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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

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Entries in knitting (55)


Project bags.

Heavy emotions were with me all day yesterday.  But I ended on a high note by visiting with good friends at knit night.  I also squeezed in some sewing--always a good distraction.

The big news in our knitting group is that one of us (the knitting guru of the group and the very friend who inspired my knitting craze in the first place) started offering knitting lessons this year.  And she and her business partner are doing great!  So great that they asked if I might stitch up some branded project bags to offer their students.  I couldn't say yes fast enough--it seems these days the only way to get me into the sewing room is to commission me to make something.

The name of their business is knitlove Bethesda--if you are in the area and looking for knitterly goodness, you should check them out.  For the bags, I started by taking their adorable logo and making appliques.   

I then made a simple pouch-style bag as a sample and dropped it off last night, completely forgetting to take a picture.  So I reworked another sample, altering it just a bit.  This is the small size; I used one fat quarter for the outer fabric and some heavy twill I had in my stash for the lining.  It is the perfect size for accessories--thinking socks, cowls, hats, etc.  I also boxed the corners this time for some extra room (the first sample was flat) and I added two drawstrings instead of one.  With the boxed corners, it stands up when filled.

The double drawstring allows you to tie it onto something if needed.  This summer, when I took my knitting to the beach or pool, I often wished I had a way to attach my project bag to my chair to keep it off the ground.

Did I mention the pockets?  I love pockets...

And here's a shot of the interior with a cowl in progress and one caked skein--still lots of room...


I plan to make a larger size next and incorporate feedback from the owners for the final design of the knitlove Bethesda bags--I'll be sure to show them when they're done.  And since I'll be sewing, I've offered to dive into my fabric stash to make a batch of project bags for my knitting group. 

I also have other crafty endeavors in mind that I hope to tackle soon.  But first things first.  I need to clean out the basement (from the flood after the string of natural disasters), organize Disney pictures, get some work done for my part-time job, and put together an invite for a BIG party we've decided to throw (so excited!!).  Busy, busy.  Happy Monday.




Narragansett designed by Thea Colman of Baby Cocktails; yarn is The Plucky Knitter Merino Lite, Narragansett colorwayConsidering it is entirely possible that I will be wearing this sweater nonstop come fall, I figured it prudent to get everyone used to seeing it.  I love this thing.  And I daresay it loves me right back as it was a bit of a therapeutic knit.  Details on my Ravelry project page.


Okay, enough already.  Happy Friday!


p.s.  By the way, all but one of these shots were taken by either Leo or Max while dodging Will's grabby-grab-climb-a-leg-cling-to-a-leg maneuver.  I was impressed.

p.p.s.  Headed to the beach, same one as last year.  Planning to cast on for a simple, lightweight cardi as my second sweater for Luvinthemommyhood's KAL--you should join, too!  I came across the beach sweater from last was my second sweater.  I had no idea then (okay, maybe an inkling) how addicted I'd become to sweater knitting... 


Summer Sweater.

First came the pattern, Narragansett by the talented Thea at BabyCocktails.  Then a sweater kit of the yummiest yarn from The Plucky Knitter...

...mix in a fun KAL (knit-along) over at luvinthemommyhood...

...and throw it all into a favorite knitting basket to tote around everywhere.

Work on it faithfully, forsaking shawls and socks on your needles...

And what do you get?  A new sweater in under two weeks!  Here is another in progress shot even though it's finished.  It will have to do until I get it blocked and ready for its closeup.

I am seriously in love with this sweater and could not put it down--not to mention it came in handy as something to do during a couple of swim meets.  So even though I'm technically done with my sweater, I like being part of the KAL and plan to pick another summer sweater to knit with the group.  Perhaps something that will take me more time...thinking a drapey tunic in lace or fingering weight yarn.  That oughtta do it. 



Neighborhood Nikolai.

One of the skeins of yarn I picked up at the wool festival is called Studio Sock by Neighborhood Fiber Co.  I wanted a deep, saturated red in a semi-solid colorway and was happy to have found it in this wool.

Last week, exclusively during swim practice and pool time, I knitted up a little shawlette.  The pattern is called Nikolai and is free on Ravelry.  I'm rather shocked it doesn't have too many projects as I think it deserves much more love.  It's a magic little number, working up in no time at all.  And because you construct it end to end, using increases to widen and short rows to shape a slight crescent, you get to knit a little lace each row.  The lace repeat is easily memorized and a wonderful distraction from monotonous garter stitch.  I don't wear shawls on my shoulder.  Rather, I wrap them around my neck as a scarf so I like them best long and narrow.

