crafts · Crochet · finished objects

FO: Peaches

Pattern: Peaches by Kim Hargreaves, available in Breeze

Yarn: Rowan Handknit cotton, 1.5 balls

Hooks: 4 mm and 3.5 mm

Notes: As I said before, I’m not sure I’ll actually use it, but it was fun to make! The pattern was pretty clear, but I do have one beef… it didn’t include gauge information, or finished size information.  I’m pretty sure mine turned out a little big, but I can’t say for sure – perhaps I just have a small head?

I can’t quite figure out the name – I see no peaches, maybe grapes or very stylized pineapples.  The raised stitches were a bit of a pain, but nothing too bad.  I knit one fewer straight round, and several fewer rounds of single crochet at the end.  Be sure to do the crab stitch (the last round) because it really tightens up the opening.  Keep in mind that this pattern is written in British crochet terms, so DC is our single crochet, treble crochet is the same as our double.

I love to crochet hats – it’s the only way I end up with any, since i hate using DPNs or small circs for knitted hats.  I hope we get weather that works with this hat at some point in the fall – right now it’s rather humid, though it wasn’t bad when I took these photos.

crafts · Crochet · knitting · Life

Stockinette overload

The empire waist cardigan is finished – my poor wrists!

I can’t tell yet whether I like it, as this is a sweater that really needs a good blocking.  I’m hoping that it stretches out a bit, as before blocking I thought the shoulders could be wider (which is funny, since that’s why I ripped back the first time!)  Usually things that are knit sideways stretch quite a bit that direction, so hopefully it will work out!  It’s gloomy and rainy today, but once things get more sunny I will get an FO shoot on this one!

To combat all that stockinette, I cast on for Peaches, my crocheted hat.

I do wonder about the idea of cotton hats for summer.  Perhaps in England, where I imagine they don’t have the awful summers we do here, this is a practical item.  Personally, I plan to wear it in the fall, before it gets too cold, but that works for me!  The pattern is fun, and it shouldn’t take too long to finish.

I caught Sarah Jane relaxing in her favorite chair this morning… I love how she is camouflaged here!

Don’t you dare try to steal my chair.”

“Ok fine, but I get to work the mouse!”

crafts · Crochet · home repairs · house · knitting · Life

FO: Emerald & Storm update

Pattern: Gem, from Heartfelt by Kim Hargreaves

Yarn: Manos wool

Hook: Size H

Notes: I tried to use this yarn for a lacy scarf (Haven, from the same book) but the severely thick and thin quality of the yarn kept the pattern from standing out.  So I decided that I would make another Gem, a hat I made last year from Noro Kochoran.  I really love this pattern – it’ my favorite hat, flattering on most people, takes about an hour to crochet.  I left out one increase and one decrease round to make up for my thicker yarn.  It’s slightly slouchy, but not overly so.  By the way, I’m reading my copy of “Toilet Roll Covers,” that my friend Althea gave me.  I love this book (it’s the one with the pig on the cover.)  I’m definitely going to be making some of these for christmas gifts this year, silly though they are!

As you may (or may not) have heard, we in Louisville were among the victims of the wind storm on Sunday (or “Windstorm 08” as the local news has not so cleverly dubbed it.)  I live in a part of town that contains lots of old houses, and a corresponding amount of old growth trees ready to fall.  75% of the city was without power – I think we were the only street in our area not to lose power, so we do feel very lucky.  We lost a bunch of shingles off our roof, which will be replaced tomorrow.  I took some pictures of the damage (these are from a single block surrounding our house… I did not go looking for the most damage.)

The city is pretty shut down – I am off work for the week, and have been walking the places I need to go to avoid the many streets that are still blocked.  I have also finally gotten to the wallpaper in our bedroom.

Unfortunately, as you know, in an old house every room has a surprise.  The surprise in this room?

