Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sneak Sock Attack

I've been making progress on the shawl, unfortunately half of it has been backwards progress. Haven't figured out why my stitch counts keep getting off (I have checked to see if my yarn overs slipped under my stitch markers, but sadly they weren't there.) Saturday night my husband brought home Cowboys and Aliens. It was a rather good movie, but after twenty minutes it became clear that I needed to pay more attention to it than my lace was letting me. Watching a movie with no knitting was just not going to happen. Since my yarn stash doubles as my footstool I was able to quickly grab a skein of sock yarn and cast on a simple sock. 

My parents are both pastors and celebrated 30 years of ministry Sunday. Their church invited the bishop to come speak and then held a potluck and a special program in the afternoon. I was so glad to have this sock with me. Mom and Dad moved to their current church after I'd already left for college, so I've never really gotten to know the members there. It's always nerve-wracking to be in a room full of strangers who all know you. Thankfully this sock proved to be the perfect ice-breaker. I met several ladies who were skilled at crochet and other needle crafts and this provided us a topic of conversation throughout the afternoon.

Basic Ribbed Sock; Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Weight: Surf

I have a tight yarn budget, so I usually choose complicated projects that take a long time to knit so I can get the most entertainment time out of my yarn. Normally this is a good thing, but sometimes I start to wonder if I'll every finish anything. I cast on this sock on Saturday evening and was weaving the toe three days later. Tonight I go back to the shawl so this little sock will be a loner for a while, but I think hope it will still be a few months before weather is cold enough for thick warm socks.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shawl Progress

As predicted my shawl has gotten all of the attention this week and the socks and green sweater have been horribly neglected. Since I plan to wear the shawl to a wedding mid-September this is probably a good thing. The shawl has charts A-E, with 4 repeats of chart B. I'm halfway through the second repeat of chart B.

The lace doesn't look like much now, but it shows a great deal of promise. 
I can't wait to see what more of it looks like.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Create Where You Are

In my dreams I live in a cozy little cottage. The attic space has been converted into my sewing studio. There's charming slanted ceilings lined with bookcases and baskets for storage. There are skylights that flood the room with natural light. A cutting table that can fit a full yard of fabric on it. Maybe even a comfy chair where I can sit and drink coffee while I dream up new quilt patterns blog rip out mistakes. 

Sadly I don't live in my dreams. I live in a one bedroom apartment with a husband who feels a bedroom is slightly more important than a dedicated sewing studio. Our living room already serves way too many purposes (I successfully snuck in two storage footstools and filled them with yarn for 3 months before my husband found out that I had developed a yarn stash in our living room.) Since the bathroom is very small and windowless the kitchen was the only room left to become my sewing space.

My ironing board gets set up in front of the stove. (Please ignore the pans on the stove. Since I have fabric storage in the kitchen the storage places for pans is those hard to reach places. Pans that get used at least once a week just stay on the stove.)

We added two five-shelf storage racks to the kitchen shortly after getting married. About a year after that I realized that creating was an important part of my personality and I needed to make space for it. I use a lot of pre-cuts which cuts down on scraps. Occasionally I find a really good sale on batting and will hide that in my closet, but otherwise I try to keep my fabric and other items on the shelf. For most of high school and college I was an avid cross-stitcher. I've debated getting rid of the boxes of floss that live in this space, but every time I come close to letting go I make a quilt label and am grateful to have the perfect color of thread.

My space isn't the dream space, but my quilts are the quilts of my dreams. 
I have learned the valuable lesson of creating where I am.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Knitting ADHD

This week I think my knitting brain has been struck with ADHD. Nothing I've touched has brought much satisfaction. I'm not sure if it's the heat or arthritis but I haven't been in the mood to do much cabling. I fought these feelings and have made some progress on the green sweater.

I like the fact that this sweater is knit as one piece with shaping added in. I think it will create a very tailored piece when it's finished and I love that I don't have to do any big seams. The thing I hate is that it's close to 300 stitches long so I only do one or two rows a day. Progress is very slow, but it continues to be made.

This weekend was extremely hot. I couldn't handle the thought of knitting the green sweater and having all of that yarn in my lap. I have a dirty little secret hiding in my knitting stash. A lone sock. (I know it's a shocking secret I'm sure no other knitters share.) I prefer using DPNs for socks, and usually I cast on the second sock immediately after finishing the first sock so second sock syndrome doesn't have a chance to strike. Since finishing this sock I've finished three pairs of socks and a shawl since finishing the first sock of this pair in January. Unfortunately I chose the wrong pattern for this yarn and refused to admit it until the end of the first sock. This sock continues to haunt me though so I cast on it's mate on Saturday. I'm not overly motivated to make hand knit socks in July and a sock I don't particularly love isn't going to draw my attention very often, but it's on my favorite needles for sock knitting so it will get done sooner or later.

