09/30/2008

Giving Up

Blogspirit has failed me, so I'm moving to wordpress:

http://merknits.wordpress.com/

Come visit at the new space (if this post even works)!

08/30/2008

Finally Back

I've been back from vacation for a while, but have felt a bit overwhelmed with catching up at work and at home.  Luckily the husband is back in town too!

We went to Seattle for a few days to enjoy the cool weather and meet up with some friends from college.  We had gorgeous weather and especially enjoyed a day trip to Mt. Rainier.  I finished a new hat just in time for our hike - it was much too hot to wear it, but I got some good FO pictures!

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Pattern: Slouch for All Seasons
Yarn: Louisa Harding Grace Silk and Wool (1.5 balls)
Notes: I couldn't resist the beautiful color of the yarn, especially since it was on sale.  It's so nice and soft and worked perfectly for the hat.  The pattern made a great traveling project!

We also went to Bainbridge Island and stopped by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas where they had some great yarns and patterns on sale.  Here's what I picked up:

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My current project (Catriona) is a bit slow going, so perhaps I'll save pictures of that for next time.  Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

08/06/2008

Taking the Easy Way Out

I decided that this fabric that I had originally bought to make a dress didn't want to be a garment.  Made it a whole lot easier to cut the stuff straight (and it didn't matter so much if I messed up).

tokyo tie bag

 

tokyo tie bag 2

This is the Tokyo Tie Bag from Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp.  I just got this book and absolutely love it!  It's a great beginner sewing book with clear directions and some really cute patterns!  Like this:

cape

So cute!  I've also cast on for Catriona  but I couldn't get a good picture, so you'll just have to wait until later to see the fun cables!

**Ooh, I had chosen the name for this post about five minutes before the Beatles' "Day Tripper" came up on my MP3 player.  Freaky!

20:18 Posted in Sewing | Permalink | Comments (2)

07/30/2008

Phyllo Yoked Pullover

Wow, two new FOs in just a little over a week!

 phyllo pullover

 phyllo pullover back

yoke detail flat

Lucky for me my husband/FO photographer will be back soon, so I'll hopefully have not so crooked pictures in the near future! But you get the idea...

Pattern:Phyllo Yoked Pullover from Knitting Nature
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Laurel, 8 balls for the smallest size at a tighter gauge
Notes: This one was another lesson in yarn buying - I kind of forgot that knitting something at a different gauge will require a different amount of yarn.  And it didn't help that I purchased a discontinued color of Calmer online and didn't start the sweater until about a year later.  So I ended up with this, but luckily Sarah came to my rescue with the right dye lot! 

Good thing that I persevered - I really love the sweater!  It fits great, and the yarn is so soft and comfortable.  The yoke pattern was a bit confusing to me, but with the help of the picture in the book I was able to figure it out.  I highly recommend this knit!

07/21/2008

Cherry

It's been a while since I had a knitted FO to share - luckily I took the day off today and was able to finish up Cherry and take a few photos:

cherry finished

cherry modeled

I tried to take a few pictures outside, but was getting eaten by mosquitoes and had to abandon that plan.  A few notes on the pattern:

Pattern: Cherry
Yarn:Dale of Norway Svale (8 balls)
Notes:I absolutely love the way this turned out!  It fits well and is very comfortable (I love the Svale yarn too!) and was a fairly easy knit.  I accidentally added some length, which turned out to be a good thing.  But that meant that I underestimated the amount of yarn I needed.  Luckily, Susan came to my rescue and picked up some of the same dye lot for me when she was up at Twisted Yarns (and they were able to look up my last purchase to see what the dye lot was - nifty!).  I think I've learned my lesson with my last few projects.  Always buy some extra yarn!

07/01/2008

Yay for Easy Sewing

I decided last weekend to head to JoAnns and find some cheap fabric for pillows to spice up my dark couch.  50% off already-reduced fabric and 50% off of the pillow forms got me this:

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There's actually one more small pillow that you can't see.  And they're Phoebe-approved!

