Friday, December 18, 2009

A Very Wilkes Christmas

So here is the partner post to the previous post: a showcase of all the gifts I knit for my family this year:

For Miss Caroline, I knit Interweave Knits Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Maple Syrup. Had I unlimited funds, I obviously would have used a more luxurious fiber, but their wool is very sturdy and all makes all that ribbing look great. It will also keep her very warm.
I managed to knock this baby out in about a week, but I credit that to it being Thanksgiving week and spending a lot of time in front of the tv with my family. And unlike Venezia, I had her try it on to make sure it fits and it does, yay! What a relief.

For the newest addition to the Wilkes family, Sandy, I also knit a sweater. Caroline said the poor thing had been shivering whenever she went outside, so now she has a little sweater to keep her nice and toasty.
I used the Rainbow Pooch Sweater pattern by Caron and knit it with Cascade Eco +, which is an 80/20 Acrylic/Wool mix. Normally, I really hate working with acrylic, but for her dog my sister wanted something she could throw in the wash because there's no way that thing will stay clean long. Surprisingly enough, the 20% wool kept the yarn from feeling too icky. Not a bad route if you need something acrylic.
My mom, of course, had the most outrageous request of anyone in the family, more so than a duster: she wanted a shawl like the one I made for my wedding, but in black. Obviously, I did not want to knit the same thing again because that is very boring. So I mined Knitting Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush for something different. I found the Leaf and Nupp shawl, which I think suited my needs very nicely.
I omitted the nupps because I just plain don't like knitting them and I used Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, which is 100% baby alpaca and unbelievably soft. My only complaint with this shawl is that I was not able to block it to the proper dimensions, largely due to my lack of proper blocking materials. A towel on the floor just doesn't quite cut it. It's still super soft and will make my mom very happy. Branwen liked it too.I am still currently working on my Christmas stocking and then the next installment will feature the completed pair, even though pictures of Walker's stocking are already up on Ravelry. After that, I am all done with my Christmas knitting (unless I decide the kitties are deserving of some new catnip toy. I have some scraps, that might happen). And then I need to get to making myself a hat, since it has gotten VERY cold all of a sudden and my poor little head is freezing :(

Walker and I are off to GA on Wednesday, so I should definitely do another update before then, as the stockings both need to be done.

Hope all of you are almost done with your pre-Christmas obligations: finals, shopping, etc. And if you're not, I hope you are soon.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Very Matthews Christmas

I am on the ball this year with Christmas gifts. I have already finished all the gifts for my in-laws this year. I've got a good deal more knitting to do for my Mom, Walker and me, but I've made excellent progress.
For Mary, I made the Smock-a-Ruche Scarf from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. I used Cascade Eco + Bulky. Not my favorite yarn ever, but it keeps the shape well and I liked the color a lot. I think Mary will, too.For Walker's mom, I made the Twisted Stitch Gauntlets from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007. I used Karabella Aurora 4, which is a really soft merino in sport weight. Not a terribly easy knit, but enjoyable all the same. I really like that the cuff will go over her coat sleeve and keep her wrists warm.
I asked Walker's mom what the boys would like for Christmas and I was pleased to hear that they wanted the easiest things ever to knit: hats! For Walker's dad, I made the Jacques Cousteau hat (a Ravelry download) in Knitpicks City Tweed DK. Really really soft yarn, but I think there are too many little 'fuzzies' in there. Good for a men's hat, though.
Charles is getting a Seaman's Cap, also a Ravelry download. The yarn I used was Knitpicks' Wool of the Andes, an excellent standby yarn. I got a little creative with the striping because I was running out of the black yarn, but I like the result all the same. It was a little small on Walker's head, so I'm really hoping it'll fit Charles...

I guess we'll see come Christmastime.

For the rest of the family, I am working on a beautiful shawl out of Knitted Lace of Estonia for Mom and just finished the Tilted Duster from Interweave Knits Fall 2007 for Miss Caroline. Once I finish Mom's shawl, I'll do a Wilkes gift edition. I am also working on a matching pair of stocking for the Mister and myself for our first married Christmas. They are based on the Judy's Colors stockings, which are only sold in absurdly expensive kits, so I made a heavily modified version of my own, so ha! I'm done with the cuff portion of Walker's, so I still have a ways to go...

