mitts and a new dress

Happy New Year! Even though it was too quiet around this blog, it was for good reason. The month of December found me knitting and sewing furiously, as I needed new mitts and a new dress so that I could do this [on Christmas Eve]…!

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These photos were taken by the wonderful Aram of Aram O Photography.  I probably owe you some more detail photos, but obviously taking photos for my BLOG was not exactly what he was aiming for [update: I figured out how to crop some more photos on my tablet].

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My dress is the Elisalex from By Hand London and my mitts are Spate by Jane Richmond, in Journey. There was a hat too but I didn’t wear it and I’m not crazy about it. Maybe a later post.

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I LOVE this dress pattern and will definitely make the sleeveless version. I actually made a real, live muslin and it was super helpful – I ended up slimming and lengthening the sleeves. Because of the high waist, I cut the same size for the top and bottom (usually I go a size up on the bottom). I ended up taking in the seams at the roundest part of the tulip because it was sort of collapsing on itself anyways. Too much tulip to hold itself up. You can’t tell from these pics but the fabric is actually black polka dot. I used interfacing on the skirt to hold the structure (after seeing this idea from Heather Lou who I SWEAR I wasn’t trying to rip off her [polka dot] dress AGAIN I bought this fabric, then saw her dress, OK for the second time, so maybe it was in my subconscious).

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The mitts are a great pattern but I wish I had bought a yarn without alpaca – I used Juniper Moon Herriot and the fluffy alpaca didn’t give the stitch as much structure as it should for this awesome stitch pattern. I also wish I didn’t make them quite so long – in theory long mitts are super cool but in reality it just means they bunch up a lot.

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I am really eager to sew and knit more but I have a major blogging problem – after my laptop died a year ago, I had to revert to my eight year old laptop, which apparently lost the ability to go on the internet a few weeks ago. Coincidentally, this occurred after I dropped it. Anyways, I have no way to get photos to the internet anymore (my tablet doesn’t have a USB) which is why I could only use the above photos that were already on the internet. I am bummed and not sure what I will do and when I will blog again. Boo.

taking inventory

One of those nerdy knitting things that we knitters do is take a picture of all our handknit sweaters when we see them all in one place.

IMG_4308This is what happens when you are packing, you don’t want to pack, and you start to realize good lord I have knit a lot of sweaters.  And a lot of other crap too.

Want to know why I was packing?  Because we bought a house!  We moved in this weekend.   And guess what – while I know the location of the box which contains my sewing machine, that’s about as close as I am to sewing right now… I hope it’s not too long…

geometry mitts

Did you know I knit?IMG_4274Apparently I almost forgot – it’s been a while… but I’ve had the idea for these mitts in my head for a couple years now.  In fact, I bought the yarn for them last September in Portland, OR at Happy Knits.

IMG_4271I love geometric patterns but I have no idea where this came from – I think one of those things that just pops! into your head.  I sketched it out on graph paper and test-swatched it several times – I like them overall, but as a functional knit project they’re a little tricky when you have 3-4 yarns going at the same time.

IMG_4262My other complaint is that I don’t think the yarn colors provide enough contrast.  Don’t use neutrals, right?  Yes, I know, but I love neutrals.  However, the gray and beige seem too close in tone – although in bright light it’s not too bad.

IMG_4291These are knit flat and seamed up the side with a hole for the thumb and the yarn is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift.  I had sort of hoped these would be something I could write up and sell a pattern of, but they are a little crazy in the middle there to knit, like I said, and my knits have never drawn as much interest as sewing, so I don’t know if anyone would be interested.  Either way, I think they will get some fall use out of me, but winter might be too cold.

IMG_4296Hopefully I’ll have some sewing soon… I’ve lost my sewing mojo recently and there’s a lot  of [good] stuff going on in Casa Nice lately so I have been a bit distracted…

p.s.  It probably won’t be up much longer, but look whose Belladone is up on the main banner on Kollabora (hang in there, it’s like 4th or 5th on the slide show)!!  I forgot to mention that they had my polymer beads up there recently too, AND on their blog they have posted both my Lakeside pajamas AND my Bombshell.  Kollabora, I sure do love you!

baby pillah

One of my college roommates recently had a baby shower; the moment I found out she was pregnant, I knew what I had to make her.  A baby pillah.

