Saturday, October 31, 2009

Meet Pumpkinstein

You’ve seen this quilt in various stages of unfinished, from the very early days of this ‘ol bloggity blog, and more recently as a just-pieced top.

It was unearthed about a month ago, and finished on Monday. Photographed with my D90 just before I shipped it out for repair, then immediately up on the wall. I figured Halloween would be a good day for the “big unveiling.”


I probably started this thing shortly after the magazine was published. In the fall of 2005 (September/October 2005 Quiltmaker, if you’re curious). I remember seeing the sample at Bearly Stitchin. I know there was a class that (I think) I couldn’t take because of my work schedule. I don’t think I bought a kit, but I know several of my running buddies and I at least started doing this quilt.


I have a template plastic cutout of the half-pumpkin. I’m sure I used that to trace the shape onto fusible web. The blocks were laid out, photographed digitally in a long-lost photo, and pressed left or right so they would nest properly when it came time to piece the quilt. When I pulled out this quilt last month, I was certain I had more zig-zagging to do, but I didn't. So the blocks were trimmed down and the top was pieced in a morning at The Quilt Company.


The quilting pattern on the border was in the magazine with the quilt. I traced it onto Golden Threads paper, needle-punched as many copies as I needed, and was off to the races.


Did my now-standard computer-printed label, made a hanging sleeve out of the backing fabric and went on a hand-sewing mini-marathon


Craptastic photo just to show you where this quilt is hanging. I was standing in my front doorway to take this picture


All in all, I’m very happy that it’s done. I love seeing it on my wall and will enjoy it (seasonally) for many years to come! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 30, 2009

YPF: Terra

When Michelle (owner of Bloomin Yarns) returned from TNNA last summer, I think she was most excited about one particular purchase she had made for the store.

Terra, from The Fibre Company.

I’d never heard of The Fibre Company, but when the yarn arrived in the store? Wow. Michelle quickly whipped up a free-pattern-with-purchase pair of mittens out of two complimentary colors. It’s fun to watch their eyes get wide and hear them let out an involuntary “OOOH!” when they put the mitten on (at our urging, of course!)

I bought two skeins of this stuff to make a pair of those same mittens shortly after the yarn came in. Then CelticQueen came in and wanted to make her Mondo Cable Cardi out of Terra. So we needed to do a special order. I jumped on the bandwagon and bought enough of a color Michelle had not originally ordered to make a sweater of my own.


I think it’s probably going to be a Mondo Cable Pulli. Eventually. I’m working on shrinking at the moment, so knitting a sweater for me right now doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.


But it’s very nice to know that when I’m ready? I have an amazing special-treat yarn waiting for me!


The Fibre Company • Terra
40% baby alpaca • 40% merino wool • 20% silk
Wild Clary colorway
50g/100yds per skein

100% drool-worthy

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Going Bowling

I’ve heard and seen much about yarn bowls on the internets. I even know a certain Turtle who is a bit obsessed with them.

Personally, I love ceramics almost as much as I love woodwork (and the fiber-ey stuff), but I’d never found a “yarn bowl” that really made me sit up and take enough notice to bust out my wallet.

Here’s where Dave comes in. I’ve mentioned his blog here and there over the years. He’s a jaw-droppingly talented artist who still dabbles in quilting or knitting on rare occasion while currently throwing himself completely into his new weaving habit. (drool)

Last week, he posted about a Kyle William yarn bowl he had acquired. As always, Dave took amazing photographs of his newest toy. And mentioned that it had even seduced him into knitting for the first time in ages, just to get more usage out of the bowl.

I made the mistake of hopping over to Kyle’s etsy shop (you’re safe. He’s currently sold out of these bowls). And discovered that the last cast aluminum bowl in the shop really appealed to me. Here’s that particular listing. I had a paypal balance from some recent stash sales, so I took the plunge. It arrived on Monday. Wow.


Because I looked at pictures rather than reading the description carefully, it was a pleasant surprise to see the purple tinges in the glaze on my cast aluminum bowl.


One of my favorite features is that because this bowl is not ceramic, I can use a binder clip (provided! How cool is that?!) to trap the working yarn in the bowl’s notch. Which makes the bowl function perfectly even when it is below the level of my needles (which it almost always is), but unlike the beautiful but non-functional-for-me Carolina Yarn Bells, you aren’t locked in to having the yarn inside the bowl if your project is going to leave your house.


