Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Baby Tea Leaves Sweater finished!

I finished this little sweater for my niece last night.  I had hoped to finish it in time to mail it before the post office's deadline for packages to get there before Christmas, but I didn't really even come close.  It will be a New Year's gift instead.

I'm really happy with how it turned out.  It was a fun and fairly quick and easy knit.  I hope it fits well.  I'm really not sure if the sleeves are the right length - I don't remember whether the pattern was written for 3/4 length or full length sleeves, and I wasn't thinking about that at all when I made the sleeves 1/4-1/2" longer than the pattern said to (I also lengthened the body by about that amount; my niece is tall and skinny).

I would definitely make this sweater again.  There is also a version for older girls and for adults.  I kind of want to make the adult version for  myself.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tatted pillowcase-edging

I started this tatted edging in college.  (The year on my UFO page is 2010 with a question mark, but I think it's older than that.  2010 is the year I finished college and moved for grad school, and I remember working on it that fall, but looking back I think it was already a long-term UFO.)
When I started grad school, I set the pillowcase aside, measured the lace, and joined the ends together in a loop, and then let the whole thing go into long-term UFO storage. I pulled it out last week because it seemed like the best candidate for a quick finish before starting a Christmas present project. I hid several thread ends and then stitched the lace to the hem of the pillowcase. I like this edging . I found the vintage pattern online when I was first learning to tat, and it was pretty easy. I would definitely use this pattern again.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mitered squares finished!

I finished my mitered square blanket-thing week before last.  It's pretty small: 23 by 29 inches or so.  I would have liked to make the border wider, but there was way less black yarn left over than I thought.  Mostly I'm just glad to have another finish.  I have one more finish and a new start to share soon. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

CMS/Colloquium crochet!

I finally finished weaving in the many many ends on the back of my mitered square blanket-thing last week, so yesterday I took in to work on the edging during my Thursday afternoon seminars.  I'm getting two rounds of single crochet around the edge.  I was working on it just now, and I ran out of black yarn with about a foot to go on the second round.  I don't want to rip out the whole second round, so I'm using some of the leftover tofutsies yarn from the squares to finish it out.  I think I'm going to finish this tonight (and I finished another long-term UFO this week)!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last week's CMS/Colloquium knitting

I knitted about two and a half repeats of the faux argyle pattern on the leg of my second sock last Thursday.  I started with the second row of the leg (after the ribbed cuff) and was pleasantly surprised when the first talk finished that I had knitted almost 20 rounds!  The faux argyle repeat is 16 rounds, and I am putting 4 repeats on the leg. 

I realized yesterday that I'm not at all ahead in terms of starts and finishes.  Since the beginning of February, I've finished 16 projects and started 8, so according to my self-imposed rule I need to finish two more things before I start the next new project.  But I have at least two projects I want to make for Christmas gifts, and I haven't started either of them yet!  I might have to go into project-finishing debt this December ...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mod Baby Quilt

One of my very good friends is having a baby very soon.  Her baby shower was last week, and I made her this baby quilt.  She has a very modern aesthetic, and I wanted to make the quilt to match that, so I used this tutorial from Oh Fransson to make the blocks for the front and I enlarged this block with a low volume scrappy background for the back.  I really love how the back turned out.  Also, this friend is a mathematician so I was really excited to find the black print - I don't think it's visible in the picture, but it is an arithmetic print!

The nursery has dark blue, lime green, and orange furnishings and decorations, so I looked for fabric in those colors for the front. 

After I finished the five mosaic blocks, Robert helped me choose a layout and draw it to scale, and I worked with that to cut the background fabric.

I quilted it with freemotion starbursts on vertical lines.  I got the idea from the quilting on this quilt by Kelsey at Everyday Fray. 
I used light grey thread on the back and switched thread back and forth on the front, with navy on the background and light grey on the mosaic blocks.  It was a little bit frustrating at first to get the tension right with different colors on the front and back.  I never got it perfect, but it's not bad.  It got a little bit better after I washed it. 
The quilt seemed to go over well at the baby shower.  I hope my friend and her family enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I finished the foot and toe of my first Business Casual sock on Thursday.  I decided to continue the faux argyle pattern into the beginning of the toe, because I wanted the last point to be a center one.  Now that I see it in the picture, I'm not 100% sure that was the right choice, but the toe is now drafted so it's too late to change and I don't think it's that important, anyways.

