Thursday, September 6, 2012

WIP Wednesdayish: February Lady

I meant to post this yesterday, but was just exhausted by the time I got home from my day out!

There wasn't much knitting this week, because my wrists suck need rest. But I hung out with Gail yesterday, so of course I had to do at least a little knitting (um, less than one row; I did more chatting than knitting). I kept having trouble with my counts, so Gail kindly stepped in and saved my sanity:

Her dress is even cuter in person!

Next week, Jef and I are heading to NYC for our annual weekend at Fire Island. I'm going to take this sweater with me, and hopefully it'll be mostly done by the time I get back!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FO: DPN Case

I got my sewing mojo back!

Last week, my wrists revolted against the constant demands I've been placing on them (nonstop knitting, piano, home improvement, cleaning...). Finally, after I had to cancel my Saturday piano lesson, I caved to their pressure and gave them 2 full days of rest. Couldn't just sit and do nothing, though, so I started sewing again.

Here's what I made:

It holds up to 20 sets of DPNs. The shorter pockets are meant for 5" needles, though I've stuck in some 6" ones. The taller pockets can handle anything longer than 6". (Kinda like your mom.)

In case you're wondering why a newbie knitter has so damn many needles: I stocked up on various sizes so that I wouldn't have to do a last-minute Amazon order every time I started a new project. Then there was the Knit Picks sock set that I bought to support a LYS. Then there was the switch to Contintental, which changed my default sizes (of which I had bought extra sets). Or maybe I'm just greedy.

One nifty thing about this case is that it folds into thirds, rather than rolling. Feels a little more purposeful to me. I got this idea from another blogger during my web research, but I can't find her site again. Suffice it to say, someone else came up with this cool approach.

1/4" space to enable folding

In this version, the pockets are 1"or 1.25" wide. Even 1.25" wasn't enough to accommodate size 8 needles, though.

Rather than tying with a ribbon, like most of these cases do, I used a magnetic clasp. To make sure they matched up, I waited until the very end to apply the "female" side. Once the whole case was sewn together, but before the hole was stitched shut, I folded the case up and marked where the female side should go. That way I could just stick my hand inside to apply the metal backer and flatten the prongs. Easy peasy.

I used heavyweight interfacing in the tab (snap side only) and against the outer fabric for strength.

Much neater than what I had before: a Ziploc bag full of DPNs in their original packaging, which I'd have to unwrap every time I needed them.

Did I mention that all the fabric was from my scrap pile? Bonus!

I'm really happy with how this came out. If I make another in the future, I'll do a few things differently:
  • I'll make it wider, with more pockets.
  • I'll add bigger pockets: 1.5", 1.75", maybe even 2".
  • I'll taper the top of the flap about 3/4" on each side, to prevent the flap from sticking out when the case is folded.
  • I'll interface both sides of the tab, for extra strength.
  • I'll place the tab better, so it's centered when the case is folded.

If anyone's interested in the specs, let me know and I'll write them up.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Applebloom Cardi

OMG, you guys, I have been in deep vacation mode. Half the time I don't even know what day it is. I love it. Of course, the blog is suffering as a result, so I'm instituting WIP Wednesdays. (Are knitting WIP posts interesting? I hope so.)

This week, I'm working on the February Lady Sweater in Cascade Venezia Worsted in "olive." (It's actually more of an apple green.)

I couldn't capture the color accurately, so here's a stock photo of the yarn:

Photo Credit

This is my first time working with a silk blend, and WHOA! It is luscious. To help get good tension, I bought a bamboo circular needle. (I've been knitting too loosely since I switched to Continental. Trying to tighten things up, but I really hope it starts to feel natural soon!)

Since the yarn is 30% silk and I'm in the process of losing weight, I'm doing something that feels pretty risky: making the sweater a size smaller than I should. The February Lady is supposed to be made one size smaller than your measurements (because the garter stitch grows), so mine is actually two sizes smaller than my bust. That's six inches!

I have two other projects going, but haven't really worked on them much this week. They are:

Zesty Socklets

The Rainbow Connection

Jef's sweater is so big now that pics must be taken on the floor!

