Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Livin' Is Easy

Happy!  :o)
Summer is my favorite season.  Even though we now live in a tropical-ish hot and humid clime, my enthusiasm for summer has not diminished in the least.  And while summer has not officially arrived, summer weather is definitely here on the Gulf Coast.  No more hauling the hanging plants in, then out, then in again.  No more having to pull sweaters back out of my packed winter clothing.  The grill is back in commission and my knitting for summer has taken over.  Yay!

<--  I finished my Aurelia and I just love it!  Wore it this weekend.  The bamboo really is comfortable for warmer weather and it feels nice too.  Very happy with this pattern, this yarn, and this project.  Not so much with the picture.  I don't know why there are weird swirlies in it.  They are not on the garment.  I blame pixels.  My luck with pictures continues...

What I’m not happy with is this:
Not Happy!  :o(

As you can see, I’ve completed one of the Honey Badger socks I’ve been making with some Colinette Jitterbug yarn I had left from my Ashton Shawlette. The yarn was great for the shawlette.  For socks?  I’m so not lovin’ it.  SO not.  There’s no stretch.  I can barely get this thing over my foot, my toes are squished (even though I went as long as my measurements said I should for the length), and the ankle is baggy.  I’m not sure if the problem is entirely the yarn or if the pattern plays into it as well – although the pattern is so cute.  It surely couldn’t be my knitting, could it?   Don’t tell me.  I don’t want to know.  Bottom line is, I probably won’t knit the mate.  I’m not certain that I have enough yarn left anyway.  Perhaps I’ll just sew eyes on the thing and make a sock puppet.  And then I’ll put on a show…

My next summer project is the Regatta Tee from the latest Interweave Knits mag.  I’m using bamboo from my stash once again and if you don’t count how many times I had to tink back a row (or 5 - uh…twice) because I forgot to do the decreases, it’s going very well.  

I have two or three other summer tops in my queue that I’d like to do this year.  But then there’s this…

Deanne from my LYS recently reminded us all that now would be a good time to plan our Christmas knitting.  This is a very valid point for me, especially after my race against the Christmas clock last year.  But…but…

SUMMER.  JUST.  GOT.  HERE.   *sigh*

I’ll start next month, Deanne, really I will.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Cute As A Button

I’ve found my next obsession passionate interest – buttons.  This is actually awesome considering that every knitter at one time or another is going to need buttons for something.  Which I did.  And now I’m hooked.  On buttons.  Don’t tell The Husband.  He shouldn’t really complain.  They’re actually fairly cheap.

Seeing as how we don’t have a great button place locally, I previously mentioned that I found the perfect place to order buttons – Etsy.  *Side note – I am addicted to Etsy.*  I originally browsed for buttons to use with my two baby cardis for the twins that are due next month.  I found the absolute perfect ones for the boy cardi, but ordered a few possibilities for the girl cardi, as I didn’t have anything strike me immediately that gave me that internal “Eureka!” like I had with the boy cardi.  I’m still waiting on a few that I hope will be there today.  Here is what I got so far:

Aren’t they adorable?  The little paw buttons will be what I use for the baby boy cardi.  I thought I might like the daisies on the girl cardi, but after putting them together, not liking it so much.  The birds I just ordered on a lark (see what I did there?) and the little house button (one of two) was just too cute to pass up.  All the ones I just mentioned came from Firefly Cabin on Etsy.  The ones I’m waiting on are from them also, but the second order was an afterthought (read:  I found more adorable buttons a day or three after I’d placed the first order). 

The other buttons in the photo are both from Bohemian Findings on Etsy and I just stumbled across them while poking around.  I can totally see me using the polka dot buttons for something in the future and when I saw the white and turquoise buttons, I knew they would be perfect for the little dress I was making for Baby C.  I gave the dress to her mommy yesterday and promptly realized that Baby C. is outgrowing stuff before I’ve even knit it!  After her mommy tried it on her, I asked for it back in order to extend the little straps so she could actually wear it for longer than, like, yesterday. 

