Sunday, December 29, 2013

a brioche knit infinity scarf

My sister asked for two infinity scarves for Christmas this year.  She swears that it gets chilly in Mexico.  I don't believe her.  Nevertheless, it's what she wanted.  She will be moving stateside this year, so maybe she can use them by next winter if, in fact, she isn't telling me the truth.

Here is the first one.  I used this pattern, free of course on Ravelry.  I love how it turned out!  Despite the worsted weight yarn, the brioche stitch makes the scarf light and airy while giving the look of reversible ribbing.

The brioche stitch pattern was actually very simple to memorize.  The part I could not figure out was how to graft the two ends together to make a seamless inifinity scarf.  After searching the web for a while and reading how no one else can really figure it out either, I connected the two ends with simple seam.  It's definitely not the prettiest seam I've ever done, but I will just tell her to keep the seam in the back.

The scarf is a total of 52 inches long but since it's circular, it reaches my waist at 26 inches.

See my ravelry notes.

yarn name: Lion Brand Heartland
yarn type: 100% premium acrylic
colorway: redwood (red)
yardage: ~375 yards
needle size: US 11 (8.0mm)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

{my} new blue slippers

I just love this pattern!  I used it to make these green slippers a while ago, but they turned out a little small.  I gave the green ones to my mom.  Since it has been a lot cooler around here lately and the hub keeps the house at a chilly 68, I decided to modify the pattern to make a new pair that fit my size 9 feet.

I held two strands together to knit the bottom, the light blue and a neutral cream color.  For the top of the slippers, I used only a single strand of the blue.  After I made my modifications to the bottom to create a bigger sole, I realized that I overcompensated and they were a little too big.  So I slimmed them down just slightly by using only one strand of yarn for the top of the slipper.

I decided to use a ribbed cuff instead of a garter stitch cuff.  I thought this might slim down the slipper a little, too, and ensure the slipper would not slide off my ankle.  The unknown acrylic yarn that I used for the cuff didn't exactly react to the ribbing as I would have liked but oh well.  I just wear a pair of red slipper socks with them to help them fit better and keep my feet super toasty warm.

I love these colors together.

You can find all of my modifications here on Ravelry.

I think the cream colored yarn is an acrylic blend (mostly acrylic) but I don't know the details.  Here are the details for the blue yarn.

yarn name: Paton's Classic Wool
yarn type: 100% wool
colorway: seafoam (blue)
yardage: ~200 yards
needle size: US 9 (5.5mm) for sole, US 8 (5.0mm) for top

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a saddle-shoulder sweater {for my boy}

Here is my latest sweater.  I got this yarn on clearance for $2 a skein.  I bought all 6 skeins left in the basket with a project in mind for me.  But 6 skeins of DK yarn isn't enough for a sweater to fit me, so I decided to knit something for Logan.

I tried to knit him this cardigan earlier this year, but I forgot to add in some ease.  The cardigan was just too small and I didn't need him looking like a beer-bellied 7-year-old about to pop the buttons off his handknit sweater.  But the best thing about trying out your own pattern for the older boy is that if it's too small, it can be handed down to the younger boy.  So that one was given to lucky mr. Trent.

This one turned out much better because I had the smart idea to measure one of his long-sleeve t-shirts that fits him well.  So I used those measurements and this Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern to make a boring, latte-colored sweater for my 7-year-old.

Even he said in the midst of knitting that the color was boring and asked if I could add another color.  Not only did I not have any other DK weight yarn in any other color, but I was afraid to add too much to this.  This sweater just had to turn out well.  And while it is boring, even after knitting it all up, it did turn out wonderfully and it fits him almost perfectly.  It's a tad bit bigger than he is, but I think it's true to a boys 8 and should fit him for the next year or so barring any unplanned growth spurts.

The most interesting detail about this sweater is the sleeves.  This sweater is worked from the bottom up and some clever and well-timed decreases give way to a fun saddle shoulder.  Although I'm sure this type of shoulder can be feminine as well, I think the saddle shoudler is a subtle way to liven up a man's sweater without actually livening it up.  Men don't typically like cables and lacework or even stripes for that matter, so incorporating something interesting into the shoulders of a plain men's sweater makes me happy enough to keep making them for all my boys.

yarn name: Paton's Classic Wool Superwash
yarn type: 100% woolcolorway: latte
yardage: ~325 yards

needle size: US 5 (3.75mm) circular

Friday, October 18, 2013

introducing . . . TimmyBear

A few weeks ago, I received my TimmyBear from an organization called Molly Bears.  Molly Bears provides weighted bears, free of charge, to families who have lost babies at any time during pregnancy or up to one year old.  We lost our precious Timmy when I was 38 weeks pregnant.  The waiting list is long and it can take 12-18 months for a family to receive their baby bear.

