Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesdays: Stripes!

It's Wednesday again! I didn't get a chance to update last week, so I've had several FOs. Of course that means I have to take good pictures of all of the FOs (I think I have 7 [!] that I need to document.)

Here's my Delancey cardigan. The sleeves are done! Woohoo! I've decided to go ahead and use only the contrasting color for the garter borders/collar, mainly to maximize the use of my yarn. I bought 2 skeins of the red and 5 skeins of the tan color. I broke into both skeins of the red, and only used 2.27 skeins for the tan up to this point. That means I have more than enough tan to make a nice toddler/baby sweater. I have more than enough red for all of the borders, too. I think the full red borders will really pull the sweater together. Oh, and it fits :D

I've also been working on my Girly sweater by Joji Locatelli. I love the cute little weeones stitch markers I'm using for it. There's no recepient in mind, but I'm sure a 4-year old cutie will show up in my life some day. I really wanted to knit this pattern when I saw it, and I had yarn for it (well, for the daughter of a knitter who knows how to handle wool.) By the way, I love Joji Locatelli's patterns! Just like I love Amy Christoffers. Two of my current crushes right now. I have a couple of their stuff in the budding stages of planning.

Oh, and I definitely have more stripes in the trenches. I'm working on some purple and gold Tiger Bootees from 50 Baby Booties to Knit by Zoë Mellor. The patterns in there are absolutely adorable, and I know I'll make many more bootees to come from this book. for the newborn daughter of one of my friends (they're LSU fans). I'll probably make another pair for the boy's LSU fan friends who are expecting. I'm ecstatic that I get to use some of my old stash leftovers!

Finally, I got some Twisted Limone yarn in a destash recently (greedy me didn't want to link that because her yarn is hard to get), and I've already cast on some stripey socks! Guess what? They're LSU-riffic, too! The colors are a bit different in real life. I'm using some Harmony dpns that I bought recently. Turns out one of them basically split in half along the top half (one of the colors of the wood came off) before I even got the needles. I kept trying to knit with it anyway, but the needle kept snagging my yarn. I called up KnitPicks, and they're sending me a replacement right away! What great service! I'm basically improvising for the sock design, but I think I'm going to do an after-thought heel. (Grrr KnitGirllls and Carin!!!) Yeayeayea--that's a piddlee in the background. If I had my signatures in this project, the amount of influence these ladies have on my would be just ridiculous!!! Seriously!!! I have some InSpinKnity blocking wires on the way just because of their review. You may definitely notice some new goodies popping on this blog just because of these women.
(P.S. Congrats to Carin!)

Anyway, I've got exams coming up, so hopefully I won't be twiddling my fingers on here too much. Off to learn about some kidney stuffs!

Monday, March 26, 2012

FO: Horace the Horsie

Last night, the boy was calling me into the kitchen to have dinner, and I said that I just wanted to finish another 2 rows, and I'd be right there. He said, "It's always just another row or just another two rows with you, huh?" He's slowly learning. :)

Anyway, I have another FO to show you. I finished this a little while ago, but I've been dragging my feet about posting this on the blog. The recipient has actually already called me about how much she loves the stuffed horsie. That definitely made my day!

It's Horace the Horsie, whom I've been talking about on and off for a while. He didn't take too long to actually knit. He just took forever to do all the finishing on.

I had a lot of trouble with vertical duplicate stitching on the bridle, so I resorted to normal duplicate stitching for the side of the horse.

The boy said that his/her name was "Her-maine." We're unsure about the gender, but this way, his/her name sounds masculine, but is kind of like Hermione, AND the horse has a mane. Haha--we spent too much time cracking up about him while he was being born. I think he's mostly a "he" because his bridle looks like a beard. I love his mullet, too.

