Thursday, July 20, 2017

Triforce Socks

Confession: I have been putting these socks on the back burner for an embarrassingly long time.  I started them in March.  *gasp*   Ok, maybe that's not actually that long of a time, but I promised my husband finished socks in the beginning of Spring and we are now in the middle of Summer!  For some reason I just lost my sock mojo with these.  Perhaps I was all socked out, or maybe it was me just wanting a simple mindless project that didn't involve charts?  Either way, I need to finish these!

My husband is a huge Legend of Zelda fan.  What better way to show his love than by having Triforce socks?  I'm using Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering Kettle Dye in Compass and Addi Turbo Sock Rockets in US 1.  I've had this skein of yarn in my stash for awhile and I really wanted to make myself cabled socks, but when this sock idea for my husband popped into my head I knew that I must use this yarn.  I whipped out my pad of graph paper and figured out how to chart the Triforce design in a reasonable time and cast them on.  Things were going great on the first sock.  Then I got hit with Second Sock Syndrome.  I started working on every project that wasn't this!  I finished my lace weight garter shawl with icord edging (that took forever!) using US 0 needles and I selfishly knit myself a pair of socks!  I am declaring it here on this blog to the thousands that read it (just kidding!  It's more like 3 people.😜)  "I am not touching any other project until I get these done!"  Let's see how long this lasts....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Let's give this another go.

It's been over a year since I've been active on the blog.  I have to admit that I've caught the Instagram bug and it just took over.  I've noticed a lot of other bloggers that I follow have been neglecting their pages as well and I'm not surprised.  It's just so much easier snapping a quick photo and choosing a favorite filter than finding time to sit down to type a few paragraphs.  Besides, we could be knitting in that time instead!  But maybe we need to slow down and take the time to get our thoughts written down on "paper."  Despite being over the half way point of 2017, I want this year to be about completing my crafty goals.  When I share what I'm working on, or things that I'm planning on doing, I feel pressure.  Sometimes pressure can be productive: the fuel to keep you going.  So let's put the "pen to the paper" and write down some crafty goals for the rest of 2017.

This year will be all about Stash Diving.  Currently I have about 360 balls of yarn in my stash.  I know this because I'm a nut and I made a spreadsheet breaking down the brand, weight, and colorway of everything that I own.  The yarn is overflowing.  The pattern books and magazines are aplenty.  I have no need to purchase anymore yarn for the next 3 years.  (Like I'm never going to make another purchase!  Laughable!!)  My goal is not to use it all, but to at least minimize the overflow.  Another goal for this year is to try new things!  I have been drooling over the brioche all over Instagram for too long.  I have two amazing books on brioche, tons of yarn, and no excuses.  This needs to happen.

And can we take a minute here to talk about all the sewing?  I am so jealous of everyone jumping on the handmade wardrobe trend.  I'm going to try to be realistic here: I am a total novice at sewing.  I have made numerous Halloween costumes and last Christmas I challenged myself to sewing bags for gifts, but I've never been brave enough to make an article of clothing that would be considered a wardrobe staple.  Now, I am most likely not going to be sewing anything from scratch this year; I really don't have the time to dive that deep.  But I would love to get through my basket of clothes that need alterations!  Honestly, most of it comes down to just hemming pieces but, for something as simple as that, it is a challenge for me and a great way for me to get more comfortable behind my sewing machine.

These are all soft goals so I feel like it's more attainable than really laying down hard challenges, but by documenting my year I am holding myself accountable.  So let's see where this year leads.....

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sock Mania!!

They're finished!  Complete!  Perfection!  My toe-up charcoal gray socks are done.  Actually, they've been done for awhile.  Meet my new favorite sock.  Let me explain.  In a previous post I told you how I love the short row heel and thats my heel of choice.  Well, I take it back.  Move over short rows, hello after thought heel!  Where has this heel been in all of my sock knitting life?!  I don't know if I'll ever knit a different kind of heel now.  It's just so simple.  I don't know if an after thought heel is good for a high or low arch, but it fits my foot perfectly.  

Another thing about these amazing socks?  They are the perfect formula of stitches for my foot.  I use  size US 0 dpns and 56 stitches for the foot circumference.  I've worn and washed these socks twice and both times they didn't stretch out after walking around in them all day long.  I guess once you find the perfect formula for plain vanilla socks, you're set for life.  So naturally I had to cast on for another pair!

