Tuesday, August 10, 2010

drumroll please...

I finally finished my Sundrop Cardigan!

This sweater has been quite the saga. Both yarn and pattern were purchased at Webs on a trip to New England in May 2009. I cast on during that same trip and finally finished almost a year and a half later!

Things would have gone a lot faster if I hadn't started over halfway through, but I am really happy with the changes I made, the sweater's overall fit, and everything I learned from the process. I am even somewhat a fan of the set-in sleeve, though I would like to avoid them, when possible, in the future.

The only thing left to do is find some pretty buttons!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Red Scarf Project + a pattern!

Have you heard about the Red Scarf Project? Organized by the Orphan Foundation of America, the Red Scarf Project puts handknit and crocheted red scarves into care packages for orphans in college and vocational schools across the country. They ask for the scarves to be unisex, and, obviously, red, since they are sent out to students on Valentine's Day. I think this is such a nice idea! Even though I only lived an hour from my family when I was in college, I remember getting so many wonderful care packages from them on holidays, or sometimes just for no reason. My mom always knew when I needed a pick me up, a little motivational message, or a Dunkin' Donuts gift card. I even recall her once sending me fresh, homemade banana bread as a surprise, which we laughed about because it wasn't so fresh when I finally made it to the post office to pick it up!

But since scarves don't spoil, you can send one to OFA between September 1 - December 15th and they will see that it gets to a college student who needs a little hand made love. The address is on their site as well as free patterns, yarn suggestions (washable, no lace preferred) and ideas for other goodies to include in your care package.

The scarf pictured here is one that made from Berroco Peruvia in a double moss stitch. It was very easy and fun to make. Here's how:

cast on a multiple of 4 sts + 2 (so 18, 22, 46, whatever you like!)
Row 1: *k2, p2, rep from * to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2: *p2, k2, rep from * to last 2 sts, p2.
Row 3: repeat row 2.
Row 4: repeat row 1.
repeat all 4 rows for the length of your scarf!!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Land of Enchantment.

A few weeks ago, Nick and I moved 292 miles north from Las Cruces to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We are really happy to be here -- Santa Fe is an amazing city with so many things to do (something we often noted the lack of when we lived in Las Cruces). But this morning when I read Abby Powell's roadtrip post on her blog Abby Try Again, I felt this sudden longing for the land we left behind. The landscape, the sunshine, and the incredible food make this city where I spent a year and a half of my life a very memorable place!

More polaroids of Las Cruces and Old Mesilla can be found on my flickr...
I'm off to explore Santa Fe!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Back in Black

I'm constantly taking in inspiration from from around the web -- knitters, artists, designers, photographers, etc -- and I started a new tumblr blog to reflect that. I am not sure yet how good I will be at keeping up with it, but there is just so much brilliance and beauty out there, I wanted somewhere to collect it and share it with others. This blog will be dedicated to my own creations, like these projects I knit recently with black yarn. I loved working with the yarn and know I will wear them a lot, but both projects were difficult to photograph, so I don't have many images.

Side Slip Cloche by Laura Irwin
from the book Boutique Knits.

The yarn I used was Plymouth Yarn Mulberry Merino, which was given to me from my friend Stacie for my birthday. It's soft and fuzzy and makes a hat that's warm and cozy, but not too heavy.

Wedge by Norah Gaughan

I knit Wedge with 4 skeins of Queensland Collection Leche yarn. It's a fun pattern, lots of garter stitch and a little bit of short row working to make it interesting and give it some shape. I love the movement of the fabric, like waves. The scarf looks so much more complex than it is. Norah is such a brilliant designer!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Something for You!

wow! Its been over a month since I shared anything here on the blog. I figured you were all tired of the half made and occasionally finished objects I usually parade in these posts, so today I thought I would share something different: something for you to make!

Here is a free download for a bulky cable purse pattern I created called Instant Gratification!

---> download now <---

Instant Gratification is a handbag knit with bulky weight yarn and features simple cables, knits, and purls. This is a great pattern for beginners, especially those who want to learn cables. It's knit flat and then folded in half and seamed on the sides. You can line the bag with pretty fabric, too! You only need about a half yard.

The best part about this bag, is that it knits up quick, hence the name. I hope you find it as fun and 'gratifying' to knit as I did!

You may wish to make this bag for yourself or give it as a handmade gift. You may also want to share the pattern with someone else who loves to knit, or who has been searching for something just like it. It is okay to give away this pattern, to knit it, share it, and even modify it as you wish, I just ask that you give me proper credit as the designer. That's all. Commercial use is not allowed, so I ask that you do not make and sell this bag. If you have any questions or exceptions please feel free to contact me. That's all I ask! Thank you!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

starting over.

I bought the yarn and pattern to make the Sundrop Cardigan when I was at Webs last year in May. I knit the back panel, one front panel, and, upon completion of the second panel, realized that my pieces were not going to fit together. I had counted inches, not rows or pattern repeats, and everything was going to be off. Seaming it looked like it would be a nightmare. So what did I do? I folded it up nearly and put it in a drawer, where it sat for six months....

