Tuesday, December 30, 2008

FO: Ibiza Blues Hat

Instant. gratification.


Checking on the Colonel, by Kimberly Lewis
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Ibiza, approx. 130 yards
Needle: Size 7 circular
Time: 10 days
Recipient: possibly, my very sweet neighbor (or possibly me if it's not her style)
Thoughts: Upon first glance, the FOs on ravelry did not sell me on making this pattern. However, I decided to try it with the variegated yarn. I love the result. The hat is larger than most of the ones I've made, and it works well. It fits differently, as it's not a "skullcap" (Dean refers to most of my hats in this way; I don't think he means it in a complimentary way). I probably won't make this pattern again, but it was a fast knit and is easy to follow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday stash #4

Alexander Henry and Joel Dewberry prints, FQ each

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Now that it's gifted, an FO to share

My mom has been patiently waiting for a knitted item, and finally received something this Christmas.


Malabrigo Hand Thingies, by Anne Sahakian (ravelry link)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Purple Mystery, approx. 90 yards
Needle: Size 6 dpns
Time: 1 week
Recipient: my mom
Thoughts: I loved this pattern. It knit up incredibly quickly, and the variegated (I wouldn't call it semi-solid) looks so neat in the slip-stitch pattern. I will definitely use this pattern again, and I may even make myself a matching pair, as they were hard to part with. My mom received them Thursday, so I don't have to keep them a secret anymore!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Progress-Not pink

I've been chugging away on my sweater, and I'm really pleased with it so far. Tomorrow, I will move all my little stitches to scrap yarn and try it on before I start increasing. I think I could finish the entire sweater before the end of the year if I really push myself, but a lot can happen over the next 9 days.

I really love the way this yarn feels and looks. I think I've settled on a solid sweater, no stripes, although, who knows? I could surely change my mind again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Stash #3 (a little late)

1/2 yard of each print

Better late than never. I've already used most of the bird print on a bag for my aunt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yarn for sale

So yes, I'm sorting through my stash and selling some yarn. Most of it is sock yarn, and given that I haven't actually completed a pair of socks, selling some seems appropriate.

Information on pricing and stats can be found on here for ravelry users and here on flickr.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Trouble cat

Olias is a terror. I love him, and I will stick it out for the good times, but oh. He is the best birth control ever. He tests my patience like no other. In the few weeks since we found him, he has destroyed the bottom of my bedsprings, he chewed a big hole in the cowl I just finished for my grandmother (luckily, I think I can salvage it, but I haven't tried yet), he has claimed my fingerless gloves for his own, and last, but not least, he managed to tackle our tree and wrestle it down to the ground. We obviously weren't home to capture the crime, as we would have stopped him from doing it, but here's the proud cat sauntering around once we got home.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday stash #2

Week 2 of Sunday Stash.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FO: Sunnyside Cowl

Talk about instant gratification.


Darkside Cowl, by Sarah Fama (free pattern on Ravelry)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Snow Bird, approx. 170 yards
Needle: Size 7, KP circular
Time: 3 weeks
Recipient: my grandmother
Thoughts: I finished this cowl in two knitting sessions. It's very cozy, and the variegated Malabrigo is a great complement to the rib and welt stitch design. I would use this again for another gift, although I don't think I'm really the cowl type. I'm pleased to have a nice offering for my grandmother at Christmas. I believe she'll really enjoy it.
As for the yarn, I don't really have to repeat myself on the joys of Malabrigo, do I? Even my boyfriend now knows the name of my favorite yarn, and that's saying something.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The only yarn I've bought in over a month

I'm really trying not to buy yarn, but I had a moment of weakness a couple of months ago. There's a yarn store, Yarns 2 Ewe, jus a few minutes from work. I went one Friday during my lunch break. It's so relaxing, and as stressed as I've been lately, well, no excuses, really. Malabrigo is my weakness.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Stash-intro post

I joined a group on Flickr called Sunday Stash. A fellow blogger, 1/4 of an inch invited me to join. It's easy; you just post a stash picture on Sundays! Can't get any less complicated than that.

