Thursday, June 19, 2008

Finally, Knitting!

I've been knitting! See:

Knttin' old-lady style, yeah!

There's nothing better than knitting on a porch in a rocking chair with a class of wine and your favorite boy next to you. After taking a break from knitting for a couple months (aka spending too much time on Ravelry), I'm back with more projects started than needles to complete them. And mentioning Ravelry, that picture above is my new Ravatar. Grin.

To keep you entertained until I get a new camera (my old one doesn't want to focus anymore) and a new hard disk for my computer (computer won't let me do anything except use Firefox), I'll show you a couple items I knit LAST SUMMER (!) that I haven't blogged about yet. To be far (to myself), I didn't gift these items until last February, so this post is only 4 months late. Wink wink.


Pattern: "Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono" from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Mods: Knit a few more rows for extra length, used ribbons to tie closed
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish, superwash wool, in color "Bubblegum"
Needles: 4mm straights
Recipient: Friend's baby girl
Finished Size: Comparable to store-bought clothing in 3-6 month size

I don't have pictures of the sweater on a baby, but Harrod, my teddy bear, was kind enough to model it for me.


The pattern was wicked easy to knit because it's knit flat, but seaming was a bitch. See those tiered edges on the sleeves...


...they don't create a straight underarm seam.

I figured a tie closure would be easiest for a parent dressing a baby, so I sewed ribbon on both front sections. I left an inch-wide gap on one side seam to let one ribbon through, and I attached an icord to the other side to thread the other ribbon through and hold it in place.


Along with the wrap sweater, I gifted a couple bibs (and the February Baby Sweater from a few posts ago).


Pattern: Baby Bib O' Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Mods: Added lace stitches
Needles: 4mm and 4.5mm
Yarn: Various Sugar'n Cream cotton
Other materials: Pansy plastic buttons from JoAnn Fabrics


Next post: More stuff that I knit months ago. Ha!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Baking... But Still Not Knitting*

I haven't baked much since my college days because I try to eat healthy but mostly because my last two apartment stoves couldn't maintain a constant temperature. (When I bought a stove thermometer, I discovered that when set to 450 degrees F, my stove would fluctuate from 200 to 550 degrees!) However, over the last two months, I've baked this delicious Swedish Visiting Cake three times!

I hate frosting, so this almond- and sugar-topped cake is perfect for me.

I changed up a few ingredients in the recipe. I used 1 tsp of almond extract and only .5 tsp of vanilla extract because I wanted the almond and lemon flavors to be the focus. I baked two cakes with half white flour and half wheat flour, so the baking time was longer (38 minutes exactly both times), but when I used all white flour, baking took the recommended 30 minutes. I enjoyed the cakes with some wheat flour more (heartier taste), but my boyfriend enjoyed the pound-cake texture of the all-white flour cake more.

My boyfriend gave the cake rave reviews and said, "Your people [the Swedes] sure know how to make good cake!" I'm only an eighth Swedish, and I don't know if the cake is even a traditional Swedish recipe, but it sure is yummy. It's light (for a cake), and the lemon and almond flavors work well together without overwhelming each other. I enjoy it as a tasty tea-time treat. I also baked one for a Mother's Day lunch, and it was gobbled up.

*Psst! I have been knitting for the past couple weeks, but I don't have anything to show yet. I'm hoping to finish up a couple projects this weekend and take pictures.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Not Knitting

I've been spending more time on Ravelry than I have been knitting, so I don't have any knitting to show you. I'll show you some other craftiness to make up for that.

Left: refurbished earring, right: "vintage" earring

Four years ago, I bought a pair of $2 earrings from Aeropostale (that teeny bopper store). Though made of some cheap metal, they survived the years with dangly dignity until last summer when the finish started to peel off the base. Now I have refurbished the earrings into real silver beauties. I only salvaged the original beads - I made the rest from silver jewelry bits from JoAnn Fabrics.

I was also a busy crafter for Easter, dyeing my eggs with food coloring and vinegar...



