Saturday, January 31, 2015

WIP Weekend

I had all good intentions of writing a WIP Wednesday post, that almost became a Things-a-progressin Thursday, and then... well, you get the idea, it's the weekend now, so WIP Weekend it is.  The main work in progress has been the secret socks. I started knitting these the other week and got to a point where I decided that I wasn't loving how they were looking. They were fine, but they weren't great. Do you ever feel that way?

There were a few things that were bugging me:
  1. They seemed too big and baggy (and I'm sure Joe doesn't want Nora Batty socks)
  2. The hearts seemed a little squooshed
  3. I was knitting a couple of rows from each end of the ball to give it a striped effect...  but the stripes weren't showing up
After much umming and aahing, trying to decide if these bugs were deal breakers, I ripped the sock out and started again, with the following fixes:
  1. Cast on fewer stiches and changed from straight stocking stitch to K9, P1 - this touch of ribbing seems to pull the sock in nicely and give it a little bit of leg huggability
  2. Added an extra row to the hearts so they are a little less stumpy
  3. Ditched the stripes
Back to the drawing board

Now I'm happy!  I don't love ripping out, but when I find myself knitting and knitting and questioning myself about the end result, I figure sometimes its best to just go back to the drawing board... or little notepad, in this case.

Secret Socks

The socks are now coming along nicely, although I am currently in that mental phase of  'I just want to be done' after doing rounds and rounds and rounds of the K9, P1 stitch pattern.  I may add in the afterthought heel right now just to break up the monotony.  But all in all, pleased with how these are coming along.

Other than the knitting, there's also been some purchasing.  First up, this lovely Spun Right Round sock yarn.  I don't have any plans yet... it just called to me like a siren song:

Spun right round

And some fabulous Kaffe Fasset fabric: 

Kaffe Fasset

My uncle has asked if I would make him a quilt with bright, happy, seaside colours.  Here is our colour inspiration for the quilt.
Quilt Inspiration

I think these fabrics will above work well with some that are already in my stash - I wanted some golden sand, and sea blue colours in there.   I might need some other brights too, to make it pop.  I'm still playing around with ideas at this point... I love this part of the process.

Warren quilt fabric?

I also pulled out the WIP Berties (hospice) Blanket.  It's been a thoughtful week for me:  A sweet high school friend passed away from breast cancer last Friday.  It has haunted me all week, and that gave me the nudge to pull this out, so it can be seamed and handed to a local hospice where it can bring someone some comfort.  Thank you to all who contributed squares - this is going to be a beauty.  I just have one last square to complete and then onto the seaming.

Berties Blanket

Go hug your loved ones xxx

Wishing you a good weekend,
Sam xxx

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Handspun Balaclava

"Have you seen this man?"
Do you know this man
Yup, looks like something off one of those wanted/CCTV deals, doesn't it. Although the person in question is normally wearing a subdued colour, not turquoise :)

I'd picked up this yarn last year. I can't remember what we'd gone out for, but we were headed downtown when I spotted some neon signs highlighting a yarn store that I had no idea even existed. So Joe, being the good hubby that he is, insisted that I go check it out. For local Colorado folks, it was the Blazing Star Ranch, and it is located inside a Vacuum store, which probably accounts for why I hadn't noticed it before. 


I'm kicking myself because I can't seem to lay my hands on the label for this. All I recall is that it was an alpaca handspun yarn, and I'm thinking there was less than 200 yards of it's aran-weight goodness!. The yarn is fabulous - so very squishy.

Yarn bowl and handspun

I looked through ravelry for something to make (such a handy site for plugging in yarn weight and yardage to figure out what your options are). When I showed Joe the various options and asked what he thought, he suggested that maybe I could make him another balaclava out of it. Erm, yes, of course. I'd knit him a balaclava a while back and he gets good use of that when he's out walking the dogs in the colder Colorado weather.

I made the pattern up as I went along... which translates as knitting, ripping out and knitting some more :) The final version was knit using a US10 circular needle.  I knit from the crown down to the neck.  Starting by casting on 6 stitches and working in the round in a K2, P2 rib, with increases every row until there were 84 stitches on the needles.  Once it measured about 6 inches, I cast off 20 for the peek-a-boo section (I'm pretty sure that is the correct balaclava terminology!) and then worked back and forth in the rib pattern for 1.5 inches, before casting those 20 stitches back on and resuming knitting in the round until the balaclava measured a total of 16 inches.