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While I had the sewing machine out of hiding, I decided to try the dress version of Simplicity 3835.  I had cut the fabric out a while ago and was sewing along until I noticed a big problem:
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See how the pattern is off center?  Grrr!  I was so careful with all of the other pieces, but somehow I forgot to double check the all-important front before cutting.  But I think that I can salvage the fabric and give it new life as a skirt!

19:22 Posted in Sewing | Permalink | Comments (3)

06/15/2008

Solutions and More Problems

My Calmer dye lot issues have been solved thanks to Sarah.

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You can't even tell that I'm using two different balls of yarn!  She wasn't sure of the dye lot, but through the magic of Ravelry I discovered that we had bought our yarn from the same source and asked if she had any leftovers.  She sent me nearly a full ball (for free!) and I think that it's a winner!  Now it's just a matter of ripping out the sweater to fix the issue.

 

In other yarn shortage news, I'm pretty sure that I will not have enough Svale to finish Cherry.  Well, that is what happens when you buy yarn without a project in mind and then hope that you have enough.  I'll have to call the yarn store and see if they still have some in the same dye lot--I don't want to try to hunt this yarn down too!

 

I haven't mentioned this yet, but my husband got a job in Chicago for the summer so I've been a bit lonely lately.  It's only been a few weeks, and we have several weekend trips planned to see each other, but it still sucks.  I've been in a bit of a mopey mood this weekend.  I do have a fun new haircut to cheer me up though:
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Short hair is definitely good for the summer! 

06/07/2008

Unfinished Business

Remember my Rene purse?  Probably not.  I started it so long ago, and although the knitting didn't take long, I put off sewing the lining until today. 

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Pattern:Rene from Rowan Big Just Got Bigger (I got my pattern from an insert in a UK knitting magazine)
Yarn:Handpaintedyarn.com hand-spun bulky in Polar Morn
Notes: The pattern itself was fine--it went quickly because of the bulky yarn.  I thought it was a bit odd that the pattern had a different number of reverse stockinette stitches on the sides of each piece, making the bobbles not really centered on the purse.  Of course it's not noticeable without really scrutinizing it, so no big deal!  I absolutely love the color of the yarn!  It's so gorgeous.

 

What actually inspired me to finish this was my class at Sew Crafty Houston (and the leftover fabric that I had from the class).  It was great!  Sarah is a fabulous teacher and I am so proud of my pretty tote bag:
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Even though I've sewed a few things before, I never really felt like I knew what I was doing.  It's so much easier having someone walk you through all of the steps!  Otherwise I tend to cut corners, and that makes for some not-so-nice projects.  Hopefully this will give me the confidence to finally use some of the sewing patterns I've been buying!

 

There are also a few other projects that haven't been blogged about because they were secrets until recently.  In case you're wondering what I've been up to:
  • Our Stitch n' Bitch knit squares for a baby blanket for Sharron!  Isn't it pretty?  Credit goes to Kelly for all of the seaming and edging.
  • More secret baby knits for another Sharon are here!

05/26/2008

It's almost too hot to knit

Hooray for air conditioning - otherwise there would be no knitting around these parts from May through October.  I guess I have to expect that Houston will be terribly hot from now until the fall.  Ugh!

Good thing I usually knit with cotton!  My current project is Cherry knit in Svale.  I'm loving it!

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The top picture shows the actual color.  The bottom picture is a close up of the stitch pattern.  It's so cute and keeps things from getting too boring!

 

I'm also very excited to be taking a few sewing classes this summer.  A sewing lounge opened up in Houston and I think this will be a great way to finally find out if I'm doing things correctly when I sew!  I'm betting that I'm not. :)

05/08/2008

Quickie Post

A lot of work and some secret knitting has made it difficult to blog much, but I have an FO for you!

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Don't mind the laundry behind me!

 

Pattern: Scoop Neck Vest from Blue Sky Alpacas
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran, recycled from this
Notes:  A great, fairly quick knit that I didn't have to think much about.  The yarn isn't my favorite, especially the second time around, but it works for this top.