So here's my initial post:

I purchased this fabric from Bee Square Fabrics about six months ago. In fact, a couple of the fabrics you see have already been used up. The majority of these are by Lecien, the My Folklore line, which I adore.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Taking a note from Something Red

In retrospect, although I'm very proud of Something Red, I doubt I will wear it very often. It doesn't fit me, not really. It's sort of gapey in the boob area, and it just doesn't feel flattering. I like the color I chose, and I think the knitting is decent, but it just doesn't fit.

The reason is clear now, and I think I know how to fix it. When working the increases, I kept increasing well past the point that I needed to stop for my body. This is an obvious realization for most knitters, but there you go.

I now know what a sweater should look like when it's time to separate the sleeves. I'm taking this new found knowledge in my next sweater attempt (even though I have a vest and my Central Park Hoodie on the needles, I know), Pink, by Wendy Bernard. I just got Wendy's book, Custom Knits, and the first design is a basic raglan sweater. I decided this is a good place for me to try again, and hopefully end up with a better fitting sweater that I can wear regularly.

I cast on with one of the first yarns I purchased, Berroco Touche. It's so soft, and the color is really rich. It knits up beautifully. I'm not sure about stripes (the design features a couple of stripes on one sleeve), but I've got three possible yarns to use for that purpose.

Hopefully, I won't lose momentum on this one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Video post-Olias

Please excuse the incredibly amateur video below. Enjoy it for what it is: cat hilarity, coupled with my silly singing. Yes, there's a little song included, so please prepare your speakers and ears for that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FO: Sendoff Scarf

Jenny is moving to China for a year. She got an awesome job, a really amazing opportunity, and I will miss her like crazy. She's my favorite sushi buddy, and a wonderful friend. I made her this scarf to keep her warm, as she's used to our lovely Houston climate.

ScWiNoNa, by Weezalana
Yarn: Knitpicks, Wool of the Andes, Black Cherry Heather, 2 skeins
Needle: Size 7, straight
Time: 1 month
Recipient: Jenny
Thoughts: The pattern is easy to memorize, and really looks lovely. Both sides are attractive. I don't know if I'd make this again, though, as scarves aren't really my thing. This is a great and FREE pattern, though-highly recommended.

I frequent Weezalana's blog, and always enjoy her content.

Bella is such a good helper-look how she blocks!


Monday, December 1, 2008

WIP: Sunnyside Cowl

I started this cowl a couple of weeks ago, not really having a recipient in mind.

I worked on it a bit Thanksgiving night at my grandparents', and my grandmother commented on it. I'm now working to complete it by Christmas (which won't be too difficult), and it will be hers. Funnily enough, when I bought this colorway of Malabrigo (still my favorite yarn-love it), I thought of my grandmother. It's called Snow Bird, and my grandmother loves to watch the birds outside her home in the country. She feeds them year round, and sits by the window in the winter, working puzzles and watching the birds. The colorway is vibrant, and difficult to photograph. I'm eager to finish it so she can wear it through winter and hopefully, for years to come.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ren Fest '08

For only the second time, I went to Ren Fest this year, with Rhonda (her first time) and Dean. Rhonda and I got our faces painted, always a plus in my book. This was my second face painting of the year, and I really loved it. The artist matched my shirt perfectly.

Dean got an awesome leather hat, and Rhonda and I got chain belts. I love mine-it's awesome. I hope to wear it often; it seems like something I could get away with at non-festivals.

I wish I could have my face permanently painted like this.

Side note: I love the woman to my right. It looks like she's banishing me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Olias cat

Dean found a stray kitten two weeks ago. We walked out to see him, he followed us home, and twenty minutes later, I was giving him a bath. He's fully integrated into our formerly two-pet household. Ninja and Bella have both accepted him (although Bella is understandably reluctant), and we're happy to have a third pet. We are constantly entertained by all of them.

