Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Handmade Christmas, Part 1

First, a quilt I had worked on for quite awhile. This quilt came about when I purchased about 25 fat quarters in varying shades of green with the intention of making a somewhat crazy quilt. I began by cutting the fat quarters into 4 inch strips, then cutting those strips at random lengths at a 45 degree angle. I then sewed the angled edges together to make new 4 inch wide strips, then sewed the strips together to make a quilt top. I used a thin old blanket that we didn't use any more for the batting and found some backing fabric that matched. The binding is attached by machine, and the quilting lines are random curves that run the length of the quilt.

Next, the finished color wheel quilt! I am so pleased with this one I can hardly stand it. Giving it to the recipent will be bitter sweet, but I know she'll love it and I still have plenty of fabric left to make another one for myself.

My first official and completed Elizabeth Zimmerman project. I can't believe how much I truly LOVE garter stitch. I didn't really make any modifications, except I added the i-cord edging and I wrapped stitches in the short row parts. Love it. I hope it fits my grandmother, and I'm making one for myself next... I've already cast on, but I'm knitting it on size 9's this time and adding 20% to the stitches per row and the number of rows. Check it out on Ravelry here.
Up next: More Christmas Projects!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Conversations with Grandmother

My Grandmother is 89 years old. Last year at Thanksgiving, she greeted me with "How are you? You look like you're getting enough to eat!" I can always count on her to be brutally honest. This year, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas...

Me: Grandma, is there anything you'd like for me to knit you for Christmas?
Grandma: Oh, I don't know sweetie.
Me: Did you like those socks I made you last year?
Grandma: Oh, no. I never wore them. I didn't know what to wear them with, I can't wear them with shoes, they're too thick.
Me: Well, you can just wear them to keep your feet warm at night, they're meant to be warm socks. Is there something else you'd rather have this year?
Grandma: Did you knit that sweater you're wearing?
Me: Yes.
Grandma: How about a sweater?
Me: Ok, I have a pattern I think you'd like. Something simple? What color?
Grandma: I like the color of your sweater. Maybe that, or off-white?

So, the search began. I'm going to make EZ's Rib Warmer (using Jared's modifications) for her, because I think she'll actually wear it - but if she doesn't, I know she'll tell me. Sometimes I wonder what I'll be like when I'm 90 - probably a lot like her!

Another project I'll be working on before the end of the month: A hat for a friend who'll be working on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea for the next few months. (Think: Deadliest Catch) I'm thinking that only a hat with traditional gansey stitch patterns, including the wearer's initials, will do in this case.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nearly There

I'm almost done with my Christmas Knitting, so I took a little break today and ordered these from Jenny at All Sorts. I can't wait to embroider them!

Christmas Knitting was light this year. Little Miss B will be recieving a pair of booties in hot pink, and her mama will get a hat, scarf and mitten set. Littlest sister will be the lucky recipient of the color wheel quilt (next I have to make one for me). I made socks for MIL, SIL and Grandmother, and that's about it. There might be a few more projects on the needles in the next few weeks, because there always are! Pictures will follow when I remember to take them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blonde Moment

So, I've been looking at the book Knit So Fine for about a year, now - lusting over the Traveling Stitch Legwarmers pattern, and dreaming of ways to knit them into socks. I just couldn't bring myself to spring for the whole book for one pattern... and then the other day I was looking through my old interweave knits mags, and found the pattern in one of them. I've had it the whole time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Color Wheel Quilt

My phone doesn't take the greatest photos, but even a crappy photo makes my point... I love this quilt pattern! It's from Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts and it's quicker than you'd think. It's also quite inexpensive to make, if you've already got a rainbow of fabric stashed.
This isn't the only thing I've been spending my time on lately... and it's one of the first projects in my attempt at a mostly handmade Christmas this year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spencer's Hat

Needles: US 5
Yarn: Brown Sheep Worsted Superwash
Size: Adult M/L
Gauge: About 6 stiches/inch in pattern, unstretched.
Cast on 100 stitches, using the tubular cast on method.
Join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work in the round, in 1x1 rib for 1”.
Switch to 3x1 rib and work in the round for 8.5”.
Begin decrease rounds:
1. (k2tog, k1, p1, k3,p1) repeat to end of round.
2. (k2, p1, k2tog, k1,p1) repeat to end of round.
3. (k2tog, p1, k2, p1) repeat to end of round.
4. (k1, p1, k2tog, p1) repeat to end of round.
5. (k2tog, k1, p1) repeat to end of round.
Repeat round 5 until you have 10 stitches total left.
Cut yarn, draw the tail through those 10 stitches and pull tight.
Weave in ends.
Using the smaller needles with worsted yarn produces a tighter knit for maximum warmth! This pattern could easily be adapted to use any worsted weight that matches gauge.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Knitting for Health

For some reason, fall is always the time of year that I start paying attention to my health. The prairie I love so much is in it's prime, October brings a sea of pink for breast cancer awareness, and the air temperature is just... right.

