Tuesday, May 29, 2012

FO: Annis Shawl.

I haven't posted at all about this project because it was for my mom, but I gave it to her yesterday so now I can finally post some pictures!

My mom can't wear any animal fibers because they irritate her skin, so when she came to visit me during this year's DFW Fiber Fest, I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to find any yarn that would work for a project for her. We found Fiber Lady's booth, however, which was filled with lovely skeins of bamboo. My mom picked out a skein of yarn that she liked and I promised to make her a shawl out of it.

This pattern had something I had never tried before: nupps! It took me a while to get comfortable purling 7 stitches together to create each nupp, but I eventually got the hang of it. Other than that, the only problems I had knitting this up were cat-related, but nothing too tragic.

Pattern: Annis by Susanna IC
Yarn: Fiber Lady Chiku in Caramel Fudge Sundae
Needles: US 8
Ravelry Project Page: Link

Thanks to my mom for letting me take pictures of her wearing the shawl.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Interweave Knits Summer 2012 Review.

I'm a bit late to the game on this magazine, but I just got my hands on it earlier this week. Interweave Knits isn't a magazine I normally want to rush out and buy. It seems to be geared to an older audience than me and I don't typically find things that suit my taste, or they downright confuse me as to why anyone would wear them. This issue wasn't void of it's patterns that made me say "whaaaaaa???"

This time though, I was drawn in to the photo on the cover and decided to get it. Even if there was only one other pattern in the magazine I liked, the $6.99 price was comparable to what I'd pay online for one shawl pattern.

The pattern I'll start with is the cover pattern, the Summer Blooms Shawl by Susanna Ic. I love how light and airy this shawl is, and how beautiful it looks wrapped around the model's shoulders. I don't think I'd wear a shawl in the Texas summer, but this would definitely be welcome in warm weather over a tank.

The other pattern that made this magazine worth it for me is the Coquette Vest by Adrienne Larsen. What I like about this pattern is how it was designed to "define a strong hourglass shape." I can't pull off the many tank patterns out there with zero shaping, and the lace pattern on this pattern is very pretty. It's done in lace weight, so even though it's a layering piece, it won't add a lot of thickness. If I knit this, I'd narrow the shoulders and make this more a tank than a vest, but that would probably be my only modification.

Sigh, yet another cardigan pattern in a summer issue. I know, I know, some of you have cool evenings and such, so I shouldn't complain. Regardless though, I really do like this pattern (Bethany Wrap by Amy Miller) and I think it would look good belted at the waist.

Speaking of unseasonable patterns... Although if I had to wear fingerless gloves in the summer, I think these Pianissimo Mitts by Becky Herrick would be a good candidate. Maybe for people who work in cold offices or for a cool summer night (what is that, by the way?). They are very pretty though, and I'll probably knit them up some time soon for myself or a gift. They're knit in lace weight on size 1 US needles, so they probably wouldn't provide a whole lot of warmth. If you're looking for some "summer" gloves to keep your digits warm, look no further than...

Okay seriously, what? These are not tissue-thin lace gloves you'd see on the Downton Abbey ladies while they drink tea in the garden. These are gloves you wear when your hands are cold. I'll let you have your summer cardigans and lacy fingerless mitts, but I draw the line here. These are not summer gloves. No offense to the pattern, which is Ingrid's Gloves by Veronica Webb, because they're cute gloves. In fact, I'd wear them. In January. Not June.

Other features in the magazine include a several-page guide to knitting needles, breaking them down into type of material and type of needle, and a guide to stretches for keeping your hands and neck healthy as a knitter. The magazine is always hit or miss with me, so for the most part, I'd have to say this is one of my favorite issues of Interweave Knits in a while, even with the not-summer summer patterns.

Friday, May 18, 2012

More Project Bags.

Yesterday I had some free time, so I set out to make two more project bags to house my knitting in and protect it from kitties. I wanted bigger bags, so I used an entire fat quarter for the exterior fabric on each of these. The interiors were random fabrics I had laying around that are a bit thicker than quilting cotton.

