Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fun with knitting friends

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of knitting with a friend. With work, family, boards and committees, I don't have much time for a social life outside of these things. I do love my work, and I do consider all of these things my work, but I do enjoy a little fun without an agenda!

Tabbetha is a professional knitter. She designs fabric and fashions for Peruvian Connection, and has done so for more than a decade. Her work there has taken her around the world and given her the opportunity to do what most knit designers dream of.

Her most recent expansion in her own design for the catalog is a series of wet felted jewelry. So beautiful!
These earrings almost make me wish I still had pierced ears!

The black necklace on the right is my favorite. What a great wet felting idea! Because most of my work centers around Waldorf-themed crafting, it's refreshing to see wet felting for adults.

We met at her studio to knit the afternoon away while dh, Little A and Little N went exploring in Kansas City.

Her studio is every knitter's dream! Wool, yarn, roving, dyes, felting supplies, knitting machines, fancy gadgets, swatches. You name it, it's there. Wow! It was so much fun to look around, trying not to salivate on stuff. We talked a lot about dyeing, felting, design, spinning, wool, and pretty much every "wool" topic there is.

 Handspun yarn. Check.

 Look at all the cool gadgets!

 See those stacks of totes? They contain swatches from material that she designed. Can you even imagine?

 Wool, roving, dye pots, dyes, felting supplies, all at the ready. Knitters could get into some serious trouble here.

Not only did we have a good time knitting, I got to ask all sorts of design questions and got to spend the afternoon with someone I've wanted to get to know better for a long time.

Thanks, Tabbetha, for a lovely Saturday afternoon!

p.s. That's a mohair sweater she designed herself. Amazing lady!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

WIP Update

I started this sweater for Little A for Christmas. Remember when I was so optimistic, thinking a new sweater and new mittens for both the boys this year? Are you already making your lists? Ideas are swirling around my head! And that relatively lofty ideal is still swimming around in there...

Well, I'm nearly finished with Little A's sweater. One little sleeve cuff to go! This is my first real garment that will actually fit a human being that was meant for a human being. Can't wait to give this!

What's on your holiday knitting list?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Michaelmas is almost here. I'm very excited, because Little N has started at our local Waldorf school. It is an amazing school. Check it out here. It is such a privilege to send our wee one there.

We definitely celebrate a lot in our home - the seasons, holidays. We also have a lot of rhythm daily, weekly, and annually. This time of year includes the Busker Festival, Vinland Valley Fair, the Kaw Valley Farm Tour, the Maple Leaf Festival, and always a trip to Schaake's for our Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

Needless to say, we LOVE autumn. It's when this house buzzes with energy as we prepare for the wintering in.

We've never celebrated Michaelmas, really. With so much going on, this seasonal festival slides by without much notice. Clearly, the fire is burning bright within us, so we are excited this year to incorporate the school festival with our busy autumn.

I also joined a Michaelmas swap. It has turned out more difficult to come up with something to make than I thought it would be. My medium, obviously, is primarily wool. I thought about needle felting or knitting a dragon, but nothing really spoke to me.

I googled until my fingers bled (well, you know...), and what I found was this. It is from Rhythm of the Home. Have you read this online magazine? It is amazing, beautiful and full of good ideas. I find myself forgetting about it and then being reminded at times like this.

I decided to make these beauties using upcycled 100% wool sweaters. Here is what I got:
 I'm not 100% satisfied. I should have used red embroidery floss, but I chose green because I thought it would contrast well and bring out the belly gusset and wings. It just looks kind of tacky... I'm also having a hard time deciding ear placement.

 I also think the knit fabric looks a little second hand. And while it is upcycled fabric, I want it to look like something parents will want their child to play with.

 The wings are a little flimsy. The green wool fabric is locally dyed using upcycled materials. This kind of wool fabric is primarily used in rug hooking - something I'd definitely like to try my hand at. Not the rug hooking clown face pillows from my childhood, but something more like this. I love the folk nature of it. It just looks cosy.

And I screwed up the head gusset on the one on the left. I don't have a lot of sewing experience with making three-dimensional objects, so I suppose it's reasonable as far as mistakes go. Here's hoping they're well-loved anyway.

After making two of these with this fabric and floss, I happened to go to a yard sale with TONS of wool sweaters. Danger! Danger!

The red sweater was perfect. So was the yellow wool felt I found hiding out in my stash. After felting the sweater, I promptly cut it up and sewed and sewed and sewed. Check out the second incarnation of these dragons!
 The whole dragon family.

 So proud and bold!

Happy Michaelmas!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New doll clothes

I have been enjoying making doll clothes the past few months. I made a dress and pants, but Little A wanted his doll to have a swishy dress.

I've had a beautiful ball of yarn from my CSA sitting around for a while. You can see my post about it here. I'd start a project with it, tear it out, start a new project with it, rip it. Nothing was working for me. It was just too beautiful not to put it in the perfect project. I decided to try it in a "swishy" doll dress.

This was the result.

 Again, this is an incredibly simple pattern of my own. I just found that, with this yarn, making something with a pattern - lace, cables, etc. - just didn't work. It's too lovely. It just has to shine on its own. Look how happy Little A's baby is wearing such a beautiful, simple dress in the summer!

The border is just a row of purl, a row of knit, a row of k2tog, yo, knit, purl, bind off. It is effective at keeping it from rolling without a lot of fuss. And it's pretty to boot.

 I did the straps like this: Row1: co 8 Row 2: *k1, sl 1 pwise wyif* repeat from * Repeat row 2 for all rows until desired length. Bind off in k.