We've named him Olias, and we suspect he's near six months. However, when Dean took him to the vet last week, they said he's a year. We don't see how he can be, unless he's a runt. He's rather small, although that could be due to him being a stray cat. We've noticed weight gain in the short time we've had him in our home.

He's got white boots (all four paws), and a white belly. My favorite part is how he's half-white, half-gray underneath his nose. So cute.

So the other pets don't feel left out, here's photos of Bella and Ninja, doing what they do best:


Watching outdoor activity



Currently enjoying:

I just found this site: Dark Roasted Blend, which is full of unusual and interesting stories and photos.

Check it out-it just went into my blog reader.

Coming up, a new pet has joined my little family, and I finally have a new FO to share.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I only knit 2 rows this week

This is ridiculous. I am so insanely busy, and I really want to drop everything and knit. Apologies for my lack of posting lately, but time is in short supply. I have lots to share, but will wait to do so until I can properly post with pictures. The bright side is a holiday is only a week away. I'm looking forward to some time away from work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Not much knitting

I know I've been busy, but I really can't say what's keeping me that way. Work is crazy, I got a wild hair to repaint my downstairs bathroom (I just painted it a little over a year ago when I moved in, but that's what it's all about, right?), I went to a wedding in Galveston this weekend, etc.

Tonight I'm planning on camping out on the couch with one of my new WIPs to watch the election coverage. I voted Friday, and waited almost an hour to do so. Harris County (Houston) had about 750,000 early voters. That's an impressive figure, and I'm proud to be one of them.

Soon, I'll have two new projects to share with you, and hopefully, eventually, I'll have something finished!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Drumroll, please

Surprisingly, two knitters won (sorry, non-knitters/family members!).

Ikkinlala is the first winner, whom I've already e-mailed to find out preferences of yarn weight. Winner #2, because what's a contest without a second prize, is Indigomouse.

I will e-mail you shortly as well! Thank you so much to all 11! of you that commented, and who hopefully, enjoy my internet sharings. I thoroughly enjoy documenting my crafts, and appreciate your ears and eyes. <3

Saturday, October 25, 2008

One year old

It's my blogibirthday!! In the past year, I've finished 21 projects. That sounds like a lot, but most of them are one skein or less, so don't be impressed. Here's the breakdown:
9 hats

2 scarves/neckwarmers

4 pairs of gloves/mitts

2 purses

1 cozy

1 sock (my worsted practice sock)

2 shrugs/sweaters

Of the 20 projects I completed, 14 were gifts.

I'm out of town for the weekend, but I will announce a winner (or maybe winners??) on Monday. Thanks to everyone who participated! Good luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Celebratory giveaway

This month marks a milestone for me. A year ago, I finished my first knitting project. I also started this blog. In honor of my impending blogibirthday, I've decided to have a little contest.

You can win some yarn or fabric if you're an addict like me.
If you don't knit or sew, you can still win! I will make you a little crafty item (like a hat, tote bag, pouch, etc.) in your favorite color(s).
I will also include a few random treats/trinkets in either prize.

Here's how you can win:
by 8:00 PM CST on October 25th (my blogibirthday), leave a comment on this post with an interesting random fact about yourself. I'd also love to know about your favorite etsy shop. I will randomly select a winner, or maybe two.

I really enjoy the hobbies I've picked up in the last year. Here's to many more years of crafting!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sewing with birds

It's addicting. The projects move quickly, the fabrics are intoxicating, and the results get better every time. Since my last post, I've completed three more projects.
First up, another zipper pouch:

I streamlined my zipper installation and things went much more smoothly this time. I love this fat quarter I got from Joann's, and the one I chose for the lining:

The inside is so bright and I think it works well with the bold outside print. I suppose this will be a gift, or maybe I'll keep it for myself!

Next, I made another tote bag. It's so sunny!

I used coordinating Timeless Treasures prints that I purchased on etsy. They came in the mail last Thursday and by Saturday, I used up two of the three fat quarters. I love the birds!