Too much fun. Anyway, here are the specs:

Horace the Horse by Kristen Rengren from Vintage Baby Knits (one of my most-used, favorite books ever. Perfect for adorable baby stuffs.)
Yarn: Valley Yarns Valley Superwash, Colors 261 Natural (3.18 skeins), 545 Brownie (1.10 skeins), 968 Crimson (0.24 skeins),  and 220 Black (0.20 skeins). I really enjoyed working with this yarn. It was so soft! I will definitely need to remember to use this yarn again. I think it'd be perfect for baby things.
Made for: Tia
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: plastic safety eyes
Dates: 01.27.12-03.12.12
Cost: $32.96 (+ cost of the pattern in the book). 
-normal duplicate stitch for center harness 
-mane fringe done every 3rd row, but a few extra rows done at the top of the head for bangs/fuller look. 
-instead of dividing in the center for tail tassel, I just bound one end of the tassel to the rear end.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

WIP Wednesdays: Color Affection

Sorry this post is coming to you a little after Wednesday!

I have been knitting like a mad woman. Last night, I spent so much time just perusing ravelry, and I saw that I had favorited Color Affection by Veera Välimäki a long time ago. I bought it on an impulse and then realized that lace weight could also be used instead of just the fingering weight samples. I have so many single skeins of lace weight from Knit Picks that I purchased when I first started hoarding yarn. This was perfect use of $5.21 to do a little bit of stash-busting! I am loving how my Color Affection is turning out. I may have to knit a few more of these at some point. I really needed some garter stitch at this point in time.

I finished my first Baby Chalice yesterday, so I had to start on my second one. I've got the say, the cheaper Berrocco Comfort is a lot softer than the Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted. The colors did pool a little bit for the garter ribbing, but it's breaking up just fine for the lace part.

To continue my sock knitting spree, I've also been knitting Devon by Cookie A. from Sock Innovation. I realized that I really love most of her patterns in Sock Innovation and I do want to knit many of them at some point. I just went ahead and started knitting some of them, and I'm really glad I'm doing so. I'm even using the yarn that the pattern called for in my version of Devon.

Finally, another knitting-related thing came in the mail! I have wanted a box bag from a reputable sewer for knitting for quite a while. I never really liked the designs enough to make the purchase worth it. However, how cute are these sheep?! They remind me of the stitch markers I recently bought because of the random black sheep. I bought this at zigzagstitches, and she still has another one of these bags available. I kind of regret that I didn't buy her larger version of this bag at the time, too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

FOs: Socks Galore!

I have been working on some socks!

And, if you notice, there seems to be a color scheme going on around here, too. Especially considering some of the other FOs I will be posting about soon.

First up, are the Lindsay Socks.

Pattern: Lindsay by Cookie A. from Sock Innovation.
Yarn: Quince and Co. Tern, Color: Columbine, 1.52 skeins
Made for: Mom! Getting a head start for Mother's day/Christmas.
Size: Medium
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 02.24.12-02.27.12
Cost: $17 (+ cost of the pattern in the book). 
Notes: One sock was definitely bigger than the other. I think it worked out after blocking.

Next, the Hermione's Everday Socks. I was inspired by Carin of Round the Twist to knit these, while I was watching archives of her podcast. I purposely knit these extra big and extra comfy/squishy for the intended recepient who likes her handknit socks exactly like that. I think she may need a little cashmere in her life right now.

Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder (free Ravelry download.)
Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock, Color: Rose Garden, 0.83 skeins, purchased from Eat.Sleep.Knit
Made for: Minah
Size: Medium
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 03.01.12-03.06.12
Cost: $25 
Notes: Knit 15 repeats for the legs and 12 repeats for the foot after finishing the gusset. Loved the toe, so I used it for my mods to the Leyburn socks...

Here are the socks that I am most proud of, my Leyburn socks! I have been planning on knitting these for about 4 years now, since I first bought the yarn in 2008. In 2009, I started knitting them toe up, as the pattern calls for, but I hated how the socks fit around the ankles (very baggily), and my short rows were atrocious. I frogged it, and meant to finish making it at some point. I saw my friend, Tamara, working on these with some lovely sock yarn we had chosen together and I have been coveting. Anyway, since I was on a sock roll, I wanted to give these another shot.

