About Incurable Homebody

Introvert since birth, professional web content creator since 2004, blogger since 2008. Sundry topics include: crafts, cognitive science, and the pursuit of confidence for the socially awkward. I don’t know always know what I’m doing, but I’m sure having fun doing it.

Too busy to blog! But not too busy for cookies.

Still a homebody — but a very, very busy one. 🙁 On top of the full-time office gig, I’m taking two classes this term; my band is regularly rehearsing, gigging and writing music; and my husband and I are currently in the midst of purchasing our first home where I will be able to have my own permanent craft room — woot woot!!! I did, though, find a way to sneak in a sewing project on the music front. I thought it would be great to use eco-friendly, recycled, handmade packaging for our debut EP — including lined zippered pouches made from the band’s old clothing. Check them out here.

I’m looking forward for the dust to settle, allowing me to get busy again with the sewing machine and knitting needles. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for yummy pistachio shortbread (from Epicurious.com) that I made for a dinner party my husband and I attended on Saturday. Super easy and delicious!

pistachio shortbread

red ‘n’ purple raglan tee

In an attempt to use up all of my yarn stash before buying anything new, I made this four skein project with some cheapie yarn (Bernat Satin Sport), but it turned out so well that I think I’ll have to make another with some splurge yarn. It was an easy knit — no pattern was used. Just did a basic top down raglan with k1, p1 ribbed edge at neckline and sleeves, decreased around the waist for shaping, and put a wide ribbed band at the bottom. I let my limited amount of yarn dictate the color block pattern. Pics show it unblocked because I never have the patience to wait for blocking before snapping pics. 🙂

latest projects

I’ve been so busy with my job, school, and my band that I’ve been forced to deny myself precious time to work on yarn and fabric projects. This, of course, has not been good for my soul. In between term papers, though, I was able to knit up some simple berets. I really dig the one with the pom pom on top, made from this pattern. I made two for myself and one for a friend at the office. The red/pink/burgundy one has cables (no pattern used) which aren’t easy to see because of the variegated colors. Of course, I knew while I was making it that I should have saved cables for a solid color, but of course I didn’t listen to myself.

Also, I apologize for the picture quality. I can’t find my camera (*cry*) so I had to take these shots with my iPhone. bleh.

img_0300

One more project to report. My band just played our very first gig last night at the Pasadena Art Center, and while I was waiting around after soundcheck, I was able to finish this fair isle purse I started last week. My spring semester just ended, and I really wanted to get some craftiness in before the summer term starts. I think I should be able to squeeze in something else before the madness starts again. I didn’t use a pattern for this purse. Just picked a traditional fair isle flower design from this terrific book by Shiela McGregor and made up the bag design as I went along!

img_0294

my “wrenna”

img_6842

Finished my term papers over the weekend (woohoo!), so I had time to complete that “Wrenna” cardigan from French Girl Knits. My own additions: a button at the top and a belt. At first, I thought that it was going to be too big for me and rather shapeless at the waist, but then I realized that the lace pattern would allow me to string a belt through and — voila — it worked beautifully! I didn’t get fussy with the belt — just did a simple 3 stitch I-cord. I’m quite happy with it!

img_6844

img_6846

what i’ve been doing instead of studying

I knew before applying for my M.A. that, once school started, competition for my time and attention would be fierce. So far, the books have been winning — but only by a hair. Even with the weight of two term paper due dates fast approaching, and me with no outlines nor theses to speak of, I (rather unwisely) banged out this work in progress:

In my defense, not a whole lot of time has been spent on this, as the needles are large (U.S. size 17) and the yarn extra bulky — but enough to have caused me an adequate amount of guilt. Some tough self-love was in order, so after running out of yarn for the project, I am forbidding myself to buy any more of it until these term papers are written — and not just the first drafts, mind you.

