Thursday, April 5, 2018

Rainbow Socks!

I finished my self-striping rainbow socks. They are great.

Just my own top-down sock pattern from my head, but this time I used the Fish Lips Kiss heel because I didn't want to break up the stripes oddly. Somehow, each heel used exactly three stripes' worth of yarn. Magic. I didn't bother matching the stripe patterns on the socks. I don't mind fraternal socks.

I haven't cast on another pair of socks yet because I was tidying the sewing room and I found two project bags with one complete sock each, and the second sock started but not very far. I think I should finish one of those before starting something new. We'll see how that goes.

Rainbow socks, don't remember when I started them. Just using leftovers from my sock yarn bin. They are not done because I started the second sock on too-small needles without noticing, so the sock doesn't fit over my foot. Must start again. 

I think this pattern is called Down the Rabbit Hole, and I am using some yarn that someone in my knitting group gave me after the flood. This one is not done because the other sock spirals the opposite way of the complete sock, and it turns out I hate doing twists the opposite way. I think I'll just make the second sock spiral the same way as the first. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Nautical + Southwestern

The April issue of I Like Knitting was published a couple of weeks ago and I've got two patterns in it!

First is the Painted Desert Wall Hanging. This was totally fun to knit because I just basically doodled with yarn. I had a stack of Cascade yarns and went to town. The wall hanging features loop stitch, moss stitch, some colorwork, a pointed bottom, and fringe. Fun fun.

Second, the Boathouse Row Vest. I got to use Plucky Knitter Lodge Fingering for this one- my first time knitting with Plucky. I understand the hype now. It's great yarn! This vest has a hem at the bottom, wide red and white stripes, an i-cord tie, and rolled stockinette edgings. It's perfect to throw on over a simple outfit in the summer. I think I'll have to knit this one in my size!

I Like Knitting is a subscription-only online magazine. I would highly, highly encourage everyone to subscribe- there are 25 to 30 patterns in every issue (published bi-monthly) and they are awesome. If you like even 1 pattern an issue, it's worth the money to subscribe for the year. Ok, sales pitch over. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

On a Bit of a Sock Kick

First things first, a winner. amchart, you win the prize because I asked my husband to pick 1, 2, or 3, and he picked 1. Since you're the first post you win! I will email you shortly.

Second, a post about socks.

My knitting mojo has been iffy lately. I'm sure we've talked about all of this recently. I don't have much time to spare during the days anymore- nap times are generally now my cleaning times, as the floor can't be too clean for little hands that go into mouths- and for whatever reason I just haven't been into knitting much in the evenings. Last week though I was like ok, knitting is what we do here, let's just do it, and I pulled some yarn out of the sock yarn bin and started a sock. It flew by quickly. Started the second sock. Picked out the next sock yarn. Finished the second sock. Started the rainbow sock. Socks socks socks. I love it. I'm even finding a few minutes here and there throughout the day to work on the socks. I think that maybe I've found my mojo again?

The first pair is supposedly a gradient. After the flood in 2016, someone sent me this yarn from Washington, I think? It looked pretty in the cake, so I knitted one sock starting from the outside of the cake and one from the inside. The one I started from the inside is not a gradient. It is pink. The other one is a pretty gradient. I may get some red dye and dip the top of the pink sock in the dye to make it more gradient-like.

Rainbow socks! I traded for this yarn on Ravelry. Have I mentioned my love of trading? It's so fun. This is Knitterly Things Vesper Sock Yarn in Tomorrowland. It's addicting. I keep saying to myself "just one more stripe!"

I wanted to maintain the stripe pattern as well as I could, so I used a new-to-me heel: the fish lips kiss heel. The pattern itself is 16, yes 16, pages long. I don't think any of my sweater patterns are even that long. Also, it reads like an infomercial. I admit to being fairly annoyed by the whole thing, especially after I figured out that the "magic" part of this heel is that you work shadow wraps, which I always do when working short rows. But. It made a nicely fitting heel and I like the way it looks, so there's that.

Next: maybe more socks. Maybe some languishing self-publications. Maybe I'll actually get my act together enough to submit some design ideas to magazines. Being Elaina's mom is a 25/8 job and I love it, but I miss my design work and I'd like to get back into it. Now that I think I've found my mojo (I keep thinking that word in Austin Powers' voice) maybe I can make it happen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Dishcloths, So Many Dishcloths, and a Giveaway

Last week (the week before? they blend) Knit Picks published a new (free!) dishcloth pattern by yours truly. It's part of the 52 weeks of dishcloths series that they've been doing for a few years. I had a couple dishcloths in last year's collection, too, and I'll have another one later this year.