These next socks are knit using the same techniques and needles but I used my beautiful Knit Picks Hawthorne yarn.  The main part of the sock is knit in the Aquatic Speckles color way.  The contrasting toe, heel and cuff are in the Kettle Dyed Poseidon color way.  (There's definitely an ocean theme going on with those names.)  I absolutely love this yarn.  Now I may not be the best judge on sock yarn since I've only used Patons for previously made pairs, but Hawthorne works wonderfully.  It's soft and the colors are vibrant.  I love knitting with the speckled yarn.  It's so fun to see where the little bursts of color will be while you're knitting.  I've worn them once and washed them and they bounced into shape immediately.  I would love to try other brands but I'm determined to use up what I already own.  Luckily, I bought 8 balls of Hawthorne in 4 different colors, so there will be no sock shortage around here!

That being said, meet the latest pair on my dpns!  I've already knit up half a pair of new socks and of course, it's in Knit Picks Hawthorne.  This time I'm using the Blackbird color way as the main body of the sock.  For a pop of color I used Poseidon for the heel and two bold stripes on the foot.  Obviously people won't see the stripes when I'm wearing shoes but I know it's there and that makes me happy.  

The leg of the sock is knit in a 1x1 rib and long enough to fold over.  It definitely makes some warm ankles!  The second sock is knit up to the beginning of the rib so I think I'll have a complete pair by next week.  Socks are the perfect project for work knitting.  I'm a hairstylist and sometimes I'll have 20 minutes here and there in between clients.  It's so easy to pick up a plain vanilla sock.  I can stop at any time and then hop right back in where I left off without getting lost.

And how do I store and carry this pair of socks at work, you ask?  Why, in my beautiful little project bag that I recently made of course!!  YES!!  I sewed this up using some old fabric my mom had for like ever.  I went to Michael's and bought black canvas for the bottom of the bag.  This was super easy to sew up. I used the pattern and video instructions from Hue Loco.  Please check her out on her website and youtube channel!  She sells these bags in her shop but she also graciously made the pattern available for free to download.  FREE!  I think that is so amazingly nice.  And best of all, she made a tutorial video so you can follow along, step by step.  I love having a visual so it was extremely helpful.  The only thing that I did differently was add a long strap so I can carry it on my wrist and still knit standing up.  I would love to make more of these and maybe increase the size for bigger project bags.  I bought a class on Craftsy for sewing small bags and am looking forward to working with that also.

It's so much fun playing around with different fabric pairings.  I found a gold and white chevron cotton at Michael's and it makes for a perfect lining.  It's so bright and cheerful!  Every time I open the bag it says "Hello!!!".  This is definitely the perfect size bag for socks.  I have so much fabric from IKEA that I would love to sew into bags.  Maybe I'll even sew up some for Christmas gifts.  I don't personally know too many knitters so I might have to make smaller ones for makeup bags instead.  I could definitely see why so many people make and sell project bags.  They really are a joy.  Seeing all the amazing bags on etsy that people are creating and all the fun fabrics that they use is so inspiring.  Give them a search.  I bet you could easily find at least 10 bags that you'd love to have!  Maybe one day I'll jump in too and set up an etsy shop, but I really don't have that extra time for it just yet.  For now I'll just sew selfishly for myself and admire other peoples work.

I keep forgetting to share these felted crocheted baskets that I made a long while ago.  Oh, and look!  It's holding my beautiful skeins of Knit Picks Hawthorne!  (Before they were caked.)  I was saying that I might take a brake from sock knitting after I cast off this last pair but I'm itching to use the other speckled color.  So maybe one more pair before my brake?  Or two?  Or three?  We'll see.  I've also been thinking about picking up my tunisian crochet hook again and making some more dishcloths.  Some of the ones that I made and have been using for the last 2 years are getting a little worn out.  I don't have a dishwasher so I have to wash everything by hand, including very sharp knives.  I'm bound to get a few holy dishcloths.  That's another perfect small work friendly project to do.

