State Fair of Texas

21 04 2012

The response to that last post was pretty stinky, so I decided to follow my bliss, which is to be honest, mostly not blogging. As I’ve said before, I’d rather be knitting. Seriously. Typing, unlike say reading or listening to audiobooks, occupies my hands and prevents me from knitting. This is my work desk, by the way, with my faithful Kindle and headphones.

I like books

I woke up this morning though and realized I felt like writing. Hooray. So, without further ado…the State Fair of Texas post.

I have to admit that I had truly intended to do all kinds of preparation work for the state fair, but then the shop took off, and I was just trying to cram in some time on it, so in the end I only knit one project specifically for the fair, which means that I’ve posted most of this before, but, you know, not with ribbons.

First up the honorable mentions. I got one for this lovely hat that I loved when I knit, which is why I submitted it. The pattern is Toorie by Carina Spencer and was knitted in madelinetosh tosh merino in norway spruce.

2011 Texas State Fair 5

I also got a fine HM for Original Design, for the Cabled Kindle Sleeve. This particular one was knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Molly.

2011 Texas State Fair 4

I received third place ribbons for two submissions.

One was in the toy category for the only item I made specifically for the fair, Daphne and Delilah by Rebecca Danger in luxurious MCN worsted. Both colors came from indie dyers now on hiatus, but in the hopes that they will find dyeing in their futures again, the blue is Femme Fatale Fibers Venus Worsted in Alice Goes to Wonderland and the orange is Have You Any Wool Luxe Worsted in Spice. Since I haven’t shared this particular project before, I’m including a non-fair picture. I’d also like to add that this is for sale locally at Alley Cat Collective.

d and d sf 1

2011 Texas State Fair 2

My other third was in the rather competive Shawl category. I submitted a shawl I knit for Rose Beck, Forgotten Garden, which I’ve already talked about here. Much to my annoyance, they displayed it backwards. You can’t really tell in my awesome glass-reflected picture, but that is purl bumps out.

2011 Texas State Fair 3

My big ribbon was a second place in the Sock category. This one cracks me up, because I truly selected these socks for submission because they were the only unworn pair I had with no mistakes in them. I have to admit that if I’m knitting a pair of socks for myself and I make a mistake, I usually fudge it because they’re socks, and who will ever know? It turns out that if it’s for a fair submission, then the judges will know.

I didn’t even like this pair initially as I mentioned in the original post about them. Moreover, I have a “only a husband could take a picture this bad” photograph to accompany them. I hope you will now understand why I almost never have modeled shots. Really, you couldn’t have told me to fix my bangs? Or that I was flushed from the ubiquitous Texas midday heat?

2011 Texas State Fair 1

This was a fun experience, but I don’t know that I would do it again. In a State Fair of Texas thread on Ravelry, the oldtimers kept using the phrase “big bag of ribbons” to refer to their victories, and really if all I’m going to get from this is a giant plastic bag of ribbons and some bragging rights, I think I can safely pass. Oh, and I did get some blue ribbons from the much less prestigious Texas-Oklahoma State Fair. So that counts, right?

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Patterns, right?

12 12 2011

The below picture has nothing to do with this post. It’s there because it’s my shop stash of Malabrigo, and it just gives me joy to look at it.

mal stack 2

Nor is this the long-promised post about my State Fair entries. Why not? Well, I was feeling that guilty feeling I get when I haven’t updated my blog in a while, and I decided that maybe I’d go ahead and type it up. Seriously, the pictures have been on flickr for over a month. The blog certainly has been on my mind. I was thinking about taking more of a micro approach. Part of the reason I dread doing this is that all those links to the pattern, pattern designer, yarn, colorway, project on Ravelry, etc. take time. I think my standard entry has something like 25-30 links. Maybe I would procrastinate less, if there was less to do per entry, and maybe you would like to hear from me more often.

Then I took a look at my stats, and all the hits are on the patterns, which make sense, I suppose. I could try to make the blog more pattern-focused. I have two older patterns that I released on PDF that I could transcribe here, assuming that there’s a group of people who for some reason love patterns on websites and eschew the PDF as a pattern format. I will also make a sincere, if misguided commitment to try to release a new pattern by the end of January. The last one I was hatching is dead in the water, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely out of ideas. I have a couple of toy patterns I could do,  and I have a few ideas for other things. I’m asking for some feedback here. Why are you subscribed? Do you care what I’m knitting or are you just hoping I’ll release a new pattern? I’d love some thoughts as I consider the future of this blog.