The thing is just plain gorgeous and is indistinguishable from its ceramic counterparts


Of course, now that I’ve been seduced into the world of yarn bowls, I now have my eye on a KnitWitch bowl or two. Can you guess which ones? (those last two links are spoilers, but I do like the 2nd one better)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There’s Nothing To See Here. Move Along.

Actually, there’s a pretty good amount of stuff going on here. But I can’t show you much of it. Two super sekrit knitting projects and a basement full of stuff I can’t show you. So you get to see an updated Big Thaw picture

Pardon the crappy photo. It was raining outside and this was the best non-flash photo I could figure out.

I stayed up way too late last night getting the collar finished. The armholes look gigantic, but then I remember that the saddle sits on top of the shoulder and they’ll tighten up once I arrive on Sleeve Island.

Very quick knit, and if you have your knitting radar turned on to make sure the stitch motif down the front is correct, you’ll be cooking with gas in no time.

No socks or other “travel knitting” on the needles at the moment. I have one more pair of gift socks to knit, but I haven’t decided what I want to knit and with what yarn, so that will wait for a little while.

In other news, starting today the photo quality on this here bloggity blog may go down for a while. Back in May, I did something supremely stupid and damaged my beloved Nikon D90.


I've been living with the cracked screen all summer because I didn't want to be without my camera, but now it's time to get it fixed. It’s headed off to the repair shop today. Here’s hoping it’s not gone too long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jingle Bell Socks

Yeah, it’s a little early for that crap. And I dare anyone to put any holiday stuff up in my ‘hood before Halloween.

Crafters, however, are exempt. We have to work way ahead or we’ll never actually get things done in time for said holiday!

Of course, that explanation isn’t much good when it comes to these socks. They were languishing in the bottom of my knitting basket for nearly a year before I decided (yesterday) to bust them out and get them finished.


I started these socks in October of 2008, the very first time I ever taught New Pathways at Bloomin Yarns. I remember Helen and April sitting in the sun room at the old store and thinking “Oh, Crap! I’m gonna screw this up!”

Toe Pic!

That was about a month before I took a class with Cat herself. My teaching style for that class has changed drastically since I learned from the master. But I digress!

Gotta take advantage of the fall foliage while it’s still there!

In that there photo I just showed you, the difference between EZ’s Sewn Bind-Off (right foot) and Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off (left foot) is obvious. I love how JSSBO flows color-wise. It’s definitely going to be the go-to for me from here on out!

Back to class. The first time I taught NP, I knit the socks along with my students. I demonstrated my garter toe, then demonstrated going up the foot, measuring row gauge, calculating E … I purposely chose a thick and squooshy yarn so the socks would go quickly.


Then we had a two-week break between classes. And both of my students had other stuff come up, and they never really finished. One came back and took the “new an improved” class. But meanwhile, I had this awesome pair of socks languishing in my knitting basket. One sock done, one eagerly awaiting the J increases and heel turn. As soon as I finished my Calvin & Ripple socks yesterday, I picked these up and was off to the races. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the Hill Country Yarn that I was working with. I’ll have to find more of that! It truly is instant gratification! (yes, that means I did the heel turn and leg of the sock in about 24 hours, including about 9 hours of sleeping and two of errand-running)

I’ll have awesome holiday socks come December, and I enjoyed this knit. What’s bad about that?


Christmas Socks

Pattern: Woven Ridge (Ridgeline) from New Pathways for Sock Knitters
Yarn: Hill Country Yarns Instant Gratification Sock Yarn
Color: Christmas (way to go out on a limb, there ...)
Needles: US4/3.5mm KnitPicks Options (Magic Loop)
Started: 11 October 2008
Finished: 26 October 2009
Mods/Notes: These would have been super-quick socks had I not put them aside in hopes of finishing a class that would never be finished. Highly recommend this yarn! Soft, squishy, and I can’t wait to wear this pair!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Tale of Two Tabbys

If you’ve ever come across Turtlegirl’s Bloggy Thing on a Tuesday, you are familiar with the Terrible Twosome, Calvin and Ripple. A few months ago, Cristi designed a complimentary pair of socks in honor of her boys.

The Calvin & Ripple Socks were chosen for the Q4 Knit-A-Long for the Socks that Rock group on Ravelry. I’d been wanting to knit this pair anyway, and the pattern is discounted through the end of this month in honor of the KAL, so I signed up and started knitting.


