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.

MMM’13 Days 1-5

Yikes, this is getting tough. I really hope I don’t repeat the same 5-7 outfits. This morning (day 5) while getting dressed I realized, due to the warm weather (seasonal anomaly) I had to pick between 2 skirts and 1 pair of pants. Knitted woolen items are not going to work when it is 80+ degrees. Also, I re-found these timely Already Pretty posts: How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 1How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 2How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 3. But since I found these tips on day 5 and am dealing with the self-timer function 90% of the time (ok more like 85.7%). Day one was a bit disastrous as I couldn’t find my camera or the piece that holds my camera to my tripod (nope not together, that would be too easy) so I used my phone camera (thank goodness it has that dual front/rear camera thing going) – except I’m pretty bad at it, we are lucky you didn’t catch my finger pulling way from the button. Day two I decided to take on Patty the Snug Bug’s (who has dropped off the face of sewing blogging) and vaguely Wonder Woman-ish pose. It feels pretty good. And I started distracting myself with Dog who was curious about what I was doing.

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I have one skirt and one pair of pants that I haven’t worn yet (plus another wool cardigan but that won’t work with our current forecast). And I still need to finish two skirts (hems, argh) and have two tops that are in process (cut out, partially together). That should help. I’m hoping something I make will soon become a TNT pattern but so far nada.

May 5, 2013. Tags: , , , . Me Made May. 4 comments.

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.

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.

Keep Calm and Knit On

Well, I am managing the knitting part, but frustration sometimes replaces calm.  After the christmas crafting, all I could think about were my planned projects that I hadn’t even gotten around to starting.  And so I cast on for TheHusband’s hat, the one where I bought yarn back in September…

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All it needed was to thread the tail through the final few loops. The fit was fabulous but those colors weren’t quite what I was hoping for and TheHusband admitted the same. What can I say, I’m naive in the ways of Noro. I started digging through Ravelry, checking out all the other projects done in potential self-striping colorways, I dug through my stash to see if I could find enough coordinating colors to make my own stripes up, and then the most recent Classic Elite Newsletter dropped in my email box with Dave’s Montero Set (Rav link). Hmmm…, TheHusband approved and so a week after my little almost finished shimmy, I ripped and re-wound the yarn down to the ribbing. Once I rewound the Noro, the colors enchanted me once again (damn you Noro). But this time I had a better sense of the color variation and started knitting again from what was formerly the center of the ball – a lovely vivid green.
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Thus far it is looking good, time will tell as I add in that funky brown color coming up next. But still all is not calm in my knittingverse. To keep good on my selfish-knitting promise I cast on for a hat I’ve been plotting for myself (since…September).

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I am making Nancy Ricci’s Sally Hat (pattern link is a Rav link) out of Malabrigo Worsted. Of course, this yarn does not get gauge when I knit it at the drapiness level appropriate for a hat originally designed for dk weight alpaca-merino blend. Math to the rescue! Knitting math is generally pretty easy and straightforward (really – it is) and worked out perfectly when I knit a version for my sister. This time around I have been thwarted at the decreases – which I totally forgot to figure out when I sat down and crunched the numbers before casting on. Also – my nemesis – counting. I either forgot or miscounted during my increase row. And now I’ve started decreasing twice, only to tink a couple rows, knit and tink again. This morning I was thinking about it and I might have a solution. If I’m right I will be wearing this hat by Sunday night. If I’m wrong – yet more knitting with no progress.

January 29, 2011. Tags: , , , . Knitting. Leave a comment.

too long or too short

I’ve been plugging away at the long swaths of stockinette on sassymetrical (actually they aren’t that bad, I’m just not cut out for vast amounts of anything it seems) by working on it while at knit night or watching tv.  I’m on my 4th ball of yarn so I think I’m in the home stretch (I’m either going to need 4 or 5 balls).  But now I’m at the dangerous point where I want to be done and am loosing perspective on what the right length should be in the body.  This happened to me with my February Lady Sweater, I even cast-off the sleeves, only to go back and add about an inch to each sleeve.  How did knitters get stereotyped as patient?  Surely, I’m not the only one who has this issue (I don’t have a sweater similar in style, weight and cut, otherwise I’d just measure it).

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So, tell me what you think, how much longer should the body be?  I think it hits at the smallest part of my waist right now.  I’ve checked out the projects in Ravelry and some are quite cropped and others were knit to fall a few inches below the waist.  I think I do want this to be on the shorter side, but not ultra cropped.  The sleeve stitches are on holders too, but I’ll figure that out when I get to them (or come asking y’all again).

January 20, 2010. Tags: , . Knitting, Problems. 4 comments.

Socks in just under a year

According to my Ravelry project page I started these Charade Socks in August 2007.  Yikes.  That said, socks are my whenever-on-going-travel project and so do not get high priority in the knitting queue most of the time.  And I had to knit about 2.3 socks to get 2 socks (I had to rip out 3 to 4" of the first sock because it was too small and dense).  Also, I am very happy to learn that when I mostly knit on a sock it only takes me about 1 month, I cast on sock number two on June 19 and managed to get a measly 2 inches (if that) done during my six hour flight.  Anyway, I plugged away, knitting just a few rows a day here and there.  Last weekend when we went camping I was just starting the gusset and somehow during those 4 days managed to knit up to the toe.  Wow!  I actually needed to tink back 6 rows due to knot believing I'd get anywhere near that much knit and not bringing the needed info (sock #1 foot length and the toe shaping instructions).  So I finished up the toe earlier this week and just wove in my ends today.