Besides that, would anyone like to guess what I’ve been up to? If you said knitting, you’ve guessed correctly. I’m happy to say that my only pending shop order is holding on yarn, and that everything else is complete, including the Christmas presents I’m knitting for friends and family. Or that would be true if you don’t count the fact that I’ve yet to start my husband’s Christmas socks. Really, I’m casting on as soon as I’m done here. So drop me a comment and let me know what you’d like to see.

Thanks!





Still here!

29 09 2011

Here we are again. I’ve been absent, and as to what I’ve been up to…it’s the usual–knitting. I do love knitting, so even when I’m not blogging, it carries on. Now as to why I haven’t been blogging, well, that’s a longer story. I spent most of July and a little bit of August focus on knitting for the etsy shop and selling locally at The Alley Cat Collective and the Farmers’ Market, and then when I decided to focus less on the shop, I spent time catching up on birthday presents and knits for other people. Then came September, and for the first time in a while, I just knit for me, doing whatever I felt like doing, so I have some finished projects and about 6 WIPS. Good times.  The month and a half shop focus means that I haven’t done all that much that I can share, but I do have a few FOs to share, and I plan to do at least one post about the Texas State Fair.

Let’s dig in. I made a Kindle sleeve at the beginning of June for Bettye’s birthday because she got a Kindle. It also came with a gift card and an offer of unlimited technical support, although she didn’t need that for so long as she picked it up pretty quickly. This one was knit in Mal Worsted in Apricot.

kindle sleeve apricot 3

I then crocheted a birthday present for her son, Robert. I wanted to make him something cool, and it ended up being a little late because it took me a while to find an idea I liked, but I finally settled on amigurumis of his family based on the patterns of Lucy Ravenscar with hair from a tutorial by Geek Central Station. They were knit in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton and used embroidery floss for hair. I think they went over pretty well, until the dog ate off Robert’s eye. I’m not that upset because, well, who can be angry at a corgi?

rob fam 3

I finished up my knitting in June with Cookie A ‘s BFF socks.  My version was called Pen Pals because it was knit out of my local Tally yarn from vacation, TurtleDove Yarns Pigeon Sock. This was my last successful attempt to participate in the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love KAL. Oh well.

bff socks 3

I know three FOs in a month is a pretty low count for me. The rest of the time was spent on the shop, so I guess I’ll blog a little about what I learned from that. Let’s see it was fun to see other people enjoy my knits and to see my work going as far as Australia. I enjoyed the actual knitting, and I had fun just following my bliss as far as what to knit next. The best part? Building up my stock of “shop” yarn, by which I mean a fat stack of Malabrigo Worsted. Dreamy. The worst part? The utter lack of personal knitting time. I’ve finished two projects using yarn out of my personal stash in the last four months. Ouch, and I’ve decided to do Stashdown this next quarter. The Farmers’ Market was a delightful way to meet people, but I’m done with it for the year, so I’m now dealing with the much less hectic business through Alley Cat and the etsy shop, and a few Christmas orders. I hope this will allow me to find a better balance between my different types of knitting.

For this section, I’m including a picture of Sammie the Sailor, which I knit for no better reason than I was feeling nautical. He was knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Natural and Marine, from Rebecca Danger‘s Sammie the Sock Monster pattern.

sammie sailor 1

I did knit one non-shop item in July, but I think it will fit better in a later post, so I’m moving on to August, in which I started by doing a pattern sample for Rose. You  know I had to fit one in there, right? This time it was her Strands of Pearls Shawlette in Twisted Fiber Art Playful in Weimaraner and Squoosh Fiberarts Sock in Mocha Kiss. The shawl was a fun knit, but I was really disappointed by the ultimate fate of this shawl, which is to say that it was cruelly lost forever in the US mail system. Thanks, post office. I’m so paranoid now that I’m still adding delivery confirmation to every shipment I send.

sps 3

I think I will wind this post up with one other knit for Rose, and when I say Rose, I mean rather more directly for her, because her birthday is in August. Fellow Rose test-knitter Catrina came up with a brilliant idea. She would spin some yarn and I would knit it into cozy socks for Rose, and even better another tester Jennifer would dye the fiber, so we each did a little bit, and came up with this pair of socks for her.

rose sock 2

The upside/downside (trust me, it’s both) is that Catrina is now spinning for me too. I was already having issues NOT buying fiber, which is hilarious since I don’t spin, and now that I have a spinner on tap, well let’s say I’m in trouble. Here’s what I’ve already stashed from her hands. The first is PRS Superwash Merino in Malarkey and the second is limegreenjelly MCN in Jungle Boogie, both in fingering weight. Gorgeous!

prs merino malarkey 2lgj mcn jungle boogie 1

See you soon; I pinkie swear.