Independently, these socks were fairly quick knits. They took three weeks to knit primarily because I was focused on other things. Specifically? The marathon week focused on Big Thaw, which has been loitering quietly in a corner for almost a full week now.

I knit Calvin’s sock first.


I really liked the slip-stitch pattern and the sock zipped right along. I fell in love with the mistake rib on the back of the sock. I will most certainly use this stitch pattern again!


Although Cristi did a fantastic job of reverse-engineering Cat Bordhi’s Riverbed architecture for Ripple’s sock, I like my toe-up socks, so I plunked the Ripple stitch pattern into the Riverbed master, same as Calvin. I did the bulk of the leg watching football on Saturday and Sunday. The Ripple pattern has a 4x2 "rhythm" while the mistake rib has a 2x2 "rhythm." I kept screwing up by forgetting which needle I was on (front/back). Spent more time tinking than normal on this sock, but that's OK.

Toe Pic!

As all of you know, I prefer to do a garter toe vs. a standard toe. So when I decided to do a standard toe on this pair of socks (I felt the garter toe would not work well with this pattern), I effed up the toe on the Calvin sock (in the back in the above photo). Oh well. It still worked just fine in the “big picture,” which is why I didn’t bother to go back and fix it. So we’ll just call it a design element and move on, m’kay?


Calvin & Ripple Socks

Pattern: Calvin & Ripple Socks by Cristi H. Brockway
Yarn: STR Lightweight in Dreidel
Source: Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Needles: US1/2.5mm Hiya Hiya 16” circs (2-circs method)
Started: 5 October 2009
Finished: 25 October 2009
Mods: Did the Ripple sock toe-up. Chose the plain toe option on both socks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Boring Than Paint Drying

Hi! Absolutely nothing interesting is going on in my life, hence the blog silence. But it’s Wednesday! So I’ll show you what I’m working on.


Last Thursday, I started working on the Big Thaw pullover for the Hubster. It has been zipping right along. I’m now four skeins of Cuzco into the sweater and I need to make Hubster try it on (again) to check length. I’ll probably throw the current live stitches on scrap yarn and start on sleeves at Hurricane Knitters tonight.

I’m working off of the KnitScene Fall 2008 version of the pattern, and the instructions for the stitch motif on the front are eight kinds of jacked up. I’m hoping that the reprint in the current IK Holiday Knits is actually correct. (so other knitters won't be baffled by the instructions like I was)


In other news, the Ripple sock has been sitting around being envious of Big Thaw. I’ve barely gotten anything done on it, but there has actually been minimal progress.

I’ve been doing a decent amount of sewing, but nothing worth including in this venue. Pumpkinstein just needs the binding hand-sewn and it’s ready to be on my wall. Maybe I’ll get there later this week! Meanwhile, Happy Hump Day, and I hope you’re having a great week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting a Head Start

I wanted to do a Yarn Pr0n Friday, but the weather has been crap and I don’t have pictures of the yarn I want to feature. I’ll get to it, once the weather breaks (we may have an accumulation of snow by the end of the week. Crazy!)

Meanwhile, I have one last knitted thing to show off in the finishing blitzkrieg of Fall 2009. Before you comment on the color, IT IS A GIFT. Hence the reference to getting a jump on Christmas Knitting 2009.

Yes, I know that we really need to repaint the post for our front light. Maybe next year …

I started this moëbius back in February. It was intended to be a gift from the get-go, and I knew that moëbius knitting would be perfect for down-time and car knitting while I was on the pair of tournament trips for the ex-job at the end of February/start of March. I was right.

If you have not tried knitting a moëbius, I highly recommend it! They can be as simple or complex as you want, and they’re just plain cool. Yes, I do want to be Cat Bordhi when I grow up. Why do you ask?

Derf modeled this moëbius under protest. He said it’s a girly color. Then he growled at me.

The yarn is a single-ply silk/wool blend that had been hanging around the store for quite a while. I got it on sale and am going to be able to return one of the skeins (assuming I can find it). It’s going to be a gift for my best friend’s sister. JC lives in Florida, so this will be more a fashion statement than a scarf. I’ve never met her, so I’m hoping she likes it. I know pink is a favorite color, and she raved about the scarf I sent for her two years ago, so fingers crossed and all that. Meanwhile, it’s finished!


