Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas: 1st Installment

Yeah, yeah, it's still only October, but this girl has almost got her Christmas presents finished for her in-laws!  I've just got to finish a couple of knit ornaments and make a couple of non-knit purchases and they are all done!  Pretty good, even considering I wanted to have it all finished before Thanksgiving, so that I wouldn't have to ship anything to them.

MIL wanted something simple and warm.  Since the gloves I made her last year were light blue, this year she is getting a light blue Jacques Cousteau Hat (can you tell I really really like this pattern?).  Honestly, I don't know why--the boring ribbing goes on for 8 straight inches without any change.  It's tedious, but I really really love the end result.

I used Knit Picks new Capra DK yarn, which is a cashmere/merino blend.  It does have excellent loft and stitch definition, but I confess I was expecting it to be a little softer than it is.  It is still VERY soft, but it did not quite live up to my expectations.  It is an excellent yarn for accessories, though.

I showed Miss Mary some fingerless gloves I was working on when they visited this summer and she decided that she wanted a pair of her own.  For her, I made Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts:

This was a very easy pattern.  It worked up quickly and I am so pleased with the results.  For anyone looking to try an easy stranded knit pattern, this would be a good one to try.  It is a touch snug, so for those of you with wrists on the less petite side, I would suggest either going up a needle size or a yarn size, to sport weight.

To wear with her gloves in the "chilly" Georgian winter, I also made Mary a Rose Red beret by Ysolda Teague.  (Apologies for the dark image)

It is a lot slouchier than I was anticipating and I am thinking about frogging it and trying a different pattern, as I used worsted weight yarn when the pattern called for DK.  The sample images aren't as slouchy as mine, so it must be that my gauge is way off.  I am undecided about whether I will (or will have the time to) try again with a different pattern or a different yarn.

On second thought, I might just frog the thing for fun.  If you've never experienced the thrill of ripping knitting apart, you are seriously missing out.  It is immensely satisfying--that is until you look at the pile of yarn barf (yes that's a real knitting term) and think about how you now have to untangle and wind it...

Beyond these little numbers, I just have 3 more tiny ornaments to make and I'm thinking about some kind of delicious cookie or hot chocolate mix in a tin, hmm.  Wait until you see these ornaments (perhaps next post?).  They are way too cute!



Monday, October 25, 2010

Matilda Jane

What do you think of my new look, snazzy huh?  I finally got around to playing with Blogger's new template feature and there's some really cool stuff in there.  I was missing out!  I might decide to change things with the seasons, I might not.  Autumn is nice :)

I will also be adding some buttons at the bottom, Ravelry style.  So if you can't come up with something witty on the spot (hey, we're not all poets), you can show your appreciation, admiration, disdain, whatever with the click of a button.  Fancy!

Now, I know it's a little early, but this girl has already got her Christmas sweater ready (and there is not a reindeer in sight):
The pattern I used is by Ysolda Teague and can be found here.  I made no modifications to the shaping of the pattern and boy, does it fit well. My only change was opting not to use a contrast color for the edges. I really love it--makes me feel a little bit like Mad Men (I am a secretary, after all).  It has bust darts, waist shaping and lacing in the back:

Please excuse the bunchiness.  I had just laced it too tight when I was trying it on and Walker didn't tell me how tight it was when he was taking the picture.  I've since loosened the laces and it fits just as beautifully in the back as it does in the front.  Here's a close-up of the lacing:

The yarn I used was Knit Picks Merino Style, which is lovely.  It's not as nice as Swish, but it's also a little cheaper--food for sweaters and other big projects.  I found this lovely ribbon at Joann Fabric--gorgeous isn't it?  My favorite color combo and perfect for Christmas :)

Unrelatedly, my hair is getting much too long and really needs to be cut.  Does anyone have any suggestions for long, fine, medium brown hair?  I will be eternally grateful.  I'm thinking maybe shoulder-length with some layers/other interesting feature...There just needs to be less of it while I madly knit away at Christmas gifts.

I have already finished a number of Christmas gifts, but being the overly ambitious person that I am, I put about a gazillion little knit ornaments on my list and it's going to take me forever to finish them!  I made some adorable snowmen and lumps of coal this weekend.  No pictures  yet, but next time I'll share some pictures of other Christmas gifts I have finished for the in-laws!  Only 60 more days to Christmas!



