Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ishbel on my neck!

I finished my lovely Ishbel just in time to wear it home for the Holidays. Today I am flying from 60 degree desert temperatures to a New England snowstorm!

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ishbel on my needles.

Sorry for the lack of posts. I have just been knitting away on Ishbel!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

looking forward.

I am always looking ahead. I decided to go home for Christmas, to visit my family, eat some home cooked Italian food and just spend a week doing nothing in the house I grew up in. I am ready for a break, but, having been in New Mexico for a year now, I might not be ready for the cold weather, so I took it as an excuse to make myself a new hat.

I really don't need another hat. I have this one, and this one, this hat and that, but when I saw all the gorgeous new malabrigo merino silk we got in at Unravel, well, I had to buy some. and I had been wanting to make this hat from CEY's Round Pond, and well, now I had a place to wear it!

Besides spending the Holiday with family and friends, I am really looking forward to this trip as a chance to clear my head and focus on things. Sometimes when you are right there and close up looking at things it is hard to see what they really consist of, but then when you stand back and take a glimpse, it gets a little clearer. I'm just talking about life in general, nothing specific, nothing wrong. Just how traveling and returning can give you a fresh view on things.

I am looking forward to that.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Finished projects + leftovers.

I finished knitting my Springtime Bandit! It knit up so fast, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I was baffled by the construction of this piece, knit from the long edge out. It wasn't until I got a good ways through the chart that I understood it, but continued to be amazed. Working with the Ultra Alpaca was such a great experience, too. I have another skein of it leftover (I bought 3 because I loved the color so much!) and might make a hat to match. Thanks to Rosie for suggesting this fun project and knitting along with me! Even though we are miles away, modern technology brought our knitting together. Magical!

I also finished another projects recently: Fetching fingerless gloves from I think it's funny that this project is designed to be knit up in a weekend, and it took me closer to a month to finish. They sat for about 2 weeks without thumbs!

The yarn I used is Berocco's Inca Gold and, as you can see, there are leftovers of that too!
What to make next?

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the Midst

I've been posting lots of images of inspiration lately, so I thought I would show off what I have actually been working on...

I love, love, love it. I haven't knit a shawl before and so far I am hooked. The pattern is interesting enough to keep me focused, but not too tricky that I get stumped or hit roadblocks. Plus, I am not worried about how the seems will line up or if it will fit me correctly when I am done.

I am knitting it up in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca in a gorgeous shade of green. Sort of reminds me of moss. or spinach. or seaweed.

Ultra Alpaca is a very soft yarn with a luxurious handle. I think it's one of my faves and would love to do a sweater with this yarn at some point too!

Sorry the pics aren't too spectacular, but I'll have some more as it's completed.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

winter whimsy.

Not only is the Winter Whimsy pattern book from Classic Elite Yarns full of gorgeous sweaters and accessories I want to make, but it's photographed by one of my all-time favorite ladies Cig Harvey!

I love the bright pop of color that gets added to an otherwise dark and gray season.

Cig taught at the Art Institute of Boston when I was a student there and although I didn't have the chance to take a class with her, I loved to print in the lab when she was, just so I could chat with her and peak at what she was working on. Her work was such an inspiration to my own!

Looking at these images makes me long for a cold, snowy winter (just a teeny bit!) rather than the mild one that I know is ahead. I can't say I miss the hassle of snow and ice, or that I would trade it for the sunny southwest, but perhaps I am a little homesick and, well, being from New England, the whimsy of a winter wonderland are just part of who I am!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

feelings for fall.

I know fall is still months away, and summer, in most places, is in full swing, but looking at the new Berroco Fall-Winter 2009 pattern books gets me excited about the cooler days ahead.
Just look:

lovely. feminine. cozy.
and looks like lots of fun to knit!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sweater Weather.

Remember when I said June was going to be my month of finishing up old project? You probably don't, because even I forgot and spent more time working on my Sundrop Cardigan than anything else. Here's part of the front panel...

Look how addictive that lovely leaf stitch looks!

