Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Uninspired title

I can't come up with a catchy title for this one hence the 'uninspired title'.

Anyways just a bit of update on things here. There was some good knitting time this weekend with the wet rainy weekend here. On Saturday Michelle stopped by to knit and we got her started on her Spanish Christening Shawl (baby blanket). She's using some lovely pastel colored variegated yarn by Jojoland from my shop. This is a pattern from Folk Shawls and is designed as a large square lady's shawl but we agreed to size it down for a baby blanket which was the inspiration for this shawl. I have to say this is my 'go to' shawl book. Need a shawl for an occasion/gift you will find it there no problem. Can't wait to see how she's coming on with it this Saturday. On Sunday another lady came over for knitting lessons and we had a great time and know she left with some new tips and techniques.

Sonnet Sweater Update - On Saturday while Michelle was working away on her blanket I finished the buttonhole band and cast off the body of the Sonnet Sweater. Then promptly cast on the sleeve (more on that another day).

Here it is with the buttons placed where they will be sewn on after blocking.

The picture on the left is the 'right side' where you can plainly see the bind of edge.
Picture on the right is the 'wrong side' where the bind off is not visible and the edge blends in.
I'm leaning towards making the 'wrong side' the 'right side' so the bind off not so noticeable.
Given the stitch patterns used in this sweater are reversible I can get away with this kind of thing. What do you think?

Weekly Sock Project - Ok, so I haven't quite finished my Dexter's Canvas sock I went ahead and cast on for my next sock a week project Lace Cuff Anklet in Dusky Plum. There's less than 3 repeats left to complete the Dexter's sock which I will do tonight and that will complete 2 pair so far in '08. This pattern comes from Favorite Socks by Interweave Press. I saw this pattern and have been itching to do it for quite a while now and love it.

photo from book

I'm using Hand Jive's Nature's Pallet Fingering weight yarn in Dusky Plum.
Isn't it yummy? This pattern starts at the top (yep, I know... what not starting at the toe?).
You start by knitting the Lacy cuff in a really simple 4 stitch pattern, purl 1 row to help the cuff fold neatly then onto the supporting rib section of the cuff that the lace folds over. Really a quick knit sock so far. I can see a lace cuff sock addiction coming on. I have Nicky Epstein's' Over the Edge series that I could use to make up my own.

lace and cuff - wouldn't it make the cutest doll dress/skirt? - top of the cuff.

Lace in the Woods update - Lookie there less than 4 months until the retreat.
Still thinking about joining us? Sign up soon as the group hold on the cottages will expire March 1st and they will go quickly. There are over 60 in the group on Ravelry and I sense a rush of registrations any time now ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yep, I'm sewing again

My other hobby is coming back.

It's been awhile but I've started sewing again. I learned to sew in 1972 when I was 11, about the same time I learned to knit. For Christmas that year I received an old but refurbished singer sewing machine. Here it is... isn't it cute! I love that machine. I was a very simple, basic machine that basically only went forward and backwards with the the only thing you could vary was the stitch length... but I love it. Ok, so finally after 36 years I decided it was time to pass the love along to the next generation. It's been recently serviced, cleaned and I gave it along with a lot of sewing paraphernalia and material for Christmas to my niece's daughter. Yep, I'm an enabler ;-) She love it too and I have visitation privs.

So, I treated myself this Christmas, 36 years later to a brand spanking new sewing machine.
It's a Brother XR7700 with 110 stitch functions. Wow, that's 110x more than my 1 stitch wonder. I've only played with some of the stitches and haven't tried the button hole stitches yet but it is fantastic.

and I've completed the very first full project on it last weekend.

Amy Butler Frenchy Bag

I've recently discovered this sewing and fabric designer and love her work.
This is some fabric I've had for well over 15 years and used the Frenchy bag pattern.
Very fun and versatile bag to use as a general purpose purse or of course knitting bag.
It is fully lined with 2 pocket flaps which in this bag function more like a center pocket.
The pattern has you putting a magnetic snap closure but I am fresh out of those and need to order some. The next one I will put one in as well as one to close the pocket(s) too.

Just like with my knitting I have a queue of projects lined up that I want to do.
Someday I'll be brave and take some pictures of the sewing room and share them here.

