Thursday, December 25, 2008

Knitting Round Up!

Is it the end of the year already? wow. A lot happened this year, I had 3 different addresses and held 3 different jobs. whew! how ever did I have time for any knitting? well, I did, a little bit at least, mostly in the last few months when things slowed down. I really regret not working a little harder and opening my etsy shop this Holiday. I had such a great time with it last year. I do hope to do it again but for now it sits abandoned, a 'gone fishin' sign hung on the door, hoping someone returns soon...

what have i been so busy working on these last few weeks? well, lets take a look and see....

Scarves for friends!

I decided to make both of Nick's brothers a scarf for Christmas, and whipped these up in 2 weeks time! I used Berroco's Cuzco yarn to knit to knit up thick and quick.

Man-sized mittens for Nick!

I used knitty's "build your own mitten template" to get all the calculations correct, but changed the decrease to the instructions on this pattern. Mittens are pretty tough for me, I have to admit. I'm not good at making things in 2's and had some trouble with the thumb. But, all issues resolved Nick's pretty happy with his mitts and they keep his fists warm on the handlebars.

A new beret!

I based this hat on the Le Slouch but added a few details of my own.

Interweave Knit's Zig Zag Hat!

As blogged about already, I love this hat and made one for myself... and one for a friend.

oh, and a few fun swatches!

Purchasing the book Super Stitches Knitting gave me lots of fun stitches to try and more ideas for things to create.

This year, I've become a much more patient knitter. Working with some finer materials and with more difficult patterns, I've become more fond of knitting swatches and trying different needle sizes and stitches before I decided just how to proceed with my projects. No more diving right in! This leaves me feeling much more confident with my stitches as I work and although it might be en extra step, I feel more productive and am happy with the end result.

so... I am looking forward to what 2009 knitting brings me. Perhaps I will finally start and finish a sweater... or learn to knit socks... or brighten things up with a few more colorful felted bags! who knows? but watch this space... and share with me what you're making, too. I'm on ravelry as vanessa.e and flickr, too.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

hot socks.

I've been feeling some pressure to start knitting socks, and I am starting to like the idea. I've never been a big sock fan (I try to go sockless for as much of the year as I possibly can) but these two pair of lovely knee socks spotted in the new Knit.1 magazine look like something I would definitely wear. I love them layered over tights and with a pair of pretty boots. Something new to learn in 2009!
{photos from the knit.1 website, where you can find lots of other pretty things.}

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I ♥ Hats.

I love knitting hats. They're fun and quick, instantly gratifying and always useful. I think this pattern, from the Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Knits is my new favorite. Working on the lacy ribs is like reading a good book you just can't put down. "One more page and then I'll go to sleep, one more page..." until you stay up all night reading to the end, only to miss the characters and long for more when you wake up in the morning. But in this case I could quickly knit up another!

The hat has a really great decrease. Instead of decreasing down to just a few sts, you end with close to 30 on your needles, resulting in a loose fitting crown and a quick finish!

I used Blue Sky Alpaca's Melange paired with Madil's Kid Seta, a silk/mohair blend, for the fuzzy look. The dark colors make it hard to really show off the lace-like stitch, but I like them best on my head. And despite being a hat with holes in it, the kid mohair and baby alpaca blend make it suuuuper warm and soft.

Now that I have more than enough hats to keep my head warm, I am starting to think of others' heads who may be catching a chill this winter. Blogger Jean aka The Scottish Lamb is collecting Hats for the Homeless. I am getting started on a few and hope that you will take the time and that extra skein of yarn you have lying around and knit some too! She has info somewhere on her blog for where to send them, or you could donate them to a shelter or winter coat drive in your community. Its cold everywhere this time of year... even here in the southwest.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

102 reasons...

The blog Poppytalk put together a thoughtful list of 101 Reasons to Buy Handmade gifts this holiday season. I, for one, don't need much convincing. A moment or two glancing at the beautiful items on etsy and my cart is full! I could fill this blog with links and images of all the goodies I like, but then you might get them before I do, so I'll let you go peruse for yourself. While you are there, be sure to check out this new shop from one of my favorite people, the multi-talented Suzy Smalls! Right now the shop is full of lovely, well selected vintage items (like the fabulous dress above!) and anyday now will also be feature hand made, original clothing! The dress below is just a preview of the goodness to come. It's inspired by the look of vintage patterns that she loves to sew, but with some custom details that make it modern and unique!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back to blog a bit more…

So I took a break from blogging (as I said I would) but knew I couldn’t stay away for too long! I’ve been working on several new projects and have been happily posting pics on flickr, but have a few things to share that require a bit more space. Stay tuned…

Vintage-style Apron Take Two.

