Monthly Archives: January 2014

Holiday weaving

I kept forgetting to get finished pictures of the scarves that I wove over the holidays.  My parents bought me an 8-harness table loom for my birthday last year, but for now it is just staying at their house.  Why?  Because it’s huge.  And there’s not an easy way to get it down to me yet.  My Mom took pictures of me weaving, but I can’t seem to access them right now to share them.  But here are the final results.

First up is my Color Pooling Scarf:

I was inspired by all of the beautiful scarves created by kasyafka (that’s a link to her Rav project page) .  I copied her yarns and used Socks that Rock Lightweight in Henpecked for the warp and Valley Yarns 8/2 Tencel in Orchid as the weft.  It is just straight weave so I didn’t get to fully utilize my 8-harness loom.  I used 8 ends per inch.  The warp was about 86″ long.  We had to find a multiple of the color repeat so that all of the warp threads lined up with the same colors.

I tried to pick the thinner tencel thread to be the color of the lightest part.  I wanted it to kind of disappear into the scarf.  But it doesn’t on mine.  It stayed super prominent and I don’t know if it is just too shiny or what.  I am not sure if it is something to do with the weaving, or just the color choice.

I am still pretty stoked about it.  Up close I see all of my errors and uneven edges, but hopefully nobody gets too close to it.  I felt sad cutting off my extra loom waste, and I liked seeing all of the colors of the yarn, so I made the twisted fringe longer on one side than the other.  It is a pretty obvious difference, so I am calling it a design feature.

That right edge looks pretty wonky in the picture, but I don’t think it looks that bad in real life.  This was my second woven scarf and it only took two days, so I am willing to overlook many faults.

And my next scarf was from a kit that my Mom bought me.  It’s the Rigid Heddle Plaid Chenille Scarf from Cotton Clouds.  It is also just plain weave, but has some striping to make it interesting.  I had a lot of trouble warping this guy.  The tension kept going crazy and we re-warped it about four times.  Bleh.  But once I started weaving, it took no time at all.

And either my selvedge edges were becoming much more even or the chenille is great at hiding imperfections.  I would guess the latter.  It was also good practice in working in ends on color changes.

The chenille fabric became much softer after washing/finishing in the sink.  But also the cut ends started shedding little bits of fluff everywhere.  I don’t know if that will stop or if I’ll have to cut the ends closer to the fringe knots.  I have the plaid crossings on both ends of the scarf, and I added another set at the middle just to keep things interesting.

That might be all of the weaving I do this year.  Maybe I’ll work on another project the next time I visit my parents.

 

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FO: Gwen Stacy Hat

I am finished with my Chance of Showers, and started right in on some chemo hats for Halos of Hope.  I haven’t been able to get sweater pictures yet though, because my usual photographer has been MIA at work.  So without a large project on the needles, I am just clicking away at some hats.  And because I don’t have pictures of anything else, I’ll show you the first one I’ve finished.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Gwen Stacy by Hailey Knits

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue (the medium one), about 70 grams.

Needles: US 5 and US 6

Start Date: January 20, 2014

Finish Date: January 22, 2014

The pattern is supposed to be a little slouchy, but it isn’t really.  I didn’t bother with gauge on this one, but it ended up fitting my large head pretty well.  Though maybe I should make my other chemo hats a little smaller.  If I were to do this again, I would probably do the ribbing on a needle 2 sizes smaller than the body.  Otherwise it was a pretty straightforward pattern and a quick knit.

I am currently working on another hat for Halos of Hope.  It is Barley by tincanknits and also done in Caron Simply Soft.  I had bought three skeins of this when I made my Op Top hat copying Michele and Eve.  And now I want to get it out of my house!  And I didn’t really have any other good yarn for charity knitting.  Too much non-superwash wool in my stash.  I think I will send these hats off for the Podcasters Showdown – probably to the Knitmore Girls.  It is totally crazy how much I listen to knitting podcasts now.  I have a lot of time at work when I am just doing menial tasks or winding through film and it is really nice to have something to listen to.  Of course in my old position I just listened to a lot of NPR, so I was probably a more well-informed individual then…

Have a great weekend!

