mod bkgd

Monday, April 27, 2015

strikes and gutters

The morning after I last posted we woke up to a light dusting of snow. The winter that never ends! The sun is shining again, my spring flowers survived the frost, and 70-degree temperatures are in the forecast, so things are looking up. Catching up with my knitting...

pattern: northern loop, by tante ehm
yarn: bernat roving, gardenia, 3 skeins
needles: clover US 10.5 (6.5 mm) bamboo straights

notes:
A few bad choices from the get-go on this one. The yarn is deep stash -- it's super bulky, almost too warm to be worn doubled, plus I didn't really have enough yarn to make it long enough to double comfortably. I should have used larger needles, as the resulting fabric is pretty stiff and doesn't have much drape. I did my 3-needle bind-off on the wrong side, to boot. Ugh! Well, you win some, you lose some. At least it didn't take long to knit, and the colors are pretty -- reminiscent of jelly beans.
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handknits in action:
 Here's Erik keeping busy at the park in his little coffee bean cardigan.
When I knit this (way back before he was born), I thought that the proportions seemed a little off, though I hadn't swatched for it, so it may be entirely my fault!
I knit the 3 month size, and here he is still wearing it at 18 months. It's pretty wide on him, and it’s sort of a crop-top look, with sleeves on the short side, too. On the plus side, the yarn (Lion Brand Cotton Ease) is holding up very nicely, and I love the color combination (lake + almond).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

springtime in the Upper Midwest

Spring's arrival has been hard-fought in the Upper Midwest this year. Brrr... Today's another hustery, blustery, chilly day, but at least the tulips and hyacinths' much-anticipated blooms make it look like spring around here.

I knit something spring-y during the doldrums of March and April, and the cheery color makes me think of baby chicks and daffodils and other lovely things:

pattern: in threes, by kelly herdrich
yarn: three irish girls springvale dk, creamsicle
needles: clover us 5 (3.75 mm) bamboo circs
size: 0-6 months

notes:
Quick, easy pattern! I'll definitely revisit it. I cast on for the smallest size, but made it even smaller by using DK yarn and size 5 needles. Jennie the Potter made the whimsical bicycle buttons, which I found at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival last fall. Happy to find a good use for them!
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I've seen that some parts of the country are reveling in rhubarb already, and I'm envious! Yesterday I tried Leslie Land's easy fruit and jam crostata recipe. Pretty much amazing. Even better than my usual jam tart recipe. Leslie gives all kinds of suggestions for fruit and jam pairings -- the perfect way to clean out your freezer (I used rhubarb, blackberries, and strawberries, with raspberry jam). 
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Other signs of spring in our backyard:





Monday, March 09, 2015

gnomes


I'm months late in posting this, but Erik's gnome Christmas stocking is one of my favorite knitting projects to date. I started it on a whim one night so that I'd have something to knit while watching Guardians of the Galaxy (so funny and cute), and ended up totally addicted to the colorwork and wee gnomes.
yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted
needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) 16" circs and PNS

notes:

I tweaked the Drops sock pattern to make a Christmas stocking. Love the little gnomes! I used worsted weight yarn and loosely followed the directions for the largest size. CO 60, 2x2 ribbing, didn’t decrease after the ribbing.

The heel and toe are from Bernat's Jolly Stockings pattern. I think they look more Christmas stocking-y than the regular ol' heel and toe from the Drops pattern.

This was a joy to knit, and I was so happy to hang this by the chimney with care! Now to knit two more with different colorwork designs for Paul and me by the time Christmas 2015 rolls around. Paul has requested candy canes and I'm inclined toward a sheep stocking.

Friday, February 06, 2015

a snowy day

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 lots of snow (19" in one day!), not much knitting

Guess who's enjoying the snow the most?

At least Erik's sheep hat is getting a workout!

Monday, January 12, 2015

welcome to the flock


I first saw this wee sheepie cardigan on the Yarn Harlot's blog and just knew I had to make one for our little guy. Stranded colorwork and a fairly fine gauge meant that there was no way I was making a teensy size, since if it's that labor-intensive, it ought to fit for quite a while.

pattern: welcome to the flock, by Julia Farwell-Clay
yarn: knit picks capra, pesto, cream, and black
needles: US 2 (2.75mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)
size: 24 months

toddler-approved! the perfect attire for rearranging Grandma's snowman family
notes:
Love the pattern and the cozy little cardigan! The Capra DK-weight cashmere/merino-blend yarn was super soft to knit and looked absolutely gorgeous at first. As I had feared, it does pill. In fact, it pills a LOT. Very disappointing, as it's already beginning to look ratty. I'll need to dig out the sweater shaver and see what I can do.

Also, I knit this yarn at a tighter gauge than I'd like -- next time I'd use a thinner yarn. The buttons aren't ideal (a little thin and flimsy), but I realized that I had better sew on some buttons asap so that Erik could wear it as long as possible. So, in a nutshell: great pattern, super cute result, but I wish I had used better materials.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

keeping cozy

 Old Man Winter is making his presence known here in Chicago. Brrrr! Temps below zero, windchills in the -20s. At least we have sunshine and a nice coating of snow! It's hot cocoa and mitten season at last.

I knit these cozy mittens for my soon-to-be sister-in-law for Christmas (yay!). They're from Martha Stewart's website, and you get the feeling that the designer or editor wasn't familiar with standard knitting patterns -- very odd instructions, abbreviations, and formatting, but the mittens themselves were fun to knit. Clever construction. You knit them flat, and you start with the thumb and work the mitten sideways, if that makes sense. There's a bit of origami at the end, and you finish up with a crochet seam. You're supposed to crochet around the cuffs, too, but I was down to the wire for holiday gifts, so that didn't happen.

pattern: cozy mittens, Martha Stewart Living
yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers
needles: Brittany US 6 (4.0) birchwood straights

I recommend the pattern if you want to try something different, don't like fiddling around with DPNs for mittens, and don't mind some unusual directions!

P.S. Here's a photo from the Martha Stewart website that shows the construction:

Sunday, January 04, 2015

faerie ring

Wishing you peace and joy in 2015! The holidays were a whirlwind of activity -- we did our usual Upper Midwest tour, made more intense by a busy toddler, plus an extra weekend trip to Milwaukee for a family baby shower (well worth packing up the car again). December was quite a productive month knitting-wise, so there's plenty to catch up on.

This super soft and cozy faerie ring shawlette finally received a blocking and was given to a dear friend for her birthday.

Emily wears it well and looks quite glamorous! I usually scrunch up my shawlettes and wear them as scarves -- she really knows how to bring it.

pattern: faerie ring shawl, by Mariam Riddle
yarn: fleece artist cashlana  (discontinued), topaz
needles: US 8 (5.0 mm)

notes:
Lovely lace edging, and an easy pattern! I don’t like the instructions for the beginning, though -- I ended up with an odd-looking large hole that I jury-rigged when weaving in ends. I think the designer has updated the pattern and improved the directions now.