I dug it out recently because I wanted to finish it and I knew, unfortunately, that this would mean starting over. What a pain!!! But I am so glad I did. I cast on for all three panels and am knitting the whole thing in one swoop right up to the armholes. No seams to worry about! I also went and made the button band and button holes a lot smaller because I did not really like how they looked when I knit them the first time (and added an extra pattern repeat to compensate). I really enjoy working in this stitch pattern and, honestly, I don't mind knitting it twice! Now, if I can only finish it and wear it with a cute summer dress, because the weather's getting awfully nice here in southern New Mexico!

So, lessons learned:

  • count rows, not inches.
  • it's okay to give projects a 'time out'.
  • having to start over is better than finishing something that you know you will never wear/use.
Hope this advice comes in handy for you, too!

Monday, April 05, 2010

best wishes!

The Bailout Plan 24" x 18" Oil on Panel

I failed to mention that the lovely video I shared on Friday was brought to my attention by the one, the only, Heather Neill! and what better a day to introduce her than today, her birthday!

Happy Birthday Heather!

See her amazing work on her website and read her musings and inspirations on her blog.

Mother's Darts 36" x 24" Oil on Panel

I suggest sitting down with a cup of tea and browsing through some of Heather's paintings online. And if you ever do find yourself in the Granary Gallery on Martha's Vineyard, take the time to study her work in person. Her paintings are rich, detailed, exquisitely mastered magical realism, each one accompanied by a piece of writing by Heather herself. Sometimes it's a story, a meaningful poem, a bit of inspiration, or a biographical reflection. The words always work well with the paintings, though the paintings stand just as strong without them. Heather is a very thoughtful artist and she doesn't let one detail go overlooked. And she never forgets her sense of humor!

I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do!

Friday, April 02, 2010


Here's some creative knitting inspiration for your weekend! I'll be back in a few days with some finished projects and follow up ideas from my last post.

* * *

P.S. I am marking down all the sewing patterns in my etsy shop to $3. Please check out what's there or pass this along if someone you know loves to sew! thanks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the creative habit

Last week my friend Abby blogged about Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit. Feeling like I have grown further and further from what was once a very creative life, I decided to give this well-known book a read. Its a wonderful resource for how to handle your creativity and get past roadblocks that stop us from often being creative. Many of the techniques can be applied to all aspects of "working" life. Mainly, I have been applying the ideas to myself as a knitter and how I could eventually treat my hobby as a business without spoiling my love for the craft.

Just curious, readers (if there are any readers out there) do you knit/sew/crochet/craft as a business? Do you ever think about trying it? what prevents you? what challenges do you face? how do you overcome them? Basically, I would like to open up a little discussion here. Please don't be shy...

I have more I want to say on this topic too. Let me gather my thoughts...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cairn + Coffee

As proposed, this month is going to be all about getting stuff done! Earlier this week I finished knitting Cairn in Berroco's Ultra Alpaca yarn. I had fun playing with color combinations for these little gloves, especially because I have so many shades of Ultra Alpaca in my stash. These were knit for a friend who I know loves trees and nature, so the color combo seemed just right!

The weather is getting warm here in southern New Mexico, so it's time to start brewing my favorite summer beverage: cold brew coffee! A few years ago, Rosie introduced me to the New York Times article about it and got me hooked! The Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in San Francisco -- and now Brooklyn, NY -- is also known for this delicious drink. It's pretty simple to make at home with some mixing bowls and a strainer. I just buy regular espresso, though the chicory is good too.

Find the recipe here and enjoy!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

on the needles

I have so many unfinished projects, it's not even funny. I've decided to dedicate the month of March to getting things done! Here's a little inventory of what's on the needles these days.

Alpaca Sox Legwarmers
Knit with Opal uni-solids in Cocoa

I can't wait to wear these with boots and tights on a chilly winter day, but its beginning to look like that might be next winter at the rate I am going!

I realized back in November that I don't have a simple, black scarf to wear with just about anything, so I cast on for Wedge with Queensland Collection's Leche. I ran out of yarn before I finished, but yesterday I finally made it back to Fiber Chicks in Albuquerque for more.

Cairn fingerless mitts by Ysolda Teague

Thrummed mittens
with the help of yarn forward.com.
(this one still needs a thumb!)

Oh, yes, and this sweater. I started it in May 2009 and would love to finish it by May 2010!

Now, pardon my absence, but I have some knitting to do!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Etsy Shop!

Buy Handmade

For any of you out there who are sewists ( sewers? or sewsters?) I want to share with you my new etsy shop!

Not too long ago I started collecting vintage sewing patterns. I love the illustrated envelopes, finding the occasional uncut virgin pieces inside, and wondering who may have sewn the dress or blouse way back when. Slowly I came to realize that I owned waaay more than I was ever going to find the time to make (especially at the rate I sew!) Now I want to share them with you. Please take a look... and pass the link along to any other sewists you may know! And if you don't see anything that grabs your fancy, check back often. I hope to be doing updates every weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

inspiration: other people's projects

Lately I am really loving the look of crochet. These bright, colorful granny squares sure do brighten up winter! Maybe its time to learn a new skill??

{click the images to visit their source!}

And look, Crochet Today has this free pattern to get started!