Finally! I finally got it together and wrote up a pattern for the Fair Isle hats I made late last summer. After spending time the past week or so re-visiting my hats, I think I want to knit another one. Hats are the funnest projects for stranded knitting. They’re small enough that the extra work of juggling two colors doesn’t turn into an endless slog, but the changing colors and patterns keep you going. I know I have to fight the impulse to do just one more row when I’m working on something colorful and fun.
The name for this hat came from a friend who told me about the famous cross-shaped stones that are found in a national park in Virginia. I don’t have a fairy stone of my own, but I hope to find one some day. It includes two sizes, a S/M, which fits up to a 20″ head and should work for most older children, and a Large, which stretches up to 23″ for most adult heads. You can get the pattern on Ravelry, right here, and it’s just $4!
Photos in this post were taken by Sunnie Lynne (aren’t they great!).
How about a knitting update? I have been just knitting my little heart out. It’s the perfect thing when you don’t have much energy for anything else. I was also motivated by the fact that my sister is having a baby girl in October, and there isn’t much that’s more fun to knit than tiny, cute, baby things. I’m doing my best to make sure she’ll be cozy and warm for her first winter. These photos all showed up previously as Instagram photos, but I’ve sent everything away, so they will have to do for now. Click the photos for my Ravelry project pages, links below go to the pattern pages.
I didn’t want my other niece to be too jealous of her new baby sister, so I made a couple things for her as well. I love that little teddy bear pattern, and will probably make more, including one for myself because he’s just so cute. I added the garter stitch scarf in yarn to match the sweater.
I did make some things for myself, but need to get some better photos. There are also multiple adult sweaters underway at the moment, but they take so much longer than baby sweaters, I admit that I’ve fallen victim to the instant gratification of knitting tiny things. It’s still so warm, but I’m sure my motivation to finish the bigger projects will increase once it starts cooling off.
I got bit by the Fair Isle bug recently. It all started with the making of a hat earlier this spring. I’ve been doing a bit of reading and research, and made a mitten for a bit more practice (is it just me, or are mittens more difficult than hats? I had a much harder time keeping the floats even and not too tight). Then I bought some neon pink yarn to use for pocket linings on a sweater that I will not even be able to cast on until later this fall. It sat in my knitting basket, taunting me with its cheery brightness, especially next to the charcoal grey yarn I plan to use for the body of the same sweater. And then I had a vision of a Fair Isle-style hat in those two colors. So I printed up a few sheets of knitter’s graph paper, and got out my colored pencils and started coloring. I also have a basket full of Knit Picks Palette yarn, and pulled out a few more shades of grey to make an ombre background. I’m having a lot of fun figuring out a pattern, I knit a little, then color a few more rows on my graph paper, and knit a little more. If it all works out (and I’m thinking it’s going to), I’m going to be writing up the pattern to sell on Ravelry.
Color work like this is so addicting, I always want to do just one more row to see what the pattern will look like! Oh, and it seems that photographing neon yarn is really tricky. I’ll try to do better once it’s all done!
Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:
Wash and re-block hand knits. I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
Take a crochet class. I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there.
Make roast goose. So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
Get some more chickens. My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
Finish website re-design/cleanup. I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos. I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it!
Bake a cake (flourless, of course). Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.
Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding. This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length.
Make a sweater for Pulley He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter.
Start making soup. I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones?
Knit the perfect cabled sweater. I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use.
Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch. I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.
I promise this isn’t going to become a pugs-in-clothes blog, but now and then I am going to be compelled to make things for Pulley to wear. I particularly have a thing for dogs in hats, as evidenced by severalpins on my ‘best friends’ board (which I recommend that you peruse when you are stressed or sad, it is my cure when I’m having a bad day), also there is this board, which is not mine, but will also cheer you right up.
Back to Pulley. There is a certain sci-fi show which had a tragically short run, but if you are a knitter and watched the show, you will remember a very distinctive hat. Apparently, there are now licensing issues, so I won’t mention the name of the show or the character that wore this most excellent article of clothing. I will just let this photo of Pulley speak for itself.
He wears it with such dignity. The pattern formula was courtesy of Stacy from Boondock Studios.
I did it, I wrote up a knitting pattern and made it all pretty, and you can download it here, or on Ravelry, and there will also be a link in the side bar. I called them Bridge the Gap arm warmers for obvious reasons, not to mention, they will keep that gap between elbow and wrist cozy too.
Please do let me know if you happen to knit yourself a pair and if you find any errors or anything unclear in the instruction. I am studying up on pattern writing, which is like learning a new language. I can read it, obviously, but it's a little different to write it. I'm nervous and excited, and ready to move on to the next design, which I hope will be even better.
Meanwhile, other sorts of making is also happening as I tidy up my little house studio. This is kind of fun, cleaning up all my stuff and making things with what I have. I finished up a bunch of pincushions and a few needle books and listed them on Etsy.
