Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thinking of 2011....

Not sure why I'm suddenly taken with this idea but after reading the Yarn Harlot's post today, I think I will set up a self imposed sock club for myself next year.  I tried this once but it was more of a "throw a skein in a bag with a note with the intended pattern and blindly grab and knit."  Didn't work so well for me.  In reading the Yarn Harlot's post, seems she put her yarn/pattern together but chose which to knit in plain sight.  Granted she's a speedy knitter and uses her travel time to knit away but I'm liking the idea more and more. 

Yes, I still need to get 2 more sweaters posted, not today.  I'm "this" close to finishing the pieces of a Christmas gift and will hopefully be seaming tonight or tomorrow.  Once this is done it'll be button shopping and then casting on for a long awaited knit, lucky for the recipient.  Just need to hold back the itch to cast on for me,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sorry for the delay..

the stomach bug hit our house and some of us are still recovering.  Hope to have the last 2 sweaters posted by the end of this week.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Week of Sweaters - Days 4 and 5

We'll make this one a two-fer as I didn't get the other posted yesterday. 

First up is Adeline, pattern found here or on Ravelry.  Last Fall, I came across Lucy's project page for her Adeline while perusing Ravelry and at that time she was requesting test knitters before releasing the pattern.  I jumped on that pretty quickly.  Popped over to my then LYS and after hemming and hawing over several yarns, (oranges, tweeds, reds, etc.), I chose a lovely shade of teal in Plymouth Galway.  Now sadly, I didn't take notes or start a project page on Rav for this sweater so I don't have exact cast on/finish dates but I do recall that Lucy was requesting the sweater be complete in 3-4 weeks and I was able to finish in that time.  How?  Little seaming, the body is worked in one piece to the armholes so that made it doable! The most time consuming portion was the collar but it's so worth it.  Photos?

 Love those cables!

Pattern: Adeline by Lucy Sweetland 
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Galway Worsted, 6 skeins or 1260 yards, Ball bands are gone, I think the color is #131.
Needles: US 8
Started: October, 2009
Finished: November, 2009
Mods: None, this was a test knit so pattern was followed.  There is a belt but I like it open so belt is not used.
Thoughts: I love this sweater, I normally wouldn't gravitate toward this color but it sucked me in and I'm so glad it did.  The pattern is perfect, a long sweater with cables and pockets and while it looks like it would be time consuming, it really isn't.  Like others, the increases within the cables are a bother but they are underarm so they remain pretty hidden.  While I enjoyed knitting with this yarn, there were a few skeins with a number of tied ends in them.  A little spit splicing took care of the issue but really, there were so many ends that I probably wouldn't go with this yarn again.  Maybe.....

Sweater 2 for today!
My go to sweater.  The Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky, originally published in Knitscene Magazine, Fall 2006, now out of print, but available through Interweave Online Store  I have had a crush on this sweater since I first saw it, sadly, the issue of the magazine was out of print and I have a hard time justifying the price of some downloadable patterns.  When a promotional discount was emailed though, I couldn't wait any longer.  While the yarn and pattern did wait for awhile in my queue, this was the project I chose when we rented a lake house in summer of 2009.  The back was finished on vacation and then it sat while birthday and Christmas gifts took priority.  Finally picked it up again after the holidays and whipped through to the finish line!




Pattern: Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky 
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, color #6277 Peat, 5.25 skeins or about 1129 yards, purchased at Loops and Links yarn shop.
Needles: US 6 and US 8
Started: July 16, 2009
Finished: March 18, 2010
Mods: None!
Thoughts: I would knit this in every color, I love this sweater.  You may have figured out that I love cables and these are perfect.  The yarn is divine and I will knit with Ultra Alpaca again, in fact, I have a sweater lot in black, just need to decide on a pattern for that.  The buttons were a gift from my in-laws purchased on their trip to Alaska.  I know they are made from antlers but can't recall what animal they came from.  I think they add a nice rustic look to the sweater.  The fit of the sweater is perfect for me and being on the casual side, it fits with my casual style.  This is my favorite sweater knit to date!

