Friday, December 31, 2010

Blocking, at last!

I thought this day would never come!  This little cardi has taken so much longer to knit up than I thought it would.  My daughter's visit from Mississippi, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and bits of Christmas knitting are my excuses.  Now, my hope is to complete it before our short winter season is over, otherwise, I'll have to wait until next November to wear it. 

I did try to stay within the limits of the finished measurements, according to the pattern, but this MadelineTosh is forgiving, and seems to give me a little more width than expected.

After it's seamed, there is still a knitted edging to add.  You might notice this piece is laying with the right side down.  I decided to lay the sides on top of each other and did the same with the sleeves. This may take longer to dry, but they should be sized correctly.

Something new on the needles, coming soon!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Drunkard's Path Quilt, final

Whew, the quilt was finished in time for Christmas giving to my little granddaughter.  I barely made it.  I apologize for not having very nice pictures of the finished project, but my camera was acting up just in time for Christmas....grrrrr.

Above:  You don't want to see this, do you?  It shouldn't happen, but alas, I knew it would be a tied quilt, and my rush to finish out-ranked my quality control.  These things happen.

The centers should match perfectly, as evidenced by these four blocks. 

I think it's impossible to start planning Christmas projects too early.  Next year, I tell myself, next year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quilt, part 2

Fabric shopping is addictive.  Did I buy more than I was shopping for?  You just know I did.

Since the quilt top I pieced was sewn using old scraps from other projects, there was no way to find anything to use for a backing that would match perfectly.  If I'd planned this quilt from the beginning, I'd have selected one of the pieces of the top to use for the backing.

I did find this adorable flannel with little Olivia prancing about, and since the top has some black and white pieces scattered throughout, I thought it might work well.  The green fabric above will be used for the binding.  This Olivia flannel is very black....the lighting was very bright.

One thing is clear; even though my husband has seen me make many quilts over the years, he has no knowledge about the differences between the terms, backing, binding, border, or basting.....imagine that!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Drunkard's Path

This is another of those forgotten projects found lurking on the bottom of a dusty sewing box.

Now, with Christmas closing in, I've decided it's time to complete it, and I'm hoping the end result will be nice enough for gifting.

When I dug through my slowly depleting stash, I had some completed 7 inch squares and the rest were in various stages of piecing madness.

All of the fabrics used in this wee quilt were left over from other projects.  These aren't the prettiest choices, and some are faded and old.  The colors are not at all what I would choose today, but 20 years ago, my taste was less refined, and my pocketbook was more in tune with raising a family, and less with crafting and sewing for pleasure.

After piecing enough blocks for a small coverlet, I sewed the blocks together and added a border.  I was running out of fabric scraps and hopefully the pieced border will add a cohesive touch to this long lost UFO.

Stay tuned!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pie Season

Every family has a favorite pie.... it's the one that disappears first at various family gatherings throughout the Christmas season.  I believe our family favorite is pumpkin. 

Pumpkin and all the spices emanating from this custard creation, is the aroma that makes the holidays seem more,!  Am I right?

My daughter, Amanda, is pumpkin pie's most loyal fan.  She's been loving this sweet and spicy temptation since early childhood.  She has always believed it to be a great substitute for any meal, claiming its nutritious ingredients.

When she was a child, I made pumpkin pie every two weeks for about 6 months, when I finally decided it was time for her to learn how to make a pie crust.  Amanda was a fast learner, especially when she realized that knowing this technique would be helpful in all future pie endeavors.  At about the age of 12, she was a very good pie crust maker, and I'm happy to report, she still loves pumpkin pie, and makes it quite regularly for her own children.

My grandson, Garrett, is the family's new pumpkin pie enthusiast...the apple  the pumpkin doesn't roll far from the vine.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gwynedd Hat

This cute hat modeled by my cute daughter, Alexis, will be perfect for these chilly winter days and nights in California.  Of course, us Californians have a whole different view of what is chilly and what is not. 

The pattern, found in the fall installment of Knitscene, was a bit finicky, requiring needle changes, and many markers and such.  There was much ripping and cursing, prior to getting the hang of an actual pattern emerging.

