Monday, November 12, 2012

Star Wreath Quilt

Taking a break from my pre-vacation house deep-cleaning and packing to share pics of the finished quilt!

Star Wreath Quilt

I'm so so so happy with how this turned out. The design is based on this pattern, using bright kid-friendly colors. This was my first real experience with free-motion quilting (aside form a little 12"x12" wall hanging), and I feel like I learned so much during the process! At this angle, you can see the nice texture from the quilting

Star Wreath Quilt

I decided to do a variety of quilting designs on this quilt, to practice many different ways of free-motion quilting. I started with a basic wobbly meander in the green areas of the wreath

Star Wreath Quilt Detail

Next, I did a sort-of paisley-ish design in the orange parts

Star Wreath Quilt Detail

Then I did a pebble stitch in the yellow area. I really love this look, but this stitch seemed to take way longer... maybe also because there's so much yellow.

Star Wreath Quilt Detail

Next, I did heart echo pattern in the middle of the purple star, and those weird snakey things in the purple star points. I don't really like the weird snake-looking things, but they don't bug me enough to rip them out. :-/

Star Wreath Quilt Detail

Finally, I did the loopy-meander in the blue sections. This was probably my favorite stitch. Also, it seemed the easiest... maybe because it was the last one.

Star Wreath Quilt Detail

For the back, I used paper-piecing for my niece's name, Jiya. When I saw that stripe fabric, it was love at first sight--I think it makes a fun back for this quilt.

Star Wreath Quilt Back

The binding is a cheery orange with yellow flowers

Star Wreath Quilt Binding

In lieu of a label, I wrote on the back of the quilt with fine-tipped permanent fabric marker. :)

Star wreath quilt detail

As with all gift-giving, I know that once I give this away, I need to let it go (as I did with the first blanket I made for her.... which is lost and gone forever in the Indian postal system). I do really hope she likes it, though! I have such fond memories of my blankets as a little kid--I hope this can be that kind of thing for my niece. And this time I'll be hand-delivering it--so I don't have to worry about it getting there in the mail!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hello Fall

Leaves are turning, the sky is grey. Rain is in the forecast. It's fall! AKA the beginning of wool season.

Fall Colors, Ballard

Thought I'd share a bit about our summer quilt before I pack it away.

Summer Quilt

Made from two thrifted queen-size sheets, with cotton batting, and fun contrast binding. I quilted this in straight diagonal lines and diamond shapes with three different colors of thread. The quilting was actually done last summer, but I dawdled on the binding, and didn't do that step until early this summer.

Summer Quilt

I particularly love the binding fabric, "Damask Dot" in pomegranate by Tula Pink. Like pixelated art. Now time to pack this away until next year.

Love this great window spider web at the art store in our 'hood. Just masking tape--what a great idea!

Masking tape spider web

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peer Pressure

I never felt pressured to use drugs, steal, cut school. The only "peer pressure" I felt was to keep my grades up. But that was nothing compared to the baby boom that is happening around me. I'm not sure if it's just specific to my circle, or more generalized to the broad world, but I can count more than 20 people who have had or are having babies this year! Craziness!

I've been working on a few small projects for these small people that are popping up, including this crocheted blanket which I mailed off to my friend Kathleen.

Seafoam Blanket

Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
Pattern: Improvised (ravelry project page)

My crochet skills were a bit rusty, which resulted in a bit of gauge wonkiness for the first few inches of the blanket (see lower edge curving out in pic below), but hopefully baby won't notice! The pattern was improvised--simple and quick. The yarn seems like it will be a great baby yarn--soft, easy care. I hope that it holds up to multiple washes.

Seafoam Blanket

I've got another knit/crochet blanket or two in the works, plus this quilt that I'm making for my niece's 1st birthday. The pattern was adapted from something I saw online, and I'm working on free-motion quilting the top. I'm still climbing the FMQ learning curve, but things are going better and better.

Quilt in progress

I've also been working on some smaller items, most recently a baby surprise jacket and pebble vest that are each lacking buttons.

Zauberball BSJ

yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball
pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket (ravelry page)

Pebble Vest

yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed
pattern: Pebble (ravelry page)

Love the quick gratification of baby garments, especially these two, which don't look bigger than newborn size--seriously, they're so small! Now to find the best buttons for each, and perhaps to make coordinating booties/hats so that I'll have gifts all ready when I need them. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcome Fall

Thought I would try to get back into a routine with this. Try to make reflection and writing part of my home routine. Today was free Redbox text day, so of course I'm watching a junk movie. What better time to try to fire this thing back up.

Yesterday was the autumnal equinox. The weather here in Seattle remains quite pleasant. It's gotten a bit chilly in the mornings, but remains sunny and sometimes quite warm in the afternoons. I think it might be time to pull the duvet out of summer storage. Despite the persistent pleasant weather, I've had the urge to knit hats over the past few weeks. Partly to welcome fall, and also to have the gratification of a quick project.