Here's the last sewing FO:

I just finished it last night, and I'm gifting it to my aunt. Her birthday is next week, and I'll be visiting her at the end of the month, so the timing is perfect. Again, I love the birds. The exterior fabric is Joel Dewberry, and I used two coordinating fabrics for the trim, straps and interior. I didn't add pockets to this one, as I felt the birds were bold enough to stand on their own.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another item off the list

I started my Something Red (and Yellow) back in March, just before I left for New Mexico with Sarah.

I finished fixing the button band bind off this past Sunday afternoon (with Bella's help, of course!). Approximately eight months of needle time later, I have my first actual sweater (I'm not counting the shrug, cause that's how I roll).

Something Red, by Wendy Bernard (Knit and Tonic)
Yarn: Paton's Classic Wool Merino, red, 3.4 skeins; Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, yellow, .5 skein
Needles: Size 5, size 7, size 9 (bindoff only)
Time: 8 months

Thoughts/Mods: I now know that when it seems like the armholes are going to be too big, I should stop knitting them. I did my first cutting on this project. The sleeves were incredibly wide, so I tried the sweater on, pinned the sleeves where I wanted them, sewed them together realllly well, and cut the excess chunks off. It's not the neatest surgery ever, and there's still a little lumpiness under the arms, but it's vastly improved, and a lesson learned.

Also, I've learned that I should probably use the line under my bust as the measurement to knit for, rather than actual bust. The few garments that I've made so far seem to be on the big side, so I'm going to try this new rule of thumb as a guideline.

I only did one increase round during the ribbing, as it seemed to be large enough without more.

My button band isn't perfect, and I had to undo the bind off, as it was super tight and bunchy (that's a technical term!). When I redid the bind off, I used a size 9 needle, which loosened it incredibly. It looks much better now.

I really like the raglan sweater model. It's very intuitive, and the beginning develops really quickly. Typically, I'm not a fan of much ribbing, so I don't know if I would ever make this again.

I only did about one inch of ribbing on the sleeves.

I'm happy this is complete, and I learned so much from Something Red (and Yellow).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FO: One year late hat

My friend Adam asked me to make him a hat for Christmas last year. Almost a year later, I decided to get one finished for his birthday present. This Friday, I will proudly present him with this gift:

Modeled (rather reluctantly) by Dean

Jacques Cousteau Hat, by Typy
Yarn: Knitpicks, Wool of the Andes, Forest Heather, 1.5 skeins
Needle: Size 7, Knitpicks circular
Time: 2 weeks
Thoughts: I felt like I knot on this forever, even though it went rather quickly. Ribbing is just repetitive, so that's probably where the feeling came from. I like the way it turned out, although if I make this again, I will cast on even less stitches with worsted weight yarn. As it is, I cast on 100, but next time, probably 80 stitches will do. I also am not a big fan of a fold-over brim, so I will probably reduce the overall height of the height next time as well.

I hope he likes it, and I'll find out soon enough!

An amazingly good blast from the past

I just got a random facebook message from an old friend; a friend from what feels like a different life. I haven't spoken with him in at least four years, and I always regretted the way things ended with him and his wife, both of whom I thoroughly respect and miss. I've thought often of them, and have wanted to make contact,but due to the circumstances, I thought it best to leave it alone. I was shocked to see his name today, and am so thrilled that I get another chance to be part of their lives, and vice versa.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Progress, and two sewing FOs!

I did quite a bit of crafting this weekend. I had no schedule obligations, and was able to work leisurely on whatever I wanted. I finished this zip-pouch, found in Bend-the Rules Sewing:

I used some fabric I bought at Joann's for this, and it was my first zipper project. I'm pretty proud of it, and it came together pretty quickly. I have fabric already cut and placed for a second pouch, and maybe I'll finish that up this week. I would like to make some of these for Christmas gifts, if time permits.

