Friday, August 30, 2013

FO Friday: Panda Puppet!

Today's FO project is something I started to as part of two yearlong endeavors: destashing and using patterns from books that I already own. I suppose a third goal could also be added to this list - knitting projects from that dastardly Ravelry queue! If it gives you any sort of context, I originally queued this pattern in December of 2009. Oh my.

I had some leftover black and white yarn from recent projects, enough to make just one puppet. Look how cute he turned out! The pattern is from Susan B. Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys. It's got a few fiddly bits (by which I mean, more finishing than the average stuffy), but it's a well-written and easy to follow. There is a bit of errata - the instructions for the eye patches were omitted from the book, but you can find them easily here on the Ravelry pattern page. Works for me!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WIP Wednesday: More unusual than usual

I'm not sure how this is possible, but I really haven't made much progress on my WIPs since last week. When I finally picked the Mountain Moss Shawl back up, I managed to totally bungle the few rows I eked out, which means I am now in the midst of undoing that work and have basically broken even since last week's post.

My Emmanuelle Sweater has made some progress since last week; the sleeves are now completely finished; they looked misshapen and I was worried I'd have to frog back and re-knit the sleeve caps, but luckily a good blocking set things right. I've cast on for the back piece and have gotten past the ribbing and even started the increases, though I suspect it'll be slow going as I focus on gift-centric projects for the next month. 

Of  course, Tilly wanted to photobomb my WIP shoot this morning - I'd like to think she's trying to help me in some way, but really she's just hoping I'll feed her early (and then maybe forget that I did so, and then feed her again at the correct time...).

Over the weekend, I started a crochet seahorse to give my hands a break from too much knitting - it currently looks like a bowling pin, however! On Monday night, we lost power just as I was sitting down to work on a project. Determined to crochet no matter what, I gathered what few candles I could locate (note to self: stock up on candles for next time) and was all set to squint my way through the pattern when, lo and behold, the power came back on.

In our particular neighborhood, this happens every summer at the height of a heat wave, almost always around 9pm when we are feeding the cats. We were pretty fortunate this year, as our power was restored within an hour - last year, our block's transformer exploded in a fiery ball that took hours to extinguish! Afterwards, they installed an extra transformer which was supposed to prevent future laid plans, right? Considering it only happens once a year, however, I'll still count myself lucky. 

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spinzilla Preparation: 5 Weeks & Counting!

Spinzilla is five weeks away, and I am already starting to cull my fiber stash to set aside what I'll be spinning during the event. I've also been clearing out any bobbins with leftover singles, which resulted in a few more finished skeins this weekend: the green skein was spun from some Lorna's Laces Wool Top I'd custom dyed while working there, and I had enough to navajo ply; the smaller skein is a three-ply from leftover singles that have been lurking on bobbins.

I also created some Ravatars for those of you who will be joining me on #TeamLouet. Feel free to download & use any of these graphics to show your team spirit!


This is the first-ever Spinzilla event, and I think that it will be fun way to raise money for a great cause: The Needlearts Mentoring Program. The $10 registration fee for Spinzilla will be used to foster the spinners of tomorrow by providing educators with supplies, information and support (more on that here).

If you are having a hard time choosing a team, you have a couple of options when signing up: you can leave it to chance and ask to be randomly assigned to a team, or you may go rogue and join in the fun without any team affiliation.

My favorite option, of course, is to have you join me on team Louet! In fact, we'd like to sweeten the deal: in addition to being eligible for official Spinzilla prizes, we'll be randomly selecting one lucky team member to win a pound of carded alpaca fiber! All you have to do is sign up for Team Louet; when registration closes on September 23, we'll pick our winner and get their prize shipped out in time for the big event! 

As I've mentioned before, our only stipulations for team membership are:

1. Team members should be using Louet spinning wheels.
2. While you are not limited to using only Louet spinning fiber, we do request that team members spin at least two singles of Louet fiber during the course of the event.

