Wednesday, December 21, 2011

FOs for Meows

Well, surely you didn't expect a ginorm sweater, shawl, or dress as the last 12under43 project! Of course it's a cat toy! Or several of them.

Henry's toy snake is the scary one in the back. S/he is supposed to be a snake, but honestly it looks a lot like a microphone, and it is way, insanely, super fun to pick it up and sing like no-one's listening. There are 60 of these today on Rav so it doesn't count for my project. The top of the head came from Market Cardi, the nearly imperceptibly different crimson came from this Neckwarmer, and the grey came from the remnants of the stripes from this Striped vest. So long, scrappies!

The fishie is designed by Jackie Ziegler. It ended up with bumblebee coloring because the yellow from the beloved Jersey ran out. So the black from Hippocampi pitched in. There are 26 of these so far, so it is officially the 12th and final project for the 12under43 project. Woot woot! The Mousie mousie mouse is from the old, old remnants of the frogged sleeves from a sweater-turned-vest. There are 17 of these so far on Ravelry, so this one counts too, in case the fishies don't.


Last but not least, I just knitted this one free-form. The shaping on the butt is exceptional, and I like to believe the kitty cats will really notice the short-row shaping and the subtle and symmetric lifted increases. Because that's what cats do best, appreciate fine knitting. I overestimated the yarn (still from the Neckwarmer) and ran out, and did the face with the detritus from the Blue Moon Bainbridge-Baltimore-Fair socks. Now it looks like a hedgehog, and I'm torn as to whether the tail and ears should be mouse-like or hedgie-like. It's a hard life, making cat toys.

DH and I are working hard, to lure this gorgeous stray (and pregnant?) kitty into our lives.
I am 100% positive she will like a hand-knitted toy, especially if stuffed with catnip, and give us head nudgies!

So we knit on.

Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

FO: Red Bougainvillea

Yikes, by the skin of teeth! This came off the needles, got blocked in a hurry, and sent off to a lucky gift recipient.
red-bougainvillea2

This is knitted from my own pattern, Bougainvillea. I did a few extra repeats because this is a thinner yarn--a merino-tencel blend hand-dyed and sold at A Mind's Eye Yarns,  which I got during the Cambridge portion of the Cambridge-Boston yarn crawl a few months ago. The sheen from the tencel works well for the bougainvillea bracts (the colored leaves on bougainvillea).
red-bougainvillea3

It was very late by the time it was picture time, so all of them are kinda dark and romantic, especially this one. You can really see the lace detail though!
red-bougainvillea1

So this makese #11 of my 12 under 43 projects for the year! Just one more to go!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WIP

I bid adieu to my old dumb-phone and got a new iphone, which means it's too smart for my computer. So I've been taking a bloggy break while upgrading the RAM and the OS (twice). But now I need to download the newer photoshop and camera software! Arg arg arg. So I haven't been able to show you how little I have been knitting. Then I realized that my phone is smart and can take pictures and stuff, and no need to wait!

Here's the last present I am knitting this holiday season, a red iteration of my Bougainvillea Shawl/Scarf.


The yarn is a shiny and drapey blend that I got during my Cambridge-Boston yarn crawl. Love it, especially because the sheen is so bougainvillea-ey.

In other news, we've been busy repainting. The bright lime green has been muted down to a pale greenish grey. Perfect for cozy winter mornings! The mouldings need to go up now--like everything in this house, it's a work in progress...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back! With FOs!

Oooof, that was a long blogging break--many work deadlines (including what is hopefully my last board exam) all fell within a month of each other, and so there was a lot of frizzy running around and no knitting at all. I finished these FO's before the month of craziness, and did not even have time to take pictures or post. But here they are finally!

cowl-blue


cowl-red


Pattern is Bridget Cowl, by Elena Rosenberg. I had been wanting to knit a moebius cowl/snood/shawl, and picked this pattern because I thought it was knit in the round as a moebius. Actually, it is knit like a short scarf and then seamed together. I cast-on with provisional cast-on, put the final live stitches on scrap yarn, blocked (this lace pattern grows a lot), then seamed using kitchener stitch.

cowls-preblock


The pattern calls for 3 rows of ribbing at the end, which I didn't understand and thought it would mess up the lace pattern, so I skipped those rows (also I just hate ribbing!). Otherwise, the only other mod was a slightly longer length. The pattern calls for knitting 30" before seaming. To be able to wear it as a snood and as a shoulder shawl sort of thingy, a few more inches are needed. 34-35" should be good for a small-medium build woman. I was able to use up every last bit of a skein each of Madelinetosh Vintage (worsted weight, 200 yards, in Tart), and Angel's Kiss (worsted weight, 220 yards, in Ocean Tones). The red one (Madelinetosh) is a touch small (32" before seaming) but ok for me, and the blue one turned out about 35-36" and fits better over the shoulders. Overall, this is a quick and versatile accessory great for using up those single skeins of pretty yarn, and perfect for gift knitting!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

FO: Hale and Hearty Cardi

man-sweater4

Nothing says happy belated birthday like finally setting in the zipper for a sweater-jacket!

