Archive for the 'Knitting' Category

April Showers




My friend and co-worker is having a baby. The fact in itself is not surprising at all, but what is more unusual is that this is the first time I feel involved. By involved, I mean that it has fallen to me to organize things like baby showers and post-birth food deliveries. The new parents are not American and their families live far away so I feel like it is our responsibility to provide a support structure. I should point out that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when to comes to babies or baby related things. I have no siblings, I never babysat while I was growing up and I don’t know the first thing about dealing with small children. I don’t know what is supposed to happen at a baby shower either, but there I was having one in my apartment.

The one part of this whole baby experience I do feel mildly comfortable with is making things. I started with my standard baby shower gift, a flannel blanket (monkeys above, tutorial here) but I wanted to make something more this time.

I decided on a baby sling. At the suggestion of collected orange I used this pattern as a guideline. I chose the most gender neutral fabric I could find in my stash (a waterbed sheet from my parents circa 1978?) and paired it with an undyed flannel. The result is cozy flannel on the inside, printed fabric on the outside.






I’m a little worried that I made it too big for Mom, but I think it should fit Dad. I have many other fabrics suitable for a mom-sling so if they like it I will plan to make another one a bit smaller.

I also wanted to knit some baby footwear. After 4 failed attempts (too small, too big, etc.) I settled on Saartje’s Bootees (rav link, web link see sidebar) and some Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere I had in my stash. The buttons are vintage from my grandmother’s button jar. I think the booties are adorable, I only hope that they will fit at some point!





The shower itself was fine, I made it a potluck and the new mom requested no games and no pink, so basically we sat, snacked and visited. I consider that a success.

Next up on my list is organizing some food for the new family post-birth. I don’t know if I should do this formally or just tell people about it and have a free-for-all of food getting dropped off. I have an extra freezer down the street lined up to help out but otherwise the only preparation I have done is to ask Mom what she wants and doesn’t want to eat. Does anyone have suggestions for me? What works well or doesn’t work well? I’d love to get advice from some people with firsthand knowledge!

Making a sweater from a molehill




I’ve been spinning now for just about two years exactly.  In fact, I think I had just purchased my wheel days before Stitches West 2007.  I guess I didn’t dive head first into it, but I’ve now waded a good way into the spinning world and I’ve got many skeiens of unknit yarn to show for it.  Sure, I’ve knit a few things from handspun, some silk handwarmers (from my first spindle spinning attempts), a few hats (all ravelry links- 1) and scarves (1, 2) and a pair of mittens (which each see lots of wear) but I haven’t worked up to anything big yet.  Part of this is due to my scattered fiber buying.  I have small quantities of a large range of fiber types and colors from which I have been teaching myself about spinning.  This has been great for exploring the variety available but not so great for knitting up anything requiring more than 2oz (or sometimes 4oz) of material.

I have a goal: turn some of my handspun yarn stash into a full sized wearable garment.  I’m hoping to mostly use things already in my stash but I will accept the possibility that I need supplements to make this work.  I also realize this might require a multicolored garment, but I also contend that I have to make something wearable so it can’t be too technicolor.

My first idea is to make a yoked sweater with some colorwork at the top.  I’ve got many lovely bits and pieces in a similar gauge which could contribute to the colorwork. I even purchased some of them together with this in mind. This is one of my favs:



Yak from A Verb for Keeping Warm

but I also have



Thai Iced Tea BFL from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

and



Jade Merino-Silk from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

What I’m really missing is a substantial quantity of something to use for the body and sleeves. I do have a fair amount (just under 9oz) of polwarth from A Verb for Keeping Warm



but would guess that this is not enough for the body of a traditional yoked sweater unless I skip the sleeves. There might be a savior in my fiber stash, a lovely brown polwarth secret (an xmas present from girlontherocks…) that is not even washed yet. Perhaps that can solve my sweater body woes?

Does anyone have a good estimate for what percentage of a sweater the body and sleeves comprise? I have some idea in my head that I need about a pound of yarn to make a sweater, but I’m not sure of the proportional breakdown of each part. Any references or books I should check? I consulted EZ (Knitting Around) and found the percentage system for measuring size of sweater but nothing to help for estimating yarn requirements… If I had to guess I would put the yoke section at about 1/4 of the total sweater. This would make my 9oz of Polwarth too small, requiring more like 12oz.

