Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Pressure

I think when I take a while to blog, I feel like it's hard to come back again because I should post a big, long thing full of pictures and stories. But, in fact, I think it's better to keep it pithy and ease back into things.

I finally broke down and joined Instagram. My friend has a cute kid I wanted to see more of and it's really the only social-networky thing my sister updates on the regular. So why not, I said? Oh, maybe because my phone is not aging well and an additional app my scramble its pea brain? OH WELL, I said.

I can't figure out how to put the instagram'd images here, but here are the original images for you to enjoy.

Look at these mini mitts!
 So great. I've been taking a break from any MAJOR knitting projects and trying to use up some scrap yarn. I'm trying to put these on my front-door wreath and will hang some on my little tree:

Jingle Bells!
 It's finally ok that I whistle "Sleigh Ride" all the time! It's Christmas time, and I'm thrilled.

Droopy G. Robinson
 He looks like an old timey gangster with a cigar, no? Myeah, shee?

This one - no idea. Isn't this the kind of picture you're supposed to take with Instagram? I'm pretty sure that's what it's for. That's what my research tells me, anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blue Moon

Writing my little ode to Norwegian knitting the other day made me long to try those boot socks again. I had a bit of professional news that left me in a funk on Thursday, so it was clearly time to start a new project. Cheap thrills are underrated:

And you know what? It really worked. I'm feeling great and the recent cold snap here in Chicago makes me really excited to finish these up and wear the hell out of them. Insert Norwegian Celebratory Phrase Here!

I fell behind a bit on my Holla Knits KAL work, mostly because I was busy magically transforming my home with the power of paint. My "before" photos didn't make the ol' upload this morning, so you'll have to take my word that my dining room was a subtle, light blue. I've had the idea of using a more saturated, royal blue for a while. I love the white trim around my condo's many (drafty) windows, and wanted to pick a color that would make the white pop. After a visit to Home Depot, I decided Song Bird was the way to go. A gallon was purchased. Paint supplies were carried up from storage. This is where I should offer many thanks to my lovely assistant:

Lovely Assistant shows us coat 1 of 2 while covering profanity on tee-shirt
It's always hard to capture the correct color on your point-and-shoot camera early in the morning, but these are pretty true to what I see when I walk in the room.
BAM! (Excuse the Diet Coke, I have to actually live in this house, you know)
Still working on that photo arrangement, but I'm trying to use existing holes from shelves that were up in the room's previous incarnation. I've been resisting the urge to buy tons of new art on Etsy by salvaging mediocre stuff I have hanging in other rooms/ laying in closets around the house. I'm really happy with it - I'm going to love surprising myself every time I need to walk to the kitchen for something over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm trying to get things in order. I spent the weekend organizing, cleaning, sorting and planning - I even went to Home Depot (it was a pretty nice little Saturday). I'm trying to plan ahead and secure my gifts early for an upcoming bridal shower and for Christmas (in a perfect world!)

I also have some friends who are expecting a boy this winter. Baby news automatically makes me want to cast on a project, but knitting for boys can be tough. Knitting World is heavy on the lace and the pink frippery projects. That's why I was excited to find this baby blanket on The Purl Bee a few months ago. It was functional, masculine and could be easy to care for with the correct yarn selection. Sold! I really loved the color palette they showed in the pattern, so I wasn't too creative with my choices.

Casting on was fun:
Making the edging felt like a real accomplishment. So polished-looking!
And since then.... it's just been miles and miles of stockinette stitch:
and miles
and miles
Basically, it's been slow going. But I'm on the sixth color stripe out of nine, so I need to just push on through. The end is in sight, at least! And then I'll get to crochet - IF I can find the one crochet hook I have. Oy. Maybe I'm not as organized as I thought.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yarn'd: Norway No How

This is Part One of an ongoing series I'm calling YARN'D, in which I discuss falling in love with a project and then not having it work out. THROUGH NO FAULT OF MY OWN (just kidding - it's always my fault).
The meet-cute:
One of the things I love about knitting is that it's a 'traditional' craft and therefore is closely tied to history. Textiles and their creation have important cultural connotations and, frankly, are just plan pretty. The patterns I get most excited about will either be cutting-edge trendy or generations old.

The first so-called 'traditional' pattern I fell in love with was a result of searching for a pattern for cute boot socks during the dead of winter. I came across the free pattern for Norwegian Stockings to Knit at Knitting Daily and fell in love. The colorwork pattern felt familiar - I'm pretty sure I'd seen the Selbu Rose motif on sweaters worn in White Christmas and a few Abercrombie and Fitch sweaters I had in seventh grade. I also was interested to learn that the colorwork pattern is known as the Selbu rose motif - I'd always thought of them as snowflakes. It's just like when I learned that Lady Gaga was singing "Want your bad romance" and not "Watch out for romance!" - aka MINDBLOWING.

The relationship begins:
Having been properly schooled by a free pattern, I looked around on Ravelry and decided to cast on using Knit Picks Palette:

This pattern is FUN, guys. Look how pretty - it just sucks you in. Even though I wasn't creative in my color choices, I'm loving every second of this sock.

