Archive | January, 2011

Bergen Street

31 Jan

Five months and lots of hibernation and this sweater is finally done!  I’m not entirely happy with it but it’s done and it’s wearable so I’ll take it.  I ripped out the lower half and added more shaping but by the time I finished I was a slightly different body shape than when I started so it fits kind of funny.  It may take a trip through the dryer eventually to shrink it up.

One thing that irked me about the end result was the stitches that showed through at the color change.


I duplicate stitched over these spots and now you can’t see them.

Lessons learn with this:

  • I CAN graft 440 stitches together and it will look good
  • If you knit a sweater in the postpartum year, don’t make a shaped one
  • I need to start erring on the side of too small rather than too big with sweaters so I don’t keep ending up with bulky ones
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Anticipation

29 Jan

Look what’s blocking!

I just might be more excited to start a new project than I am about this one being almost done. The thrill I feel when I finally finish a project for which I have put all others on hold is the same as I’d imagine it is for people who do Black Friday shopping. Usually this project’s last days seem endless as I daydream about all the others that I want to be working on. When that last end has been woven in or the last blocking pin has been placed I probably I look the same as those folks who are first in line at Walmart at 4am the day after Thanksgiving. I rush to whatever project I’ve been waiting for, almost too giddy with excitement to cast on correctly. Often times my excitement over starting something new outweighs my desire to actually knit the next project I choose and I end up getting buyer’s remorse and not caring about the project once the new project euphoria wears off.

Case in point: my Hiroshige mittens. I was so very excited to plan and dream about these while I was finishing up other projects.

I dyed the yarn (the light blue), did a gauge swatch, worked the first dozen rows, then stalled. I think the plan of these mittens was much more enticing to me than the actual project. I don’t know that I even feel the desire to work on these now. My thrift makes me feel like I should though simply because I paid for the pattern.

This time I’m trying to be more cautious. Waiting eagerly in the wings for the Bergen Street cardigan to be done is a hat and slippers. The hat is Peas and Lettuce, an adorably cute pattern written by my friend Jane, bobble queen extraordinaire.

The slippers are some thrummed squishy goodness that I hope to have the pattern for come mid-February. Just look at that pile of merino roving.

I’d be happy just wrapping it around my feet and calling it good, but I promise a much more interesting project is in store. Stay tuned.

Gypsy Wools

28 Jan

There is a tiny yarn store in Boulder on Spruce Ave on the south side of the Boulderado. For probably 18 months I occasionally walked by Gypsy Wools, usually on the way to Rebecca’s next door or Sushi Zanmai one more door down. My bias against most things Boulder and assumptions of downtown businesses told me this place was beyond my budget. Once while walking a sleeping baby around downtown, I wandered in expecting to look at nice fiber, scoff at the price and leave. Fifteen minutes later I ended up walking out with a rather nice and surprisingly inexpensive skein.

For such a small store this place has a large variety of colors, weights and materials. This week I bought a skein of bulky weight yarn called Gaia. I went in looking for a very specific shade of pale green in bulky weight and they had it. You can’t say that about many yarn shops this size.

Last time I was there I wanted a nice soft yarn to test knit the Junie Cap with.  This Kona Sport in a rich brown color was a dream to knit with. I highly recommend this line.

It’s nice to have a new destination in Boulder and I look forward to visiting again!

Buttons

27 Jan

My mom kept her buttons in empty film containers.  To this day just the sound of one of those containers opening makes me smile, remembering sorting those buttons while my mom sewed.  I love looking at all the variety, comparing sizes, sorting colors, all that stuff.  Last summer I found a tin of buttons at a rummage sale for $2.  It was a church sale and this was obviously some old lady’s collection from the last 40 or so years.  I was so excited to take them home, sort them, and stick my fingers in that tin the same way you would your toes in soft sand.

It was well worth $2 for the nostalgia.  For the functionality, though, I’m not sure.  It seems most crafters I know have a variety of buttons in their supplies but personally every time I need buttons for a project I end up going out and buying new ones.

The sweater I’m working on calls for ten buttons.  I have looked through all of the buttons in my house and I just don’t have them.  It seems so silly to me.  All of these:

and there aren’t any that meet my needs.  I have considered mixing and matching but I just don’t know if I’m the sort of person that can pull that off.

I guess I’ll just hold on to these and someone can buy them at my garage sale when I’m old.