So that's what I've been up to. Well, that and lots of House-watching, and house-renovating, and piano playing, and coffee drinking, and late-spring-cleaning, and Internetting. Better get back to it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Valley Project ... OMG, Lots to Knit!

Pretty early in my knitting life (i.e., 4 months ago), I discovered Oh, how I love that site. I even love their email marketing--it always sucks me in, even though I usually hate that sort of thing.

It didn't take long to try out one of their Valley Yarns. Since then, I've fallen in love with a bunch of their yarns. And every time I browse the collection, I want to knit. them. ALL. So I figured, hey, why not actually do it?

Northampton Sport

I'm hereby officially starting The Valley Project, in which I plan to make at least one knitting project from every single yarn in the Valley Yarns collection. That's 35 yarns! (Why yes, this will be a long-term project.) It'll also give me a reason to try out their hand-dyed and kettle-dyed variations, and it'll force me to experiment with weaving and lace yarns.

Hand-Dyed Northfield. Scrummy!

I do have a bit of a head start: I've done three Miranda Hats for charity using Valley Superwash and a cowl for myself, also in Valley Superwash; and I'm in the middle of a sweater for Jef using Northampton. I also have a couple other yarns stashed for projects in the near future.

Northampton for Jef's Sweater

You can see all the yarn details on my page The Valley Project. I'll be posting updates there every time I finish a project, so I hope you'll check back now and again!

Wish me luck! And fast fingers!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

FO: The Iron-On Agenda Border-Print Skirt

Remember the co-blog project that I was doing with Gail? We did it. And look how cute we are!

I ended up doing a self-drafted pleated skirt. All my other skirts are straight or A-line, so I wanted a little diversity.

It's lined, so I can wear it year round. (Preferably on non-windy days. You should see the pics that got deleted from our photo shoot! Except, no you shouldn't.)

Navy Bemberg from Vogue Fabrics' warehouse sale

The waistband is a basic, straight, unlined band with a tab for a hook and eye. It has a side zip, for which I used an olive invisible zipper.

Each side of the front and back has 4 soft pleats, for a total of 16.

To reduce bulk, I left about 3" without pleats at each of the sides, the center front, and center back.

The hem is a simple baby hem. This worked well for two reasons: I was trying to get done in time to meet up with Gail and Niecey-poo (made it with 30 minutes to spare!), and the fabric is so lightweight that I was worried catch-stitching would be obvious.

I initially left the lining unhemmed out of concern for length and general laziness to get that posh-rustic Anthropologie look. (Hat tip to Gail for that excellent excuse.) But I will probably end up hemming it, because the lining comes down below the skirt when I sit.

So there you have it! I spent about 2 hours figuring out the math for this thing, so I'm going to do a post about that in the next few days. But for now, go check out Gail's post about her gorgeous blouse!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FOs: Four Miranda Hats for Halos of Hope

I love it when a plan comes together (*chews cigar*).

What's the best weight to work at when you're learning something new in knitting? Worsted.
What's the best size project to knit in summer? Small.
What's the best size project to avoid get overwhelmed? Small.
What's the best way to get a warm fuzzy? Charity.

What combines all those things? The Miranda Hat currently being knit for charity by the Project: Stash Ravelry group.

So I made four.

2 adult-sized, 1 large child-sized, & 1 normal child-sized

As modeled by Tebby Dear, Bonkey, and Lamby
Here's what I learned:
  • Valley Yarns Valley Superwash is AMAZING to knit with. So soft, so easy to tension, and a pretty good bargain!
  • It's going to take practice to get comfortable knitting C-style (Continental) on DPNs.
  • Switching to C-style makes me knit a lot looser! I went down two needle sizes for these hats.

Sadly, these don't count toward my stash-busting pledge because I broke the pledge to buy yarn to make them! (But I've broken the pledge, like, four times. At least this time was for charity!)

BTW, if you're interested in doing some quickie knitting or sewing for a good cause, check out Halos of Hope! They're devoted to collecting and distributing handmade hats, scarves, and turbans for cancer patients.