It is just sick that the only local place I know to get zippers (or any notions) in St Louis is 15 miles away, and not open past 5pm (Not exactly catering to the employed crowd). So today, after 2 weekfuls of late work nights, I finally went to a chain store today to get a zipper--20 miles each way! Please, please, please, somebody, open a notions store in St Louis proper! I set in the zipper and then covered the edges with quilt binding tape, for smoothness. A bang up job if I say so myself!

The pattern is East Hale Cardigan, by Alexis Winslow, from the fall 2011 issue of Knitscene. I don't subscribe (yet) but this issue was chock full of fabulous, knittable, and wearable patterns--this is the first of several I plan to knit. The body is knit in one piece with an i-cord and garter stitch border, and goes very fast. The design is very clever because there are short rows on the border so that it is the same length as the stockinette main part, thereby avoiding the bunching and puckering that this type of edge usually creates.
man-sweater3


The shoulders are very cool and fit perfectly, with the seam a couple inches back;  the garter border expands and wraps around to complete the shawl collar in the back. The sleeves are then picked up and knit top-down with short row shaping for the shoulder cap, which is my favorite method.
man-sweater5


All in all, this was a well-thought-out and smart design that was a delight to knit. There were no errors for the size I knitted, and I made no mods except shortening the sleeves!

I used the yarn called for in the pattern, Cascade Eco. It's super sheepy and sproingy, and should hold up well in this seamless garment. Also, it is bulky weight so the knitting goes very fast--a treat after a lot of small-needle lace projects. This yarn absolutely must be wet-blocked, not just steam blocked, because a LOT of dirt came out of the yarn (opacified 2 sinkfuls of water). Here is the sweater before: the shoulder seams pucker all funny and the whole thing looks a little sad.
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Here it is after: smooth and happy! DH is quite pleased and gave it 5 stars. The weather is perfect for wearing this, a clear and crisp autumn--look at that blue sky!
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ETA: With 17 projects on Ravelry, this is #8 for my 12under43 resolution for the year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FO: ASH cardi

ASH5

At long last! The Apres Surf Hoodie, cast on on March 7th when there was snow on the trees, is finally a Finished Object!
ASH8


This is a very popular pattern, by Connie Chang Chinchio. The main modification was turning it into a cardigan, and knitting it in one piece rather than seaming at the sides.
ASH6


The trim/icord edging around the center edges and along the hood really held me up, as did setting in the zipper. A well-matching zipper is hard to find. The separating zipper is from Windsor Button in Boston, and I must say, very well-matched indeed. It didn't come with the top little stopper things that prevents the zipper part from flying off the top, so I sewed on a little bead on each side and they do the trick quite nicely.
ASH4


This used up less than 3 skeins of Cascade Heritage Sock. Great bang for the buck, and I really like that this yarn is smooth and spoingy and machine washable. All in all, this is the perfect weight sweater for early fall, so it all turned out well in the end that it took over six months to knit.
ASH7

The crisp autumnal breezes have brought back the knitting mojo...hopefully this means more knitting and less lollygagging!
ASH9

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smart people VOTE!

Vote for my friend Elisabeth McKetta for her entry in the Real Simple, Simply Stated competition!

Click HERE.

If you are busy and have no time to read all of the stories, Elisabeth's is the best one by a giraffe's mile. I am happy that I once met the 101-year-old woman in the story. She was a hoot.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

KC

KC-train

Look at the train!

After the State Fair, we continued onto Kansas City. It's supposedly the hipper little sister to St Louis, which is I think a pretty good description. We went to some good restaurants, and had time for one museum, the World War I museum.
WWImemorial1


I guess back in those days, Missouri was the obvious location for a World War I memorial/museum. I am definitely not a fan of all the glorification of war and gore, but it was not all that warmongery/gory, plus it was a really well curated museum, and a great history review lesson. Extra bonus, I took pictures of all the fiberarts-related stuff to share!

First of all, the uniforms. Most of the US uniforms had this detail where there is shaping in the upper front chest with darts. I have never seen that on regular clothes, but it makes perfect sense, since people are built in 3 dimensions, not 2. Patternmakers of the world, what is this type of dart called?
uniform1


I loved that so many of the old clothes, especially knitted garments, showed signs of repair/love. Here is a still-modern-looking crewneck pullover.
sweater

(The gun pointing to it is not cool, but it's impossible to crop out without cutting out the sweater sleeve.)