Monday I finally found something to capture my knitting attention. Last week I shared pictures of my new Shimmer yarn. I've gotten it wound into a ball and have started knitting Omelet. I love this yarn and it works perfectly with my pattern. I've done a couple of projects with lace details, but nothing quite like this. I am in LOVE with this pattern and this yarn. My guess is that next week the green sweater and socks will have been neglected horribly as this shawl and I have a joyous knitting affair.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Almost done...

I'm beginning to wonder what it is with cuffs. I set myself a goal of having a sleeve finished by the next Yarn Along and once again I find myself within an inch of being done. This weekend I focused on Free Motion Quilting a quilt for the first time. This sleeve has been my happy place. When everything seemed to be going wrong and I was questioning whether or not I should be allowed to sew anymore I would walk away from the quilting, pick up the simple knitting of this sleeve, and could remind myself that I am a competent women capable of creating things of great beauty out of simple materials. (Yes, I'm even starting to see this purple sweater as beautiful.)

This weekend I even found some great buttons for this sweater. I need to do a bit of research before I steek. (I'm somewhat confused why I left nine stitches in the middle, but am only supposed to sew a line of securing stitches one knit stitch apart. Until I know what will happen to the other 6 stitches and how to put those stitches on needles for the button band I think I'm going to wait to finish this sweater.)

Right now Knit Picks is having their summer yarn sale. I got some great yarn for Christmas presents (more on that later) and a lovely lace weight so that I can finally make Omelet. This yarn is 70% alpaca, 30% silk and so soft and dreamy. I can't wait to start knitting with this.
Shimmer yarn, colorway Buttercream

Saturday, July 6, 2013

There and Back Again

In 2011 I saw a new quilt along inspired by JRR Tolkein's The Hobbit. Tolkein is one of my husband's and my favorite authors so I was immediately intrigued. When I found that the patterns were free (a big pattern price tag is great at discouraging you from doing things you have no business doing) I decided to make the quilt never mind the fact that I knew nothing about paper piecing. I'm not sure I would have finished this quilt without the enthusiasm of my husband. After month 2 (which featured a 7" block with 144 pieces) I was starting to doubt this whole paper piecing method. By month 4 I down right hated paper piecing. I fell woefully behind, but I finished all of my blocks. The blocks were published in chronological order of the books, not by level of difficulty. I think if I made this quilt again I'd start with the easy blocks and work my way up to Cloaks in the Hall. 

Despite my dislike of paper piecing I do love Fandom in Stitches and the talented designers behind the There and Back Again quilt along. They have some amazing quilt patterns that are extremely creative and are based on beloved movies, books, comics, and more. I enjoy seeing the new patterns that are constantly being added (all for free) but the method of piecing just isn't for me. 

I apologize for the poor picture. Between the wind and storm that was approaching it's amazing I got any pictures. This shot gives you the best idea of what the blocks look like, but the colors are a lot richer in person. The sashing is a dark blue and the center block is bordered by a rich brown color. I promise when I do the photo shoot for the finished quilt I'll get better pictures.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One Purple Sleeve

After writing last week's post I went back to the pattern site to offer the purple monster's link. While I was there I found the picture that inspired me to make this sweater. I forgot how different it looks on a person instead of laying flat (unfortunately the printed pattern only has a picture of the sweater laying flat.) This is still the purple monster, but it's more like a one-eyed one-horned lovable purple monster rather than one that needs to be slayed with sharp items. Don't get me wrong, the thought of taking scissors to this sweater is still giving me great amounts of pleasure. The steeks are the place where my lack of love for this sweater is going to pay off. If it succeeds I'll have a cardigan. If it fails I'll have killed the purple monster. Either way it will be a win for me.

I'm about 1/4" away from casting off. I love that I worked on this sweater for months before getting sick of it and burying it in the knitting bag. It's possible that within 2-3 weeks of picking this thing back up it will be finished.

I debated just doing the sleeves in plain purple, but I sucked it up and kept the color work section. I'm hoping that with the four day weekend that's coming up I can get the second sleeve done before next week's Yarn Along.

Speaking of finished items, I finished the Dragonfly Wings shawl. 
Saturday's post has some more pictures of it and the link to the pattern.