Saturday, August 30, 2014

My first Fair Isles

I've always wanted to learn Fair Isles/Stranded knitting so I finally took the plunge.  I chickened out on the steeking, I figured it would be easier not to focus on too many skills at once.  So this sweater is a top-down, circular yoke sweater.  I'm using Knit Picks Chroma worsted yarn.  It's a very soft yarn that has that typical thin/thick characteristic of wools.
I found a hat with a simple enough flower pattern for my first design.  It's a 20-sts, 17-row pattern that was very easy to follow.  Because of the worsted weight it works up really fast.  I'm not sure if I'm going to repeat the same pattern or try another one in the body of the sweater.
I'm using Anne Budd's seamless yoke pattern from her book The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters as a guideline for my sweater.  I'm not following it to the letter, it's simply a guide.  I'm liking the process of it, very simple instructions that are easily modified to fit my color work.

It's just a coincidence that I'm wearing orange so I know it's a great color to wear with the sweater.  The solid color looks brown but it's actually a smoky gray.  I didn't think the colors worked well together when it first came in the mail.  Now working with it, it's the perfect marriage. 

Keep stitchin'

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Feeling thirsty?

Mango orange tropical splash.
Imagine, a tall icy glass with a umbrella in it while lounging on a hot sandy beach!

That's what I saw when I looked at this yarn. It's another top-down original by yours truly for yours truly.  I changed this one up and added a belt and belt loops on this one.  There's lots of swish and sway in this skirt.  I'm getting better at balancing to get the flare I want.  A couple more and I'll have to a science, my body.  I still have to finish up the belt, trying to decide if I want two loops, beads, buttons or what.  I'm toying with the idea of making something with pop caps.
Who knew I'd enjoy knitting clothes so much!!

Keep stitchin'

Monday, August 18, 2014

School bells will ring.

The dress is all done and I really like it.  Added a little pocket and some huge buttons on the straps.  The buttons are just for show.  There are big snaps underneath to fasten with.
I need to make a couple more of these to put in my granny hopechest.

Now that I have an idea of what to do can make plenty of these with lots of modifications.

Keep stitchin

Thursday, August 14, 2014

McKenzie is going to school!

My little niece, who was born just last year is going to school.  Well, she was really born last but it sure seems like it. So I was excited to hear that she's starting school and decided to make her dress.  Nothing to fancy but I think she'll like it when I'm done.
I dug out one of my Interweave Crochet mags, after failing at attempting to make my own creation, and found a cute little jumper in it.  I was happy to find that it was right along the lines of what I was trying to create on my own.  I skipped the big flower on the front, gonna add pockets instead.  I have to get the findings to make the closures as well, maybe some novelty buttons or huge snaps.
All in all, a pretty simple pattern to follow or use as a guideline and do your own thing.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

White Party Dress 2014

I wanted a dress for the white party this year without the hassle of trying to find something that I really liked. So this year, I got an early start and made my dress. I actually made a blue one (DRUNKEN DIAMONDS) as well so I had some practice beforehand.  Because I don't swatch hardly ever, the dress came out a tad bit longer than I intended but I love it anyway. The flirty bottom made the dress swish and sway as I danced on the floor while gently hugging my curves in the right places. (I know, sounds like a commercial right. lol).

I think I look better in the dress than Ms. Sophia (dressform), but tell her I said so.

Both dresses were made with the same yarn, Universal Yarns Bamboo Pop, which is a great yarn to work with.  I used the Susie Myers contiguous method for the shoulder and got the different stitches from my stitchionaries and various websites.
As soon as I finish up a couple of promised pieces I'll be starting another.  I need to think about some stitch patterns and style for fall/winter dresses.  If I keep this up, I may never wear pants again! There will definitely be a WPD 2015 hopefully more elegant this time.

Keep stitchin'

Like a big hug!

That's right, I said it!  This dress is soooooo snuggly warm it's like a big hug!  What's the difference between a Redwood Symphony dress and man? My dress will hug me and keep me warm and comfy alllllll day long, and night too, until I decide I've had enough.
I'm thinking long sleeve would make this way too warm, especially if I have a personal summer while wearing it.  Yep, three-quarter sleeves or even above my elbows is fine.  I have the option of wearing a top underneath if I want long sleeves.
I did about four rounds of ribbing at the bottom, to prevent curling, and ended with Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off.  This was my first time using JSSBO but it was very easy to do and definitely made a difference.  My ends are still neat with plenty of stretch.