It is also the perfect size project to tuck into my wristlet bag and work on while walking the pool deck, checking on one child in the lap lane, one child in the training pool, and one child in the kiddie pool.  I joked with my knitting group that I should have a pile of these before summer's end because I spend about an hour and a half at the pool each day for practice during swim team season.  And then there's an untold amount of just pool time for fun.  It's becoming fairly reliable knitting time. 



Drive-by post.

Just popping in to say I finished the second sock to Mr. Stripey.  The pair are a bit mismatched in construction because I tried two different toe decreases and grafting techniques.  I also experimented with the heel.  But tinkering paid off because I now know what I like best for my feet.

For the next pair of socks, I've set my sights on the ever popular Monkey.  I've also decided to reclaim the yellow Yarnchef yarn in the Fishies colorway from the shawlette I started a few weeks ago.  I promptly lost all interest in knitting it so it's obviously not working for me in its current state.  But I think I'll love it knitted up as a pair of fun socks.  And the yarn is so smooshy it should be great.  Say bye bye, shawl.   

And even though I am doing more than knitting, I figure no one needs to see photos of me organizing each boy's black-hole-of-a-closet.  But in other news, I have nearly perfected a new altered cake-mix cookie and hope to post it in a couple of days.  It's for any chocolate lovers out there.  You will want to try it, trust me--it's my ace in the hole recipe during busy weeks.  It comes in especially handy if your wonderful husband is out of town for three weeks and you are so fried by solo-parenting that you simply blank on teacher appreciation treats until the morning said treats need to be delivered.  Hypothetically, of course. 



Maryland Wool & Sheep Festival 2011, recap.


As part of my Mother's Day treat, I got to spend part of the weekend with a couple of my favorite people. 

Both of these pretty ladies were my roomies and bridesmaids... they continue to be the dearest of friends, have families I adore...and the fact that they are into wool, too, is almost too good to be true. 

We had a great time just walking around, stopping here and there to pet yarn, deliberating where to spend our dollars.  I thought I'd share some of the sights we enjoyed.  There was, of course, a lot of yarn.  I confirmed I am very drawn to semi-solid colorways.

I may print some of these shots for my craft space.  The colors are so inspiring.  And I am officially interested in learning how to dye...

There was even an area where you could pick up your freshly shorn fleece.   I found it incredibly odd that this rather charming process was alongside the food vendors selling lamb sandwiches. 

A funny thing about the group picture posted above.  When looking around to ask someone to snap a shot, we stopped a nice looking fella because his yarn carrier caught our attention--the extremely popular fish hat from Knitty Winter 2008.  He merely pinned it and made a makeshift handle, turning it into the cutest bag I've seen.

I will write another post detailing the lovely skeins that made it home with me.  I am on a mission to organize my stash and get everything photographed and posted on Ravelry so I can better plan my queue.  I am afraid to see what I've amassed in such a short time but it's not like I collect anything else.*


*fabric and other craft supplies do not count.  Nor do baking supplies.  Or craft books.  Or cookbooks or handbags.  But that's all because no, we are not going to talk about camera gear as I think Charlie reads my blog.


Hooray for FOs, Bleeker.

During the winter, I cast on for a long tunic style knit in bulky weight yarn.  I was going for something cozy. 

Cozy I got.  It's exactly like wearing a blanket.  And because, as I've mentioned, I am cold all winter, I wore it quite a bit around the house.  But I rarely grabbed it when heading out...and I'm not sure if I will next season either.  Sweaters made from bulky yarn can add a lot of, well, bulk to your frame.  And there are simply few days when adding girth to my silhouette is a good thing.  Take a looky:

Granted, I never got around to knitting the belt and perhaps it would look better belted.  Cinching might hint at a waist:

But I'm still not in love with how it looks on me (but it certainly keeps me warm).  The pattern itself is great and straightforward and a satisfying knit.  I just think my execution, especially the seaming, must have gone a bit astray--unclear.  The yarn is Berroco Sundae and I do adore the colorway.  I think it might be better as a chunky cowl or another slouch hat?  Perhaps it will be my first handknit to frog and repurpose the yarn.  But then again, I am not sure I could actually unravel all of those stitches...I still get way too much satisfaction out of producing a Finished Object. 

I think I'll wait and see.



My Aidez sweater.


