Cowl Before Me!

ManosEvery so often I take a minute after a project and before the next to physically go through my yarn stash. Since I’ve been stash busting, its also a good way to see what singles, partials and just plain kind of special cases of yarn need to find a use.  My last venture started out with some thrifted Manos del Uruguay Classica (Price tag is from the stashkeeper before me). This is a thick/thin single ply yarn that is kettle dyed in some lovely colors and which I ended up with just a bit better than 2 non-matching skeins. The skein on the right looked like a good match to one of the half a ball colors left over from my original stitch block cowl, so that was my jumping in point.

So I started out and was knitting along and after a few inches into the cowl project it became apparent to me that there wasn’t enough variation between the two colors, so back into the stash to come up with a better plan.  And eventually I came out with what I am calling the “Check Yourself Cowl” (This photo taken while it was blocking.)

Check Yourself

I was quite pleased and had taken pretty good notes, so I sent the pattern off to another knitter as a test knit and with a bit of luck this pattern will be available soon.  There was just one problem.  I still had half a skein of the original Manos.  So with that… I knit up a slightly different pattern, this one showcasing the Classica as the foreground yarn.  (Again photoed while blocking)

This one I guess I’m calling the “Wreck Yourself Cowl”.  Not just because you should “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, but also because if you’ve ever accidentally dropped a stitch the concept of dropping 30 or so stitches that you want to pick up later is a little mentally challenging, even when the actual stitches aren’t that complex. This pattern needs a bit more refining before its ready to be test knit. Which is ok with me since I like the design even if I am not typically a cowl wearer.

And with that, here’s a few sisters in skein cowl shots:

A Frugal Sweater to Fall For

Wool yarn is generally not inexpensive.  This makes sweaters on the more expensive end of wearable crafts, and a bit of a hurdle for some new knitters.  One option when you are scouring sales racks and finding your way through the options are thrift sales.  If you are a little bit cautious and a little bit adventurous you can find a good deal.

I say cautious because it can be easy to see a brand name and some people will bid up to near retail price without considering any shipping or handling costs.  One of the main dangers with thrifted yarn is you don’t know how the last person kept their stash and paying near retail (or above if you forgot about the additional fees) only to discover you have a moth nest is going to be a bad time.

But also adventurous.  Take a chance on a wool brand you aren’t quite sure about.  Find one of those swooned about skeins in your price range.

It was this spirit of frugal adventure that ended in a purchase of 12 skeins of Christopher Sheep Wool for $21.99 or the equivalent of $1.75 a skein.  (7 in Barley, 4 in Chris Robin, 1 in unlabeled dark brown)

Now I can say that based on the Ravelry stashes and the color options seen on their website that my finds were from a much earlier period and in colors they no longer produce.  When I wound it into the balls I can say that the stash keeper before me had some issues with pests and so several of the Barley colored skeins were not unbroken.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of stash busting cold sheeping I decided to have a go at making it into a garment.  And because its a bit more of a rough texture yarn I wanted to use it as an outer layer style garment.  Enter Sylvi.  I loved the design on the back, and even more so the idea of making it pop out a bit with some color work, as a few knitters before me had done.  What I didn’t care about was the hood and that there were no pockets.  But with only $20 on the line… time to test out the ability to make modifications.

My modifications included Intarsia Cables and bud/leaves, an alternate cuff in the Celtic Vines pattern, Two front pockets, a separate button placket, and a shawl style collar. I found some coconut shell leaf buttons to finish it off. The front vine/flower was added as an afterthought i-cord design.  It fits well enough I wore it out to fall cider and apple fritters.  I just forgot to get any photos.  (And my other photos are late night cell phone shots which leave a bit to be desired)

And now something for the curious knitter…. what the interior of it looks like.

sylvi interior

I personally don’t think I am the best at weaving in ends, but to me this looks fine enough I don’t think I would line it.

Now as to the stash busting and how that is going…. I still have a couple more sweaters-worth of thrifted yarn.  One in a fingering weight black and another in a worsted weight beige that I am hoping to dye a more suited shade.  And then the latest yarn swap came in…. so 10 skeins out… and it looks like 7 skeins in.

Must… knit… faster

Just keep Knitting

Weddings sure do eat up a bunch of time out of a month!  So alas this time I am a bit light on the finished items, and have lots of Works in Progress to share (WIPs).

First up… I am continuing my stash busting, and tackling some yarn I thrifted a few years ago.  These big hanks take up most of one of the closet stash boxes.  They are slowly becoming a sweater with some modifications to give it a collar and pockets.  I am up to the right front, pockets and the collar to complete.

Well this is rather complex, and a bit bulky, so less transportable… so I started some other project too.  It may be getting out of hand.