Habitat Hat

Pattern: Habitat (ravelry project page)
Yarn: Imperial Yarn Columbia

This was a fun project. The cables kept things interesting. I made the longer size, and it covers my ears nicely. This was my first time using this yarn. I bought it on a whim a while back and it's a bit wool-y (read: itchy), but the soak in wool wash softened it up a bit.

Fall-y Hat

Pattern: Molly (ravelry project page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted

This hat represents is a good example of the importance of pattern and yarn agreement. By which I mean this yarn, more specifically this colorway, was a bad match for this pattern. The pattern, one large cable on a simple background looks great in the examples worked in a solid or semi-solid colorway, and I knew from about row 10 that this wasn't going to be great, but I kept knitting it anyway. :-/ The problem with my color choice aside, this hat is just fine. The yarn is so soft! And the hat has a nice slouch to it.

I have so many other projects to share. These were two were the most handy, as I had just been blocking them on the kitchen counter, and I could photog them myself with my phone. It's harder take a cell phone self-portrait with a shawl. I could bust out the big camera and the tri-pod, but for now baby steps--cell phone pics. For whatever dumb reason (laziness), downloading pics from the big camera is a huge chore.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

FO: Semi-Precious Shawlette

 Semi-Prescious Shawl

Pattern: Semi-Precious Shawl [ravelry project page]
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy
Needle: US8

Another item donated to our soup kitchen's auction. This one a more traditional triangle shape. Super easy pattern, love the colorway with its subtle variation. I did a few extra repeats of the big diamond pattern, yielding an item that is between shawlette and shawl in size. Great for gray northwest days.

Semi-Prescious Shawl

Monday, July 2, 2012

FO: Different Lines

Different Lines Scarf

Pattern: Different Lines [ravelry project page]
Yarn: madelinetosh sock in "oak" and "terra verte"
Needle: US6

This scarfish thing was super fun to make. Mindless garter broken up by short-rows and fun colors. The odd shape makes for an interesting neck accessory. This one was auctioned off to support our church's soup kitchen. Not sure who "won" it, but I sure do hope they like it! I plan on making one for myself--maybe gray and purple? We'll see...

Different Lines Scarf

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FO: Orchid Theif Shawlette

Orchid Theif Shawlette

Pattern: Orchid Thief [ravelry]
Yarn: Artfibers Carezza
Needle: US6

This yarn is a super-soft silk-alpaca-merino blend. Raj brought it back from San Francisco. Artfibers is a yarn company in San Francisco with a little shop near the French Embassy. So when Raj had to go down there to get a French visa, he was kind enough to stop in and buy me some yarn. :) He also brought me back this fun cone of greenish sock yarn.

I enjoyed this pattern. It was complicated enough to be interesting, without being difficult. And it knit up pretty quickly. Nice yarn + quick interesting pattern = great project.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I knit socks

A while back, I tried to count up all the pairs of socks I've completed since I started knitting socks 6.5 years ago. My estimate is somewhere between 60-70 pairs (accounting gets a lot easier with the advent of Ravelry). I've made them in all the colors of the rainbow. There have been lacy pairs and plain stockinette pairs and pairs with various types of ribbing. Most of them have been made with some sort of wool or wool/nylon blend (though one of my earliest pairs was made with alpaca--not a practical choice, but they sure are cozy!)

Cauchy Socks
Cauchy Socks [Ravelry page]

There are a handful of reasons why I keep making socks. They're relatively quick to knit (when compared to an adult-sized sweater, at least). They're practical (we don't always need ANOTHER hat, but who doesn't need another pair of socks???). The yarn comes in eye-catching colors which some people might not choose to wear on any other part of their body besides their feet. They're great travel projects. You can try out practically any stitch pattern.

Some More Socks
Some More Socks [Ravelry page]

They make great gifts. This is one of the biggest reasons I keep knitting socks. I know that I treasure the knitted socks I have received, and I choose to believe that everyone to whom I gift a pair treasures them just as much. Giving knitted socks is my way of saying, "I love you and value you enough to make something for your feet." :) If you'll indulge me a bit (like reading my blog isn't indulging me already--ha!):

Ode to My Socks - Pablo Neruda

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.

I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,

my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,

my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.

Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Market bag update


Market Bag, version 2

Pattern: Linen Market Bag (ravelry project page)
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy
Needle: US5

I ripped back the ridiculously long market bag and modified the finishing. I made some little handles perfect for carrying my loot, and one strap long enough to sling the bag over my shoulder. For the shoulder strap, I held the yarn double for less stretch and more stability. Now I'm ready for the farmers market/library/yarn shop. :) This type of bag would also make for a great beach bag--all the sand would fall through the holes!