Why yes, that is mold underneath the wallpaper.  Apparently at some point in the past 25 years the roof leaked underneath the wallpaper by the window, although it would appear not recently.  Forunately it’s only that one small spot over the window, but still… icky.  I am very glad that we took the paper down – I would hate to keep sleeping in a room with that going on underneath!

I also have a cold this week, so I’m eating lots of soup, knitting on my tweedy cardigan (60% done!) and wearing a mask if I have to go into “the mold room” as I am now calling it.

Sorry if I haven’t responded to anyone’s emails this week – we haven’t had reliable internet service until today!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

And the winners are…

Yes, I couldn’t decide on just one, so I cast on for two sweaters!

Old Penny

and Bianca’s jacket.

Old Penny will be a quick knit – it has no cables on the back.  Unfortunately, I think it’s coming out rather small, so I’m going to restart using a size larger needle, and without using such small needles for the ribbing (the pattern calls for using 3 sizes down for the ribbing, but I don’t like how much that pulls in.  One or two smaller would be plenty.)  I’m also probably going to add an inch or so in length – as written it’s only 13.5″ to the armholes, and I like mine closer to 15″.  I love the yarn, way more than I thought I would – it’s a very smooth knitting experience, but it still has some visual texture.

Bianca’s jacket is looking to work out, sizing wise.  It’s 2″ smaller than the pattern size small, which is what I want, but who can tell when I’ve just started?  I’m also planning on adding length to this sweater.  It’s written as a short jacket, but I think it would be more flattering a bit longer (although not too much – I like the swinginess.)

Other knitting news today: the Fall Knitty is live (but I bet you knew that already!)  I am not generally a huge fan of knitty – I often don’t “get” their sweater patterns, and there are a lot of socks.  I think this is a really solid issue though.  I like Hermia and Anne Shirley, although I don’t know if I will actually make either.

If I were to make Hermia I would have to do some modifications, but I think that it could be cute with some mods for my short waist and skinny arms.  I love the yarn the sample is knit in, which is probably a lot of my attraction, since I usually don’t like things that require lots of mods. I really have to get over my scarf problem  – I love to wear them, but I get so incredibly bored making them that I can only seem to get through easy stitch patterns with big yarns.  It’s the same sort of issue I have with socks – I love wearing them, but I feel like I’m stealing time away from my sweaters when I make them, so it takes me ages to make a pair anymore.  Maybe I could make this scarf from a bigger yarn?  It would have a different look, but I bet it would still be nice!

And finally, we have the preview for the Fall Interweave Crochet.  I have not been a fan of the last few issues, but this one is fab (surprising since I think of crochet as a summer sort of craft!)  I’m a big fan of the stitch pattern on this jacket.

I am trying to think of a yarn sub from my stash.  I also love this pullover.

The only reason I didn’t immediately hoard the yarn for this one is that I can’t think of a great sub for the alpaca offhand (boo for being allergic to alpaca!)

Also cute:

But I’m not doing short sleeves anymore (I don’t wear them) and I look like a little girl wearing big sweatercoats, as much as I love them!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

It’s been too long!

Since I last picked up my swatching needles.  I’ve spent my time since Saturday trying to decide what to start next.  My current WIPs are Babette, which cannot be my main focus or I go crazy, and Tuscany, which… well, let’s not talk about that.  It may be getting frogged soon, as I cannot imagine where I would wear a magenta shawl, but would make a lovely scarf of some sort.

So I went through my queue, and pulled one ball of yarn for each project that I actually own yarn for, and actually want to make soon (this prompted some reorganization, as I realized that I’m unlikely to make about half the things I had there, so I did lots of deleting.)

Let’s get started, shall we?  Lots of photos ahead!

Yarn: Valley Yarns Williamstown

Gauge: 4.75 st/in on US 6

Swatched for: Old Penny by Veronik Avery, from the Fall 08 Vogue

Notes: I need 5 st/in, and this yarn did bloom with blocking, so I will need to go down a needle size for the project.  This is a soft yarn, although it is not a traditional tweed.  It is very similar to the yarn called for in the pattern.  I really enjoyed making the swatch, and this is a big contender for my next project (besides, maybe it’s time to actually make something from Vogue?)