And just in case you were wondering, that beautiful crocheted doily that those felted baskets are sitting on was a very generous gift from my very talented friend from work.  It's a Herbert Niebling pattern.  I would love to crochet a doily that is so delicate but I just don't think my crocheting skills have reached that level yet.  Definitely a crafting goal of mine for the future though. Happy Crafting everyone!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


This Easter I really wanted to make a knitted toy for my new niece.  Searching through my stack of magazines I found the perfect one.  Sitting right there in the upper right corner on the cover of a UK knitting magazine was Miffy, an adorable little bunny.  Apparently Miffy was celebrating her 60th birthday, being created by Dick Bruna in 1955, and Jane Burns created a wonderful knitted version of her for the magazine Let's Knit.  It's the November 2015 issue 99.  There was also an adorable pattern for a cat hat in the mag but I think my cat would claw out my eyes if I made that for him!  Look at those ferocious claws ready to attack!  (But really how cute are those sweet feet!)

Anyway,  this is Miffy.  I knit her using Knit Picks Brava Worsted in white with US 3 dpns.  The pattern called for a finer weight yarn but I really wanted to do some stash busting so I went heavier.  Of course that also made her a bigger doll, but I think still a good size.  The dress is made separately and can easily be removed so you can make several in different colors if desired.  That's what I'm planning on doing at least.  That way when my niece gets a little bit older the bunny clothes can change as she pleases.  This dress was also made using Knit Picks Brava Worsted but in Tranquil.  I really love Brava.  It's a soft acrylic that comes in a variety of beautiful shades and is very affordable.  As for the eyes and nose/mouth, I used left over black sock yarn.  (Again, stash busting.)

I wish I could've gifted my niece a set of Miffy books to go with the doll but they closed my local Barnes & Nobles and now I have no where to get them.  Obviously I can just order them online but I am a last minute kind of girl.  Also, now I have no where to browse through knitting magazines.  I do have subscriptions to certain ones but there are always those certain magazines that you need to look through to see if there are enough patterns you're interested in to warrant a purchase.  There are plenty of bookstores in Manhattan for me to trek to, but just to look through magazines?  I don't know if it's worth the travel when I'm so low on free time to begin with.

As you may have noticed, I mentioned stash busting.  Last week I went through the daunting task of updating my stash spreadsheet.  Yes, I have a spreadsheet.  I have yarn stashed neatly in 6 big boxes, a 3 tiered rolling cart, 4 big bowls and a cake stand, so it can be easy to forget what I have.  So box by box, and bowl by bowl, I sorted and documented my yarn and hit the very large number of 341 and 1/2.  Now maybe that doesn't seem like a lot to some of you (I'm hoping), or maybe your own stash is much much smaller and you think I should be featured on the tv show Hoarders: Buried Alive.  Either way, it's nice to know exactly what I have and it's a wonderful thing to actually see the stash typed out in little grids when I'm interested in starting a new project.  I also now have no where else to hide the yarn so this year will be all about STASH BUSTING!!  I can't say that I won't buy anymore yarn; sometimes you really don't have what you need.  I will, however, be trying with all my might to focus on things to make using what I have already.  Just in case anyone wanted a visual of how I set my spreadsheet up, I took multiple screenshots to show it.  In the quantity column I use a sum formula so it can let me know just how crazy I am.  Now, of course you don't have to keep track of everything.  Some might not want to include the color lot number.  I just figured maybe one day I might need that info, so better safe than sorry.  I guess you could apply this charting to fabric, embroidery thread and what not, to stay organized no matter your craft.

Now that I shared my stash list I guess this holds me accountable.  My goal by the end of this year is to significantly lower the total number of balls I have (and then celebrate by buying more yarn!!!).  So far this year is off to a good start with some of the smaller projects I've made and with the many WIPs I have going at the moment.  If you're curious about those WIPs, check out my Instagram and my Ravelry projects page.

I'm very interested to hear how you all organize your stashes so please leave me a comment below and share your secrets!  There's no judgment here so feel free to let me know your stash total too!  And if you really think Miffy is cute check out the website!  So super cute!!

And finally, as I promised in my last post, here are my finished Diamond Back Socks.  They are inspired by the Diamond Back snakes.  It's still not the best picture but at least they are shown complete!  I really like creating my own designs for socks.  Maybe in the future that's something I would consider doing as far as pattern making, but I hesitate thinking about converting them to different sizes.  One day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My name is Paula and I am a sock addict.

