8.12.2014

Whew.

An aptly named blog post, because it's just how I feel.

It's been an extremely busy past few weeks. Between work, my niece visiting, vacation, and life in general, it's been non-stop. I won't bore you with too many details, but whew. Things are starting to settle down, which is good because my fall classes start up next week.

Knitting has been happening, a few rows squeezed in here and there, and I did get a chance to cast on for the Summer Sweater KAL happening right now. Say hello to Aidez, number three.


This one's for my mom. I'm about to start shoulder shaping for the left front panel, and I just love it so far. Such a great color she chose! I'll leave catching up on my other projects for another post, and drop some vacation photos on you now. 

We spent a week in Breckenridge, Colorado, and it was wonderful! I wore sweaters and wool socks the whole time and now am itching for Fall like crazy.






 Happy Tuesday!

7.21.2014

Jen & Jess Do New Girl

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've started a New Girl skirt with an Instagram/Ravelry friend, Jesse. I'll wait a second while you go add her to your Ravelry friends, and follow her on Instagram

Jesse is one of those people that I really wish lived in the same town as me, because we have so much in common I think we'd be fast friends. I'm so excited to be doing this casual KAL with her!


You'll have to excuse the not-so-great cell phone photos I took this morning, but I was in a hurry.

We're both using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes sport weight, which I think will make this a great fall and winter skirt - and makes it super affordable. I made the decision to only do half of the increases for the body of the skirt, which will make it a lot less full, but will still give me 10 inches of positive ease around my hips, and even more ease around my thighs. 


My main color is bramble heather, which is a great charcoal-brown. In some lights it really looks brown, and in others the grey shines through. I love it. For my contrasting color, I'm using mai tai heather, which I think makes a good contrast to the bramble heather. It was until my husband saw the photos from the pattern page that I realized the colors I chose are very similar to one of the samples made for Holla Knits. Subliminal messaging, I suppose!

You can follow along with our KAL on Instagram with our awesome hashtag #jenandjessdonewgirl!

7.18.2014

Snapshots

A few snapshots of the last few weeks, brought to you by my iPhone, and Instagram.


layers and layers of perfect zinnia petals


summer is for enjoying the fire pit


so many dahlia blooms & buds


fruits of our labor - tomatoes & butternut squash


propagating succulents


pearl loves to "help" me knit


monster pink brandywine tomato

Have a happy and relaxing weekend!

7.15.2014

The Marathon Begins

Not the running kind. The knitting kind.


A couple of days after finishing my Autumnal socks, I cast on for what will be my biggest project undertaking thus far - a pair of tights. They won't be difficult to make, but my goodness, I have a feeling they're going to take forever. I'm using Mel Clark's Tangerine Tights pattern from her book Knitting Everyday Finery.


So far, I'm loving knitting them. They're going to be the perfect travel project, and also the perfect mindless project. At the point of these photos, I'd only been working on them for a couple of days, so they're knitting up fairly quickly. I had to go up to US 3 needles to get stitch gauge, but my row gauge is way off - the pattern calls for 46 rows to equal 4 inches, but for me, 46 rows equals 7 inches. I'll just adjust my increases accordingly, mainly by trying the tights on as I knit.

The yarn I'm using is Knit Picks stroll tweed sock yarn. It's so so soft, and I love the way it knits up. It has a bit of nylon in it, which I'm hoping will help these last a long time.

I've set a goal to finish these in October. We're going to have some photos taken in the fall and I'd really like to wear these. This is the one time that being short will come in handy!


I've also got a couple of other projects in the works - I'm starting a New Girl skirt with an Internet knitting buddy, and will be knitting my mom an Aidez for Shannon's Summer Sweater KAL when it starts up. I've decided that 3 projects at a time is the best number for me - it helps keep me engaged to have projects to switch back and forth between. 

What's on your needles at the moment?

7.10.2014

The Most Autumnal Socks

They're finished! They're finished!


I'm so very glad to have these off the needles. Not only because now I can wear them, but because they seemed to take forever. I sure do love them though.


As you can see by all the cat hair on the bottom, I've been wearing them around the house as much as possible since finishing them the other day. I really love the two yarns I used. Not only are the colors fantastic, but both yarns are from small indie dyers, which I'm always happy to support.


