Friday, November 29, 2013

A pattern sale!

From now until Monday, get 20% off any of my knitting patterns on Ravelry (no account needed) with coupon code CHRISTMAS20. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Moto jackets turned baby blankets.

I am obsessed with Rebecca Taylor's cream moto jacket from this fall's collection, most notably as worn by The Glamourai earlier this month. Click that link. You, too, will be in love with this jacket. And her beetle brooch. I also need a beetle brooch.

However, even on sale at $297, it's just not even in the same universe as my budget. So, I decided to sew one. Surprisingly, motorcycle jacket sewing patterns are not easy to come by. I had to order an out-of-print one from Sewing Pattern Reviews. While I was waiting for the pattern to come in the mail, I found the perfect cream-colored fabric at Joann's. Cleverly, I decided to wait to buy the fabric until the pattern came, so I could read the back and find out how much fabric I needed. So smart.

The pattern came. I got really excited. I carved out a whole Saturday to sew. I went to Joann's, picked up the fabric bolt, and looked at the price for the first time, and it was $40 a yard. Shock. I had no idea Joann's even HAD fabric that expensive. 1) Just too much, and 2) I am still a fairly inexperienced sewer, and there is usually about a 40% chance I will ruin whatever I'm sewing. So, that was out. 

Since I was already at Joann's, and there's almost nothing I hate more than running errands with no results, I figured I'd just look around and see if I wanted to make something else. I came across this knit patterned with little woodland creatures that I'd had my eye on for awhile, but had never bought. (I have sworn off sewing with knits until I get better at sewing in general. I ruined a ton of knits this year. Like, a ton.) I thought, how can I not ruin this and still make it into something for my new nephew? Lightbulb- baby blanket. Bought a yard of the knit and a yard of matching fleece. 

(See those straight lines? Oh yes.)

It's a simple blanket- I basted the two layers together with safety pins, then put masking tape to mark where I wanted to quilt them together. An aside: why had I not done this before? I made actual straight lines, evenly spaced and everything. So much better. So I quilted the two layers together, then I made binding with quilting cotton. I thought it would help the blanket hold its shape over time because it isn't stretchy. We'll see if I'm right. Then I thought, it's a baby blanket. I don't want to hand-sew the binding to the back, like I would on a quilt, because this thing is probably going to get puked on, or worse. So I picked out a decorative stitch on my machine and sewed the binding down. Regrets. There is so much thread involved in loopy, decorative stitches. The binding makes a "plunk" when it hits the table. It's simultaneously hilarious and upsetting. I hope it doesn't scratch the baby or something. 

The plan is to give the baby this blanket, a baby henley made from some this soft plaid fabric I have left over from a recent sewing project, and a Davey Crockett coonskin hat, knitted from this incredibly soft furry stuff I got at my LYS. That, or keep the fur just to pet it. Not sure yet. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

One whole week.

That's how many days in a row I can wear a different pair of hand knitted socks. I finished my Hermione's Everyday Socks this morning and promptly shoved them on my feet, because dang, it's cold here.

It's difficult to get a picture of your own feet. Have I mentioned that? Because it is. This yarn is Studio Sock from the Neighborhood Fiber Co. It's that super tight twist yarn that all the dyers were using as their base a bit ago, and... I don't like it nearly as much as normal twist sock yarn. Good thing to learn about oneself. I have another skein of super twisty yarn, but the rest of my (admittedly quite small) sock yarn collection is normal twisty.

Here's my pile of socks. Stacking them all up makes me happy. (Also... I did not realize how rainbow-y they are. Hmm.) Ideally, all of my socks will one day be hand knits. In this fantasy world, I'll also have a pet unicorn, my kitchen faucet will dispense perfectly mixed margaritas, and Justin Beiber will no longer be a thing. So, in other words... not likely. But I can try! Or at least cast on for another pair.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hermione's Everyday Socks.

