Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - A year of Knitting in Review

The obligatory FO photo mosaic:

I managed to pack in 20 finished projects for 2008. They included:
  • 1 sweater
  • 2 cowls
  • 2 lace shawls
  • 1 pair of mittens
  • 3 pieces of miscellanea
  • and, of course, the 11 hats
I'm feeling very good about what I was able to produce over the course of the year. In 2009, I plan to challenge myself with my knitting, test my hand at designing, and make time to knit every day (even in the depths of my semesters). I think these three things are certainly both reasonable and achievable. I'm also in the process of building myself a brand new website (a holiday present I purchased for myself this year!). The launch of that site will be seen sometime within the next year--I will obviously be keeping everyone posted!

Lastly, special thank yous and well wishes to the wonderful support of all the fabulous knitters, crafters, and passerbyers that have stopped by in 2008. In my opinion, the knit-blogging community is one of the most friendly and supportive groups out there; thank you for making me feel a part of it. Looks like that's a wrap for this year, I'll be back soon in the new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Luck

Hello! I just had to sneak one last project in before the new year quickly approaches. This piece was "commissioned" by a good friend as a gift for his mother [who is fantastic]. I finished it a little later than originally planned (sorry Nick!), but I'm pleased with the final product. I will say this though, it was considerably more difficult to get decent pictures of this one as opposed to the Chickadee cowl which stood at attention without me even touching it. Detail time!

Pattern: Good Luck Cowl (ravelry)
Designer: Christianne Gerstner
Yarn: 1.3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas, Alpaca Silk - teal
Needles: US #5 Addi Turbos
Made for: Mrs. P
Level of Love: reasonably happy camper

Modifications: I omitted one pattern repeat (for sanity's sake) and used a 2x2 ribbed edging instead of the original purled border. I like that it gave the piece a cleaner edge that wouldn't scallop.

I did enjoy this project, but admittedly got bored working on it for long periods of time (which is probably the why it took longer than expected). The lace pattern is fun, but it's extremely similar to the one done in the Bousta Beret which I completed not too long ago. Though I thoroughly enjoy the finished product here (and I've received word that the recipient does too), I'm not entirely sure I'd knit this again--there are just too many patterns out there to make, right?

That's all for now--travel safely for the remainder of the holiday season and have a fun-filled (and happily knit) New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Chickadee

Hello everyone--Merry Christmas to those celebrating today! I wanted to drop in to show you one of the items getting delivered for holiday gifting later this afternoon. Here it is:

Pattern: Chickadee Cowl (Ravelry Link)
Designer: Kirsten Kapur
Made for: Ms. A
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky - Velvet grapes (yum)
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Dates:12/19 - 12/23
Level of Love: lots and lots

I really enjoyed this project. It was quick, it was fun, it was mindless, and the final product is very pretty. The pattern uses a linen stitch which is especially beautiful with variegated yarns (plus it breaks up pooling too!). With the linen stitch on the outside it creates something along the line of seed stitch on steroids on the inside (shown above). The final product is a very dense (yet surprisingly flexible) fabric that is capable of standing on its own, which will effectively block out pesky winter wind. Success.

That's all for now--take care and have a wonderful holiday (tonight is night #5 here)!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guess what?

It's Hanukkah! It officially started at sundown this evening. Now, I definitely understand that I'm a bit of a minority here, but for the Jewish folk out there, our holiday festivities began tonight (and will continue for the next 7!). I just wanted to share a few photos I took earlier tonight-- a glimpse into my family:

Aren't they pretty? Every year we hang Hanukkah ornaments from the chandelier in our dining room . Some of them get pretty creative...

Like this one for example! I made it in 2nd grade. It took a little extra work (and some arm twisting) to not have to use the Christmas tree patterns the rest of my classmates used...but it was totally worth it.

Hey look! It's Judah Maccabee! (made out of clothespins, felt, pipe cleaners, and cotton balls. Classy guy.)

Childhood artwork by yours truly. (*ahem*...age 19 months!)

One candle down, seven more to come! Wishing you all a safe & happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Star Crossed

Hello again, I'll keep the rambling brief today! I'm busily finishing up a few pieces of holiday knitting, and I'll do my best to keep the site updated as I do so. (Often my flickr side panel is a project or two ahead of my posting...I'm trying to diminish the lag!). That said, here is a quick (we're talking 2 discs of Arrested Development quick) beret that has already been gifted and sent off to to it's happy recipient. Here are details!

Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (rav link)
Designer: Natalie Larson
Made for: Jamie (pictured)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted - Amber Gold (less than one skein)
Needles: US #10 & #$ Addi Turbos
Dates: 12/14-12/15 (blocking included)
Level of love: *swooooon*

If you haven't picked up on it by now, I'm a hat girl. To me, they include the majority of the rewards associated with hand knitting. They are the perfect length to avoid boredom, come in an endless sea of beautiful patterns, and the slouchy kind rarely smoosh curly hair. Yes; I certainly love my hats. The 2nd grader side of me chimes in "If you love them so much, maybe you should MARRY them!"

Well? Maybe I should.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She speaks!

Hello again! As promised, more photos of the mystery cliffhanger sweater. I figured I owed everyone (the sweater included) some decent online recognition. Careful followers will note that this is my first wearable sweater. True, I made a vest that was gifted and a sweater that makes my skin crawl, but this is my first piece of clothing that I can actually wear. Three cheers to that!

Lets get to the goods, shall we?

Pattern: Juliet (rav link)
Designer: Zephyr Gals: Sarah & Rachel
Yarn: 4 skeins Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (held double) in Provincial Rose
Needles: US #10 Addi Turbos
Dates: 8/1- 9/17 (yes...3 months ago)
Level of love: are we serious?

Mods: The largest modification I made was choosing a different lace pattern for the bodice. The pattern I went with was borrowed from the Vintage Shoulderette pattern. Other than that, I decided to do a single faux button front closure instead of the two separated ones as directed. Originally when I started finishing, the button was going to be functional-- good thing I'm flexible.

enjoy this top very much; its got this A-line Trapezey thing going on. I have already worn it out several times which I believe makes it feel loved and happy. Often I wonder if I'm the only one that imagines knit items having feelings. Yeah...? Just me? *sigh*. I just feel that knit items that are shoved into drawers would naturally be sad, and conversely happy if worn frequently. Okay enough of that, I yield. More finished goodness to come soon!

**Special thanks to my fantastic photographer friend that agreed to take the time to shoot [and edit] these photos just because he's awesome. Won't you pay him a visit?

***Also, can anyone spy the yellow flowers from the picture anywhere else? Gosh I love them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Foliage Beret-a-fied

Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Two posts in the same week?! Not possible. Somebody obviously hacked into her account and is posting for her--that's the only explanation". Now (admittedly), I deserve that reaction. Really, I do. In the past two months, my time has been spent on classes, studies, work and extra currics--any little time I did have was devoted to knitting. Unfortunately posting took the hit. Watching my blog slowly wither away was making me me sad, so I'm going to make a conscious effort to pop in on a more regularly.

On a more humorous note, the other reason I'm posting twice in the same week is that it occurred to me that if someone had never visited this blog until 4 days ago, their first impression would be of a comical (yet terrifying) staged photo of me. To be quite honest, I get a little creeped out when I look at it--but at least now I know what I'd look like if I actually did go over to the dark side...terrifying thought. Now, lets have a look at some knitting, shall we?

It occurred to me (and has been pointed out by countless others) that lately the only hats I'm interested in wearing are of the slouchy persuasion. Most of the hats I've knit of late fit that bill, but there is one that did not. Re-meet Foliage:
Now again, there was nothing wrong with the pattern or the fit of the hat as it was designed--it just wasn't "me" and therefore wasn't getting worn. In my opinion, no handknit hat deserves to live in a drawer unloved.

So last night, I had an epiphany: "My hat is made of wool...wool blocks well....I have an abundance of clean dinner plates...I'm going to fix my hat!". After the process was complete, it looked like this:

and once it was dry, it looked like this:

Which made me look like this:
Overall the transformation was a success and I now have a cuddly, functional hat that I will most definitely wear more often. Other than my hat re-shapage, I have five projects that are near completion that I will be sharing with you over the neck few weeks. In the mean time, how about a little sneak peak?

Don't you just hate cliffhangers? More photos to come soon!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feeling the Force

Sooooooo...If your friend [jokingly?] referred to you as the Sith Lord of Knitting, wouldn't that prompt you to hold an emergency photo session?
Good. Because I would too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I promise

I've been knitting. I promise...

...but guess what's exhausting? Life. More specifically, my senior year of college. Yikes. I've said it before, and I'll undoubtedly say it again: sometimes a short post is a happy post. With that, I give you my latest conquest:

Bousta Beret by Gudrun Johnston
Needles: US #7 & US #3 Addi Turbos
Yarn: 1.3 skeins Rowan Kid Classic
Time to knit: an extended weekend home (ample knitting time)
Made for: someone special [who deserves a new hat]
Level of love: high--this hat is adorable.

Now, seeing as it's 3:30 in the am here, I'll leave it at that. I'll be shipping this beauty off [with love] by week's end (my hope is that the recipient loves it as much as I do!).

Yawn. Life makes me sleepy...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Survey Says...