The dress pattern is Super Simple Baby Tunic by Little Gunn and I used some acrylic Lion Brand Pound of Love I had on hand, since I’m trying to use my stash instead of spending more money right now (which would lead to deep distress on The Husband’s part, and marital doom on mine).  I have now confirmed the acrylic is great for baby blankets but for garments I am NOT feeling the love.  Sure, it’s machine washable and it doesn’t even feel bad but it just doesn’t behave well.  I couldn't get the bottom to lay down even though I garter stitched a few rows.  Meh...

Oh, and don’t you just love the flower?!  I found the pattern on Ravelry (where else?).  I looked for knitted flowers since I’m dangerously ineffective with a crochet hook and while these were designed to be attached to hair pins, it worked out marvelously well to dress up the little tunic.  The pattern is Daisy Hair Accessory by Amanda Berry.  So cute and so easy to make.

Since we’re on the subject of buttons, my blogger friend Kristie over at Journey North of 49 recently posted some pictures of a particularly adorable baby sweater she knit.  The sweater was sporting some ridiculously cute bee buttons which I immediately coveted.  They really add a perfect touch to an already beautiful little sweater.  My covetous tendencies aside, if you’ve never checked out Kristie’s blog, you should do so immediately.  You’ll be happy you did.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday (for once)

For many crafty bloggers, Wednesday is WIP (Work In Progress) day.  Being the rebel that I am, I have never actually posted a WIP Wednesday entry, but since I’m feeling agreeable today (read:  I actually have time to write and have some stuff in the works and it happens to be Wednesday), I’m cheerfully titling this post appropriately.  The fact that I’m able to write anything at all today is a miracle.  My allergies have been incredibly bad this year and today I feel like Popeye because there is a large, disgusting glob of goo just sitting in my left sinus cavity, making my head feel lopsided and causing my left eye to water.  Joy and rapture.

But I digress…

I’m moving along on both the project for Baby C (which I’ll not post a pic of just yet) and Aurelia which is pictured here:

The Baby Bamboo yarn is soft and nice to work with.  The down side is that I’ve found knots in the skeins (which are only 105 yards per skein) and have had to cut them out after unsuccessfully trying to knit through to see if the knot would hang to the back of the fabric.  It didn’t. 

I cast on another pair of socks – yay!  These are called Honey Badger and I’m using what’s left over from my Ashton shawlette of the Jitterbug yarn in the color Whirley Fig.  I have only a partial skein left, but I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll have enough for both socks since I didn’t use very much of it on the shawl.  I may start the heel flap earlier than called for just to be sure.

Here’s a debut picture of my never-ending WIP:

This is a scarf I started almost a year ago that I have kept in my purse in order to always have something easy to grab and knit.  The yarn is Patons Lace Sequin and the pattern is called Claire.  I don’t pull it out very often, as you can see from the lack of length.  I may actually finish it one day.  Maybe.

I managed to make it to The French Knot yesterday for a little while.  It was the first time I’d been there since I finished my lace shawl.  Lady L. put on her superhero cape and showed me how to fix the gaping hole in it which was actually a completely dropped stitch and would have eventually left me with a lovely run in the thing (Leona rocks, I tell ya).

Before and After

And finally, do you remember the yarn that I picked up from Gynx Yarns in the colorway that I was absolutely crazy for?  I have still been contemplating what to make out of it and I had an idea but wanted to see exactly how it would knit up, so I did a small swatch of it:

I LOVE this yarn.  I loved it before I swatched it.  Now I love it even more.  :D  The swatch confirmed what I had in the back of my mind.  I think I’ll do up a basic vest.  Maybe I’ll even try my hand at designing my own (no sleeves – HAS to be a plus for designing, right?).  Since I live in the South, vests are a nice alternative to sweaters, plus I hope it will leave me with enough to do a pair of socks.  Woot!  I do, however, reserve the right to change my mind…

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 P.S. – My friend Deidre from my LYS has entered the Duck Dynasty Camo Cameo contest with an awesome needlepoint canvas she designed and stitched herself of the DD crew.  Should you be so inclined, I know she’d appreciate your vote which you can do on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good Monday Morning!