Click here to register for Spinzilla!

Friday, August 23, 2013

FO Friday: Colorwork Stocking

I admit, this project has been finished for several weeks - I've been saving it for the inevitable FO Friday post where I find myself without a project I am at liberty to share. It looks like that moment has already arrived!

A few years ago, I surprised my parents with some stockings mysteriously filled with goodies the night before Christmas by someone who was undeniably jolly. Since then, we've upheld our stocking traditions, even though my husband and I haven't been able to visit home on the actual holiday due to his work schedule. This year, we'll be spending the holiday in KC with our families once more, and I wanted to be sure that my Grandpa could be a part of this new tradition - so this is his stocking, which we'll all be surprising him with on Christmas day!

I used the Ragg Wool Christmas Stocking pattern from Annie's Woolens and some destash yarn to complete this project (unfortunately, this is the kind of destash yarn that has long since been separated from their labels). I did substitute my preferred heel and toe as I found the instructions to be overly complicated, but otherwise, this was a quick project to make - I completed it in just under a week. I can't wait to stuff it full of goodies!

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Happy WIP Wednesday! Thanks for joining me this week; I only have a few projects that I can share on this blog (the rest are top secret!).

I was really hoping I'd be finished with my Emmanuelle sweater sleeves for this week's WIP Wednesday blog post, but I feel just short of my goal:

On the plus side, I made a decent amount of progress on my Mountain Moss Shawl since last week:

Over the weekend, I started a Panda Puppet from Itty Bitty Toys when I realized I hadn't made any projects using books from my library since June. It's also a destash project, which is another goal of mine for 2013. So far I just have the first half of the puppet body finished:

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yarnbombing: Knit the Bridge

Though I haven't embarked on any missions myself, I do enjoy seeing other Yarnbombers' handiwork. Last week, photos of the amazing yarnbombing of the Andy Warhol Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA made the rounds on Facebook/Twitter/Etc.
Photo by KnittenJen - Creative Commons License
The story has been picked up by countless newspapers and magazines, including Time Magazine.

Photo by Artnoose - Creative Commons License

Just in case you missed it, you can read more on the Knit The Bridge blog or check out these great photos from Pittsburgh Magazine. The above photos really don't do it justice!

Friday, August 16, 2013

FO Friday: FreshStitches Amber Mystery CAL

Though I finished my Mystery CAL project late, I could have shared this for  FO Friday a few weeks ago. Apparently, I was so over-the-moon about finally finishing my Destash Dolman and Sincere Sheep sweaters, I forgot to include my adorable new marsupial friend! Oops!

My kangaroo ended up being rather large because I am a really loose crocheter and (for reasons still unknown to me) I didn't go down a few crochet hook sizes as I usually do for amigurumi projects. So, it's a little loosey-goosey and there are definitely places where you can see the stuffing if you're looking for it.

I used 4 skeins of Lopi yarn I snapped up via Craftsy Deals for a song; it was a little scratchy at first but I gave the Roos a bath and now they are much more snuggly!

Pattern: Amber the Kangaroo by Stacey Trock
Yarn: Lett-Lopi Icelandic Yarn

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Join me for Spinzilla

I'm pretty excited to be the Team Louet captain for an inaugural spinning event this fall, Spinzilla! This new event is a fun way to see which team can collectively spin the most yarn during Spinning and Weaving Week (October 7-13, 2013).

The time is now to choose your team and build your spinning fiber arsenal: there are a lot of prizes at stake, but we'll also be competing for a traveling trophy and the glory of it all!

Registration opened this morning and costs $10*. You'll want to hurry, because space is limited to 25 spots for each team!

Our only stipulations to be a part of Team Louet (besides registering here) are:

1. Team members should be using Louet spinning wheels.
2. While you are not limited to using only Louet spinning fiber, we do request that team members spin at least two singles of Louet fiber during the course of the event.

