Friday, June 24, 2016

fog rolling in

I spent a lot of time in Chicago last week working on this Tree of Life blanket, aka Forest Fog. I'm amazed at how quickly it eats up yarn! While there I finished working on most of this flower garden section and used up a full 200-yard skein in a few days. Oh worsted yarn, how wonderful you are. Fingering weight yarn might be nice for many things, but there's no substitute for the self-provided pat on the back that goes along with 'wow! finished another one!' I was a little over ambitious and packed TWO extra skeins of yarn, but still. If i wasn't trying to be responsible with taking care of my hands I may have made it to that back up skein. I think if I were working on a longer cable it would be less straining, but for some reason after a few rows (granted they are LONG rows, with a lot of purling) I start to get tired.

I'm probably about halfway through the main body. I have two more tree panels and another half a flower garden to do before picking up for the ruffled edging. It will be slower going in the next part. The flowers are pretty easy to knit without referencing the pattern once the first set up row is done. All those little cable branches for the trees take a bit more attention, though. At any rate, happy to be working on this project again and making some progress. I'll probably start one other thing just so I have two options to choose from when I want to knit something in the evenings. Spoiler: it's gonna be colorful! Totally different from all this lovely foggy gray. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

sky blue sky

I have been challenging myself to work on a some smaller projects with leftovers from my stash and enjoying the process of perusing Ravelry for things to work on. The filters are so useful when I have a certain yarn in mind with a limited amount of yardage. It's easy to find a slew of potential patterns that I know will be appropriate based on weight or even the exact yarn.

I started this hat at the airport when we went on our weekend jaunt to Las Vegas last month. I didn't get very far on that trip, but made a lot of good progress after coming back and finished it up before the end of May. I wet blocked it over a dinner plate. Yes, seriously. It was the perfect size. That opened the lace up a lot making it look less like a lump of blue yarn and much more like a beret. Magic. The band isn't super tight, but I don't think that's what you'd want in a hat like this anyway.

It may seem strange to be working on a winter accessory with summer approaching, but again - working from leftovers. This yarn is a silk/wool blend leftover from a cowl I made for one of my friends a few years ago. In retrospect, it's kind of an odd color to use for a leafy/floral pattern since there isn't much that is naturally this color in the world of plants, but the yarn itself jives with the pattern very nicely.

The pattern was a freebie on Ravelry, and quite a nice one at that! I enjoyed making it and loved the fact that I had a big round of double pointed needles I was working from rather than a circular. The work in progress kind of looked like a porcupine. I didn't make it for anyone in particular, so it's going to go in an aspirational pile of grab-n-go gifts. I don't think that diminishes it's specialness in any way for the eventual recipient, because of course I'd only gift it to someone that I thought it was a good fit for (literally and figuratively).

I don't tend to think about making hats or gloves or, in fact, anything small when there are so many pretty shawls and wraps to work on, but I must say actually finishing in less than two weeks is a nice change of pace!

Pattern: Springtime in Philadelphia (my Ravelry page)
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Silk in 'cerulean'
Needles: US 2 and US 0 (tiny!!)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mother's Day

As Mother's Day rolled around last month I pondered and considered and decided that part of my gift this year would be handmade. Dave and I happened upon a neat street market in San Francisco one weekend while we visited friends and I picked up a pretty necklace from one of the vendors there. What better wrapping to give it than a fun zippered pouch? Having made one recently it only took me a couple hours one afternoon to fiddle around in the office and wind up with a colorful package to gift. 

The blue linen and navy polka dots are some of my favorite fabrics in the stash. They go with just about everything and are pretty classic. The flower print I've had from way back when, but haven't found a great quilt to use it in. The trouble with some prints is if you start making patchwork pieces with them each piece will have very different character depending on what colors and what pattern you capture with your cut. This kind of project is a great place to use something like this that I really like but can't imagine liking cut up much. 

The flowers are great, too, because I miss gardening with my mom. I remember springs and summers spent with my fingers in the dirt planting geraniums and petunias (which would then be subject to munching squirrels and bunnies). I have some pots on the patio here, but it isn't quite the same. 

I used another one of my flea market zippers, the last coral one. I'm getting pretty good at dealing with these! Time to purchase another grab bag full, methinks. I'm a little bit irritated that my sewing machine chose to start skipping stitches while I was sewing the super noticeable red top stitching. It might be time for an appointment with the tune up folks, if I can find some nearby.

Similar to last time, I followed the tutorial loosely, not including any "inner bits" and using steam-a-seam and some muslin on the panels instead of the interfacing called for. Macgyver sewing room, folks! I use what I've got. 

Since  we saw my folks in Las Vegas the week after Mother's Day, I waited until I could gift it in person. So much more fun than sending a box! Boxes are great too, but you miss the smiles :) 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

knitting anywhere

This is approximately how much knitting one can get done on a plane from San Francisco to Las Vegas. It's a short flight, and there was not nearly enough room between me and the seat in front of me to wrangle this many needles and that iPad!