Yarn: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran

Gauge: 4.5 St/in on US 8

Swatched for: 28thirty from Zephyrstyle

Notes: I need 4 st/in for this pattern. I may go up a needle size, or I may see if I have enough yarn to knit a size up in the pattern.  I like this yarn knit to this gauge, but it’s bulky enough to go up to 4 st/in.  I love the teal bits in this yarn.  This color is softer feeling than the other colorway I swatched, although both are soft.  This one has better stitch definition.

Yarn: Rowan Kid Classic

Gauge: 5 st/in on US 6

Swatched for: Either Victoria from Kim Hargreaves: Thrown Together or the Grable Tunic from the new Rowan.

Notes: I’ve never used this yarn before, and I just wanted an idea of how it knits up.  Both patterns call for smaller gauges (21 st/4in for Victoria and 22 for Grable, which I think I’m more likely to make.)  I will need to go down a needle size or maybe even two.  It did not change size with washing.  It’s nice and soft for a mohair, a little easy to catch with the needles, but nothing too bad.  I really like the fuzziness, and so far at least I don’t think I’m allergic to mohair, unlike every other furry fiber.

Yarn: Malabrigo Merino in Azul Bolita

Gauge: 19 st/4 in on US 7

Swatched for: Opulent Raglan by Wendy Bernard from Knitscene Fall/Winter 08

Notes: I’ve never made a whole sweater out of malabrigo.  I love this color, which is deeper and more intense than it appears (my camera lies!)  It will pill insanely of course, and trap every piece of lint in the whole world, but I don’t care… I love knitting with this yarn so much!  Gauge is spot on for my needs, with no blooming on washing.

Yarn: Reynolds Whiskey

Gauge: 24 st/4 in on US 4

Swatched for: Olivia from Kim Hargreaves: Thrown Together

Notes: I need a slightly larger gauge, so I will go up to US 5 for this project, should it get made.  I don’t think I’m in the mood for a swingy jacket at a tiny gauge right now.  To tell the truth, I’m not a huge fan of knitting with sport or fingering weights, although I have slogged through plenty of sweaters knit from them.  I love this jacket and want to own it, so sooner or later I will bite the bullet… just not yet.

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

Gauge: 22 st/4 in on US 4

Swatched for: Ripple from Nectar

Notes: I do love this yarn.  It’s so smooth to knit with.  I need 23 st/4 inches, so I will go down to US 3 needles.  I’m going to need to adjust this pattern a bit – it is knit for Bamboo soft, which stretches.  I also want to make it a bit smaller in the bust.  Again, I’m not sure I feel like sport weight yarn right now, but this one is more likely.

Yarn: Kathmandu Aran

Gauge: 16.75 st/4 in on US 7 needles

Swatched for: Bianca’s jacket

Notes: This colorway is very different from the first swatch above.  It doesn’t really contain different colored flecks, and it has a much more felted appearance.  It also managed to swatch bigger, even though I used smaller needles.  I will go down to US 6 for the sweater – although I achieved the pattern gauge, I actually want this to be a tad smaller, and I don’t want to do math.  I love this color, which is somewhere between blue and purple.

I also swatched for the Bordeaux jacket from Knitscene, but I hated the yarn I was using (Laines du Nord Giunco, which has been in my stash for ages, and which I am only now realizing I don’t actually like.)  I’m going to try it again later with a nicer yarn.  I swatched for Lamour from Rowan 44, but I am apparently not in the mood for lace… I did not feel like even knitting enough to finish my swatch!

I did wind up yarn for one small project.  History has shown that if I want a scarf by the time winter is over I had better start now.  I want to make Haven from Heartfelt, using some Manos I bought ages ago.  We’ll see how that goes… last winter’s scarves all ended up as gifts!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · Life · Thrifting

Thrifting

I’m at home tonight, ignoring all the fireworks.  July 4th is my least favorite holiday – it involves picnics and sudden loud noises, two things which I don’t really enjoy (and yes, I know… everyone loves a picnic except me, but I have major bug phobia.)