Of course, I'll be keeping my captain's log right here on my blog in addition to the Team Louet Ravelry thread. I'll hope you'll join in the fun!

100% of the proceeds will go towards toward establishing a spinning program within The Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP) - more on that here

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Here we go again....startitis has set in once again! I am trying to concentrate on gift-making this month since there are many birthdays in my family this fall with the holiday season not far behind. Of course, when a beautiful new set of needles arrives on your doorstep, are you really going to NOT take them for a test drive?

Karbonz Starter Set - there are actually 5 sizes,
but I am already knitting with two of them!
Sure, I could just find a gift project that uses any one of the five sizes in the set, but it sure is a lot more fun to cast on for a few selfish knitting projects. I started with the Mountain Moss Shawl from the Summer issue of Pom Pom Quarterly using the Wool Dispensary yarn I bought during last week's yarn crawl:

Then the fall issue of Knitscene arrived, and I did a little stash diving to start the Emmanuelle sweater by Mercedes Tarasovitch-Clark:

As you can see, I started with the sleeves two-at-a-time; I'm using Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe, which has been in my stash for a while now. I do have to buy a few more skeins to complete the project (don't worry, I bought an extra safety skein), but lucky for me, it's on sale right now at Jimmy Beans Wool. For the chevrons, I'll be using various leftover skeins of worsted weight yarn (mostly Malabrigo with a little Fibre Company thrown in for good measure).

Since I can't share the rest of my WIPs, I'll leave you with a random tip: The magnets that come with this handy chart holder from Knitter's Pride are super-strong, making them a great way to keep darning needles and the interchangeable key for your set at the ready!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Monday, August 12, 2013

50% Off Custom Cabled Pullovers

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You might like to know: This featured content was not solicited by the good people at Vogue Knitting or Your class purchase helps keep this blog running! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

FO Friday: Fieldwork Cardigan

At last, I have photos to share of my greatest sweater-knitting accomplishment to date: my Fieldwork Cardigan knit in Sincere Sheep yarn!

This has been finished for a while, but it's been a little tough finding the right time to take photos; I always knew where I wanted to take photos, however! There is an art space we pass frequently on our way to New Wave Coffee that occasionally has interesting things appear in it: fake meteors on wires stuck in to the ground, pop-up shops, and most recently, this random sign:

Who knows how long it will be there? Not me, but I'm glad that we've captured this little bit of Chicago ephemera while we could.

This is Tyler's favorite shot:

Getting back to the sweater....I am in love with this! I know that I haven't styled it like the pattern photos (which are totally cute), but I really like wearing it as an open cardigan. I can already tell that this will be one of my favorites this fall.

The pattern was well-written and easy to follow and appears in the Summer 2013 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly - you can read my review here if you are interested in learning more. I scored my yarn during the store closing sale; it's nice to have a wearable memento!

Pattern: Fieldwork Cardigan by Nadya Stallings
Yarn: Sincere Sheep Tenacious Sock in St. Bart's

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WIP Wednesday: All of the things!

This is the time of year when I  kick my holiday gift-making into high gear, which always poses an interesting problem where blogging is concerned. There are some gifts I can share because I'm pretty sure the person doesn't read my blog - and if they do, it's not readily apparent that said project is for them. Of course, there are still plenty of projects that I don't dare share til after the fact for fear of letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

Luckily, I can say with a degree of certainty that my grandmother does not read my blog! I dreamed up a weaving project using my Zoom Loom; it's only a modest start, but I plan on making 18 squares total to stitch together into a pillow. I am using commercially spun yarn for the warp and my own handspun for the weft; depending on the number of color combinations I end up with, I will try to do some sort of patchwork pattern when it comes time to sew everything together.