Thank you again to my brother for his photography!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Week of Sweaters - Day 3

Kinda missed yesterday so there's a chance there will be 2 posts today.   Day 3, this is a good one!  This puppy lingered on the needles for some time as it was in time out for awhile.  The next sweater is #28 Vihervaara -huppari / GreenGable -hoodie by Mari Muinonen / tikru from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008.  I fell for this sweater as soon as that issue arrived.  The cables, oh the cables, love the cables!  Pictures??


Sleeve.

Info:

Pattern: Vivhervaara-huppari/ GreenGable - hoodie 
Yarn: Cascade Ecological Wool in Latte.  2 skeins, 956 yards purchased Loops and Links yarn shop.
Needles: US 10.5
Started: March 1, 2009
Finished: September 27, 2009
Mods: That hood, that was a challenge.  I had finished it but it didn't look right.  Thankfully, my friend Holly whom I did a KAL for this sweater with had worked out the bugs and by following her notes I was able to fix the hood.  I had to do the crochet border twice as the first attempt was a bit wonky, to say the least.  Still deciding on a closure, looking for the perfect big button and will then add a crocheted button loop.
Final thoughts: This sweater is so cozy, makes me want to curl up in my chair with a glass of wine, my knitting and a good show.  With the lack of closure on the neckline and the weight of the hood, it does creep back a bit but hopefully inspiration will strike and I will fix that.  Not sure that I'd knit this again but I'd highly recommend it and the Eco Wool, love the Eco Wool.  Such a rustic yet affordable yarn with so much yardage. 
 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Week of Sweaters - Day 2

Today's sweater is the Rusted Root from Zephyr Style.   Fast knit.  This was in my queue for awhile and the yarn was a steal at my then LYS.  To back up just a bit, in Spring 2009, my brother's then fiance (now wife) asked me to knit shawls for the 4 bridesmaids in their May wedding.  Needless to say, I couldn't say no cuz I really like her and spent the next several weeks, after pattern and yarn choices were made, knitting away on shawls.  The shawls were completed and with time to spare before the wedding, yay!  So I decided to cast on the Rusted Root and 8 days later, I had a sweater to wear to rehearsal!


 Talking, as usual.  Crooked neckline, we did this photoshoot pretty quickly.

Above are closeups of the stitch pattern and a back view.  Disregard the wrinkles, k? 

Deets:
Pattern: Rusted Root by Sarah Johnson of Zephyr Style
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.  3.5 skeins or about 750 yards.  Yarn purchased on sale at Loops and Links yarn shop.
Needles: US 6
Started: May 17, 2009
Finished: May 25, 2009
Mods: The only change I made was in the sleeves.  I did not add the poufy sleeves as in the pattern but after the raglan increases, just added the cuff. 
Final thoughts: I really like this sweater, it's so versatile.  Can be worn over a cami in warm weather or layered over a long sleeve tee as in the photos.  I wish I had cast off more loosely as it is snug along the bottom but it works enough to not have to rip and reknit.  I know I made one goof on the stitch pattern but would have to look closely to find it.  I would knit this again and maybe go up a size or adjust some of the increases/decreases.  Overall though, I love this and the yarn is great too.

Photos again by my favorite brother.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Week of Sweaters - Day 1

I finally raised the white flag and asked for help.  Help in photographing finished sweaters knit by me, that is.  To my shock and surprise, when I opened the cedar chest and started to pull out sweaters that had not been properly displayed to the world, there were 7!  S-E-V-E-N Sweaters!  I hadn't realized I'd knit that many for myself!  Geesh.  Lucky for me, my favorite (read - only) brother recently acquired a fancy new camera and happened to be in town yesterday and the weather was cooperative so the stars aligned and a photo shoot in the backyard took place.  Now instead of laying all the sweaters out here at once and then not posting for several months again (I'm only half kidding), I decided I'll have a week of sweaters as there are enough for each day.  So, without further ado, starting with the oldest first, here is.............