Instead I have started the packing process (half our things are already packed away in storage, so it really isn’t too many boxes) and I’m still working on babette!

I still have lots of squares to go, and I’m starting to feel the need for another break… I don’t want to burn myself out.  I don’t think I ever before understood how long it takes to make a blanket, but you all have my respect now!  Maybe I will try working on Joy some more (I stopped because the denim was hurting my wrists and the pattern was hurting my brain… I wish more Rowan patterns had charts!)

Last weekend we visited Marc’s family, and we managed to hit some of the thrifts there.  For some reason they have better Goodwill stores there.  Ours, while cheaper, are always junky and overcrowded with poorly organized stuff.  I got some t-shirts for the upcoming home renovations (I always look for the strangest ones to get paint on) and I also found one of my favorite thrifted books ever.

It’s a sort of guidebook to being a wife, and while I suspect that even at the time of publication (1964)  it was outdated, I still think it’s super fun!  It has a whole chapter devoted to picking out furniture for your new home, and includes such admonitions as “make sure to get furniture large enough for your husband!”

The chapter on furniture arrangement helpfully shows you how to display way too many things over your sofa.

I think it’s funny that the random letters on the wall thing seems to have come back, and whose family didn’t have a giant key on the wall (mine did – and you could hang keys on it too!)  I seriously covet the sofa, even in a drawing.  Our sofa (see above) was reasonably priced, but it’s still too overstuffed for my taste.  Ah well – I had to get one large enough for my husband, right ladies?

The book has lists of things to outfit your kitchen, and a chapter on setting a nice table (tablescapes!)  It also contains a number of recipes, and the photos accompanying these are predictably bad, as they always are in these old books.  But the recipe below… even the nicest modern camera couldn’t make that look good.

Why yes… those are indeed brussles sprouts in a cranberry rice ring, why do you ask?

crafts · Crochet · decorating · house · knitting · Life

Still here!

Yes, I am still here!  I’m even still knitting (well, crocheting) but I have been working almost exclusively on Babette.  I have finished 7 out of 10 sections.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for the most interesting photos, but I’m getting there!  It’s a good project for right now, because I find myself totally unable to focus on my other WIPs (I did finish the back of the Ocean Pearls Cardigan, but then I decided to take a break because I kept snagging the yarn.)

I really want to start the February Lady sweater, but I’m holding back until I finish something else.  Stress in my life always gives me startitis!

We close on the house next Friday (the 11th) so I’m in desperate packing/planning/list making mode.  The good news is that it looks like we have sold our condo, and for a better price than our first offer that fell through (contingent on the inspection, of course.)

I have made even more paint swatches, and I’m itching to stick them up in the house and live with them for awhile!  I also wanted to show a picture of our new (old) stove.

Sorry for the terrible photo, but it’s a Chambers stove (I usually tell people it’s like Rachael Ray’s stove and then they get it.)  It’s in working condition and needs only a few minor repairs – it belonged to Marc’s aunt and was cooked on every day up until a few months ago.  The finish is in great shape, and it’s obviously been very well cared for.  I have wanted one of these for a very long time (we had a retro stove like this at one point and I loved it,) so I’m happy to help keep it in the family!  It’s still in his Aunt’s house, so we will go up with a truck after we move in to pick it up (we will also be visiting the Cincinnati Ikea at that time… I have been making a list for that as well!)

Once we move in I will be able to show more.  My plan is to go room by room, starting with the parlor so that the piano can get moved in.   I’m so excited to get started!
And I promise… next post will contain actual photos of my WIPs!

crafts · Crochet · house · yarn

Crochet Vacation

Yesterday I got this lovely bag of yarn in the mail.

In love with its beautiful metalic sheen, I immedately swatched.