 

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2014 Plans

I am for the most part a monogamous knitter.  Maybe I’ll have a couple projects on the needles, but that’s about it.  I think it helps me finish things faster, but it doesn’t always give me a lot to blog about.  I am still working on my Chance of Showers cardigan.  It has been almost a month, so I better get going on finishing it!  I may have to go back and redo the lace portion on the sleeves.  They are a little wide and I don’t know if it’ll block out skinnier or not.  I might just need to redo them with a smaller needle.  I never think about taking pictures of WIPs…

So, 2014!  My so-called Year of Big Changes (named before getting engaged!).  There are going to be a ton of changes this year, including my work moving 30 miles away (a huge deal for Los Angeles traffic), me and Lucas finding a place to live together, and getting married.  Yikes!  It’s enough to make my head spin.  All my of knitting plans have gone a little out of the window.

There are still a lot of sweaters that I want to get to this year, including Svalbard, Hitofude, the Tara Jacket, and the Downton Pullover.  But there are more priority projects that I need to get to.  There are several babies coming in my friend groups, and primarily in my knitting circle!  So I need to make up some baby items.  One for-sure baby item I am going to make is the Camden  hoodie.  And sooner rather than later!

And wedding knits!  I have officially decided that I am not knitting my wedding dress.  I spent a fair amount of time obsessing over knit dresses.  And the conclusion was really that I would have to design my own dress.  Like modifying a shawl pattern to be a skirt and figuring out the bodice separately.  And ultimately, I don’t feel like doing that.  Now my primary wedding knitting project will be my veil.  I think I will make a large circular shawl in a lace weight and use that.

My first choice is Castanea from Twist Collective:

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(Photo from Twist Collective)

Also, the Heliotaxis Pi Shawl by Renata Brenner:

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(Photo by Renata Brenner)

I also would like to make a dress for the Rehearsal Dinner.  But we might not even have one of those.  I’ve had this pattern in my queue since 2008, so I think I would wear it another time even if there isn’t a specific occasion.  I had thought this could be my wedding dress, but it’s hard for me to actively go casual.  It is the #21 Lace Dress by Shirley Paden.  If you can’t guess by the creative naming, it is from Vogue Knitting.  Spring/Summer 2008.

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I have some white or natural colored cotton in my stash, so I think this will be my Ravellenic Games project.  I’ll get started next month!  I should probably do some swatches first though.  I wish I could get started on the veil, but I need to have a wedding dress first to be able to match to.

It should also be noted that we haven’t started planning yet.  But we did say we’d probably do it this year, so I have to get started on the knitting if not all of the other stuff.

I am not really into setting knitting goals for the year.  But I do want to make sure that all of these projects are pleasure projects and not just obligations.  And I want to enjoy all of these big moments and not let them overwhelm me.  And hopefully not take in too much stash.  If Lucas and I are going to be living together, he might start getting on my case about my yarn quantities…

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FO: Shrunken Head

The father of a friend of mine (well, actually my co-worker/ex-boss/ex-boyfriend/friend) has been in and out of the hospital being treated for bladder cancer.  I wanted to make him something to let him know that I was thinking of him.  Then it finally dawned on me what I should make for him: a shrunken head!  It sounds a little crazy for a get-well-soon kind of gift, but he is an eccentric guy.  He has made some low-budget monster movies (among other projects), is very into vintage carnival stuff, and used to create fake shrunken heads and sell them on eBay!  Above all that, he is super sweet and friendly.

I thought I would have to come up with my own pattern.  I was thinking about modifying a skull pattern to work.  And then I just tried searching for “shrunken head” on Ravelry, and I’ll be damned, there were already a handful of patterns written.

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Shrunken Head by Ruth Jepsen

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Amber Heather and Blackberry, about half a skein each, maybe a little more.