Noticing things are a little... 'off':
This is where I admit that I'd never knitted using Magic Loop before. I'd always used three or four Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) to knit in the round. This is also where I should admit that I'd only worked stranded colorwork in the round one other time and the results were... well, you can just read this See where I mention that the fit felt a little "constricting"? LIES. It was way too tight! I'm a tight knitter and knitting in the round just makes it worse (even though my gauge was fine). Oh, and also? I have monster sized calves. Boots were n'er constructed that could fit these Scotch-Irish-Germanic power legs. I was genetically created to spawn and carry milk up hills, not cross country ski to my viking chalet. These are just the facts.

Of course, I just continue on because IT'S SO PRETTY:
 But clearly, things aren't going well. That's the calf part on display. The attempted try-on was semi painful. Tighter than a blood-pressure cuff, that was. The other major problem I ignored was the massive, noticable gap I left at the beginning of each new row. My dear boyfriend demonstrates for the camera:

Remember, this is how the sock looks when stretched to capacity across my Thunder Calf. That ugly seam-next-to-the-fake-seam is just not chic, I'm sad to say.

The break up:
Well, that one hurt. A weekend's worth of work down the drain and nothing but the slight numbness in my toes after trying to remove an extra tight calf-sock to show for it. Sometimes, a knitter will hang on to a project and see if they can pick it up later and fix it. This was beyond repair, so I ripped it all out and put the yarn away.

The rebound:
Clearly, I needed to master knitting in the round and stranded color work. I worked on a pair of Endpaper Mitts again with the correct length of circular needle and things worked out mo' betta:
Something that fits? HOW ODD.
 Of course, I never knit the second one (oops) but for the record, the mitt did fit (so you must acquit!) Then, I realized I had another Selbu rose motif pattern laying around - on the front cover of the Fall 2011 Vogue Knitting, to be exact. So the Palette found its Norwegian home:

And all was right with the world! But I'm still not over it. Sport weight yarn has been ordered and I'll be moving up a needle size with the hope that one day, I shall have my Selbu rose boot socks fairy tale romance I've always dreamed of (since February 2012, that is). I'll keep you posted.

Verdict: Still Pining Away

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hi! It's me, again!

Even though I haven't been writing about it, I've been doing quite a bit of knitting over the summer. It's been such a long time, that I don't even know where to start again. I guess I'll just begin with what I'm up to now and then do a few retrospective posts as we move into the fall aka Prime Knitting Season.

While I'm moving along on some Christmas gifts, I'm still taking the time to be selfish, like a good American. We're in the middle of another awesome Knit Along, this time for Holla Knits' Holla Back Tank. It's a nice summery pattern with some visual interest at the back. I'm hoping to add some 3/4 length sleeves, and transition this through the fall. I've chosen a SPARKLY yarn (Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in Potion), which is so fun to work with, but may not prove to look that great as a whole top. We'll have to see....

For your reference, it's always hard to capture color accurately because I take pictures when I have time and that could be under ANY weather/ lighting circumstances. This is as close to an accurate representation of the yarn color as I can get (From the KnitPicks website):

Here's the progress from the last few weeks:

Sparkle Swatch!

The first few weeks zoomed along faster than I thought they would. It's fingering weight yarn, but not knitting in the round helps you move faster than you'd think!

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Which brings us to this week's goal: finish the waist decreases on the back.
Zig + Zag
Blocking will open up the lace more than you see here. I made the back a size smaller because the front has a lot more stretch (negative ease) than I was expecting. I like to avoid what my mother calls "sucky gut" in my clothing, if possible. Other project updates coming shortly. I guarantee it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knit Night Results

Having a regular knit night is great for productivity. I was FINALLY able to join the sleeves to the toddler dress I'm working on and it now actually looks like recognizable clothing:

I also cast on the Dollar and a Half cardigan for a mini Knit Along with Magical Grammar and Adaly Myles Place using Knit Picks CotLin in Sprout, a light green. Not photos yet, since it's just 2x2 rib, but hopefully I'll start the fun part soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Heartland

Back from a weekend in the Crossroads of America. Spent a thrilling Friday cheering on my sister in the Indiana University Little 500 Race. Her team came in a close second. She had ten family members there, so at the very least, she wins some kind of Supreme title like on Toddlers & Tiaras, no? Miss Best Family Supreme?

Anyway, I'm very proud of her, she's super cool. Only a sophomore and lead the race for two whole laps! I mean, just check this out:
Taken by my cousin

As my brother said in a text message to her: "that's pretty badass".

The rest of my weekend was spent warming up after standing in the rain for an hour and a half in 40 degree weather, visiting with family and starting a new project with my beautiful new madelinetosh sock yarn:

I just LOVE the color and forgot how calming it is to just knit and knit and knit a basic pattern. It's always great to visit the family and have companions for the long car ride. Great way to kick off a new week! Hope you had a fun and relaxing weekend, too. Take it away, Jim!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dog Post

Progress is slow and steady this week, but the good news is, I do have sleeves!