I'm glad I did because they are just perfect!

Pattern: Leyburn Socks by MintyFresh (free Ravelry download.)
Yarn: J. Knits Superwash Me--Sock, Colorway: Wyoming, 0.67 skeins, purchased from Sit'n Knit in Melrose, MA. I remember playing hookie from classes one day to go yarn shopping with Sandy. This was one of my two purchases that day. I loved thinking about Sandy while knitting on these socks.
Made for: Myself--hey, a girl needs to treat herself once in a while.
Size: Small
Needles: US size 1 (2.25 mm)
Notions: none
Dates: 03.06.12-03.09.12
Cost: $20+; I didn't write down how much I spent on the yarn.
Notes: Several mods by making this sock top-down. They're all detailed on my Ravelry project page, but in general, I cast on 60 sts and went from there. I basically used the same toe from Hermione's Everyday Socks, except using 60 sts as the starting point instead of 64 sts. Also did a basic slip-stitched heel.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I lusted again. I bought again.

So here are some more purchases from this month.

(4) A set of Signature Double-Pointed Needles (in size 2.25 mm). I've heard so many raves about these, I gave in and had to try them out. Oh yea, the Yarn Harlot blogged about these, tooseveral times.

After using them on almost 1 pair of socks, I do have to say--I understand the raves. The price is still quite steep, but I'll comare them to my Knit Picks Nickel-plated needles. I always found the Knit Picks needles to be sharp enough for my taste. However, after using them for about a day's worth of sock knitting, they were really hard on my hands. The sturdy metal would dig into my left ring finger, where I use my finger as a fulcrum for my knitting. At the end of the evening, I would always have a big red welt on my ring finger and could rarely knit 2 pairs of socks in a row because my finger would hurt so much from the US size 1 sock knitting.

The Signature needles are so light that I've been knitting a few days straight without any welts! I'm much more likely to churn out several socks now because it doesn't really hurt as much. I never complain about pointiness much. I loveee the Addi Turbos over the Knit Picks needles when it comes to larger sized needles because I think the extra pointiness is more likely to split the yarn. However, in the sock yarns, the stiletto points are amazing! Knit Picks is good, but Signature is just excellent. I love the color and the size engravings on the side, too.

(5) Stitch markers! I've been watching Round the Twist with Carin too much. She raved about the weeones stitch markers for some time, and I finally succumbed. They are sooo cute! (She also raved about the Signatures, which coincides with the timing of my Signature needle purchase... Hm...)

How cute are these little sheep? There's even a black sheep with a little bit of sparkle!

Here's a close-up (with my hand in comparison). Only after uploading the picture did I realize this little sheep's eye chipped off. :( Still cute! Jillian still has some of these available in her store.

While I was at the weeones etsy shop, I saw these beavers, and they were cheaper than her other sets of stitch markers. I had to get them because my college mascot was the beaver. The boy thought they were squirrels when he saw them, though. :(

After doing an etsy search, I stumbled across these beaver stitch markers, too, so naturally, I bought them. I bought some other markers for a friend (who sometimes reads the blog, so I won't post pictures). Cheryl was so sweet when I contacted her with some questions. Excellent customer service!

I can't wait to get to use these markers!

(6) Finally, I bought more craftsy classes. A little while back, Craftsy was offering their classes for $25 each. Oops, because now I'm making my way through: The Couture Dress (wonderful!), Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell DressSew Retro: The Starlet Suit JacketSewing Studio (really good for a beginner like me), Fit Your Knits (I was curious about this one. I've known most of the principles, but it's still been interesting), and Jean-ius. So far, I've been so happy with them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

State of the Stash

I saw this great idea on ravelry to post a graph of the yardage used up. I scoured my Ravelry forum posts and my blog posts to see my yardage over time. I love doing this for my debt and seeing the slow downward progression. My yarn stash needs a lot of work, though, obviously.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I lusted. I bought.

I was so happy when I came home today see all of these packages at my door. A great way to come back from a pharmacology exam in the morning...