The randomness gods have spoken, and they have chosen...
Kara from Knitting Lemonade! Congratulations friend, we'll be in touch to discuss your winnings!

In response to everyone who left me happy messages, thank you so much! As I read each comment, I noticed that it was impossible to do so without smiling. As I mentioned previously, I find it captivating to see how people relate and differ when asked exactly the same thing--especially something so individualized. I also loved that, in most cases, I could sense the writers smiling as they thought out their answers. Talk about warm fuzzies!

Oh, and if you're interested in the results...It seems that both loved ones & knitting time were incredibly high scorers. I would definitely have to agree with the group concensus on this one-- Those are two things that make this knitter extremely happy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One year ago

Yes, yes, it's true: One year ago today, I launched this little project of mine--how time has flown! During the past year, this little blog has grown to serve as the modus operandi of my projects, experiences, thoughts, emotions (both high and low), and lord knows whatever else I've thrown into the mix. I personally love having an outlet that I can use [at all hours] to talk about whatever it is that's got my goat (pun intended) at the time. Simply put, it has been (and will continue to be) a fantastic place for self reflection.

On the topic of reflection, I've been thinking a lot about why I chose the title I did for this blog. Despite it seeming obvious, I've determined that my life post-knitting has been predominantly happy. Really happy. Before I found this craft, I had this unfulfillable void searching for a hobby that really felt like home. My time spent knitting has filled that void completely. Looking back, it's terrifying to think that 2 years ago at this time, I hadn't picked up a pair of needles since my mom first taught me to knit at age 8! Can you believe it? Life without knitting would just be so.....sad! This brings me to the subject of happiness in general. I'd definitely consider myself a "glass half full" kinda gal, and I'll be the first to tell you that you really never are fully dressed without a smile. That said, I'm going to throw this one out to you:

What is it that makes you happy?

I basically love asking people this question. In my experience, it's one of the best ways to get to know somebody. Would you mind indulging me? Pretty please?

Because it's my first blogaversary, I will officially call this a "contest", though your response isn't going to be judged or put in any crazy order of validity--that'd just be weird. Simply answer the question however you think is best. Your answer can be about friends, family, movies, books, activities, crazy rituals, you name it! Plus by doing so, you'll automatically be entered into a drawing for some fun goodies sent with care by yours truly. **Don't forget to include an email address so I can contact you if you win!** To put some sort of timeframe on this, let’s have it finished up by October 1st at 11:59 pm shall we? (can you tell I'm getting used to college deadlines again??)

Lastly, I wanted to take the time showcase the site that really got me interested in the idea of starting my own blog, and who really got me fired up about knitting again. Christina, I can't say I know you extremely well (or at all really) but thank you for blogging the way you do; it helped me start something I love!

and last but not least, a link to my first [pathetically comical] post.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Short and Sweet

A short post is a happy post. I'm having a blast back at school, but this week has been absolutely crazy. To put it into perspective, I haven't knit since I moved back into my apartment--a week ago. That's just unacceptable in my opinion. Anyway, (to tide you over) here's a fun project I forgot to share with you:
Yes, it's another Jenny Cloche! As you might have picked up by now, I have no qualms knitting a great pattern more than once. In my defense, I did try the buckle option instead of the bow to keep things interesting. The verdict? I definitely choose the bow for me, but I think the buckle makes the hat a little more universal for gifting. This pattern is highly recommended by yours truly, so go make one! Tell your friends. eta: Observant readers have reminded me that the yarn used is Malabrigo Chunky in Velvet Grapes-- Deeeeeeeeelish.

p.s. A more substantial post will come once the cable folk hook up the internet at my apartment (apparently dealing with 8500 college kids in a 2 week span of time makes them a little busy. I say it's no excuse.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Right under our noses

Has anyone else ever noticed that despite how long you've lived in an area, there remain to be things that just pop up out of the blue to remind you that you don't, in fact, know everything?

For example, a few weeks ago, my sister-in-law discovered that there is an Alpaca farm less that 5 miles from where we live. Say whaaaat? Armed with mapquest directions and a hesitance to this place actually existing, we set out on our way. Not only does this place exist, but it ended up being pretty darn awesome. Behold, a few candids from our trip to Apple Orchard Alpacas.

ohymygosh. cute.

why, hello!

uh. dorable.

Friendship transcending species.

Sneak attack!


Highlight of my week. No, make that summer.

As you might have guessed, we had a great visit. Not only was the farm gorgeous, but both the animals and owners were [very] patient with us as we snapped all of these pictures. As if playing with the cute animals wasn't enough, I also made my first fiber purchase--but more on that in weeks to come. For now, hopefully the abundance of cute things above will distract you from the lack of knitting photos. I promise, those are soon to come too!