BOOM!!! I have just completed another of my New Year’s Resolution and submitted my knitted shawl into a fair competition!! I’m so excited, I could just fill this blog post with just a bunch of exclamation points!!!! The fair is at the end of the month, so we’ll see how it goes. :-)
I just finished knitting the tie that my hubby requested as his first father’s day gift. (Ugh, I am terrible with deadlines!) There is no one more knitworthy in my life than him. He sees how much time and effort I put into the things I make. He enjoys and takes good care of the knitwear I gift to him (I’m surprised his socks are still holding up!). And unlike the dog and the baby, who have no idea as to what is going on, he appreciates the handmade items. So when he asked for a knitted tie, I was so happy to oblige him that I busted out the fancy cashmere yarn to fulfill his request. All he asked was that the tie be a solid color so he could easily pair it with his striped work shirts.
The pattern is a free Ravelry download called Father’s Day Necktie by Mary C. Gildersleeve. The yarn is Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply in a light sage green color. The pattern called for a worsted weight, so I did an extra pattern repeat to add width to the tie and repeated it 25 times before starting the decrease. By the time I got to the end of the tie, I just made my own decreases and casted off – I had the pattern memorized and was too excited to cast off to go looking for the proper way that the designer ended. In the end the hubby loves it and I am excited that I have enough of this luxurious yarn left over to make something for myself!! Here is how it came out:
PS: Did you know that some designer brand cashmere ties can sell for over $200!? So don’t feel bad if you have to splurge on the yarn, you’re getting a very good deal!
A friend of mine just got back from a trip to Iceland and was kind enough to buy me a beautiful book with traditional patterns and enough yarn to make one of the sweaters! I am so excited!! I cannot wait to get to get started on this project, but I am going to wait until I finish the sweater I currently have on my needles.
Another project I’ve started today was my stash organization. I got these shelves free from Craigslist so that I can empty out my craft closet. My apartment complex promised to install a washer and dryer in my hall closet back in April, since it’s now September I don’t think it’s actually going to happen, but I am still going to to organize my stash. The easiest first step I already did was move all of my library to the bottom two right shelves. I also gave up some precious real-estate on the bottom left shelf for our collection of cookbooks. Here is the before photo, I will post an after photo once I figure out how I plan to organize it.
Over the past year my hubby and I started a new tradition, where I show him knitting items I want and he buys them (or sometimes I do and hand it over to him), but has the say so on when he will gift it to me. A few months back my LYS had my favorite glass knitting needles on the 50% off bin and I “encouraged” him to buy me three out of the four pairs. Last night he gave me the last pair (size 13 on 40in cables) because I have been struggling with a cold for over a week. I squealed, yes I did! A squeal of pure joy! I have been thinking about these needles for a while now because I wanted them to make a baby blanket for our son. Now I just gotta figure out what pattern to cast on. I’m so excited!
I have not done many lace projects, and in December 2011 I was overwhelmed with three different WIPs on my needles! Something had to give and so I put aside the Petal Shawelette Designed by Bonnie Evans (Book: Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders) to hibernate into my craft closet “for the winter”… HA! Years later and that shawl made a cross country move before it ever saw the light of day again.
Earlier this year my lovely new LYS offered a WIP Help class and I decided it was now or never for this shawlette. I didn’t know where I got stuck or why my stitch count wasn’t adding up, so I went for a little help. All it took to keep this shawl moving forward was a closer reading of the instructions. Turns out all I was doing wrong was not following the pattern. I thought that after Chart B I had to move onto Chart C, when in fact I needed to repeat Chart B! Once that was made clear by one of the knowledgeable and thorough staff of my LYS, I zoomed through the pattern happy as can be that it was finally starting to look like the photo in the book.
Of course I was also working on a few different projects and with a new baby, this shawl took a few more months to be completed. But complete it, I did!! I finished the leaf edging over the past week while sick in bed with a horrendous sinus cold. Now it is blocked and I just have to debut it!
I was so surprised to see some beans growing in my old cooler! Truth be told, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and am really happy that it has. Now the question remains, when do I harvest the beans? I did a web search and found a lot of information about planting and drying them, but no real descriptive instructions on when to pull the pods. Some YouTube videos showed the gardener pulling up the entire plants by its roots and drying it, but I only have a dozen plants in my container, not a whole field to test it out. On Wednesday,I pulled pulled a handful of pods, some green and some dark, to try drying them out. I left most of the pods on the plants in case my little experiment fails.
My herb gardens started out well, but now I’m not sure if they will continue to thrive. OK, well the mint I’m not worried about – that’s a weed that even my baby can’t mess up. But my cilantro started out with so much promise and now the stems dried out and I am left with a very pathetic pot. Similarly, the chives grew and we ate them with eggs, but once I trimmed them, they didn’t regrow. My basil looks like it has had its growth stunted. Luckily, I moved some of my original seedlings to my friend’s shared garden, and they are doing much better there. I haven’t harvested the oregano yet, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to grow much more than what it is now.
