Sunday, December 28, 2008

Silky Lace Ribbon Scarf

A little late for Christmas, but finished nonetheless:

(Do you like my handsome model?)

The pattern is Veronik Avery's Lace Ribbon Scarf available, for free, on I used Handmaiden fine yarn 'Silken' - 2 skeins - in this lovely bright berry red colour.

The pattern is a simple knit that is easy to memorize. Be warned though -- the recommended length for the scarf is a whopping 80 inches! Mine is just a touch shorter than this as I stopped when I was out of yarn from the 2 skeins.

I'm thrilled with the end result. As is my Mum who received the belated gift.

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner? I can barely contain myself! Especially given that I'll be heading back to see my family and friends in the UK.

A couple of friends had a Christmassy swap recently, and I came away with the most amazing haul of goodies from Kristina. She is a sweetheart! Thank you Kristina :)

Goodies include:
- Scout's swag in De Young colourway
- A fabulous project bag from Etsy shop 3am enchantments. Isn't it gorgeous.
- A Starbucks knitty mug (oh yeah, my collection is beginning to grow) and some yummy Aveda comforting tea.

I've been plugging away on more slippers... ever popular. So that's 3 more pairs that will be travelling back home with me.

And I tried my hand at making some Fimo stitch markers. I love the Zecca style goodies and that's what inspired me. These were fun to make and surprisingly simple.

Hmm let's see what else... I've been doing some other gift knitting which isn't quite finished yet. Speaking of which, if you need a quick gift idea, check out the front of the Sundance catalog -- isn't that a cute little hat/scarf set for a bottle of wine. (And don't get me started on the sweater -- I'm dying to try and mimic this using the anthropologie-inspired capelet as a starting point).

Ok, must focus and get back to the gift knitting!
Stay warm,

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Brown paper packages...

Yesterday evening there was the most wonderful surprise waiting for me in the mailbox -- a parcel of goodies from the UK!

Amanda, of Joli House (go check out her blog -- it's choc full of great projects and beautiful pictures) had sent me a lovely gift package:

  • Posh yarn - a silk merino lace weight yarn with a whopping 1200 yards. Isn't it a great colour! And the yarn is soo very soft. I'm thinking I'd like to make a top - maybe spook, or grannie smith, or marianne, or...

  • A great knit mug. Funnily enough, I'd just acquired a similar mug from Starbucks (I'm sure you've seen them around blogland already, right?) and had told Joe that I was going to acquire a whole set. Seems Amanda read my mind and is helping me on my way :)

  • And check out the festive shopping tote. Love it!

  • But most of all, I really like the adorable card -- a picture of Amanda's daughter Lily (who, by the way, is an amazing knitter - her fab projects are also showcased on the Joli house blog). I see a future Kim Hargreaves in the making ;o)
I love receiving gift packages in the mail... it truly is one of my favourite things. Thank you Amanda, this is a really sweet and thoughtful gift :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Handknit Holidays

Thanksgiving weekend has been a lot of fun so far. For me, it really kicks off the holiday season. And in that spirit, I've been Christmas shopping, crafting, gift wrapping, stamping etc etc... And I love it!

First up, a little baby santa hat to go with a Dr Seuss onesie that I found. How cute is that!

The pattern is Kathy Pasusta's Santa hat from 'Handknit Holidays'. I think this pattern is a lot of fun, and most of my family have a version of this hat. I love the book too; there are soo very many things that I'd like to make.

On the topic of gift knitting, I'm looking for advice:

I found these great gloves, and would like to make a scarf or shawl to go with them. It doesn't have to match per se... just complement.

I looked through my stash (I love purple, and just knew there would be something that worked) and sure enough one of my highly coveted Sundara sock yarns would complement the gloves beautifully. But what to make? I only have 350 yards of the purple. And I also have some espresso brown Koigu, if needed, to add to the project.

One thought is the stained glass scarf (ravelry link), also from Holiday Knits, and maybe modifying to add a few cables? Too boring?

Or maybe something like 'through the loops' version of the silk kerchief?

Or what about a ruffle scarf of some description? (Ravelry links). Hmm I'm thinking I like this best...

What are your thoughts? Suggestions are welcomed :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Knitted mug cosies

...just what every home needs!