Hook: E

Start Date: January 3, 2014

Finish Date: January 5, 2014

Ooh, my first finished item from 2014!  The pattern was very straightforward.  There are a few things I would change if I were to do it again, but I am super happy with the outcome.  I would try to do the nose differently to get a more rounded nose.  Not that I needed it to be super realistic (it’s crocheted, for goodness sakes) but I would like it to look a little more Papua New Guinea.  I didn’t quite understand how to fold the nose in the pattern, so maybe there was a way to change it then.  By the way, there is also a pattern that looks like the Shrunken Head Guy from Beetlejuice.  Amazing.  I might have to make that one for myself.

In the one I made, there is also a round that is crocheted through the back only.  This gives a nice ridge for attaching the hair.  I might have wanted to do more rounds of that (but only on the backside of the head) to help out with the hair.  But it worked out fine without it.

I used crochet thread for “sewing” shut the lips and eyes.  I added some miscellaneous jump rings that I had sitting around at home.

A fun little project.  I am plugging away on my only other project, but might start some chemo hats soon.  I have been meaning to do some charity knitting, so I better get on it!

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Christmas gifts

So much to share! My family often goes all out on Christmas gifts. This year we said we would scale it back a notch, but I don’t know if we really did. I was lucky to get some handmade gifts for Christmas.

My sister was recently in Peru and brought me back these beautiful crocheted mitts.

So, no, she didn’t crochet them herself, but I think they are handmade in Peru. These weren’t actually a Xmas gift, she gave them to me a month earlier. The other gifts from her were lovely, but I wanted to showcase handwork.

My Mom was busy embroidering Christmas tea towels while I was at home. And then she surprised me with this one in my stocking!

And yes, we are a family with no children and the youngest in the family (me) is 32 but we still do Christmas stockings. My sister and I frequently reminisce about the year we came down to see what was in our stockings and had Castle Greyskull (for her) and the Ewok Village (for me) waiting for us. Greatest. Christmas. Ever.

And from my Dad:

A pizza cutter with a hand-turned handle! My Dad has been into woodworking/cabinetmaking for a number of years, but he is just starting to get serious about wood turning. My uncle and sister each got ice cream scoops with hand turned handles and I got the pizza cutter. This thing weighs about two pounds and I should keep it under my bed to protect myself from intruders. Maybe it’s time to get a pizza stone and do this right? Instead of using this beautiful tool just to cut a Trader Joe’s frozen pizza in half. (Those pizzas are supposed to be something like 4 servings, but seriously, 2 tops.)

Since I was home for the holidays, Lucas and I waited to exchange gifts for New Year’s Eve. Here is him modelling what I got him.

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The Ostrich Pillow. I got this one for a good price on Fab.com. I may have a coupon code at home. Contact me, and I can try to find it. Excuse the mess in the background, I was in organizing mode.

And here is what he gave me!

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We are now engaged! I guess his present kind of beat the shit out of mine, but I am okay with that. We went up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook for the last sunset of 2013 and he popped the question. The ring is vintage from the 1920s. We are not currently doing any wedding planning, but I just might knit myself a wedding dress. So I better get moving on it!

Here’s a “selfie” of us right after it happened. It is pretty grainy because of the light and it looks like it is his hand wearing the ring. 🙂

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2013 wrap-up

I don’t usually do a year-end wrap-up.  Mostly because I am a mix of too stupid and too lazy to figure out how to do a montage photo.  And they’re not even called montages, but I can’t think of the word for them.  Good grief.  But I would like to review a few projects from the year that I am proud of.

As usual, knitting took a front seat to other crafting.  I just looked up some totals on Ravelry.  I finished 8 sweaters, 4 shawls, 4 hats, 4 cowls and 9 other accessory or miscellany projects.  Not bad.  Here are some of my favorites from the year:

My Lace Coat

My Grown-Up Girl

My Toujours

My Lacey Leaf Satchel

Not everything was a winner this year, but on the whole I am happy with what I knit.

There was a little bit of spinning, too:

To-Ply Merino/Bamboo/Nylon

Rain City BFL/Silk

Man, when I said a little spinning, I really meant little!  I only spun about a pound of fiber this year.  At least I am not stockpiling fiber, so my stash isn’t getting out of hand.