I didn't have enough interfacing to put it on the exterior and interior fabrics, so I only interfaced the exteriors. Because of that, they don't hold their boxy shape as well as my other one, but they still work just fine.

I've left these laying around my apartment in various places and have not cleaned up yarn tangles once. Success.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

25 x 25 Revisited.

Early readers (or maybe just reader) of the blog may remember a post I did last year called 25 Things Before 25. About a month ago Jose called me out on not keeping it up to date, so I agreed to update it at least on my birthday.

Now I am 22, and it's time to see how I'm doing (hint, there's a lot left...). It's only been nine months since I first wrote the list, but there are already things on the list that I really have no interest in anymore. For example, having a published pattern. I'm not a designer, and after playing around with ideas, I really don't want to be. Sorry, but I'll just be focusing on dyeing awesome yarn.

Then again, in the two hours I've been awake and 22 years old, I've decided that this is a good age to be, and I don't plan on having any more birthdays. So now I have forever to finish the list!

25 Things I Want To Do Before I'm 25

1. Run Gynx Yarns full time. Done January 2012
2. Buy a house.
3. Visit Europe (Italy again, Spain and London are my main picks)
4. Attend a Sock Summit.
5. Run in a race (I did the Warrior Dash once, but I've never done a road race).
6. Have some sort of garden, or at least some herbs that I don't kill off. I have herbs that are alive as of March 2012.
7. Get Gynx Yarns into a brick & mortar store.
8. Buy and learn to use a spinning wheel.
9. Get comfortable swimming (I can swim a little bit, but not very well).
10. Vend at a yarn/fiber event, such as DFW Fiber Fest. Done March 2012.
11. Laser hair removal.
12. Go to Portland - Eat a vegan donut at VooDoo Donuts.
13. Deadlift 200 lbs.
14. Knit a shawl. Done February 2012.
15. Design and self-publish a knitting pattern (I've designed plenty before, but never put out a pattern).
16. Start learning Spanish again and get okay at it. Aug 16, 2011 - Started Rosetta Stone
17. Get a pattern published in a magazine/on a website other than my own.
18. Teach a class.
19. Buy a nice camera. Done December 2011.
20. Go camping.
21. Buy a starfruit and figure out what to do with it. Done! 8.26.11
22. Join a fiber/yarn of the month club.
23. Go rock climbing outdoors.
24. Learn to appreciate wine.
25. Hike on a mountain.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FO: Java Socks For Dad.

These are finally finished! I said I was going to finish them this past weekend, but technically they weren't finished until Monday morning because I had to graft the toe and weave in ends on the second sock. The knitting was done on Sunday, though!

I was going to post these yesterday, but certain things (mainly driving an hour to a movie theater to pick up Jose's wallet where he lost it and a cuddly cat who cast a napping spell on me) kept me from getting pictures taken. I still hadn't washed them yet when I took the pictures (they're taking a bath right now) because I couldn't wait to finally get these posted.

I really enjoyed this pattern, even though it took a long time being a man sock and all. The texture is very interesting, but it's still a pretty conservative sock. This will not be the last time I knit this pattern, and I think I will probably knit the women's size for me at one point.

Pattern: Java socks by Cailyn Meyer (free Knitty pattern)
Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering Weight in the colorway "Linen Gray", about 2 and a half skeins
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) dpns
Ravelry Project Page: Link
Mods: Changed the toe to decrease to 32 total stitches and kitchener stitch closed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Works In Progress 5.10.12

1. Java Socks for Dad

 I've finished the gusset decreases on the second sock. I want these done this weekend.

2. Hitchhiker Shawl

I haven't posted a picture of this before, but this is some mostly-mindless knitting when I can't look at the Java socks anymore.

3. Tempest Cardigan

I haven't really worked on this...

4. Jose's Sweater

I really haven't worked on this.