Another option is to re-think my pattern direction, but I just don’t have any visions. Any ideas out there?

economic stimulus




I did my (small) part to stimulate the economy this weekend through a bit of shopping during the Stitches West 2009 conference. I had a great time this year-enjoying some time with friends and not getting too over-stimulated. Want to see what I got?

First, at the top is my new spindle. Made by Greensleeves Spindles from bloodwood in the style “Vixen” weighing in at 0.6oz.

Wensleydale top in olive tones (8oz total) from Lisa Souza.


Alpaca/Jacob blend in Red (6oz) from Toots LeBlanc.


A bit of Brenna! Prepared alpaca fleece (from Breanna) in jet black (3.8oz) from A star Alpacas.


Undyed cotton (2oz) from A Verb for Keeping Warm. I’m excited to give spinning cotton a try and I know I can always get more from Kristine’s shop (brick and mortar!) when I get the hang of it.


Last but not least I visited Krista at Pigeonroof Studios. I have had a recent re-interest in knitting socks so some superwash was in order! I got one roving in color spume


and one skein of “siren two lace” in charcoal.


I was also really excited to pick up some textile bobbins from Krista’s booth. I missed out on the bobbins at Color last October so I was happy to snag a few this time around.



It would, perhaps, have been a little easier to show all of these purchases in a single photo. Unfortunately natural light bright enough for photos lights up barely a few square feet of my apartment during weather like this (read: gray and rainy). I’ve currently got some kind of illness to go along with the gloomy weather. It is always a bit disappointing being sick. I feel bad staying home (and not getting work done) but I can’t really do anything fun at home either. My brain is a bit shot and my head and neck are very achy. Lets just hope I wake up tomorrow fresh as a daisy and let the week go on.

In any case, Stitches was fun and made me excited to make things, just as soon as I recuperate enough to think about it.

paris etc. (traveling part 3)




The last trip was for another conference, this on in Hyeres in the South of France (even, perhaps, near to where the naked ladies danced). Some of the employees at Air France had the good timing to go on strike for the day that I was trying to fly from Paris to the south (how French of them..). I was concerned that my complete lack of French language skills was going to be a problem when I arrived in Paris and would have to make alternate arrangements. It all worked out and I made it south despite my flight being canceled. Just to convince me that traveling by rail wouldn’t have solved my problems, the train went on strike the day we were to return north.

The conference hotel was set up on the hill near the old part of town. The vegetation was decidedly Mediterranean (like California) but the narrow steep streets and ruins of a castle at the top of the hill were quite unlike anything I would find at home.


After the conference I went to Paris for a few days to visit C, S and T. They moved there last July and I was eager to see how things are going for them. I was also excited to see in person how S’s etsy shop is coming along. I’ve seen the adorable photos and I’m here to say that the clothes are just as cute in person, especially on your favorite toddler.



Photo by collected orange, dress on etsy

I’ve never been to France before, so I spent my four days walking around Paris. The weather was mostly cooperative, with dramatic skies and occasional rain. We even got a little snow during our Sunday morning trip to the market. My friends showed me around town during the weekend, and I showed myself around the other days.











I peeked in the windows of a few Parisian crafty shops, but only took photos from the outside.
Ribbon store.



Yarn store (the skeins were hung on the wall in a lovely rainbow which is barely visible).


My travel knitting was a second pair of mittens from the Selbuvotter mitten book. The colors in this photo are off, but I had to show the perfect blue skies the morning I flew out.


I tried to sleep on the flight home, but I was really excited about flying over Greenland and catching a glimpse of sea ice so I did a lot of dozing on the window waiting for breaks in the clouds. I was rewarded a few times.


Now I’m back at home, a bit in a daze from the jet lag and wishing the sun were here! I must have left it in Paris…

travels




N’s grandmother’s kitchen wallpaper. One word: fantastic.




N’s brother got married last weekend. The weather could not have been more perfect.



I couldn’t get enough of uniform + bubbles.




I’ve been sewing in all of the spare seconds I can find. I’m trying to get ready for Color Fiber Festival and the SF Bazaar Bizarre. Color happens tomorrow (!) so if you are in the Berkeley area and want to check out some local fiber artists and socialize with fellow fiber enthusiasts you should stop by the Pacific School of Religion. The hours are 10am to 5pm – see you there?

red

My first flower of the spring came out a few weeks ago. By now the cherry and magnolia trees have past their prime but the bright red Nasturtiums on my porch are still going strong.