Monday, October 18, 2010

New Etsy: Fall Edition

Man, I am such a lazy bum.  These sweet little items have been sitting in our guestroom for ages, just waiting for me to take some pictures and post them to the shop.  As good as the yoga challenge was for my figure, it really left me without energy to do anything around the house.  All good things in moderation, it would seem.  I've been taking my week off after 30 days of beating myself up (I did it!  21 90-minute classes in 30 days!) and tomorrow I'll start working out again, but at the gym sometimes, and not just the studio.

Anyway, fall is here and so are my fall items!  All of the baby stuff is made with superwash merino, so it's amazingly soft, but also machine washable, yay!  Enjoy:





And, of course, my favorite Mary Jane Booties

I remembered the adults this time, too!  I had some beautiful teal alpaca/tencel leftover, just enough to make a lady's lacy beret:
  I used my standard peacock tail lace pattern, which the tencel gives a beautiful drape:
I have half a mind to keep it for myself.  :-p 

So enjoy, swoon, recommend it to your friends! 

Next time: Christmas is just around the corner and I already have my sweater ready!  (And a couple of gifts to boot, but they might have to wait until the following blog post).



Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It's been awhile since my last update.  Sorry about that--this yoga challenge is really kicking my butt.  I'm doing 90 minutes of hot yoga 5 times a week for 30 days, which comes out to 22 classes and a total of 33 hours of yoga this month.  Yikes!  I'm halfway through week 4 right now and have 5 more classes left until I finish the challenge. 

I didn't weigh or measure myself before I started but my pants are all fitting looser, I have some abdominal definition, and some serious guns  going on.  Not only that, but I feel more awake in the morning and more cheerful during the day (yes, working out all the time is making me more cheerful)!  I know this sounds like a plug for Hart Yoga (okay, it is a little bit), but I am loving this!  I thought I would get so sick of the bikram sequence, but I look forward to each class and the opportunity for improvement in each posture.

If you've never tried bikram or other hot yoga, seriously give it a try.  It'll be hot, you'll feel nauseous, and you definitely won't be able to do the full expression of every posture, but that is one of the things I love about it--there is always room for improvement, always something to keep you coming back.  Try it three times and I swear you'll love it!

/Advertisement (become a fan of Hart Yoga on Facebook!!)

Now some knitting.  These have been finished for a while, but here they are, the Mary Jane slippers:
I knit them in Knit Picks Swish Worsted (just in case I need to wash them).  It's a good staple yarn, soft, durable, nothing terribly exciting, but also not expensive. 

The pattern was so, so easy.  You just need to know how to pick up stitches from knitted fabric.  There's an awesome tutorial for applied i-cord included with the pattern and it's almost worth  making the slippers just for that tutorial.  The pattern can be found here.  I've been wearing mine a lot lately.  I even tossed out the old, ill-fitting slippers I had before, yay!

And now a finished object I am super excited about: the Pas de Valse Cardigan:
This is one of the few sweaters I've made that have turned out exactly the way I wanted them to.  I made absolutely no modifications to this cardigan, just knit it exactly the way it was written.  Even the length came out perfect--a rare feat for me.

The pattern is by Marnie MacLean and can be found on the Twist Collective's site here.  The pattern is a little expensive, but it is totally worth the money--it is so well written.  I thought I would get bored with all the stockinette, but there is enough shaping throughout that I was interested the whole time and blew through it in two weeks--that's a lot for ~1100 yards of sock-weight yarn! 

The best part: there are absolutely no seams.  None.  The only sewing you have to do is weaving in the ends and grafting the rest of the shawl collar.  That's it.  If I were to do it again, I would probably have knit the sleeves from the cuff  up and then sewn the cap into the shoulder because I just didn't get as nice a seam by picking up stitches from the shoulder, but I am still VERY happy with the way it came out.  I can definitely see this becoming one of my favorite cardigans.  Well done, Marnie, well done.  She's got some other lovely patterns at her website, here
The color is truer in this second picture.  Sorry the first one's so blurry.  I used Knit Picks's Gloss sock yarn in "dolphin."  I had originally bought that colorway for my first ill-fated attempt at Venezia (which I have picked up again, woo!), but decided I wanted to do something special in just that color.  This pattern was an excellent choice--the yarn is soft, but the silk makes it heavy and drapey enough for the elegant folds of this pattern.  The merino/silk blend gives it both a lovely sheen and just enough halo to pull off this rather loose gauge.  I just love it.

Next time, I'll have a very long overdue Etsy update.  I've had some new products ready for a while, but haven't gotten around to photographing them yet.  I promise I will get my act together and get the new things posted.  Stay tuned!