I received mine on Timmy's due date the year after we lost him.

Teddy bears are usually soft and squishy, but not TimmyBear.  TimmyBear weighs 6 lbs, 10 oz.  He is heavy for a stuffed bear and that's exactly the point.  Timmy weighed the same amount when he was born.  I remember holding him.  I remember all the emotions of that terrible day incredibly well.  It was not a good day, but I have never regretted holding him in my arms and spending time with his flesh.

I can no longer hold my baby.  I had to say goodbye to his body on that same day.  I have a picture of Timmy that the nurses took while they were dressing him for us.  I can see his head and his shoulders.  There is something about this picture that makes me want to scoop him up, right off the page, and squeeze him tighter than I have every squeezed anyone.  But I can't.  It's just a picture.

But you know what I did as soon I took TimmyBear out of his box?  I squeezed him tighter than I have ever squeezed anyone.  I squeezed him and squeezed him, and I let go a little.  I let go of some of the anger that I have been carrying around with me.  I let go of the tight grip that I have had around my emotions, always trying to figure out how I agoing to feel before I actually feel it.  I let go a little.  And I smiled.  I smiled the entire next day as I sat at work and thought about TimmyBear.  I thought about how I could finally place these hugs somewhere that I have been saving for Timmy when I meet him.  I still have plenty for him and I may never let go once I meet him, but just as love never runs out, neither do my hugs.  I can hold TimmyBear when I'm feeling sad.  I can hug TimmyBear when I want to send one to Timmy.  We can finally take that family photo I've been putting off because something is missing.  Don't get me wrong, there is still a noticable hole in my family and I wish above all other wishes that there was something I could do to change that.  But now I have a representative for Timmy, nowhere near the real thing but the best we can do for now.

Molly Bears is a wonderful organization dedicated to bringing a little comfort to families who have lost a precious baby.  I encourage you to spread the word for Molly Bears.  All bears are sent to families free of charge, so the more awareness we can create, the more families they can help.

TimmyBear came with his bowtie and the star and bottlecap on his feet.  I dressed him in this sweater that I knitted for Timmy.  What a handsome bear!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

quilted sewing machine mats

For a while now, my sewing machine and serger have been resting on flattened cereal boxes so they won't leave marks on my sewing table.  I finally decided it was time to bust out my scrap collection and make some vibrant sewing machine mats.

I used the quilt-as-you-go method for these mats.  This method turns out results faster than any other type of quilting because you do the quilting as you piece together the top.  When I originally learned this technique, I used this tutorial from Diary of a Quilter.  I also use the quilt-as-you-go method to make this changing pad.

This one is made of long scraps from past projects. It's always fun to remember the projects that were made from each of the scraps.

This one is my favorite.  I've been saving up selvages since I started sewing 4 or 5 years ago.  I was saving up for a selvage quilt but I decided that I didn't want these hanging around for another 20 years while I save up my edges.  So a sewing mat will have to do.

Each of these mats measures approximately 16 inches x 10.5 inches, a perfect size to fit under my machines without getting in the way.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

my bright red burdock cardigan

I have a few other projects that I planned on posting before this cardigan, but I just couldn't wait. I am so excited about how this turned out. 

The original pattern, the Burdock Cardigan from November Knits, had the star lace pattern on the sleeves, but since I'm not really a lace kinda person to begin with, I thought it was just too much. So I went with regular old stockinette sleeves and I'm so happy that I did.  They look just right.

This was my first time knitting a bottom-up cardigan. I'm not sure how I feel about it. All of the easy stuff comes first like the body and the sleeves, and then the shaping comes at the end. By the time I'm into the shaping, I just want to be done with the darn thing. But I will give another bottom-up pattern a go and see if I can convince myself to enjoy the process. Afterall, I did tell my mom when I started knitting that it was fun but I would never be serious enough about knitting to make anything like a sweater. Now it seems like that's all I will do.

