Geranio plus the Springtime Bandit shawl pattern (Rav link). Technically this shawl pattern is meant for heavier yarn, but encouraged by a few successful similar finished projects on Ravelry I’m making a leap. Hopefully this won’t turn out tiny. I made it through the set-up chart no problem, but then I had a counting error. And then a few more counting errors (stitch count was fine, my ability to count it correctly is the problem) which means I’m going to need a boatload of stitch markers.

March 10, 2011. Tags: . Knitting. 2 comments.

finally, crossed off the list

I’m done I’m done I’m done.  I finally finished my French Press Slippers and am excited so you get an awful, artificially photo snapped at 10:30 pm.  Last Friday I picked up the second yarn (Cascade 220 Sport) in an attempt to find the right yellow trim and over the course of the week I’ve made a few different samples of trim.  The color isn’t quite as perfect of a match but the weight and plied construction is much much better.

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I finally decided on which trim (at the top is a ruffle trim that looked too much like toes, then a scallop trim that ended up being too big, and the pinwheel trim from the stitch dictionary at the back of Crochet Adorned, but only doing half of it for half circles) ultimately I decided on the half-circle pinwheels which look like smaller scallops. Today I hand stitched the trim to the underside of the flaps and then stitched the flaps onto the slippers. I also played with yellow versus peacock colored yarn to sew the flap and button on and settled on the peacock.

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It feels so good to have this project done.

February 25, 2011. Tags: , , . Knitting. 2 comments.

WIPW: the slippers I can’t quite finish

I actually forgot that these were a WIP (they are currently buried in the craft closet).  Back in November I decided to knit some house-slippers for travel house-shoes for myself.  I purchased the French Press Felted Slippers (Rav link) pattern despite my hesitation of all that seaming.  I cast on around thanksgiving and quickly got through most of the knitting, then I ran out of yarn while making the decorative straps.  Yarn I purchased back in January from a big box store.  Crap.  The whole point of these slippers is that strap and the button you attach to it.  So I bought more yarn, same color, but obviously not the same color-lot.  I crossed my fingers, hoped it wasn’t noticeable, and knit on, all 10 grams worth (1/10th of the skein, 1/10th of the skein that could have been hidden in the soles had I predicted this was going to happen). You know what is coming – the straps so do not match. The color mismatch screams at me from my feet in all but the darkest of lighting.

The slippers are wearable without the strap (I wore them over our christmas vacation, after a classic late-night felting foray mere hours before our plane took off, I packed the wet slippers in a ziplock and dried them next to my mom’s wood stove the following day) but really – that strap is why I bought the pattern. I bought buttons but I can’t quite bring myself to finish this project. It is in a state of flux. Do I add the strap and buttons? Which buttons (the $$ buttons or the $ buttons)? Do I come up with some new embellishment for the tops, maybe a bunch of flowers from Crochet Adorned (I bought some bright gold Full o’ Sheep yarn today for just this possibility)? I don’t know.

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February 9, 2011. Tags: . Knitting, Problems. 3 comments.

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