...and making a cute felt chickadee for my mom's Easter basket.

The idea for an egg-shaped chickadee was ripped off from someone elsewhere on the world wide web. I just can't remember who to give you a link.

That's all, folks!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February Baby Sweater

I knit this sweater for a Christmas present and only just mailed it, so ironically, it really is a February baby sweater. Although I finished knitting and seaming last October, I couldn't find good buttons until January. The coating came off in the wash of the first set of buttons I had sewn on... even though they were supposed to be washable. Argh, darn shell buttons from JoAnn Fabrics, darn you!

Oh la la, these colors match my blog!

Every time I look at these sweater pictures, I smile. My boyfriend says this is his favorite item that I have ever knit, and the mommy loves it too, and she says that her baby girl wears it all the time. I'm dancing the Happy Dance.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Baby Sweater on Two Needles," aka "February Baby Sweater," from Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Washable wool, for the mom's sake.... Knit Picks Swish in color "Indigo Heather," about 2.25 skeins
Needles: 4.5 mm (US size 7) Knit Picks 24" Options (for body) and 4.5 mm straights (for sleeves)
Recipient: Friend's baby girl... the mommy is the person who taught me how to knit

Mods:
I added a half-inch in length to the body and sleeves. I compared the finished sweater/jacket to store-bought clothing, and the shoulder-to-shoulder width was comparable to size 3-6 months. I estimated the size correctly because my friend says that her 3.5-month-old girl is wearing this now.

Sweater in progress

Once I got to the sleeve divide, I knit the sleeves first on straight needles (leaving the body stitches on my Options cord), then I picked up stitches to knit the body, but I ended up with this hole - whoopsy. I don't think I picked up those stitches properly.

Oopsy hole

All turned out well once I seemed up the sleeves.

Nice!

Review:
A simple, fun, beautiful pattern. Zimmermann's pithy directions are short and sweet, and I can't wait to tackle more of her patterns. I love how this cardigan looks like a swing jacket, which is fitted across the shoulders but swings out from the body - they are in style again. I only included three buttons on the top and left the sleeves “short” (three-quarter length) to emphasize the look. I also love the smooshy Swish yarn and its rich color because I didn't want to create a stereotypical pastel pink baby sweater.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day


When my boyfriend saw me making these hearts, he was impressed with my craftiness, but I totally copied this idea from Paper and String, who is far craftier than I. My hearts are made of acrylic felt, embroidery floss, ribbon, buttons, and potpourri (for filling).

I made these hearts for my grandma, who has been in and out of the hospital with heart problems for the last month, and my mom, who went into the hospital yesterday with a possible heart blockage. This Valentine's Day, I wish both their hearts health and happiness. And I wish you, dear (and few) readers, real candy and eye candy...


Valentine chocolates from my man

Tonight, I'm staying in with my boyfriend, take-out food, and Netflix. Happy Valentine's Day.

Update, February 15....

Yesterday was relaxing... until I was woken up in the whee hours of the morning by my boyfriend swearing profusely because he had spilled a whole glass of red wine on the carpet. Whoops! Luckily, "we" got it out - I just dabbed laundry detergent on it.

Now that presents have been received, I can share some of the little gifts I gave my Valentine... from Etsy. Sure, Esty can be "manly." My boyfriend received...
...a funny love card from The Beautiful Project.
...beer soap from Pixie Soap, which doesn't smell strongly of beer but does smell very manly.
...(his favorite) a business card/notes holder designed like an old-skool Nintendo controller from Lost Mitten (here's another one). Lost Mitten has awesome creations made from Perler beads, which I loved to play with as a child.

I also gave myself Valentine presents - soaps from Lily Bay Soap. The rose soap with shea butter and kaolin clay makes my skin wonderfully smooth; I don't even need to apply body moisturizer after my shower. I have very sensitive skin, and it doesn't bother my skin at all (love it!). The vanilla with shea butter lip balm is moisturizing and glides on almost like lip gloss (need more of this!). I'm still waiting to try my chocolate soap, which looks like a huge hunk of chocolate that I want to eat, but boyfriend says no - phooey.