 I hate weaving in ends.  I'm also pretty crappy at doing so, but muddled through it.  I do have to say it was a lot easier when I stopped using the large blue plastic tapestry needle and started using the smaller, bent tip Chibi needle. For some reason sock #2's stitch pattern has a lot more definition than sock #1.  Hopefully it will even out once I wash and wear them.

Details
pattern: Charade
needles: 5" size 2 dpns (the 5" needles are great, except when all the gusset stitches have been picked up)
yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Wool (46% bamboo, 43% wool, 11% nylon) in color 9628 Periwinkle – 2 balls

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July 28, 2008. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

FO: Retro Redux Shrug

All done.  I skimped out on a couple things since I was knitting on a deadline.  I started knitting this on February 20th with the intentions of wearing it to a friend's wedding on March 15th.  I finished the shrug on the second leg of my flight to the wedding locale on March 13th and then weaved in the ends from the last ball of yarn at the hotel that night.  I maintain my general rate of no more than 1 ball of yarn per week (blargh).

Stats: Retro Redux Shrug from Lace Style; 3 entire balls of Karabella Aurora 8 yarn; Bryspun needles in size 8, 9, 10 and 10 1/2 (oh and a 2x" bamboo needle in size 8 for the collar); long tail cast-on and basic cast-off (I think there was a better choice but I ran out of research time); I downsized the pattern in wing-span length but not cast-on numbers.

I'm pretty happy with it, though I think it stretches a wee bit much over my shoulders making them feel unnecessarily wide and while it didn't keep me quite warm enough in the very cold room where the ceremony took place, I got quite warm while dancing at the reception and by the end of the night it started to fall off one of my shoulders.  I loved knitting with Aurora.  I plan on wearing the shrug again as soon as it gets warm enough (dratted cold weather) and while I have lots of knitting on my to do list I would be interested in knitting this pattern again.  It was dead easy to follow, though I would have liked more guidance on the right cast-on & cast-off choices.  I struggled and worried about the fit as well.  I ended up taking away like 4 inches from the smallest size wingspan (distributing those 4 inches between the various sections) which was a very good idea for me otherwise the cuffs would have been below my elbows (of course there is the excessive stretching across the shoulders…).

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April 22, 2008. Tags: , , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.

Sheldon is done

I just realized that this is my first finished object of the year.  Wow.  I'm totally slacking.  Well, my first knit finished object, I've sewn a few things.

So check out TurtleButt!


He has a body and clothes and legs and everything.  I sewed the last two legs on at my knit night last night.  Leave it to wanting oohs and ahhs over a cute knitted toy to get my project finished.  Tonight I plan on dragging TheHusband to the bookstore to buy some board books for my nephew then we can pack up and send the birthday present.

I knit Sheldon with the recommended yarn, Knitpicks Shine Sport, but with slight color tweaks using green apple (his body) and butter (his shell) instead of grass and green apple.  Additionally you can see that I decided to make his bottom shell the same color as his top shell and use the turtle body color for the contrast color.  I knit this on US 3 needles because I didn't own any size 4 dpns at the time.  Despite the 5 or 6 page printed pattern it wasn't difficult, you just need to be comfortable with dpns, increases and decreases (or be ready to learn increases and decreases), and it didn't take too much knitting time.  I started knitting around February 2 and had all the pieces done by February 17 my problem is that is didn't work on it consistently but took multi-day long breaks.

What I will do differently next time:

  • stuff his body in intervals as it was no fun to stuff his boy through the tiny neck opening
  • stuff his shell even less
  • leave longer tails after the cast-off of the legs to use for sewing
  • leave a slightly bigger neck opening
  • follow the pattern's advice regarding the i-cord
  • I'd also like to learn a better way to seam the beginning of the i-cord to the end of the i-cord

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February 28, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Thoughts. 1 comment.

progress, finished, started

Sheldon the turtle butt now has a neck, head, eyes, legs and shell.  I'm currently in the middle of doing the attached i-cord to put the shell together, then I will stuff and sew on his legs.  I missed my own personal deadline, but luckily my nephew probably won't notice (or remember if my SIL cooperates) that his first birthday present didn't arrive on his birthday.

Saturday evening I finally hand-stitched the binding onto the oven mitts and finished my first project almost completely done on my sewing machine.  I was really happy that I decided to stitch the quilting lines about 2 inches apart on the oven mitts because all that quilting, even on a machine, got old fast.  And I had to pull out the old machine to sew the binding on since the diameter of the babylock's free-arm was just a bit too big for the oven mitts' opening.  But the project is done and ready to be packed up and shipped off to my mom.  I hope the insul-bright batting works effectively.  The potholder pattern is from Amy Butler's In Stitches book and I traced my favorite oven mitt for the oven mitt pattern.  Originally I was hoping for two matching oven mitts but didn't have enough fabric.  I bought 1/2 yard of each fabric seen and that was basically just enough, I have 2 bias binding strips leftover, 2 triangles from either side of cutting the bias binding and a few pieces of quilted scraps from the oven mitts.

Potholder frontspotholder backsOven mitt

Last night I did my second gauge swatch for my first shrug.  I'm doing the Retro Redux Shrug from Lace Style in Karabella Aurora 8 merino.  I'm having a few issues with size (and maybe gauge) so I've started on the math and diagraming to figure out what to do about it.  Hopefully by the end of the night I will have cast-on for this project.

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February 21, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Thoughts. 3 comments.

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