 

Now to decide what to make next--I have a long car trip coming up so I'm hoping to get a bit more knitting in then!

04/19/2008

Moving On

Thank you all for your suggestions and sympathy on my dye lot issue.  I may have found someone with some extra yarn in the same dye lot on Ravelry--she's not sure but we bought it from the same place around the same time, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  In the meantime, I've moved on to a new project:

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Hmm, not the best spot for a picture, but I'm lazy.

This is the Scoop Neck Vest from Blue Sky Alpacas, and I just have the back and the edgings to finish.  I modified it to knit the body in the round, and it's working up very quickly!

While I was ordering that pattern from Jimmy Beans Wool (I've never used them before--their shipping is super fast!), I picked up some Cascade Cotton Rich DK:
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I'm planning on using this for the Debbie Bliss Cabled V-Neck Vest.  It's going to be a vest-filled spring, apparently!

17:10 Posted in In Progress | Permalink | Comments (5)

04/01/2008

Curses!

I think that all of my knits in 2008 have been cursed.  First, the wrap sweater that I had to rip out (but it turned out ok in the end).  Even the hat I had to rip out in its entirety before getting it right.

And now this:

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See that nice stripe around the yoke?  Dye lot issues.  I guess I'll go into details, though it makes me feel kind of stupid.  I bought seven balls of yarn on ebay for this sweater.  I wanted to make the sweater smaller than the smallest size in the book, so instead of recalculating, I just knit at a tighter gauge.  Of course I didn't remember that this would require additional yarn.  This color is of course discontinued, but I was able to find another dye lot at my LYS.  When I joined the new ball, it sure looked similar enough!  I should have checked before finishing the whole thing.  Grrr!  And then, to add to my stupidity, I lost one of the original dye lot but found it later, thus the return to the original color at the very top of the garment.

 

So, what to do?  Of course, the damn thing fits perfectly.  So I don't really want to rip, but I'm not wearing it like this!  If I do rip the whole thing, I could recalculate the numbers and hopefully only need the seven balls of the same dye lot.  Or someone could come to my rescue with a new ball of Calmer (color #464 lot #17L3)!  Yeah, I doubt it.

 

In the meantime, I say it's time for a new project.  I'm thinking a vest - this one or this one.  Time for a bit of shopping!

19:52 Posted in In Progress | Permalink | Comments (12)

03/21/2008

Issues

The Phyllo Yoked Pullover is looking slightly more like a sweater now:

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But I'm having some issues with this part:
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For some reason I'm not entirely understanding the chart--sometimes the repeats are carried over the marker, and that's throwing me off.  I've gotten farther than the picture above shows, but I think that I made a mistake somewhere and am going to have to rip back to this point.  Phooey.

 

There seem to also be issues with BlogSpirit and Bloglines.  I've been told that my feed is not updating (I wouldn't know, since I use Newsgator) and it looks like other BlogSpirit users have had this problem too.  I have no idea what to do about this, and I'm not really interested in switching my blog somewhere else at the moment (despite its horrible customer service, I like using BlogSpirit), so I'll just have to apologize if you're missing my posts!

11:16 Posted in In Progress | Permalink | Comments (5)

02/18/2008

Up to Something

I thought that instead of only posting when I have something done, I should probably let you in on my current projects.  Makes things a little more interesting, I hope!  First, the Phyllo Yoked Pullover from Knitting Nature:

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Not the most exciting WIP to look at, let alone to knit.  Though I am enjoying knitting with Calmer - it's so soft and squishy!  I've modified it to knit in the round and am inching closer and closer to the interesting pattern at the yoke.

 

Also on the needles, Muir from Knitty:
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Not much to see so far, but I'm enjoying my new Knit Picks wooden needles  and nifty chart holder.  They're both making the pattern so much easier!