I am going to lay some of the blame on Interweave Press for just recently publishing their latest book — French Girl Knits — which features a great number of beautiful, seamless designs. Seamless!!! Of course, I couldn’t wait to try out a pattern, and this one in particular caught my eye:

It’s called “Wrenna,” and being a fan of chunky knits, I decided to give it a go using some Wool Ease Thick and Quick that I already had in my stash. The horseshoe lace pattern is fun to knit, and very pretty as well, which I’m sure will be enhanced after a good blocking. Unlike the pattern, I’m not going to use a leather thong to close the front, as I’m not much a fan of that Renaissance Fair aesthetic, but will sew buttons instead.

Alright. Enough written. Back to the ol’ books I go.

my ravelry “meret”

green-beret-top

I’ve finally put my Ravelry account to good use and made this beret (or “meret,” short for “mystery beret,” as it’s called on the site) from a free pattern. All you knitters who do not have a Ravelry account, get one pronto! I used Berocco Ultra Alpaca yarn in Pea Soup, and I loved working with it. Overall, this beret was a fast and fun knit. I want to make a few more — perhaps with a little more slouch — so I’m crossing my fingers in the hope that we’ll get another month or so more of this invigoratingly cold weather! (I live in L.A., hence the need for crossed fingers.)

green-beret-back

green-beret-side

new dress + craft sabbath

I certainly do live up to my blog title. And being such a homebody, I don’t often get the chance to socialize. Which is why I decided to host something which I’ve dubbed Craft Sabbath — a time for folks to get together to get their craft on. I originally intended for it to be a bi-weekly, every-other-Sunday affair — but this proves difficult as I’m attempting to balance full time employment, grad school, a band, and a host of hobbies. So it looks like Craft Sabbath will turn out to be a once-a-month thing. Still, a group of people showed up for the very first Craft Sabbath on the 4th to knit or to learn how to knit, eat snacks, sip beverages and to chat. (Thanks for the terrific photos, Damien!)

Also, I made a new dress from the same pattern I used for my orange/white striped minidress a little while back. It’s a Built By Wendy (Simplicity 3835) raglan sleeve number that was meant for a woven fabric, but I decided to use a stretch knit so that I didn’t have to put a zipper in the back because I’m lazy that way. I got the fabric on sale and I don’t know what it’s comprised of exactly. Rayon maybe? It’s very smooth and stretchy and reminds me a bit of bathing suit fabric. Anyway, now that I know that this pattern can be used with jersey knits with great success, I’ll have to make a couple more in order to put a dent in the large stash of printed jersey knits that’s piled up in my closet.

happy feet

First off — happy new year fellow crafters! Hope your 2009 brims with joy and inspiration.

I’ve only just recently tackled knitting socks (I’ve been crocheting them up till now) and since learning, I’ve been dying to try out some self-striping yarn. And as I’d been given some Michael’s craft store gift cards for Christmas and said establishment had every skein of yarn on sale (up to 75% off!) this past weekend, I couldn’t resist stocking up on some mega cheap (my apologies, fiber snobs!) but mega fun yarn. For these socks (still in progress) I’m using Red Heart’s Heart and Sole yarn in Razzle Dazzle. I’m not only amazed by the stripes, but by the fair-isle type designs that magically appear as well! I’ve known for a while that such yarn existed, but I still couldn’t helped but get giddy when I saw the designs form before my eyes.

Also completed a pair of chunky cabled leg warmers. I didn’t pay attention to counting the rows between crossing the cables because I wanted a very primitive, almost childlike feel. That and I wanted to be able to watch television at the same time I knitted them. Haha.