JC’s Moëbius

Pattern: Used Cat Bordhi’s Treasury of Magical Knitting (and her YouTube video for the moëbius cast-on) as a reference, then knit Fibonacci “stripes” of stockingette/reverse stockingette
Yarn: Karen’s Kolorways Silk/Merino (50/50 single ply)
Source: Bloomin Yarns
Needles: US 9/5.5 mm
Started: 23 February 2009
Finished: 5 October 2009
Notes: This was abandoned in favor of shinier projects for pretty much the entire summer, but finished within a week after I picked it back up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Again!

Wow. Where have the last seven days gone?

So it’s been fairly crafty around here. I finished my Calvin sock, but you don’t really get to see it until the pair is finished. I did cast on the toe for my Ripple sock last night


Yep. I’m knitting the top-down Ripple sock toe-up. Yes, I have the designer’s permission!

Once again, there’s equal-if-not-more quilting going on versus knitting.

The Nephew Quilt is finished and just needs a bath

It’s not officially finished. Still needs a bath!

I finished off the Bali Pops-A-Lot quilt. Got the borders on it on Tuesday morning at The Quilt Company and found a great purple flannel backing for it yesterday afternoon at a new-to-me store, Sew Much Fun! in McMurray. I’ll get the backing pieced today, so it will be ready to send north on Sunday with my mother.


The parentals are heading up to the Lake on Sunday to close the cottage for the year. The wonderful longarm quilter who did my Pineapple quilt has two quilts of my mother’s finished, so hopefully mom can pick up her quilts and drop mine off in one fell swoop.

That Pumpkin quilt from last week? It’s now pinned and ready for quilting. If piecing the Pops-A-Lot back doesn’t take too long today, I’ll start quilting on that.

So that’s about it from here. Not all that exciting, but I’m enjoying myself!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It’s a Vest Thing

My very first experience with Brooks Farm was at the 2008 Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival. Before the Festival, I had never heard of Brooks Farm until I moved back to Pittsburgh and started working at Bloomin Yarns. Little did I know!


I wound up buying a sweater’s worth of Solana, but they had a really cool vest sample. So I bought two skeins of Riata and the pattern and was off to the races!

Thanks to WeirdyPants for her help with the photo shoot. Another mix-and-match with three photographers for one vest. Overkill much?

The descriptively named “Side to Side Vest” is cast on with half the button band, knit the whole way around and finishes with the opposite half of the button band.


I knit the bulk of this vest pretty quickly, then let it languish for over a year (yeah, shame on me!!!) needing just the armhole band and the neckband and the buttons to be attached.


You can just barely see where I grafted the neckband to the button bands on the above picture. I found the buttons at Bloomin Yarns. The only bad part is that I’ve gotten larger since I started this project, so it’s currently too small to wear comfortably. But I’m working on shrinking, so hopefully by spring it will be wearable.


Side-to-Side Vest

Pattern: Side-to-Side Vest by Carol H. Rhoades
Yarn/Color/Quantity: Brooks Farm Riata/Purple-Green-Brown/2 skeins (730 yards)
Source: Pattern and yarn purchased from Brooks Farm
Needles: US 7/4.5mm and US 8/5.0mm
Started: 6 April 200
Abandoned: 6 June 2008
Resumed: 27 September 2009
Finished: 30 September 2009

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Working Wednesday

I’m pre-writing this blog post and will drop in photos in the morning. We’ll see if this plan works at all, or if it’s a gigantic failure.

I went up to The Quilt Company yesterday (Tuesday) and sewed! With a group! For nearly three hours! The two California quilty friends who still read my blog may remember this quilt, since it was quite popular about three years ago.


I got it totally pieced yesterday and am going to sandwich it today and get quilting. I’m also gonna sandwich this one:


It’s gonna be for my nephew. He’s scheduled to arrive around Thanksgiving, but is making noises about showing up sooner rather than later. Here’s hoping he waits a few more weeks before he makes his big arrival. (Sister-in-law is on bedrest. UGH!)

Today is a mini-oasis in an avalanche of finished projects. I have two more still to show you! But there is still knitting being done. Namely, my Calvin & Ripple socks for the Q4 Socks that Rock KAL over on Ravelry.


There’s also some super sekrit knitting going on, but you’re just going to have to trust me on that one (or go peek at my Ravelry projects if you are so inclined.)