There was plenty of room for me and Kepler (and eventually Newton) to hang out in bed one recent weekend to catch up on our zzzz's and knit some more. That pretty yarn bowl is courtesy of Dave's mom. 

Not only pretty, but also convenient bedside knitting storage.

Knitting goes anywhere with you, a few rows here a few rows there. Most projects end up feeling a bit like a travel journal, which is a unique way to be reminded of remember-whens. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I finished this cowl not long after I wrote about it last and had the light to snap a couple pictures just today. The coral color reminds me of some of my favorite tulips I saw in the Keukenhof, so the moniker Tulip has stuck. 

I've mentioned this before, but I really like the yarn. It is buttery soft and squishy with some real weight to it. It also drapes beautifully. I could definitely see this yarn working up into a nice spring/summer garment, or any of the shawls I like to work on so much. The colors are so pretty and have some nice subtle tonal variation. I may have found a favorite gray! The cotton/silk blend was an experiment to see if I liked working with and wearing something I'm less sensitive to than wool. Thumbs up! I don't think it will work for every project since it doesn't hold much 'structure' but I'll be happy to work with it some more. 

The pattern was a fun one with not only stripes of color but also stripes of differing patterns that kept me wanting to knit until each next section. I think my favorite bit is that lace panel in gray, small but mighty. In the end the whole thing is rather like a colorful chimney. I'm looking forward to wearing it some time soon. I think it will look rather nice against navy.

I have to give credit to Dave for picking out the yarn, the colors, and the pattern. We were wandering around a new yarn shop and this was one of the samples. It was worked up in super soft cashmere yarn in similar colors - the gray and green were darker and the coral was more of a pink. At any rate, we both really liked it and Dave helped me pick out the yarn as I wandered around the shop wondering what I wanted to make with other things. "You really like that. So you should make that" Makes so much sense, doesn't it? 

Pattern: Three Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli (my Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk in Coral Beach, Shell Beach, and Limon
Needles: US Size 4

Monday, May 9, 2016

just a few more rows

My current knitting project is perfect for evenings on the couch watching Midsomer Murders. Dave and I made it through all the seasons a while ago, so we are revisiting the early days! It's been fun. Also great knitting time that makes the inches on this cowl go by. It's unusual in that it's a single circle but verrrrry tall! The pattern is also very simple so even trying to figure out whodunit doesn't prevent me from also being accurate in my work.

This project brought to you by Dave... he picked out the yarn, the pattern, and even got me those lovely rosewood needles. What a guy. One fun observation I've made is that the green and gray pop against each other during the day, but are harder to tell apart in the evening under our lights. Funny, no? Ah the mysteries of color. I had some initial misgivings about that because I've mostly been knitting at night, but after taking it out in the natural light on the patio to work one afternoon I remembered just how bright the green really is! It will be just fine. 

I'm hoping to have this bound off by the end of the week, which would be exciting. I think the cotton will make this quite wearable this summer. Just a few more inches to go!

Thursday, April 28, 2016


My latest finish has popped up here a few times in progress since I started it in January. I've been knitting fairly monogamously on this for the last month or so because I really wanted to wear it! As proof, I cast off and only waited a couple of days to weave in all the ends. Unheard of :)

Thankfully I say this about most of my projects, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out (which I take as a sign that I'm doing something right with my choices!). It's not a complicated pattern, but the little daubs of color, the asymmetric design, and the wonderful opportunity to play with colors makes this a high impact piece.

I like to learn new things, so a lot of the appeal for me when I chose this pattern was figuring out how the dashed stripes of color worked. Once I got past the first few sets of stripes and got the hang of it, I admit I got a little bored especially as the rows of garter stitch got longer and longer. But there was a background color change to look forward to, and then before I knew it I was done. There is something to be said about a dependable project you can put down and pick up in the middle of anything, so 'boring' is in no way a value judgement. It's a lovely pattern that I'd recommend to garter stitch enthusiasts that want to branch out.

I switched up the color order a bit and played yarn chicken with the brown in the last set of stripes. Turns out I lost, but I actually like that I ended up using three colors in that set instead of just two. I love the colors individually and together. Green is one of my favorites and I can't decide if I like the light or dark shade the best. I'm leaning towards the darker one. The addition of some leftovers of small quantity that had been hanging around the stash was especially satisfying. All of this yarn, with the exception of the brown, was purchased at Nine Rubies over time. Sadly, they've recently closed their doors so I'll think of this project as a bit of a farewell to them.

I was lazy and didn't block before I wore and I think it's going to be ok without. All of my other garter stitch projects have ended up re-squishing themselves up anyway and it seemed like a shame to wait another day to wrap it around my neck. When thinking up a name I settled on Verdigris because the mixture of colors reminds me of the patina that copper gets as it ages. Google it, you'll see.

Pattern: Moonraker by Melanie Berg (my Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in 'Lettuce' and 'Fresco Y Seco', Baah! La Jolla in 'Maldives', & Anzula Squishy in 'Sexy'
Needles: US Size 6, my fancy Addi turbos I bought at Knit, Purl