The pattern is 'Mug and French Press Jackets' by MK Carroll. I think they are adorable - perfect for that person on your gift list that seems to have everything.

And if you are looking for some last-minute knitted gifts, this could be just the ticket -- they only took a day to whip together. This pair will be going out to a sister-in-law with a selection of yummy teas.

One note: the jackets need to fit pretty tightly in order to stay on the mug. So I'd recommend a gauge check, or tailoring the pattern sizing to the desired mug. (At first, mine were a little 'baggy' and when I lifted the mug, the little jacket slipped off! To fix this, I did some very slight felting in order to shrink it just a touch. That did the trick.)

I'm now tempted to make one up for myself too. It would certainly get some interesting looks in the office, don't you think? ;)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to prettier things

Whew! Now that Rowan Major is out of the way, I can back to my prettier knitting projects:

1. Rowan Geno
I've finished the bulk of the knitting on this one. Just need to find some quiet time to sew together and knit the button band. I have high hopes for this FO...

2. Araucania Hexagons
I keep adding to this in my few spare moments. It won't be done for Christmas. But I think the recipient will love it regardless of when they receive it.

3. Red silk ribbon scarf
Continues to grow. I really ought to focus on this one as I would like to give it away for Christmas. (No picture update as it really is just more of the same).

4. Mug cosy
Have you seen these mug cosies? I love them! I'm making a couple to go with some mugs and tea caddy for a Christmas gift.

5. Hourglass
Still plugging along on this -- I'm on the sleeves so these are my portable knit right now (nice size project to tuck into my bag, and good mindless knitting).

And that's it for the time being. I hope I have another FO to share soon...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rowan Major

Here's another FO for Joe that I've been calling his ugly sweater:

The yarn is Rowan Spray, and this particular colourway had been sprayed with an acid/lime green. Pretty harsh on the eyeballs isn't it (at least with the first handwash some of the colour leaked off and the end result is much mellower... but still a little zany!).

The pattern is Rowan Major from the booklet 'The Next Big Thing'. I made a few modifications - no epaulettes, no pocket covers, and I knit it all on a US 15 needle (instead of the recommended US 17 for the bulk of the sweater).

This was far from an enjoyable project - first of all I had the longest circular needle ever (from an afghan I had previously made) and so I'd end up wrapping the lengthy cord under my leg, or round the back of my neck to try and prevent myself from getting all tangled up in it! Quite the sight. And then the pockets were a bit of a pain to do as they start right at the bottom edge of the sweater and you have to figure out how to join them into the cast-on edge correctly. Yep, just glad this one is done.

But here's the deal - Joe loves it! So all's well that ends well.
I just need to find some big buttons to officially finish it up and then he can make good use of it when walking the dogs (now that the weather looks like it is going to turn chillier again).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mini snowmen scarves

I'm starting to feel the excitement of the holiday season. I've started my Christmas shopping, and my Christmas crafting...

To avoid any last minute rushes (like last year) a couple of my stamping friends got together this weekend to start making our Christmas cards. I'd seen some scarf wearing snowmen on Ravelry (goodtobegirl's 2005 holiday cards) and decided to make something similar using the Stampin' Up 'Let it snow' stamp set.

I love these little guys! And it was a great way to use up a smidgeon more leftover sock yarn.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Noro roadtrip socks

These have been a long time in the making: I cast on in May when Joe and I took a roadtrip from Colorado down to the border of Texas and Mexico. With all the miles and miles of driving, I was convinced that I'd have them completed by the time the journey was over. Hmm... wishful thinking! 5 months later here they are in all their stripey glory:

You know, at first I didn't like them -- the striping wasn't distinct enough at the cuff of the sock. And then there was the splash of turquoise that seemed so out of place. But now that they are done, I really am quite fond of the effect. And I love that they aren't exactly the same.

As for the details:
  • Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn
  • Needles: Size 2
  • Pattern: My basic sock recipe. (This time I cast on 68, instead of the usual 64 on account that I'd gone down a needle size). And to create the skinny stripes I simply worked 2 rounds from one end of the ball, and the next 2 rounds from the other end of the ball.