This one is very cleverly named the "Pastel Lace Washcloth," and you can get it for free here on the Knit Picks website. It starts with a picot cast on in the contrast color, then goes into a very easy lace section in the middle, then a picot bind off. To finish it off you then pick up stitches along each side with the contrast color and do a picot bind off there, too. Fancy.

How do you feel about hand knit dishcloths? Some people just love to make them. Even though I've designed some I have to say they're not my go-to. I just don't find myself using them. But, if you DO like to knit them, have I got the giveaway for you. This is a copy of last year's collection called Clean and Crafty, which includes my Perfectly Preppy and Kingly dishcloth patterns. I'll throw in a ball of Dishie in Silver so you can go to town and knit yourself some dishcloths. To enter to win, just leave a comment, and please be sure to include some way to contact you. I'll pick a winner on Wednesday March 14th! US only please.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Delicious Yarns // Odila Cape

When I got this yarn in the mail, it was all I could do to not wind it up immediately. I cannot resist a good bulky-weight yarn, especially one dyed as cool as this. It's Delicious Yarns Two Sweets Chunky in "Licorice Mix," a superwash merino. How cute is this label? I love it.

I used the yarn to make the Odila Cape Pullover for Elaina in size 2/3 years. The pattern's yardage estimates are way off; size 2/3 should require 184 yards, and I had 210 but didn't have enough yarn to make the pocket. I'm not sure what I want to do about that- do I find another skein of this yarn for the pocket? Do I skip the pocket? Do I use a contrasting yarn, like a solid pink? I'm just not sure. Luckily this doesn't fit her yet so I have some time to think about it. But doesn't she look cute in it anyway? We've recently discovered that crawling around on the deck and trying to eat all of the leaves is fun.

 I really needed this quick knit as a palette cleanser, and a "get back the knitting mojo" project. Ever since the kiddo started crawling I haven't had any time during the day to knit, because I'm chasing her all day. I get a little knitting time in the evenings, after she goes to bed, and after I get all the stuff done that I couldn't get done during the day. While I have been making progress on my various WIPs (like my So Faded), I just needed a bang-it-out project, and I have to say I feel much better now. And of course now I want to knit all of the things in bulky weight.

I loved knitting with this yarn. It's really soft, and I just love the way a bulky feels while you're knitting it. The yarn settled into a really great pattern on its own in the bottom of the poncho, which is awesome because I really hate pooling. But I think they dye the yarn specifically so that it knits up like this. There was a little bit of dye bleed when I blocked this, but just a bit, and not unexpected for such saturated colors. Those purple bits glow.

Yes yes, too big, but still adorable.

If you sign up for the newsletter on the Delicious Yarns website, you get two free patterns plus "a sweet surprise within a few weeks of signing up" which makes me curious and I think I will sign up just to see what that is. 

Thank you to Delicious Yarns for providing the yarn for review. I love love loved it, no lie.

Friday, February 9, 2018

"Buy No Supplies" January Update.

Well, I did it- I the whole of January (and the first 9 days of February, so far) without stepping foot in a craft or fabric store. Honestly it hasn't been that hard, but that might have been because I spent the first 10 days of January really, really sick, then the next week in a blind panic to get some publications out the door, then most of the rest of the month trying to catch up on the life I missed while doing the first two things, and now it's maybe just habit to NOT want to go fabric shopping? I was tempted a couple times to go to Joann, because the baby likes it, and I'm always looking for ways to entertain the baby, but instead we did some free things like go to the park, go to baby play time at the library, that kind of thing. I'm so proud of us.

Overall I haven't had much time to sew in 2018, which is probably the biggest reason that it's been easy to not buy anything. I made a couple things, though (picture at the top of this post): two bibs, two pairs of underpants for me, an orange raglan sweater each for me and the baby (this stuff was a nightmare to sew, and I hated it, but I bought the fabric over a year ago specifically to make a raglan sweater so dang it that's what I did), and I finished this quilt top above. Knitting wise (picture below), I made this earwarmer from some gorgeous Plucky Bulky, finished my Beatitude cardigan, finished the baby's So Faded but that's not in the picture because it's in her room and she's napping, have almost finished the body of a So Faded for me, and knitted some magazine samples I can't show you. I guess when it's all laid out like that yeah, I actually did make some stuff! Good for me.

I made no dent in my stash at all. I didn't think I would in just one month, but still. I'm a good portion into February without buying any supplies so I'm going to keep it going. I've got several sewing projects lined up using stuff I already have so it should be easy. Knitting- I have so much gorgeous yarn that I had forgotten about. I'm happier with my yarn stash than my fabric stash, but they're both great. No need to buy anything. Plus with the money I saved this past month I'm totally buying shoes and not feeling guilty. That's some incentive, for sure!