5. Mom's Shawl

I haven't posted photos of this yet because I don't know if Mom wants it to be a surprise or not, since she already picked out the yarn for it. Regardless, it's going pretty slowly, because each row takes me over half an hour. I'm only on row 11, but after I finish the lace border, I think the rest will go a lot faster. It's going to be really pretty.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Companion Skein.

Do you know what that is? If you're not familiar with the game Portal, this cube is called a Companion Cube. You use the companion cube in one of the levels of the first Portal game to weigh things down, block laser beams from hitting you, and stand on it to reach high places. It becomes your BFF that level... that is, until you're forced to get rid of it :(

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was browsing around on Another Crafty Girl's website at all her pretty colors, because this lady somehow knows how to make colorways that are like crack to me (ex. see my Dragonfly Wings shawl). I'm also a sucker for yarns inspired by nerdy things I love (if you can't tell by the names of most of my yarns), so when I saw that she had a Companion Cube colorway, I just about died.

I virtually ran to her Etsy shop to see if she had any in stock. Alas, she did not. I decided to send her a message since I had to special order the last skein I wanted from her, and she agreed to get me a skein in her Strong Sock base in a couple of weeks.

I got my skein in the mail on Saturday, and I am in love. I intend for this to become a pair of socks (Companion Socks!), but now that I have it, I think I might be fine with just carrying it around all the time in skein form. That might be a bit weird.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Etsy Love: Rachel Elise

It's been a while since I've talked about other Etsy shops, but as I've acquired a couple of things lately, I figured now would be a good time to talk about one of my absolute favorite shops: Rachel Elise.

Source: Etsy

Rachel is actually one of my good friends. The first time I met Rachel, she was sewing bags. A mutual friend brought me over to her dorm room one night back in 2008, and the entire time I was there, she was socializing while sewing bags.

Since then, her business has grown to a full-time endeavor, and she is very good at what she does. She has a knack for combining different fabrics into interesting and unique bags. As of this past Thursday, there are five Rachel Elise bags in my home (one is Jose's laptop bag).

This is my most recent bag that I bought from Rachel this past week and I am in love with it. This is her Satchel, which is my favorite.

 All of the Rachel Elise bags I've bought have been really sturdy and great quality, which is why I haven't bought a purse from anywhere else since I got my first Rachel Elise bag.

You can visit Rachel Elise at these places:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Project Bags.

If you read yesterday's post, you know that it has become apparent that I am in need of some project bags to keep the cats out. I'm not much of a seamstress, but I do have a sewing machine and can handle a few straight lines. My sewing machine actually ended up at my dad's studio in storage when I moved last December/January, and it never made it to my apartment. After deciding that I was tired of dealing with yarn messes for the millionth time, I went and picked my machine up and bought some quilting fabric at Joanns.

I like the look of box bags, so I used this tutorial and this tutorial to figure out how it's done.

The first bag I sewed ended up being pretty tiny and can't hold a project, so I think it will turn into a new notions bag.

For this one, I only put interfacing on the exterior fabric, but since it's so small, it holds its shape pretty well.

The second one I sewed ended up being much bigger, and holds the socks I'm working on very nicely. For this one, I fused interfacing on both the exterior and interior fabrics, so it stays pretty boxy easily.

I haven't made any more yet, but I have more fabric that I have plans for. I think I want one or two more the size of the second bag, and then a few bigger ones to hold scarves and such. I can't decide if I want to go as big as a sweater project bag, or if something like a drawstring bag would work better, but I do really love how these box bags look.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cat Disaster.

This is what I had to spend the past 20 minutes working on. Although Augustus is the one in the picture watching me save the skein of yarn, Othello (the usual suspect) was actually the destroyer. I've gotten all the yarn wound back up into a ball from the other end, so now I need to wind the ball in the opposite direction and then back into a cake.

Luckily Othello only had probably about five minutes to work on this. Once, when he (or both, not sure) had several hours of unsupervised fun with a skein of yarn, it took at least four hours to undo the mess.

New goal: Sew some project bags and never take the knitting out of them unless I'm actually knitting.