The February Lady Sweater (Pattern found here!)


This sweater has been knit by the masses so just a few pictures were taken.  Deets on Ravelry or below.

Pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in color Vino Veritas 4 skeins 1000 yards.  Yarn was gifted to me by my friend Shana for my birthday.
Needles: US 8
Started: November 1, 2008
Finished: January 6, 2009
Mods: Followed increases as others have by doing a M1 instead of the eyelet increases.  Otherwise, followed the pattern to a t.

Final thoughts - This sweater has gotten some wear since it's been completed.  The buttons were purchased from Buttons Galore on Etsy.  The yarn was fabulous to work with, so happy that there was no pooling, would use it again.  One word of caution in knitting this sweater, it stretches, a lot!  Be sure the stretch the length when knitting so as to not end up with a very lengthy sweater.

Thanks to my brother for the photography.  Now to see which sweater is next oldest for tomorrow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Soon.

Hoping to get some knitting pics up soon but the weather is not cooperating.  Suppose this may not be a bad thing since the leaves are starting to change.  Soon, soon there will be pics.  If I remember right, there are, um, 4 sweaters that I've not photographed yet, geesh!  Of course I'll need to bribe a 6 or 12 year old to be my photographer, wonder what the going rate is.........

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Returning soon.........

The kids are back at school and we're all slowly getting into our new schedules.  I hope to be back soon with regular updates.  For now, I'm plugging away on a mitten that has taken far too long to complete and with the sudden weather changes, will be needed soon enough.  I'll leave you with a link to a blog I read, great recipe links for tomatoes.  I know what I'll be doing today!

Later!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wow, check out the link.

This dress is stunning, go check it out for yourself and sign up to win.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oooooh, pretty!

Have you seen the new template designer?  I did, did you notice?  Not much going on here, it's been rainy so no pics of crafty goodies.  I have a sweater to bathe and block and another started plus some handspun waiting for photo shoots.  Hopefully soon. 

Til next time, happy making!
Julie

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

School's out for Summer!

How does this sneak up so quickly?  Seems every year goes by faster and faster.  Oldest boy finished school yesterday and the little guy had just a half day today.  The weather is less than summer like, currently in the 50's and rainy.  Oh well.  So what better to do on the morning when your son has 3.75 hours of school but to finally make a gift for his teacher?!?!  I'm sure I'm not the only one, right? 
Preparations actually started last night, I decided a loaf of my favorite banana bread would be a worthy gift for all this teacher has done this year.  The fave recipe is from the book  A Homemade LifeBanana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger, yum, the house still smells of the bread.  Anyway, last night I peeled and sliced ginger, covered it with water and cooked until tender.  Then drained, weighed the ginger, added it back to the pan along with the same weight of sugar and a little water.  After boiling down til little liquid was left, I had crystallized ginger.  Yummy alone, even better in this bread.  This morning I mixed up the recipe and popped it into the oven.  The bread finished baking just as we left for school.  Perfect.  With the little guy away, the oldest and I enjoyed some French toast for breakfast.  A goal for summer is to have the oldest help/shadow at least one meal per week as it's prepared.  That didn't start today.
Oh yes, back to the teacher gift.  I've been wanting to transition the household to cloth napkins and wanted to use the pattern in Heather Ross book Weekend Sewing.  I found 2 cuts of fabric in my stash and went about sewing 4 double sided napkins for the teacher.  Again, rainy and gloomy outdoors so I apologize for the photos. 
Close up:

Wrapped: (bread was wrapped in wax paper first)
and little man with his teacher after school.  He wanted his hair buzzed for the summer so we did that yesterday.  So glad he has such a nice shaped noggin!
Now we're watching SpongeBob, the oldest is hanging out with a friend, they just stopped for his library card so I can trust they are staying out of trouble.  Here's to the start of a great Summer!