I finished Aidez a few weeks ago.  My Rav link is here, with journal notes of the process.  The pattern is by Cirilia Rose, whose designs I adore, and can be found for free here.  I was happy that I got to wear the sweater twice before the weather turned too warm.  It was such an educational knit--I feel much more confident in my cabling and seaming techniques, though I still need lots of practice.  I blocked before seaming but think one more blocking will help smooth out a couple of wonky areas.  There are some cross cables on the back, especially, that I knitted inconsistently and regret not being more precise.  I know blocking can't save a piece, but I'm constantly amazed at how much it helps.

I lost count how many times I had to rip out and restart certain sections, but I can say with certainty that if the rows were tallied, I knit the sweater at least twice!  And despite the ripping and reknitting, it is far from perfect.  Nevertheless, I am very happy with it and know I'll reach for it often in the fall.  For now, it's in permanent residence on my office chair as chilly basement garb.  And even though it's not very spring-like, I decided to use it for a new blog header so I could see it often. 

When I look at it, I can't help but smile over how far I've come with my knitting.  And now that it's done--and true to my word--I am promoting myself out of beginner knitterly status.  Whee.



Hiya Mr. Stripey Sock.

After casting on and figuring out some new-to-me territory, I have one sock.  A day ago, it looked like this.

But now, meet my new friend, Mr. Stripey Sock.

It's just a little anklet.  And although it's simple stockinette, I am not at all worried about the so-called "second sock syndrome" (a certain lack of enthusiasm some knitters face when starting the second sock).  I am actually pretty excited about making a Mrs. Stripey Sock--this little fella fits my funny feet extremely well. 

There is, however, one problem I will need to manage.  It seems that knitting socks taps more strongly into my obsessive tendencies than other knitting projects.  I simply could not put down the sock after my designated TV knitting time.  Of course, I realize that this is likely because I am easily amused and have a bit of an addictive personality.  And I love me a challenge.  The first time I played solitaire on a computer, I played for four hours straight instead of working on a college paper.  Swearsies.  I had to nip that in the bud else I never would have graduated.  So no surprise that I'm a goner when a new skill is in my sights and I'm working with a skein of self-striping sock yarn...the colors are mesmerizing.  I'm all "ooooh, looky, cadet blue.  Hmmmm, red's coming....OH! that speck looks like a sprinkle!" and on and on I knit into the wee hours of the night.  I already stay up too late working on an assortment of things so there is no time for this sort of obsessive knitting.  For now, my plan is to only work on socks as portable, out-and-about projects.  We shall see. 

Whatever happens, I do hope to have Mr. Stripey Sock's solemate* in no time.   


*Ha!  See?  Easily amused.

p.s.  I'm using Patons Kroy sock yarn from a big box store for this experiment.  I originally thought I'd use a skein of fancy sock yarn stashed but then thought better of it.  And even though I still feel like I'm knitting with toothpicks, I am at least at a point where working on size 2 double point needles no longer feels like I am petting a porcupine.  For the pattern, I'm using a combo of the sock recipe from Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules and a free Ravelry pattern called the One Skein Sockettes by Lisa Henderson (Rav Link). 


Back in the saddle.

Well, sort of.  I am all about moving forward these days, so I'll just pick up where I left off.  And thanks to you nice readers who emailed me to check on me, worried because of my blog break.  I've always loved that even though my blog isn't a big comment generator, I get a fair amount of emails about this or that from friendly folks I've never met. 

So, moving along...

My Aidez is long done.  I even got to wear it a couple of times before the weather warmed.  Just need to take some FO shots and post--then I will tuck it away.  But I will warn my friends that I will be living in this thing come fall...I love, love, love it.  I might even make another, which is utter nonsense considering how many other sweaters are waiting in my knitting queue.

I plan to put up two new sections on the side bar--an "on the needles" and an "off the needles" to better organize my knits (maybe my sewing too if I can ever manage to get back to it).  Right now, "on my needles" would include a simple, smooshy garter cardigan that I hope will be perfect for spring...

And a sunny shawlette.  I think this colorway looks like scrambled eggs so it's fitting as we lead up to Easter.  But in the end, I may need to rerack "how to overdye yarn" as a priority on my fibre skills's a little too 'Hello Yellow!' for my tastes.  I think.  No, I'm pretty sure...

And socks.  I've decided it's time to tackle the knitterly milestone of knitting a pair of socks.  No picture yet.  But yarn is selected and research has commenced...