I’m hoping for a big sewing day today, then some knitting tonight. Fingers crossed, I’m off to the races!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Back from the Dead

I’m on a “finish things” kick lately. Projects that had been snoozing for a year … two years … they’re all getting busted out and finished. Well, not ALL. There are sweaters lurking in this house that were knit for “smaller Amy” that I’m not touching for a while.

Anyhoo, there’s this …


I started Bright Stripes nearly two years ago and knit it in about 10 days.


Got some really yummy yarns at Bloomin Yarns and found a little-knit pattern in the back of an often-purchased book.


I knit the actual scarf in what felt like 10 minutes. I really love knit-lengthwise scarfs! I might have made the pom-poms a tiny bit differently if I’d had half a clue of how I wanted to attach them to the scarf, but it worked out just fine.


This scarf was knit specifically to go with a black cashmere dress coat that I wear pretty frequently during the winter. Now that I will no longer be wearing that coat primarily to a building with two gigantic ketchup bottles prominently displayed (where I would always wear my Steelers Scarf), I figured I should have a classier scarf to go with the nice coat. Mission Accomplished!


Bright Stripes Scarf
Pattern: Bright Stripes from Scarf Style
Size: It’s a scarf.
Yarn/Color/Quantity: Cascade CashVero/Ecru/1 skein;
Rowan Cashsoft Aran/Black/2 skeins; Rowan Cashsoft Aran/Thunder/1 skein
Source: Bloomin Yarns
Needles: US 8/5.0mm
Started: 8 November 2007 (yes, 2007)
Finished (with the knitting): 20 November 2007
Finished (pom-poms added): 2 October 2009
Mods: Fewer colors than the pattern calls for, but I wanted a subdued scarf. I got it!
Notes: Steamed the crap out of it, and it now lays flat. Used every inch of the leftovers for the pom-poms

Special thanks to my scarf SuperModel, Baxter Bear! ;-)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mondo Vest

I’ve been on a finishing kick lately, and after a very busy few weeks I feel like I finally have my life back to some semblance of “normal.” Hooray!

So I finished my Mondo Cable Vest. I started it at the very end of August as part of the Bloomin Yarns Knit-A-Long which includes the Mondo Cable Vest, Mondo Cable Pulli and Mondo Cable Cardi. The KAL is still “along-ing” and feel free to jump on the bandwagon if you’re interested. Chic Knits has fantastic patterns!

This vest has a very unique construction. It is cast on provisionally at the shoulder seam, then worked down.


I did fine with the provisional cast-on since I used my favorite trick: Lucy Neatby’s technique (YouTube link) where you crochet your chain directly onto your needle. It’s the only way I can do a crochet chain provisional cast-on and NOT screw it up!


I did screw up the pattern at one point. I misread the pattern and was increasing the fronts too quickly (neckline increases every RS row instead of every other RS row). I was knitting both fronts simultaneously and had to rip them out and start over. But it was just one night’s work down the tubes. Worth it in the end to get a great-fitting sweater!

The yarn I used for this sweater was absolutely fantastic. It will definitely be one of my first considerations for this gauge in the future. It held up perfectly to the limited frogging that I had to do and was a lot of fun to knit with.


As I got down to the every end of the sweater, I started thinking about how I wanted to bind off. The pattern called for a regular bind-off in pattern, but after a quick consult with Cristi, I decided to take her suggestion and use a three-stitch applied I-cord bind off.


It needs a bit of a steaming to sit a little flatter, but all in all I’m very happy with the bind-off and the sweater as a whole!


Mondo Cable Vest
Pattern: Mondo Cable Vest / Shell by Chic Knits
Size: 46” I thought I was (intentionally) knitting a too-small size, but it fits great now
Yarn: Classic Elite Waterlily
Color: Lake
Quantity: 950 yards (9.5 balls)
Source: Bloomin Yarns, McMurray, Pa.
Needles: US 10/6.0mm and US 9/5.5mm from my KA Switch set
Started: 31 August 2009
Finished: 26 September 2009
Mods: Did one more repeat than the pattern called for to add a little length. Did a 3-stitch applied I-cord bind off instead of the pattern-dictated in-pattern bind off.

Special thanks to both Michelle at Bloomin Yarns and WeirdyPants for help with the modeled photos for this finished vest. I appreciate your help!