Happy Making,
Julie

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Catching up.

So, what's new?  Still haven't finished the sewing project I mentioned a few posts back.  1 minor delay that involved a seam ripper and it's at stall point.  Rain is in the forecast though so I really should buck up and get it done.  In other sewing news.  I finally made a Market Skirt and gifted to our niece A on her birthday.
That Dana over at Made is just amazing!  There are some other tutorials she has posted that are on my mental list to try.  The Market Skirt was fun though.  The patchwork fabric came from Joann's, the white I think was handed down to me from my SIL.  I doubled the white on the bottom and as you can see, skipped the pockets but think I need to make another with pockets.  One day!
On to spinning (as I don't have any knitting pics to show! )  Seems like forever since I dusted off "Spinny" (aptly named by my 6 year old).  I recently sold my first wheel, an Ashford Kiwi as it wasn't being used and it's such a good wheel, it needed a new home.  I have a knitting friend who was looking at wheels and coincidentally, she works with my hubby so we got to talking and she gave the Kiwi a new home.  The kids were sad, apparently they had dreams of spinning on her but if they hadn't in the 2 years the wheel was here, well, you know the rest.  Anyway, with some of the money from the sale I ordered some extra bobbins and a jumbo kit for my Kromski Symphony.  Makes plying huge bobbins full fun!  Let's see pictures, right?!?!
First we have Lame Duck Mallard, a Spunky Eclectic club color from some time back.  This was spun as a 3-ply and plied on the Kiwi, call it a farewell. :) 

The fiber is superwash BFL, came out at about 400 yards and is sportish weight.  Not sure what it wants to be, I tried socks but wasn't loving how they were going so thinking it may have to be a BSJ (Ravelry link) and put away for some future baby.
Next up, I pulled out 8 ounces of Romney in Spunky Eclectic "Castaway".  Romney is a nice, long wool, and after doing some homework by watching "Drafting: The long and short of it"  highly recommended, by the way.  I chose to spin in a worsted, forward draw.  My game plan was to spin as a 2-ply and hope for enough yardage to knit myself a Tappan Zee.  I might be a little short on yardage, the smallest size calls for about 580 and I have 536.  I'll probably start soon and if I run out, it will either be shorter or I'll order more fiber. 

Bobbins - 4 ounce on each.
 
Basking in the sun after a bath. 

Currently I'm working on a 3-ply project, 2 bobbins down, 1 to go.  I'm playing with using a modified long draw as well as playing with the colors of the fiber.  More info when I finish!
 In other news, we went up to the Whitefish Bay Shepherd's Market a few weeks ago.  No pics of the Market, it's small and it was hot!  Always neat to see what the somewhat local vendors are offering.  Silly me, I don't have photos of what I purchased but here are sheep.
  I was fortunate to have gotten through to the farm when they had their fleece sale so one of those sheep out there is having it's fleece processed into roving for me to spin.  I hear it's about a 5 month turn around at the mill so it will be awhile, that's ok, lots of time to practice and get through more of my stash.  
Lastly, I will leave you with this photo.
Little man finally lost one of his front teeth.  Yes, he does still have his tonsils too!  He's missing 2 on the bottom as well so no corn on the cob for awhile and that other top tooth is next.  
The kids finish school this week, one on Monday, the other Tuesday.  Tuesday is also our first CSA pick up day, can I just say that I am so overly excited for this!!!  Still need to get plants in our little garden, hope to do that this week also.  Finally moved and reduced our front perennial garden, it looks so much better now.  You'll have to trust me as I don't have photo evidence.  Feels good to have that project done.  So summer vacation is almost here, soccer, swimming lessons, tennis, biking, running (?), it's all in our near future.  Looking forward to that.  Of course there are the less fun tasks of cleaning the house too, it's time to purge.  A LOT!  Will be nice when it's done though.  
If you are still reading after all of that, congrats!  I hope you were able to stay awake. Til next time!