I started knitting the Monteagle Bag from the newest "Mason Dixon" knitting book, and had an overwhelming urge to visit the grocery store; for the sole purpose of filling my newly knitted denim bags to the brim with fresh fruit. This started a grocery shopping spree of whole grains, low fat dairy and fresh fruits and vegetables.

I'm attributing my renewed interest in a healthier diet to my obsession with knitting, whether it's sane or not. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Progress in knitting is still progress

We've been messing with numerous projects lately, and the only ones I can seem to complete are small knitting ones. I am making a bunch of these little amulet bags for Christmas Presents. J says that they're impractical and useless, but I say they're the perfect size to tote a certian prophylactic device. Useful in some situations, at least!

In other news, I made this sweet little denim sweater for my new niece. Props to my moms for letting me delve into her mad button stash! I can't wait to see it on her, it will hopefully fit her this winter.

Monday, August 11, 2008


On a visit to my dad's a couple of weekends ago, he presented me with nearly a trunk-full of homegrown veggies. Only a little bit of what he sent with us is shown... I took this photo after the 20 + pounds of heirloom tomatoes had been reduced to 5 pints of home-canned spaghetti sauce, and including 20 yellow squash in one photo seemed redundant.
I've always (been jealous of) bragged on both of my parents ability to make things grow with seemingly little effort. Until this year, I was lucky to eek out a handful of sorry looking tomatoes and one zucchini before the squash bugs came...
This year, we've harvested 10 lbs of tomatoes, 50+ lbs of zucchini, and enough cucumbers to make 6 quarts + 6 pints of kosher dill pickles. I've also picked about 7 ears of corn, a large handful of green beans, a few small onions, and two tiny strawberries. The asaparagus won't be ready until next year. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Antiques Roadshow

Eeek! Here we are at Antiques Roadshow last week when they came to our very own hometown. Sadly, neither of us is going to retire a rich young(ish) lady anytime soon... but I think we'll make it onto TV when they air the show in January. My dear friend and I were standing (and knitting!) behind a guy who was being filmed with some kind of Mongolian helmet. Fun!

Friday, June 27, 2008


Did you know that the Apiaceae plant family contains many toxic species, such as Conium maculatum (hemlock), yet also includes carrots, parsley, cilantro and cumin? Socretes would probably have not appreciated this pattern as much as I do.
This was the longest bind off in the history of knitting, and the most nerve-wracking by far... I had a total of 3 INCHES of yarn left when I bound off the last stitch!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A long, long time ago...

So I finished the mitered square blanket awhile back, and it's wrapped up and ready to go to its new owner this Sunday. I also knitted a cute little short-sleeved baby jacket that matches!
I've been knitting a lot for as hot as it is: socks for jeff and my Euroflax version of the Hemlock Ring Doily. And, I just started the blanket version of the Hemlock Ring last night!

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's not easy being green

BFFH asked me the other day, "So, are you in your 'green' phase?" He was looking at my current pile of 4 UFO's:

Pictured above are: Baby Suprise Jacket in "Dublin" Knit Picks Swish Superwash, Socks for Veronik in "Grass" Knit Picks Essential, Gentleman's Fancy sock in Lang Jawoll, and a nearly completed Gathered Pullover in Paton's Classic Wool Merino.

Green is supposed to be the most relaxing of colors... and boy, do I need to relax right now.
Or, maybe I'm just feeling frisky, or I was inspired by my Irish roots or the grass starting to peek up from my yard?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whoa, Nelly.

Where did that last month go? Good grief.

Knitting and spinning have been going on, but sadly... no pictures to post. Briefly, the Gathered Pullover is on sleeve island, the Socks for Veronik are nearly done (but are certianly not designed for my feet. Oh well, a dear friend with "less foot volume" will love them!) and I started the Jacobean socks in a delightful spring green.

Here's where we're going for spring break. Enjoy :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saving Up

The Tangled Yoke is finally done! I really loved knitting this, although the 4 inches after attaching the arms before starting the cable were the most tedious 4 inches of knitting ever. Now that it's done, though, I love it love it love it. I also love the square shell buttons I found! Someday (10 fewer lbs from now) I may even model it... although it fits me perfectly and I've already worn it in public. The only modifications I made were: Using #4 needles instead of #5, and knitting a size small around but length-wise, I knit the largest size. This was a nice way to accomidate my loose knitting and my big rack/long waist. I bought 10 balls of Rowan Felted Tweed and only needed 7, so the pattern seemed a little heavy on the yarn requirements. I have more photos of the finished cardi on Ravelry, but here's one for you:

As promised, pictures of GraceAnna's socks and the afterthought heel. I used the Yarn Harlot's tutorial and it was fairly simple (see more comments below.)

Here are the stitches picked up:

and the middle stitch snipped

and ready to knit the heel

and done.

Not a fan of the afterthought heel, but I should have known that given that kitchener stitch is involved. I don't mind how it turned out, but it would have taken far less time just to knit a heel when I was supposed to.