 LOOK at these colors. This is a handpainted yarn from local sheep. Does it get better than this? The answer you're looking for is no. It does not. Unless it's from your own sheep.

Little A decided that he wants a pink one. While he'd be perfectly happy if I told him that this one and the other one I'd made was going to have to do, I have a skein of sock yarn I purchased a million years ago that has pink, yellow and blue in it, so I think I'm going to make him his pink dress for Christmas.

I think I'm going to end up selling these two doll dresses. I'll probably end up posting them on Etsy, but if you're interested, let me know, and we can talk price. Here's a link to the other one. I'm thinking $40 for the pants and dress and $30 for this one. I also love trade!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finished project!

Remember that west coast shawl I was knitting? I messed up the border. And then it sat. And sat. And sat. FINALLY I picked it back up, because it was breaking my heart having something so beautiful, knitted with local yarn from local sheep just sitting there like a lump.

I picked out the border that I began, which is what I was dreading all that time. I sat down with the pattern. I took a deep breath and made it through the first row. Feather and fan styled borders always give me trouble. So finicky.

I knitted until my yarn was nearly gone - only 9 rows into a 17 row border. I cast off. It was bliss! I had been knitting it on hat or mitten length circular needles, and I had no idea what this thing would look like not wadded up on such tiny needles. It was a less than ideal border, but I was satisfied to be finished.

The next night, I was sitting down and digging out supplies to work on the sweater I've been working on FOREVER for dh, when lo and behold, out of my knitting bag I pulled out the second ball of blue I bought because I didn't think I had enough. I thought I was already using that ball! Hooray!

Completely finished this masterpiece. Blocked it. Love it. Feast your eyes.

 Oh I can't wait for the chill in the air. Wrapping myself in this will be heaven!

 It is a very simple shawl pattern. It is the Simple Lines pattern from Ravelry. You can see it here. Clearly, I've made a few adjustments to the pattern. I took out the eyelet rows because of the color sections. I thought it would be too busy to have the colors and the eyelet rows.

 I tried to get a few good shots of the border, but it doesn't look very clear in these photos. You get the idea though, right?

 See the west coast in there?

 Bring on the elements!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rose Garden Shawl (Or Mother-in-law shawl, if you will)

I wasn't able to post for a few weeks. Did you notice? I sure did. I miss this part of my life - the part that is, yes, work, but it is work that nourishes my soul.

I had a bad case. In fact, I still have said bad case, but it isn't pounding on my door right now, so I'm able to put a little distance between myself and it. I also got sick. And then we went to visit the inlaws.

Have I told you about them? My mother-in-law is fierce in all the best of ways. Last April, she suffered cardiac arrest, died for two minutes, came back, had valve replacement and had several strokes in about 12 hours. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that she probably wouldn't make it.

But she did! This same woman is at home right now, walking, talking and paying the bills. Wonderwoman.

Needless to say, she's pretty special to our whole family. So I'm making something special for her. This isn't my first Christmas present on the needles (oh, we knitters!), but it's pretty close.


No, this isn't mine. This is the one from Jane Austen Knits that I'm attempting to recreate. I'm pretty intimidated by this project. Or at least I was. Now I feel like I'm getting in the groove. Generally, I tend to make mistakes and really am okay with that. This, I want to be perfect - for my mother-in-law and because if I mess even one stitch up, it will be incredibly noticeable. So far so good!

Here's what mine looks like right now. It is a skein of sock yarn I got some time ago. Just as I was starting to feel that fall creeping that I'm pretty sure all knitters feel, when I started browsing the sock patterns for just the right one to make for myself, I decided that I wanted to knit for someone else right now.

I started buying sock yarn with nylon in it. It is just so heartbreaking to knit a pair of socks that don't even make it through the season without holes. Heartbreaking. It's just a little bit of nylon that will hopefully allow them to make it through maybe two seasons. We'll see.

I realize that you really can't see the pattern in the photos. It's going to take some serious blocking because the yarn is so sproingy. If you look closely, though, you can see the pattern and look above to the butterfly it will become. A beautiful, wine colored butterfly.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Project!

I am so excited! This weekend we had a sickie, which would normally not be a fun thing. However, it was mild - low grade fever and a headache. Just sick enough to be sweet and rest when we asked. Not so sick that bodily functions were happening without permission.

We had an exciting weekend planned - fiddling, buskers, farmer's market, school meeting and more! Almost all of it was put off or attended with just the well kiddo in tow and one parent home.

So, I had an opportunity to really dig into a project, and what did I do?
 I made my very first pattern!

 It is a very simple pattern - measured for ribbing and knitted it for around an inch. Doubled the stitches until I reached an inch shorter than I wanted the skirt, purl one row, knit one row with new color, k2tog, yo one row, k next row, change colors and k a row, purl, bind off in knit.

 The pants - same number of stitches, k2 p2 for an inch, add 1/3 the stitches, k until inseam, put half the stitches on waste yarn, k the other stitches in the round until 1 inch below desired length and repeat the border above, using the opposite colors. Repeat for the second leg. Sew up the crotch and weave in ends.

For the straps, I believe I did a brioche stitch? Not sure. co6, k1, sl 1 wyif three times. Turn and repeat until the strap is desired length (approx 3 inches). Sew onto the dress.

I'm also working on a wee shawl to finish this outfit off. I am madly in love with the colors I used - scraps from other projects.

Can't wait to see this complete!