4.16.2014

gone knitting

Howdy, folks! I wish that I could tell you that every item on my to-do list has been checked off during these past few weeks absence from the blog, but nope. Still a lot of spring cleaning, garden planning & home improvement projects to tackle. Not to mention getting a regular exercise routine started now that the weather has warmed up. But enough of the boring stuff, let's move on to the knitting! I have been fighting a bad case of too-many-projects-not-enough-time-itis. I am blaming it on this:


It's the second sleeve of the Siri cardigan. Nothing can propel me faster towards casting on a new project than having to knit a second sleeve. I was truly trying to be good and finish the darn thing, but boredom set in as it always does and I found myself scoping out patterns on Ravelry. You know exactly where this is heading, don't you? To make a long story short, I decided that I couldn't live another moment without owning a Uniform. In seafoam blue, slightly slouchy and oversize, with inset pockets and a yet to be determined neckband.


Okay, so two sweaters isn't so bad. But then I came across the vasalong that is happening on the Paper Tiger blog. I love the idea of a drapey knitted tee for spring/summer. Plus it's the perfect blank canvas for using up some leftover fingering weight stash and playing with colors. This project is going rather quickly and should be finished soon. After which, I can devote more time to the other two sweaters, right?


But no, there's more to this unfortunate tale. The irrational side of my knitter's brain also latched onto the notion that my wardrobe was sadly missing one essential piece of clothing:

an octopus sweater

So there you have it: four sweaters and counting. Because there is some quince & co. sparrow flying down from Maine for a KAL hosted by my knitting group which will be starting in May. Kind of ironic that this sweater madness started because of one unfinished sleeve and now I will have seven sleeves to knit up. Thank goodness Vasa is sleeveless!

I hope to catch up on all of your blogs in the next few days, in between the sweater knitting. Spring cleaning can wait ; )

3.13.2014

tartan lula hoop



This project was a definite case of saw it want it gotta knit it. It didn't matter that the yarn was super bulky and required size 19 needles (yikes!) to knit up. The knitting went pretty quickly despite having to take frequent breaks. The best part was getting to try out Crazy Sexy Wool. Yup, that's the actual name of the yarn, but I think it should be called Crazy Snuggly Wool. Gorgeous stuff, but I would hesitate to knit a sweater out of it due to the pilling factor. It is perfect for a cowl, hat or scarf though. Can't believe I went this long without a plaid knitted accessory in my life. Now I've got my eye on this one. Maybe in some pretty Spring colors?

3.05.2014

PSA

In the event of an Alpacalypse:
 

Remain calm.


Do not try to be a hero. Resistance is futile.


Give them whatever they demand. Remember that the important thing is to survive to knit another day.



(This Public Service Announcement is brought to you by the Camp Out Mitts and Chunky Cowl patterns. Although both are super easy quick & fun knits, they certainly are not worth risking your life to defend. Just hand them over.)

3.04.2014

wintry mix



We woke up to more snow yesterday. But I didn't begrudge Winter's slow lingering because I had a basketful of yarn and a shiny new project to play with.


Hope the start of your week was just as cozy!

2.25.2014

pink bicycles

Can't believe that over two months have gone by since my last knit.where outfit post. I don't know about you, but when the cold weather hits, fashion is thrown out the window and replaced with flannel/thermal pajamas and fleece. Sometimes I might layer a handknit sweater over the whole mess. Case in point:

kaari pullover, target thermal longjohns, rocketdog slippers

But I decided to make a special effort today because I recently read somewhere that we should dress to reflect how we want to feel, not how we are currently feeling. I guess it makes sense? So right about now, I want to feel like I have just come back from a long bicycle ride with the sun shining brightly overhead and a warm breeze blowing gently on my face. I can hear the distant waves of the ocean and smell the intoxicating scents of barbecue chicken....um, right....so here's my outfit:

newsprint cowl, target bicycle printed shirt, ae jeans, toms shoes


The cowl was appropriated from my youngest niece who just recently turned twelve and thinks pink is too immature of a color for her now. God save me from the ever changing tastes of a tween!