 

I guess this post can't all be about WIPs, because I have a finished object!
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Pattern: Kim's Hats from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Wool
Notes:  Someone in my husband's family, who shall remain nameless, has been bugging me for a hat.  Constantly.  So I caved and whipped this one up in just a little over a day.  Cute, huh?  If I were to do it again, I would move the checkerboard pattern down farther, but I had already ripped out the whole hat once and wasn't about to do it again!  And I don't feel bad giving this away as a gift, because it makes me look like I don't have any hair:
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02/09/2008

I'm free!

After being sick nearly the whole month of January and helping to coordinate a big event for work that took place last night, I feel like I can now finally get back into normal life.  Which includes returning to my knitting, of course.  Even though I didn't knit much in the past month, I was still able to finish a bulky sweater:

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(sorry about the pictures, my usual photographer is out of town and I'm not so good at self-portraits)

 

Pattern: A combination of the Ballet Wrap Cardigan from Interweave Knits Winter 2005 and the Wrap Jacket with Hood (#40) from Rebecca 32.
Yarn: Merino Bulky from handpaintedyarn.com in Pagoda, 6 balls (size 10 1/2 needles)
Notes:  Even after frogging the entire body, this was still a quick knit.  I used the Rebecca pattern for the edging/ties and the idea of knitting the body in one piece.  The rest of the pattern is the Ballet Wrap Cardigan.  I think the fact that the ties are on my hips rather than my waist and that my gauge was a little off created a little less coverage in the front than I'd like, but it still works.

 

The only major modification I made on the Ballet Wrap pattern was to create an edging for the back of the neck--the pattern has you leave it as a raw bind-off.  I continued the ribbing pattern from the front edges around to the back by not binding off the 5 neck stitches, continuing the two edges in pattern until they meet in the back, and sewing them down.  The seam is not so pretty, but I still think it's an improvement:

 

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And the yarn is sooo soft and smooshy.  I always thought I wasn't a wool person, but I think I've just been using the wrong kind of wool.  I love this stuff!  I did have to alternate skeins to avoid pooling, but the resulting fabric full of subtle color changes is well worth it.  I hope that I can wear this sweater at least once before the Houston winter is over!

01/13/2008

Oops

Reading directions, it turns out, is pretty important when knitting.  Which is why this:

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became this today:
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     I've had some bulky merino from handpaintedyarn.com in my stash for a while now and finally decided to cast on for the Ballet Wrap Cardigan from Interweave Knits Winter 2005.  Actually, it's a bit of a hybrid of the IK pattern and a wrap cardigan from Rebecca 32 (this one on the far left).  The ties and general idea of knitting the sweater in one piece are from the Rebecca pattern, while the rest it is from IK.

     My advice to everyone when you realize that your stitch count is off and something has gone horribly wrong is not to continue, like I did, but stop and re-read the pattern.  Turns out that I messed up the first group of decreases (did way too many of them) and had to frog back to pretty much the whole thing.

     I thought for a while that I might just leave it as is and wear a sweater that didn't really have useful fronts, but I decided to rip despite the fact that I may now miss Houston's winter entirely and not get to wear this for a while.  What finally convinced me was that I can now change the decreases, since I don't like the way they're written, and figure out a way to change the back neck.  I read through the pattern several times to try to find the finishing for the back neck area, but nope, there is none.  It's just a raw stockinette bind-off edge.  There has to be a better way to do that.  At least with bulky yarn re-knitting shouldn't take too long!

19:50 Posted in In Progress | Permalink | Comments (6)

01/02/2008

Crafty Christmas

There was a lot of crafting this Christmas, though not so much by me.  I received some fabulous socks from my sister-in-law Stacey:

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I thought the pillow would make a nice background, but it just looks a little silly.  Oh well.  Here's a close up of the stitch pattern:
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They fit perfectly--much better than the two pairs of socks I've made for myself!  And she said that the Illini colors were dyed especially for me.  (We couldn't bear to watch U of I lose in the Rose Bowl yesterday, so we watched a movie instead.  Well, there's always next year!)

 

Then we received these beautiful embroidered pillowcases from my sister:

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She also made some very yummy snickerdoodles for the husband--his favorite!