Last year my grandmother asked me to make her an apron similar to one her aunt had growing up. She showed me the apron – it tied in the back and did not go over the head – but I couldn’t find a similar pattern anywhere! I ended up constructing one by tracing the original apron and making my own pattern pieces. It came out ok but two things kind of threw me: 1) not being experienced enough of a sewer to know how to put it together without instructions. I did a bunch of things in the wrong order. 2) Bias tape… having NEVER sewn with it before I ventured out with little direction and attempted to make my own tape. This was a LOT of work and the results were just so-so. I kept searching around and eventually found a vintage pattern from this etsy seller that was PERFECT! This year I returned to my apron with a bit more experience and decided to line the apron rather than deal with the tape. Also, I like how the lining gives it a bit more substance, since the fabric I used was kind of thin.

Oh and I must add that yes, my grandmother LOVES country western, so the fabric of choice is completely appropriate! I’m so excited with how this came out I am not even waiting til Christmas, I am sending it to her today.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Just had to mention....

I was so excited when I heard about the Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm and their yarn CSA. It's a great idea for knitters and yarn lovers to support a growing small business and get to know where their fiber is coming from. For me personally, it's a nice way to stay connected to the Island that I love so much.

(She really has my dream job!)

You can buy shares or individual skeins here.
Visit their site here.
And subscribe to their blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Going for the gold!

I wasn't going to post this yet, because the dress isn't quite finished (all I have left to do is shorten the hem) but I needed an excuse to blog!

This may be my last post for awhile. Friday I am leaving to drive across country and live with my boyfriend in New Mexico -- a big change from New England where I have lived all my life. I don't know when I'll have internet access or be settled in yet, so this type of thing may be put on hold for a bit, but you can guarantee I will still be knitting and sewing and creating something...

Now seems like the perfect chance to look back and say what a wonderful thing having this blog has been! Three years ago I started photographing and sharing my knitting adventures publicly and I have come to meet a number of wonderful bloggers, crafters, sewers, knitters and friends. I'll still be checking in on all your blogs daily and invite you to keep up with me on flickr. Please, please stay in touch!!

Oh, and about this crazy gold dress! I made it from a vintage pattern I bought from an awesome etsy seller, Selma Lee. I bought some other great patterns too and can't wait to start making those soon! The fabric is Michael Miller and, again, I don't know what I was thinking going with a wild pattern that I will probably never wear. I guess a metallic gold polka dot dress is something every girl should have in her closet no matter what state she lives in!

Thanks again for reading, sharing, commenting and to those who made purchases from my store. I hope you all carry on in your creative ways and find passion in the process of making so many wonderful things.

Most importantly, have fun!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

slow stitches.

I am always impressed when knitters whip up an amazing project in just a few days or less. Haven't quite figured out if I am too distracted, lack focus or just enjoy taking my time, but I am officially not a speedy knitter! I've worked on this scarf for several months now -- 5! -- sometimes stitching for lengths of time while tuned into NPR or my ipod, other times just picking up a row here and there while I waited to my coffee to perk or during commercials on Project Runway.

One of the tricky things I learned about knitting lace is you can't multitask. No knitting while I'm on the phone or watching tv as I usually do, this precise pattern forced me to count every stitch and keep track of what row I was on, never straying far from the instructions which were printed out nearby on a sheet of scrap paper. Many times this summer I felt too consumed by work, company and warm weather activities to really care what row I was on or if this project would ever be completed, but now that it's done I love it and can't wait to add it to my fall wardrobe!

I'm really happy with how it came out. Blocking the scarf made a huge difference in revealing the details of the intricate lace. I simply soaked it in room temperature water for a few minutes, gently rang it out and then let it dry flat on a towel outside. You don't have to dry it outside, I just thought the warm, late summer air would make it a bit more special.

So now it's on to the wintery knits -- ribbed and cable knit hats, maybe a neckwarmer or cowl, and that sweater I really want to finish. But this is not it for me and lace! I really loved making this scarf and look forward to tackling some more complicated knits. Please, if you have any patterns you love, do share them with me! I'm always up for the challenge of something new.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

film fantasy.

It's been awhile since I blogged about something someone else is doing. Like these brilliant polaroid composites from photographer Patrick Winfield.

I really like the ones of trees and landscapes, but also love the more random "freestyle" ones that remind me of quilts!

You can see more here at his site, and also some of his other work. All done with polaroid.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

counting raindrops.

It's been kind of cool and rainy here lately, not what you would typically expect for August. We've had almost a week of drizzly days and lightning storms late at night. Nothing like rumbles of thunder to awaken you at 4 am! I guess this is the perfect time to work on finishing up my April Showers scarf which I started back in, uhm, April.