The outcome is sweet, and my love of 'aubergine' was satisfied.  It's lacy and purly and according to Alexis, very comfortable.  A touch of whimsy was added by a little bow on the rim.

This design by Cecily Glowik Macdonald is knit using Happy Feet by Plymouth, and it worked out well, even though the magazine opted for using something more mohair-ish, such as Classic Elite Fresco.

The hat was described as being slightly 'slouchy', but I don't see that.  Perhaps my daughter's thick hair is filling up the slouch? 

No matter.  The color is fantastic (disregard the pink looking photo) and Alexis loves it.  What else matters?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Socks, du jour

Beginning a new sock and watching it transform from loops hanging off a needle to something that is actually wearable is a great way to start any day.

I'm flipping through my "Socks a la Carte" knitting idea book, and trying to decide what the body of the sock should be.  The cuff is a sort of twisted double rib, and since I've never done this pattern, it will be interesting to see what the finished cuff looks like.

The beginning....

The yarn is Dream In Color Smooshy, and it truly is 'DREAMY'.  How this color will disperse itself throughout the sock is still a mystery, but the fun is in the anticipation, right?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harry Movie Madness

Don't tell me!  That's my usual opening line to anyone who has almost anything to say regarding Harry Potter, for at least a couple of weeks.

Yes, I am a Harry Potter lunatic.  Perhaps that's not entirely true, after all, I am a movie lunatic, in general.  That's to say, I can't abide being told anything about a movie before I've seen it myself.  It's a horrible flaw in my personality, I know, and I probably should lock myself in a closet or join a self-help group, or something.

It's always difficult trying to keep the mystery alive, especially when changing the television channel and being zapped in the face with scenes from the movie when I least expect it.  You don't know what I go through!  I purposely do not watch any trailers or interviews with stars or directors, and if some news network starts interviewing people as they leave the theater, I switch channels immediately, and if that's not possible, I run screaming from the room with my fingers in my ears.  It's not pretty.

I am a mystery fan.  Even when the mystery isn't all that mysterious.  I mean, the book has been out for quite a time, and I've read it the prerequisite 3 times already, right?  I should know what the movie is about.  I do, I do, but we all know the movie is always a bit different.  Ahhhh, that's where the mystery lies....where are the differences, can I spot them, and of those differences, which ones do I think were done well and which ones missed the mark?

It's hard being me. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Socks

Believe me, this yarn is absolutely beautiful.  It reminds me of a plump eggplant, basking in the sun.  Could I be any more descriptive?  You can call it plum, or concord grape, even purple, but 'aubergine' sounds so much more deep and rich, and it really is.

I'm knitting up something a little different.  Can you guess what is working its way on and off the needles?

This yarn is my footsies favorite, Happy Feet, by Plymouth, and although this won't go anywhere near the toes, this gorgeous color can't help but be matter what part of the body it adorns.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feet Smothered in Diamonds

Promises, promises!  Yes, I promised these would be completed before Halloween.  I didn't lie, honest.  Finding my daughter available for modeling during the day is always an undertaking.  I grabbed her on the way out the door, and asked her to put on some shorts, quick!  I'm glad you can't see the expression on her face....ouch.

These are pretty, don't you think?

The yarn:  Knitpicks, Stroll
Needles:  US size 2 dpns
Pattern:  My own.  A simple 2x2 rib cuff, with a diamond pattern for the leg and foot - stockinette on the sole.  The heel and toe are fairly standard, but any favorite heel/toe combination would work well, I think.

They are toasty warm, and just in time for our cooler weather.  It never really feels like Autumn when the temp is in the 80's. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Sweater on the Needles

I'm loving this very fall-like colorway of MadelineTosh.  It's called 'Moss", and I couldn't have thought of a better name, myself.  The browns and greens, as well as the lights and the darks are a delight to the eye.  How Madelinetosh creates these strands without a hint of stripes is a mystery. 

I've completed the back portion, and started the sides.  The yarn is pure joy to work, but I do question the idea that it's a DK weight.  It surely works up more like a worsted. 

What's this?  Well, it's the lower edge of the left side of a cardigan, of course.  This stockinette refuses to lie flat, and I'm thinking that I might have to block the individual pieces before joining. 