I took it with me to go to a math conference and visit family this weekend, and the ribbed cuff on the second sock is now almost done. 

I saw a woman knitting at the conference on Saturday!  I was kind of excited.  She was only knitting during the break between talks, not during the talks themselves.  I haven't ever brought knitting to a conference, and I don't have any plans to (although I did see something online about a knit-in or something at the joint math meetings?  I might bring knitting to something like that, but not to the rest of the conference).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

My Business Casual socks are the only knitting project that I currently have on the needles, so that's what I took to school with me to work on during CMS and Colloquium this past week.  I started on the second row of the foot (after the end of the gusset decreases) and knitted about two thirds of the way to the toe. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Girl Vomit" Quilt

My church's Fall fundraiser/auction was last weekend, and I donated this quilt (which I had finally finished the week before!)  I pieced this quilt top in July 2012, but I didn't get around to basting, quilting, and binding it until this Fall.  I liked the fabrics a lot when I bought them as a bundle, but I don't think they work very well together.  There's not enough value contrast.  Also, it's a LOT of pink. 

I am really proud of the free-motion machine quilting I did on it, though!  I used an idea from Leah Day's site: Quilt Busting Flower Power.  I quilted five large flowers and then filled in the rest of the quilt with a loopy meander. I think it turned out beautifully!
I'm glad to be finished with another project, and glad to have improved my fmq skills!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Last Week's CMS/Colloquium knitting

I finished the mitered square part of this knitted object last Thursday afternoon. I have a very small amount left of three of the colors, but certainly not enough to do another row. I'm pretty happy with the size (I did measure it, but I didn't write down the dimensions and now I don't remember what they were).

 My task now is to weave in all of the many many yarn ends on the back. When I first started this back in college, I was very disciplined about weaving the ends in as d finished each mitered square, but since I picked it up again I've only woven in the starting end for each square I which I do as I'm knitting the second row. I've taken this home and I'm trying to do 5 ends every time l sit down to watch TV, so I never feel overwhelmed with this huge and unpleasant task. After the ends are all woven in I'll put a black border on it somehow.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I finished the half-teal square from last week with another color and knitted a few squares of the next row on Thursday.  I'm excited about finishing the mitered squares but not at all looking forward to weaving in the many hundreds of ends on the back.  I'm thinking of using this tutorial to crochet a black border around the edge.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pincushion finished!

I finished my cross-stitch pincushion kit last week.  The embroidery went pretty fast, and then I washed it with Eucalan, pressed it, trimmed the corners, serged around the edge, and and then tried to stitch it around the pincushion form.  The fabric was still too big - it covered the hole on the form where the pincushion base screws in, so I took it off, trimmed it more aggressively, re-serged, re-pressed, and stitched and stretched it around the form. 

I think it's cute!

Friday, October 17, 2014

CMS knitting

I thought I had enough of the dark teal yarn for one more square, but I was wrong.  I got half way through this square yesterday and ran out of yarn just as my first seminar was ending.  Sad.  Since this is all scrappy anyway, I think I'm just going to connect up another color and finish the square rather than ripping it out. 

This thing is about 20" by 26" right now.  I think I can get at least one more row out of the remaining yarn.  I'm interested to see how close to square I can get it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I knitted four more little squares on Thursday afternoon.  Next week I'll have this row finished.  I'm starting to worry about running out of yarn, but I think there's enough for one more row after this.  Then I'll have four million ends to weave in ...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What I've been working on lately

 My Fickle Nickel quilt - almost done and being donated to the church auction the first weekend in November.  Robert has taken to calling this the "girl vomit quilt" and is thrilled that he won't have to have it permanently in the house.
 A new pair of socks - the pattern is Business Casual.  This is turning out to be a very easy but still interesting project.  It's good for working on when I'm out and about.  I could definitely see myself making another pair of these.
An Eva Rosenstand cross-stitch pincushion kit that my mom found with some of her and my old UFOs.  I'm enjoying this one a lot, too.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Embroidered tablecloth finished!

 Last weekend I finished the oldest UFO on my list.  My aunt started this tablecloth in 1960, when she was pregnant with my cousin.  She used to do a lot of incredibly beautiful embroidery - she was even a pattern tester/sample maker for Eva Rosenstand, a large Danish embroidery company!