I entered Paper and String's monthly give-away contest, and I won a prize! As a runner up, ironically, I win a heart similar to the ones I copied from her (see above) - awesome!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This Year's Boyfriend Hat

My boyfriend helps me with my knitting "photoshoots." He models or holds the knitting or takes the pictures... in public, without complaining. He's a keeper! And he deserves another hat. This year, he wanted a larger hat. He said his last hat is too short when he's outside in the winter cold shoveling or hiking for hours, so I re-knit The Boyfriend Hat, adding an extra inch to the height to cover his ears.


Pattern: A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend
Mods: Added that extra inch
Yarn: Mission Falls Wool color 021
Needles: 5mm (size 8) 16" circs and dpns

Someone on Ravelry pointed out that there are over 100 boyfriend hats in the world. Yippee! I'm glad you like the pattern as much as my boyfriend does.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

This Is Belated....

...but Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. I haven't blogged since November!

Gobbler wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving too!

I've been a busy knitting beaver, but I've been a lazy blogger. I'll start the new blogging year by showing off my handmade Christmas ornaments and Christmas present - yep, that's "present," singular - bwahaha.

Another poinsettia ornament....


Pattern: Petal Dishcloth
Mods: Thinner yarn, smaller needles, added beads
Needles: 2mm (size 0) dpns
Yarn: DMC cotton floss, 2 skeins (5g=15m each skein)
Other materials: Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener and Draping Liquid (available at JoAnn Fabrics) to stiffen the ornament

A little chickadee for my Christmas tree....


Pattern: From The Cute Book with modifications
Materials: Acrylic felt, cotton embroidery floss, cotton balls for stuffing

And my favorite new ornament, a mini Christmas stocking....

Since the pictures been taken, I've hung my stocking from a
fancier gold ribbon instead of just string.


Pattern: Mini Stocking from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Mods: Thicker yarn, bigger needles, knit in the cuff in garter stitch, skipped the fair isle pattern
Needles: 3.5mm (size 4) dpns
Yarn: A small amount of Knit Picks Merino Style in colors "Hollyberry" and "Pine"
Size: 3.75” from cuff to heel, 3” from heel to toe

My Christmas time was stressful enough running around to see my friends and family and the boyfriend's family, so I gave up Christmas knitting except for one scarf, for my former college roommate.


Pattern: Not-Quite-Straight Scarf (no mods)
Needles: 5.5mm
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk in color "Bluebell" (about 2.67 skeins)
Size: Blocked to 7.25" wide by (approximately) 65" long

I love the diagonals, but the pattern is tedious and boring. A simple pattern but I could never remember if I was on an increase/decrease row or not - wicked annoying! I love the finished scarf but did not enjoy knitting it.


I also have a new Boyfriend Hat to show off, and I'm working on my first pair of mittens!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Updates

Fixing up the blog, but I will leave the patterns up.

Updated January 15th:
A couple notes to add...
- I will be posting images differently, and now I'm re-posting all my old images. This could take a while since I hate sitting in front of a computer for tedious activities, but posts will slowly start to reappear. I'm still working on this, so some pictures might be slightly pixelated.
- Looking through old posts, I see that I've missed many of your comments - oh dear! I'm having comments sent to my e-mail now so that I'm sure to read them.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Autumn Accessories

I knit myself some autumn accessories: Calorimetry and Fetching. And I love-love them! I wear them all the time. They are perfect to wear when I go hiking because I can wear my hair up in a ponytail and I have my fingers free to take pictures.


Pattern: Calorimetry from Knitty.com: more than a headband but less than a hat
Needles: 4mm (size 6) straights
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in color "Chocolate"

I knit my new accessories with Wool of the Andes. It’s not too scratchy, has a nice halo and good stitch definition - and of course it’s inexpensive - but it is stretchy. After wearing Calorimetry once, it grew way too large for me.