Monday, January 29, 2018

So Faded for meeee

Top to bottom, C6, Huasco, C2, C4

Elaina's So Faded turned out so cute that I decided I wanted to make a me-sized one. I put this pattern on my 2018 Make Nine knowing that I was just about to start it... not sure if that's cheating or not?

I'm using three skeins of Zen Yarn Garden's Superfine Magical Dye Pot, and a coral skein of Araucania Huasco that I got before my LYS closed (saddest day ever) that just happened to perfectly coordinate. The Zen Yarn Garden is clearly made for fading, so that's what I'm using it for. I got to pick from six different "series", each of which has six different colorways, all meant to coordinate within the lettered series. So I picked C2, C4, and C6. It was hard to choose because there are just so many options. First I narrowed down the letter, then I had an even harder time picking which numbers I wanted. Tough. But good though! It's always best to have many lovely options. 

Here's the progress of my sweater. I started with C2 (which is actually the third one down in the picture of the skeins; I changed my mind after taking that picture) at the top, and have faded into the Huasco. The color match is so good that you can't even see the fade. Love it. Next I'll do the white speckled skein, then the purple-y one. I'm debating trying to find one more purple-y one to do after the final Zen Yarn skein, but I haven't had any luck yet, and my mom and I are thinking of extending "Buy No Supplies" January into February as well. (She wants to do through April, but her fabric stash is so insanely out of control that I think that is a good idea for her.)

I don't actually think I'll get this done in time to wear it this winter. I suspect our cold days are all over at this point. But who knows, it snowed twice in Baton Rouge this winter and that never, and I mean never, happens. 

The Superfine is just glorious to knit with. I like it better than the Gradient Quartet that I used for Elaina's sweater. The Superfine doesn't have the stringy superwash feel that the gradient yarn had. I really like that the yarn didn't pool much- I hate pooling. There was one place where it started pooling just a little bit, so I cut the yarn, pulled out about a yard, and joined it again. Problem solved. I (gasp) didn't wash my swatch, so I can't say anything about the colorfastness, but since my other yarn from Zen didn't bleed I'm assuming this will not as well. But yeah! I love this yarn. I'd highly recommend picking up a few coordinating skeins if you, like me, are fade-obsessed. The hardest part of knitting a faded pattern is choosing yarns that go so this takes all the guesswork out. 

Thanks to Zen Yarn Garden for providing the lovely yarn for review!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Himalayan Summit // Gansey Wristers

I love knitting with "exotic" fibers. It's so fun to pull out your knitting and have someone ask, "oh, what's that?" and you get to say something like "oh this old thing? just some possum yarn" or "well the yarn is made from stainless steel and paper, no big deal." People are always surprised. This yarn, though, is made with fur from yak tummies, and it's glorious. It's Bijou Basin Ranch, which is basically synonymous with "luxury", and the yarn is called Himalayan Summit. It's 50% yak tummy fur and 50% merino. Fingering weight, 325 yards of lovely. This color is Barberry. My skein is more reddish than the skein in the link, but it's still very pretty.

I decided to make a pair of Gansey Wristers with this yarn. I thought the knit-purl patterns would look good with this yarn, plus I had to either pick a pattern that I already owned or a free pattern, because it's still "Buy No Supplies January." Free pattern it is.

I love knitting with this yarn. Love. It's really soft, of course, but what's really getting me is, I guess, the texture? I'm not sure what word to use. The yarn is firm and round, almost like it's been felted, but in the best way possible. It never splits- no one likes a splitty yarn. I just really love the way this feels in my fingers. I could be a weirdo, but whatever. Apparently I love a good firm yarn.

Haven't made it very far yet in the pattern. I'm hoping to get these done soon because it is really chilly in my sewing/computer room. It's almost like they forgot to put insulation in the walls of this room after the flood. Seriously, all the other rooms are fine but this one is freezing. Plus, the heater kicking on and off wakes up the baby when she's napping, so I have to turn it off during naps, and it gets extra cold in here. Some lovely yak wristwarmers would be just the ticket. 

Thanks to Bijou Basin Ranch for providing the yarn for review!

Friday, January 26, 2018

New Pattern: Cavanaugh

Last fall, I saw a call for submissions for the online magazine Knotions (which is sort of like Knitty), asking for a few patterns for openings they had in the January issue. I had a hat pattern that I'd been working on for, oh, a couple years (embarrassed cough) and I was like aha! an opportunity! So I submitted a picture of the mostly-done hat, it was accepted, and here we are. Now it's published.

