Friday, February 21, 2014

I Made a Thing!

No particular reason. I just wanted to. I want to become more comfortable sewing things, so I figured a pouch would be a good excuse to get behind a sewing machine. I used this tutorial from Very Shannon (but got a tip on how to do the zipper in two swipes instead of four. I could do it again, but I can't explain it).

It did the trick! I now feel pretty comfortable with the sewing machine at my local yarn/sewing shop (It's a super fancy one, too!). If the desire to make my Washi Dress strikes sooner than my mother's sewing machine arrives in my possession, I feel confident that I can camp out at the shop and get it done.

It took me three hours to make. I would imagine that that's a long time for something so small? John was depending on me to take him home, but it was difficult for me to gauge how long this would take (thank goodness he had lots of reading to do!). I thought an hour or two. Of course, the fact that I cannot measure correctly or cut straight or sew straight or follow directions doesn't help!

I bought some super cheap fat quarters at JoAnn's and decided not to worry about perfection or economy. I'm happy I made that decision. I tend to be perfectionist about new things. I only took out two seams. One was because I forgot to reset my basting stitch back to a normal stitch and also didn't sew very straight and the other was because I forgot to leave myself a hole to turn everything right-side out. It's a little home-ec.-y, but I'm still proud of it. I'm really glad I set out to make a small project by myself before trying the dress. I would have made a huge mess of that thing. I might try a few other small projects before the dress just so I feel more confident or to cut me down a bit if I'm feeling over-confident.

I also made this really cute owl for my office-mate's new son. Here is the project page with all the details so I don't end up with a book here. John insists I make another, so there will be a post about an identical owl in the future. ;)

Are you knitting along with the Olympics? I'll share my projects next week, but I'm curious what you are making! Or have made! Links to your blog posts are always welcome. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Slogging Along

One larger project of my numerous works-in-progress that I'm racing to finish pretty quickly is this herringbone scarf.

It's a simple enough pattern, just repetitive, really long, and sort of boring. I figure, the faster I can get it done, the less likely I'll be to lose it in a pile where it will languish like some of my other half-finished projects. The biggest positive is that it is really, really pretty. The longer it gets, the more I like it. I'm not sure if it's a scarf I'll wear, though, so I'm trying to think of people I really love who will wear it. I put fringe on one end, though, so I might decide it's mine for keeps. :)

The worst part about this project is that the 24-row pattern repeat takes me so much longer to get through than I think it should. Like I said, it's simple, but it can take me as long as 40 minutes to do 24 rows. It's frustrating because I'm a fast knitter and this just doesn't feel like it's moving quickly. I'm forcing myself to do three repeats a day for the rest of the week until it is done. Only two feet left to go!

Are you slogging through any projects? How are you coping and keeping yourself motivated?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Big List

I Thought I Saw Your Face Today
I've been knitting along furiously and hoping beyond hope that neither you nor I notice how incredibly loooooooooooooong my works-in-progress list has gotten over there on the right hand side of the blog. With any luck, you all read me through a reader and you haven't noticed, but certainly this post will invite some peeks at the madness. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Lunar Legwarmers
It's really long, right? 17 works-in-progress is way too many, even for me! I'm mildly comfortable at 10, where I usually hover. Purging the stash has given me start-itis. I wish I could say most of them are small projects, but I don't think that's true. Four of them are sweaters, six are scarves or big shawls. The other seven are socks or mittens or in the general category of one or the other. They are the projects that won't take long to finish once I get through the big ones and find time for the small ones again. Will that day ever come? Gosh, I hope so.

Nebulous Shawl
I've only myself to blame. If you think 17 WIPs is going to keep me from casting anything on, you're wrong, haha. I will certainly try to finish a project or two before I cast on something new. At the very least, I hope you are excited to see all these things finished throughout
the coming year. I am! That'll be my biggest motivation for finishing them. :)

What's your WIP count? Would you be interested in joining me for a bit of spring cleaning to cut that number down? I'm thinking April, perhaps. If we can get enough interest, maybe I can round up some prizes too.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I told you I feel like winter is never going to end. I've been knitting on that belief, too. Here is a hat I knit in a day. It is a winter hat, through and through. :)


Pattern: Hannah by Shannon Cook of Very Shannon
Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta in Indiecita
Needles: US 6 & 7 (US 13)*
Project Page

When I worked at a yarn shop, by far the most popular yarn we ever sold was Rasta. We would get a shipment and it would be gone the next day. I was fortunate enough to snag two skeins last year before they flew out the door. I made a cowl I'm pretty meh about with one and this hat had always been the plan for the other.

It's a simple pattern, fits well, looks great, and has the giant-est of giant pom-poms! I'm a pom-pom freak, I'll be the first to admit it. The yarn is fabulous. I'm still not a huge fan of working with super bulky yarn, but it's quick and easy.