Christmas knitting and a few surprises are in hiding.  They might make a few appearances as the holidays draw near.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

UFO Sighting

This square was my first attempt at  making a Baltimore Album quilt.  The colors used in these type of quilts vary, but green and red seem to dominate most patterns.  Some quilts use green and red alone.  I didn't copy this pattern, but combined some of my favorite aspects of several really pretty quilts to create my own little design.

You can see the itsy bitsy stitches used in this 'fold and pin' technique.

Even the wee rosebud was given extra special care.  It's so cute.

I have 3 of these completed 14-inch squares.

The flip side of each square must be trimmed of excess fabric, otherwise quilting would be nearly impossible.  Just look at the layers, and this is prior to adding batting and a backing.  Yikes!

Trim, trim, trim.

Oh oh, where's the center?

The center of the 4th hibernating square needs love and attention. 

I began this project about 12 years ago ( yes, I am very naughty).  The colors and the flowers are very nice, but my enthusiasm has waned for this bold color and very bold style of quilt. Now, I'm thinking a nice little coverlet folded at the end of the bed, is the smart way to go.  After adding a generous border, it'll look sweet.  Any thoughts? 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Castlegar Cardigan Final

Designer, Laura Chau, came up with a fingering weight gauge cardigan that really piqued my interest. 

   Yarn:  Knitpicks Stroll
   231 yards per skein
   Color:  Burgundy
   Needles:  Size 3 US circular needles and size 2 dpns

This cute little cardi took considerable time, but I'm not a very speedy knitter, and I do believe I could have made it a little shorter, probably 2-3 inches.  I always forget I'm not 5'5"....crap.

Do you notice the puckering?  Yeah, me too.  I could have made a size smaller, but there's nothing more uncomfortable than a tight sweater.  Well, I guess having to go to the bathroom while standing in line for tickets at the movies is a bit more uncomfortable, but I digress.

Ignore the fold line down the back of the cardi.  It was waiting patiently for a photographer.  Thanks, Alexis.

This was truly a breeze to knit, and I highly recommend the pattern.  Just make sure you have enough yarn.  The neck area could have been about an inch higher, if I hadn't been living on the edge, with less than half a skein of yarn and no button bands. 

See what I mean about the buttons?  They do seem to be a bit heavy, but I love them with this pattern, so I think I'll leave them as is.  I will definitely take that into consideration when I make another lightweight sweater again.  By the way, those are freckles, not age spots!  Don't judge me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Button Hunt

The task of finding the perfect button for a hand knit sweater is daunting.  I've made my choice, but I'm having second thoughts.  The nickel buttons I've chosen might be too heavy for the lightweight sweater front.  I'll sew them on first - decide later.  I might have to choose some kind of lightweight plastic button.  Finished pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Socks on the Needles

Autumn is a good time to indulge myself in the beautiful colors of the season.  I simply love fall in all its majesty.  Here, we have some pumpkin colored yarn that I purchased for a sweater, but it was not to be.  All that yammy color was just too much.

I made up the pattern myself.  That's to say, I didn't use a pattern from Ravelry, or any book or website.  I'm sure someone out there has made socks with a diamond pattern on them, so they're probably not 'original' in the truest sense of the word.  I used graph paper to sketch out the design I wanted, and began knitting using basic sock measurements.  We'll see how they come out.

The diamonds are subtle, I know, but I didn't want anything too fussy with this very bold and stripey color.  I hope to finish them before Halloween.

I'm loving my little sock project bag. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Twisted Rib Socks - Complete

At last!  These socks featured a twisted rib cuff, and a simple knit all-over design.  Nothing complicated, at all.

Yarn:  The Woolen Rabbit
           Essence/ Merino Wool
           400 yards
This lovely yarn is very soft with a muted blue/grey color.  They were knit using US 1 dpns, at 8 stitches per inch gauge. 

My daughter was kind enough to model them for me, but they're knit for someone with slightly larger feet, so they're not quite the perfect fit in these photos.  Sorry for the gloomy looking pictures, but the lateness of an already cloudy day was not in my favor.

All in all, a very comfortable TV watching knit, though the pattern seemed to drag on.  I suppose there should be a balance between what is easy and what is interesting.  Hmm, I'll have to give that some thought for my next pair of socks.