Well, That's it for today and now back to my sock in progress and The Daily Show.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Project Update Monday...ummm Tuesday

Well guess I missed posting project updates yesterday so here goes.
The Sock A Week project(s) is going very well. I finished my 3rd sock of 08 on Sunday night and I'll cast on it's mate tonight. I am really enjoying the color and pattern on this project. This was made with Valentine's Day in mind but I think it could do holiday double duty as a Christmas sock as well. Candy cane anyone?
In Large Knitting Project News. Sonnet is also progressing nicely. I am well into the left front which will complete the body of the sweater and onto the sleeves. I think I'll change things a little and knit the sleeves in the round to eliminate the seam as well as making them a little slimmer. We'll see.

gratuitous closeup ;-)
Don't you just love these turtle buttons?
knit side to side ... right front and back.
On Saturday Michelle stopped by for a knitting lesson and we started her on the Saartje's Bootees which I've been enamored with for some time. That afternoon I had to start one and did according to the pattern (which is well written). I'll post more on this tomorrow. Once I take and upload some pictures.
Another knitting related project.
Last weekend I was itching to try my hand at making stitch markers and I happened to have what I needed on hand. A bead kit (never opened) and some stitch markers I purchased on etsy.com.
Inspiration piece bought as a set of 5 on etsy.

Single I made with beads and head pin had on hand.
Set of 5 I made again with what I had on hand.
I have to say this was so much fun I ordered a bunch of head pins and beads to do a whole lot more. You just might see some added to the shop.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Short and sweet Monday

First order of business comment answers.

On Thursday Mere asked
"... How/where did you get your project tracker? ..."
If you are already on Ravelry there is a very, very long discussion thread where you can asked to be added to the beta group trying this out, get tips on how to install and customize it, and see what others have done. Basically cut and paste some Java code that you are given and if you know Java can customize. There is also a really good wiki on this there as well. I really like this as it means only one place to update the status of my projects and photos. If you're not already on Ravelry... sign up today! The waiting list I hear isn't too bad now.

Sock a Week and Big Project Updates:

SaW - Well, so far I'm keeping up. I finished my second sock (Ebony Baby Fern) on Sunday and cast on the Dexter's Canvas Sock. I'll post photo's of the sock in progress later this week along with the details.

Big Project - I have 6 more rows of the body left which I'll finish up easily this week. However, this might be taking a little nap while searching for the right beads for the border. The beads I have for this I don't think will work and I'm not totally happy with them for this project. So, I'll be bringing another big project out of hibernation in the next day or two.

That's it for now... exciting updates on the Lace in the Woods retreat tomorrow

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Time for a reality check

You might notice over there on the left where normally there are a zillion WIPs that there are only 2 now. I thought it was time to be honest with myself (and Ravelry) and acknowledge that in fact I only have 2 projects that I am actively working on. A sock project (Weekly sock a week KAL) and a larger project such as a shawl. Well, at least this is my goal for 2008. The other 'WIP's are still around; they are just taking a siesta while waiting patiently for their turn in the Active Knitting Basket or the Active Knitting Bag. The Basket will hold my current larger project while the Bag will hold my more portable current sock project.

This is my new Active Knitting Basket. I found it while browsing some antique stores in Moss Landing and fell in love with it. It even came supplied with ever useful safety pins ;-).

My current large project is still the Spider's-Web Shawl from Victorian Lace Today which is moving along very nicely.

So, what about my knitting bag... well pictures coming tomorrow and it's contents is still the Ebony Baby Fern socks; which I am on schedule to complete by Sunday!!!

Since the socks and shawl are nearing completion what will be taking their place?
Well, no problem there. The next socks in line will be the Dexter's Canvas V-Day socks (still looking for the perfect pattern and more catchy name). And for the larger project?
I will try to be more disciplined this year and only work on projects that I've already started and nothing new unless I need it for a gift. So, the next one will be the Sonnet Sweater (photo shoot this weekend). The body of this is over 3/4 completed and that just leaves the sleeves.
I would love to have this one done in time to wear to Stitches West the last weekend in Feb (yes, 2008).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1 down.... 51 to go

Woot... One sock done, which means 51 more to knit this year. I'm a little behind schedule for the Sock A Week 08 KAL but I know I'll catch up and finish the second one by end of Sunday. The Spider's web shawl will suffer though and will have to pace myself and reset the finish date for Sunday the 20th.

I'm liking this one. The yarn Fleece Artist Merino isn't the softest merino I've used but I have hopes it will wash up nicely and keep the stitch definition. The pattern is great and comes from my favorite sock pattern book More Sensational Knitted Socks. Baby Fern - It is an easy to memorize 12 stitch by 6 row repeat. The gauge with this yarn and needles (US1, my standard sock size) is a little larger than normal so I did 7 repeats of the pattern for the instep instead of 8. Short Row heel with 10 un-worked stitches instead of 11 or 12. Then onto 9 repeats on the leg since I wanted it a little longer than I normally do (same number as the instep). Topping it with a 1x1 ribbing for 9 rows with a stretchy bind-off. the bind off I used for this one isn't the frilly one I've been doing but bound off in pattern and with 2 stitches on the right needle slipped the left needle in front of the 2 stitches from left to right and knit off making a smoother edge.