Its true.  I think I caught the sock bug and there's no sign of a cure.  I've started my fourth pair, but my second for this year.  A long while ago I bought quite a bit of sock yarn from AC Moore and it's been haunting me ever since.  Recently I dug it all out of the yarn stash and plopped it in a bowl on my cabinet so I would have no choice but to confront my demons.  Now it's all I want to do! 

I prefer toe-up socks and I love using the book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson as a reference.  The great thing about starting at the toe is you can decide how long you want your socks as you knit.  It eliminates the fear of running out of yarn mid sock.  This book does a great job of showing off different toe cast ons and heels so you can find the ones you like best.  I prefer the figure eight toe and a short row heel, but honestly I haven't tried all the techniques.  Maybe on my next pair I'll feel more adventurous.  

So this pair is knit using Patons Kroy Socks yarn in Coal and Gentry Grey.  Coal is your basic black and it will be used only for the toe, heel, and ribbing.  The body of the sock is Gentry Grey which is like a dark heather gray.  I would love to try out different brands of sock yarn but I'm not allowing myself any more yarn buying until I get through my current stash.  

The needles are US 0 double pointed.  I know so many people prefer the magic loop method for socks but I like using all those sharp little sticks!  Maybe one day I'll revisit magic loop and give it another chance but not on this pair.  

I chose to do a very simple classic sock with no frills, cables, or lace.  I saw a few other plain socks on some blogs and Instagram having a contrasting toe, heel and rib and I fell in love.  If I saw them in a store I would definitely consider buying them but lucky for me I'll just make them instead.  And I can never have enough gray or black socks!

Today the weather was so mild and beautiful; I had to take advantage.  I sat on the deck in the yard and knit knit knit.  Now both socks are ready for their black short row heel.  I like knitting both socks at about the same time so I know they'll match up and I won't get bored on the second sock.  Sometimes I forget to write down what I did on the first sock so it's helpful to do the same section on the second sock while it's still fresh in my memory.

Not too bad considering I only started 2 days ago.  Usually I'm a slow poke.

My husband has decided that he likes these socks and requested a pair for himself.  The pressure is on!  I've never made socks for anyone else but I guess I can have him try them on as I go.  The good thing about knitting for my husband is he will treasure it always.  Even if it's not made by me!  A friend of mine gave me a bag of hats and scarves that he made but didn't want to keep.  As soon as my husband spotted a multicolored half moon shaped scarf he snatched it up and wore it for the entire winter.  So maybe his pair will be made next.

I actually started and finished a different pair of socks for myself in January but I haven't gotten to take a nice picture of them.  So below is an early process photo but I swear!  They are completely finished!

What is your preferred sock method?  Toe up or top down?  Which heel is your fave?  Favorite yarn to use?  I just love how different everyone makes socks!

Monday, February 22, 2016

January Knits

2016 is moving at warp speed.  January came and went without me showing off some requested knitting for my nephew.  (He can be very vocal about his wants despite only being 3.)  I've been thoroughly enjoying color work so I decided to knit up an easy blue cowl.  I chose a cowl because it won't become bulky under his coat like a long scarf would and it's very easy for him to pull it on and off by himself.  I still had some Knit Picks Brava worsted in Solstice Heather and Sky left over from his double knit hat.  This cowl is started with a simple 2x2 rib in the dark blue yarn and then switched to stockinette using the dark and light blue yarn.

It's always nice when you impress yourself with your neat floats!  I am convinced this cowl can be worn inside out without looking like you got dressed in the dark.  The yarn is only being carried over one stitch so the floats are small.  I'm very tempted to make myself one.  It's such a fast project to whip up in a day or two and since there's no complicated color work chart it's easy to do while watching TV or traveling on the bus.  

Thankfully I got the approval I was hoping for from my nephew.  He immediately put it on and smiled.  Knit Picks Brava is such a soft acrylic so it's perfect for kids knits.  Cowls are a great way to experiment with colors and patterns and only uses up small amounts of yarn.  

My nephew wasn't done with his hat demands.  I made him, by his request, a green hat in the late fall.  He immediately requested a blue hat upon receiving said green hat.  When I presented his super cool reversible double knit blue hat he said, "No.  Yellow."  I had a feeling that he would eventually keep going down the list of colors that he knew so I told him I'd knit him a yellow hat but it will be the last hat for this winter.