The scarf is another purl bee project that I couldn't pass up. It's my first time knitting lace and though it's repetitive (what knitting isn't?) I found the lightweight fiber and airy knit to be a perfect summer project. Now I've only got a few rows to go before I block it. Anybody have a good technique for blocking lace? This is all so new to me... I'm excited to learn!

The fiber I used was Blue Sky Alpaca's Silk, a 50/50 silk and wool blend. lovely, lovely stuff!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Quiet Time.

Hello... I'm still here.

It has quite possibly been awhile since I last posted (a month!) mainly because I haven't had much to post about. Between working, going out, swimming in the ocean, working some more and spending quality time with my houseguests, I haven't had a single moment to sit down and stitch. No knitting, sewing or crafting for awhile! That's not to say I haven't enjoyed the last month of summer time fun. I've been doing everything good that you should be doing when you live on a gorgeous New England island in the summer -- including a little relaxation!

I've also been keeping up with so many of my favorite blogs, glancing at them each day on my lunch break. I'm get so many ideas for knitting, crafting and photo projects as well as fall fashion inspiration.

I'll be back with plenty of new and completed projects soon! Hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sewing Up a Summer Storm

First off, I'd love to say.... Thank You!

I had a lot of fun making that dress and I really appreciate the feedback I got from you lovely readers! Some of you I have never even met, but I look forward to your blog posts whenever I see them in my google reader and smile when you comment on my little creations. I love that this blog has become a place where I not only get to show off the things that interest me, but where I can correspond with others who love to knit, sew, shop and all around appreciate the handmade! so.... thanks, just for being out there on the other end of the line!

And now... bring you my next endeavor. Another garment!

I bought this fabric with making pillow cases in mind. I loved the print but thought it was too bold to wear as a dress. It sat neatly folded on my sewing table for a few weeks and the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to add it to my wardrobe. so.... I decided to make a casual top. I ordered the pattern from Vogue and I plan to modify it so it can be a dress. Consider this colorful creation to be a practice run!

I've officially been bitten by the sewing bug lately. Having my own set up and plenty of space to work in has definitely been a motivator. I do miss my knitting and although I haven't felt like picking up the needles all that much, I know I will again soon! Right now I'm happy to be sewing again and I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

All Dressed Up.

Here are some more photos of the dress I just finished! The fabric is Amy Butler and the pattern is Butterick B4443. Its a pretty simple fit. I really love the fullness of the skirt. I think I'm going to wear this a lot!

mmmmm... nothing better than homemade iced coffee on a lovely, summery Sunday! Even Midge was in the spirit for posing!

It felt really good to finally finish this! Now onto more projects... I have a scarf I've been knitting since April. Hopefully I'll finish sometime before the fall! I'm really excited to do some more sewing, though I'd also be happy to knit one of these. So much inspiration from you wonderful bloggers!

Friday, June 20, 2008

hello summer!

What a perfect day for a new summer dress! I finally finished sewing this dress I began last September. It wasn't all that tricky... I just didn't feel motivated until the warm weather was upon us. And now, here it is!

(action shots are coming soon. )

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

oh, the internet.

I just added a bunch of new blogs the I like to the sidebar on the right. check them out!! some of them are far from knitting related, but things I find interesting and inspiring!

(more knits to come, I promise.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Pre-Summer Update.


I've moved (again) and started up working full time. I must say, I am ridiculously happy to be here, both on the Island and back at my old job. This is a place I missed so much over the winter -- it just feels good to be waking up here again! I've been trying to get a little bit of crafting time in before the craziness of summer and, as you can see from the image, I've been doing a little sewing. Perhaps I'm influenced by my talented roommate, or just the desire for a summery dress for the sunny days ahead. More photos when I am done... because I will be soon!

Hope you are all enjoying the warm weather... what sort of projects does it inspire you to make?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

summertime wishlist.

for work:

and for play:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

nothing much here.


I am just dropping by to say hello! I don't have much to show you except buckets of sunshine and anticipation of warm(er) weather. I know winter ended months ago, but I feel like spring is just starting to show it's face around these parts and things are just beginning to bloom. It's lovely, but kind of a distraction from my projects and I think I may already be nearing the point of my blogging summer hiatus! In just a few weeks I'll be living in a new house, start my full time summer job and finally see all my friends I've missed over the winter. I apologize in advance for the neglect, but please stay tuned... because there's always a few polaroids or finished projects to share!

the knitting part.

Oh, I do have one question, for those of you who have knit lace before...
I'm working on a scarf and having a ton of fun (though I don't want to show it off until it's done!!) I've neared the end of one skein of yarn and am wondering how to start the second with out it being too noticeable. I feel like with the delicate, airy fibers it will be tricky to hide!

any suggestions?

Thanks and happy spring!!

*photos from my recent visit to las cruces, nm, where spring was already well under way.