The main color is first string Indieway Yarns, in a color that is so perfectly fall. I just adore the pops of green and orange in the brown. They're wonderfully complimented by the navarre sock by Springtree Road. Sadly, Maya doesn't dye yarn anymore, which is a bummer because she was able to create the most incredible colors! Luckily for me, I've got almost a full skein of this orange, plus a full skein of a delicious yellow sock yarn that I'd love to pair together for a project.


I really love the way the texture of the socks came out. It's a simple mixture of seed stitch and stockinette, but I've dubbed it "the woodland stitch" because it reminds me of the texture of the woodland floor in Autumn. Brown, with pops of fall colors, and texture from fallen limbs, roots, and nuts.


I've written up a basic pattern recipe for these socks, which you can download below for free. The color possibilities are endless, and I really think I've fallen in love with the look of the contrasting toe/heel/cuff. 


And now that my socks are done, I can allow myself to cast on my red tweed tights!


Happy Knitting!

7.06.2014

Zafu

A couple of months ago, I decided we needed a pouf for our living room. I chose a pattern, Zafu, from the book Knit Green (the pattern is also available for individual purchase on Ravelry), to have something that looked more unique compared to the garter stitch poufs that are everywhere


It's a great fit for our living room! I used 3 strands of super cheap red heart acrylic yarn because, well, it's a pillow for feet. There are somethings that I feel like really nice yarn would be wasted on, and this is one of them. If I had an unlimited yarn budget, I would probably use something nicer (I'd love to use a nice rug weight yarn), but for practicalities sake, I went with what made sense - this cost me less than $20.


And, to give credit where it's due, the yarn really isn't too bad. It's pretty soft, and I don't think it looks cheap. I stuffed it with fiber fill, and it really holds shape very well. I'm using it as I write this, and it's very comfy! It also makes a good pillow for sitting or laying on the floor, which Jake is sometimes known to do.


I used less than 3 skeins, and size US 15 needles, which would have made for a much quicker knit, had I not been working on other projects at the same time. This was also my first time installing a zipper into a knit, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I considered omitting the zipper, but I'm really glad I didn't - it came in handy while adding more stuffing and shaping the pouf after I had bound off and closed up the hole.


I would definitely consider making more than one of these for our house. It was an affordable way to add some great knitted furniture to our house - and, I have yarn left over to make a pillow or two!

7.01.2014

Sorbet Sweater

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you may vaguely remember this sweater from last summer - almost exactly a year ago, actually. I re-discovered it last week while looking in my yarn cabinets for a needle, and realized it only needed a sleeve and button bands. In an effort to gain some confidence by finishing something, since my socks are still dragging, I decided to finish it up.


I'm so glad I did.


This is such a wonderful addition to my summer wardrobe. Light and airy, but warm enough to be a great cardigan for my air conditioned office, and cool summer mountain nights.


The hardest part about letting a year go in between sleeves, was trying to match the second sleeve to the first. I searched and searched for my notes, but I either lost them, threw them away accidentally, or didn't take any. Knowing me, I probably didn't take any. I think I managed to do a fairly decent job, though, just by sight.


The buttons were a lucky find - I have a large jar full of buttons that I've collected over the years at thrift shops and the like, but I couldn't find 10 matching ones. I then remembered that I had an old box full of some of my grandmother's old buttons and clip on earrings. I was so happy to find that there were 10 buttons that matched! Not only do they match the style of the cardigan, but they're so special, since they once belonged to someone so dear to me.


The yarn I used is the oh-so-soft malabrigo lace, with size US 6 needles. I used a basic top down raglan style recipe based on my swatch. I know there's probably a better way I could have done the color changes, but I just divided my yarn into 5 small balls - one for each cardigan front, one for each sleeve, and one for the back - and when it came time to switch colors, I just brought the new color up over the old, eliminating any gaps in the change. Then I finished up the body, added the collar band, sleeves, and button bands. I am really happy with how the colors go together - they remind me of sorbet.


One thing I love about Malabrigo's colors are the different tones you pick up on while knitting with the yarn, that you may not notice if you were just holding the skein. This orange color has the most beautiful pinks mixed in, which really reminded me of a gorgeous sunset.


And our blooming lilies just make the perfect backdrop!


Now... to pick those socks back up!