Friday, July 16, 2010

Colorful dress

A colorful cotton dress made from a Burda magazine pattern, with mystery cotton fabric I got in Boston. It is extremely colorful, but comfortable. It feels lovely to be wearing a dress, so I would like to sew and wear dresses more often.

Not much knitting to report lately. I think I'll try to use up some of my stash, since I have all this yarn collecting dust in my apartment. I'm almost done with a cowl in silk and cashmere.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First garden meal of the season

I wish I could say I grew all everything in the following picture from seed:

... but I did not. The basil and dill came from transplants. Everything else - the oregano, several kinds of lettuce, several colors of nasturtiums - all came from seeds. The tomatoes are not ripe yet, but at the rate they are going they will be, soon.

Needless to say, this was one of the best salads I've ever eaten.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Craft cheating

I've been sewing up a storm lately and I am enjoying discovering another crafty world. Knitting will probably still happen, but it's not the most exciting part of my life right now. It's also summer, and I have a garden and lots of good books, so the blog is taking a break for a while.

If you need to get in touch with me, I will still be on ravelry, nickname Gauss.

Thanks, and happy knitting!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Odds & ends & more craft cheating

Some long overdue photos of the kimono shawl:

It's difficult to photograph black garments, and even more difficult to communicate how light and soft and amazing this shawl turned out. The yarn is a very thin lace weight cashmere from Hunt Valley Cashmere farm, bought a few years ago from Maryland Sheep & Wool. It took forever to knit the shawl, not only because it is a relatively fine gauge but also because the pattern itself is rather boring. I wanted a boring lace pattern for this, since I wanted to be able to see what is going on, but it meant that the shawl was never at the top of my knitting queue. Pair this with the desire to use up virtually all the yarn, and I ended up with a 2 meter long shawl that took over a year to make. I say it was worth it, though:

At the opposite end of the knitting spectrum, a quickie pair of socks for J, done mostly in ribbing, with a few twisted stitches at the top (before I realized that the twists all but invisible in this dark color, so why bother?).

What is that light green toe, you ask? That is what you do when the yarn is not quite enough. I am a bit bummed about this. I know the socks are on the longer side, as they hit mid-calf, but I've never had sock yarn run out before. Madelinetosh sock yarn felt wonderful on the needles and the color is great, I just wish it had 5 more yards in the skein!

Here is a closeup of the twists, inspired by a pair of socks in the Favorite Socks book. I hate twisted stitches with a passion, and this pair of socks confirmed that feeling. Not that I needed confirmation or anything...

Finally, what would my crafting life be without some dabbling in other crafts? On a recent visit to JoAnn's I wandered into the thread section. I think it's the most inspiring section of the big and sometimes scary store (who knew there is so much plastic crap marketed as "craft supplies"?) and armed with a 50% off coupon proceeded to ponder the counted cross-stitch kits. Something small to start with:

Peonies in a vase! I'm having a wonderful time stitching these and I am thrilled to see so many shades of pink and peach and mauve blend in one explosion of color:

The back of the work, for those who care about such things. I do, and it pains me that cross-stitch doesn't produce as neat of a back as petit-point:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Skew socks

The fastest pair of socks ever: I knit one of them in a day!

"Skew" by Lana Holden, published as a Knitty surprise. As soon as I saw them I (and hundreds of other people) had to cast on. My lack of imagination in this case is clearly shown by my choice of yarn - exactly the same as in the pattern - but I hope that the color, named "Mardi Gras," more than makes up for it. I knit these on dpns, despite the warnings in the pattern, and they turned out just fine. I think if you're an experienced enough knitter to make these you can figure out how to handle 100 stitches or whatever on dpns.

Claudia handpaint is a lovely yarn, with beautiful saturated color and perfect twist. I have no idea how it will wear. It is a bit pricey, though, and $28 for a pair of socks is a bit over the psychological boundary of $25. It's awfully close to $30, but it's ok for a special knit once in a while. I had to run out and buy this yarn, since I don't have anything even remotely close to this craziness of color. I think I made a good choice, though.

It's also a bit odd how my other current project, an embroidery inspired by a William Morris design, also uses the same colors as the socks! I guess I like purple, green and golden. The Piecework magazine in the background also seems very appropriate to this situation: I am a historical crafts geek!

I've been browsing William Morris Needlepoint by Beth Russell and I am having a great time getting back into needlepoint. Here's a closeup of the design, stitched on some natural-colored linen:

One problem with needlepoint is that there is very little practical use for the finished object. I have two projects that I completed when I was in high school and they are both framed as artwork on the wall. This piece of linen is technically a kitchen towel, but there is no way it will be used anywhere near food when I am done with it...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My love affair with Ms. Bush continues

Ms. Nancy Bush, that is. Here is a pair of New England socks in progress:

It was somewhat funny to read in the pattern intro that these socks are something a lady might wear to a contra dance in the village. It's funny because it sounds like the description of some old old phenomenon, and yet contra dancing is alive and kicking these days, and not just in New England. Although I do love dancing in New England and it seems that the people here are very fond of their dances.

The yarn is Grassy Wool from a company called "Scarlet Fleece". It's a blend of wool and bamboo so it's very shiny but hopefully will wear well. I might just wear the socks to a dance...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why not?

What's on the needles in early January 2010 or fresh off the needles:

Garter stitch alpaca / llama scarf

There's something magical about lengthwise scarves. I like the long long rows that allow me to zone out, and the little surprise at the end (even with the best of calculations one is never quite sure how long the scarf will be).

This one is just the perfect length and width, and remarkably luxurious in its simplicity. It's black, brown and cream random stripes but feels divine. I just finished weaving in the ends for this scarf and I've been wearing it pretty much non-stop since binding off. What, you've never brushed your teeth while wearing a big scarf?

Belinda scarf from "Mason Dixon: Knitting Outside the Lines", because I need a new mindless project after finishing the garter stitch scarf. The plaid knitting idea is pure genius, and will be a good use for two orphan skeins of beautiful yarn, a blend of mohair and wool (the grayish-blue you see) and a blend of mohair and linen (a lime green for the perpendicular direction).

Bridgewater from Jared Flood's "Made in Brooklyn" booklet. I have absolutely no use for yet another shawl, but the Silky Alpaca Lace yarn is absolutely lovely and the garter stitch center turned out appropriately squishy. The center was a great project for the week I was sick with the flu and the long rows in the border satisfy my craving for zen knitting. At the moment this looks like a green blob, but I think it will be quite nice when finished.

- Inishmore

This is on hiatus... Given that I started the sleeve when I was waiting for a particularly nasty dental procedure (which ended up not being necessary, so we didn't do it. I love my dentist!) I think the anxious vibes might be built into the fabric. Plus I hate twisted stitches, and purling through the back loop sucks even more than knitting through the back loop. I might frog this, but I don't know what to make with the yarn instead. So it stays like this, waiting for inspiration..

- shawl of insanity

Cobweb yarn, size 0 needles, traditional Shetland pattern. We'll see where this one goes. I seem to have forgotten to take a photo. There isn't much to photograph at the moment, given that I completed about 10 rows in cobweb yarn on size 0 needles, so the shawl currently measures less than an inch.

- Crosspatch vest

I did not keep my knitting resolution for 2009. Enough said. This might never get finished, but it was a good lesson in intarsia and why I will avoid it like the plague in the future.