Happy Making!
Julie

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

That's what I've been up to.  I keep looking at the top I have all cut out but can't bring myself to pull out and set up the serger until I clean up my messes.  Hopefully soon, it's supposed to rain all weekend, perfect for sewing.  Or knitting.  Or spinning.  See my problem?  So many projects, so little time. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Giveaway at Bloom!

Check out this cookware, oh it's so pretty!

Enter for your chance to win over here!

Weather

I'm finding it interesting how the weather affects my crafting.  The other day it was overcast, cool and windy so I took the opportunity to cut out a sewing pattern.  New Look #6937.  I chose view A (shown in green) and cut out in a lightweight tulip print I purchased from Joann's 2 years ago. 

That's the status right now.  The weather has been warm and sunny and I feel like I shouldn't be sitting at the sewing machine.  I'm hoping to make some time this weekend to work on it though. 

I will say though, the weather's affect on my knitting is different.  Sure there's a partially knit wool sweater in the works but who wants a pile of wool on their lap in 70+ degree weather?!?  Socks are perfect for warm weather knitting but that's not what I'm working on.  No, I've been bit by the baby knitting bug.  Currently I have an adorable little cardigan on the needles.  Can't share yet as it's a baby shower gift but wow, I love it.  I've also taken the opportunity to reintroduce myself to my spinning wheel.  It's been far too long.  Will get pics up soon but right now I'm filling a bobbin with some lovely Spunky Eclectic superwash BFL in Lame Duck colorway.  This will eventually be either 2 ply or 3 ply and knit into socks.  I was fortunate enough to purchase extra fiber in a destash on Ravelry so I have just over 10 oz of fiber to play with and it's spinning like a dream.  I've missed my wheel, I'm glad we're getting reacquainted. 

That's it for now.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the windows are open letting the fresh air in and I really have some housework that needs tending to.  Enjoy your weekend.

Julie

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adventures in Felting

So last Spring I joined a Mystery Bag Knit Along (KAL) on Ravelry and only last week I finally finished the bag.  It started off well, I finished the first few clues in a timely manner but then life and other projects had a way of sneaking in.  In the back of my mind though, I recalled my mom commenting on the colorwork of said project and how she liked it.  Well, I finally pulled out the project and finished it just in time to gift it to my mom yesterday for her 64 birthday. 

Basking in the sun.  Project on Rav here.

This bag was unlike other felted projects I've made.  This bag is knit with 2 strands of chunky yarn held together throughout and then lightly felted.  Man alive, did I have a time felting this puppy!  Here's a pic pre-felted.
  2 cycles through the Wonder Washer:
 2 cycles through the front loader with a few pairs of old jeans for extra agitation, another cycle in the Wonder Washer and finally, stretched out over a garbage can to dry.
The final project turned out ok.  I would have liked some areas to felt a little more and the strands of the colorwork area are not as I had hoped on the interior but a nice lining will help.  Luckily there are 2 pockets on the sides as prior to gifting to my mom last night, 6 year old son gifted her sixteen cents and she had nowhere to put it!  Happy Birthday, Mom!  I hope you enjoy your bag and the sixteen cents! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sometimes it's ok to be a little sneaky.

When making dinner, that is.  The weather has gone from 70 degrees F to the 40's - 50's F.  Brrrrrrrr.  My menu list included Tomato Bisque Soup, recipe found here, so yesterday I thought it would make the perfect dinner.  Now the sneaky part, there is butternut squash in this soup.  At least half of our four person family would not have touched this soup had they known.  I know this isn't a new concept and I've made several recipes from Deceptively Delicious and was called out a few times for slipping in a little something extra but not this time!  Sure the kids were home while I baked the squash and yes, they were running around while I pureed it but still, no one was the wiser.  Everyone enjoyed the soup and the recipe will be added to our list of favorites and still, not a one knows the secret.  Yes, I do love being sneaky now and then! 
Leftover bowl for lunch!