I did, however, sew on the buttons, weave in the loose ends and photograph my Puff-Sleeved Feminine Sweater that I started in February. The pattern is from Stefanie Japel's book Fitted Knits and the yarn is Knit Picks Merino Style in 'hawk'. This is my first completed hand knit sweater... and one that I will actually wear! I loved the pattern and am pretty happy with the end results.

Like most of Ms. Japel's designs, this pattern starts at the neck and works it's way down, increasing to create the raglan sleeves and decreasing for a cute, fitted waist. I really loved working in the top-down structure. I also liked the seed stitch collar and all the little details she slips in to keep it from getting boring. There was very little seaming to do in the end, and I was also able to try the sweater on during various stages of growth to be sure that it fit. I considered adding some rows in the waist to make it a little longer, since most sweaters that I wear are not this short, but after giving it some thought I decided to follow the recipe as it was given and let the sweater be of the short nature in which it was designed. I think it will look really cute over a summer dress or with a long tunic in the fall.

The only trouble I had was with the lacework in the peplum but that was mostly because I had never read a chart before. You'd have to put your face pretty close up to my hips to see the mistakes and anyone who's doing that obviously has bigger issues than the yarn overs in my sweater, so, I let that go!

An area I feel I am improving in is choosing the correct yarns for my projects. This is sometimes a tricky thing. I started off as one of those knitters who would fall in love with a yarn that was totally wrong for a project and not see my mistake until the end. What do I mean by "wrong"? Well, my first ever garment was a chunky wool camisole top -- not very practical (but it taught me how to do armhole shaping and sew seams!) My second garment was a hideous pink, green and shimmery striped sweater. Whoa! It was a pretty yarn, but for an entire sweater? I just wouldn't wear it and that realization kept me from completing it. At the time, I didn't think about that when I was in the store, but now I do. I realize that black, grey and neutral colors are what I feel most comfortable wearing. And that simple yarns can help define stitches and show off delicate details.

For this project, I used the exact yarn the pattern called for and barely strayed away from the pattern. I think if I were to start over of knit it again I would choose a pima cotton or bamboo blend for a warmer-weather garment (rather than wool) but other than that I am pretty pleased. Knit picks merino yarn is super soft (though a bit pilly) and knits up very well. It's pretty darn good for the price!

For someone who is often a much more "experimental" knitter, not straying away from the pattern was a big step in learning how to follow directions and understand the basics of garment construction. I realize that taking risks can be a very exciting part of knitting, but it's also nice - and easier to learn from - the no hassle projects. Especially when you are pleased with the results!

You can find more of Ms. Japel’s stylish, wearable knits in her two books Fitted Knits and Glam Knits and it’s always fun to see what she making on her blog!

Thanks for visiting! Hope you're all having a great summer.

Monday, June 08, 2009

a quick hello and a question....

Well, I returned from one trip and am already planning another! This one's just a quick visit to Tucson, AZ for a weekend in July, mostly to see Bill Callahan, but also to do a little exploring in the city, too. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to stay or things to see while we are there?

I'll be back again soon to share some finished projects, I promise! I am, in fact, dedicating June to finishing a number of things I have started making in the last few months. so... stay tuned!

Thanks for reading... I look forward to your travel suggestions!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

a little vacation.

I won't be posting for the next few weeks... I'm venturing back home to visit family and friends and fill my lungs with some salty air! Stay tuned to my flickr page for visual updates and thanks again for all the great compliments on my Spring (Ruffle) Top. I even made it onto the Sew, Mama, Sew blog! yay.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Spring (ruffle) Top!

I finished this cute spring (ruffle) top -- sans ruffles -- from Made by Rae in one afternoon! The pattern is from a tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew and I suggest giving it a try. It's very easy to follow and doesn't require much fabric. I used some old Amy Butler fabric I had in my stash and a little quilting solid that matched it well.

I might be getting the hang of this whole sewing-my-own-clothes thing!

Friday, May 01, 2009

yarn of transformation, indeed.

