Saturday, December 31, 2011

FO: Westward Hat

Westward Hat

Yarn: Berroco Vintage
Pattern: Westward from Westknits Book 1 (ravelry project page)

This fun, quick hat provided an opportunity for me to practice a new skill! Latvian braid. I started this hat whilst visiting my Grandpa in the hospital, and it's a Christmas gift for him. Hopefully, it'll help him with a speedy recovery.

I'm a tad disappointed with the feel of this yarn. The colors enticed me, but the feel was a bit too plasticky.

Friday, December 30, 2011

FO: Chadwick Shawlette

Chadwick Shawlette

Yarn: Shibui Knits Sock & Dream in Color Smooshy
Pattern: Chadwick from Westknits Book 1 (ravelry project page)

Another fun Westknits pattern. This one went quick enough and was small enough that it didn't devolve into boring stockinette like my last Westknits shawlette. A gift for a special friend's birthday, the best kind of knitting. :)

Chadwick Shawlette

Thursday, December 29, 2011

FO: Milo Socks

Milo Socks

Yarn: Araucania Ranco Solid
Pattern: Milo from Sock Innovation (ravelry project page)

In theory, I'm still working on that self-imposed sock challenge, to knit each pattern from Sock Innovation. At this rate, I'll be done about the same time I turn 40. :-/

This pattern was quite enjoyable to knit. Just enough cabling to keep things interesting, but nothing too hand-cramp-inducing. I really enjoyed working with this yarn--beautiful color, nice springiness. It was purchased (on sale!) from a cute little yarn shop in Leavenworth that was in the process of closing when we visited. It's a sad thing when a yarn shop closes.

Milo Socks

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FO: Victoria Socks

Victoria Socks

Yarn: Estelle Arequipa
Pattern: Improvised, details on ravelry

Got this yarn (on sale!) in Victoria, BC, last year. Same yarn that I used for these socks for Raj. Super soft wool, alpaca, nylon blend. Lovely colors. These ones are keepers for me.

Victoria Socks

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

FO: Tiger Stripes Socks

Tiger Stripes Socks

Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease
Pattern: Improvised (ravelry project page)

More socks for my husband. He's always asking for more socks, yet he seems to forget about the pairs he already has... :) Maybe I'll whip out an old pair the next time he asks for some and try to pretend I've just made them.

I improvised some sort of knit/purl pattern for these socks. I'm sure I could find it if I flipped through my Barbara G. Walker... The important thing: they fit and don't slouch.

Tiger Stripes Socks

note to self: this yarn is crap

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day!

Meowy Xmas

Hope you all had a nice Christmas, if that's your thing. Or a nice alternate-winter-holiday. I think this was one of the best Christmases in recent memory. A good balance of family, friends and peaceful reflection, with a more-than-healthy dose of excellent food and PIE.

I may have discovered the key to a peaceful holiday: not over doing it on the crafts. There was no frantic, last minute sewing or knitting this year. This was the extent of my "last minute" crafting:

Happy RBC

A knitted red blood cell ornament for my hematologist colleague. (Pardon all the crappy cell phone pics in this post, thanks.) A fun little project, cleverly constructed. Though knitting at such a tight gauge is not my idea of fun.

Our Christmas cards were also a nice balance of being a bit crafty but not a huge time-suck. I used the website to make these postcards. They were a great deal and they don't come with an annoying company logo stamped on the back (like with other services).

Xmas postcards

In lieu of crafting, I filled all spare pre-holiday moments with baking. So many recipes tried out over the past week. Some favorites: nutella sea salt fudge


Apple pie. I made 2 with this recipe; super quick when you use pre-rolled crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Super yummy.

Apple Pie

Banana Coconut Cream Pie (with Nilla Wafer crust)

Banana Coconut Cream Pie

Looking forward to what the new year holds. Hope everyone gets time to relax and reflect.

Holiday Us

Sunday, November 27, 2011

FO: Snappy Coin Purses

snappy coin purse

 I whipped these cute little Snappy Coin Purses a couple of weekends ago using some stashed fat quarters and muslin. These two will go to a couple of my favorite kiddos whose birthdays are coming up. I think I'll make one for myself to hold my knitting tools (scissors, tape measure, stitch markers, tapestry needles, etc).

snappy coin purse

The trickiest part was definitely the snaps. I tried to use the little snap guide and hammer, but ended up needing to get one of those hand-held snap tools. I'll definitely be making more of these--gotta get my money's worth for that snap tool! Also, if anyone needs to apply some heavy-duty snaps, let me know...

snappy coin purse

Overall, a great, quick little project. Would make a great stocking stuffer!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

FO: Botanic Hat

Botanic Hat

Pattern: Botanic by Stephen West (ravelry page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted and Manos del Uraguay Maxima

I'd had my eye on this hat pattern for a while, and decided these two yarns, remnants from other projects, would be a nice pair for this hat. The pattern is very straightforward. I did go up a needle size for the body of the hat. Even with this change, the resulting hat is a bit snug for my large noggin. But if fits the recipient just right!

Next time I make this pattern, I'll go up a needle size for the brim and an addition size for the body of the hat. And maybe consider using aran weight yarn (pattern calls for worsted).

Friday, November 4, 2011

FO: On The Sea Shawlette

On The Sea Shawlette

Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label (Midnight), Shibui Knits Sock (Rapids, Ivory)
Needle: US4
Pattern: Earth & Sky by Stephen West (ravelry project page)

As a fan of Stephen West's designs, I was excited in July when I found out that he was going to be doing a mystery shawlette. I cast on eagerly and knit the first couple sections rapidly... Then the repetitiveness of the mostly-stockinette hit me and this languished in the WIP pile until after we got back from India, at which point I would knit on it as a break from the tediousness of that blanket border.

