feelin’ “grande”

Whew. It’s been one crazy year. I won’t go into the why’s, but simply say I’m breathing a sigh of relief to see it come to a close. The good news is that my time has freed up the last month, allowing me to grind away at holiday gift-making. I’m nearly through (hurrah!) so thought that I’d knit myself something as a reward for being ahead of schedule.

I’m currently a fan of ’20s and ’30s fashions, in no small part to HBO’s terrific new series Boardwalk Empire, so pulled out my knitting books to see what retro-esque patterns I had at my disposal. I decided on the Sideways Grande Hat from Laura Irwin’s Boutique Knits. It’s a chic cloche knit side to side on straights embellished with an afterthought twisted cabled. The yarn was donated to me from my sister’s stash and it came with no label, so I don’t even know what it is. Anyway, it was the right color and weight, but I’ll have to do a burn test to figure out what this mystery yarn is comprised of.

Although the book referred to this as an “oversize” hat, it didn’t look quite that big in the photo…but oversized it truly is. Next time I make this lovely pattern, I intend to take it down a notch by using lighter weight yarn and smaller needles — or by simply decreasing the number of stitches. Nevertheless, it was an overall success! Now back to finishing off the rest of my gift list.

my cables n’ lace kimono wrap

I’ve been working on this little woolen “friend” of mine off and on for about two years, so imagine my delight when I finally cast off my last stitch. I used the Cables and Lace Kimono Wrap Cardigan pattern from Sweaterbabe.com (isn’t her stuff great?), but chose to leave the neckline unfinished rather than to pick up and knit the 3×3 ribbing the pattern calls for. I really love that raw, rolled over look — and it’ll show a little bit more of whatever I’ll be wearing underneath.

Shortly after beginning, I thought I’d made a horrible mistake with my choice of yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes) as it created a springy fabric with chunkier cables and very ripply lace panels — as well as a stiffer drape overall. Nevertheless, I plugged away, and though it turned out quite different-looking than Sweaterbabe’s example, I do like it! It was extremely fun to knit as well, and now that I’ve cracked the code of this pattern, I’m eager to make another one with a drapier yarn, which would be more fitting for spring/summer.


hubby’s brown cardi

After a couple years of hinting that he wanted one — and after I finally gathered the courage to make one — my husband finally has his hand-knitted cardigan! It’s my first attempt at menswear, and, as I’d never used this yarn before (Red Heart Eco Ways in Bark) and I wasn’t using a pattern, (I followed Elizabeth Zimmerman’s raglan sweater formula in Knitting Without Tears) there was a good amount of guesswork involved.

I can’t even begin to express how relieved I was that the finished product turned out to his liking. Though he thanked me profusely (as he darn well should!) he still managed to get a smart remark in: ” Lovely! Just in time for the summer!”  Men.

iPad purse & fringy triangle scarf

I was one of the many who couldn’t resist getting a 1st-gen iPad (even though I said I’d wait for the 2nd gen, as all new gadgets are not without their kinks) but impatience got the best of me. I’ve a notion, though, that one of the main reasons I wanted one was so that I could craft accessories for it. :-p

So, I made this little purse using some unused wooden handles that have been languishing in my closet for who knows how long, and some leftover Amy Butler fabric from my stash.

I also finished this fringed triangle scarf (or mini-shawl) that I made using Moda Dea Tweedle Dee yarn in Surf & Turf. Big needles + chunky yarn = super-quick projects. And we all love those!

my first baby…cardigan

Nope, I’m not expecting, but my sis is about to bear her first wee one, and so I thought I’d try to knit my very first article of baby clothing.

I found this cute pattern and got to work. I still haven’t gotten the hang of matching up the length of my vertical rows with my horizontal rows when picking up stitches, so my button bands/plackets are considerably shorter than they should be. Drat. Anyway, the little one should forgive me, this being my first attempt.

Lastly, my sis told me she was having a girl, and when the cardi was 90% finished, I came to discover that it was more of a hunch than a fact. Aye carumba! I told her that her baby was going to wear this pink ‘n’ purple number regardless!

tunic ‘n’ cowl

A new house, job, car…and a crazy 1 hour and 20 minute commute to and from work! Hectic indeed. Still, I haven’t lost my will to create–and where there’s a will, there’s a way. A couple weekends ago, I was able to make this jersey knit tunic in about an hour, primarily because I didn’t finish the edges. No matter. I’m all for that carefree, unfinished look.

And just this afternoon, I knit up this easy cowl in about a couple of hours with some yarn my sister gifted me from her stash. Believe it or not, Los Angeles is in the middle of a cold/rainy spell — the type of deliciously chilly weather which makes west-coast knitters like me very giddy. Used circular needles and alternated between a few stockinette rows and a few p2 k2 ribbed rows, decreasing circumference toward the center. Didn’t bother counting rows — I just eyeballed it as I went along. Coming soon: a striped baby cardigan — my first attempt at baby wear. 🙂

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.

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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!

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my “wrenna”

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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!

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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.