To make sure the yellow hat would be the right size, I decided to knit it from the top down.  Everything was going great and I finally cast off.  I ran over to my nephew and showed him his new yellow hat.  He said, "No."  He didn't like it!  So how do I make this yellow hat more appealing to a 3 year old?  Turn it into a minion hat!  My nephew loves the minions from the Despicable Me movies so it was the perfect fit.  I quickly crocheted some eyes and knit a black band and sewed the goggles on.  Now to see if I get the ok.  "Ohhhhh!", he says.  Finally!  I am officially done with nephew hats for this winter.

The rest of my knitting for January are the same projects that have been lingering around for the last several months.  I underestimated how much time each piece requires so it's a little repetitive to show my progress for each one.  My goal is to knock out my Dressel Shawl and then finish up the pair of socks that Iv'e started.  My crocheted chevron blanket has gotten no love from me in at least a month and somewhere in my cart of projects a half made sweater sits idle.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Gifts

So much for weekly posts!  With the craziness of the holiday season I had no time for any updates, but don't be fooled; I was knitting up a storm.  I really wanted to up my game on handmade gifts this year and I really did quite a bit.  My work schedule gets busier during the holidays so I try to be reasonable with my goals.

For one of my work friends I made a trio of felted crocheted bowls.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of them so you'll just have to use your imagination.  They were an off white color and the bowls nested inside one another.  I loved them so much, Iv'e decided that I will eventually make a trio for myself.  For another work friend I made a candle cozy to fit a 3-wick candle from Bath & Body Works.  I used Lion Brand's Cotton-Ease in white.  The bottom base of the cozy was crocheted.  The cables were knit separately from the base and then sewn together.

I'm always nervous about anything I make without using a pattern but I think this turned out well.  I showed my mother the cozy right after I finished it and she immediately asked "Is that gonna get set on fire?"  Ugh!  Way to make me paranoid.  Here is your candle and cozy and a possible fire hazard?  I thought about it for awhile and came to the conclusion that it's safe.  It's well below the rim of the candle and if they use cotton for pot holders than it should be safe for a candle.  Either way, I gave my friend a warning with the gift.  

Next up, I knit some beautiful (if I do say so myself) Christmas balls.  I was going to use a pattern but  it called for fingering weight and all I had was worsted, so I cut down the pattern and designed my own color work graphs.  I took inspiration from the awesome book Knit Nordic by Eline Oftedal.  It's a great book that uses 4 traditional Norwegian sweater patterns to make 20 different accessories.  There is a great pattern for Christmas stockings that made it on my list of things to knit.  

These 4 beauties went to my mother-in-law.  I honestly was very tempted to keep them for myself so I decided that I will start making my own starting now so I can have them on my tree for the next Christmas.  Iv'e learned a little lesson in knitting these: you really have to stuff them until they are about to burst.  I've seen some people use styrofoam balls inside but I prefer the stuffing.  What ever floats your boat.  Maybe I'll write up a few free patterns of my original designs and share them throughout the year.  

I finished my little niece's chevron blanket just in time for Christmas.  It really is a beautiful blanket and it knit up easily.  I would definitely consider making one again.  With the cold weather finally making an appearance in New York, it will be put to good use.  (I hope!)  

Last but not least, my nephew requested a blue hat for Christmas.  Of course I couldn't say no.  I couldn't decide to make it dark blue or light blue so I decided both.  The hat is double knit so it's reversible and extra warm.  This was the first time I've ever done double knitting.  It really was quite easy.  It just goes to show you shouldn't be scared to try new techniques!  

I did make one more thing for Christmas but I never took a photo of it completed.  My husband has been begging me to make him another hat for awhile.  I finally went through my stash and picked out a squishy brown ball of yarn and knit away.  The first attempt was a fail.  It looked like a giant cupcake.  The second try was perfection!  I would tell you more but I intend to take some photos of said hat.  I liked it so much I made myself a matching one!

Next Christmas I will try to be more organized and start my gift projects in September!  It's such a relief to be done with it though.  Now it's time for selfish knitting.  No deadlines, no worry.  Just a cup of coffee or tea and some knitting needles and yarn.  Pure heaven.

