Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something Old, Something New

Hello! I still knit!

If you have kids you know that May is a really crazy month. All the end of school programs, art shows, preschool sing, Mother's Day tea, etc. Add in a birthday. Get outside and get that yard shaped up. Then, catch Tote Bag Fever and go a little crazy on that for awhile. My studio (my whole house) is just a crazy mess.

So, I've been trying to organize my knitting projects that have gotten scattered around the house. When I really want to buckle down and get some stuff finished, I do the "finish one old project before rewarding myself with a new project" game. I know you do that too.

So today I present you with two FOs, one started last October, one started last week.

First up, the Chic Basic Hoodie--Lace Version. I started this last October with some Cotton Ease in Violet. It clipped along for a few months, hit the wall in January, when I discovered for the 85th time, that a 4" rib just doesn't work for me. After a few months in time out, I ripped back and reknit 3" in stockinette and 1" rib.

Finished the sleeves in the car during spring break, and sewed the buttons on today!
I changed the hood to a big collar. I just picked up the same amount of stitches called for my size, fudged a bit to make sure I had a multiple of 4 (+2) and knit 8" of 2 x 2 rib. When picking up stitches for the collar, I made sure the pick up looked good on both sides, by just picking up the very edge loop (1/2 a stitch). More details on Ravelry.

And now, for something completely different.....
I love animal print. I especially love it on kids.
I've had this idea for awhile, to make a Magic Ball using Tiger yarn and some other bright colors. Last week I made a boy version, with Tiger, Candy Corn, Picnic Basket, and others, and a girl version, with Tiger, Cosette, Deep Rose, California Poppies, and more (pink, orange, yellow, and some neutrals).

Just as a mom "tests" the chocolate chip cookies when they come out of the oven to make sure they are good for everyone, I decided that I needed to test out one of these to see if it lived up to my vision.

I am really super happy with the result. I made this Baby Surprise Jacket from the boy version. I upsized it to a 3T to test out how large a sweater I could get from one Magic Ball. I can report that I used almost the whole ball for the 3T size--I had 2 color sections out of 15 left over--so it is could be possible to do a 4T and just make it shorter.

If you are needing to see the girl version, you can catch a sneak peek over at the Sophie's Toes Ravelry group forum, or see them in the shop tomorrow night.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Color Palette

I have often felt that semi-solids don't get enough credit in the hand-dyed sock world. I love dyeing the pretty variegated yarns, and I love looking at them in their beautiful skeins, but I really knit a lot more with the semi-solids. They can be so rich. They behave so well. But for some reason, probably because they are not as flashy as their variegated siblings, they don't sell as well. But they are really beautiful for lace knitting, and there seems to be a new abundance of fair isle patterns for which semi-solids are fabulous.

One evening last month, I was frantically packing for spring break. (I know you have been in this situation--you have a family of 5 to pack for, for 9 days. It's whatever-o-clock at night, and you are leaving at whatever-o-clock in the morning, and you still have a million things to do. And what are you worried about? That's right. Your knitting. Will you have all the right yarn/needles/patterns/tools that you need? Will you run out of anything? Is it all portable enough? Etc., etc., etc.)

Well I was in that situation and I did my usual. Ignored all the chores and went into a trance-like state where all I could think about was the perfect sock yarn colors for this beret. Just between us, I spent more time picking out yarn colors for the beret than I did packing for my 4 traveling companions.

I ended up with a dark green Layers of Color Collection double-dye from a year ago, and Favorite Jeans. (In other words, dark green and medium periwinkle blue.) Two color knitting is so addicting. I was contemplating a matching (or maybe NOT matching but somewhat co-ordinating) pair of fingerless mitts.

Then a friend asked about possible combinations for the Garden Gate socks.
I'm thinking about making those too, but I might convert them into arm warmers instead of socks.
And just to throw another pattern at ya, here's a mitten pattern that has been in my queue for awhile.

So I started thinking about fun color combinations and started matching up friends. I came up with a zillion combinations; here are just a few:

Midnight and Cinnamon Spice

Cranberry and Olive

I Heart Pumpkin and Winterberry

My Favorite Shirt and Iced Coffee

Green is the New Black and My Favorite Shirt

Windy City and Iced Coffee

These are just a handful of the combinations I photographed. I will post some others on the Ravelry group or you can see all of them on my Flickr page.
I'll be updating my etsy shop tomorrow -Tuesday- evening at 7pm Central, and I'm posting all of these (plus more) semi-solids, and some of their flashier varigated siblings.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, May 08, 2009

One More Bag, Before You All Go To Sleep On Me

A little patchwork action, a little knitting, and one more bag, before you all die of bag boredom.

I've had this tiny little photo of a patchwork bag on my bulletin board for a few years. I clipped it from a magazine and I wish I could give credit, but it's been so long, maybe even 10 years, and I have no idea where it came from.
I've wanted to copy it--not just the patchwork, but also the boxy shape, and the great size. I have a lot of handbags and totes, which are usually perfect, but my regular tote is sometimes a little too small to stuff a full-size sweater project into.
And I have a few huge bags, for daytrips or carrying your life with you to the pool.
I have recently noticed an absence of oversized-purse bags, for carrying a big sweater project plus the handbag essentials like wallet, phone, etc., and not looking like a dork, or like Santa with his pack.

Last year at the quilt show in Paducah, I bought some fat quarters from these folks. Mmmm, French fabrics, ooh la la. This spring I quilted them up in a random patchwork placement and made this bag.

I liked it and the size was great. 16" wide, 7" deep, 10" high, in case you are interested. It could be a tad higher, but I had to make the patchwork squares work out evenly. However, it wasn't as fabulous as I had hoped, so I went back to the original photo and realized that one thing I love about the magazine bag was the binding on the outside of the sides. I had never made a bag like that.
I wasn't 100% sure how to do that, so i just pinched the sides (wrong sides together) and sewed a 1/4" seam up the sides, then bound it like you would bind the edges of a quilt.

I was surprised what a difference it made, in giving the bag a really boxy shape. Making it stand up on its own.

It is a little detail, but it was the oomph that the bag was missing. Now I really love it.

Just the right size for a sweater project and some necessities.

And if you have an interest in the sweater, I have been working on this one off-and-on for a few months, but I am nearing the finish line! It's the Chicknits Basic Hoodie. I had a little speed bump when I had to rip off the bottom ribbing because it was-ahem-less then becoming on me.

I'm eliminating the hood and making a wide collar. Just a couple inches to go on the collar and the front bands.

Wishing all you mamas out there a very happy Mother's Day and a little knitting or sewing time to yourself! xo