Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just in time!

After knitting my sister's Thorpe, I realized that my ears are cold, too, so I needed one just like it. When I was in Chicago, I stopped by Loopy Yarns (which is fantastic, by the way, and the only LYS I've ever been to in which the only 2 employees were male and nice and honestly, pretty darn cute). I chose Araucania Azapa as my souvenir yarn and it is oh-so-delicious. It's a bulky yarn with silk and merino and alpaca, with little bits of tweed in it. Seriously- it's like malabrigo, but maybe even softer and more luxurious.

Earflap hat back view

ick- I'm not nuts about these pictures.

Just in time hat

I used some leftover Ultra Alpaca (double stranded) for the crochet border and braids. I like how it brings out the little brown flecks in the Azapa. And the whole hat is just so soft!

I've been wearing this pretty much non-stop for the past couple of days because we have just been inundated with snow and ice. I've had 2 days off from work and have been going to town on Marlene. I'm using Smooshy in "Gothic Rose" and I just love both the color and the pattern. Pretty pretty socks!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sapphire Sweater

The lovely Ingenue from Custom Knits is done, and I just love it. It ended up taking up my extra time for about 8 days. I finished weaving in the ends at about 1 a.m. on Saturday, soaked and blocked, and she spread out on the back seat of the car to finish blocking on the trip up to Chicago on Saturday morning.

Ingenue front

She made her debut Sunday night at Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, a performance of 30 plays in 60 minutes at the Neo-Futurists Theater. If you haven't seen it and are in Chicago, you should check it out. It is like nothing else you have ever seen.

Ingenue standing

I definitely added quite a bit of length to the torso and to the sleeves- I believe it was around 15 rows before the waist decreases and 5 or so extra rows before starting the ridge pattern for the bottom. I believe I added around 10 rows to the sleeves.

Ingenue back

I really like the ridge pattern- I was actually thinking of changing it because I wasn't sure about it in the book pictures, but I really dig how it looks in real life. It kicks a regular raglan up into special sweater territory.

Ingenue side view

My husband took these pictures and without any special instructions, he made sure to get a shot that shows "all the stuff the knitters will want to see"- the raglan lines, the ridge pattern, the sleeves and the hip edge. Smart guy.

So there she is- my first sweater of 2009 (and my first sweater for me ever!). I am wearing it right now at work and really just want to tell everyone who comes into my office- Hey! I knit this sweater! Isn't is AWESOME! But I am not completely obnoxious, so I don't.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy 30th, Cola!

Today is my younger (and only) sister's 30th birthday, which is weirder for me than turning 30 myself. Cola is supposed to be little, and now even she is 30. That means I am getting older for real.

We all went snow tubing for her birthday, which was super duper fun. You can tell, see?

Cola loves tubing

The Knitty-lovers out there may recognize that Cola is wearing a Wavy Scarf in this picture, knit for her by me two years ago. One of my first knitting projects!

Snow tubing self portrait

You can only barely see it in the snow tubing pictures, but Cola is also sporting the earflap hat I made her for Christmas. She is very easy to knit for because she loves almost anything, and she loves it double if it is blue. This definitely contributes to why she and my nephew are so often the recipients of knitted gifts- she appreciates the gifts, and she appreciates me for knitting them. That makes me just want to knit more.

Thorpe front view

Pattern: Thorpe, by throughtheloops
Yarn: Cascade Chunky Tweed, with Paton's Classic Merino held doubled for the crochet edging and braids

Thorpe from the back

There's not a lot to say that hasn't been said before about this pattern- it's fast, easy, free, and the results are functional and good-looking. In fact, now that I think about it, I should probably whip one of these up for my trip to Chicago this weekend...

thorpe from the side

Nah, I know I won't. My heart beats only for Ingenue. We have spent a magical week together, and now I just have one sleeve left. I'll probably try to churn it out Friday night to have it done in time to wear in the Windy City. She deserves a true day out on the town.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bandana Sisters Learn to Sew

My mom is an amazing seamstress- she made us all of these crazy elaborate costumes for Halloween when we were kids, and she even made the bridesmaids' dresses for my sister's wedding. Recently, we have been begging Mom to teach us her skills and we were psyched when our parents got us Project Runway sewing machines for Christmas this year, along with scissors and notions and everything else you could possibly need to start a sewing factory. P.S. - What about this sewing machine makes it related to Project Runway? I don't know and I don't care- I lovelovelove PR so slapping the name on a machine is one marketing ploy that worked on me.

