Sunday, January 27, 2008

Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers







FO: Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers

From: A free pattern on Wine and Needles blog, which you can find here.
Knit For: Me!
Size: These are a One Size Fits Most pattern
Yarn: Challenger by Chat Botte. A vintage french yarn - 94% acrylic/6% wool, light worsted, 102 yards per skein, shade - Blanc (more of a cream color than white). I used just a few yards short of one skein.
Started: January 20, 2008
Finished: January 22, 2008
Modifications: I knit an additional 8 row repeat for wrist warmers that were slightly longer.
My Thoughts: Okay, let me first say that I do like these. I wear them often, like the way they look on my hands, and have even received compliments on them. However, I am slightly disappointed with them. You may recall that I first made a pair of these for my Mom in Jaeger Extra Fine Merino. I chose the Chat Botte yarn from my stash because the color perfectly matched a store bought hat and scarf that I wear often. But compared to the Extra Fine Merino, this yarn was not nearly as enjoyable to work with. It had the slightly grippy/crunchy feel that acrylic yarn can have. But even more disappointing, was how my yarn choice effected the end product. The Extra Fine Merino was so soft and squishy with a beautiful hand and fantastic memory/elasticity. The same can not be said for the Chat Botte. When I take these off they do not contract back into cabley/ribby goodness. They remain stretched and limp, reminding me of an overcooked noodle. I'm pretty positive that it's only because I'm a knitter, that I notice or care about this.

This is my third project that involved cables, and I'm finding that I really like knitting them. There's something so satisfying about creating them. While knitting away, I find myself thinking things like "Look Ma! I'm knitting in 3D!" (Did I just admit that?)

I cast on for the Minisweater/Boobholder on Thursday. Here she is:



Did I ever mention that I love pink? Cause I do. From shades that are so pale that they seem to bashfully whisper their color to the world, across the spectrum to ones that make me feel like I'm celebrating being a girl by wearing them.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Invisible FOs

I finished the blue Irish Hiking Wrist Warmers that I was making for my Mom on the 18th. But I ended up giving them to her before I thought to get pictures of them. She seemed to like them, and thanked me more than once. Yay! Two days later, I cast on a pair for myself in a white vintage wool/acrylic blend by Chat Botte, called Challenger. I took this picture yesterday.



One's completed and seamed, and the other was nearly finished. But then I ended up finishing them last night. They still need blocked, so the FO post and pics will have to wait.

So, I'm curious. Are you starting to notice something in regards to my color choices for projects? Call me unobservant, but until a few days ago when I opened up my "Projects" page on Ravelry, and the last nine things I've knit were staring back at me, I hadn't realized that every single one of them is either white or pale blue. How could I not have noticed?! It reminds me of the time when I was about 16, I opened up my closet and suddenly realized almost every piece of clothing in there was green. I get on color jags, where I'm unconsciously drawn to a certain color over and over again. But now that both pairs of wrist warmers are done, I'm on the prowl for some new projects to cast on. I swear for the sake of variety, I will choose yarns other than blue or white. =)

One potential project I'm eyeballing is the Minisweater (a.k.a. Boobholder) by Stefanie Japel. Though, the original is a little too foofy for my tastes. I really like this, this, and this version. I shall be swatching a.s.a.p.

One last thing for now. Thank you to all of you who take the time to leave comments on my humble little blog. It's so much fun to hear your thoughts and feedback. Often times I want to reply to your comments, but I've never been sure how I should go about it. Should I leave my reply in the comments? Should I email my reply? Should I reply in a future post? Should I reply in the comments on their blog? Well, I've finally realized that all this over analyzing has only resulted in one thing - me not replying to comments. So I've decided to quit it, and get on with it. Suzy, who is a new knitter and just started a blog {Welcome, welcome! I think you'll find that the worlds of Knitville and Blogland are very fun places to visit. =) }, left this comment on this post:

" Steph! I am a newby and just started a seed stitch sweater in All Seasons Cotton yesterday. The folks at the LYS said I could not knit the bonnet in ASC but needed to knit it in the yarn it called for. Then I saw your beautiful set and wondered if you had to adjust the bonnet pattern for the ASC. Loved the Mary Janes! Do you sell that pattern on ETSY? Thanks for any insight!"

Okay, first I want to confess that I feel the urge to stomp into that yarn shop and lecture those people for telling you that you can't knit the bonnet in All Seasons Cotton but have to knit it in the yarn called for. In my opinion, there are very few "cant's" and "have to's" when it comes to knitting. It frustrates me that someone in the position of a LYS owner would impress that on a new knitter. I think knitters (and crocheters, and sewers for that matter) should be encouraged to experiment, and feel empowered to alter any project as they see fit. Yes, you can knit the bonnet in All Seasons Cotton! How do I know this? Because I just did! I very rarely knit a project in the yarn called for. And I very often alter a pattern to be knit to a size or gauge that isn't given in the pattern. More than once, I've thought about writing a post explaining how I go about doing this. Alas, laziness has always deterred me. But that comment gave me the motivation to do it. I'll try to put the post together within a week. If it takes me a couple days longer, don't hold it against me. Sometimes life's pesky responsibilities get in the way of my plans.
As for the Mary Janes, I often make my own patterns (mainly for sewing, but a few for knitting), but I've yet to ever organize one enough to present it to others. It's another one of those things that I've thought about, but my horrid laziness prevents me from doing. =) If I ever do, I think I want to give at least the first few out as free patterns. My reason for that is, I'm so often amazed by how many wonderful free patterns knitters and sewers so generously put up for other's use. And well, generosity inspires generosity...........