Aunt Inge never finished the tablecloth.  In Summer 2011, I was visited her and she gave it to me to finish.  Her vision isn't as good as it used to be and she is no longer able to do embroidery, but she wanted the tablecloth finished.  I promised that I would finish it, and it's been slow progress, but it is now done! 
It fits our dining table - but I'm not sure we'll ever use it for actual dining.  I wouldn't want to stain it.  We'll probably use it for display only.  It has eight lovely matching napkins. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I'm chugging along on the mitered squares ... I think I finished four on Thursday afternoon!  If I can finish three more rows it will be square.  I would be happy with that size.  I'm thinking about maybe adding a border at the end to make it a bit bigger - I have some black yarn left over from Robert's socks.  I'm not sure how far it would go around the edge of this thing, but even an inch would make it a bit bigger and give it a sturdier edge, which would probably be a good thing.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three weeks of CMS/Colloquium knitting

The semester is off to a very busy start! I have continued to work on my Tofutsies mitered squares in CMS and Colloquium - except last week when I brought my laptop instead and worked on pictures for a talk I gave at a conference last weekend, and the week before when I was the speaker in CMS (but I did work on this in colloquium).  Hopefully now I will be a bit less busy and make more progress on this ...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I made good progress this week!  It is growing!  I think I only have one more square's worth of the dark teal yarn, though.  That might make the color arranging more difficult, and make the top part of the thing look a little bit boring.  So far I have managed to not have two squares of the same yarn touching, even at corners.  In the future I might have to let them touch at corners.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The first CMS/Colloquium of the school year

With Robert's dress socks done, I dug out one of my longterm (very longterm ... the last time I worked on it was in college, so at least 4 years ago) UFOs.  It's a mitered square blanket using Tofutsies sock yarn left over from the sock war in Summer 2008.  I'm using this strategy to make the squares by knitting them onto one another.

I knitted 2 or so squares in my two seminars on Thursday afternoon (but the first seminar was short, it was just a planning meeting).

If I remember right, the reason I stopped working on this was that I don't really have enough yarn to make it any sort of reasonable size.  I weighed it the other night, and the knitted parts are 90 grams and the yarn I've got is 74 grams.  It is currently 17.5" by 18.25".

At this point I just want to finish things and get them off my UFO list, so I'm going to unravel the one square (I was going to make it one square wider than it currently is) and re-knit it on a higher row, and then knit until I run out of yarn.  At that point, it will be however big it will be and I will figure out what that size can be useful for.

That said, if anyone out there reading has Tofutsies yarn that you would be willing to give me, I would gladly take it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Black dress socks finished

I finished Robert's black dress socks on Wednesday evening.  He is happy with them, and I think they turned out well!  I ended up having quite a bit of yarn left over, so I kind of wish I had made the legs longer, but it's always hard to figure out how long to make the legs on cuff down socks. 

I'm also making good progress on some other long-term UFO's...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Coffee-dyed yarn

I visited my mom last weekend, and on Sunday morning before I flew home we dyed some of her handspun yarn with coffee!  We used the book Harvesting Color as a reference (it doesn't have specific instructions for coffee, so we used the master dye bath recipe).

We mordanted by simmering with alum for an hour the on Sunday morning, then rinsed the yarn with hot water and simmered it in very, very strong coffee for 90 minutes.  Then I had to go to the airport, so we turned the heat off and let the yarn cool in the dye bath until Sunday evening, when my mom rinsed, thwacked, and hung the yarn to dry.

It is a lovely golden brown color - but not what we expected.  I think we both expected a darker, less golden, more "dirt" brown color.  But in any case, it is beautiful, and we had fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Half moon modern HST quilt top

I finished my Half Moon Modern half square triangle quilt top. I think it looks great! Not all of the corners are perfect, but they are good enough for me and certainly not bad. I haven't completely decided how to quilt it yet. I'm going to stitch either in the ditch or parallel to the seams between the patterned and gray areas. I might also do some free-motion in the negative space, but I'll see how I feel about it once I get going on the quilting. I'm going to quilt my fickle nickel quilt before this one , so it might be a little while.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A firefly geranium