Joe likes the strangest things!  He's worn the balaclava a few times already.  I'll give him this, it is super soft and extremely warm.  Attractive...?  Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder :)))

Hope you are having a good weekend,
Sam x

Monday, January 19, 2015

Active projects - January

How many active projects do you have on the go at any given time? I typically have a variety of projects that I am actively working on (and this doesn't include the projects that are tucked away in hibernation).   But here's my big 3:

Only yesterday I cast on some 'secret socks'... it is valentines day coming up after all :)

secret socks

Joe has been working this weekend so that has allowed me to get these underway while he is out of the house. My goal is to complete by Valentines day without him suspecting a thing. I think he's going to be really touched as he really appreciates handmade items, and all his hand knit socks to date.

secret socks

Not to leave the other man in my life out, I am also working on a hand knit for Bruno. He doesn't have much of a coat himself, and it gets pretty darn cold here. So what does every large, masculine dog need? Why yes a striped hand knit sweater :) He looks quite severe in this picture, and that couldn't be further from the truth. In the words of Robert Palmer he's 'addicted to love'!  Bella and Buster liked a lot of attention, but this guy... he just wants to be in constant contact with someone. His favourite spot in the world - my lap. Yup all 90+lbs of him!

Dog sweater

And now my other furry fam, Bella, is giving me that look like 'where's mine?'. She really doesn't need one - this old girl has sooooo much fur. Bella is also a sweetheart, but can be a proper little madam too: We took her for her regular vet checkup the other day, only to find that she'd pulled her best Houdini moves and escaped 3 times from the dog crate they were keeping her in. In the end they decided why fight it, and they just let her find herself a comfy spot where she happily waited until it was her turn to be seen.

Hey, what about me

To finish the knitty update, look at this lovely yarn that I purchased from Phydeaux yarns. It is cachemire in North Pole colorway. Mmmm... aaahhhh... so very pretty. Must think of a suitable project for this one. Thoughts anyone?  I can't even decide if it should be a shawl or socks...

Cashmire sock - north pole

I'm also cross stitching. This is the Once Upon a Time sampler from the frosted pumpkin stitchery. It was last year's sampler - each month you'd receive a new fairytale to stitch. Seeing the finished versions online inspired me to pick this up again.

OUAT January WIP

I'm going to go check out the fun projects that you have underway.

Take care and happy crafting,

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Rustic Cowl

Last summer we took a trip to Santa Fe, NM. During that trip we visited an open air art market where there was a gentleman spinning directly from a Navajo Angora Goat fleece. I'd only ever seen spinning done from pristine, fluffy clouds of fiber, so it was fascinating to watch this fella work straight from the fleece. The outcome was this delightfully rustic yarn.  Of course I needed a skein :)

Handspun goat

Side note:  Does anyone else find spinning mesmerizing?  I could have pulled up a chair and spent the afternoon quite happily watching this man work his crafty magic, and watching the world go by.

This particular skein of Oasis fibers yarn comes courtesy of Hermione... just look at her golden fleece:



I didn't know the yardage on this, but figured there was enough to make myself a cowl.  Using some chunky 15mm needles I cast on 45 stitches and started knitting back and forth until I ran out of yarn.  There's really not much to it, but a perfect instant gratification project.

I like how the end result is a little unusual, as well as being versatile - cowl, capelet, scarf...  All this and it is delightfully soft too.

Rustic cowl

Rustic cowl

The buttons are handmade by Phydeaux yarns.  The buttons came from my stash, but couldn't have been more perfect - their colour picked up on some of the subtle bronze tones in the fleece. 

Rustic cowl

Phydeaux buttons

Wishing you a lovely weekend,
Sam xxx

Friday, January 09, 2015

Kidsilk Cowl

Happy New Year!

Did you do anything fun to bring in the new year? Ours was pretty low key. We celebrated the New Year for the East coast time zone with Naomi, and then the real deal at midnight Colorado time for us big kids. We've had some snow and pretty cold weather over the Christmas and New Year, so it was nice to stay huddled indoors with some of my loved ones.

All this huddling indoors has resulted in crafty goodies to share! I was able to start and finish a lovely cowl in Rowan kidsilk haze. This is extremely light and airy, and  super soft to the touch.

kidsilk haze cowl

It was my Mum who had spotted something similar in a local yarn store, when she was visiting with us over the holidays. I was trying to complete while she was here, but was just a bit too slow, so it will be going out in the mail to her this weekend.

kidsilk haze cowl

I have kidsilk haze in my stash, and Mum selected the solid purple. I'd also recently picked up some seed beads that were a perfect complement to the yarn and decided it might add a nice touch to randomly knit those into the cowl - a touch of sparkle.  The result is subtle, but I think it was worth the effort. (Man, those beads are teeny tiny... it took me a couple of evenings to get them all threaded before knitting could commence).

seed beads

seed beads

Here's my little knitwear model, modeling the end result for me. Do you love the forced grin she is also modeling :)))

forced grin model shot
The knit is really straightforward, only takes one ball of kidsilk haze and works up relatively quickly.  Here are the details:
***Edited to add details of the seed beads***

Seed beads

I used sized 15 seed beads for the cowl.  I don't have the number of the seed beads used, but to gauge quantity, this is a 2-inch-tall pot of the beads and you can see that there are still some left.  To start, I threaded all the beads onto the yarn  using a wire loop made out of very fine wire (see this site for a picture of how to do this).  I'd move the beads down the yarn as I was knitting and randomly add them in:  Knitting somewhere between 5" to 10" of the yarn and then adding in a bead.***

Wishing you good health and much happiness for the year ahead,
Sam xxx