In more knitting news, I started the Gathered Pullover I mentioned in this post, and started the Socks for Veronik this week as well... following a brief obsession with the Ball Band Dishrag Pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting:

This weekend: Quilting and Spinning. The spinning wheels mentioned in this post are finished, and mine is calling my name along with some merino/bamboo roving I scored on ebay this week. :) ... and I owe my friend a Denver Broncos quilt for his FREAKING AWESOME job at building our wheels!

Friday, February 1, 2008


That's how many pictures were on my camera today when I downloaded them. Here's the one I was looking for:

The 96 others were the apparent result of wee A's attempt at being "artistic," as they varied in subject matter from portraits of the dogs laying on the living room carpet (badly in need of a good vaccuuming), yarn/roving/my spindle (hee!), his pet fish and stuffed puppy, but the funniest ones were the extreme closeups of his nostrils and teeth!
Anyway, I plan on spending a bit of time making a few more of these delightful little Garter Mug Cozies, from the Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 Magazine. I only made one to begin with, and had to make a couple of alterations (size 5 dpns, not quite so many increases, and washable yarn instead of wool.) But I've had a request or two from the self-portrait photographer himself, who loves drinking hot cocoa almost as much as my camera.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Too Many WIPs...

And I'm not talking about just knitting, either!

Here's the project we've been working on, headboards with shelves! The boys designed the plans, measured the wood, sanded, and stained and finished them almost entirely by themselves (I ran the circular saw). They are SO proud of their work, and I am SO proud of how hard they worked on them.
However, in knitting news:

I'm nearly finished with GraceAnna's socks and I'm excited to do the afterthought heel, which I'm planning to tackle tonight using this method. Pictures will follow in the next post.

I visited the Gove City Yarn Shop with my sister-in-law and was overwhelmed by the amount of yarn stuffed in and around antiques. This town is seriously tiny, and we were the only ones there... yet there was yarn everywhere! I did see these Needle Binders there, which I am currently coveting. I bought 2 skeins of Wildfoote in Blue Blood Red, and am planning to use them in the Socks for Veronik pattern.

I'm currently slogging on the 4 inches before the "tangle" in the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. ( I love Eunny, but this is like knitting a sweater-sized sock. Number 4 needles and sport weight yarn!) I hope I can wear it at least once before it starts to get warm. Pictures to come...

Update: My tall sister, she picked the Gathered Pullover! This is fantastic because that's the one I wanted to knit for her. I should have it done (read: cast on) by the time it gets really, really hot here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Twisted Sister

Last week, I took advantage of a great sale on Patons Classic Merino, and ordered five skeins each of tree bark and dark natural. It arrived a few days ago and the skeins have already found their way into my stash… but not for long – they (at least half of them) were ordered with a specific project in mind!

My sister recently asked me if I could knit her a sweater. Being rather tall, I suspect it’s only because she’s intrigued by the prospect of a custom fit that will keep her wrists warm as well as the rest of her, but she may have other motives. (Just kidding, T!)

You know how you get an idea in your head of exactly the thing you’d like to knit for someone? I called her yesterday for her measurements, and I’m hoping that she likes one of these:

Gathered Pullover:

I love how the cables in front are used to shape the sweater, and the rolled edges and v-neck would look really nice on her. Plus, it will be super easy to lengthen for a tall girl.

Cobblestone Pullover:

Yes, the original pattern is designed for men, but I’ve seen a couple of these on Ravelry that have been adjusted to fit women, and it looks fantastic on tall girls! Libby knit one for her hubby, and I loved the way it fit me when I tried it on. (Note to self, if my sister doesn’t want one, then I do!) Lilybeth has knit one for herself and replaced all of the garter stitch with moss stitch, a look I am in love with.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Spinning Wheels

I hardly knit this weekend, for I had other projects calling for my time. Libby and I met our dear friend in his woodshop to help out with some sanding on his latest project. Using the "No Lathe Saxony Style Spinning Wheel" plans along with his AMAZING talent, he is nearing completion on two spinning wheels, which will soon be ours!

Some delicious photos for your viewing pleasure:

I can't wait... !

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

I said goodbye to an old friend last night.
The Bistro Shirt was the first sweater project I ever tackled, the first real yarn I bought from an LYS with a specific project in mind, and a first for many techniques (seaming, following a pattern, a lesson in GAUGE, the 3-needle bind off).

It drives BFFH crazy, but I've never been one to resist a good and warranted frogging. This isn't the first time I've knit (and seamed!) an entire project, only to wind the entire thing back into balls. BFFH can't understand why one would spend all of that time... only to tear it all out at the end. I consider myself an organic knitter - while it's mostly about the process for me, I can't stand making something that isn't useful.

And this shirt wasn't. I didn't wear it once. Although I tried it on many times, it never looked right on me and it simply sat, unworn, for 2 years. As I frogged and wound last night, I recounted how much I enjoyed knitting this shirt and how carefully I had seamed. I remembered shopping for the pattern and the yarn, knowing NOTHING about gauge or yarn weight.
And then, I started thinking about all of the possibilities with the reclaimed yarn...