I like this pattern, but it took me a while to understand the lace pattern well enough to not have to count my stitches and look at the pattern all the time. I like the look of the cuffs; hemmed cuffs have their place and tend to make a classier garment. I still prefer the look of regular old knit 2 purl 2 rib, but that's a sportier look and not right for this cardigan.

I love it and I want to wear it all the time. Just look how happy I am...

To all you knitters: click here to see the Ravelry page with my notes.
yarn name: Cascade 220 Quatro
yarn type: 100% woolcolorway: red
yardage: ~990 yards

needle size: US 7 (4.5mm) circular

Sunday, June 16, 2013

iced, iced cardi

I was actually on a pretty good sewing streak there for a while.  I sewed four skirts and finished a quilt top.  Honest I did.  But this is the first project that I feel like posting.  So here it is, my new brown cardigan.
I really did need a brown cardigan.  I used the Iced cardigan pattern available for free on Ravelry and modified it a bit for a closer fit.  I used size 10 needles for a tighter gauge of 13 stitches per 4 inches and I knit the smallest size.  My cardigan doesn't really close in the front because it's a little too small, but I like it this way.  Since it's summertime and I decided to make a cardigan from bulky yarn, I don't see a need to close it anytime soon.

I love the three-quarter length sleeves.  Since you get to make design decisions during the knitting process when using the top-down method, I thought about knitting full length sleeves.  I had plenty of yarn and I love being able to wrap my hands into the sleeves for extra warmth.  But I'm very happy with my decision.  These are tight fitting sleeves and the only think I needed to make sure they didn't roll was to add a purl row before the final knit row.

This cardigan is a definite keeper as you can tell from the {creepy} photo above.  I've had some bad luck lately with my cardigans; the sleeves are too big or they don't hang right.  But this one finally busted me out of that slump.  This one will get a lot of good use!

yarn name: Ella Rae Country Tweed
yarn type: 50% wool, 42% acrylic, 4% alpaca, 4% other

colorway: brown/gray 02
yardage: ~574 yards

needle size: US 10 (6.0mm) circular and double-pointed

Thursday, April 4, 2013

a tweedy camille knit cardigan

This is the least photogenic sweater I have ever worn.  I don't know what the problem is.  I had two separate photo shoots, both by semi-willing family members, and I came out with nothing usable.  That doesn't usually happen.  I always have something I can use.

But it took some hurried self-shots while loading up the car for a soccer game to get this one I could use.  Huh.  Maybe it's the sweater itself.

I used the Camille Cardigan pattern from Knitscene magazine's Winter 2012 edition.  Funny how mine doesn't look at all like the model in the magazine.  I was able to match the pattern's gauge, but I chose to wet block the cardigan after I finished it.  I think it grew 2 sizes.  Oops.  The difference could also be my darn lack of bosom, but I will go with my choice of yarn instead.

I really like this yarn.  I love the blue and gray together and the tweed bits spun into the yarn.  The cardigan looks so cozy if not as modern and form fitting as it was supposed to be.  And it's definitely warm.

yarn name: Ella Rae Country Tweed
yarn type: 50% wool, 42% acrylic, 4% alpaca, 4% other
colorway:  05, navy and gray
yardage: ~600 yards
needle size: US 11 (8.0mm) circular and double-pointed

Thursday, March 7, 2013

a memory pillow

It has been 6 months . . .

I'm not sure what else to say.  Some of these months have been the worst of my life.  But I have prayed for strength nearly every day. 

Father, please provide me the strength to get through today and the courage to love others.

He has delivered.  I still struggle through some days and I get angry with myself sometimes.  I don't do well in a cloud of depair.  I am a happy person and I avoid situations that make me feel otherwise.  But some days the weight of the sadness hits me so hard.  I try to cry out the emotion, but it doesn't work.  Sometimes it lingers for an extra day or two . . . and then it's gone for a while.

I struggle more with the 'courage to love others' part.  People can be insensitive even when they have the best intentions.  We all get wrapped up in ourselves sometimes and we forget or don't consider how our actions or words will affect another.  I have little patience for people at these times, but He is helping me work on it.

I cried when I finished this pillow.  It's just hard knowing what the pillow represents: the memory of precious love lost to me, not forever, but for now.  But the pillow makes me smile whenever I see it.  The colors are fun and vibrant.  And, of course, I love to see his name.  Through this lens, this world is a much better place.