If you haven't noticed by now, I am a great big Harry Potter nerd. Huge. Like, let's have lengthy debates about the merits of Expelliarmus vs. just using a Full Body Bind, or how on earth did Voldemort think the horcrux could never be found in such a widely-used storage room?, or what's better, a Niffler or a Pygmy Puff? That kind of Harry Potter nerd. Latest thought process: If Mrs. Weasley can enchant her knitting needles to make Weasley sweaters, and she has to do no work towards said sweater, is she enjoying it at all? And did she really make it, or did magic make it? If one can enchant one's needles, is there any situation where one would actually knit by hand? Questions, questions.

Anyway. I need more socks. It's cold here in Delaware, and I dislike store-bought socks. They're not pretty, and my feet are often cold in them. I have 6 pairs of handknit socks already, but that's just not cutting it, so I'm on a sock-knitting mission. I have 4 more skeins of sock yarn in the craft room just begging to be socks after this one. See? (And no, I don't know what I was thinking when I bought that pink and green yarn, either, but gosh darn it, it's going to be socks.)

And now to relate my two thoughts, I'm making a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry. I have learned through trial and error that I far and away prefer to knit fairly simple socks. Not necessarily plain stockinette- that's boring. But something with a simple knit-purl pattern on every other round- I can get behind that.

Here's my socks-in-progress. One done, the leg nearly done on the second. The yarn is Studio Sock from the Neighboorhood Fiber Co. in the colorway Eastern Market. I got it at Stitches West last March. The color is kind of shocking, like it's on fire. I love it.

I'm trying really, really hard to limit myself to one just-for-me knit at a time, what with the design work, Christmas knitting, and Etsy knitting I have going on. It's working, pretty much. I am knitting like the wind on the socks because I cannot wait to make these heart-backed driving gloves. Because I want to wear them. Like, now.

Random side note: Spell checker knows Voldemort, but not Hermione? Come on now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A little farmers' market.

One of my favorite little buddies is turning two in a few days, so of course, I knitted him a farmers' market, complete with personalized canvas market bag. Like you do.

I actually wanted to make this for him last Christmas, but I think he was just too little. He's old enough now that he can actually play with his toys, instead of just wave them around and chew on them. He may be just a little young for a set of veggies, but he'll grow into it. Provided they don't get lost, felted, chewed up, ripped, or otherwise destroyed. I think that's the risk of hand-made kids' toys, but 1) I can't help it- I have to make all of my gifts by hand, and 2) knitted vegetables are too funny. Had to do it.

Left to right: chili pepper, garlic, French radishes, potato, leek, eggplant, carrot, tomato. I mean, I hope that was all obvious, but.

I totally used these veggies as a bribe for myself over the past few weeks. "If I get x y and z done, I can knit a potato." It worked. I could not wait to knit just one more veggie! Most of them I just made up as I went, but the potato (the first one I knitted... who picks a potato to knit first? I'm weird.) pattern I got here and the radishes are sort of based off this pattern, but I made them French radishes instead of plain ones because Kai's parents are fancy like that.

This was a great project, because I only used leftovers. My leftovers tub is overflowing. It's annoying. I can't get the lid closed. So... small projects! I think everything is wool except possibly the red part of the radishes. Quite a bit of this is Wool of the Andes and Cascade 220. Despite the fact that I used all of the colors and felt like I knitted a lot, I made no noticeable dent in the leftovers, and didn't even use up anything. Oh well. Eight-color mittens are going to make their way into everyone's stockings this year, I think.

I sewed the little canvas bag from some duck cloth I had leftover from my Weekender bag. Then I just drew out my lettering and painted it with that paints-on-everything Martha Stewart paint. A little fray check on the edges, and done. 

I hope he likes it! Or rather, I hope his parents like it, and that the veggies last at least a while before getting destroyed by whatever means a two year old is likely to find. It was a fun project, and super rewarding- a garlic bulb start to finish in 30 minutes can't but make you feel productive.