Friday, March 29, 2013

March Winds

Just some instagram goodness from this windy month.  We've had lots of walks and afternoons outside, windows opened or rolled down, and color.  Even the ugly places are brighter.

(on Ravelry)

 (my instagram and flickr)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Now Leaving Knitter's Trance

I'll be honest.  I just needed a break from making tiny loops with tiny little sticks.  No fingering weight, no sport, NO lace.  I've had these skeins of Araucania Liwen for months, waiting for a certain pattern to be released because I like supporting independent designers, but it's been a while and I'm ready to use the stuff.   So I cast on the same number of stitches as for a size 36" Oatmeal and modified as I went for the look I wanted.

I'll be honest again.  I was actually wanting to have Katie Canavan's shorts off of my needles by now, but I don't know what size to make.  I've finally received treatment for immune system/ food allergy problems and find my body is changing.  If I make them now, they may not fit in a few weeks.  So I'm putting them off a bit longer in the hopes that things will level off and I'll have a better idea of which size will get the most use.  I'm just being practical; no one wants to work for weeks on beautifully cabled, droopy drawers.

So back to my Liwen sweater.  It's nice to make something that doesn't have to be exact.  If it's baggy, all the better.   In fact, I welcome extra length because I have more than enough of this beautiful thick and thin yarn.

Remember when you were a relatively new knitter and you considered size 17 needles big.   Now I find 8s to be a blessed relief after using 1s, 2s, and 3s for the last six projects.  

(more on my Flickr and Ravelry)

More honesty?  I botched this when almost finished a few days ago and had to rip it back to the collar.   Apparently, I went into Knitter's Trance and did more increases to the sleeves than necessary.  Ah, Knitter's Trance... such a lovely place to visit, full of euphoria, nostalgia, and other rhyming words; but I always come back with the weirdest souvenirs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Buying Handmade

Katie Henry makes me want to sew.  That is really saying something because, other than an occasional button, I've only actually sewn one project- my Scallop Clutch.  When I look at Katie's use of vintage textiles, recycled leather, interesting hardware, and mixing of textures I think for a moment, "I'd like to do that."   Just for a moment.  Then I shrug and think, "I'd like to support that." and that is much more realistic.

 Since I've been trying to buy handmade things more this year, I thought it was finally time to buy a bag from Made By Hank.  I've been haunting her shop for years, mostly finding everything sold out.  I doubt I'll ever be online at the magic moment when she lists the larger handbags in her shop ( I would have to be quick because they sell out almost instantly.) but I did manage to get this crossbody bag.

 There is so much going on here with the mix of woven wool-blend fabric, denim, leather, and floral appliques from vintage drapes.   Her shop is full of great finds, but this one was very much my kind of thing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


This was a good weekend project.  It is Dreiecke by Shannon Cook of Very Shannon and it's extra special to me because it involves two people whose blogs I love to read.  They also happen to be  Ravelry friends.  I bought the Indy Hayden yarn from Abi (spiderwomanknits on Ravelry) of Red Comb Farm that was spun from her own alpaca.

The pattern was a gift from Shannon (luvinthemommyhood) that came just as I was considering what I would knit with only 130 yards of alpaca/ wool blend.  Perfect timing.  Dreiecke knits up fast using the  magic loop technique.  I really prefer this method to doublepoints- no lost stitches.  The raised triangular pattern keeps the rounds interesting all the way through and the finished hat is truly unique.

I like to take photos of the yarn before I get started on a project, then document the work along the way.  How's this for a knitting project "before" shot?

Hayden and Indy (Red Comb Farm image used with permission)

They are Hayden and Indy, the yarn's namesake, and I must say they make great yarn.  I love the soft fawn color of the alpaca and the tweedy flecks of wool spun with it.  It looks like warmth.

My only mod was to cast on 4 less stitches than the pattern called for because most hats fall off of my head.  It may not have been necessary to make the ribbing tighter, but I didn't feel like ripping back to fix it later.  Then, on the first triangle pattern round, I increased 4 stitches evenly (one after every 20 stitches) in pattern.
Though alpaca may not give quite as much stitch detail as other yarns, it has a fuzzy, warm, winter vibe.  It's also very soft to touch.

This is the point in my post where I usually go into image overload because I can.  And I love this girl.  I know they're over exposed, but all of that sun!

Dreiecke is a good example of how my life has improved through my Ravelry membership.  I'm not trying to make it sound like Ravelry is the answer to meaning in life.  Everyone knows that's 42.  But it just adds a creative, friendly boost to my day.  I can go days without checking Facebook or Blogger, but I always check out what's happening on Ravelry.  I've gained ideas, advice on projects, inspiration, groups to knit with, and met some really friendly, interesting people I never would have known otherwise.  Everything about this hat, even my learning to use magic loop, came from that site and it's active members.  It is a knit as warm and inviting as the community that inspired it.