I brought my camera to knitting last week to do some long overdue documenting of the oh-so-fabulous wallpaper at the Mel-o-dee. The bar was opened in 1969 or so and has clearly been untouched since. I found three different flocked filigree patterned wallpapers between the two rooms of the bar and the ladies restroom. My photography does not capture the atmosphere of the dimly lit establishment, but just imagine this wallpaper surrounding tufted vinyl built in benches and lounge tables.





Finally, after drooling over sweaters cut like jackets all winter I’ve decided to knit myself one (with a nice moss stitch front, pattern from DROPS in Ravelry). I ordered a bunch of bulky handspun from handpaintedyarn.com in a color called Caoba.



I wound up some skeins and started swatching last night. Hopefully I will finish before next winter!

busy busy

but not with crafty things… There has been a real sense of urgency around the office lately. It has good effects by motivating me to get work done but I don’t enjoy the elevated stress level. I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed now, at least enough to show off a few photos.

Spinning:



Merino dyed by Girl on the Rocks in colorway Europa. I navajo plied it and I’ve been pawing at the skein trying to decide what to make. It’s soft and squishy and probably bulky weight. Any suggestions?




Yak! I spun yak! Locks were from A Verb for Keeping Warm.




Romney single-ply also dyed by Girl on the Rocks this one is called Apollo (after you know who). It is a pretty good match to his kitten years, but he is a bit browner now.

Knitting:



A hat! I knit a hat using my bruised handspun. I never did pick a pattern but I eventually figured out a size that would work and remembered to write it down (hooray!). I have enough yarn left over to knit two more hats (or something else). The hat is lovely and soft but it has already gotten too warm around here to need it. I guess I’ll just have to wait until summer for those cold foggy nights.




I have also mostly completed a sweater. It’s made from Debbie Bliss Alpaca-Silk (mmmmm soft) and has been in the works for at least a year now… I have a real problem following directions (or even choosing directions) and my pattern-less knitting projects always require some adjustments. This one is now seamed and awaiting a button band and collar. The neckline is a little funky and I might have to re-knit it but I guess thats what I deserve for trying to make a short row neck without even keeping track…

And I have new toys on the way too… A Beka rigid heddle loom and 30 yards of seatbelt webbing. Isn’t that every girls dream?

hats etc.

spinning, spinning, spinning and a hat…

Ah, just like a fresh bruise.. I finished spinning some merino roving that Karrie helped me dye in late November. I really, really, really like the color… I just need to decide what weight yarn I actually made so I can pick a pattern to knit myself a new hat.


Cato is proudly modeling a hat I made quickly before xmas. I used most of 2 balls of Rowan Cashsoft DK from my stash (originally purchased at the Webs booth at Stitches West 2007) one light blue and the other in navy. The pattern is the Inga Hat and I found it on Ravelry. I knit the hat using size 6 needles instead of size 5 which resulted in a really big hat, but it fits the recipient well. Oh, and the yarn is yummy…

Beach Knitting Part 2


Im back from the beach and I got a good bit of knitting done. I didnt actually knit on the beach (too much sand and sunscreen) but I spent some quality time knitting on the deck looking out over the ocean which is almost the same, right?

Lisa Souza striped socks finished! More info on yarn etc. from my last post.

And a Noro scarf from birthday yarn! Its my first Noro and Im doing an entrelac scarf using the instructions from Knitty. Im on the third of 3 balls of Noro Kureyon (color 182).

Beach Knitting Part 1

Ive been doing a bit of knitting while sitting around at the beach.
Beach Knitting

Im knitting striped socks with Lisa Souza Sock Yarn (from the heels and toes bin at Stitches West) using a general toe up approach. I used the Knitty generic toe-up sock instructions and directions for “hole-free” shortrows from Nothin’ but Knit. They are going much quicker than my previous pair, but I owe part of that to the fact that I have knitted them only once…
One sock is finished and the other one is past the heel. Hopefully I can post a proper picture of them finished when I get home!
The beach (outer banks, NC) is pretty nice–its been hot and sunny most of the week–but the ocean here is just not as dynamic as it is on the West Coast. Ive managed not to get too sunburned yet, but ive still got two days to survive!