Thursday, January 8, 2009

My super extravagant wish list

I am a fan of brooklyn tweed. His latest yummy project feature: lacy chunky throw.

<3 L.O.V.E. <3

Brent is also a big fan of the super bulky yarns. What I love most is super bulky (aka super chunky) yarn that is one thick strand of spun fiber without any twists. What I love even more than merino is alpaca... so my dream would be to make this throw with Gedifra Highland Alpaca. You might notice that this luxurious super bulky yarn is only 44.5 yards per skein (MSRP $13.95), which is about half the yardage of the Twinkle yarn used by brooklyn tweed. [SIGH] So even with my Stitch House discount, that adds up to quite an expense.

Searching on Ravelry, I found that some people used Cascade Magnum which is comprable weight and only one thick strand. I don't know the cost of it, but generally cascade yarns are wonderfully cost effective. However, #1 - it's not alpaca, and #2 - Stitch House doesn't carry it. Windsor Button might, because they seem to have everything, but I haven't investigated. You know, since this is all a pipe dream right now.

I dunno... maybe if my beaded spiral hat class yields a nice little sum of money, I will treat myself. After all, my 30th birthday is coming up, and don't I deserve a luxurious alpaca super bulky throw?!

(Note: I have thought about down sides to this throw... HAND WASHING a whole throw blanket??? Maybe I could use the "hand wash" cycle on my front load HE washer. And would it shed on my purlple velvety couch? I might just have to take that risk!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I <3 crochet

Things I love about crochet:

#1 - weaving in ends as you go!!!

#2 - not having to pick up stitches when you rip it out.

#3 - "puff stitch" bobbles (I hate making knit bobbles)

#4 - making baby blankets in record time!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Koolhaas hats all around!

Well I have been a busy bee ;) Since my last post, I've finished one project and started 3 more!! I am trying to get through my stash, haha, but that is hard to do when I keep adding more to it. But, I did decide to rip out the hat I started for Brent 3 years ago and use that yarn for a hat... one that is actually completed!! YAY! I know there are tons of free patterns out there, but I decided to buy one because it is just too cool to pass up. It's the koolhaas pattern from brooklyntweed.
I was using bigger needles than called for (9 instead of 8) and when I did 5 pattern repeats, it ended up too big/long.


I know Brent has a big head, but it came down below his eyes and he looked like that character from Fat Albert. Normally, I don't "frog" and reknit... too much wasted time and energy. Of course, I don't usually goof up that bad to warrant it. Brent said it was fine (he obviously didn't have to pull it down over his eyes), he was just happy that I had actually completed something for him. But it really bugged me. So, the next day, I frogged down to the 4th repeat and redid the crown. I think this says a lot about how I've grown as a knitter. I did this to preserve the integrity of the work, and I felt confident enough in seeing how the pattern worked that I wasn't afraid of all the loose stitches popping this way and that. I could tell exactly what round of the pattern I had gone down to, but I couldn't get my needle through the stitches without pulling the adjacent ones out. so I took my plastic yarn sewing needle and some of my fuchsia microspun and just grabbed all my stitches. I didn't worry about their direction until I put them back on my needle.


After finishing it for the second time, it is the proper height and fits Brent nicely. I want one for myself, so I'll be using more of my stash to make a burgandy one. But for mine, I am modifying the pattern to make the lattice pattern overlap so it really looks woven.


I am using smaller needles for this one because it is DK weight yarn, so I am hoping it won't be too small, height-wise or tightness!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Working at my LYS

I am pretty excited because this summer I will be working at Stitch House for a few hours/week. I had been talking with the owner for a while now, about possibly instructing a crochet class, but apparently they haven't had enough people interested. I'm going to be working the shop and offering any "drop-in" lessons for knit or crochet on Saturday afternoons starting July 12. I will definitely be working for about a month, and probably through August. Brent will watch Asher, and I think it will be good for me to have that time away and be doing something for myself. Plus make a little extra cash, if I don't spend it all at the shop!! I have to find out if there is an employee discount ;)

Yesterday I actually worked for about 2 1/2 hours helping one of the other women from the beaded shawl class. She had ripped out all of what she did, so she was starting over. I cast on with my left over yarn and worked along with her to see where she needed help. I think she really understood it after our session, and I felt good about my teaching skills. Of course, it's easier to teach someone who already knows the basics of knit and purl, but I have attempted to teach total beginners too (with varying success).

I then bought some sale yarn, the sublime mohair for my Wisp, which came to almost as much as I will be paid for that tutoring session. See what I mean?!


I have recently discovered ravelry, which is an amazing site! Thank you to Marissa for recommending it. It's really got me motivated to work on projects, and it's a great resource for finding new projects. I've already marked a bunch of patterns as "favorites" that I may complete someday. I've already started a few.

First, I decided to make the drop stitch "vest" (it's really a sleeveless shirt) from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. I had my eye on that project from the first time I looked through that book, but never did it. I had some fuchsia microspun yarn from years ago that I never used. The hot pink looked so cool over black in the book, I wanted to do the same thing!