This is Cavanaugh. It's a basic stocking hat with a big Celtic knot cable, on a background of reverse stockinette. My sample took less than one skein of Malabrigo Rios (leftover from my October cardigan that I love so very much). It's a great pattern to knit if you want to get better at cabling, or at reading charts. That's what's great about hats- they are small, portable learning projects! Plus you end up with something useful at the end.

Cavanaugh comes in three sizes. I'm wearing size 20.5" on my 22" noggin. Best of all, it's a free pattern!

Please enjoy this moody shot of me sitting against my mossy wall. Hello, Louisiana. If you like Cavanaugh, consider giving it a heart or putting it in your queue on Ravelry! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Elaina's So Faded

I'm having a bout of "finish-it-up-itis." I sent off two patterns to magazines on Saturday, meaning I all of a sudden had- gasp- free knitting time, so I walked into the sewing room the other day and grabbed the closest unfinished project I could find. It was Elaina's So Faded Pint-Sized, and it only needed a sleeve and the neckband. Took like one and a half evenings to finish, even with my in-laws here visiting, admittedly a couple of cocktails, and a movie. Also yes, it snowed here in Baton Rouge again last night. Doesn't snow here for 10 years, then we get twice in one winter. What.

For reasons that hopefully made sense at the time I made my 10-month-old the size 4 sweater. It may fit next winter, we'll see. It's pretty darling. She's going to look adorable in it.

The yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Gradient Quartet in the color "Vocal." I have quite a bit left over, so now I'm thinking about what to do with it- could be a faded hat, possibly. I was hoping to make socks but I don't think I've got that much leftover.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bibs for Elaina

I made her a baby salad for lunch today because I read a fancy baby food blog. She didn't care for it. We had cheerios instead. 

Another "buy no supplies" project. I made a couple of bibs for Elaina- that kid is so very messy when she eats. We had a stack of these tiny little "one size fits all" bibs and they barely covered her when she was 5 months, let alone now at 10 months. So I drew a bib shape on paper, cut out two layers of flannel, a bit of bias tape, a plastic snap, and ta da! Bib. For the heart bib, I used some bias tape that I had on hand that was the right color, but it was too wide and a bit tricky to get around those curves. For the Star Wars one, I made some bias tape out of lightsaber-green Kona. Much thinner, maybe too thin as it was a little fiddly. There's a happy medium here somewhere, just have to find it.


This heart flannel was another impulse purchase at Joann. Why. What do I do with this besides make pajama pants or shorts? Which I totally have, by the way, and it's cozy, but man oh man does the fabric wear poorly. I made a pair of Carolyn pajama pants for myself for Christmas with some Joann flannel that I got last year, and the first night I wore them they started to look old. Joann has like 2 aisles of this stuff, and there are some really great prints in there, but really, what do people use this for? And why do I have a bunch of it? (I don't feel too bad about the Star Wars flannel because it was a remnant.) This is exactly the kind of thing I don't want to do anymore- buy just one yard (or one skein) or something, with no plan for it, just because I'm shopping.

I'll probably make another few of these bibs because they're such a good size. I have tons more of this heart print, more Star Wars, and at least one other floral-y print. I'll have to make more bias tape, though. I don't like making bias tape. I know some weirdos do but it mostly just annoys me. But! In the past I would have just run out and bought more bias tape (along with some home decor stuff, 2 yards of knit, sprinkles because they were on sale, and some clearance Christmas wrapping paper), but now I'm using what I have and that makes me happy.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Make Nine

Over breakfast this morning I came up with my 2018 Make Nine- nine things I want to sew or knit this calendar year. I admit that two of them are at least halfway done already but this is motivation to finish them up. In no particular order:

 1// Octopus Sweater. I've had the pattern and yarn for this for at least two years.
2// Channel Cardigan. Also had the pattern and yarn for about two years.
3// Finish my Pomegranate sweater in Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. The body is about 3/4 done.

4// Floral skinny Ginger Jeans. I ordered some amazing floral denim like a year and a half ago.
5// Rain-proof Kelly Anorak. Bought the pattern at Black Friday, got some laminated cotton a couple months ago.
6// Black skinny Ginger Jeans. I bought some black denim at my local fabric store (ie not Joann) and washed it with the baby's bibs, so now we have black bibs.

7// Finish up my chevron quilt I've been working on since before my house flooded.
8// Make an underwire bra. I'll be done nursing/pumping soon (like, tomorrow or the next day) so I can wear underwires again! Always wanted to make a real bra.
9// So Faded. I've got 4 of the 5 colors I want to use- the top one and bottom two are Zen Yarn Garden "Magical Dye Pot" and the coral one is Araucania Huasco. Looking for one more speckle to go with these.

There are other things I want to make, of course, but these are right up there. Ok 2018, let's do this!