And now for something only a little different…

11 05 2011

When I said I broke my pattern for April, I think only meant a little bit. I did do something completely new, but it still broke down into shop knitting, knitting for Rose, and personal knitting (mostly socks).

I started the month by doing a little etsy update. I knit Rebecca Danger‘s new monkey pattern, Jerry the Musical Monkey, which was fun.

monkey blue 1

I also knit a Penelope, more monster chunks, and some chirps, and I added a few more device sleeves.

penelope purplechubby chicks

After all that was completed, I knit the toe on the second Wanderer sock. Yes, that’s really all I had leftover from March, but I got all manner of distracted by irresistible monkey knitting. These are Cookie A‘s Thelonious, which was one of the March/April K.S.L. KAL selections. They were knit in The Plucky Knitter MCN Fingering in Wanderer, which was a birthday present from my friend Karen.  

wanderer 2

I then settled into a nice, big sample shawl for Rose, Forgotten Garden in Biscotte & Cie La Douce in Cherry Baby. My version was the large size, coming in at about 550 yards. I think the shawl is complex and beautiful, and I’m very pleased with it. It took me a solid week of knitting, after which I did another small shop update.

forgotten garden 7forgotten garden 3

I think I mentioned the auction for Japan last month? I also donated knitting services for a pair of socks, so I next knit a pair of Tyro by Huan-Hua Chye  in Wool Candy Macaron MCN in Cordial, which was fun. I did convert them to top-down and I used an eye of partridge heel.

cordial tyro 3

I decided that at this point in the month I wasn’t likely to finish the April/May K.S.L. KAL socks, so I CO the cuff for Cookie A‘s Mona so that they would count for May. My socks are knit in JulieSpins MN400 Merino/Nylon in Bold Wood Darker. I have to admit that this picture is prettier than the actual sock, so I’ll also share an in-progress photo from May as well. I’m planning on having Susan over-dye them.

mona wipmona 2

I then started a BIG project, which was an actual adult sweater (incredibly rare for me) for Rose. She wanted to rotate some of her stash, but can only do very limited knitting at the moment, so I, perhaps foolhardily, volunteered to try even though I’m not really a garment knitter. After a little discussion, we settled on Goodale by Cecily Glowik MacDonald  in Sundara Sport Merino in Arabian Nights. It’s finished as of this blog posting, so even though it’s really a May FO, I’ll post all the pictures now. I did a couple of adaptations; Rose wanted a longer body and 3/4 sleeves, so she gave me the measurements, and I did the math to make those changes. Hopefully it all went well. It’s on its way to her now. The second picture is of the top post-finishing; Rose is sewing on the buttons, so that’s the button loop held on with a needle.

goodale wip 5goodale 1

April really was a delightful and interesting knitting month, and I’m looking forward to seeing what May brings (is it flowers?).





The Last Christmas Hurrah

28 01 2011

Wow. I’m so close to being caught up now. I have the last of Christmas knits, and then we’re into my 2010 wrap-up. Whee!

I know I mentioned that my giveaway yarn might have been appropriated into a last minute Christmas gift. Wonder what it was, or what color I intended to knit the Cabled iPad Sleeve out of? It was Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Bolita, and the project was a Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf by Khebhin Gibbons, which remains a perennial holiday favorite. I might have been sad if I hadn’t ended up doing at least one this year. It was crocheted on a J/6mm hook, and as usual, I split the yarn in half and knit from the middle so that the ends would match.

qa lace scarf ab 1

qa lace scarf ab 2

My next project isn’t a Christmas present, but I’m going to include it because it was December deadline knitting. I knit Deco Diamonds, which was a test knit of Deco Diamonds Socks for aroseisarose. This lovely pair of socks was knit on US 1/2.25mm in Fiberphile Merino Cashmere Sock in Autumn Rose. They’re quite cozy (I’m currently wearing them!).

deco d 8

deco d 2

This one is a “Ghosts of Knitting Past” project. I was reading this thread, which is about naming your oldest stash. I was going to proudly point out that my oldest stash was received as a birthday gift a mere eight months back, when I had an odd niggling that I was wrong. My brain informed me that I still had 4 skeins of Lion Brand Fun Fur from 2005 (the year I started knitting) stashed in the bottom of a bag.

