Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Movin' On Up

Sorry to have been gone for so long. It's been a pretty busy week: Peter and I went to Del Mar (just North of San Diego) for a work-sponsored trip to the race track. Cameras were not allowed, which is good because I forgot to bring mine. =/ We got to see my sister's dog, Charlie Bucket, a silky terrier mix. He was soooo adorable. She cuts his hair really short so he doesn't look like a lapdog. And she gave me her sewing machine!!! Exciting stuff, I must get a learn-to-sew manual.
This weekend we also moved into a different unit in our apartment complex, about 20 feet away. And we now have a roommate. There may be an adjustment period...

I did get a lot of knitting done. I knit this Harry Bear (he looks more like a Ralph to me) for my coworker's new baby. It is perfect - soft and cuddly and (minus the ribbon) totally childproof.

FO: Ralph
Pattern: Harry Bear from Berroco
Yarn: 1 full skein Bamboo from Bernat in Wicker
Needles: US 8 straights
Started August 19, 2008, Finished August 21, 2008. A quick knit!

Tonight I wound a skein of the dyed yarn that I made whilst at Rose's place. Here it is as the start of a Misty Garden scarf (from ScarfStyle): ....hm... having trouble uploading from photobucket. Check out my Rav page for pics and specs: Misty Morning.

This scarf brings my total WIP's (that I actually work on) to 4. Why do I always have 4 projects going at any given time?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Goodbye Old Smoker Lady

Hooray for new curtains! These replace the vile old smoker lady curtains we used to have. They were disgusting. Dirty, lacy, and smoky. ewwwww. The fabric is a linen cotton type deal, part of my super cheap haul from Fabrix. I love fabric and am finding that its easy to build a fabric stash similar to a yarn stash. I find there is one key difference in the two stashes-- emotional attachment. I get all attached to colorways and blends and brands when it comes to yarn (for example, an unhealthy tendency to covet my Dream in Color Smooshy in Happy Forest.) With fabric, its pretty, but there are no designers or anything to get overly attached to. Maybe there is, and I am just a fabric-obsessing novice.

I was suddenly spurred to make these by a convo last weekend with Kristina and Sara in which they decided this fabric would be good for curtains. I measured, and the fabric was the perfect size for the window. Adieu to the last old smoker lady curtains!

These curtains are much more opaque than the vile old smoker lady curtains. This means I will not have to make accidental eye contact with the old smoker lady in the next building, who smokes out her window while seeming to look into ours. Despite the profusion of old smoker ladies, we do not indeed live in some smoker filled retirement community.

Basically all I did to make these was hem the edges, and make a two inch casing at the top in which the curtain rod goes. All in all, it was about 30 minutes of cutting, pinning, ironing, sewing, and ironing again.

My dyed yarn from Kristina's Birthday dyeing adventure:

I think I might use this lighter skein to make a shawl or scarf... and the brighter ones can be sockies.

Happy friday!

Monday, August 18, 2008

DIY, Thy Name is Kristina

FO: Faux Russian Stole by Katie Nagorney and Ann Swanson (A Gathering of Lace)
Yarn: Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel in Merlot (less than 1 cone, ~1000-1200 yds. I need a scale)
Needles: Bryspun US 4 circular
June 23 - August 14, 2008, with half of it knit in the last two weeks.

I loved knitting this, right up until the last two days. Then I got way too stressed out from the deadline. =/ But the bride loved it, so it was worth it.

Rose treated me to some fabulous yarn dying on Saturday. It was crazy fun, and I am a little surprised that mine turned out so beautiful:
Photobucket Photobucket
I did a lot of spinning this weekend. I needed a change from endless knitting (from the Russian). I finished about 1 oz. of my dragonfibers to get this:
It's too bad you can't see any of the green. It's all hidden inside. So far I am loving it. I want to navajo ply it, just to get the practice, but I wonder if I should just two ply it regularly to get better color interactions. Decisions, decisions...

Finally, my newest exploit in DIY: I cut my own hair. My bangs on the left side of my face are a little short (can't see them in the pic), but other than that, I think I won't look like an idiot in public. And I saved a crap-ton of money without having to switch my car insurance to Geico. Win-win right?

Sunny Yarn on a Foggy Weekend

Kristina and I engaged in all sorts of fiber fun this weekend. The two highlights: spinning and dyeing. As part of my birthday present to Kristina, I provided all the materials and set up for yarn dyeing. The yarn is 6 skeins Knit Picks Bare Peruvian Wool in fingering weight. The dye is 3 of each red, yellow, and orange Easter egg dye tablets. The dye packs were two for a dollar back in April after the holiday passed. We used Kathryn Ivy's very user friendly yarn dyeing tutorial. Here are our results....


Out of the steamer:

Hanging dry:

Kristina brought her drop spindle and some beautiful fiber, and showed me some tips to refine my spinning technique (which was very lacking). No pictures of my results yet, but here are some action shots of Kristina:

She spins from the fold, and produces fine, even singles that are currently far beyond my skill set! I love the green and pink combination, especially when they mix in the same single.

Good weekend with good friends!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Project Runway, Here I Come

The fruits of my sewing labor!!! An especial thanks to ms. sara for talking me through my bobbin winding crisis a couple weeks ago. Very helpful...I have now even troubleshot a terrible clogged bobbin fabric rumple back tracking crisis.