 

Still no pictures of the felted clogs, though they have gotten a ton of wear.  My last FO of 2007 is a pair of fingerless gloves:
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Notice how I'm also wearing my Apricot Jacket?  I just cast on 25 stitches of Marcela from Handpaintedyarn.com (from the odds and ends section), knit a while, made a hole for my thumb, knit a bit more, cast off, and made a tube.  They're too big, but they were nice and cozy for our visit to the snowy Midwest!

12/21/2007

Busy Bee

Things have been a bit hectic around here lately, but I've still managed to fit in some knitting:

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Pattern: Flair from Knit and Tonic
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed in Rush, 6 balls
Notes:  This didn't turn out quite as planned.  I wanted to make it look like Wispy  so I decided to make the fronts smaller and only put two buttonholes at the top.  Well, I didn't really think it through well because I made the fronts so small that there's no way I can button it at all.  So I sewed the buttonholes closed and I suppose it sort of works as is. 

 

This sweater also took me forever, I think mostly because I didn't like knitting with Summer Tweed.  I absolutely love the way it looks and feels knit up, but it is very uncomfortable to knit with!  Regardless, I think I'll still get some wear out of this sweater.
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Pattern: Fun Fur Kitschmas Tree 
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun and Yarn Bee Party Girl
Notes: Isn't this the cutest thing ever?  You can't tell too much from the picture, but the yarn is a bit sparkly and looks perfect for this tree.  The nice thing about "Party Girl" yarn (from Hobby Lobby) as opposed to the Fun Fur called for in the pattern is that it has much better yardage and is a lot cheaper.  Also, it has sparkles!  I knit the bottom part instead of crocheting it and added a plastic circle for support.  I have enough yarn over to make another, or maybe lots of tiny ones for next year!

 

And I finished another project in record time--I promised my husband felted slippers for our trip up to Illinois a while ago.  I cast on last Saturday and finished the knitting on Tuesday.  I didn't get a chance to felt them until today, so hopefully they dry by the time we leave!  No pictures at the moment, but it's the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs pattern.

 

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!  I'm off to enjoy a bit of cold weather and hopefully use some handknits.

12/10/2007

Random thoughts for a Monday

1.  I finished more ornaments:

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I also cheated and bought those little glass ornaments you can open up.  I was going to originally put pom-poms in all of them, but it proved to be too annoying to make all of those little things.  So some are just stuffed with yarn, beads, or little Christmas doodads.
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2.  I am tired of 80 degree weather in December.  As I was trying to take the picture above, I was being attacked by mosquitoes.  When it doesn't get cold, those things don't die!  That's my excuse for the picture being so bad. :)

 

3.  Entrelac is so fun!
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Yarn: SWS in Natural Earth
Notes:  So much fun to make!  And it only took a couple of days.  I love the yarn, and it worked perfectly for this pattern.  Will make a good gift, since I certainly don't need it here.

 

4. Flair is finished!  It's blocking right now.  I'm afraid it will be a bit small, but I'm hopeful that Summer Tweed will stretch.

 

5. I am so making this tree.  However, it is much harder to find green Fun Fur than you might think.  I had to go to three different stores to find any sort of green eyelash yarn, and in an entire wall of fuzzy yarns at Hobby Lobby they only had one ball in green!  Luckily their brand has much more yardage so I only needed one ball.  Whoever thought I'd be running around Houston in search of Homespun and Fun Fur?

12/02/2007

Wisp

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Pattern: Wisp from Knitty
Yarn: A little over one ball of Patons Lacette in Cream
Time to Complete: October 1, 2007 to November 28, 2007
Notes: Once I got going on this, it really didn't take too long.  It's a very simple pattern and I'm quite happy with the outcome.  I did extra repeats since my gauge was off and ended up with pretty much the same finished measurements as the pattern.  I'm not sure if I like the poncho look--but if I don't wear it like that it defeats the purpose of the buttons.  And I love the buttons!
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Just cheap-o things from JoAnns, but they're pretty!  Now I'm off to www.etsy.com to order some presents after being disappointed by my real-life shopping experience today. :)

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