Big fluffy snowflakes are starting to fall as I write this. So much for motivational dressing :(

2.21.2014

freedom cowl





The inspiration for this cowl comes from all the handmade clothes that my mom used to make for my sister and myself when we were kids. Growing up, having store bought clothes was a luxury since money was tight and we were a big family. But that didn't stop my mom from picking out the most colorful fun bright prints and sewing up the cutest (matching) dresses for us. The piece de resistance would be when she added coordinating rick rack trim around the hemline, sleeves and collar. Oh yes, there are some blackmail worthy pictures floating around somewhere just waiting to be unearthed!

This design was a fun exercise in simple intarsia colorwork. It was my first time trying out this technique and I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to add random blocks of color to the cowl as the knitting progressed. Also really loved knitting the rick rack rib stitch. It is a little slow going at first but very easy and gives the cowl a cool textured look. Who would have thought that I would end up wearing rick rack again all these years later. This one's for you, Mom!



Want to knit one, too? Here's what I did:

Yarn: I had loads of Sheep(ish) by Vickie Howell and StitchNation Full O'Sheep in my stash so that is what I used. Any worsted weight yarn would work. A bulky weight yarn would also be cool to try. Just adjust your needle size accordingly in order to get the fabric that you want. This pattern is a great opportunity to use up those pesky leftovers in your stash.

Needles: I used US 9 needles. Adjust needle size to get your desired fabric.

Gauge: Not crucial for this pattern as long as you get a fabric that you are happy with. My gauge was 6 stitches per inch in rick rack rib after blocking.

Finished size: Mine measured 6 inches wide and 46 inches around which is long enough to wear as a long loop or wrapped twice around the neck. But the choice is yours! Play around with the width and length of the cowl. Also, have fun with the size of the color blocks. Make them randomly sized or uniformly the same.

Rick rack rib stitch pattern:

Row 1 (RS): P1, *skip the first stitch on left needle, k into the back loop of second stitch (leaving stitch on left needle), k into front of first stitch (removing both stitches from left needle), P1; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2 (WS): K1, *skip the first stitch on left needle, p into second stitch (leaving stitch on left needle), p into first stitch (removing both stitches from left needle), K1; repeat from * to end of row.

Intarsia technique: drop the old yarn, pick up the new yarn from underneath the old yarn thereby trapping the old yarn against the fabric, continue knitting with the new yarn.

Let's start by casting on 43 stitches with your Main Color (MC) or any multiple of 3 stitches plus 1

Starting with row 1 (RS) of rick rack rib stitch pattern, work 13 stitches with MC, switch to Contrasting Color 1 (CC1) and work 17 stitches in pattern, switch to MC and work 13 stitches in pattern.

Next row (WS), work 13 stitches in rick rack rib stitch pattern row 2 with MC, using the intarsia technique switch to CC1 and work 17 stitches in pattern, using the intarsia technique switch to MC and work 13 stitches in pattern.

Continue in this manner until your first color block reaches the desired length (I worked 30 rows for each color block). Then switch out CC1 with CC2. Continue in pattern until you get tired of all this rick rack action and want to move on to the next stash busting project (I worked a total of 8 color blocks). End with Row 2 (WS). With RS facing, bind off in pattern. Seam the cast on and bind off edges together. Or you can skip the seaming and just leave it as a scarf. Block if desired. Wear with a smile :)

2.19.2014

a knit for every mood

The last few weeks have been pretty difficult schedule-wise and health-wise. The February Blahs get to me every single year. But thankfully things are looking up and will be back to so-called normal soon. I am just grateful that we only had one (!) snow day so far this week. Crazy winter weather! But looking on the bright side, there has been quite an accumulation of new knits that I can show you.


First, we have Siri. The beautiful and unusual yoke design was what initially drew me in. It is all achieved with crossed stitches which is perfect for when I am in need of an intricate and interesting knit. The motif brings to mind bare winter trees, especially when combined with the brown fishermen's wool. A great knit for cold dark rainy days like today.