Keep stitchin'

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I made shoes!!!

I found this amazing pattern by Ingunn Santini and had to give it a try.  Shoes really, that I can wear outside?  
Though these were intended for a party I don't find them suitable, I what something a little more formal to go with my dress.
It took two attempts to get the heel close to perfect, I can make myself crazy trying to get something just right. It rarely works, I just decide it'll do. And here they are!

I'm still amazed that I was able to make shoes that I can wear outside.  I love that they have that old, tattered look even thought they are brand new. This pair is far from perfect.  One shoe is wider than the other and the soles are about 1/2" too short.
I took them to work to show off and everyone was in awe, the comments were so funny.   I actually put them on and walked around the office during my lunch break.  They are so soft and squishy on the bottom.
I'm very happy I did not give up and I can't wait to make another pair.  This pair will be for wearing around the house, seating on the balcony, maybe with a pair of jeans for a quick trip to the market.  Those extra soles will be used to try tufting, I'd like to make a pair of make ugg-style slippers to keep my feet warm in this drafty apartment this winter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


So I decided to try my hand at knitting lace weight yarn after buying a couple of skeins on sale at WEBS. The color is magnificent and it's oh so soft and delicate.  It took just shy of an hour to wind it into a ball before I could start working with it. I did find that it tended to stick together.  I looked it up on ravelry and saw that others have made the same statement.
So after spending Monday night looking through my books and mags I found a couple of patterns I wanted to give a try.  Using my scrape yarn I found them very easy to follow so I checked them off as candidates for my project. 
Tuesday and it's time to get started working with the lace!
I had a 'What in the world was I thinking' moment with this lace yarn.  I started out with dpn's since I'm working on a small, flat piece. Picking up the stitches was so hard I thought I would scream! Trying to k2tog or k3tog was next to impossibly!I changed to a different pattern to see if it would make a didn't.  That's rip #2 by the way.  So then I decided to try the circulars, ahhhhhhhh, that smooth pointy tip on my KnitPick Options made all the difference.  The sun came out and the birds begin to sing as I wiped away my tears  and stood up from my mini tantrum in the middle of the living room floor. Those tips slide right through  the stitches like butter on warm bread.
Now I'm on row 13 of a 16 row pattern called Overlapping Leaves in the Vogue lace stitchionary (#111).  It's a very easy pattern, multiple 15 plus 2.  I have 62 stitches so it's going to be a nice size, a bit bigger than I intended.  I'm not concerned with gauge so it's all good.I'm so glad I didn't give up!  I'm gonna have to come up with a name that definitely spells victory!
At lunch I finished up the last four rows, with on lifelines!!!! Mines looks very much like the page in the background.
This is slooooooow knitting that requires concentration, though not deep, and good lighting.

Keep stitchin'

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dandelions on the hill

Remember rolling around in the grass, picking dandelions, looking for 4-leaf clovers and finding animals in the clouds?  Ahhhh, those carefree days when we all wanted to go up fast. Because that's what I'm reminded of as I work with this yarn,  I've named this skirt Dandelions on the hill.
I see a mistake I made and I'm slapping my hands to keep from ripping all the back to fix it.
I only ordered four skeins of this yarn because of a sale, had no idea what I was going to do with it.  As usual, I either rode too much or not enough.  So I ordered four more Saturday, probably too much time.  So maybe I'll have enough to make a matching vest, shrug or certainly a small scarf.  I may just go until I run out of yarn and make a maxi skirt!.

Keep stitchin'

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Redwood Symphony

After donning such a good job with my previous sweater I decided to try a top-down turtleneck sweater.  I'm using one of my favorite quick yarns, Red Heart Symphony, doubled for extra warmth.  Symphony is a deceptively heavy yarn.  I constantly have to let people touch it so they can see for themselves that the yarn is not heavy.  It's very fuzzy/brushed so I don't bother trying to had a pattern, just stockinette so I can get it finished, since it would probably get lost.
I'm hoping that I have enough yarn to make a dress to wear with tights, or at least a tunic to wear over pants.
True story...
I wanted to make my dress form look pretty, like some of the ones I've seen online and in magazines. Since I don't have any stretchy fabric to cover it I used a top that I planned to throw out.  I pinned the arms down close to the body to make it look really nice.  I've been taking pictures in the kitchens because the light is so much better there right now so I left my dress form ( Ms. Sophia) in the kitchen.  The first couple of times I walked in and saw a 'person' standing in my kitchen I nearly peed my pants!

