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!