Wednesday, April 16, 2014

do. Good Stitches - April 2014

This month I had the opportunity to make churn dashes.  They've been on my quilting bucket list for awhile, so it was nice to have an excuse to try them without committing to a complete project.  That's one of the many benefits of do. Good Stitches.  Brooke asked for sherbert rainbow colors for a nice summery quilt using this tutorial from crazy mom quilts.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fold over clutch

I think clutches are one of my favorite things to make. They're quick; they're easy; and they're useful!  Last weekend Mr. T and I attended an extremely fun and beautiful (and mostly DIY - wish I had taken some photos of all the handmade touches) wedding. Neither of my two existing clutches (see here and here) really matched my dress, so I decided to make a new one (like I actually needed an excuse).  While I really like the envelope clutch pattern and style, I wanted to try something new this time around, preferably something simple and straightforward that I could make in a single night since I knew I'd only have a few days between coming back from vacation and the wedding to make it.


During my regular blog perusing, I stumbled upon this post and was immediately drawn to the fold over style.  I ended up using this tutorial, but to be honest, it's such a simple design I really only referred to it for the measurements when cutting.

So shiny!
When considering fabrics, my mind immediately went to this Anna Maria Horner linen I had leftover from the tote I made last summer. A quick search at JoAnn led me to the metallic faux pleather - yes, fake fake leather. It's essentially fabric lined with tin foil. I don't expect it to last too long (there may or may not already be a scratch on the back), but it was almost exactly what I was envisioning, and it was within my budget, so I used it.  And I love it!


For the interior I stuck to the insect theme and used these cute lady bugs that I'd originally purchased for Rayna's quilt. As always, I modified the pattern a bit by adding an interior zip pocket. I really can't have a bag without an interior zipper. I get too nervous my keys or money will fall out if they're not secured inside. I also added a label, which I don't typically do for items I'm keeping.


I lined the interior pieces with SF-101 and, to provided even more shape and stability, ironed some fusible fleece to the outer pieces.  I was a bit nervous this would make it too thick, but I'm actually quite pleased with the heft and feel of the final product.  Because of the extra bulk, however, the bag wouldn't really stay folded if I set it down, so I included a magnetic snap to latch the flap in place. 


I expect I'll get a lot of use out of this bag, especially as the weather continues to warm and we're more willing to venture out in the evenings.




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hola!

Cómo están? Estoy muy bien!



Mr. T and I just returned from vacation in Colombia and it was great! Not exactly relaxing, though our vacations rarely are because I insist we see EVERYTHING, but certainly interesting and enjoyable. Plus it was our first time in South America, so that's fun. 

We had a little incident towards the end of the trip and managed to drop our camera in the Caribbean Sea. Even though it was in the sand/water (though mostly sand) for literally 0.2 seconds, it's not working. And our only computer with an SD card reader also isn't working. So until I determine the best and cheapest way to get the photos off the card, you'll have to trust my word and these cell phone photos that it is a beautiful country!  

 
Hopefully I'll be back soon with some more pictures and details of the trip, as well as some information on these awesome free podcasts I used to learn a little Spanish before we left. I studied French in school so I had zero knowledge of Spanish going in, but after just four weeks of listening to these podcasts - I got through about 25 of the 80 beginner's lessons - I was able to ask basic questions during vacation and, more importantly, had enough of a grounding in the language to enable me to pick up a lot more Spanish while we were in Colombia. [Disclaimer: I was not asked or paid to review these podcasts. I just think they're really awesome and wanted to share]

And since this is a crafting blog, I also have a few items I completed before the trip that I have to share. Just have to figure out the best way to take photos until I replace my camera. And mail the items to the recipients...


These three photos were taken in Salento, a small town with around 4,000 people in the Zona Cafeteria where the majority of Colombia's coffee farms are located. It was absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite stops on our trip.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Sweater...Finally!

The saga of this sweater began a long, long, long time ago. My first post about the sweater was January 16, 2012! I wrote a number of other posts about it (here, here, here) so I'm not going to rehash all the details here, but it was definitely quite a ride. Looking back at those old posts, I  realized it sat for over a year just waiting for blocking and buttons. That's cray cray! But there were also legitimate setbacks like ripping out the nearly complete body to improve the fit in the waist and hips.


But now it's finally finished! And it was even warm enough for me to wear it out running errands the other day. 

 
A few thoughts about it:

1) I love this yarn. It's Rowan Renew (sadly discontinued) and I thought it was going to be scratchy, but it blocked up nicely and is quite soft.

2) I kind of look like an old lady/librarian when I wear it, but I don't care.

3) I added WAY too many buttons. Which is extra worse since I despise buttons in the first place.

4) I don't overall hate these wooden buttons though. Still not a button fan, but these are tolerable.

5) I can't believe I made a freaking sweater!

6) I might add some patch pockets.  Maybe next year...


7) Clearly I am not a model!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More knits

For Hanukkah I gave my Mom and her husband IOUs for one hand knit item each. I must admit, I'm pleasantly surprised I was able to fulfill those so soon after the holiday! I figured the actual items would turn in to their Hanukkah gifts this year. And Mr. T happened to be in Georgia for a conference so he was able to deliver these in person.