(more on my Ravelry and my Flickr)

Okay, I'm finished with my love fest; you can go about your day.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I posted about my first Blink sweater last week.  I felt like it was too big and not long enough, so I ripped it back and started over.  So, this is Blink number 2, knit in the smallest size, with a couple of extra inches in the length and normal 3/4 sleeves.  The pattern name is Jilted by Jennifer Dassau from the Holla Knits Fall 2012 collection.  It's also my new favorite.

I'm so, so glad I re-knit this because the 34" has plenty of room and I'm much more comfortable with a little more length.  In fact, it's the most comfortable sweater I think I have ever made, partly because the design is sort of like a sweatshirt and partly due to the yarn.

 Roman Hills' Gissing in Don't Blink is so soft and wonderful.  I guess it's the cashmere that gives it that extra touchable quality.  I have only used a cashmere blend once before- on the sweater formerly known as my favorite.  

When I say the sweater is like a sweatshirt, I only mean the color and comfort.  The dropped stitch down the front and sleeves elevates it from comfy, raglan, sweater status to something more special.

My mods were minimal.  I used needle sizes 1 and 3 to get gauge.  I also reduced a few more stitches on the ribbing of the body and sleeves for a tighter fit.

Then, I knit an extra couple of inches to the body before dropping the stitch and knitting the ribbing because I must have a longer torso than other people.  Now, Allyson did say that I could add an inch or two by blocking, but I'd already decided to go down a size, so I just knit it longer.

On the sleeves, I picked up two stitches at the bottom of the armhole before knitting around the held stitches.  Once I knit around to one stitch before the two I picked up, I knit 2 together, placed marker, knit 2 together and knit around as usual.  It just adds two stitches to that first round where there always seems to be a gap.

I also used Jeny's Stretchy Bind Off, as recommended by Sara, which I thought worked really well. 

If I want the neckline to be wider or lower, I can always block it that way.  It's not blocked here, because I never do that before taking pictures, but I feel like the size I chose will allow for some stretch/ growth if that happens.

So, this took me about a week to make, if you don't count the first try.  It is good tv knitting.  I watched the David Tennant Dr. Who episodes again because of the Don't Blink yarn.  But I threw in a little Medium too.  Now, excuse me while I go wear this forever.

 (more on my Ravelry and Flickr, previous posts here and here

Friday, March 15, 2013

Saturday with Henri

Remember the sweater I made this winter?  The sweater... Henri by Ann Leachman?  When Ann asked if I'd put together an early spring outfit including Henri, I knew exactly how I'd style it- basically, the way I'm wearing it now.  There's no real winter in Texas, but evenings are cool and unpredictable, so I always have a sweater with me when I'm out.

A Spring Ride with Henri

Above, is Henri knit in Springtree Road Praline DK yarn.   I really love that green.  I think the Springtree Road yarn makes an even easier transition into Spring than mine in City Tweed.   I put one together including my sweater too, just for fun.  I'd definitely wear it over a skirt or shorts when walking or biking around town.  It's also the perfect cozy pullover for evenings on the beach or around the firepit.

Click over to Holla Knits to see Ann's styling of Henri.  Polyvore is like paper dolls for adults, only the tabs don't break off.  But, I spent way too much time cropping obsessively and searching for specific things.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I've Known Her Eighteen Years

This should be a post about how my daughter turned eighteen, about how much I love her, about how proud I am of her, about how incredibly blessed I know I am to be her mother, about how even though I'm excited about her going to college and growing up I have such mixed feelings and bittersweet enthusiasm for her leaving home, and about how I still feel 23 on the inside, so I don't know how this all happened so fast.  It should be, but it's not.  Or, wait, I think it just was.

Anyway, these are outtakes from her senior photos we took a few months ago on Galveston Island.  They've been sitting on my computer, waiting for me to learn Photoshop and still I have not.  They aren't the ones she will pick to send to family and friends.  They aren't the best photos in the bunch, by any means, but I love them.  They make me think of her and how I see her the most.   We took our time, walking through the city, going to all the places we love to go and it was the most easy thing for her to smile that day.  


I snapped a few of the other one, who was as patient as could be expected with a day of stopping to take a million photos.   He was only in it for the G.I. Surplus store.

The whole day felt like a natural extension of the way we spent many weekends of her childhood- together and laughing.   I love you, little girl.

 (more on my Flickr)