And before I knew it, I had begun another project.

This is the Ocean Pearls Cardigan from the new Interweave Crochet.  The yarn is Garnstudio Cotton Viscose, and I love it.  It does split like mad, but so long as you’re careful to use a pretty blunt hook (I’m using a 3.5mm Addi hook) it isn’t too bad.  The bobbles are fun.  I’m still not sure if the size I’m making is coming out correctly, but I should know pretty soon.  It’s nice to have a break from tiny needles after the Printed Silk cardi!

I have more exciting news… another offer came through on the house we are buying (not on our house, still no offers) so we had to go ahead and remove out contingency or else lose the house (not happening after how hard we looked!)… so we will be moving sooner than I thought – sometime within the next month!  Of course, carrying both properties at once is no fun, but we can afford it for a bit, and maybe our place will sell easier once it is vacant. I checked a huge stack of books about old houses out of the library tonight, and I’ve started making lists  – I love my lists for moving!

I’ve also started up on Babette again.  These are the squares I’ve crocheted since finding out about the house on Sunday, minus about a few that were hiding when I took the photo.  I’ve decided it will go in the guest room, where I hope it looks nice with dark lilac walls!  I’ve completed through section 6 now (out of 10) so I’m getting closer!  I can’t stitch any more together until I get my stored yarn back because I accidentally left the seaming yarn there, but I can complete squares!

cats · crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

Learning from your knitting

It’s safe to say that I’m a product knitter – I make things because I want to wear them, and I am not satisfied without a steady stream of FOs.  Even so, I won’t choose a project that contains elements that I know will drive me crazy – no stockinette sweaters in fingering weight for instance (at least not until Marc gets me the knitting machine I’ve asked for!)  Sometimes though… sometimes the love of a sweater will outweigh a technique I don’t enjoy.  I did not know before I started the Printed Silk cardigan that I don’t enjoy making twisted stitches.  I should have guessed, since I also don’t enjoy lots of small cables in a garment, and since I failed utterly making a pair of socks with twisted stitches (firestarter socks.)  But I didn’t, and I have now resorted to bribing myself with a new sweater’s worth of yarn in order to get it finished.

It’s going to be beautiful when it’s finished, but I still have one more piece with twisted stitches and one sleeve in 1×1 rib to go.  I’m a little worried about running out of yarn, since I can’t find one of the balls I bought… I hope it didn’t go into storage with my wintery yarns!

The current sweater of my obsession is the February Lady Sweater by Flint Knits.  Love this, and not just because it’s green!

I’m not sure what I want to knit it in… definitely a semi-solid I think, doesn’t garter stitch look fabulous in a semi-solid?  I’m trying to reign in the yarn budget right now, with the possibility of us having to carry 2 mortgages for a few months if our condo doesn’t sell soon… but then again, if we don’t move soon I’m going to use up the yarn I have here and have to buy more.  I’m thinking of using DIC Classy, although I think it is pricey.  I also thought of malabrigo, but to be honest I want something more durable – my malabrigo sweater is awfully fuzzy looking. Any other suggestions?

This sweater also reminded me of another that I wanted to make.. the Millie Cardigan from Vintage Crochet. There are a few cute finished sweaters on Ravelry, and they helped to revive my interest in this swing cardigan, which is another grown-up version of the baby sweater.

I would use ribbon instead of the fabric strips here, and I would downsize it significantly (it’s a 38″ in the small.)  It calls for Cashmerino Aran, but I’m not feeling that.  There’s a beautiful one done in Rowan Purelife on Ravelry.  I’m thinking of using a similar DK weight yarn to help with the downsizing – perhaps Blue Sky Skinny cotton?  There’s a soft blue color that I have been dying to use for something.  If I stick with an aran weight yarn I will go with a wool because cotton would be too heavy.