Here's my new pride and joy:

Also from Bend-the-Rules, my second tote bag. It's the same pattern as my first tote a few months ago. I made this one a bit larger, and I sewed it up a bit differently than the last. I'm so proud of how it turned out, and I'm actually using it today (to haul around my knitting). I used three different fabrics for this. The big flower print is a Come Quilt with Me fabric I purchased on etsy, and the turquoise trim piece is by Valori Wells, also an etsy purchase. Since I only had an FQ of the Come Quilt with Me print, I used this chunk to match the height of the other side, and I really like the accent. The inside and second strap are from a Joann's fabric. Each inside has a pocket, one in the Valori Wells print, and the other in a My Folklore scrap from my first tote bag:

I've also been knitting feverishly. I'm frogging the Picovoli top, as there were really more mistakes made than I could live with. I think this stems from the fact that the yarn is sort of slippery on metal needles, and it stretches, so when I remake this, I'm going to use smaller needles, and possibly, a smaller size. I started the Back-to-School vest, and am now finished with the ribbing. I'm loving it so far, and have lots of motivation to quickly finish it.

I also made some progress on my sock, which I'm now working on magic loop (much faster!).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Resolutions, revisited

Back in December of last year, I posted some knitting resolutions, and here's my progress as of this month.

1) knit a sweater for myself
I'm almost done with Something Red. I just have to undo the bind off and redo it more loosely. This has been on the back burner for way too long. I HAVE to finish soon.

2) take (at least) one knitting workshop/class
I haven't taken any knitting classes this year, but I did take a spinning class this summer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I plan to take more classes soon, but I'm counting this as complete

3) learn how to knit socks
Although I haven't completed a full pair of adult socks, I did learn the construction of a sock, and complete a worsted baby sock

4) make baby/toddler gifts for the people who had kids last year (Tricia, Linsey)
Nope. Not a single baby present complete. By the time I get around to it, I will probably have to knit them toddler gifts instead!

5) allow enough time before Christmas so that I don't give up on knitted gifts
I wrote this list before making the decision to reduce my commitments for gifts, but I have already started on my Christmas knitting. I have one complete, and a second will be done shortly. There are a handful of others I have in mind, but since it's not yet October, I'm counting this as a success.

6) learn entrelac
There's still time in the year, and I think I can complete this one.

7) become better equipped to fix mistakes in my knitting, rather than "ribbiting" my way to insanityThis is an ongoing battle. I am definitely better than I used to be, and I've had success picking up missed stitches with a crochet hook, and I'm better at recognizing mistakes, but this still needs improvement.

I've been knitting for a year and a half, and I can definitely see a difference in my skills.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane and whatnot

This is my first hour of internet after Ike. Our power finally came on last night. I feel very fortunate right now. Virtually all of Houston is still without power, and thousands of people in Galveston and the surrounding area lost their homes.

Houston is really eerie right now. Gas is hard to come by, grocery stores that are open don't have much on the shelves. It's a madhouse.

My little townhome is not damaged, and the bright side of the storm is that I spent lots of time with my neighbors, whom I really enjoy. We grilled for the nights without power. Another bright side is the cool front we are experiencing-it's the only relief this city is getting right now. I took some pictures just before the storm hit, which I'll share soon.

I barely knit a stitch during the storm, even though I haven't been back to work since Thursday (no power there, either!). I just haven't been able to focus on knitting, but I'm sure I'll get back into it soon. I'm just trying to get back into my normal routine first.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Are you craving an end of summer dessert? Do you love anything with graham cracker crust? Do you have some fresh or frozen berries that need a purpose? Then take ten minutes out of your life, and make this easy recipe:

Covered in homemade whipped cream-we couldn't wait for it to get thick

Frozen Lemonade Pie
provided by my mom (I'm not sure where she got it)

Graham crackers (one package)
3 T butter
One can frozen lemonade
One quart frozen vanilla yogurt
Frozen or fresh fruit (optional)
9 X 13 dish

Process or crush graham crackers, and mix with melted butter to form crust, and stick it in the fridge to set.
Mix frozen yogurt, lemonade, and berries (you may want to process or puree the berries, so they don't clump together and freeze). Pour it on the crust. Freeze, covered, for at least 3-4 hours. Eat, and if preferred, top with whipped cream.