With this 'portable project' complete, I'm already winding the yarn cakes for my next portable project that will be keeping me company on my trip out to California next week. No better way to while away the hours in airports and on planes...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sam vs The Stash

I mentioned in a recent post that I have a ridiculous amount of yarn stashed away, and that I'm attemping to whittle it down. Thing is that for the most part the stash is comprised of lovely yarn with sufficient yardage to make sweaters, socks, and fancy schmancy scarves, and this I can live with -- it looks pretty, and it has a purpose.

And then there's the basket of worsted weight odds and ends.

It just goes against my sense of order to have this sat around without knowing what I'd be able to use it for. Especially now that I'd got through the annual batch of felted slippers. And then it dawned on me -- with the weather starting to turn cooler I should put it to good use by making a big warm blanket for the B&B Team. (Mostly for my big baby boy Buster who is a softy and, now that it is getting chillier, likes to be tucked under a blanket to go to sleep).

So I dug out my biggest crochet hook, stuck my hand into the basket pulling out odds and ends at random and started my seemingly never-ending spiral of single crochet. And I just kept going and going until there was no more scrappy bits of yarn left in that basket. I then stuck the whole thing in the wash to felt it slightly in the hope that it would make it a little more resilient as my dear sweet (and mischevious) Bella seems to think her blankets and bedding should double up as chew toys!

So it's a win win: I got to use up the scrappy worsted weight yarn, and the B&B team get a snuggly new blanket.

I think they like it, don't you? Although Bella obviously thinks it's even better when accessorized with her old dog bed and my old dressing gown!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Change of pace

Last weekend I decided to put the knitting down and go stamping with a girlfriend. It made for a nice change, and I have some cute Halloween cards and gift tags to show for it. Some fun goody bags will be winging their way to the UK this week.

We don't really celebrate Halloween in the UK, but it's a big deal over here. I kind of like it -- I enjoy seeing the various costumes on the kids in our neighbourhood and like to guess what they are when they arrive at my doorstep trick or treating. Last year was one of my favourites-- the girl was dressed in a big yellow square of foam. I though ha ha this is easy, you are Sponge Bob Square Pants. Alas no she informed me, she was a big piece of cheese! It was only a moment later that her friends, the cat and the mouse, appeared to round out the theme for me. (If you are not fron the US, you may be like me in thinking that Halloween is for dressing up in scary costumes... but it turns out any costume will do. )

The other reason I enjoy Halloween is that, for me, it marks the kick-off of the holiday season - Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. And I love the holiday season.

So, speaking of Christmas, thanks for the advice on the projects -- I picked up the Christmas crafting again and worked some more on the red ribbon lace scarf. This is going to be really pretty when done, and I'm excited to gift to the intended recipient. It's a simple pattern repeat and is proving to be a perfect project as I'm getting caught up on the new seasons of Greys Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters etc...

I also worked on another Christmas gift (although I'm wondering if this will really be done by then). It's another version of Dulle Griet's Bobby's Blanket. This time in Araucania cotton. I had a few leftovers of this yarn, and purchased some more to complement. I think it's going to be a fun blanket. And I love working on these addictive hexagons. This version especially because each side is only 10 stitches so it goes super fast! Jeanie asked (sorry Jeanie I had no way to contact you - I hope you see this) whether it is a difficult pattern. It's not. Anyone who can work socks on dpns can whip out one of these with ease. So get dipping into your leftover sock yarn ;o)

I received a couple of hints from Joe to work on his big sweater, so that's progressing nicely with the big chunky yarn and fat needles. And the weather this weekend has been perfect for huddling indoors -- cool, misty, damp... Perfect for sitting by the fire with a big cup of tea and basket full of projects.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lacking focus

I don't know what's going on right now, but I'm having a hard time committing to any individual project.

There are however 2 things I have enjoyed working on:

  • The scrappy sock blanket -- I think because each hexagon takes about 30-60 mins so I feel like something is completed, and I get to vary the yarns to keep it interesting.

  • A couple of roses for Bea -- she's going to have knitted bouquets and buttonholes at her wedding. Isn't that just a wonderful idea. And these little roses can be whipped out in no time at all.

  • The things that are in active rotation are:

  • Phyllo Yoke in Rowan Calmer -- this will be nice for the autumn and so I'm thinking that would be a good one to try and finish.