This particular friend had a ratty and well-loved doll-sized pillow that served as her teddy bear her whole life; dubbed “baby pillow.”  With her lovely southern Virginia accent, this came out “baby pillah,” and we LOVED teasing her about it.  So of course, her baby has to have his own baby pillah.

IMG_3874 And a little aviator hat to wear home from the hospital!

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This is the Aviatrix baby hat, made with Rowan Cashsoft Aran from many years ago.  I think this barely took a half-skein, it’s sooo teeny-tiny, and so soft.  Raveled here.

IMG_3873I made some tags with brown kraft labels stuck to some origami paper and attached with baker’s twine and a safety pin.  Baby pillah is machine washable and has a ‘lifetime’ warranty; future repairs and replacements are covered.  I stitched all the seams twice in hopes of adding some durability.

The coolest part?  The pillow matches the nursery colors, of which I had no idea.  It’s my sewing sixth sense, you know, NBD.

the summer sock

Apparently every summer I knit a pair of socks…  I did not know this until I wrote this post, but apparently that’s my June/July “thing.”  Yup, apparently as the temperatures climb, I think warm, wool socks sound good for some reason.

IMG_3592But it goes well with the fall layaway plan, Stashbusting 2013, and that delightful feeling when you’ve been mostly without socks all summer and then you put on a pair of socks and they feel all soft and squishy.

IMG_3599 Which is a good thing because that helps me overlook the *what the $%* is going on with the dye shades of this yarn?!  It switches shades drastically, and when I finished the toe of the first one with a pale grape shade, I had to rewind the ball backwards so that the same shade would be the toe, and not the cuff of the second sock.  Strange.

Purple is my least favorite color, but stashbusting, hey.  I’m actually dying to go ’90’s and pair these with some Doc Martens!

Pattern:  Kalajoki

Yarn:  Zitron Unisono

“humanoid” cowl

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This is a perfect example of why my previous post about the possibility of being copied is quite ironic… Here I am ripping off Humanoid, yet again (and with the same yarn I used the last time, but only by coincidence).

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As usual, I have Pinterest to thank for my inspiration and apparent inability to create anything original!

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I used a provisional cast on and used kitchener to join the ends, then sewed a tube of soft cotton jersey and hand-stitched it under the edge of the cowl.

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You might have noticed it with my Archer shirt in the last post…  I’m loving the color palette of my recent projects.  I’m not much of a spring/summer clothing person (I could wear boots, sweaters, and fall colors almost year round).  However, for spring I do like this combination of a muted rich color, eartly neutral, and crisp white.

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But now that it’s mid-May in Baltimore… this cowl is going in my fall “layaway” stash.

yarn csa

I haven’t bought new yarn in AGES, but some yarn I bought a year ago just arrived…. IMG_2965

… six skeins (1200 yards) of yarn from my share of the Fall 2012 CSA at Juniper Moon Farm.

I’ve struggled for years now over the use of wool and the possibility of humane options and and although I’m getting closer, I have to say I’m still struggling a great deal.  But, about a year ago, I bought a share in the world’s first yarn CSA from a no-kill farm whose animals live out their natural lives and are never eaten.  It is of course still a business, but pretty cool one as businesses go; I would like to go down to Palmyra, VA one day to check it out.

That is all I am going to say on that subject – I’m not looking for a debate or argument.  This is just something personal for me and I am in no way judging or saying what anyone else should do.  I’m sure I’ve permanently lost a few of my very few readers at this point, because I’ve stopped reading blogs due to certain personal opinions, but it is what itIMG_2958 is.