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

6

The days leading up to last Thursday the 17th were a whirlwind of shopping, house cleaning, baking, and juggling a million little details. Why? For a very important event of course. A certain girl that I am extremely fond of experienced the momentous event of no longer being able to count her age on one hand. Sophia turned 6. =) In tribute, I give you a look back at some of my favorite pics from her younger days. (2 years old, to be exact. Prior to that age, I owned one of those dinosaur, non-digital cameras.)

My Sophia:


Adventurous



fun-loving



sometimes grouchy



and always sweet.

I love you baby girl. You're my grandest creation by far.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Out With The Old, In With The New

January's a fantastic time to do just that. I got the idea to make the Seed Stitch Dress, Marshmallow Bonnet, and Mary Janes for Bekki and her baby waaaay back in October. And now they're finally completed, wrapped up pretty, and ready to meet their recipient.




There's a buttoned opening at the back neck because we all know that one of babys many charms are their disproportionately large head to body ratio.






I *love* these buttons. =) They add just the flavor I was looking for.


FO Details

Seed Stitch Dress: (a.k.a. the Picot Dress)
From: Special Knits by Debbie Bliss
Knit For: Bekki & baby
Size: 6-12 months
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton, worsted weight, 98 yards/skein, shade 204. I didn't keep track of how many skeins I used per knitted item, but it took a total of 4 skeins to complete all of them. This is the first time I've worked with All Seasons Cotton. I will definitely use it again. It's so soft and has a great sproingy hand to it.
Button: An antiqued silver with floral etchings.
Started: October 16, 2007
Finished: January 10, 2008
My Thoughts: I've written plenty about this project before. So I'll just sum it up by saying that there was a point where this dress was a bit of a pita, and had me feeling pretty disappointed. But once I got over that, it wasn't very hard to alter the pattern for sizing/gauge issues. I'm so glad I finished this. I love it, and even more so, I love how all the pieces go together.

Mary Janes:
From: These are my own design.
Knit For: Bekki & baby
Size: 6-12 months
Yarn: Same as above.
Started: October ?, 2007
Finished: A couple days later
My Thoughts: This is the second pair of these that I've made. The first ones were done in dk weight yarn. These were done in worsted weight, and I found that the seams were a little bulky. I pressed them with my iron and a wet pressing cloth, which helped a lot. Next time around though, I'll use a thinner yarn for the seaming. Otherwise, I'm so happy with how these turned out.

Marshmallow Bonnet:
From: Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
Knit For: Bekki & baby
Size: 6-12 months
Yarn: Same as above.
Started: October ?, 2007
Finished: A couple days later
My Thoughts: Such a cute hat, like so many others in the book. The pattern was very well written, and a piece of cake to follow.

So that's the old. What's the new? These:



That's an Irish Hiking Wrist Warmer. It's twin was cast on tonight and knit past the first repeat (there are 5 total). I'm making these for my Mom. I had wanted to make them for her for Christmas, but it just didn't happen.




Friday, January 11, 2008

Speechless

This has nothing to do with knitting. Before tonight, I had never heard of PostSecret - a site where people anonymously mail in there secrets that are written on handmade post cards. When I found it, the site was having problems so I went to YouTube to look for stuff about it. I watched many videos like this:



I was moved to tears. And I'm speechless................sometimes I forget how vulnerable and beautiful people really are.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Blogs I Read

The first blog I ever read was Yarn Harlot, back in the winter of 2006. This came about because I had just read her book Yarn Harlot - The Secret Life Of A Knitter. I loved it. It was the first time I had read stories completely devoted to knitting, and specifically the humorous/human side of the craft, as opposed to technical/instructional writing. And I wanted more. I noticed on the back cover of the book that it said she had a blog. I went to check it out. I decided that I should start with the archives and read through to the present. It took over a month of reading in my spare time to get to her then current posts. But I was hooked. Especially due to the fact that I didn't know a single other knitter in real life, it was so much fun to read the thoughts of someone who loved the craft as much as I did. I went on to discover many other knitting and sewing blogs. To this day, if a blog looks like one that really appeals to me, I start reading it from the beginning. I can't imagine doing otherwise. It would feel like picking up a book and starting on Chapter 6 - I would miss so much of the story. I find new blogs that I want to read all the time. And when I do, I bookmark them in a folder I have designated to blogs. When I start reading a blog, I add it to my sidebar. When I've finished reading one all the way to the present, I start on a different one, but I still check back for new posts on the ones already in my sidebar. The one problem with this, is that I discover cool new blogs faster than I can read them. So there are currently 68 in my bookmarked queue.
How do you read blogs? Do you start from the beginning? Is there a system to it? Are you pretty loyal to certain blogs you read? Or do you jump all over the place? Do you remember the first blog you ever read?

In project news, I'm happy to report that I've stuck to my No-New-Knitting in order to finish the Seed Stitch Dress and accessories that I'm making for Emily, who's expecting her first baby in February. The buttons are sewn on the mary janes and bonnet, which makes them officially finished. I've added the picot edging to the neck and one armhole of the dress, and sewed one side seam. Now all that remains is the edging for the other armhole, sewing the last side seam, and adding the button to the back neck opening. So close! And I'm so relieved. I had let this project slip to the wayside so much, that I had completely lost interest in it. It took some self control to get back on track enough to finish up. But I'm really glad I did. I'll have an FO post in the near future.

I've also turned into a shoe maker:











These things are so fun and addictive. I was just playing around with making a pattern about a week ago, and they kind of took on a life of their own. I'm planning more in other color combinations as soon as I can get my hands on more felt.