This weekend, Mom and Nicole came to my house and we got down to business. As is her way, Mom brought with her piles and piles of fabric to practice with, as well as all we needed to make our first project- a simple little apron. I saw this apron pattern on the CRAFT blog and mentioned to Mom that I'd love it if she made me one for Christmas. She did me one better- she got me all I needed to make one for myself. P.P.S. - The CRAFT blog, by the way, is just awesome. I have their RSS feed on my iGoogle, so several times a day I get a little burst of crafty coolness. There's something very cheerful about it.
Learning to sew
We all set up shop on my giant dining room table and got to work. Sewing is both easier and harder than I thought it would be. It's easier because even when you mess up (don't sew straight lines, end up with big tangles of thread for no apparent reason), you still end up with a product that is cool and neat and professional-looking. It's harder because the simple things- namely making a straight line- are pretty darn hard. I know it will get better with practice, though.
Logan helps sew
I had bought a book to teach me how to sew, but I honestly don't think I could have gotten anywhere without Mom giving me the hands-on training. And maybe without Logan to supervise :)
I ended up with a colorful, fun, functional apron. I love it! I want to sew more things! I want to make a full apron (because I seem to spill the most things on my shirt, not my pants). I want to make curtains for every window in my house. I want to make pillows for my couch, and tote bags, and skirts, and holy crap I have another freaking craft.
First sewing project

Friday, January 9, 2009

Impulse Knit

Since Christmas, I've had some roadblocks on the knitting front. I've started Cookie A.'s beautiful Marlene socks from the latest Knit.1, which are amazing but for some reason I just keep making mistake after mistake. So I'm frustrated there. Then I sat down last Saturday and finally seamed together the 3 pieces of my Ohio sweater and my worst suspicions were confirmed- this cardigan is just too small. I'm devastated, because I was seriously in love with the hourglass cables and I had put so much damn time into that thing. But it's a new year, and I'm not going to fool myself. I am not going to waste good yarn on something that I won't wear. So last night I started Ingenue from Custom Knits. I did not finish a single sweater for myself in 2008, but I hereby declare that 2009 will be different!

But before I started Ingenue, I got a hankering to finish something quick and satisfying. I saw the fun little slouchy copycat hat on Ravelry, so I picked up some off-white Cascade 220 from the stash and whipped it up over the course of a couple of nights.

Slouchy copycat hat

The pattern is quick and simple. I watched Ysolda's long tail tubular cast on video to learn how to make a nice cast on for 2X2 rib. The video and her instructions were excellent, but I'm not totally satisfied with the result. I will keep searching for the perfect 2X2 rib cast on.

Slouchy mock cable hat

I probably wouldn't have chosen this color, as it doesn't really flatter my pasty winter skin, but this was an impulse knit and I needed to start it NOW. I really like the mock cable rib- it is so darn easy and looks great. There's one big thing about this hat that I'm not crazy about at all and that is...

Back of slouchy hat

the little coin-sized flat part in the back. I kind of messed around with the instructions, but it only made it more obvious that the mock cable pattern disappeared. I'd change that if I were to make it again.

But hats are fun. I actually recently received an updated picture of a hat I made back in September- it's an action shot of the sailboat baby hat. If you ever doubt that baby hats are worth it (because babies won't wear them, because babies don't need hats, etc.), I challenge you with this:

Ava's Sailboat hat

Little Ava is rocking that hat like a freaking pro. She doesn't care that people think she's a boy because the hat is blue (damn our heteronormative society!)- she works it.