I made the large size, but in retrospect, I probably would have enjoyed this project more if I'd chosen to make one of the smaller sizes. It wasn't until I was blocking this shawlette that I realized who it was destined for--all of a sudden it was perfectly clear to me that this needed to go to a friend who loves all things ocean--boats, fish. Finding a good home for the shawlette definitely improves how I feel about it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Today I like...

  • Flannel sheets. I got these sheets from Target. Not only are they cozy and warm, but the pattern is imitative of fair isle knitting!
  • Like Pandora, only way cooler. Joe Schmoe makes a mix and you can listen to it! You can search by artist or genre. And they actually have an app for my phone! 
  • The book A Visit from the Goon Squad. (Shout out to Chana for passing this along to me!) I don't really have any books to compare this one to--it's that different. It's sort of like a series of vignettes--each chapter is from a different character's point of view; the characters are related directly or tangentially. There's an entire chapter told using PowerPoint-style slides full of flow charts and diagrams--I feel like my brain is working that way sometimes, and that chapter my favorite.
  • The radio show/podcast Snap Judgment. I stumbled up this one weekend afternoon on NPR a few months ago and I have been so happy to have it in my cadre of podcasts for my time commuting. I think the easiest way to describe it would be to say the hip hop version of This American Life. It's great.

Monday, October 31, 2011


After finishing Rupa's baby blanket, I was yearning for some instant gratification knitting, aka hats! First up, an improvised one cable hat using some SWS Stripes yarn from the depths of the stash. Details on ravelry. Crappy PhotoBooth pic:

Next up, an improvised pumpkin hat based on the Kurbis pattern for my friend's kid's 1st birthday, using some Malabrigo merino worsted in "carrot" and a tiny bit of some KnitPicks Bare worsted that I dyed a few years ago. Crappy cell phone pic:

After that came the Slip Stitch Hat from 60 Quick Knits, using some ArtYarns Ultramerino, also from deep in the stash. I love the feel of this yarn, but have mixed feelings about the colors--light pink and a few shades of brown. I'm debating adding a large pom pom to the top of this hat... what do you think?

The last completed hat of Hatober was a special request from Raj: a hat to cover his ears in a more interesting color than his previous hats. He picked the colors for this one--purple and charcoal gray. I picked the yarn, the wonderful Malabrigo Twist, and we agreed on the pattern, Honegart by Stephen West.

I do have one more hat in progress but I'm not sure if I'll finish it by the end of Hatober, just 3.5 hours away. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let's make a Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

This little bag works great for corralling your yarn projects. Also doubles as re-usable gift wrap!

Start by cutting out 2 squarish rectangles. Exact size is unimportant, but I would suggest having the width be at least 9 inches. For this example, my rectangles are 10"x12":


With right sides together, sew along 3 sides--two long sides and one short side--stopping 1 1/4" from top of each long side and back-stitching to reinforce (1/4" seam allowance):


Mark off then cut out 2" squares at the lower corners of the bag (this is how we create the box bottom):



Pinch the front and back of the bag apart from each other, opening up the holes at the corners. Taking care to line up the seam lines, pin these openings then sew

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

And voila, we have our box bottom!

Simple Project Pouch

Now it's time to address the top of the bag, where the drawstrings will happen. For neat drawstring openings, press open then stitch the seam-allowance area at the top of the bag:

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

To create the drawstring channel, fold down and press the top of the bag a little more than 1/2" then stitch a little less than 1/2" from the folded edge:

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

Ok, put away your sewing machine! All that's left is the drawstring. I find that a simple crocheted chain works great. To make your bag easy to cinch up, you'll want two chains, each twice as long as the bag is wide. Smooth cotton yarn works great for this. Alternately, you could simply use ribbon, shoe laces or some other cord.

Simple Project Pouch

Insert the drawstrings through each side the top channel, one at a time (safety pin works great for this), in such a way that the ends of one string are both on the right and the ends of the other are both on the left. Knot the ends of the string together to secure then trim. Add project and cinch up!

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

Simple Project Pouch

Friday, October 21, 2011

FO: Hawthorne Scarf

Hawthorne Scarf

Pattern: Hawthorne from Twist Collective (rav project page)
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter
Needle: US 9

Hawthorne Scarf

This was the only project that was knit entirely in India. I packed the yarn in skein form, and big thanks to my super cooperative husband who helped me wind the yarn into balls on the early-morning train from Delhi to Jaipur (I wish I had a picture of this).

Clever use of short-rows make this a sort of hybrid scarf-shawl. I'm not certain that this was the best pairing of yarn to pattern, because the lace/bobble pattern seems a tad lost with this yarn. But I do love the yarn--so cozy! My only worry is that it won't get cold enough for the recipient to be able to use this thick wool scarf. :)

Hawthorne Scarf

Ugh! My backyard is such a mess!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FO: Noro Stripe Baby Blanket

Noro Stripe Baby Blanket

Yarn: Noro Taiyo Sock
Needle: US 4
Pattern: improvised (rav project page)

Noro Stripe Baby Blanket

FINALLY!! This project really lingered on the needles longer than it should have. It was that border that did me in. Note to self: no more of these knit-on borders with only 20-30 stitches per row! The constant need to turn my work made it way too easy for me to put this project down after only completing a few rows of border.

As with any Noro project, the colors are the fun part. Overall, I'm pleased with how these two colorways went together, though the maroon and gray stripe area isn't my favorite... Really, it's such a relief to have this thing done. When we got back from India, I told myself I couldn't start any new projects until this was done (this rule did not preclude me from working on things I'd already begun), and with the appearance of fall weather, I was motivated to finish up so I could knit some cool-weather accessories.

Noro Stripe Baby Blanket

Now to pack this up and ship it around the world (and pray that it makes it there safely!)