Sunday, May 30, 2010

Autumn Rose in Action

Here's another blog post about how blocking works miracles.  Autumn Rose the finished object was a touch too tight for me, an unflattering squeeze in too many places.  But after I soaked it and pinned it out, it is absolutely perfect.  I couldn't be happier with the finished result:

I love the waist-shaping, the sleeve length, and the neckline.  I did have to modify the neckline a little--I used the chart from the size up from mine because it just dipped too low for the 35" size and I want to be able to wear this baby to the office!  Too bad the weather has been too warm to wear it out in public yet.  I am dying to take it for a test drive!  Tuesday's supposed to be a little cooler.  Maybe that will be the day.

What a beautiful sweater and a fantastic pattern.  The whole sweater was charted out, so there was no guessing on where to increase or decrease.  Despite the complicated colorwork, the construction was very straightforward.  Quite the masterpiece from Eunny, I think.

An excellent testament to Jericho's memory: handsome, full of energy, and I absolutely adore it.

Speaking of kitties, I will be making a big announcement later this week, providing everything goes smoothly on Tuesday.  Wish us luck!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hats, Big and Small

I've had both of these for a little while, just never got around to photographing and posting them--what a good shop owner I am, huh?  For all my talk, I have some kind of mental block about the shop.  I really need to get over this so I can get my name out there and make more sales.  Surely it's not as scary as I'm making it out to be.

Anyway, I've got three new listings this week: two baby sets and one ladies' beret.  I think these peach baby sets might be the cutest ones yet:

I knit them in CotLin, a very soft cotton/linen blend from Knit Picks.   I have both a small and a large set available, so if you know of any 6-month-olds to whom you still owe a shower gift, you're covered!  I can't get enough of those sweet little mary jane booties.  Not enough to make me want to have a baby just yet, but I do want to find a little girl to model them.  Any takers?  A free set of booties to anyone willing to exploit have their baby sit for a photo session.

In case you adult ladies were feeling left out (even though it was 90 degrees yesterday), I have a new beret just for you:

I had half a skein of leftover undyed baby alpaca, which really isn't enough to make anything, but a hat.  The  result is this little number, which I designed based on the "ladybug lace" pattern from Knitted Lace of Estonia (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite knitting books).

 It has a lovely drape to it, don't you think?  This is one of the softest yarns I've ever worked with.  In fact, I was considering keeping this for myself, but I already have a beret...anyway, I listed it today as the "ladybug lace beret."  Check it out and tell all your friends!  I will also have a couple more things for next week, both adult and baby.  I just need to make a couple of alterations to the adult item first.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Move update:  yes, Walker and I were thinking about moving to NC.  We did visit and did like it, but once we returned, Walker was offered a job in a local law firm and we would like for him to get some experience there for a while.  He also just started an accounting class and, since pursuing that career would have a big impact on what we do and where we move, we 're waiting until he finishes those courses before we make any sudden moves.  This issue will get readdressed in August and we'll let you know what we finally decide.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Goodbye Jericho

I really did mean to post some picture for you last week, but as many of you know already, Walker and I experienced a bit of tragedy this week.  Our beloved bad kitty, Jericho, passed away very suddenly Thursday night.  The vet thinks he had an undetected heart condition and he slipped into a cardiac arrest.  It was very quick and the poor thing didn't really have time to suffer, but he's left an enormous hole in our lives.  Walker and I are utterly heart broken.  Jericho was an integral part of our family and without him, the house has a palpable loneliness.

Of course our sweet Branwen has been a great comfort, but she lacks the confidence and unapologetic friskiness to fill the void.  We can't decide if we should quickly try to replace him, giving Branwen a companion and filling the energy hole in our lives or if it's better to let the sting subside before asking another cat to fit into Jericho's very large shoes.  We will have to think on this some more.

So this weekend I did a great deal of knitting-as-therapy, which fortunately means I finally finished the Autumn Rose pullover!  It was a little snug when I first tried it on, so here is a picture of my attempt to wet block it.
The steeks worked out great and I really really loved that the only sewing I had to do was the zillion ends from all the color changes.  Plus it is a beautiful, beautiful design.  It was still wet this morning, so I haven't gotten to try it on yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it fits.

This one is especially emotional for me because this'll be the last sweater to have Jericho's fur knit into it.  I was working on it when he passed and I'm dedicating it to his memory, pouring all my happy thoughts of him into it.  Jericho, I'll think of you every time I wear it.  We love you.

Here is your giraffe, your partner in crime to see you out.
 Goodbye, dear friend.  Rest in peace.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Look!

Hey guys,

No new finished objects again this week, not even baby things--sorry.  I do have a few more Etsy things finished, a couple of baby sets and an alpaca beret, but have not found the time to block or photograph them yet.  Soon, I promise.