In non-Christmas related news, I'm going to have to frog Venezia. She is just too small and blocking is not what I need. I'm going to have to either start over or move on to something else. Sad :(. After all the Christmas stuff I have a few other projects I want to work on, so redoing the Venezia marathon is not exactly a welcome development right now, but it's such a beautiful pattern that I can't abandon it.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got to spend some quality time with your families. Good luck with all your Christmas shopping/other holiday endeavors!



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back to "Normal"

Well, we're back from Paris and settling back into normal schedules. It's weird not having wedding planning to do anymore. And, as you all know, I have a hard time not having anything to do, so I've thrown myself headlong back into knitting!

Firstly, I finished the Kingdom gloves:
Despite not being wild about the pattern, I like the way they turned out. Now my only complaint is the way the cuff is set up, so I decided not to keep them. Vicki will enjoy them much more than I will. I really liked working with the Knitpicks Gloss yarn, though. Highly recommended.

After all those tiny cables, I wanted to work on something with a bigger gauge and a much simpler pattern, so I found the Francis Revisited Sweater by Beth Silverstein. The gauge was so big, the whole thing only took me about 5 days, 5 glorious days of mindless stockinette. This picture doesn't really do the sweater justice--it makes the thing look a lot more see-through than it really is, but you can see how loose the gauge is. The opacity is a lot more like the previous photo and the color/fit is like the one below.Really comfortable, really cute. Here's the back.Next on the agenda is my slew of Christmas gifts. Since we're doing Christmas with the Matthews this year, my list has expanded quite a bit and, as you can see by the sidebar, I've started early. I've been working on the batch of Matthews gifts first (partly because the Wilkes have asked for considerably more complicated gifts!) and once I finish with the last one (about halfway done) I'll dedicate a blog post to all of them. I decided it would be easier if I split the two posts up.

In fact, I should have started posting this stuff ages ago, but the reason I waited was because I wanted to include some wedding photos in my next blog post! Yes, they're up and if you really want a print, you're more than welcome to order one from her site! I don't have the hard copies or the digital disc yet (should get them later this week), but I wanted to share them with you guys as soon as possible!

Happy stalking! And to wrap things up, here's Jericho making a fort out of a yarn shipment box.


-Allie Matthews (!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2 More Days!

Wow, I can't believe it's so close! My to-do list is done and the in-laws have arrived. I just wanted to get a few pictures up for all of you to enjoy while we're on our honeymoon in a couple of days, so this will be a short post.

First on the list: the skinny empire sweater. I wanted a cute little warm-weather sweater (which is now already obsolete until May) so I made one! I got the pattern out of Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits and knit it with Knitpicks Telemark. If I'd had more cash lying around, I probably would have picked a more luxurious fiber than straight wool, but I really liked the way the telemark kept the ruffle in the collar. I like the mint-green color too.

If I did it again, I would probably have made it a little longer, but I still think it's super-cute. Here's the back:Next on the list is the first of the Kingdom gloves that I've been working on since about June. I'm just not that interested in the pattern. It's too complicated for something I'm not very excited about. I got the pattern off of Knitty, I think it was the summer issue. I've just had more interesting things to work on, so these have been neglected some. I will finish glove number 2 when we get back from Paris (eee!)

And thirdly, and most importantly, is the shawl I've made for my wedding day. Obviously I wasn't thinking straight when I thought I halter dress would be a good idea for Maine in October (I don't think I would have cared then, anyway, it's a gorgeous dress). And I didn't even think that I would need more warmth until about 4 weeks before the big day. So I ordered the yarn (Valley Yarn's alpaca/silk lace, which I love love love--so soft!) and set straight to work. I think the result is quite lovely. I finished it in exactly two weeks, even making it a little wider and a little longer than the pattern called for. I got the Lilac Leaf Shawl pattern out of Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. It was very straight forward worked up really quickly. Here's a closeup of the lace edge:

Well, I think that's all for this update. I have to scurry off again to do wedding things. Once I get back and get back into the swing of things, I'll have more to tell you. I'll even see some of you tomorrow, yay!



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dum dum da dum...

Only 7 more weeks left, yikes! We've actually got almost everything under control. We're in the middle of a month-long lull, waiting for my dress to come in and for everyone to RSVP (hint hint). Once September hits, things will start getting crazy, but for now, I'm enjoying the extra knitting time!

Firstly, Dad's birthday is coming up on Monday and I had no idea what to get him. So I decided to find something obnoxious to knit him and I found some patterns for some patterned golf club covers!