A month or two ago I saw the most adorable border print fabric and I really wanted to make my niece a dress from it.  I used the Geranium dress pattern from Made by Rae.  It was pretty quick and easy to sew - I could probably get one done in an afternoon(although I didn't with this one).  The biggest challenge was maneuvering the little pieces in my sewing machine. 
The fabric is incredibly adorable!
I used a coordinating print (fireflies in jars) and this tutorial/pattern to make a matching pair of bloomers to go under the dress. I'm pretty sure they'll be way too big, but the dress will also probably be a bit big right now, too.  I made the smaller size of bloomers and the 12-18 month size dress.
I happen to have an embroidery machine, and a.week before I sewed the dress I happened to see a firefly embroidery pattern for free on Urban Threads, so it went into the lining as a secret surprise.
This outfit will be a first birthday gift for my niece.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Progress on my modern triangles

I've been working away on my Half Moon Modern half-square triangle quilt.  Here's the back of the folded-up almost-complete top - I just have two more seams to pin and sew and the top will be done.  Then I will have two complete quilt tops awaiting quilting - this and my Fickle Nickel.  I'm planning to quilt the fickle nickel first, hopefully before the end of the summer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Men's dress socks

A month or two ago, my husband Robert mentioned that if I was looking for knitting projects, he would wear a pair of dress socks if I made them for him.  Black dress socks immediately became my next knitting project.  I ordered some solid black Cascade Heritage Silk sock yarn and got to work.  I'm working out of the wonderful sock recipe book More Sensational Knitted Socks.  The color in the picture is not quite right - the yarn is black, but it's hard to get a photo that shows both the color and the stitch pattern at the same time.  This photo is already a bit old.  Since it was taken, I've turned the heel and started the gusset.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

White yarn finished!

My UFO list says I started spinning this yarn in November 2011.  I finally finished it last week.  I bought a pound of un-dyed blue faced leicester to practice spinning on.  I spun the whole thing on my wheel, using a short backwards draw and the slowest ratio on my ladybug.  I plied it into a two-ply yarn and got two skeins: the one with green ties is approximately 270 yds and the one with brown ties is about 240 yds.  I could definitely see when I was plying it that the earliest singles were much less uniform that the more recent ones.  That was pretty gratifying!

I decided to use this yarn to knit a cardigan version of this sweater.  I have 4 oz of Hello Yarn hand-dyed roving that I got at yarn school two years ago, which I'd like to use for the top part of the sweater.  I'm not sure if it's enough, or if I have enough of the white yarn to do the body AND sleeves, so my plan is to start the sweater body from the bottom and see how it goes.  If I have enough to do the sweater body and sleeves as in the picture I'll do that, and if not I'll just do the body in white and then either spin something else for the yoke and sleeves or buy some Noro for it as the pattern suggests.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Toadstool socks finished!

I finished the toadstool socks a few weeks ago, and I'm so glad they're done!  I'm really happy with how they turned out.  I conquered the fiddly yarn and poorly written pattern!

I will not, however, be wearing them.  They're too narrow for my feet.  I can easily get them on, but stretching them around my feet distorts the pattern.  I need someone with long, very narrow feet to give these away to ...

I still have some of the toadstool yarn.  I'm planning to use the kit leftovers for lead yarn on my spinning wheel, but I might knit a few preemie/newborn hats from the leftover patterned yarn. 

The yarn is Abi Grasso toadstool self-patterning sock yarn.  I ended up having to wing the pattern, since the one that came with the yarn was not workable at all - the directions said cast on 56 stitches, and only after reading the chart and trying to figure out why I couldn't for the life of me get the pattern to show up did I discover that the stitch count should be 52.  I didn't like how the sample sock looked with the striped heel flap and solid brown gusset, so I did an afterthought heel.  I also didn't like the lime green color yarn, so I used brown for all of the solid parts - luckily there was enough of the brown yarn in the kit.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

30 hour baby quilt ... and a knitted dog

Two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I checked the mail and found a birth announcement.  This baby's parents are college friends of Robert's, and on Saturday morning at breakfast I decided to make a quilt for him.  He is already 6 weeks old or so, and I really didn't want to add another long- or even medium-term project to my list, so I decided to make a strip quilt using fabric from the Hawthorne Threads scrap packs I got several months ago.  I started at about 11am, and in a few hours I had the fabrics and layout chosen and the strips cut.