I've also been chugging away at the Autumn Rose pullover.  The sleeves and body are all finished and joined for the yoke, but I have not made much progress since then.  I hope to have it finished this week, but that might be pushing it, especially since Little Sis comes home from school today and family is more important ;).  She just finished her junior year at Elon

Instead of more project pictures, though, I decided to revamp the ol' blog.  The Williams color scheme got a little tired, so here's a brand-spanking-new blue scheme!  It's part of a grander scheme to prettify and diversify my presence on the interwebz and hopefully get a little more traffic with a little added effort.   Enjoy (and tell all your friends!).

Pictures to follow soon!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Autumn Rose Preview

No big finished objects for you this week.
I did put a few more baby things up in the shop, my favorite being some pink mary janes:I knit them with leftovers from Mom's Mother's Day socks on size 1 1/2 needles, so the garter stitch is very very fine, but still prevents slippage. I just love the mary jane booties, even more in their perfect pink color and totally washable! (I know, sounds like an ad, but it makes me happy to know that it's an easy care product). The very best part, though, is the buttons I found:How could you pass up tiny heart buttons? Not enough to make me want to make a baby girl of my own, but I wish I knew a little girl to make another pair for. Too cute.

I then got really excited about the Autumn Rose Pullover by Eunny Jang and blew through about 40% of it this weekend. I'm up to the armpit on the body and started the first sleeve. I really really love that this sweater has a raglan yoke. I'll finish the sleeves to the armpit and then join all three pieces, knitting the yoke as one piece and decreasing to the neckline. It means I only have one steek and don't have to so any sewing (except for the gazillion ends to weave in).

Here's a detail shot of the pattern:

I'm using Knit Picks Palette, which I've already gushed about and don't love it any less. Because Palette is a little lighter than the suggested Jamieson Shetland Spindrift, I had to bump the needle size up to 2 1/2. Knit Picks made several color suggestions for this sweater: purples, blues, oranges, etc. I picked the "original" colors, based on the colors in the original pattern because they're gorgeous and because I already had most of the colors from the palette sampler I bought a little while ago.

I did make a couple of changes: instead of marine heather, I'm using navy and instead of edamame, I'm using celadon heather. They just tone that layer down and are closer to the original color scheme. The full list of colors is as follows: Doe, Camel Heather, Bittersweet Heather, Ivy, Navy, Merlot Heather, Celadon Heather, Turmeric, Cornmeal, Autumn Heather, Salsa Heather.

I couldn't be more pleased with the result. Very much looking forward to finishing and wearing this sweater. More pictures when I have more progress.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Swallowtail Shawl


Before and After: the Magic of Blocking


Nupps are a Pain in the Patootie

I finished the Swallowtail Shawl, my first piece of selfish knitting in a little while. The pattern is by Evelyn Clark and it is delightful. She wrote it so you have both the written instructions and the charts. Now, I like the charts because it's just easier for me to picture where I'm supposed to be in the pattern, but for those who like the written instructions, this pattern is for you, too!

I used Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, the leftovers from Mom's Leaf and Nupp shawl for Christmas. The yarn is really really soft, but I don't know that I'll use it again for lace knitting. Straight alpaca is a bit clingy and although it's warm and has a loose gauge, it doesn't drape as well. Next time I'll save the 100% alpaca for thicker gauge things like hats and stick to merino or alpaca/silk blends for lace.
Anyway, here it is, the magic of blocking. Here the shawl before after I finished knitting it but before blocking:

Pretty blah, huh?

And here it is after a good soak and pinned out.

Muuch better. Blocking opens up the lace and gives the edges good definition. I must say I really love these blocking mats. They mean that I have to use fewer pins, since the fabric clings to it and keeps its shape better.

Here is a close-up of the border lace:
You can see the nupps in that middle portion. What a pain they are! They definitely add visual interest, but I either need to knit them more loosely or use a sharper needle. They slowed me waay down and I was getting really frustrated with how many mistakes I made. I dropped one entirely, so there's a gaping hole that's much bigger than any of the regular eyelets and there's another section where I dropped a stitch and had to be a little "creative" with picking it back up.

Clearly, you cannot fudge your way through every mistake, but I don't think they're very noticeable, since the rest of it is so complicated. Overall, I'm pleased with the way it came out and look forward (kind of) to cooler weather when I can wear it in public.

Etsy news: I'm still working on getting more things on there. The list is still currently full of baby things, but once I get through the current yarn supply, I'm going to try to focus on summery items for ladies (and maybe even work on the autumn rose pullover for myself--I'm excited about that one!). Do you have any suggestions for warm weather accessories? Let me know!

Speaking of fudge, I got an idea for nutella rice crispie treats from a friend on The Nest and they sounded way too good to pass up. I just threw a tablespoon of butter, a package of marshmallows, and 3 heaping tablespoons of nutella in with some rice crispies and voila: heaven!
I'll be surprised if they last more than a couple of days, but I'll try... Now wipe that drool off your face and have an outstanding week!