After frogging Calorimetry and washing the yarn to get the kinks out, I switched to 4mm needles and reknit it. The new circumference is perfect, but the width is still too wide across the top of my head. Another time, I would knit less rows.

Calorimetry Mods (updated January 2007):

The second time I knit this, I tried to wrap when I turned to avoid holes (except for a couple buttonholes). However, there are still small holes because I didn't knit together the wrap and the wrapped stitch (I just realized this was one of my mistakes).

Not only did I still have small holes, I w&t-ed all the holes when increasing my Calorimetry, so I eliminated all the buttonholes! Stupid stupid stupid. Best of all: I didn’t realize this until I had woven in the ends then tied on the button - when I tried to button my Calorimetry closed, that’s when I noticed. Argh! (Stupid stupid stupid stupid.)

Instead of a button, I sewed on snaps to close it. The close snaps are a pain in the ass to unsnap, and I need to sew them on better. I’m using a button to cover up my crap sewing, but it doesn’t match. I’m annoyed with myself for frackin’ up the buttonholes. However, I’ll definitely wear this when I wear my hair up on a cold winter day… until I knit another, better Calorimetry.

My boyfriend asked why I can’t knit a whole anything: I knit just the shoulders of a sweater (Ribbed Lace Bolero), a half-hat (Calorimetry), and now gloves without fingers (Fetching). One day I'll knit a whole sweater!


Pattern: Fetching from Knitty.com
Needles: 4mm (size 6) dpns
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in color "Chocolate"

The Fetching pattern is very cute and very easy. I was nervous before starting the thumbs, but I could easily see my stitches to grab off my waste yarn.

Fetching Mods:

For this pair, I knit the standard size with some extra length, but they are too roomy in the palms and too short. I have a 7” wrist, thin hands, and thin, long fingers. If I were to knit this again, I would definitely decrease a repeat or two in the palm (and possibly cast on one less repeat). I’d also make the thumb-hole opening much smaller, and I knit this a little longer to partially cover my fingers (this pair only covers my palms). Despite all the sizing issues, I love them! They are my first pair of fingerless mitts that I have ever worn, and they are functional and awesome! They are perfect for hiking and/or photographing in the cold.


Altogether, I used less than two skeins of yarn, and since it's cheap Wool of the Andes, my awesome autumn accessories cost only $4. Four dollars! And they are super quick to knit. My Calorimetry might be too wide and my Fetching mitts might be too big, but I love them both and wear them all the time. I will have to knit them again in the proper sizes because they rock!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We Are the Champions... Again

We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions... of the world


Happy-drunk after Game 4 of the World Series

It's a good time to be a Red Sox fan. Growing up a hard-luck Sox fan, I hardly can believe we won one World Series - and now we've won two, baby! Though this year's victory doesn't feel quite as sweet as the 2004 win... because I didn't have to wait my whole life for it. My liver is glad the Sox swept the series in four games, and I'm glad I don't have to spend another weeknight at the bar. How did I do it back in college?

My boyfriend took time off work to watch the victory parade in Boston with me and to see Papelbon shake his bonbon. We drove into Boston, managed to find parking near City Hall (for only $20 - yay! - yes, that's real happiness), and we joined the masses to cheer on our World Champs. In 2004, I watched the parade in front of the Science Museum, and although crowded, it wasn't anything like Tuesday's pandemonium near City Hall. I was twenty-plus rows of people back from the duck boats. Luckily, I am tall.

My view of Pap's jig (you can see the broom he's dancing with):


I've been in a knitting funk for a couple weeks. None of my current projects are inspiring me to pick up the needles. I looked through my yarn for a quick pick-me-up project and made this with leftover cotton:


Pattern: Ballband dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Needles: 4.5mm (size 7) straights
Yarns: Yellowy off-white for the background with stripes in light green, blue-green, sky blue, dark purple, medium purple, and light purple