What guy wouldn't want pink argyle protecting his driver? Actually, I enjoyed knitting the Dots and Spots one better. Slip stitch is a lot easier than argyle--there are fewer strands in the way and the argyle one is pretty scrunched, which is a shame. I think he'll enjoy them all the same. I knit them with two different Knitpicks yarns: Maine Line (pink and green) and Shine (ivory). I have to say that the Main Line was a lot easier to knit than the Shine; cotton is not my favorite material.

I cannot say the same thing about alpaca, however, for the shrug I designed myself for the rehearsal dinner is finished, a vision in Knitpicks' Elegance, a silk and alpaca blend. I’m VERY pleased with the way this project came out. This was a totally improvised project and it fits and looks exactly the way I had imagined it, yay! I love love love the yarn, too. Knitpicks’ Elegance is so soft, I didn’t want to put the project down!

The only problem is that I didn’t keep meticulous notes while I was knitting it, so I only have a vague idea of what I did. Basically, it’s a cropped raglan with seed stitch trim on the sides and bottom. I added a picot edge to the neckline and a lace edging from Knitted Lace of Estonia, I forget from which project.

Unfortunately, I didn’t account for how much it would ‘swing’ in the back, resulting in a lot of curling, so I pulled out the needle and thread and nipped it in on the sides. So now it fits great, but you can’t close it at the bottom, which was not what I made it for, anyway. I’m so excited to wear this to our rehearsal dinner in October. I think it’ll look great over the pink floral dress I got the for the occasion. Yay!
Here's the picot edge:
And the lace cuff:
I've also had some time to work on the Venezia Sweater, which is not progressing very quickly. I have, however, finished knitting the bulk of the torso. Here it is with the steeks uncut:
Looks funny, doesn't it? Since I took that picture, I have cut the neck steeks and have been working on the neckline, but I don't like the way it's turning out, so no pictures yet. I might have to rip out what I've done on the neckline and try again, but that's irritating me, so I've started the left sleeve (pictures of that when I've made more progress).
Here's a close-up of the pattern stitch. I'm very pleased with the color selection I spent so long making. Totally worth the deliberation.
I still can't predict how this sweater will turn out, since I can't try it on until I cut the arm steeks and I'm afraid to do that until I have a sleeve to put there. I love the pattern, though, and I really really hope it turns out well, especially since it's taken so much time to get to this point. I want to finish it before the wedding, which may or may not happen, depending on how busy September gets. I really don't know why I gave myself that deadline--maybe because I want to show it to people coming into town? Maybe I just can't wrap my head around any date after October 10th? We'll see. Apologies in advance if this is my last post before the wedding. It's not because I don't love you guys, but because I'm too busy preparing things for when I see you in October!
Oh, here's a silly Jericho picture to wrap things up:Cheers,


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Yeah, I know I'm a day late, but I've got some fun projects (and one really great picture) to share with you, so I hope you'll forgive me.

As you all know, we've been very busy with wedding plans lately and we just got back from visiting my mother's parents, who are very old and will not be able to make it to the wedding. They were thrilled to see us and helped us make a couple of important plans, but by now we've got most of the big decisions squared away. We have new bridesmaid dresses on the way (if you haven't heard that story, ask me about it) and they should be arriving in a couple of weeks! We've finalized the menu and readings, the tuxes and my accessories, and have ordered bridal party gifts.

Big decisions left: ceremony music/whether or not we'll hire a trumpeter, finalizing the flower order, picking one more reader, "important dance" songs, and addressing and getting invitations out (which I'm sure you've already heard about from me). All of these are in the works and I'm feeling very on top of things right now. Tomorrow we're doing an engagement photo shoot, mostly for a newspaper announcement, but I'll be sure to share the pictures with all of you :)

Now, knitting:

Finally, after three months of knitting, I finished Vicki's Balloon-Sleeve Jacket. I blame wedding planning and not being able to find an appropriate buckle for the delay ;)
She seems to like it a lot and I am very glad :). I like the way it came out, even though she has to tie the belt and the sleeves look a little bit long on her. That could be my fault or she may have to pull them up a little--the body fits her well at least. I was worried that Knitpicks Comfy wouldn't be springy enough of a texture for a jacket like this, but it worked surprisingly well! And, shockingly, it's very soft and comfortable.

And then to finish off the yarn from that project, I made a Foliage Hat for Mel. I should have done a gauge swatch because it came out a little wide, but I brought it as a project for our trip to Santa Fe and did not have my tape measure, which is now broken anyway. :(Still, an effective use of the last bits of a sweater and it'll look cute on Mel.