I didn't have much of a plan on the strip widths.  I decided to make the quilt 45" long, so I figured out that with 15 fabrics, I needed their unfinished width to average 3.5".  I knew I wanted the fish and penguin fabrics to be pretty wide so the animals would feature prominently, so I made those quite a bit wider and the others narrower in varying widths, and kept track of the total length as I went along to make sure I was on track to hit the target.  I think it worked wonderfully!
I pieced together two pieces of Warm and Natural batting leftover from other projects, trimmed the top so it was about 32" wide, and quilted a line on each side of each seam.  It was super easy and fast!  I had all the quilting done and the quilt trimmed on Saturday evening.  Sunday morning I cut and pressed the binding before church, and when I got home I machine stitched it to the front and back.  I had one very ugly corner on the back, but I covered it up with the label.  Then it got a trip through the washer and dryer, and Huck helped me photograph it!  It was finished before dinner on Sunday afternoon.
This baby has a big sister, who is about a year and a half old.  When we moved in March, we sent our friends and family a postcard with our new address and a picture of Huck.  This little girl's dad told us that she really liked the picture of the dog an got excited about seeing it hanging on their fridge, so I decided to knit her a dog of her own as a big sister gift.  This is the labrador pattern from the book Knit Your Own Dog.  I knit it in a heavy worsted superwash merino that I've had in my stash for at least 5 years.  The yarn was a lot heavier than the recommended yarn, and I used up pretty much exactly the whole skein for the body, head, legs, ears, and tail.  Luckily I had a skein of grey, too, so I could give the doggie a belly that still pretty much matched.  I sewed up the seams (and there were many, for some reason I don't understand the legs and head are knit flat and then seamed) with black sewing thread.
I think the dog and the quilt turned out well, and I hope their recipients will enjoy them!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ginkgo Crescent Shawl

I finished knitting the Ginkgo Crescent Shawl last week and blocked it this morning. It came out really well!

I didn't think the increase scheme in the original pattern made sense (I'm pretty sure it would have given a triangular shawl, and people on ravelry were complaining about how difficult it was to block it into a crescent shape), so I looked at another crescent shawl pattern and pretty much just winged it.  I worried that I had overdone it, because it seemed really long on the needles and I ended up with a LOT more stitches than the Ginkgo pattern called for.

But I needn't have worried, because when I bound it off it was perfect! Not too long and skinny, just right for wrapping around your shoulders.  I think the recipient will like it a lot.

The finished dimensions are about 20" deep by 56" wide at the top edge, and I didn't use as much yarn as I expected.  The shawl weighs 50g dry, and I still have 43g of yarn left.  According to the yarn label, that means about 313yds.  I'm thinking I'll make another little shawl to give away!  The next one will probably be rectangular, maybe more like a lace scarf than a shawl.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shirt refashion

 Yesterday I did some mending and refashioned a top that I bought several weeks ago on ThredUp.  I thought the fabric and styling were really cute (and the price was right, and it doesn't have the environmental or human impact of a new piece of clothing!) but it was too big. 
Here are the before pictures, front and back.  It was really baggy and the neckline was shifting and gaping all over the place.  I thought about taking in the sides, but it's a woven (non-stretch) pullover style, so I was worried about still being able to get it on and off, and it has pockets and a bottom hem band that I didn't want to mess with.  I would have probably also needed to take in the shoulders to raise the neckline, and I was afraid to mess with the tulip sleeves.

 Instead I decided to take the easy way out and put in an elastic casing in the back.  This idea was inspired by the Washi dress and Josephine top by Made by Rae.  I pinned in a makeshift casing on the outside to audition elastic length and location - you can see that in the top photo.  Then I cut a piece of white fabric to 1.25" by the width of the shirt back plus one inch (21" in this case), pressed the edges under, and stitched it to the inside of the shirt back, just under the armscyes. Here is the after.  It is still kind of baggy - there's no way to change the style of the shirt, and that's okay with me.  But I no longer feel like I'm swimming in it, and the neckline stays in one place now, close to my chest.  Robert says it even almost looks like it's supposed to be this way, so I'm counting it as a success!

I'm not counting this as a start or a finish in my running counts.