In addition to the soup, I pulled out my handy copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Is this book great, or what?!  I own the second edition as well, thanks to my brother and his lovely wife.  Anyway, I wanted to try a new to us recipe from the book and decided on the European Peasant Bread recipe.  Similar to the original only this includes a little whole wheat flour as well as a little rye flour along with the unbleached flour.  It was great!  3 more loaves worth of dough left in the fridge, well, until tonight anyway.  Here's a few pics of the progress of my dough. 
  Just mixed and placed in my Artisan dough bowl (as named by me)!
After nearly 2 hours of rising.

Fresh out of the oven.  Mmmmm.

Tonight we'll be feasting on Pork Tenderloin with fennel and red peppers.  I'll fill you in on that later. 
Hopefully the sun will be out again soon as I have knits and knits in progress to share but not very good lighting.  

Until Next time,
Julie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Knitting Knews (news).

2 weeks ago, I became an aunt again.  My sister gave birth to #3, a girl!  Let's call her Baby S.  Being a knitter, when we learned the news that my sis was expecting, I started the search for the perfect baby sweater.  My sister has boy J and girl A already and they decided not to find out the gender ahead of time, very difficult for a knitter!  My first thought was to go with the ultimate baby sweater, the Baby Surprise Jacket. Rav link.  I've knit this sweater a few times already and the construction still amazes me.  I do, however, have yet to knit it with stripes and I wanted stripes.  After a day spent at my LYS, I happened upon the softest cotton blend yarn.  Ella Rae Baby Cotton, I was drawn to 3 colors, cream, mushroom and breeze.  Breeze is a baby blue and that was a gamble but girls can wear blue, boys wearing pink?  Maybe not.  Next, find a pattern as I wasn't feeling it for the BSJ this time, I found this pattern.  Love this!  One issue, pattern is written for worsted weight and I had a dk weight.  Did some math and voila!
  Check out these buttons!

They say "little lamb" so cute!  I picked up a set in pink and one in blue.  I also continued the stripes throughout, as you can see.  This yarn is so soft, it was a dream to knit with, other than needing a few breaks to save my wrists.  Of course, being a baby lover and knitter, I couldn't stop here, the day after Baby S was born, she needed a hat! Rav link
Then the opportunity to test knit a baby sweater arose in the Free Pattern Testers forum on Ravelry.  I was fortunate to be assigned the 3 month size and after stash diving, chose to knit in Knit Picks Andean Silk Twist.  Rav link.
So that's what I've been knitting.  I started crocheting slippers yesterday, 1 down, 1 to go, pics to come.  Also, my Ravelry friend Elizabeth and I are doing a KAL (knit along) with the Teal Leaves Cardigan.  Cast on last night, the yarn I received through a Rav destash.  Loving it. Pictures to come. 

Happy Knitting and Happy Easter!
Julie

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Like being around the campfire.

Cookies are a staple in our household.  They are easy to make, perfect for a treat in school lunches and usually the ingredients are already on hand.  A few weeks ago I made Rice Krispie treats and had about 1/3 of a bag of mini marshmallows left.  Now that the weather is warming up (finally), hot cocoa isn't being made and I've had marshmallows dry out on me before so I wanted to use them up.   What better than S'Mores.  Hmm, how about SMores cookies!  Yes!
The recipe does call for Hershey's chocolate but that was not on hand.  I added a few extra chocolate chips for good measure.  I was happy with how the little 'mallows puffed up too.  The trick?  Bake the cookies for about 9 minutes, then press in the marshmallows while the cookies are still soft, return to the oven for 3-4 minutes and you'll have slightly toasted, puffy marshmallows, mmm!

I'd call this recipe a winner.  Recipe can be found here.

No go try some!  Enjoy!
Julie