Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In search of the perfect summer cardigan

I am lucky enough to live within driving distance of a beach resort destination that people pay a lot of money to get to and stay at. We take full advantage of this as often as we can in all forms - day trips, overnights, lunches, dinner and dancing. Most of the time you want to dress as cool as possible, and this intersects with wanting to look nice a smidge of the time (I heart Venn Diagrams!). So what if I had the perfect summer cardigan that I could wear over any old cami and shorts, or that I could wear with a maxi dress and maybe I could even wear on a casual day to work with white trousers? And maybe it would have a little sparkle?


I didn't have all of this in mind when I went to Tuesday Morning one day before the holidays, but when I saw a pastel sparkley Ironstone Paris Nights yarn, I began to think a lot about the perfect summer cardigan. Fast forward a couple of successfully completed knitted projects, and the cardigan is now at the top of the queue. I had "favorited" many crochet summer cardigans on Ravelry, because most of the airy summer cardigans are crocheted. I chose one and did a little swatch, decided the hook size was too big, and started over with a smaller hook.


I took a look and then decided I was crocheting a kitchen scrubbie fabric and that is not at all what I had in mind when I pictured my glamerous stylish self at a beachside venue.


It was heavy and scratchy and just yuk.
This morning I tried a couple of large knitting needles and had another go.
Much better. Drapy and sparkly and will feel like I'm not wearing another layer at all.
I've decided against the drop stitches. It looks like the cardigan would be trying too hard. The plain garter stitching looks more organic and on the 10.5 needles it'll sail along anyway.
Since there are few projects knit straight out with this Ironstone yarn (most are knit in combination with something else), I'm kind of on my own, patterwise. I dug out a cotton crochet cardigan I own that fits fine and I'm going to attempt to knit cardigan components that match up with that, although I may forgo the shaping and do a boxy style since I picture this cardigan blowing around in the sea breeze anyway.
Fingers crossed!



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas stitching

I put the last stitches in this morning, Christmas Eve. By next year it will be pressed and framed, but my goal was accomplished. I made a couple of changes to the borders to make it a cohesive piece. I eliminated the candy cane borders at the top of each row and instead ran it up and down the sides and bottom as an outer border. I also stitched the evergreen boughs only twice between the three rows. I really like how it turned out. Thanks to all the members of Stitching Santa's Village Together for sharing your progress and encouragement.

I also finished knitting a couple of cowels in time for gift giving. This one went to my sweet Mother in Law to match a jacket we got for her.




Friday, December 20, 2013

Have a Texas Merry Christmas

When I saw Blackbird Designs' "Never Far Apart", I knew I had to adapt it for my girl who was away for her first semester in college.

I made a copy of the pattern and then drew my alternate designs right over it to ensure they would be the correct size. I improvised a longhorn and the University of Texas iconic tower from photographs. I found the patterns for the tiny squirrel, butterfly and dog (to represent Lola waiting impatiently at home for her best friend) from a Quaker sampler pattern I have yet to stitch. I also customized the colors, shading the house to match our own home and picking up tones of UT orange in the flowers and other design elements. I changed the tree to a palm tree to represent South Texas. Finally, I backed it in UT fabric - thank you UT licensing program.

Ellen took the stocking back to her dorm at Thanksgiving, before I had the chance to take a proper photo, but from this you can see that she very festively thumbtacked it to her dorm room wall.






Wednesday, December 18, 2013

She's crafty!

Thanks to a really sweet young lady at an Austin Hobby Lobby, Ellen is now a one-woman sock-making sweatshop.


She optimistically stocked up on yarn before even opening the box to the Kitcraze circular knitting machine.


Once figuring out the little trick in threading the machine, she was off and running. She took great delight in comparing her 3 minutes of cranking to my 30 minutes of swatching a new yarn.




I have a feeling there are going to be socks at each gift-giving occasion this year!





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Into the Great White North

My grown up college girl needed some winter accessories as she made her way to school in the “great white north” (aka Austin, Texas). This yarn matched her coat and was squishy, thus the garter stitch cowl and crochet headband with ginormous flower was born.

Of course no photo shoot in our house would be complete without also modeling it on poor Lola.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wearwithall Stole update

My stole has grown so much! Over the weekend I started my 4th of 9 colors. It was definitely an ambitious project for a (sorta) beginning knitter, but I'd rather put time into something I absoluely love even if it takes several months.

The rows are accumulating so much faster now that I don't struggle with my yarn tension, fumbling with the needles, etc. I'm hoping some good blocking smooths out some of that first color that was pretty tough going!


I have some airport time this week, so I've optimistically wound my 5th color of yarn in anticipation.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Celtic Solstice

I am one of hundreds of people joining in on Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice. I love the bright, clear colors, and with my husband and I both having Irish ancestry, it was a natural.


My quilting bee did a fabric exchange to freshen up our stashes prior to clue one being released. This is a picture of the first set of fabrics.



I forget to get a picture of the second set, except for the nutty zucchini fabric.

I had a couple of stumbling blocks with clue one. I thought my 60 degree triangle ruler would work, but it did not make the same block size. I've been making the blocks using the templates while the tri-rec rulers are on order.


Clue two does not use triangles - Yea!!! I was busy busting out some cheverons yesterday. I hope to have a big chunk of time to work on it this coming weekend.