  • Geno in 4 ply soft -- another that would be perfect for autumn, and pretty close to being finished with only half of one front side and the finishing to complete.

  • Hourglass in plain and fancy -- a good mindless knit.

  • And if that wasn't enough, I cast on for a sweater for Joe and a Christmas gift for a secret recipient. And still I can't help thinking of other Christmas projects that I could be starting.

    So, if you were in my shoes would you focus in one one - if yes, which one and why? Or would you keep picking and choosing as your mood dictated?

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    2nd Year Bloggiversary

    Come tomorrow, I will have been blogging for 2 years. Not bad for something I started out as a 'lets just see if I can do this'.

    I really enjoyed taking a look back over the last year of posts. Here are some random observations:

    • I completed approx 35 projects in the last 12 months. Whew! I'm thinking my speed must have improved this year. Either that, or other things have taken a back seat to the knitting.

    • 25 of these projects were gifts. Which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sharing the love... ;o)

    • Of the 10 knits I made for myself, 4 were sweaters. And I wear them all! (This is a first.)

    • My stash seems to have grown a ridiculous amount. Some as a result of the Colorado blanket. Others because I seem to lack self control in a yarn store. This coming year I am going to make a concerted effort to try and knit more from my stash.

    • I have good intentions - NanKniSweMo, Ravelympics and the like - but rarely seem to meet these self-imposed goals. I'll probably refrain from signing up for these events in the coming year, and instead knit at my own pace.

    • Most importantly, this year I made some really great knit friends - both locally and online. I appreciate you all for making this hobby even more enjoyable :) Thank you.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Happy feet

    As the weather starts to turn a little cooler each year, the requests for felted clogs start coming in.

    The finished items aren't particularly beautiful, but they are soo snug and well loved by the recipients that it's always worth the effort. (And when I say effort, a pair really only take about 3 evenings to complete). One request was for my 5yr old nephew. Since the pattern is only written for adult sizes I was pleased as punch when I figured out how to downsize to little feet size. (I've only partially felted these since I'm not sure of his foot size -- I'll let my Mum or Sis take care of felting them down further, if needed. )

    The other advantage this year is that I really did try and use leftover wool from previous years' clogs, or other finished projects. So it's been a good stashbustingwhittling exercise -- this basket here was brimming over and now it's... erm... well... just full.

    Next up, a pair to keep my toes toasty!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    6 Random Things

    Amanda tagged me with the '6 Random Things About Me' Meme.

    Here are the rules:
    • Link to the person who tagged you.
    • Post the rules on your blog.
    • Write six random things about yourself.
    • Tag six people at the end of your post.
    • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
    • Let the tagger know your entry is up.
    So here goes:

    1. I work for a technology company, but haven't been able to figure out how to load my iPod with tunes. (And I've owned the darn thing for over 2 years.)
    2. My right eye has a rebellious streak. Most of the time it behaves, but every now and again it decides to do its own thing.
    3. I love to sing. Full volume. I'm one of those folks that likes to belt out a tune in an animated fashion whilst driving.
    4. I often dance around the house.
    5. The fact that I have absolutely no talent for either of the previous 2 activities has never stopped me giving it my all. But only in close company. Or with a few drinks inside of me.
    6. And speaking of drinks, I picked my husband up in a bar. There's actually a far more romantic version of the story... but the facts remain the same.

    I'd love to learn more about:

    Does anyone else want to play?

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Baby Miter Blanket

    I finished the baby miter blanket yesterday with the leftover* corntastic yarn:

    *leftovers plus 2 extra skeins to make the colour scheme work

    The blanket was inspired by the Mitered Square Blanket in Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. But instead of stocking stitch, I used all garter, and alternated the colours every 2nd row.

    Here's the basic instructions for my version of the pattern:

    • Cast on 40 stitches. (Place a marker between the 1st 20, and the 2nd set of 20 stitches.)
    • Row 1: Knit all stitches
    • Row 2: Knit until 2 stitches before the marker, k2 tog. Slip marker, ssk, knit to end.
    • Change colour.
    • Repeat row 1 and 2 (changing colour after every row 2) until you have 2 stitches left -- k2tog and pull yarn through.
    • Sew all squares together. Add a crochet border (double crochet around the edge, working 3 dcs into every corner).