I picked up the pace on my sewing.  And then promptly slowed down again.  I would like to pick it up more this year.  I have decided that I will do one quilt a year.  That is probably even ambitious considering how long I have had fabric taking up my kitchen table because I don’t like cutting.  Or pressing.

My first quilt!  Pieced, machine quilted and bound by me.

My wide-mouthed zipper bag.  Maybe I never blogged this…  I used this tutorial.

I have much more of everything on my agenda for 2014!  I probably won’t set goals though, because sometimes I tend to think of my knitting projects as priorities over experiencing my life!  I might be focusing on some larger scale projects this year.  And of course there are the Ravellenic Games coming up!

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FO: Medusa Mittens

Happy New Year everyone!  I had decided that 2014 was going to be the “Year of Big Changes” and it is already shaping up that way!  More into that soon.  I like to designate a theme to each year on a lesson that I am trying to work on.  Past years have been, “Not Doing Anything I Don’t Want to Do”, followed by the next year of “Re-engaging with the World.”  Most recent themes have been “No Shame” and “Valuing Myself.”  Valuing myself was going to include using a full sheet of the sticky lint roller if necessary, and if that was how I judge my success of the last year, I would say that I failed.

I think the next time I post, I will put together some knitting goals, or at least lay out all of the projects that I want to start and already have the yarn for.  I just have one item on the needles right now and it is making me nervous about what I am going to start next.  I am currently working on Chance of Showers by Heidi Kirrmaier.  I am using Malabrigo Arroyo and am loving it.  It is nice to treat myself to nice yarn every so often.  And all of the colors are working together great!

Here is my last knitting FO of 2013:

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Medusa Mittens by Annie Watts

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in navy blue and Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce.  I used most of my leftovers on the CTH (40 grams?) and less than half a skein of the Malabrigo.

Needles: US 1, 2.25mm

Start Date: December 16, 2013

Finish Date: December 23, 2013

I started these mittens for my sister a while before that, but using Colinette Jitterbug leftovers in Wasabi for my contrast color.  I was also using 2.50mm needles.  And I got to the end of the thumb gusset and tried them on and they were pretty big.  I just hadn’t really checked gauge.  Switching to the Malabrigo Sock worked out so much better.  It is a much thinner sock yarn than Jitterbug and this time I got the right size mitten.  I was trying to finish up other projects so didn’t get to these until I was on my way to Portland for the holidays.  I finished one mitten on my way there.  It worked out to my advantage that there was a stop in Sacramento, two flying legs and two delays…  The second mitten I had to finish while my sister was out of the house working!

When I saw this pattern, I immediately thought of my sister.  A few years ago she dressed up as Medusa for Halloween.  I would show you the picture, but she’s a little shy about having her picture up here.  (As evidenced by the photo above!)  The colors are most accurate in the carpet pictures.  We didn’t have time to get out and take daylight photos.

The mittens were pretty straightforward.  As with any pictorial colorwork you do need to be looking at the chart more than other rhythmic patterns.  I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how the thumb gusset stitches lined up with the thumb chart, but just kind of fudged it instead of laboring over it.  And I really stressed out over those French knots for the snake eyes.  They are a little wonky, but that’s as good as I could get them.  Embroidery for some reason really intimidates me.  Cross stitch okay, embroidery bad.  I feel the same way about any kind of mending.  I got my Mom to help me re-stitch some pants pockets because they were coming up.  If she hadn’t just done it, I would have stared at the pants duzzled (a vocab word from my old Pottery Barn stockroom days.  When you just kind of stare at a problem overwhelmed and not act.  I guess a dazed/puzzled combo).

This was my only holiday gift that I knit.  It’s nice not to have too much pressure.  I thought I might start my Christmas sweater, but I didn’t.  Maybe next year.  I also worked on a couple weaving projects while I was home.  I have a new-to-me Schacht 8-harness table loom, but it turns out it is giant and it will be living at my parents’ house for the foreseeable future.

Here’s to 2014!

 

 

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