Hello Monday!

Yes, I know that’s way too cheerful for many of you but, sick as you may think it, I love Monday mornings.  I’m not behind on anything yet, and there’s a fresh new week to embark on.   The Husband and my daughter are off to work, and the house is quiet except for the dishwasher running and the occasional bark I hear from the back yard (Tigger barking at dirt again, no doubt).  I’m also on my second cup of coffee, which just makes everything better.

Yesterday, I finished the Athos socks and they are actually both the same size (hurray!) and came out really well.  I’ll be gifting them this coming weekend, so I’m ahead of schedule for once.  The second sock would have been a breeze to knit since I’d already done one, but have you ever had those moments when the fact that you’ve done something before works against you?  For instance, because I’d just completed one, I got on a roll and assumed a couple of times that I remembered what came next so I barreled through and several rows later I realized I’d skipped an integral part which lead to much frustration and tinking.  Lesson learned.  The hard way.  That’s just how I roll.

I had no trouble deciding what to cast on next, as I’ve had Aurelia in my queue for quite a while now.  There’s something about its simplicity and nautical feel that I am really drawn to.  Plus, I already have yarn in my stash – I’m trying really hard to be good and not purchase any new yarn for a while (read:  I’m saving up for the fiber festival at the end of the month).  I’m using Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo for this project.  I know it’s a baby yarn but it’s soft and bamboo is supposed to be good for summer, plus I got a slew of it on sale several months ago at The French Knot.  So why knot?  Er…not?

I also ordered the buttons for the Hello Baby Cardigans that I knit for the coming twins.  Not sure when they’ll come in (the buttons – not the twins), but the cardis are complete except for that finishing touch.  I have another baby project lined up for Baby C and will cast on for that probably this week.  It was a real boon that I found the perfect buttons for it while shopping for the cardi buttons.  I’m a little nervous about the pattern because I may have to make some adjustments.  The original pattern calls for it to be knitted flat and seamed.  But I’m all about not seaming if I don’t have to.  The designer gives a few sparse instructions for doing it in the round, but hasn’t covered all the bases so we’ll see how it goes.

I also still have (dare I say it) a lace project that I cast on a while ago but since I have no deadline, I haven’t worked on it for a while.  I’ve completed precisely one row.  But it was a very, very, good row…with beads even!  Every time I look at the Summer Blooms Shawl, I get happy.  I’m determined that mine will look as good as the one in the pattern photo.  Well, minus the gorgeous model. 

And speaking of happy, after looking through the Summer 2013 issue of Interweave Knits last week I’ve added several patterns from it to my queue, including the Regatta Tee by Olga Casey (I must be on a nautical kick).  I’ll be casting on for this as soon as I finish Aurelia.

In the midst of all this, I’ve got three skeins of sock yarn just waiting to be made into socks.

I remember when I used to knit one project at a time.  Those days are definitely GONE. 

And so am I... 

Happy Monday!

What is the largest number of projects you’ve had going at once?  What’s on your needles or in your queue? 

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sock It To Me!

It’s a sock!  It’s a sock!

Kaleidoscope yarn in colorway Air Force
With the way the weather looks this morning (that is, dark and stormy), I should be able to get a good bit of the mate to my Athos sock done today.  I’m gifting this pair, but I already have my next three sock projects lined up.  I have come to think that every knitter should have socks on their needles at all times, don’t you? 

Was very excited to get the new Interweave Knits Summer 2013 magazine yesterday.  Summer patterns are just my thing since we live in the Deep South and I’m anxious to add a few things to my summer wardrobe. 