For Eddie, I made a scarf using Manos del Uruguay and this pattern. So, the yarn. I LOVE THIS YARN! I picked it up on a whim during my LYS's holiday yarn sale and it is nothing short of glorious. It was amazing to work with; it's ridiculously soft, and the mission of the company is inspiring. I have about half a skein left and I really want to do something special with it.

 

I haven't knitted many man items, so I wasn't sure if Eddie would like this. Plus they live in Georgia so it doesn't get horribly cold and this scarf is pretty warm. Then I received a text from him the other day that said: "I am wearing my wonder scarf today. It's 30 degrees, but I am warm as toast!" So I think he's enjoying it.


Now for Mom. I love my mother dearly, but if every there was a difficult woman to please, it is she. I've been wanting to make her something for a very long time, but every time I float an idea by her she doesn't seem to care for it. Then during her wedding weekend we just happened by (read: I forced the entire family to visit) a yarn shop and found this great skein of locally dyed yarn from The Copper Corgi.  


Mom (aka Goldilocks) gave me clear instructions that she wanted a short cowl - not too loose, but not too tight either. Also not too tall. And I wanted to include some lacework since that is a technique I haven't used much. After countless hours of scouring, I settled on the Tyrian Loop pattern from Knitscene Magazine's Winter 2013 issue. The pattern provides instructions for both a long and short cowl - I made the shorter one but added one repeat.


This cowl definitely challenged me. I had to restart three times because I kept miscounting and am not familiar enough with lace to figure out where I made the mistake. By the end, though, I could read that pattern like the back of my hand and had no problem finding my errors. This was also my first experience with an i-cord cast on and bind off. While tedious, I do like the clean edges they bring to the final product. Mom says she likes it too, but it's always hard to tell with moms...

P.S. Thanks to Julia and Erin for modeling for me!

Monday, March 10, 2014

do. Good Stitches - February and March 2014

Time for a do. Good Stitches update.  I'm late on February and early on March - it all balances out in the end right!  I actually finished both of these during my snow day last Monday, but then I was sick all week so I didn't feel like taking photographs or writing even a brief post.

February
Swirly Dresdens for Barb using this tutorial. The template is for a 10 inch finish Dresden, but Barb asked for a variety of sizes, so I made two 5 inch Dresdens and appliqued them to a 13ish inch background so she'd have plenty of room for trimming when she pieces the top.



March
Deb requested these simple Rugby Stripes blocks based on this tutorial by Teaginny Designs, only resized to be 6.5x12.5 inches unfinished. This is going to be one awesome quilt!


AND for both months I managed to work solely from my scrap bin!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Warm for Winter

There's something about winter that just makes me crave the feel of knitting in my hands. To be honest, I have that feeling most of the time, but the sensation of the wool pulling through my fingers as I work away at the next hat, scarf, or sweater feels that much more appropriate in winter. So it's no surprise that I've been casting on and off at a much faster pace than usual. I have a few more items to show once they've been gifted, but for now here are two birthday gifts I recently completed. 

First up is a birthday gift to me. Technically the yarn was a gift from some friends, but since I enjoy the process of knitting that was a bit of a gift as well. Anywho, I bought the yarn from Purl Soho in 2012 and have been slowly chugging away on a Herringbone Cowl every since. I'm terrible at keeping track of my yarn labels, but I'm pretty sure this is Cascade Duo. Whatever it is, it's really soft.

As for the pattern, I'd been eying it for at least a year before I got this yarn and cast on (during my first jury duty session, no less), but I must admit I didn't really like it. I think the finished product on the website looks great, but I found that the stitches were so tight on my needle I could only handle working on this for short period of time before my hands - and brain - became fatigued. And if I made a mistake I had no idea how to fix it, so it's riddled with mistakes. For those reasons this cowl took me over a year to complete and I cast off well before the suggested width. Also, I somehow managed to twist my cast on stitches, so it's actually a mobious cowl. And I can't get it to flatten despite a very thorough blocking. Oh well. Despite all of that, it's quickly become the scarf I find myself reaching for first. It's just so warm and comfortable!



Next, I made this hat for Mr. T for his birthday last month. I made him a simple 2x2 ribbed hat when I first learned to knit two years ago, but a) it was made with junky acrylic yarn and b) he lost it about 3 weeks after I gave it to him, so he needed a new and better one. I snagged this Quince and Co. Osprey (in River, maybe...) from my LYS during one of their annual sales and, after much research and debate, settled on this free pattern.


The pattern includes directions for both a hat that folds up and one that doesn't. Mr. T prefers hats without fold-up brims, so I followed that version, but I should have stopped one repeat earlier because it ended up a bit too tall. It still looks okay, as you can see on the left, just a bit pointy. But thankfully he doesn't mind wearing it rolled up and that emo-style goes well with his shaggy hair and beard. Now he just has to keep track of it, which apparently is harder than you might think. We've already had one near-loss and he's only had it for a month!