Usually I'm bothered by zig-zagging colors. Pooling colors don't bother me, but when it just waves back and forth, that bothers me. It didn't bother me this time. I think the color is just so varied and gorgeous that I didn't think twice about it. It looks like a shimmering, waving pool.

I used all but about a foot of the yarn. I did 3 inches of ribbing and close to 5 1/2 before the crown decreases because I wanted some slouch. I used all the rest in the giant pom-pom. :) It should be a heavy pom-pom, but it's surprisingly light. I had to block it in order to get the hat to fit over my fat head without a struggle. It fits perfectly and doesn't slide off my head. It was super warm and cozy Wednesday, when I found myself trekking through the snow more than I liked.

Do you work with super bulky very often? What sorts of items have you made with it or do you want to make with it? Have you worked with Rasta? What are your thoughts?

We hope you all had a very happy Valentine's Day full of love and chocolate. :) Whatever I was sick with a couple weeks ago decided it wants to be a cold this week, so sorry my posts have been off by a day. I'll get it all figured out by next week.

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

*For more info on my strange "Needles" note, refer to this post.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


In the last two years, I have had the great fortune of winning or receiving as gifts yarns I've never worked with before. Now that I'm finally getting around to working with them, I am making big plans for my post-stash knitting. Below is a pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks knit in Hedgehog Fibres Sock. The fabric is so soft, I literally stop every few rows and just rest my cheek on it. It's like wool that thinks it's alpaca. Look at the color! I need to get more of this yarn.

On the other hand, I have found some duds, too. Below is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool XL. It's really scratchy and not so pleasant to knit with, even for a person who doesn't mind scratchy wool.

In the process of knitting through all the yarn I've acquired in the last 7 years or so, I'm learning more and more about what I like, what I don't like, and what I dream my stash may look like some day. Ideally, I don't really want a stash. Maybe a few pretty skeins that I couldn't live without and sweater quantities purchased just ahead of casting that project on, but having piles of yarn around isn't that fun for me.

In addition, I want to allow myself to buy a sweater's worth of Shelter or some other expensive and luxurious yarn when I want to. Having so much unused yarn lying around prevents me from indulging sometimes. Having enough Silky Wool on hand means I have to make a sweater out of it, even though I know I won't love it. Why waste any precious knitting time on yarns I'm just not crazy about? Why did I buy them in the first place? Well, I worked at a knitting store and frequently it was there and looked good, so I bought it. Now that I don't work at a knitting store anymore, I'll bet I'll save myself quite a bit of money not buying things I work alongside. :)

I've noticed a lot of people reducing their stash this year. Are you? Has working through your stash revealed anything to you about your tastes in yarn or the stash you would like to keep?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Endless Winter

Boy, when I disappear, I disappear don't I? Sorry about that! I was sick for a week and stressed the next, but both the illness and the stress have been managed and I'm back! I have finished knits to share too! Here's the first.

Thea Shawl

Pattern: Oana Shawl by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran in Dark Grey and a touch of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in Potpurri (the yarns have both been discontinued, it seems)
Needles: US 10 1/2
Project Page

Over the summer, one of my favorite designers, Thea Colman, did a destash of some of her yarns. I had been eyeing the one ball of Kathmandu Aran at the shop where I worked in the exact colorway she had to offer, so I snatched up the one ball and emailed her immediately. She threw in the Jo Sharp skein as a bonus. The color was pretty close, tweed and all, but not perfect, which turned out to save my tail in the end.

The pattern is pretty good. There's a major erratum right at the beginning, so watch for that. I also wish it explained how many repeats of the chart to do the deeper you get into the shawl, but eventually, the pattern becomes so intuitive that it's not really necessary, I suppose. I did two extra repeats to use
up as much yarn as possible but still leave myself enough for the fringe (the fringe!!!). Calculations told me I needed just over one full skein for the fringe, even after my increased shawl size, but I actually needed more like one and a half, I think. I used quite a bit of the Jo Sharp to finish the fringe (those fringes are slightly lighter and greener). It's possible that full skein of Kathmandu I had was light, too, if i know the distributor like I think I do.

I have bundled up in this guy every day since I finished it. It's been so cold here that the shawl has been a blessing. I'm totally crazy about how huge it is, how squishy it is, how warm and soft and the fringe! Fringe is incredible. I sort of want to put it on everything I knit now. It was a huge pain to cut it all, but...look at how glorious it is!

I am definitely knitting this sucker again. I love an over-sized scarf/shawl/cowl for winter wear and since this winter is never, ever going to end, I had better start bundling. :)

How have you all been? I've missed you! What do you think about this never-ending winter? Are you still knitting heavy stuff or are you optimistically prepping for spring?