The reason this stash had survived the great stash purge of Jan ‘10 is that this yarn was a gift from my now deceased mother, who never had a chance to meet her granddaughter. I thought it would be a good idea to knit them into dress-up boas for Sofia, so that in a way she would have a gift from her grandma. Inspired by the aforementioned thread to look at it again, I decided to make the boas as part of my daughter’s Christmas present. My project was called I will remember you and was knit on US 15/10mm. I knit the first one held double, CO 20, knit in the round, and the second the same, but with a CO of 16. You’ve got to love the sentimental use of novelty yarn.

I will remember you

Now for a little run of toys. I have a serious love of Rebecca Danger patterns. I have probably four times more of them in my pattern collection than I’ve actually knit, but I intend to get around to them all, eventually. Part of this plan is to use partial skeins I’ve received from other people to make them. This time I knit Susan her own Penelope, partially out of scrap Malabrigo and Cascade 220, but I also used a full skein of Aslan Trends Bariloche in 1332 Pink that Susan gave to me. I knit Penelope the Empathetic Monster the with the yarn held double on US 9/5.5mm and ran out of yarn, which is where the Malabrigo came into the project. I think it came out cute, and it’s always nice to get in some practice on my seaming.

penelope

I also tried my hand at another Danger Crafts pattern, this time Holly, Ivy and Steve Three Christmas Hooligan Ornaments, although I have to admit I ran out of steam before I made it to Steve. I decided that I just wasn’t up to dozens of tiny stripes, so my project ended up being Holly and Ivy, Less Steve, and my sister claimed Ivy, fortunately for her made out of Comfy Fingering Weight, so now it’s more just Holly, all by herself, hanging out with the other ornaments. The colorways used were Peapod, Hollyberry, and White, and they were knit on US1/2.25mm.

holly ivy steve 2

I’m wound up the Christmas knitting with one last (very little) project. I made Alex a Yoda, so I thought it was only fair that I make Elliott a little something too. I dug out a book I’ve had for a while Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet, and decided that the cupcake would be perfect, except that I didn’t have rainbow seed beads for sprinkles. Then I remembered that I had that white dot yarn for my niece’s hat, and it worked perfectly. Who would have guessed that I would use that again? The Cupcake! pattern is by Ana Paula Rimoli, and was crocheted on a F/3.75mm hook.

cupcake 1

And with that? Bye, bye Christmas knitting!





My Sister and Her Family

26 01 2011

Every year I break out vast amounts of cotton to knit hypoallergenically for my sister, her husband, and her children. She has a tendency to shop around etsy and then email me pictures of what she wants, generally hats for the kids. This year though, something very odd happened. For her birthday, I knit her gnome mittens. Her husband usually trashes on hand knits, so I expected that he would make snarky comments about them, as did my sister. Instead he declared they would be perfect for keeping his hands warm while working. Who knew? My sister then requested a pair for him, so, of course, I agreed to knit him fingering weight, black cotton, endless-ribbing mitts.

A little bit later, somewhere between starting the mittens and finishing them, I saw my sister, and she explained that my BIL was concerned that his mitts would not fit, as he has very large hands. I assured her that I had made them large and that being done in ribbing, they would be very stretchy. This of course spawned a hilarious test run where we tried to fit it on all manner of things. (It turns out that my husband I could share them for instance, although it doesn’t quiet fit over my head). Anyway, the project clearly had to be retitled in honor of our shenanigans, and is now called Ham Hands. The pattern is Darryl with a “Y” by Pixie Harford; I knit it in Knit Picks Comfy Fingering Weight in Black on US 2/2.75mm.

ham hands

After I finished those, I started on the niece and nephew hat bounty for this year. All of the hats were knit on US 7/4.5mm with Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton. Sure, it’s not snobby, but it’s soft, readily available, and comes in a nice selection of colors.

I knit Phoenix’s hat first. It was a Scrappy Happy Celebration Hat by Cosette Cornelius-Bates. I think the colorways were Sage, Dark Blue, Pale Denim, and Stone Wash. I made a few alternations to make it fit Phoenix specifically, which as best as I can read my notes was using a CO of 76.

nn10 01

Next I started Kenzie’s hat, a Rachel Lacy Rib Hat by Heather J. Spellman in Purple.  I couldn’t get gauge on it, so I finally ripped it out, and did a smaller CO  of 81 sts, approx circum 17” unstretched, her head is 20”. I hate picot edging, so I subbed in ribbing to match the established pattern, (k2, p1) around. I have a set of chart of approximate measurements for various size hats, and my child-sized hat gives a height of 6.5” (as opposed to 5.5”), so I made it a tad longer than written, about 6”. The floral embellishment is crochet.

nn10 02

Next I knit Caitlin an “Olivia” hat in Red, White and Black. This was another hat captured from etsy, so I reverse engineered it. I wish I had made the decreases a little more elegant.