I downloaded the pattern for Stephanie Japel's Reclamation Scarf with it being the perfect project to take with me on my trip in May. A nice, easy knit to work away in the airport (along with a good book for the plane ride) and a chance to use the 2 lovely skeins of Alchemy Synchronicity that I rescued from the sale bin at my LYS a few weeks ago. Well, I was eager to try out the pattern (and the yarn) and got a little head start...

ohhhhh! the Synchronicity is just dreeeeeaammmy! So, so lush to work with, it's totally fair that it rings up at between $24 - $30 a skein. The 50% wool, 50% silk blend makes it both soft and shiny, as well as strong with just enough bounce (merino!) I really, really can't get enough -- but at that price I might have enough already.

And look at all the gorgeous colors it comes in! Wish these were all mine....

(photo taken today at Unravel Yarn Shop in Las Cruces, NM)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

it's been a long time....

I used to do a lot of felting. If you look back at the beginning of my blogging days you will see early felting experiments that I documented and shared. I loved the technique and my ability to design bags with it. I made many of them in a vibrant array of colors and sold them in my etsy shop, gave them as gifts, and donated them to be auctioned off at community fundraisers. Then, last winter, I stopped making them. Just as my store became successful and as I had my washing/felting times down pat, I decided I had enough, and moved on to other projects.

Felting (or fulling,) I should explain, involves working with 100% wool yarn on larger needles to create an object that will intentionally shrink when you wash it. Much like when you accidentally wash a wool sweater, the fibers tighten and you get the effect of a solid, fuzzy fabric where you can't see the stitches. It's great for making sturdy things, like purses, clutches and Christmas stockings as well as other crafts and accessories.

One of the reasons I got away from felting was that I moved to a new apartment without a washer dryer of my own. Feeding quarters in the machines at the laundry mat to wash our clothes was enough of a nuisance, getting used to the new equipment and all those test cycles just wasn't in me! Also, I found after a long time of knitting numerous projects that would later be felted and not show my stitches, that my stitch definition was getting sloppy and I wasn't progressing with the new techniques I wanted to learn (sweater shaping, lace work, socks, etc) so... it's been awhile, but I am back to felting, for today at least. I made a couple of soon-to-be-felted bowls, which look like stretchy ski caps before they run through the hot/cold cycle. The bowls are for a workshop I will be teaching at Unravel in May and they are pretty fun to make. As long as you have a washing machine that cooperates!

It's amazing how quickly things dry here in the desert! I removed my two bowls from their third trip through the washer (I have cleaned just about everything I own by now!!) and started stuffing them with plastic shopping bags to form the rounded shape. Honestly, after a few minutes in the warm New Mexico sun they were dry! They do kind of look like little Jackie O. hats, don't they?

Friday, April 17, 2009

a good read.

I love to knit, but sometimes find it eats into my reading time, big time! does anyone else have this problem?

In May, Nick and I are traveling to visit family and friends on the east coast. I am really excited to visit my "home" and also looking forward to the quiet, downtime our 6 hour flight has to offer. Usually, I bring some knitting, but this time I am thinking of just bringing a good book to read, since it feels like it's been months (oh, wait it has been!) since I actually finished reading one. I've been knitting so much lately that I haven't given any attention to the list of books I want to read... it keep growing and growing! Here are some of the titles I am considering for the plane. I thought I'd share with pictures:

This book is sooo good! I am already about 1/3 a way through and hopefully will be done by the time we leave, but it's not entirely likely!

I have heard only good things about this book, and would love to sit down and devote 6 solid hours to it in the air!

Last fall I read On Chesel Beach and enjoyed it, despite it's odd reviews. This would also make a nice airplane read.


I always love Murakami's mix of sci-fi, fantasy and magical realism, set against a dreamy yet modern Japan.

I've been reading bits and pieces of this here and there. Thoughtful, informative and beautifully written, with important stories to tell, I really should focus on reading it all!

Choices, choices!! Any other thoughts or suggestions from you kind readers would be delightful. I miss the the pleasure of a good book as well as the satisfaction of finishing one! What have you been reading lately?