The latest addition to my container garden is a Meyer Lemon Dwarf Tree. I dreamed about having one for weeks and weeks after finding so many growing tutorials on Pinterest. So I went to a local nursery and bought the last one they had in stock. I think I’m failing there too. The three fruits on the branches were already there when I bought it and I think I’ve lost more leaves.
Even my beautiful calla lilies that I got for Mother’s Day seem sadder. I was able to give some of them away to a friend that is moving and ever since then it seems as though the rest of the plant is mourning the loss of its fellow flowers that were clipped. I plan to repot them onto a prettier and larger container, hopefully that will help them bloom again.
That’s what’s happening in my little balcony, thankfully we are helping friends maintain their raised bed gardens and so we are getting quite a lot of delicious vegetables from them. We’ve had radishes, peas and green beans before and this week we got beets, carrots and Swiss chard! I found a recipe on Pinterest for pickled Swiss Chard stems and did two cans – one for us, one for our friends. I’m excited to try more new recipes for all the delicious foods we are growing!
On May 26th I went to another small fiber festival, The Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair. This is definitely one of the advantages of living in New England; with so many states close together and long winters there are plenty of Fiber Festivals taking place. I actually missed the New Hamsphire one and chose to skip the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, since I had been to it so many times before. It was a quick drive, about 2 hours, to go to this festival and worth the drive. I discovered some great local yarns, I only wish I had the budget to buy everything that I craved. I ended up with four skeins of Sporty by Spunky Eclectic two pinks, two grays, all very vibrant colors. I plan on making the Duotone Cowl by Orange Flower Yarn with them… unless something else comes along. I also got three skeins of fingering weight yarn to practice steeking on a baby jacket. I’m excited to start that project, but I want to finish some of the ones I am currently working on plus I have a few more baby gifts to make. Here are some of the photos of this great festival, I can’t wait to go again next year!!!
I’ve finished two baby projects recently: a cap for a friend who is due this month and the Baby Surprise Jacket for my little guy.
My friend doesn’t know if she is having a boy or a girl, so I chose a gender neutral aqua from my stash to make this cute little hat. Silly me though, I added the pompom to give it a nice finishing touch, but didn’t realize that by doing so it no longer was machine washable since it would likely fall apart in a second.
This was my first try at making Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket and having done a few other patterns designed by her, I am a fan of her awesomeness. I also loved the yarn that I found at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, Lismi Knit a local dyer here in CT. It’s a superwash worsted weight that created a self striping rainbow, check out her Etsy shop if you’re interested: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LismiKnits The combination of the pattern and the yarn was pure bliss. Unfortunately I did run out of yarn with just a few rows to go, so I added a few rows with some white yarn from my stash. I made the last few rows with bobbles to make it look like clouds, I wasn’t sure if it was tacky or cute, but only one person in my knit night group said it was tacky, the others all thought it was cute so I stuck with it. Just gotta block it and add the zipper so it can be considered done.
I am also happy to announce that the sweater that I started before I knew I was pregnant will fit after all and I am making a lot of progress on it. Look:
I am evolving as a crafter, I am no longer limiting myself to the fiber arts. I am getting a taste of sewing and gardening and other miscellaneous hobbies (how have I gone so long without knowing the wonders of Mod Podge!?). Having created a Pinterest account in the last few months might have something to do with it, but I have also made new friends who are just as eager to try different things and so we are exploring these new creative outlets together. I’ve already shown off the off centered bib and I don’t know what will be my next sewing project but I look forward to it. My new friends and I have started a little vegetable garden in one of their yards. Since I am restricted to apartment living I have started an urban garden that includes: black beans, raspberries, some flowers and herbs. I never thought I would enjoy playing in the dirt so much, but it is exciting to see the little seeds sprout! Here is how they are this morning, and since I am a mom now I couldn’t help adding the garden decor (forget the gnomes):
Tuesday was the 6 months birthday of my little Japazilian and his little friend, M. M’s parents watched them while the hubby and I went to one of his work functions (kinda sucks that it fell on this date). So as a little thank you/ birthday gift for M, I’ve made these little socks for him (his mom loves the color orange).
I knit them holding the yarn double and followed the 12-18 months instructions since there was no 6-12 months. I also continued the ribbing until it was time to turn the heel. The only other mod I’ve made is when decreasing for the toes I always ended up with 8 stitches instead of 6, so on the last decrease row I K1, Double Decrease, K1. The Double Decrease was slip one, K2tog, psso – for some reason I can’t remember the abbreviation for that technique right now.
Loved the pattern; quick and easy and simple! I could have finished it in one day, if hubby was able to watch the baby for a few hours. Will definitely make it again.