Sewing FO: My first project (since that delightful one pice jumsuit skort I made when I was ten. No, that is not a joke. I wore it on the first day of fifth grade.)
Scrap Tote
Pattern: Simple Tote
Designer: Lotta Jansdotter (Simple Sewing)

This scrap fabric tote bag (see the paisley in its original context in my Drops Cable Bag) is about 16.5 inches tall. It can easily accommodate a small amount of groceries (the bottom is reinforced with 2 layers of fabric), books or magazines, or knitting projects! It will likely become my new living room project bag that I use to hide the projects I am ignoring at the moment (swallowtail and a sock, at the moment).

The paisley fabric comes from a great shop in Petaluma, the Quilted Angel, a quilter's version of the coveted LYS. All the fabrics they stock are cottons (my preference in fabric) and they have a wonderful array of patterns and prints. The stripey fabric at the bottom is from Fabrix, on Clement Street here in SF.

In the below picture you can see some unevenness in my seaming...its the homey touch.

Overall, I love this bag, despite its quirks (aka mistakes!) I think its a handy size, and will be very useful for car trips and such.

Here is a strap, with a close up of the fancy stitch I used for the strap seaming on my sewing machine.

Picture of the day: Buttons!

This is my haul from the huge bin 'o' buttons at Fabrix. I don't think I bought a single practical button. I can't decide if I have grandma or little kid taste in buttons.

Have a happy weekend! I know I will, eating my way through the city with Kristina, Sara and co. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Race Against the Clock

I have 33 hours until I get on a plane to San Francisco, where I will be reunited with my Rosie-Pie and where I will (hopefully) gift a completed and blocked Faux-Russian stole. I have half of a repeat and the top border left to do. I am hoping to finish the knitting and maybe pin it out tonight, but also maybe pin it out tomorrow morning. And I have to fit in a FOtoshoot somewhere in there too. We'll see. I will finally be able to use my new supersweet Sew EZ blocking board (33" x 51") and blocking wires after a month of having them. Gotta cut this short. It's time to knit on my lunch break. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Fog Repeller

As mentioned I was working on Jared Flood's Turn a Square pattern, very generously posted as a free download on Ravelry. Before downloading, beware...very satisfying and addicting pattern.

The Fog Repeller
Pattern: Turn a Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease (grey) and Noro Silk Garden color 84
Needles: 4.5mm bamboo dpns

Let me tell you, this is just a lovely little knit. Its simplicity is gorgeous and makes the raglan style decreased stand out as the main attraction. The raglan style decreases make the stripes on the crown square, which I love the look of. Pictured below before blocking, the raglan decreases are a bit puffy/stiff. The hat is going to block tonight, hopefully! I have read much about raglan, but this was my first try. I have to say, its fun, easy, and almost makes me want to start a some sort of knitted leviathan/simple raglan top down sweater (we all have different definitions of intimidation!)

Some close ups of the yarn. I am not a huge Noro fan in FOs, and this was my first time working with it in a project. I have to say I loved it! Its incredibly soft, and the colors are subtle, and beautiful. I think the colors are extra gorgeous isolated into the grey. The grey makes them look extra spectacular, and takes the edge off the sometimes overwhelming effect of all-Noro FOs.

I really enjoyed this pattern. It is perfect Olympic knitting, as it does not require much fussing, and the decreases are intuitive. I made only one mod, and knitted them on dpns not circs, owing to only having long circs and a strong aversion to magic loop.

This is an instant gratification project, it only took a couple hours to complete. This is coming from a super slow knitter. I consider myself a bit of a knitting manatee or sea turtle, while Kristina is an agile, speedy dolphin or swordfish... or something fast and sea dwelling.

This knit was so fast and fun (and I had left over yarn) that I promptly cast on and finished a second one for a friend's birthday. And then I cast on another one (more leftover yarn!) for a third friend...its an addicting pattern!

Picture of the day of China Beach, Sea Cliff, Baker Beach, and in the very back, the Presidio. It looks so summery! In sad news, my 6:12am wake up is getting darker by the day, and thus harder to drag out of bed.

Color Inspiration

I always thought of red and green as Christmas colors, but this gorgeous foliage in Golden Gate park is changing my mind. I love the huge green leaves, contrasted with the small, red kangaroo feet in the background.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Drunken Bees

FO: Drunken Bees by Domesticat

Yarn: KnitPicks Risata in Burgundy

Needles: My trusty US #2 Addi Natura's

Started 05/19/08, Finished 07/31/08

They took kind of a long time, but only because they were my travelling socks. I love this yarn. The cotton keeps the toes dry, the wool keeps them warm, and the elastic helps it rebound. And it's cheap.

This pattern is fantastic. But I really like when a pattern combines cables and lace. They look so crazy and random, but really, they are way easier to make than it looks.

And now, here is the yarn that I made last weekend:

Roving: 1 oz. samplers from Wind Rose Fiber Studios in spruce (~1 oz.), peach glow (~0.5 oz), and south pacific (~0.5 oz).

If the colors look familiar, it's because they are the leftovers from the thrummies I made a few weeks ago. I used my lovely lapis stone spindle from Butterfly Girl Designs and spun the peach glow and south pacific in stripes and then plied it with the spruce. I got two skeins that are 67 yds. each. Any ideas on what I could do with it?

I am still undecided as to whether I like the colors plied together. I REALLY loved the spruce single.

Isn't it puuuuurty?
Well, I guess I should say: WASn't it purty?