Once I finished with those and finally figured out the color combination I wanted, I was able to start on the Venezia Pullover for myself, woo! I'm not very far into it and this sweater is going to take me forever, but you can already see the pattern starting to emerge. I'm so proud! This is my most ambitious project to date, what with its teeny-tiny fair isle all the way up and steeks at the armholes, yikes! Hopefully I will be able to pull the thing off and have something amazing to show you all later.

And now the picture I promised you last time, better than I could have anticipated, Jericho in all his debonaire glory:

How adorable is he?? You will be seeing this cute face at the wedding. I haven't decided where yet, but way too cute to pass up :)

Wish me luck with all my other planning!



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Planning in Full Swing!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. I've been rather preoccupied with wedding planning details, which are coming along very nicely! Just yesterday we ordered the wedding favors and booked flights and a hotel for our honeymoon in Paris! I am so excited about this!

The other reason I haven't posted is because I signed up for a shop on Etsy and was trying to postpone this until I had that all set up, but I still don't have a very strong idea of how to get that going and I have a bunch of things to show you (!), so here's my update.

You might have noticed that I've changed the name of the blog from Unraveled to Bad Cats, Good Knits. This is because I've also signed up for Ravelry, whose blog is also called Unraveled. Bad Cats, Good Knits is what I've decided to call my Etsy shop and I thought it might be a good idea if they matched. My username on both sites is ReineduMonde, so check me out!

Now the knitting!

Firstly, I finally got around to blocking the Forest Park Scarf:
To be honest, I was a little bored with it after the Cleopatra wrap. I kind of regret buying so much of the orange bamboo yarn--not my favorite color. My coworker, Vicki, on the other hand, loves orange, so I passed the scarf on to her. She seems to like it since she was very excited about wearing it yesterday :).

Secondly, I finished the Nautical Baby Sweater:
I'm worried the collar might be a little too tight, so I probably shouldn't sell try to sell the thing (or really any of it because the yarn is acrylic). Other than that, I think it came out nicely.
And a couple of cute hats to finish off the acrylic yarn!
Now that that junk is out of my basket for good, I can concentrate on using quality materials next time so I won't be so ashamed about putting them up for sale. Maybe I'll wait until I have some good products before really opening the Etsy shop and I can stop worrying about that so much!

My latest project has been a sweater commissioned by Vicki from the Sensual Knits book by Olga Buraya- Kefelian, called the Balloon Sleeve Cardigan:
I'm almost done with it now. I've got everything all knit except for the belt, for which I am waiting on the buckle so I can size the width accurately. I've sewn the hems up, the pieces of the body together and set in one of the sleeves. I just need to set in the other sleeve, sew on the collar and the buttons and make that pesky belt. Then Vicki can enjoy her new sweater! :) The pattern calls for a wool-cashmere blend, which was prohibitively expensive, and Vicki wants it to be a summer cardigan, so I picked Knitpicks Comfy Worsted. It's extremely soft and (shocker!) comfortable. Unlike a lot of cotton yarns I've worked with, it doesn't stick to the needles at all. I am very pleased with the way this cardigan is working out and hopefully Vicki will be too!

Lined up after that, I have the Venezia Pullover by Eunny Jang. I've substituted pinks for the yellows, but I'm not entirely sure about the arrangement of the colors yet. I'll have to play around with some swatches before I really get into it. I'll certainly keep you guys posted here, but might be posting on Ravelry more often, so sign up for it! It's got some really cool programs for logging projects and checking out member patterns.

(I owe you a kitty picture in the next post, I promise)

I hope all of you are having a wonderful spring and that your summer will be as fun-filled as mine is promising to be!



Monday, April 13, 2009


Sorry I haven't updated in so long. It's been rather a busy couple of months!

First of all, about 5 days after my last post, I was offered a great job in a small law firm! So now I'm a legal secretary and in charge of all the personal injury and medical malpractice cases. I'm really loving it so far, especially the small size and friendliness of the firm. The only downside is that work really cuts into my knitting time, so I don't have much to show for the last two months of not posting.

Second of all, Walker and I adopted a new kitty! We adopted her from a shelter, she's about seven months old and her name is Branwen:

Isn't she adorable? We're hoping she'll make a good playmate for Jericho and are working on the adjustment phase while Walker's looking for a job. (He's been having a little bit of luck with that lately, actually! He had a substitute teaching gig last week and is editing a book for a family friend, yay!) So far, she's still a little skittish, but she's getting more adventurous by the day and we suspect that she actually plays with Jericho at night, when she knows were not there to see it happen. She tries to be dignified, but we know the truth!