I'm ignoring the half a million ends this project has created and am just enjoying the color changes and praising the heavens that little kids have such tiny arms.

Mid-week is always a bit scant in the inspiration department, so I took some pictures of my dog! Because that's not dull at all!

This is Droopy. He spent a good 15 minutes arranging those blankets *just so*

Droopy is a real sport, but he's afraid of almost everything. This makes him very snuggly (my kind of dog) but also really nervous when cameras are around. And umbrellas. And balloons. And Starbucks coffee cups rolling around on a sidewalk. And all manner of cleaning equipment. You get the idea. 

Nicely Nested
Silently Annoyed
 He was looking pretty dignified and tolerated me taking some pictures, but I of course captured one of his more unflattering moment for posterity. Sometimes, Droopy gets his jowls caught in his teeth giving him a quasi Elvis/ Bitter Beer Face.

Pucker up!
Happy Wednesday - may your day be more creatively productive than mine!

This movie Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog is officially my pick to win every Oscar ever and made me tear up at lunch. Let's all go see this ASAP, right?

Based on a true story?!?! I can't even...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Loose Ends

As previously mentioned, I'm drowning in yarn and plans for future projects.

Yarntopia by KnitPicks
This is a great feeling and it's good to know I'll have plenty to do in the coming weeks. It's important to me, however, to finish up a few things before getting too wrapped up in new fun. That's why I'm revisiting this stripped toddler dress I started at Christmas time. Remember?
Tiiiiny sleeves
I abandoned this little project when I got too overwhelmed with Christmas stuff. Now, it's going to be too small for my boyfriend's nieces, but I know a 3-month-old who will grow into it one day. Problem solved! Plus, after working on those socks for ever, this feels like it's almost done - why not go for it?

Additionally, I've made some progress on the Umaro blanket I began a few weeks ago. It's such a fast project, I love working on it when all of the sock weight yarn and tiny stitches are making me go cross-eyed.
Here's to a productive Spring!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend FOs

I went a little nuts this month with yarn shopping. I bought more yarn at one time than ever before and, while this was really fun, it also made me anxious. I hadn't actually finished something in a long time! Finished the Delancey, however was like removing a road block and I had a really productive weekend!

First, I improvised a cotton sweater based on the pattern Kelly by Jean Moss in a book called Contemporary Knits I picked up at a Borders closing sale. I really liked the neck and had wanted to make something out of Shine Worsted since I made that Christmas hat for my brother.

I modified the pattern so much that the only thing that really remains is the construction of the neck. Still, I'm pretty pleased with the result:

Stripey Sue
I reworked the sleeves three separate times, and still they're not 100 perfect, but I reached a point where I was ready to be finished with the Beachy Summer Sweater and move on to bigger and better things.

I've started a series of Knit Alongs with good friend The Owl and The Bee during our Wednesday (and sometimes Monday) Knit Nights. A few weeks ago, we cast on two-at-a-time toe-up socks to try a new technique. I'm totally sold! I am a sufferer of "second sock syndrome", meaning when it's time to make the second item of a pair, I'm usually over it and ready to move on. Two-at-a-time means you'll have socks the same length without all the counting (BIG plus in my book!) My boyfriend, a wrestling assistant coach from a family of wrestling enthusiasts, wanted a pair of socks in the colors of Oak Park River Forest High School because of an inspiring coach working there. So he picked the colors and the yarn and I made my interpretation of what he requested.

Wrastlin' Socks
 I still have a ton of ends to weave in, but after weaving in a TON of ends in both the Delancey and the summer sweater this weekend, I'm giving myself a break for a day or two.
The curse of loving stripes - so many ends! Ugh!
Finally, I finished up work on a little hat design I've been working on. Nothing fancy, but a fast, fun knit with added pom-pom realness.
Werq That Pom!
During photography this morning, I realize that what I actually made this weekend was a pretty decent Smee costume from Disney's Peter Pan.Time to join the real world for a while, I think!
Aye, aye, cap'n!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fancy Delancey - Part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here's the rest of the Delancey Cardigan.

The sleeves were a real test of my patience. Lots of counting and re-counting, it's enough to make you abandon a project for something new and exciting! But the Knit Along group were great motivators and I carried on.

Progress (and photography) was blurry and slow. By the time I finished the first sleeve it was time to visit my grandparents and cousins in Florida. I packed up the ol' sweater and a variety of needles and spent four hours in various planes and airports finishing the second sleeve. This photo was taken right as I got home:

I then got lazy in terms of photography and just went on ahead and did the part that excited me the most about the pattern: THAT SWEET COLLAR!

When I bound off the last stitch, I attempted to take and arty photo to share with the group. The results were...kind of lame, but my did that sweater look fancy, even with all the ends hanging out everywhere.

 Today was the Final Step. I wove in all those ends (UGH. That part of knitting never gets fun) and bought buttons from Loopy Yarns in the South Loop. I then couldn't concel how happy I was with the results and took some photos of me resembling a sweater-clad cheerleader. So, yay! Rah! Delacey!