This is Ms. Sophia, eventually I need to steam her dress so she looks a little more presentable but for right now she looks a whole lot better covered than having all her innards showing.

Keep stitchin'

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cabin fever goosebumps

I feel like I have an extended holiday.  I'm starting to get a little stir crazy being stuck in the house with no one to look at but myself.  Fortunately I have lots and lots of yarn to keep me company.
I've spent the extra days off, thanks to the snow storm, knitting warm hats and cowls.
The green set has a quite befitting name - Cabin Fever.  It's made from JoAnn's exclusive brand Sensations, the yarn is called Sumptuous.  I had to use size 17 needles to make it.  It took less than a skein for the hat and less than a skein for the cowl.  I used two separate skeins because I didn't want to have to tie off in the middle of my project.  The yarn is super bulky and making a clean join would not have been easy. I used moss/seed stitch to give it some texture.

The purple hat is called Purple Goosebumps.  I actually made a small bump by accident and like it.  They say that a mistake repeated becomes a pattern so I searched my books and chose I bobble that I liked.  The hat is made with a yarn if got from  It's one of those thick/thin yarns so really didn't know what to do with it; it's perfect for hats and cowls.  I used size 9 needles to make this one.  

Both of these project were pretty quick and very easy.  I don't like being a slave to patterns so it feels good to call these my own.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm ready for the weather to break!

When the weather breaks I'll be ready with my new sweater!
After some tears and a bit of shouting, but no cussing because I'm a lady, I'm ready to call this done.
The only thing left to do is work the zipper properly.  I hand basted it in just to get a look at the sweater and fell in love with the color pop.  I think it gives that extra oomph that the sweater needs to make it mine.
I actually had to cut the collar off, pick up the stitches and rework it.  This presented as an initial challenge considering the sweater was knitted top-down!  However, with a consult from Margaret Radcliffe I was able to get it done.
I am very pleased with the efforts I put into this sweater and the lessons learned:
  1. Remember to do another gauge swatch if you change your mind about the pattern stitch, at the starting point.
  2. The collar can be removed from a top-down garment without destroying the whole thing.
  3. For a nicer finish, use reverse single crochet on the edges when applying a zipper.
  4. Be bold, step away from traditional matching colors.  Instead add pop with a surprising color change.
  5. Icord edging, great way to finish off a sweater.
  6. Remember to carry cc color yarn along the back of work.

So the sweater was, as mentioned, finished off with corrugated ribbing and then icord on the bottom and sleeves.  The collar was finished with 2x2 rib and an icord edge.  The hand basted zipper will be sewn in properly and an interesting pull will be attached.  The pull will most likely be handmade.

Keep stitchin'

Monday, January 6, 2014

First project for 2014

I like to keep my needles warm so I move on the next project right away.  This one I call 'When the weather breaks'.
It's another contiguous sweater based on the Susie Myers method.  Why wouldn't anyone love a pattern/recipe/formula/method that allows you to customize a garment anyway you see fit, for any body type. So, in keeping my list of new things to try in 2014, I've decided to try adding a zipper along with trying more color work.
I started on New Year's Eve while waiting for the ball to drop and I've already gotten nearly to the waistline. I'm even thinking of adding a small monogram so wear on the sweater!  It's actual going to be more a pullover jacket then a sweater.  I want to wear it when I go out for walks/runs when the weather breaks this Spring.

Above is a picture of the stranded pattern I choose to add some color to my top.  Below is my nearly finished body.

First of all, I have Lupus which causes all sorts of aches and pains already but when it gets cold outside I need to put the needles down.  I recenty read that working with bamboo can make a difference so I need to give it a try.  I have a set of Takumi Bamboo #13 dpn's that I bought last year.  I gonna dig out some yarn or  maybe just double up some strands so I can give them a go.

So for tonight, I'm flipping through books and trying to draw out some the ideas I have swimming in my head.

Keep stitchin'


I ended the year with completing 3.14159. The PI shawl is approximately 60" across so it provides lots of coverage.  I love the color if blue that is and look forward to wearing it in early Spring or maybe even a very special night this winter.

 Keep stitchin'