Thirdly, wedding plans are coming along nicely! We hit the 6-month mark last week and booked a photographer and picked a florist. We've also received the finished invitations, so you should be expecting your save-the-dates soon! So exciting!

Now, knitting:

Because I promised Charlotte a hat, here it is:It's a little bit long, but I really love the pattern! If you love it, I will be very happy to send it to you (you might have to tell me what your address is again). If you don't, I can try to make my first sale on the website that was recently brought to my attention: (I hope to also sell the baby sweater I'm working on here when I finish it). The yarn I used is also a little bit yucky, since I thought I'd try acrylic again to see if I was being a snob over nothing. Turns out I still don't like acrylic yarn.

Which is too bad since I bought enough of it to make me a lovely pink sweater:

This is a slight variation on the Ramona sweater in the Sensual Knits book. The original design is by (Yahaira Ferreira), but I changed the center seam to a cable instead of having to knit it like a cardigan and then sew the front together. That was more me being lazy and not wanting to spend too much time working with acrylics since knitting in the round goes a lot faster for me. I also brought the armpits up a little and nipped the waist in a bit. I really like the way the sweater turned out--it fits really well. I just wish I'd used a different yarn.The other reason I bought the acrylic yarn is that it's a really good choice for baby clothing since very often wool irritates their sensitive skin. I'm trying my hand at a little designing, leaning heavily on The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Interweave Press for measurement suggestions since I have no idea how big babies are. The rest of it, including the little boat pattern, is all me, though:

I hope this turns out to be cute and fits some adorable baby! I finished the back of it and am about halfway through the front and then the sleeves and finishing should be pretty easy. There should also be plenty for making matching booties! I have no idea how I would set a price for a handknit baby sweater--by the hour would be too much since I'm already at 4 hours and not even done with the torso. Any suggestions; I am fairly new at this selling game?

I'm also really sorry I haven't mailed you guys the items you've claimed. With the compiling of guest list addresses, they were handed over to my mother before I got the chance to mail them. So Christina and Sunmi, you might have to remind me where to send your things.

One more cute kitty picture:


Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!!!

The day of love is upon us and of course I've made a few little goodies for the occasion:
I made Walker the little 'lovebug' and a few little stuffed hearts for my parents. A couple of them have faces on them, but that's a little hard to see in this photo. You just have to trust me.Our job situation hasn't really had any progress. We have a few prospects, but they're all moving at the speed of a molasses covered turtle. So hopefully I'll have some better news by my next post, but don't hold your breath. But that means that I've had plenty of time to knit!
I had some dk yarn kicking around and wanted to make some yummy gloves out of it, but couldn't find a pattern for dk-weight gloves, so I decided to try to write one. The one I managed to finish fits very well, but the one skein didn't quite cover both gloves, so I'll have to order another one...once I get around to doing that. So for now I have a glove and a half lying around. Once I work the kinks out of this pattern, I might get around to writing it out for various sizes and post it here!
I did manage to finish some other handwarmers, though! With some more leftover Christmas yarn, I did another pattern out of the Selvubotter book, but this one is for little girls. So if you know any cold little girls, let me know.Alternatively, if you know any medium-sized girls (or boys) whose hands are chilly, they might also be in luck. With some leftover white yarn from mom's Scandanavian scarf, I made some cute cabley mittens.So now all of my yarn is gone, except for that last half ball of bamboo yarn, which is turning nicely into the forest park scarf, which I found in the Designer One Skein Wonders book (as well as the cable mittens, actually). I made some modifications, like I made it one repeat wider, so I'll be able to block it between 12-16" wide and I'm not going to use the same edging. I won't put any edging along the sides and at the ends, I'm going to put in Pinapple Lace Edging. I'm about halfway through the body pattern (shown below) and then will put on the edging. I think it will end up being 5 1/2 feet long, but that kind of depends on how long the yarn allows for.After that, though, the knitting basket is empty: no more yarn. I will have to order one more skein of elegance to finish those gloves, but after that, I just don't know. I will try to write that pattern for Christina (once she gets me her measurements!) and then I guess I'll just get a lot of reading done. We'll see!
Here's Jericho, looking very comfy in Walker's lap, to wrap things up!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!