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.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Status Update: Continental Knitting

I'm on vacation! Feels like it took forever to get here, but I'm finally free to relax and start taking care of some of the things that have been piling up. (Literally--my house really needs cleaning!)

You might recall that last week I decided to take some time off my knitting projects so that I could learn to knit continental. I figured it'd take a couple weeks for it to feel natural, then more time to really get an even tension. But I'm thrilled to report that it only took a few days!

Here's what I've made already:

Miranda Hat: just waiting for my size-4 DPNs
to arrive so I can do the decreases

Ankle sock

Miranda hat

Miranda hat

The scarf I initially practiced continental on (since frogged)
That's WAY more than I would have been able to do before. Not only am I knitting faster, but it's so effortless! I'm a big fan of efficiency, and I just wasn't happy with feeling like every. single. stitch. was  a big effort.

Like I mentioned before, I used the Knit Freedom continental knitting course. I'd give it five stars. The videos were high-quality, and she answered all the questions that my super-detailed little brain had come up with, like:

  • how to wind the yarn around your hand so it can still slide when you need it to
  • how far away from the needle to hold your index finger (answer: not as far as you think)
  • what shape your hand should make, so you always know you're doing it right
  • how to move the stitches along the needles as you work, so you don't have to stop so often
And of course, how to do all the stitches themselves. It still took a while to feel comfortable, but at least I was able to practice without second-guessing the method.

(BTW, if you're somewhat new to knitting, I'd actually recommend Knit Freedom's Knitting Superstar course. It includes the continental knitting course for free.)

So ... yay for fast knitting! Once I knock these hats and socks out, I'm going to start my big fall projects. More on those later.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Somebody Wishes He Had Thumbs

Or maybe he's wishing I'd stop trying to put little socks on him? Hard to tell.