Tuesday, May 29, 2012

on injured reserve

I've been knitting like a crazy person on my Faux Russian Stole - this is 3 complete repeats of the pattern, with 2.5 left to go. So I'm past the halfway point! It is still a very enjoyable knit and I am excited about the finished product, but unfortunately I was starting to have hand and wrist pain while working on it. I had to pretty much stop working on it over the holiday weekend. 

So while I rest my poor arm, I will accomplish other things. 

Sorry about the glare in the photo - the sun was directly behind the tree but this was the only place I could hang the dress and not have it blow away. The sewing is straight, but it is so windy the dress would not hang straight.

The dress is the second half of a birthday gift for the daughter of our good friends (the purple sweater is the other part). She just turned 3, and her party is coming up. I'm so thrilled with this little dress and pattern - I wish I'd had it 4 years ago when my own daughter was that age. It's Simplicity 2377 and it is just a perfect little dress pattern. 

This little girl's favorite color is purple, so I tried to find purple fabric but nothing called out to me in the store.  I went with this girly butterfly print and now I'm just hoping it's not too.....loud? Oh well, it's a tad obnoxious but you can get away with that when you're 3. 

I can highly recommend this dress pattern if you have a little girl in your life. It's 4 pieces that fit together like a perfect puzzle, and the elastic sleeve and neck openings are SO EASY. There's no need for any other closures (zippers or buttons) because of the elastic, which also means a gal can dress herself. Woot! I'll be making some of these for Daughter for sure (the pattern goes up to size 8). [I also like that you don't have to buy a bunch of expensive notions to make this...half the time I get a great deal on the fabric for kid projects and then have to spend a fortune on notions. Why are zippers, like, two dollars each??? This whole gift, start to finish, cost maybe $10 plus my time.]

It's incredibly hot and humid today - thunderstorms are rolling in and they can't get here soon enough. They're supposed to drop the temperature about 20 degrees by nighttime and I will take it! I love warm weather but not when it's so sticky you can't get anything done. Blech. So we'll see how the wrist feels later...I might have an update on my stole for Wednesday's knit along post, or perhaps I'll stick to sewing for a few more days. Heaven knows there are enough projects piled up to keep me busy for a long time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

yarn along

Knitting and reading this week with Ginny and the others for Yarn Along...

I've done one full and 2/3 of another repeat of the Faux Russian Stole. I'm really, really enjoying this knit. Once I started the second repeat (the pattern is 96 rows), I found I could go quicker because I almost knew or felt what was coming. It's not a complicated pattern, and I can follow it while watching TV (we're into A Game of Thrones now...I couldn't get into the book but the series is amazing). I can also work it while sitting outside watching the kids play. Perfect. It's very rhythmic and calming, probably because there is only knitting, no purling. Surprisingly, the garter background is working for me - I usually prefer stockinette.

The book is just OK. I didn't realize this but An Everlasting Meal is really more than an homage to How to Cook a Wolf. It's almost an update of the exact same thing. But the former is much better in my opinion. 

At least I am reading - I'm finding it so difficult to get into a book lately. I tried The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and got through about 10 pages. I tried A Game of Thrones and got through about 3, maybe. Perhaps it's because the weather is finally getting beautiful and warm, and reading feels like more of a curl-up-with-blankets thing? I don't know, I guess I'm just not choosing the right material. 

But the knitting...the knitting is good. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

parade of wips

Last week was rough. I couldn't pull it together enough to post.

But I've been a busy bee...because in the words of EZ: "knitting, as you well know, is therapy too."

I finished the little purple sweater for our friend who has just turned 3. I had enough yarn (Caron Country) to make the body full-length (size 2-4 years), and the sleeves ended up about 3/4 length...and I had about 1 foot of yarn left after casting off each cuff. Talk about cutting it close. The buttons are purple see-through with purple glitter in them. Perfect!

The party is not until next month so I still have time to make up a matching sundress out of this butterfly/floral fabric. (Sweater color is really off here...the top pic is more accurate.)

Last year sometime I bought one of those $5 "mystery bags" of yarn at AC Moore - they are one pound of yarn, never labeled, but they mostly come from Listowel, Ontario, Canada. That's where the Patons factory outlet is located so I can often make a decent guess about the yarn in the bags. I've found Patons Classic Wool in those bags, as well as kitchen cottons, and plenty of acrylics. But one bag caught my eye because the yarn looked like fingering weight and you never see that. I bought it, it marinated for a year, and then I finally figured out it must be Kroy sock yarn. Now that the AC Moore potpourri smell has faded I can definitely smell wool/lanolin and it feels just like the skeins of Kroy sock that I have in my stash. The color is just a little off, so I am betting this was a mis-dyed batch that they wound into skeins, bagged up, and sold as mill ends. 

I have one pound, which is just over 450 grams. That's the equivalent of 9 fifty-gram balls of sock yarn. At 187 yards per ball, I have 1683 yards of fingering weight wool-blend yarn. Unless I wanted to make matching grey-ish socks for everyone in my family, I had to think of another project. I chose the Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace. I've never made a lace project on a garter-stitch background before and this one is a nice, simple pattern for summer knitting. Also it is narrow, less than 100 stitches wide, so I can work on it while I watch my kids. Unlike.........

......this Shaped Triangle shawl from the same book. I've been working on it here and there since last fall. It's laceweight yarn on size 4 needles and each row is over 400 stitches now. If I can find a quiet 20-30 minutes I sit down and knit two rows. It's coming along, but it's definitely slow-going.

I love these lacy projects. They are just difficult enough to be challenging and hold my interest, and when life feels absolutely beyond my control I can use my own two hands to create something really magnificent.

"Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready." - EZ, The Opinionated Knitter

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

yarn along

Joining Ginny again for the weekly yarn along.

I do jump on most bandwagons I guess, though I tend to be tardy to the party. I finally read the Hunger Games series and now I'm joining every other person in the universe with these Steig Larsson books. This caught my eye on the "popular" shelf at the library this morning so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm 15 pages in so no opinion yet!

The knitting is a plain old natural diaper soaker for a customer, and a top-down raglan cardigan for a little girl turning 3. Purple is her favorite, so I'm making a cardi and hopefully a little purple print sundress to go with it. I don't have enough yarn for a full-length cardigan with long sleeves so I went back and forth between a bolero-style with longer sleeves and a full-length with short sleeves and decided on full-length with as long a sleeve as I can squeeze out of the yarn I have. We'll see how it goes...

Off to make a cuppa and enjoy this nice warm day (66 F!).