I'm hoping that I'll keep on 'schedule' with this SAW KAL and will post my progress here every Monday.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

So far ... so good ...

Well nearly through the first week of 2008 and it's been a good one.

As you know I started by rolling out the new version of The Knitting Hutch.
I've been receiving some very good feedback and will be working on getting all the products in their appropriate places. Also, making it an inviting site to browse through and enjoy looking at some pretty and inspiring yarns and helpful knitting items. Feel free to email me with feed backs and ideas. I enjoy hearing from you and working on the shop. There is a new shipment of Jojoland yarn (variegated worsted weight) and a small mesh laundry bag.
This will be perfect for throwing your hand knit socks into keeping them contained when washing with the rest of your delicates.

I didn't have to go back to work until Thursday and Friday I worked from home since I knew this was coming. On Friday we had a tremendous storm with ferocious winds and rain coming down sideways. The wind was so great at one point about 7 metal panels flew off of the roof of the barn. We sure need the rain but the wind, not so much ;-)

Yesterday I spent a little time with my extended family at Myra's birthday party which was fun.
She turned 8 and I made her a gypsy style shawl with a mix of a grey blue wool, soft fuzzy cream, tan leather like ribbon and a hand spun wool with beads added in. She loves it!

Afterwards I continued with putting away Christmas decorations. After looking at and dealing with Christmas decorations since early October at my Grandmother's I'm ready to have them all put away.

All in all it's been a good week.

Onto Knitting (and other crafty) Aspirations.
  • Have a shawl in progress and complete 6-8 this year. Here's the one I'm working on right now. This the Spider's Web Shawl from Victorian Lace Today and is one of the 4 projects in the current Knit A Long. I cast this on New Year's Day while watching the Rose Parade. It is a quick one and I'm doing the smallest Fichu size instead of the full Hexagon or Half Hex. I'm already nearing the end of the body of this and the border doesn't look too involved so I'm guessing I could be done by next Sunday. Quick details: Yarn - Habu Hand Dyed Cashmere on US5 Hiya Hiya 32" circs.

Pretty web detail ....

Closeup ...

  • Socks.... 2 pair per month. This shouldn't be too hard to do and if you saw my sock yarn stash you'd know why I have this one as a goal for '08. My current sock in progress is HandMaiden Merino in Ebony using the Baby Fern pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. Isn't it pretty? This is my favorite colorway by HandMaiden. Remember my Kimono Shawl in Ebony Sea Silk (yep, still need to finish that one).

  • Finish my Sonnet Sweater ... pictures later this week. I promise.
  • One Felting Project. Not sure yet what ... might be the FiberTrends Felted Clogs.

and because I need to be more balanced I'm including some non knitting crafts too...

  • Sewing. I have several bags and purse projects planned and hope to have at least 4 done. This also means I need to finish up setting up and organizing my sewing room which is coming along nicely.
  • Painting. Christmas of 05 I bought myself a painting easel and supplies to delve into painting. I haven't touched it and really would like to give this a go this spring. I have a really nice place set up in my bedroom for this and am excited to get started.

Ok, I've rambled on long enough now but I want to leave you with some yummy sock yarn pron. I just received these this week. They are hand dyed by DharmaFey and are inspired by the Showtime series Dexter. Love this show and love this yarn.

first up is Dexter's Canvas... I'm thinking this would make a lovely pair of socks for Valentine's Day ;-)

This is simply called Dexter.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome 2008

Happy 2008 (I hope).

2007 was your typical year with a healthy balance of good and bad. Some goals acheived, and some not. Loved ones gone and new ones here or on the way. It was a busy year but that's good too ... keeps me out of trouble ;-) I was fortunate enough to travel a little (Cruise to Canada and see my sister and mom in Seattle). Met new knitting buddies both local and throughout the country.

New Online Shop launched! This was one of my goals for 2007 and I was able to roll it out on New Years Eve. It is still a work in progress as I have products not in the new shop yet. Please feel free to stop by and browse. There are a couple new goodies in such as Amy Butler Wool Wash by Soak and a wonderful Blocking Wire kit. There are some new needles and jojoland yarns on the way.

Goals for 2008. I really don't like the word Resolutions since we have come to view these as things we hope to acheive but never to. The idea is great since give you things to shoot for and keeps you moving ahead in some sense. So, I prefer to set goals or aspirations for the coming year. My goals for 2007 were never 'written' down anywhere just basically thoughts and things I've stated out loud to others to make them real. I like to break them down into logical groupings. Such as Personal, Home, Career, and Creative Arts which helps me to make sure to keep things in balance a little.

All the best to you in 2008.