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.