Next up is a soft and super bulky ribbed cowl. Mindless and fast. This one should be off the needles and gifted soon.


Loving the winter neutrals like brown and grey right now, but sometimes a little color is needed to brighten up the string of dark days. That is when I dig out my on-going Pine Bough. Still mindless but with just the right amount of subtle colorplay.


For something a little bit more cheerful, there's a second pair of camp out mitts on the needles using the rest of the Noro Kureyon yarn from the first pair. Beautiful pinks and blues have me looking forward to sunnier summer weather, although as you can see in the picture, the color forecast ahead looks dark and grim. Oh the infuriating randomness of Noro!


Lastly, I have been experimenting with garter jacquard. Here's a fun heart pattern found in Mary Jane Mucklestone's 200 Fair Isle Motifs directory. Not sure where this one is headed, but the combination of the bright snowy white and robins egg blue always manages to lift up my spirits. 

And so there you have it. A knit for every winter's mood. Good thing there's only ten days left in February because the WIP basket is now filled up :) Hope that you all are well and Happy belated Valentine's Day! Please check back on Friday for a little Valentine's present. It is a free pattern that I was hoping to post on Valentine's Day but couldn't manage to string together in time. As I'm sure husbands the world over were thinking on that day, "Better late than never!"

1.31.2014

camp out mitts



Just a quick hello to show off my new Camp Out Mitts. I really had fun knitting these up with Noro Kureyon. They add a bit of much needed color to the seemingly endless grey cold days that we have been experiencing lately. I don't know about you, but I am so ready for this winter to be over with! Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse. May the New Year bring you good health and prosperity!

1.24.2014

kaari


Kaari is exactly the type of pullover that I would wish to be wearing if I were to find myself lost in the wilderness during the middle of winter. So warm and since it is knitted out of lion brand fishermen's wool, this sweater is more like outerwear and feels pretty indestructible. I love the relaxed feel of the shaping. Didn't love all the seaming. I ran out of yarn at the midpoint of the collar which ended up being a good thing. Luckily, I had a skein of fishermen's wool in a dark brown maple tweed which matched well with the lighter oak tweed. So now I can choose to wear the collar folded inwards with the reverse stockinette side showing or folded outwards with the dark brown tweed on display.


As for those handy dandy utility pockets? Sadly, we don't have a dog to walk and I certainly do not have a green thumb. Not much good with woodworking tools, either. Good thing I know how to knit! This could be my knit walking sweater if I can learn how to walk and knit at the same time without tripping :)

1.22.2014

quick recap of vkl

the view of Times Square from my room

Tomorrow reality sets in again with my first day back to work. But today I am still daydreaming about what an amazingly fun vacation it has been. Vogue Knitting Live was so cool on so many levels. The best part was meeting and socializing with a bunch of friendly & fun loving knitters from different parts of the country (one as far away as Alaska!). Knitters are the best people! I also had a chance to meet up and go out to dinner with an internet friend :)

Siljan Mittens by Nancy Bush

My second favorite part of the event were the two day long classes that I took with Nancy Bush (on twined knitting) and Franklin Habit (on different colorwork techniques). Both are awesome teachers who are passionate about passing their knowledge onto new knitters. I am very excited to apply some of these new techniques to my knitting and to share them in more detail with you.

Riverside Studio Yarns from Quebec

Matryoshka doll shawl pin from Michelles Assortment & bird buttons from Incomparable Buttons

As you can see from the above two pictures, the third best part was the Marketplace. So many terrific vendors, so little time to shop. Plus, it was super busy. But I did manage to get my greedy hands on some new-to-me yarns and pretty little notions. Aren't the buttons adorable? They, along with the woven basket below, were handcrafted in Africa.

Camp Out Mitts

Lastly, it was simply wonderful to knit knit knit without interruption. I love my two guys, but sometimes a girl just wants to knit have fun! Lots of things came off the needles this week and I am excited to show them off on Friday. Until then, I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on!