There is a baby blanket from some stash acrylic in a modified tree tops style.

ground beneath her feet

And a couple row by row quilt rows:

umbrellas and boots

I’m a bit of a ways from being done with those last few projects.  Hopefully they will show up in a blog post her soon…..ish.

These Goldfishes are so Delicious!

Ok so yes.. I love the Goldfish crackers that inspired the title.  (Its my go-to snack for road trips.)  During the 2014 Shop Hop I picked up some adorable goldfish fabric which I then set out to decide how to use.  I came across this design that used some of the same fabric in combination with some small pieces and appliqué and it all snowballed from there. So today… I’m bringing out my Goldfish Bargello Quilt, fresh out of a run through the wash after I finished binding.

goldfishes front

Front Side

Back Side

Back Side

I’d never tried a Bargello, but a tutorial on the tube method looked simple enough to give it a whirl. I tried to get a wee bit creative with my quilting on this one, and let’s just leave it at… I still need some practice.  But it was a fun experiment all around and I think it turned out pretty darn cute.

A Bouquet of Tiny Flowers

The big day is getting closer and closer, and thankfully this morning I get to tick the little box that says “knitted DIY projects finished”

In addition to my shawl which I posted earlier, I knit some favors (to be revealed later) and my hairdresser said I could do just about anything (pins/combs/veil) so… I made some flowers for my hair.  Here’s the flowers I have ordered for my bouquet,

Which I used as inspiration for making my flower hair combs

Flower Haircombs

I wrote up some of the pattern details for each flower on my Ravelry project page where you can see each flower solo. (Please note that those directions are very rough)  To finish off my combs (6 red, 5 yellow, 5 violet) I left long tails to tie them onto the combs and then used a small dab of hot glue to set the knots and secure the flowers to the comb.

The most difficult parts of this project was finding plain combs (Joanns, Sally Beauty Supply,  Michaels had them but in the bridal supplies which wasn’t where I was looking)  figuring out where I’d put my hot glue gun, and getting a photo that was fairly true to color.


Guessing I would say that each flower takes less than a yard and the red and gold were yarns already in my stash in fingering and lace weights.

Shop Hop Part Two (6 more Shops)

So in order to be eligible for prizes you need to visit 16 stores.  With the bus that covered my first ten.  So on Friday I stopped at the three most local to me, and yesterday got the last three more on the way to Mount Rainier.

I picked up my giant length of white for my wedding quilt, the grey background for my guestroom top as well as several bits and pieces for both the wedding and dinosaur quilts I have on the idea board.

Day Two Fabric Haul

And if you recall the Seattle Fabrics I picked up last year and still haven’t made a project with… well the last shop we stopped at had a Washington Fabric that has similar themes…. so I got some of that too.

Washington Fabric

My fabric stash is piling up… I’d best get to work!  Though I will leave you with a teaser of the latest quilt idea I have been working on.

Fishpond WIP top

Shop Hopping Year Two

Yesterday was the North Bus Trip of the Western Washington Quilt Shop Hop.  I decided to do the trip again this year, even though Jean wasn’t going… and as usual its a pretty good time if you are a quilter.  The shops offer a free pattern and at least some of the themed fabric to make their square design.  They can also offer the remaining fabrics or other notions as a finishing kit.  If you visit enough shops you can enter to win some great prizes.

I tend to shop with an objectives list as it gives me a bit more focus and I tend to not go as overboard.  So the first thing on my list was fabrics for my wedding decoration and quilt.  I finished up the first block (minus the embroidery) on Tuesday so I would know how much of various colors I might want or need.

Wedding Quilt Block

The second project on my buy list was for a quilt for our guest room.  We repainted it this year and so most of my pale blue and pink was not fitting in.  So I picked up several yellows and greens for that.

Guestroom Fabric

Now, to be perfectly honest… there is always more shopping than just the needs.  Apparently this year I needed some whales, dinosaurs and cats.  As well as a quilters map, and the knitting related fabric.

i also fell a bit in love with this pattern for a modified Dresden and flowers.  The shop had a sample quilt on display and it was AMAZING.  I am thinking of going a bit scrappy with it, as I’ve been piling up a “few” scraps.

Dresden Blooms

This year the shop hop was happening at the same time as the Row by Row Experience, which is a nationwide event.  The shops offer a free pattern for a row.  They can also offer a kit to complete their row which may have a cost. I did pick up patterns, but only a few of the kits.  I seem to have quite a bit of blues in my stash and the theme this year is H2O… so I’ll see if I have the time to assemble some rows.

So here’s my pile of patterns and kits from the hop and the Row by Row.

Hop Kits

Hollywood Socks: Fixing it in Post Production

Ok, so you may recall that I made a nice set of beaded socks for Sock Madness that were a bit too long in the foot for me. Well during Sock Madness there are specific rules per pattern to help ensure that at least everyone knits a standard requirement.  For me, that meant my sock feet were too big. So technically they were finished, but then I needed to re-finish to make them wearable.