You could easily modify this recipe. I added blackberries. After I made it, I thought about using some lemon juice instead of lemonade to reduce the sugar. I thought about using a different kind of juice. I thought about using flavored frozen yogurt, like raspberry maybe? The possibilities are endless.

Make this. You won't regret it. It's delicious and easy.
Thanks to mom for the lovely dessert.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Swatching. No, really.

I'm not a good little knitter. I don't regularly swatch for new projects. I'll sometimes check gauge on a big project, a few rows into knitting to make sure I'm about where I need to be. I've also only made one full garment (if a shrug even counts), so I'm certainly not an expert by any means. Taking this information, and my sadness over a couple of recent projects (neither of which I've actually finish, for fear of failure), I decided to start a new and swatch like crazy for an upcoming project, Cherry. I picked out four yarns, based on a ravelry review of other people's finished objects, and what I had in my stash. I'm now making a swatch with each of the yarns to determine which I would like to use. I must admit, I was inspired to swatch by Stitchywitch. I read her blog regularly, and thoroughly enjoy it. She recently displayed some of her new swatches, and it really made me think abut the success I want to achieve with my knitting. I expect a project to just come off the needles like magic, but I don't do as much planning on the front-end as I should to get the results I'm expecting. Without further ado, here are the swatches and my thoughts:

Swatch #1: Berroco Touche

This was one of the first yarns I purchased. I originally bought a few skeins at Hill Country Weavers in Austin, and then purchased additional skeins in the same dyelot from Webs, after realizing I couldn't do much with the amount I had. I've used this once before, as the sleeves and neckline of my Two-Toned Shrug. It has excellent stitch definition, but my gauge is a bit off with the suggested needle size.

Swatch #2: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy

I just acquired this yarn from Supercrafty, and hadn't decided on a pattern when I purchased it. I wouldn't have considered this pattern in hemp, but after seeing Blumunchie's FO, I decided it was a possibility. After starting a swatch (I didn't finish), I've ruled it out. In comparison to swatch #1, I just don't like Hempathy for this pattern. The stitch definition is not as nice as the other swatches. I'll use it for something on smaller needles.

Swatch #3: RYC Cashsoft DK

I happened to have a swatch of this (in plain stockinette) that I worked a few weeks ago for another project on the same size needles. The gauge is dead-on.

Swatch #4: Knit Picks Shine Sport

I like this one as well. The gauge is similar to the Touche.

I decided to go with the Cashsoft DK. The gauge doesn't need tweaking, which is nice, and I should just a little more yarn than I need, which is good for my yarn stash!
I'm glad I did this exercise. I learned a bit more about gauge, and I recorded my gauge for each yarn on Ravelry, so next time I'm swatching, I'll have a bit more information!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sparkly Picovoli

Since my CPH has had me stressed, I started a tank top, in a glittery yarn from Louisa Harding. I picked up the yarn from Yarntopia, intending to make a shell or tank, and now I'm actually doing that!It's an amazing concept-following through on a plan for purchased yarn.

I'm already into the second ball of yarn (out of 8), and I've just gotten past the armholes. It's nice to see some progress, especially considering I spent the majority of the weekend playing Super Monkey Ball on Wii (amazingly fun-especially Monkey Target).

I'm a little concerned the collar may be a little loose for my taste, but I've heard you can use elastic thread to help with that, so I may look into that when I'm finished.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lots of grilling

There's no expiration date for grilling. Houston weather may be gross and humid, but it does allow for essentially year-round grilled treats. For the last few weekends, Dean and I have been taking advantage of that fact.

A variety of fruits and veggies

It's hard to pick a favorite off the grill; everything tastes delicious.
Yesterday, we grilled four types of meats (burgers, sausage, chicken breasts, salmon), as well as tons of veggies.

How can you say no to that?

I've been bringing leftovers to work throughout the week as well, so the grilling love can continue. Mmmm. I can't wait for lunch today!

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