I’m a sucker for flecks — especially colorful ones like in this Moda Dea Tweedle Dee yarn (in Sahara).

first step towards a more colorful kitchen

img_1559Never pass up the chance to make a thing of beauty out of something mundane. It’s one of the secrets of happiness if you ask me. Take, for example, the humble dish towel. Why need they be drab? I found myself in need of a couple, so instead of buying some run-of-the-mill factory made ones, I decided to buy myself some cheerful (and cheap!) cotton yarn and knit my own. For the one pictured at left, I used Vogue Knitting’s embossed vine and leaves pattern (free online here) and the other is a simple stripe using three colors and super easy stitch patterns: garter, moss and seed. The yarn cost me less than $4, and the effect these cheery towels have on my mood when I dry my wet mugs is priceless. Now that I’ve seen what a little splash of color can do, I think I might have to knit myself a pair of cafe curtain panels to match!

img_1565

Bobbles & Twists Fingerless Mitts Knitting Pattern (Straight Needles)

Hi readers! Today marks my first attempt to create a knitting pattern. Woot woot! I wanted to make some fingerless mitts/gauntlets that had both cables and bobbles, but found none that I liked, so I took a stab at designing my own. So I present to you Homebody’s Bobbles & Twists Fingerless Mitts (on Straight Needles). And I think they came out pretty great, if I do say so myself. I’m a little bit nervous about sharing my first pattern, but here goes. Please do tell me if there are any errors.

Since I’m still getting the hang of circular knitting with DPNs (double-pointed-needles) and I figured that a lot of beginners might be in the same boat, I decided to knit these on straight needles. However, If you absolutely hate seaming and you’re more adept at DPNs than me, then they’d definitely be a good choice.


Bobbles and Twists Fingerless Mitts (On Straight Needles)

US Size 9 (5.5 mm) straight needles
Gauge: 4 stitches in stockinette = 1”
Worsted weight yarn of your choice.

MB = Make bobble. [k1, yo, k1, yo, k1] all in one stitch (you have turned one stitch into 5), turn and p5, turn and sl 2, k3 together, pass 2 stitches over the first stitch. For video instructions on how to make a bobble, click here and see “Creating Basic Bobbles” under Decorative Stitches.

(Bobbles and Vines panel from Reader’s Digest Ultimate Sourcebook for Knitting and Crochet Stitches.)

Right Mitt

CO 34
Rows 1 and 3: *k2, p2, repeat * to the end
Rows 2 and 4: *p2, k2, repeat * to the end
–Start Bobble/Cable pattern between stitch markers with reverse St st on either side of markers–
Row 5 (RS): p6, pm, k16, pm, p12
Row 6 (WS): k12, p16, k6.
Rows 7 & 8: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 9 (RS): p6, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in front of work, k4, k4 from CN, k3, MB, k4, p12
Rows 10 – 14: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 15 (RS): p6, k4, MB, k3, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in back of work, k4, k4 from CN, p12

Repeat Rows 5 – 15 until the arm warmer is the desired length (not including the lower ribbed edge). Mine have three full bobble/cable pattern repeats before beginning the ribbing.

Next row (RS): *k2, p2, repeat * to the end of the row
Continue in k2, p2 rib for 9 more rows
Cast off in pattern.

Left Mitt

CO 34
Rows 1 and 3: *k2, p2, repeat from * to the end
Rows 2 and 4: *p2, k2, repeat from * to the end
–Start Bobble/Cable pattern between stitch markers with reverse St st on either side of markers–

Row 5 (RS): p12, pm, k16, pm, p6
Row 6 (WS): k6, p16, k12.
Rows 7 & 8: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 9 (RS): p12, k4, MB, k3, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in back of work, k4, k4 from CN, p6
Rows 10 – 14: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 15 (RS): p12, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in front of work, k4, k4 from CN, k3, MB, k4, p6

Next row (RS): *k2, p2, repeat * to the end of the row
Continue in k2, p2 rib for 9 more rows
Cast off.

Finishing:

Sew the side seams to make a tube, leaving a gap approximately 2.5 inches long for a thumb opening. If desired, you can pick up stitches around thumb opening to create a thumb gusset in the round with DPNs—but I’m lazy and never bother. 🙂

Please let me know if you make them yourself. I’d love to see!