    Things I would have done differently:

    1. Plan the colour scheme out in advance -- it wasn't until I was 2/3 of the way through that I decided to match up the colours so that each outer edge would match the colour of the edge it was placed next to, and each inner colour would match the inner colour of the squares that it was placed next to. You can only imagine how long I played with this 'puzzle' until I found a way to make it work, and then fill in the blanks.

    2. Leave the ends until the end -- I thought I was being good by weaving in the ends of each square as I went along. If I was smart I would have left longer tails, and used these for sewing the squares together. As it was I think I did 2x the amount of sewing that was necessary.

    3. Wash and block; do not iron -- I washed and blocked, but because I'm impatient and wanted a picture, I decided to throw in the dryer and then just iron the edging. Bad idea -- turns out this yarn doesn't agree with a hot iron! Luckily it was just an edge and I pulled the iron away before any real damage was done!

    So there you have it. It's done, and will be winging its way back to the UK this week.

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Serendipity, Buena Vista

    Stop 14 on the Colorado Yarn Tour was Serendipity in Buena Vista.

    Wow, what a store! Serendipity is a combination yarn store and gift shop.

    It is a beautiful older house that has been converted into this wonderful welcoming shop where every room reveals a beautiful array of 'treasures'. There are goodies spread throughout the 2 floors. I could have spent hours brwsing, oohing and aahing over everything.

    I think all of my favourite yarn brands were there in abundance too. (Joe is grateful it's not too close to home. ;o)

    One of the ladies at the store described it as a destination yarn store. And I'd agree -- definately worth making a trip to go see. And if you do happen to be in the area, we had lunch at a lovely cafe called Mothers. Delicious food in cosy surroundings.

    Oooh and before I forget, I picked up this skein for the 'myth' that is my Colorado blanket.

    My sister and I toy with the idea of owning a yarn store back in the UK, and Serendipity is exactly the kind of place I'd love for us to run. Maybe with one of the rooms converted into a tea shop. 'Cause knitting can be thirsty work, right!

    Saturday, August 30, 2008

    The Colorado Yarn Tour continues...

    This summer Joe and I took Ian and Jessica up to Durango to see Mesa Verde. On the drive back to Denver we made a number of stops to add some more Colorado Yarn Stores to my 'Colorado Yarn Store Crawl'.

    Stop 12 was Knit One on Pearl Street in Bayfield. Bayfield looks to be a tiny town but kudos to any small town that sees the need for a dedicated yarn store to serve the local knitters (and passers by :o). And don't you just love that they were able to secure a location on Pearl Street!

    Knit One couldn't have been a friendlier store. The owner was a delight! She told me about other stores in the area I might want to visit; shared her current project with me; asked about Denver stores. All in all, a joy to hang out with. And then there's her trusty 4-legged friend who also seemed very happy welcome you... and get a little attention ;o) If you are in the area, I'd recommend swinging by.

    It's a fairly small store, but has a nice selection of yarns, some of which I hadn't seen before -- I picked up some lovely Colinette Taos (it's a silk yarn - yum) for the Colorado blanket. (Which I'm thinking about renaming my Diva blanket because of the luxurious fibers that are going to be in it!)

    Stop 13 was Edelweiss Needlework Chalet in Pagosa Springs. If you happen to be enjoying the hot springs in Pagosa then by all means wander over the street to see Edelweiss needlework chalet.

    This store caters to a variety of needlearts -- in truth it feels a bit like a quilting store that has expanded to offer some cross stitch and knitting supplies. Nothing wrong with that of course.

    What I'm trying to say is that there's probably more appeal for a quilter rather than a hardcore knitter. I found a great Irish linen yarn that though. It's not the softest, but I do love the fine, but slubby, texture on this one.

    I'm avoiding the topic of the blanket's progress. Let's just say there's a miter square baby blanket, and an overdue ravelympics project, hanging in the wings first. Thing is, aside from the new job, I've had my nose in a book most evenings. I need to figure out a way to knit and read... I was thinking of bringing my cookbook stand out and seeing if that would do the trick! Ha can you imagine? Nope, I decided to stay consumed in my book and let the knitting sit to one side for a change.