And here is the so-close-to-needing-buttons cardigan!

I’ll be channeling The Little Engine That Could today and plowing through it.

The sweater continues…

26 Jan

Today’s question:

Do I dare graft together 212 stitches that join the re-knit sweater bottom with the already finished ribbed edging or re-knit 2 1/2 inches of k2p2 ribbing?  I don’t know which is worse.

Either way, between grandma coming over to play with the kids this morning and knit night tonight, I’m confident that the knitting part of this sweater will be done by the end of the day!

 

 

Green to gold and other overdyeing fun

24 Jan

I love a good loophole. Even when the loophole is in regard to a rule I’ve made (Kind of like I’ve outsmarted myself, heehee). I said I wouldn’t work on any other project until I finished my cardigan but dyeing doesn’t count, does it? I mean, the yarn isn’t for any project in particular so it’s not really another WIP. Right? Right?

My new favorite dyeing challenge is overdyeing colored yarn. It’s relatively easy to start with bare yarn and come up with a color scheme that you like, but adding onto an existing color throws a wrench into the mix. I have quite a few nice skeins of yarn in my stash whose colors I’m not too crazy about. Most of these were either given to me or were orphaned in a clearance bin somewhere and I couldn’t pass them up. I am thrifty beyond belief and I will, in fact, buy yarn that is hideous if it’s a good enough price.

I’ve had quite a few nice surprises this month with overdyes. I hope you like them too.

The first one was an overdye of a skein of Knit Picks Bare worsted that had an unfortunate outcome with the first round of dye.


Sorry, should have warned you to shield your eyes. Bright, huh? Who needs that much pink? A dip in a blue dye bath gave me this:

Ah, better.

Next, a beautiful yarn handed down to me by a friend. It’s Spotlight Basics, a beautiful Australian wool, but just wasn’t a color I could see myself knitting with.

So in a crazed state I went nuts with various colored dyes. When all was said and done I couldn’t even remember what colors had gone into the pot, but I love the golden brown color that resulted:

From this same friend came two skeins of Sandnes Lanett, some wonderfully soft merino wool in fingering weight. Again, not my color. Actually, this was the color my living room was when we bought our house and it almost made me not want to buy the place. Almost.

Since I am a sucker for stripes, as I’ve said, I decided that this yarn would evolve into self striping sock yarn. Behold:

If my math is correct (which is nearly always is – thanks, math degree!) each stripe will be two rows thick with a 7-stripe repeat. I can’t wait to try this out. Striped knee highs, here I come…. eventually.

And although it wasn’t my favorite dye job, this is my favorite in terms of transformation. Two skeins of Soles & More that I got on super clearance at Joanns.

At a dollar a skein, I couldn’t pass up the chance of $2 socks. The colors of this yarn are so awful but with 75% wool and 25% nylon, I love the wash-ability of it. So this went from pastel stripes to:

semi solid ruby deliciousness. Mmm. I can’t wait to see how the original stripes add to the slight variegation of this one. I think this will look great as either Absinthe or Evening Stockings for a Young Lady. Hmm, this may be getting dangerously close to working on a WIP. I’m off to go work on my sweater now.

 

 

 

Sleepy Mouse

24 Jan

When I was little my brothers and I had adorable matching stockings.  They were red and white gingham with green felt trim.  The best part was that at the toe of each of them was a little stuffed mouse head, making it appear as if a mouse had climbed in, chewed a hole in the bottom and was peeking out to say hello.  Each Christmas I got so excited to unpack these memory filled treasures but each year I also felt melancholy that this mouse friend was just a head and not a whole toy a play with.

Fast-forward a few decades to the first year of being a mother.  Close to Christmas I started thinking about these stockings and decided to make my baby son a reproduction of these mice but this time finally giving it a body.  Three years later for my daughter’s first Christmas I made her one too and this time wrote down the pattern.  I like the idea of sharing this pattern so lots of trees can house a mouse all over this globe.

There is no specified size for this mouse so you can use whatever feltable wool you like.  Fingering weight will give you a medium sized ornament whereas an aran or bulky will make a nice small toy.

The Details:

Yarn: any wool that is feltable
Yardage: about 50yds
: unimportant
Suggested needle size: one size larger than your yarn suggests

Price: Free!

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Find this pattern on Ravelry