Here's a great schematic of all the patches for the different insignia for the US army. Back then, who made all the patches? Who makes them now? I like to think they are embroidered by hand still.
insignia


The French apparently sent back the sacks that held food aid, embroidered and decorated, in this case, with crochet lace.
sack-embroidery2

sack-embroidery


Close up. Amazing work!
crochet-edging


Closer to home, a Missourian woman made this quilt, made of fabric rectangles that one got for sending in coupons from cigarette boxes. Seriously, if there were nothing to knit or sew, woudn't you take up smoking too, just for the fabric scraps?
tobacco-quilt


The most prominent part of the museum is this very tall tower. There is, and always has been, an elevator inside, whew.
WWImemorial2


This is what is looks like, on the inside. The guides/docents at the museum were all kindly veteran types. One of them stopped the elevator so I could take the picture!
WWImemorial3
I LOVE this green.


Poppies, one for every 1000 people who died fighting in the war.
poppies


Somber, the next stop was a big gigantic pick me up, at a book store!
bookstore1


Holy guacamole! I want one of these in St Louis! Half Price Books! All the time! Inside is like a big chain bookstore, except everything is cheap.
bookstore2


Even everything in the big huge section of knitting and other crafty books.
bookstore3


I came away with a few goodies.
crafty-books

knitting-books


On the first day in KC, DH and I could not resist and checked our work schedules, and he found that through some hideous glitch, he had patients to see the next day. So, the next morning, we woke at the crack of dawn and drove all the way home. So that's it for vacation photos! Alack. At least I got some knitting done!
man-sweater1
A big ocean of stockinette, for the East Hale Cardigan.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MO Fair 2011

After the ecstatic wins, we sped through the rest of the fair. Well, we lingered in the home ec section for a while.
yarn
Handspun yarn. How is it possible there are so many categories?!?  There are at least 10 blue ribbons there! In knitting, there are only 5 categories (shawl/stole, sweater, foot, accessory, household).

socks

All of these socks were amazing.

handdied-shawl
This hand-spun and hand-died (not my spelling, seriously) and hand-knitted stole competed in a separate, hand-everything, category from my shawl. It looks super soft but we weren't allowed to touch.

Kudos to all of the Missouri knitters who competed this year!

felted-hat
Felting is something I don't really understand.

felted-sculpture
If you're thinking, holy f*ing shite what is that thing, you are not alone. It is, according to the tag, a "felted sculpture." It is a sort of 3-dimensional, hairy, rodent-y Guernica.

doily
The crochet lace section proved much more appealing. This amazing tri-color doily didn't even get a ribbon!

jams
The juniors' jam session. Heh.

weaving

Men have a monopoly on weaving at the MO fair, for some reason.

smocked-dress

As in every year, sewing takes top prizes. This is an astonishing smocked dress.

patchwork-quilt

A lovely patchwork quilt in old-fashioned fabrics with wee flowers.

cat-quilt

I want this quilt! Are you the quilter of this quilt? If so, I will pay you big moneys for this! My halloween decorations will be set for life!

bestinshow

Best in Show went to a quilt this year. Far away, it looks like a regular quilt.

bestinshow-detail

Close up, you can see the unbelivable hand-stitching and detailed quilting, done in color matching the underlying quilt pieces. The curlicue shapes look like they are filled with extra padding too.

bestinshow-back

This is the view from the back. The back is plain blue fabric, but the super-neat quilting stitches from the front recreates the ornate pattern on the back. We all applauded for the very talented quilter who made this quilt!

After the home ec, we continued to the rest of the fair. Since it was the last day, most of the animals and such were gone. The only non-human animals we saw were these sweet bunnies!
bunny1

bunny3

bunny4

bunny2

They look sad in their cages, but actually people can take them out and snuggle with them, and the bunnies will sit contentedly, thumping their little tails.

We looked high and low for the angora bunnies.
bunny-angora

Yikes. Here is one, cute and poofy. Holy mole that is a lot of hair.

The other usual stops at the fair include the fine arts and flowers.
art

This was the only fine art that I took a picture of. Very clever, and deserving of the rainbow-colored ribbon, I think.

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flower1

By the last day of the fair, the flower competition/show is well past the high-stakes roses, leaving room for the dahlias (I think, they might be something different).

painted-squash

Also, an intricately painted ginormous squash.

choc-orchids

And chocolate scented orchids.

A rose is a rose is a rose, but this is all 100% awesomeness!

roads

We drove away, got lost, and ended up driving down some picturesque farm roads. Missouri has lettered roads/highways, but they are not in alphabetical order.