Mad About the Gals original finish

Mad About the Gals original finish

I did realize that my socks were going to be too long so I did put a stitch marker at more appropriate measured row for starting my toes and did not weave in my yarn tails, just tucked the toe yarn inside the sock.  So the first step was to un-kitchener the toe.

Here you can see my marker for the earlier toe transition point and I've unworked the kitchener stitches.

Here you can see my marker for the earlier toe transition point and I’ve unworked the kitchener stitches.

Since I have quite a bit to frog back, I decided to just pull back like one would frog the entire item, but by keeping a handle on how fast and far I was pulling, be able to re-pick up my live stitches at or around the row I’d marked.

Once you have your stitches picked up again, you just use your directions to re-knit them to the correct length.  Here’s a photo of the first sock re-completed stacked on top of the other sock in the original finish so you can see the foot length difference.

Sorry about the lighting... I was working on these while taking a drive to Oregon.

Sorry about the lighting… I was working on these while taking a drive to Oregon.

After you have finished the first, then you work the second just the same.

It was a beautiful day for a drive.  I still have some green toes, but not as much and the socks fit.. which was the most important part.

It was a beautiful day for a drive. I still have some green toes, but not as much and the socks fit.. which was the most important part.

In semi-related news.  I also finished my second Woodruff Sock, which is my first colorwork sock.  They are a bit roomy, but not too big I think if I were to knit them all over again I’d probably go down a needle size, but we shall see after the first real wear and block.  Here’s some beauty shots.

In time for a summer road trip

So there was a post earlier about large scale appliqué with a bit of a teaser on this one.  But its so exciting when you get to post it as finished instead of just a work in progress.



And here’s the back

Ta-Da Part two!

Ta-Da Part two!

I am actually quite happy with how the quilting of this turned out considering I struggle to draw straight lines WITH a ruler sometimes.   I quilted the outside of the logo on the front and then an all over diamond design.  The back logo was hand sewn on so that it wouldn’t be quilted through to the front.  Its a fleece back with cotton top.

Hopefully this one is a bit better on the backside quilting.


I started this one just prior to a road trip to Idaho with my fiancé, and finished it just prior to our next trip to Oregon.

Socks and other things that happen when pigs fly

Whew!  I am writing this post while sorting through songs to play wedding day… and finding all the photos of things I didn’t blog about.  (Shame on me!) But I have reasons!  Some of them are better than others too!  One of my reasons is we have been redecorating some of the house by painting.  And we finished up the guest room just in time for my future (soon!) mother-in-law to come visit. This is also the home of most of my yarn stash, and now it sports a great chair for sitting and knitting in.

While she was here, we visited a local yarn mill called Abundant Earth Fiber, where we enjoyed getting a full tour from Lydia which included Ben trying out her loom. Even though both his mom and I encouraged him, I am not sure he is going to make any of the rugs we will use when we put in the hardwood floors.

Anyway… back to socks, and specifically Sock Madness.  I did finish the pair with beads for the competition.  I did it “Hollywood Style” which means they are too long in the toes (and I did run out of my skein there too!) so I shall just have to fix them in post-production.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

And then after the socks with cables and beads… it was Kilt hose to narrow the teams down to just seven.  So I tackled my first pair of socks made intentionally for someone else.  Which turned out better than I had hoped, and I have the distinct pleasure to present as worn with kilt.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

So this is the second to last round… and while I did get started, I’ve not gotten terribly far and will not be advancing to the final round.  The pattern is by the same designer as the Semki socks I made, so its quite the challenge.

While I didn’t make it all the way to the finals, I did win a prize!  And all because I knit a very silly little flying pig between the rounds.

I had so much fun making him… I’ve started to knit a whole fleet!  (While there are several names for groups of pigs, there doesn’t appear to be any for the flying kind.)

As for the other things… well in addition to finishing my wedding shawl, I did actually tackle a shawl that I have had in my queue with yarn assigned from nearly 3 years ago.  I know.. that’s a long time to have something in queue with the yarn, but let me take you back…. back to the early years.  Like many a newer knitter, I started out trying to balance budget and skill, and you know me, I tend to be frugal.  So it was a real splurge when I used some reward bucks at a yarn shop to pick out a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo lace.  The color is called Archangel, but in my opinion, its the Orion Nebula.

The pattern for this one is both simple and complex… mostly bare half-charts which leave some of the mechanics open to interpretation…. so I did my best.

And before I forget yet again… I did enjoy the Yarn and Fabric Swaps.  And quite frankly… I totally made out like a bandit!

Here’s my fabric gift write up.  My giftee posted a thanks, but no photos.

And the one for yarn.  (Here’s what I sent)

So now I have more piggies, more wedding knits, and two pairs of color work socks to finish up… anyone have a knitting clone?