Incidentally, I commented to The Husband yesterday that I wonder what the mailman thinks when he drops off a knitting magazine along with the latest issue of American Handgunner to the same address.  Then again, we do live in the South.  The knitting magazine is certainly more odd than the gun magazine…

I am a bit bummed about the weather because I hoped to get over to The French Knot today – I haven’t been there in a good while and I’m having withdrawals.  It’s probably just as well though.  If I’m not there, I can’t spend any money.  I think I’ll just browse Etsy.  That’s harmless, right?  :D

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Monday, May 6, 2013


Yesterday, I ended up taking an extended nap (more like a mid-day coma), which meant I was wide awake late into the night.  I’ve been working on two baby cardis for the expected twins and I’m nearly finished with both.  The little boy sweater is finished except for buttons and I just need to trim the little girl sweater in a contrasting color.  I couldn’t complete the trim last night because I hadn’t pulled the proper yarn out of my stash before The Husband went to bed and my stash is located in the bedroom.

After I’d gotten as far as I could on the little girl cardi, I picked up my Athos socks again and started on the heel flap of sock #1.  After a while, I just couldn’t knit any more (hard to believe, I know) so I pulled out my copy of Barbara G. Walker’s “A Treasury of Knitting Patterns” that my daughter got me for Christmas.  I’m taking a class on sweater design at the end of May and I’ve been thinking about what sort of pattern I may want to use for the class project.  So I spent the next 30 minutes or so just dreaming about what I could make.

The class is being offered at what will be my first ever fiber festival.  The Magnolia State Fiber Festival in Vicksburg, MS takes place at the end of this month.  I’m really excited to be going and staying at a bed and breakfast housed in a beautiful antebellum home with a couple of knitting friends from my LYS.  As if being in the yarn shop wasn’t enough stimulation, let’s put me for two days in the midst of a bunch of knitting and spinning addicts, lots of vendors with yummy yarns for sale, and nothing to do but knit, shop for knitting, learn about knitting design, and talk about knitting.  My head may, in fact, explode.  I can’t wait!

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Dance! Happy Dance!

Guess why I’m doing the happy dance this morning!  I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

The. Lace. Shawl. Is. Finished.

Yes, that’s right, the knitting equivalent of my life’s nemesis has been conquered and I feel like celebrating!  I worked so much on this thing yesterday that my right arm, wrist, and hand hurt.  I only had six rows to go, but three of those rows were made up of over 1400 stitches (yes, that’s two zeroes).  Do you know how long it takes to knit a lace-weight row of over 1400 stitches?? 

Too stinking long.

In hindsight, I feel bad for The Husband because I was SO grumpy last night trying to get through those last three rows; he just couldn’t win no matter what he said or didn’t say.  I finally bound off the last stitch and immediately blocked it and felt my mood lift about 220%.

What I’m Proud Of
I’m extremely proud of myself for not following through on my threat to make this thing a dust cloth.  I’m also proud that I came out the other side of this challenge not hating lace weight yarn.  Okay, it’s not my closest friend, but it’s not really my enemy either.  Much.

What I’m Not So Proud Of
I’m not so proud of the quality of my knitting and blocking on this project.  I’m chalking it up to being a rookie at lace.  The first thing I noticed when I got it pinned for blocking is that one of the eyelets in the many rows of eyelets is much bigger than the rest.  This is the biggest problem with the finished shawl.  Look:

Of course, this glaring irregularity occurs smack in the middle of the thing, so as to be easily identified.  Yay…

The Shawl is Kinda Blob-ish
I’m also not so proud that I clearly have a disability when it comes to blocking lace.  After a brief consultation with Leona, I realized that I bound off too tightly, which is part of the problem.  I also need more experience using blocking wires.  The thing ended up with kind of a weird shape overall.  So weird, I'm too embarrassed to put up a photo of the whole thing.  It looks marginally better than the cartoon to the right.  I honestly should have waited until this morning to block it.  But then it wouldn’t be finished.  And I wouldn’t be doing a happy dance.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” 

So, will I wear it?  Probably.  Will I wear it in public?  Undecided.  But I must say, the alpaca lace is incredibly soft and feels really good around my shoulders.  Maybe it will be my go-to garment for those days I want to just curl up in a corner in the fetal position.  Which will hopefully be few and far between.  Probably only when I knit lace…

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