Continuing on the crochet vein, I got the Summer Interweave Crochet in the mail yesterday.  I am very pleased with this issue, which is great because the last 2 issues left me cold and I was thinking of dropping my subscription. It just proves again my theory… I love my winter and fall knits magazines and my spring/summer crochet.  There are some great projects here, many with an emphasis on filet crochet, something I have been interested in trying out.

I love the tiny row of buttons on the camisole, and the front is adorable as well.  I also love this stole, which solves one of my recent questions (“Why are crochet shawls always knit with chunky yarn when crochet makes a chunkier fabric to start with?”)  This is knit with 2 skeins of Helen’s Lace, but I would sub something cheaper (maybe gloss lace… wouldn’t that be lovely here in the nice mermaidy blue color?)  Although the size of the thing is intimidating, I have no idea how fast filet would go.

The pattern I’m most likely to start soon is this lovely cardigan.

It’s not the best photo, and I don’t think it looks good over that shirt, so here is a link to the designer wearing the sweater on Ravelry.  Yes, it is again that loose tied cardigan shape, although this one is not swingy.  I love the bobbles.  I secretly love crocheted bobbles, as long as there aren’t too many.  I think this is adorable.  It’s crocheted in GGH Mystik, a DK weight cotton/viscose blend that I think it stupid pricey for what it is.  I’m considering subbing either Garnstudio Cotton Viscose or Elann Luna.  Does anyone have any comment on either of those yarns?  I’m sure they will be splitty, as apparently GGH Mystik is, but I really want to keep the shine and drape of the viscose, so I can deal.

I wear my cardigans so much more than my pullovers – that’s why I make so many cardis.  I love to wear layers!

We had a showing this morning at 9 am, so I took Marc to work and brought Leon along for a ride.  Poor kitty… after being in the carrier at least once a day for 2 weeks he’s starting to look at me with deep suspicion.

He spends most of his time on the mantle, which for once is clear of stuff.  Perhaps he feels that he has a better chance of seeing me coming with the cage.  I had to take this photo because I thought he was so sweet with his tail hanging down!

crafts · Crochet · knitting · patterns · yarn

And… moving on.

Having achieved my goal of finishing Green Gable before leaving town, I must now turn my attention to a more pressing problem… what projects to take with me on my trip! My only WIPs are Babette, which isn’t portable, and a pair of plain socks, which I will probably take but which aren’t exciting.

Last night I cast on for the Clementine Shawlette from the Spring 2006 IK.

The yarn is some RYC Silk Wool DK that I have had in my stash for ages and ages. I love the way it looks, but I’m considering starting over using 1 needle size larger. Can someone who has made this shawl tell me if it will relax a lot on blocking? Right now it’s kind of bubbly, and I want a nice drapey shawl. The yarn is nice, although not nearly as nice as you might expect for the price (I got it on clearance, but I would not pay full price… for the same price Louisa Hardings’ Grace is so much nicer.) But I do love the color, a sort of aqua that I’m really into this spring.

I’m also looking for a new crochet project. Babette isn’t portable, as I said, and Joy is on hiatus until I can get the seaming to behave nicely. I found this pattern for a centerpiece called Jameson, free from Berroco.

It’s made using self striping sock yarn, and I like the idea although I don’t care for the color they used. But I think it could be fab using this Noro Kureyon Sock, which I have decided I don’t want to make into socks. So I’ll give it a try, and probably make it a bit larger as well.

Finally, I want a new sweater project. What’s that you say? I don’t need 4 projects with me on vacation? But what if I get bored with all the others? No, it’s very important that I have lots and lots of options, and possibly get yarn for another project while I’m away. Yes, I know I’m crazy, but at least I know myself!

I have a few options that I’m thinking about:

1. Something Red 2. Coraline (I also have teal silky wool) 3. Bianca’s Jacket

And what’s especially sad is that these aren’t the only knits I’m considering! I have too many choices… but I would rather like to make a cardigan, so that does narrow it down a little. Maybe the last two are too wintery? They aren’t super heavy yarns though. Really, I’m just not sure what to start next. Any opinions?