On the bright side, I can continue making a few "selfish" projects here and there. I'll probably hold off on starting another sweater for a bit, but in the mean time, I can finally knit myself a pair of slippers with the yarn I won from the last Holla Knits! blog tour. It doesn't look like much below, but I am making Terry Morris' Mystery Slippers (a free pattern on Ravelry) with a skein of Yarn Hollow Gemini in Emerald:

Over the weekend, I also decided to try my hand at cutting up old t-shirts into yarn. I cast on for a stripy experimental rug using some ginormous #17 needles. I think they're the biggest I've ever used!

Thanks for joining me this week! For more WIP Wednesday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis Blog!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Chicago Yarn Crawl & Stitches Midwest

The Chicago Yarn Crawl kicked off on Friday night, and since this is the first year I've ever grabbed myself a passport and (sorta) participated, I decided to drop by Knit 1 on Friday night for their kick-off party and The Wool Dispensary trunk show. There are three exclusive colors that Sam created for the event, and I couldn't resist bringing home a skein of one of those colors, Vortex:

I have to admit that I'm not planning on getting a lot of stamps on my passport; there are 30 shops participating this year, many of which are in the suburbs and outlying areas. If you don't have a car (like me), it's not impossible to visit these shops, but it is definitely time-consuming once mass transit comes into play. For those of you who are more than ambitious than me, The Fiber Friend posted a handy guide to doing the Chicago Yarn Crawl without a car.

Stitches Midwest is happening next weekend, and I've decided not to go this year. The drive to Schaumburg just plan sucks, if I can speak frankly - and I live relatively close (i.e. the Northwest Side). While it's technically possible for me to take mass transit there - I could probably take the Blue Line to Rosemont and then grab a Pace bus to take me the rest of the way - it's just a little too time-consuming for me to justify spending the time and money.

I can't tell you how much I wish they'd still hold Stitches at the convention center that's right off the Rosemont Blue Line station as they did the first year I attended; it was pretty convenient for us city folk without a car, plus we shared the weekend with Wizard World, which was pretty perfect in terms of nerd worlds colliding.

To the good folks at Knitting Universe, please hear my plea: bring Stitches Midwest back to the Donald E. Stephens convention center! Til then, this car-free Chicago knitter will be sitting it out.

Friday, August 2, 2013

FO Friday: Semi-Stashbusting

Though I still buy a lot of yarn, I do try to focus on shopping from my own stash before making a purchase, and it feels pretty good to finish a project that has put my stash yarn to good use. Of course, sometimes a stash-busting project necessitates the purchase of more yarn in order to finish it, which pretty much negates the whole concept. Be that as it may, this is what happened with my Destash Dolman, which I started in January of this year, hibernated in February when I realized I was going to run out of yarn, and then picked back up to finish recently when I was able to locate some Anzula Squishy to finish the job. 

I honestly thought that I'd have enough of the green and taupe colors - after all, I used a third contrast color for the ribbed edges, right? Such is my flawed logic, and I can't say I swatched for this sweater, either - it's got so much positive ease, it really didn't seem necessary at the time (logic flaw #2). I'm lucky this fits quite well, given that I skipped one of the most important parts of the sweater-knitting process. Running out of yarn was just another reminder of why gauging is important, I guess! 

Even though my sweater doesn't look exactly like the one in the magazine, I totally love how it turned out and will wear it a lot this fall! 

Pattern: Roxborough Dolman by Courtney Kelley
Yarns: Anzula Squishy in Clay, Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock in Loden, and Malabrigo Sock in Alcaucil

My other semi-stash-busting project is the Locale scarf, which I started on my trip to KC last month and finished last weekend, but had to wait for it to dry after blocking. Madtosh is always a delight to work with, and this scarf is soft and warm and lovely, though I do wish I'd subbed in a different edging so that everything lays flat. 

Pattern: Locale Scarf by tshep (free pattern on Ravelry!)
Yarn: MadelineTosh Merino Light in Luster and Graphite

Thanks for stopping by this week - for more FO Friday inspiration, visit the Tami's Amis blog

Have a crafty weekend!