These were made with some vintage copper candy molds I found at an antique mall. I really like them, and I might have to keep the pink one for myself if it doesn't sell. The others, sold in sets with matching needle books, are tiny tart tins. I do love a good needle book.
I sorted through all my vintage buttons to find just the right ones. I've done these before and they sold out pretty quick. I'm working on a new, bigger pincushion. I'll try and get some of those listed next week.
I have been knitting lots and lots. A few things are finished, including the sweater I started in October. I love, love, love it!
I originally wanted to find some vintage buttons, but had to settle for the wooden ones from Jo-ann. I think I'm okay with them, and I've gotten lots of compliments on them when I've worn my sweater. No one mentions the sweater, just that they like the buttons. That's okay, I love my sweater 🙂 How cute is that pocket?
I was also in the mood for making a little something with some Malabrigo lace, and whipped up a Damson shawlette in pink.
It's so soft and light, and the pattern was nice and easy and quick. I might have even cast on another one with some Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the Tern colorway. It's a nice purple-y charcoal grey.
I even took a little break from all that yummy yarn and did a little embroidery. My sister gave me some vintage embroidery patterns a long time ago, and I finally got around to using one. I'm not sure how old they are, but the transfer ironed on perfectly. What kitchen doesn't need some chicken tea towels?
So now I'm planning some vacation and holiday knitting. I am super, super excited, because I have the whole month of December off, and for part of that time I'm going to South Africa to see my parents! So now I have to figure out what I am going to knit for the hours and hours of flight time I have ahead of me! Oh, and I should have lots of fun photos to share when I get back!
I want to do better with this whole blog thing, so I’m playing around with some ideas and design and improving my photography, and just generally figuring out how to make time to do more here. So please don’t mind random changes in the look of things around here, and I hope I don’t get too rambly with my posts while I figure all this out.
Today I give you some random links:
Why have I never heard of this before? Art Project by Google. High-resolution images of prominent works of art from the best museums in the world. You can even walk around the galleries, Google street-view style. When I lived in Northern Virginia, I spent as many of my days off as possible visiting the museums on the National Mall and all around town. I was pleased to see that one of my favorites, the Freer Gallery, was included! Although the National Gallery is missing, which was another favorite. The Sunday night concerts there were one of my favorite D.C. events.
The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, by James McNeill Whistler, The Freer Gallery
I think I need to start saving up for one of these bags. Is that yellow one not just perfect?
I just got this book (by this blogger/photographer/chef), and I love it. I can’t wait to work on my food styling and photographing. It’s a challenge, since during the week I’m not home during daylight hours long enough to spend any time taking pictures, and I do most of my eating at work. While I enjoy the spontenatity of iphone photography, I’d like to improve my regular photography (not to mention my food-stying skills, which are currently non-existent).
The first words out of my mouth when I saw this were HOLY COW. And then I bought the pattern. Three of my favorite things-quilts, knitting, and bees (or at least honeycomb), all colliding in one, enormous, clever, beautiful project. It may take the rest of my life, but I am going to start making hexipuffs whenever and wherever I can.
I've enjoyed the cold winter weather these past few months. Handknits and boots and sweaters are nice. But spring is my favorite time of year. I can't get enough of spring flowers, and I love the green hillsides, the buds on the lilacs and Easter and my birthday. The longer days boost my energy, and I want to soak up as much fresh air and sunshine as possible, despite spending eight of those sunny hours indoors at work five days a week.
I'm still loving the daffodils in our yard, and picked an enormous bunch today. With each new type that blooms, I declare a new favorite. Today I love the little apricot ones (center left).
Of course I can't forget the tiny grape hyacinth and snow drops with their green-dotted bells.
We don't have any ranunculas in our yard, but Trader Joe's was well-stocked the other day, so I brought these peach beauties home for just $4.
What are your favorite spring flowers?
While in Spokane, I got to spend a fun day browsing antique shops and malls with my sister-in-law (her excellent finds are here). I showed you the elephant pitcher I couldn't resist as we were checking out of our last stop, but that's hardly all I brought home.
I also couldn't resist this tiny pink dress, not with it's $5 price tag (actually, the shop owner quoted me $6 and then lowered it as I got ready to pay).
I've been wanting to start designing some knitwear patterns, and one of my first ideas is a sweet little baby cardigan. The details on this dress are providing all sorts of inspiration, and I am thinking I will document the design process here as I figure it all out. I hope you don't mind.
I love this round, smocked yoke:
And the miniscule embroidered pocket:
I have a couple things to finish up, but once my needles are free, I have the perfect pink yarn and a head full of ideas to turn into a sweater.
I'm also enjoying playing around with the video camera on my phone, and I so loved the lodgepole pines surrounding my brother's house in Spokane. I'm still figuring out all the editing, but I rather like this brief glimpse of the wind bending the trees.
Did you catch that brief glimpse of my nephew and his chip bag kite? I will have to tell you more about that, but in the meantime, here he is with his "smile for the camera" smile, curved lips just like a smiley face. He is the funnest 7-year-old I know, and I miss him already.