No, no. I didn't buy the Hemnes Ikea cabinet or the Ashford Joy spinning wheel that I mentioned in the last post, though those are very tempting. Instead, I bought:

(1,2, & 3) The Tom Bihn Swift in the Steel/Steel Ballistic Nylon combination. This bag was designed by Knitty ages ago as the perfect kntting bag. I had noticed it for the first time when the Yarn Harlot blogged about it last January. Then she blogged about it again in December. Then I started knitting in class almost every day and my reusable bags either didn't hold enough (aka > 2 sweaters worth) or were too flimsy and started tearing. Did I need one? Nope. Did I want? Yeap. Will I use it? Let's see and a do a review in a year? (Sorry for the blurry pictures.)

After reading a few Ravelry forums, I found that people highly recommended the Barnes and Noble bag. At 1/3 the cost, WOW! It is definitely a great knitting bag. And it just went on sale after I bought it! (Argh.)

Here are a few comparison shots of the bags. I put in a skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light in each bag for size comparison. They are both roomy, open-mouthed (no zippers to snag on while the yarn sits inside the bag and I'm knitting outside of the bag), flip out pockets, probably won't let knitting needles puncture them. Fantastic!

Both open up and stand on their own, too. I love all of the external pockets on the B&N bag (for my water bottle and patterns), but the whole clipping system in the Swift is pretty amazing. The boy liked the B&N bag first (said it was more me. I don't know what that means because I like the style of the swift better.) Once I showed him the functionality aspects of the Swift system, he was totally hooked (haha).

Oh, and yes-I bought myself a 2nd medium sized yarn stuff sack in ultraviolet with a clear bottom. I love little bags like that for my smaller projects. I had to. I know, I know. I should just sew myself some.

In fact, I want to sew myself some of these Clutter-Busting Bucket Totes from Sewing in a Straight Line as yarn baskets from some duck cloth I got from JoAnn's.

Okay, so this is an uber long post thus far. I'll keep the rest of my lusting/buying list for later this week as a scheduled post. I'll kind of be MIA because of exams! Wish me luck.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lusting for a beautiful craft room

Wow, I have been lusting over so many things! I've been listening to quite a few podcasts lately, and there are so many things I have been wanting. Bad girl, Joyatee. I think I will try and save up for these, though.

Do you listen to Round the Twist with Carin? Someone had mentioned the tale about her Kauni sweater on the Ravelry forums back in the fall, and I was intrigued. Poor sweater and poor Carin. Anyway, I've loved the shelving she has for her yarn in the background. Makes me want some. It reminds me of the cabinet I had when I lived in Somerville filled with yarn.

Unfortunately, I organized it much more prettily, but never took a picture of it. Since I've moved, there hasn't been amazing shelving like that already provided in the units I've lived in, so I've been thinking about getting one. I'm kind of stalking Craigslist and may do a makeover on something cheap. Of course, that will have to wait until after boards. In the meantime, isn't this beautiful?

(image credit: Hemnes cabinet from Ikea)

You can see the Hemnes cabinet in action in Ramphastos's craft room. I can't wait to move to decorate my new apartment! Since I will probably be living there for 3+ years without needing to move (hopefully)--this will be longest I have stayed in a single place since I left my parent's home. Decorating will finally seem worth it to me.


If you're still hanging in there, another thing I think I'm getting interested in is.... spinning. Have I ever spun before? Well, I have some wool that I dyed ages ago now with the MITKnit girls. Oh, and I sat and knit during a spinning class being held by the wonderful Ann McCants (one of the first people who amazed me with how intricate knitting can really be.) Yeap--that has been the closest thing to spinning I have ever done. I wish I had taken more advantage of all of the free opportunities I had available to me while I was in Boston. I think I will try to learn how to spin via some local classes or the local spinning guild/group. Any suggestions?

Don't worry, I have definitely been lusting over some spinning wheels. Joy, anyone? (Seems fitting, considering the blog name.)

(image credit: Ashford Joy)