Well, back to the yarn, because my next task is… dyeing!!  I ordered mine undyed and am going to try to dye it myself (!)…. which I have never done before.  Boring as I am, I’ve been wanting a gray cardigan for a while, and love gray, and, so, will be dyeing this gray.  I’ve been reading Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan and I’m psyched to try it – does anyone have advice and/or recommend a certain type of dye?

This yarn smells strongly of the farm and has to stay locked up because the cats…

love

it.

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OK the cats are taking over this blog!  Enough!  I promise.

green things

OK, OK, I’m back.

I knit these up last month and then wore them several times, made them un-new and pretty fuzzy, and then tried to cut all the fuzz off?  Sorry if they look less than picture-worthy.

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Also, it took me forever to post these because, in addition to my resident “photographer” being out of town, I really, really wanted to paint my nails.  As you can see, that didn’t happen.  I cannot seem to bear the thought of not using my hands for like 2 hours of free time when I could be knitting, sewing, etc…  Anyone else with this issue?!

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Aaanyways, my idea for these was like, little turtlenecks for my hands.  Weird, right?  The gray section folds over.  Pros:  superwarm and I personally think it looks cool.  Cons:  It’s really hard to use your cell phone with one hand.  It kind of doesn’t fit.

This is probably not a design element other people are looking for, but if my hands are really cold, like when I’m waiting for the car to warm up (or hiding from cat paws, see below), I can unroll the “turtleneck.”  I can’t really stand mittens because I just pull them off every 5 seconds to use my hands, so this works for me…

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What a dork.

In line with my stashbusting (more on that later), I also knit a moss-stitch beanie (by the way, this green yarn is left over from this sweater).

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It’s a little small, probably because I have a big head.  I would make it a little bigger if I made it again, maybe slouchy.  Either way, I love the way this green looks in moss stitch.

Project pages here and here.

Sooo… these knits are part of Operation Stashkill 2013.  (How badass does that sound?  I mean, for a knitter.)  I have a thing about cleaning house so I’ve made a little challenge for myself.  I’m not going to promise not to buy any yarn this year, but strangely enough, I’m not that interested in new yarn.  I kind of want to tackle this:

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I know this NOTHING compared to some of your stashes out there, so I’m excited because I think I can DO IT!

you shouldn’t look at your yarn while driving

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Good Lord, the day I come home with this yarn I probably came close to driving off the road ten times because I couldn’t stop looking at this yarn.  What a DORK.  I was obsessing over the colors, to be specific.  I had a soon-to-expire groupon to A Tangled Skein and spent about an hour marching around the shop to find the perfect yarn for a gray sweater.  Blah.  Nothing was what I  wanted, but I’m still not sure how that turned into me pairing pea green and sky gray-blue together.  I could not get over how perfect I thought this was.

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Unfortunately, I hadn’t figured out how to translate that into a pattern I liked…  I have to admit I’m a little disappointed that all I came up with was stripes.  Had I planned a little more, I probably would have gotten more of one and less of another and knitted a fair isle sweater.  Or colorblocked.  There was a lot of swatching going on.

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Project page here.  I used the formula from the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan to figure out the number of stitches to cast on, then improvised from there.  I added some overlap and buttons on the cuffs and collars – I’m not entirely thrilled with the collar but I like it best with the scarf over it anyways.

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Let’s talk about jogless stripes (non-knitters, you may glaze over right about now).  I used this technique [correction: wrong link!  I don’t know about that technique, but THIS is the one I used and it is very simple.  Sorry for the confusion!] and I’m pleased with the lack o’ jog, but as you can see below, despite blocking, you can see the beginning of the round travel in a diagonal across my sweater.  However, that part you see is the worst of it – I learned not to carry the unused yarn in the back of the stitch I’m knitting – it makes the stitch too tight and hence the visibility of the diagonal.  Did I go back and fix that part?  Of course not.  Knit on!

OK non-knitters, you can come back now.

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These pictures were taken right after the first sunrise of 2013 in Portland, Maine (another Portland I adore), just like Baltimore 2012 and Naragansett 2011!  I think it gets better every year.

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