Now, this project is SUPER BORING until the very end. It's 21 (23 for the back) inches of plain stockinette stitch. After a few rows, I ingeniously decided to cast on the back at the same time and worked both front and back together. That way I know they are the same length. I cast on for size small, since I knew it would stretch once the stitches were dropped. (Fast forward-- all I have left to do now is seam the sides, but I am worried it won't stretch enough for my bust. That would be SO sad!) Anyway, here is the fun part in action:


The drop bind off is tricky, but I got the hang of it. I am not sure the pattern directions are correct, because I ended up with 5 instead of 6 stitches on one edge and 7 on the other edge. This happened on the front and the back, so once seamed it will still add up to 12, but it still bothers me just a tad. I also added an extra 2 rows to the neck shaping because my row/inch gauge was off. The microspun had surprisingly great yardage, I only needed a little over 2 skeins. I seamed the shoulders two days ago, but I think I am avoiding seaming the sides for my fear of it not fitting. But maybe I will take the plunge today!

I've also started a pinwheel blanket and I JUST got yarn to make this lacy wrap: Wisp.


The yarn is Sublime kid mohair, which is 60% kid mohair, 35% nylon, and 5% extra fine merino. I think the nylon content gives it a certain smoothness that I feel when it slips through my fingers from the ball to my needles as I'm working. The mohair isn't too hairy either. I also decided to add some beads. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do this, but I decided on just placing them along the edges above every eyelet. You see there are eyelets along the whole length of the wrap on the border edge, as well as the bottoms. These are the "button holes" so that if you add buttons to one end, you can fasten it anywhere along the wrap. Neat, huh?! I'm not sure how the buttons will work with having the beads there, but I could choose to skip the buttons since I have the beads for embellishment. I just used beads I have, which are plastic (I think) with different iridescent colors kind of like the colors of an oil puddle. There are blues, greens, purples and pinks. I am trying to hand select beads from the bunch that are mostly purple, although a little pink or blue on one side of the bead is ok. I am worried that I will run out of purple ones though, and then it will look silly if I start using blue and green in a lump rather than a random distribution. I'll cross my fingers, or just get more beads if necessary.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Aphrodite shawl

This post is a little back-dated. I finished my shawl on Friday, May 30. I woke up early and didn't even eat breakfast until it was done, which wasn't until about 11 or 11:30. It is amazing, it's everything I hoped it would be and more. I wore it to the opening night of Sex and the City. It was a beautiful night, not cold but a little breezy. I wore a white tank top and jeans and wrapped the shawl with the point on one arm and the ends crossed over the other shoulder. The glass beads are cool when you first put it on, but soon reach body temperature. The merino lace is deceptively warm. I was not cold on the walks to and from the theater, and I was actually too hot while waiting in line to enter the movie! So I picked the shawl up from my arm and slouched it up around my neck loosely like a big cowl scarf. This allowed the air to circulate around and under my arms and I was fine once seated.

I skipped blocking it, because I don't know that it would actually do anything for it. The YO edges seem stretchy enough without blocking, it's not to tight or anything. I liked the bind off the pattern calls for, it was called a twice worked BO, where you p2tog, purl another stitch, BO, then put that stitch back on the left needle and repeat. I also used a needle one size bigger and that was a smart move. The BO edge was not tight at all, and it actually kind of has a wavy frill look sometimes when it hangs loose.

I haven't worn it again because I am afraid of Asher's little fingers getting in those eyelets and pulling the heck out of it. Maybe I will reserve this item for special non-baby-holding occasions :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eyelet lace beaded shawl

Last Sunday, I took a workshop at Stitch House to make a knit beaded shawl. The class was only $15, their most affordable class to date. I wasn't sure I wanted to take the class until I went to the shop to see the sample shawl. I instantly decided to sign up for it! It was soft and beautiful. The sample was made with dark purple malabrigo lace yarn, using irridescent beads, like the kind I used on my purple odessa hat. Malabrigo lace was the recommended yarn for the project, so I used water green, which I love. I want to drink it! I might call my shawl Aphrodite, because she was born by springing forth from the sea foam. The beads I chose are clear taupe with an irredescent lining that makes them appear purple, blue or green. I thought they complemented the green yarn nicely, and I liked the contrast better than the green beads that matched the yarn. I also considered light purple (amethyst) beads, but I am happy with my choice.
After several repeats of the eyelet pattern, I know it by heart. I did 4 repeats during the workshop, which was 3 hours long. And I have been working on it as much as I can since then, so almost a week now. I think I could have it done by this weekend, as I am into the 3rd 3rd now. The pattern has 3 sections of beaded eyelet, separated by garter stitch sections. I don't know why I am so incredibly motivated by this project. I hadn't been doing much needle crafting lately, but did start a crochet bag for Bonni. It was going to be her bday/graduation gift, but that occurred last week. I will still give it to her, but... must.finish.shawl. This is also the first time I'm working with lace weight yarn. It was challenging at first to get used to its thin airiness. Somehow, the pattern is still keeping my attention. It's not boring because it kind of alternates between a row I have to pay close attention to and a row I can just knit or purl straight through. I love the yarn and I love the beads and it's just cool to watch the pattern flow into lace. And, my dirty secret thought: maybe I am more motivated because this is a project for myself. I tend to start a lot of gift projects that get set aside and rarely make stuff for myself. Regardless, I love this project and want it to be done so I can wrap the light merino goodness around my shoulders!!