nn10 03

I was excited to knit Caitlin’s next hat, which is The Hudson Hat by Lindsey Baker, that is until my sister helped Caitlin pick the colors. I actually was in the middle of assuring her that I Love This Cotton doesn’t come in 1980’s puke when she pointed out a couple of skeins that would match her vision. I promise I was not trying to deliberately deceive her; it’s just that my eyes refused to acknowledge the existence of colors like Carousel and Fiesta Print. I have to admit the final result isn’t that tragic; it’s just not something I would have knit of my own volition.

nn10 04

The last hat I knit was a copy of an etsy copy that I made for Phoenix last year for his birth. I knit it the same but increased the CO and length to fit his now 12-month-old head.

nn10 05

Notice anything wrong here? Yeah, three kids, five hats, meaning that I only knit one for Kenzie. Not wanting her to feel like she was missing out on something, I made her a little something extra for her present. I used a couple of the cute Mochimochi Land patterns to make her a tiny santa and snowman. Both were knit on US 1/2.25mm in Comfy fingering weight.

mochimochi mini 1

I purchased other non-knit presents for the girls, but I chose to make Phoenix’s Christmas gift. Using another Mochimochi Land pattern Ninjabun, I knit him his very own sneaky bunny.  This was also knit in I Love This Cotton on US 5/3.75mm. I think he liked it.

ninjabun 2

ninjabun 1

Whew! Thanks for joining me for this review of things I knit for my sister. I think there’s only another four posts to go before I’m caught up.





The Sofia Extravaganza

24 01 2011

My next step in October was to catch-up on all of the knitting for my daughter, Sofia. While I wasn’t necessarily behind–I did after all finish her Christmas present in August–her birthday was coming up in about a month, and I certainly needed to knit her presents. I usually knit her a sweater and a toy.

The toy this year was my attempt at Oscar from Lisa Patricelli’s The Birthday Box. I used Rebecca Danger‘s Tofu pattern as a base, with modifications on the leg length, tummy fatness, and nose size. It was knit on US 9/5.5mm in Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted in Golden Heather.  I’m pretty happy with the results, and Sofia recognized him at her birthday party, so I’m calling it a success.

oscar source

oscar 2

For her birthday sweater, I chose Melissa LaBarre‘s  tiny tea leaves cardi. When I asked Sofia what color she wanted, she answered black. No amount of discussion would persuade her to change her mind, so I ordered five skeins of Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Black. I knit a Size 2 Black Tea Leaves on US 6/4mm and US 7/4.5mm, using small difference in gauge and some additional length on the body and sleeves to make sure that it should fit for a couple of years. The red buttons were my attempt to make it slightly less dreary.

black tea leaves 1

black tea leaves 3

Having finished of her birthday knitting, I decided to tackle her winter knitting. This was nice in that it finally alleviated a bit of mom guilt over the fact that she still didn’t have a handmade stocking for Christmas. This year I finally remembered in time to order yarn and actually make the stocking before it was too late. I chose to knit Jennifer Hoel‘s Falling Snow Stocking. The suggested yarn was Knit Picks WotA Bulky, which I used, in White and Red on US 10/6mm. I liked the pattern, but it came out rather large, so I ended up felting it to make it a more manageable size. If I were to knit it again, I would probably do it in worsted, since I think it looked a little prettier pre-felting.

stocking sofia 1

Having finished the stocking, I took the leftover yarn and combined it with a skein of the same base in Coal that Abbie gave me, to make a collection of hats for our entire family. The project is called Go Tech because my husband is a huge Texas Tech fan, and these did work nicely at this year’s chilly bowl game. The pattern The Player is by Bonne Marie Burns and was knit on US 10.5/6.5mm with a few small modifications to make the child-sized hat.

go tech 1

go tech 4

After that, I knit Sofia’s winter mittens. We checked out a book from the library about turning wool into mittens, and I was on Ravelry showing her pictures of handspun yarn to try to explain it a little better. My friend Karen recently started spinning, so one of the pictures I let Sofia look at was Karen’s  Handspun – JulieSpins BFL Combed Top, and she asked me to make her mittens out of it. I messaged Karen, who had some concerns because it was one of her earlier attempts, but she did her best to make it as nice as possible, and I have to say that I didn’t mind knitting with it at all, and I think the mittens are lovely. I used Basic Pattern for Children’s Mittens by Elizabeth Durand and knit them in US6/4mm.

handspun mittens 1

That wraps up nearly all my knitting for Sofia, so I’ll pick up next time with the resumption of Christmas knitting.