This was my first time using Hempathy. It was a great yarn to knit with, though I'm not sure what other projects I would use it for besides this kind of bag... maybe a summer cardigan?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quilting practice

Melisa's Winter Table-Runner

Despite having learned to quilt at the wee age of 8, I still feel like a total novice when it comes to machine quilting. I've done some walking-foot quilting, and a smidgen of (awful) free motion quilting, but this is remains a skill-set that I need to develop. When I was helping my sister pack for her cross-country move last summer, we came across a table runner project that she'd stalled out on after piecing the top. I saw this opportunity to practice my machine quilting and volunteered to finish the table runner for her.

Melisa's Winter Table-Runner

I considered doing some free-motion quilting in this project, but in the end I chose the easier option--straight lines. It's fun to practice on projects that you plan to give away.... so that you won't be looking at the mistakes for the rest of your life. :)

I still need to practice free-motion quilting, but no plans for that right now.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Trying to turn a frown upside down

A couple of weeks ago I was bitten by the summer knitting bug and thought I'd made a couple of knitted market bags. My enthusiasm sped me through the knitting of this one, but my disappointment with the outcome has put the breaks on this little knitting jog. Here's the picture of the bag with my library loot from last weekend:

Market Bag, version 1

It's just too stretchy to be practical. I basically had to grab hold of it just above the level of my library stuff because holding the handles would have had it banging against my knee or the ground. But I want to salvage this project, and I have a plan! I'm going to rip back almost half of the mesh, and change the handle design from two long handles to one long handle (for shoulder hanging) and two very-short handles for hand holding. Cross your fingers!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two winter projects

We're well into spring (thank goodness!), but I've just gotten around to loading pics of some of my winter projects. First, a crochet cowl:

Eco + Cowl

This pattern (a Lion Brand freebie) was pretty quick and easy. I'm definitley a novice crocheter, though, and I have trouble keeping track of written instructions, so I charted out the pattern (you can see that on my Ravelry project page). My problem with this project is yarn choice. The Cascade Eco + I used is much to itchy, even after a nice soak in WoolWash for my neck. What a bummer. Also, if I make this again, I would add one more pattern repeat to make it slightly looser. Or maybe many more pattern repeats to make it more of an infinity scarf style. But it's still pretty to look at. :)

Eco + Cowl

Next, a scarf for Raj. This was SUPER easy, just a bunch of garter stitch. The pattern, from LMKG, recommends choosing a few different colors to make a stripe pattern, but instead I chose a subtly self-striping yarn by Noro (I love Noro!). The yarn is a tad luxurious--it's a blend of wool, mohair, silk and angora--but it's a nice manly colorway, and it's super soft on the neck.

Rustic Manly Scarf

Raj has gotten quite a bit of use out of it. I like to joke that it matches the majority of his wardrobe (blacks and browns).

Rustic Manly Scarf

Friday, March 16, 2012

FO: Budding Shawlette

Budding Shawlette

Pattern: Budding Shawlette []
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in colorway "Steel Cut Oats"
Needle: US5

Budding Shawlette

This shawl was knit for a charity auction for sister Tracie's club. Pleasingly repetitive pattern, easy to memorize, interesting enough. The color is pleasing, with a bit of heather for interest.

Budding Shawlette

My mom "won" the shawl, and she gave it to a coworker for her birthday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

FO: Hermione [hearts] Ron

Hermione [hearts] Ron Hat

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
Needle: US3 and US6
Pattern: Hermione Hearts Ron (ravelry project page)

Hermione [hearts] Ron Hat

Another movie-inspired knit! I remember seeing this hat in the movie and thinking it wouldn't be hard to re-create. Thankfully, someone else did the work! Though I did modify the crown decreases significantly (details on the ravelry page).

Hermione [hearts] Ron Hat

Not the first finished object of 2012, but the first one that's been photodocumented. :) This hat was a quick, fun knit. My hands did cramp a bit using the US3s for the brim, but I'm so happy with the result, it was worth it. The yarn is left over from a scarf I made for Tracie P.B. (pre-blog). This hat took nearly all of the 77g I had remaining. Yea for using yarn from the stash!

Hermione [hearts] Ron Hat

Rare to have a hat fit my large head so well! (I guess that's what comes of using larger yarn and needles than called for without decreasing the number of stitches cast on).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

FO: Bella's Mittens

Bella's Mittens

Pattern: Bella's Mittens (ravelry project page)
Yarn: Cascade Eco +

These mittens were part of Tracie's Christmas gift. A fun, quick pattern. My first time using Cascade Eco +, and I really liked it. It may be a bit too thick for practical use in Seattle winter accessories. We'll see. The skein is freakin' huge! So I have tons of this purple left.

After knitting nearly one complete mitten, I realized it was just too small, so I frogged it and re-knit using US9 needles. The resulting mittens are still a bit snug/short for my hands, but they fit Tracie perfectly. The cabling was fun--I recommend trying "cabling without a cable needle" if you haven't done so yet (just google it for instructions). It's really easy and helps speed things along.