If you're curious about my latest projects, check out my Instagram.  I've really become addicted to it and you'll probably see pics of my work before I get around to posting it here.  Happy knitting!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

WIP: Baby Hats Mania

I've missed my usual Wednesday post this week due to a hectic schedule, but better late than never!   This week it's all about baby.  My mom decided to put together an impromptu baby shower for my sister this coming Sunday and I really wanted to get a few hand made items finished to gift to her.  I figured hats are super fast for a baby so I busted out a cute little ribbed one with a pompom on top. 

Next I felt like doing something daring so I tried a little color work.  I really had high hopes for this little heart but it just turned in to a blob.  I then tried to embroider a gold outline around the blob to make it more heart-like and now it's just a fancy blob.

After that attempt I tried my hand at some fair isle.  It was perfect!!!  Except for the size of the hat.  I thought the heart blob hat was perfect for a newborn but I wanted this one to be more for a 3 month old. I added way too many stitches to the cast on but I couldn't tell that it was so humongous until I was half way through.  This is more for a 1-2 year old.  I'm planning on ripping this one out and starting over.  Plus the ribbing wasn't working out right either.  But working this jumbo baby hat really made me love color work.  This could definitely become more of a thing for me.

All of these hats are made on US 4 bamboo double pointed needles using Knit Picks Brava worsted in white and tranquil.  The yarn is so great for baby knits that you can just throw in the washing machine.  I probably won't finish anything else by Sunday but I guess I got a head start on Christmas!  

Christmas is a scary thought right now.  It's right around the corner.  I had all these grand ideas of making presents for everyone but obviously that's not going to work out.  If I'm vigilant maybe I can bust out some mitts and maybe some candle cozies.  Maybe I can sew or embroider something?  I better make an idea list.  I foresee a fair isle kindle sleeve in the future for myself too.  Maybe that'll be on the after Christmas knitting list.

By the by, Knit Picks is going to have their annual Cyber Monday sale on Monday, November 16 starting 6 am.  I suggest you check it out!  Last year I didn't find too much I wanted but the year before that I made out with a huge haul!  I look forward to this sale all year.  My wishlist is all updated and ready just in case anything on there is on sale.  It's always nice to treat yourself to a few Christmas gifts, especially when they are craft related!  Happy shopping!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday WIP: Block Sweater

So I was skimming through my overflowing WIP wagon (yes, it's literally a shopping cart full of WIPs and yarn that doesn't fit in my stash boxes) and I found a project that I almost forgot about!  With all this chevron blanket knitting and crocheting I forgot that I started a sweater maybe a year ago.  Heck, it might have been started way longer than that!  If completed it will be my first sweater ever made!  There have been past attempts at sweater making.  Something has always good wrong:  mistakes in stitches, losing place in pattern, being big enough to stick two of me in, etc.  I've always felt like a novice knitter (despite making lace shawls, socks, gloves, and hats) because I've never made a sweater for myself.  Technically I have made one baby sweater, but it was for my nephew and it never fit him, so to me it doesn't count!  With this sweater I can finally redeem myself!

To make this sweater, I'm using the awesome instructions on raglan sweaters from the amazing book The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd.  I highly recommend this book to all knitters.  You can use this instructional book to create your own custom masterpiece or to follow one of the many sweater patterns that it contains.  For the yarn, I'm using Patons Shetland Chunky in black and charcoal.  I've had this yarn for a long long time.  It was actually used for my very first sweater attempt way back when, but unfortunately it was a fail.  The sweater was a fail, not the yarn.  The yarn is actually quite nice.  I'm not a huge fan of acrylic for clothing but the 25% wool it contains eases my mind.  Plus you can just throw this baby in the washing machine and call it a day!  You gotta love that!

I guess it's only fitting using this yarn.  What better way to redeem myself as a knitter than to use the yarn from the very first sad failed attempt to finally complete my FIRST SWEATER?!  Unfortunately this project might have to remain on the back burner.  I think my sister is going to pop her baby out within the next 2 weeks and my gray and white chevron blanket still has a ways to go.  Plus I have these grand ideas of making a hat, booties, and sweater for the baby.  There's no way I have enough time for all that before she's born.  There is always Christmas!

Christmas is a whole other topic.  I really wanted to make this the year of hand-made gifts but I think I should've started on that 6 months ago!  One day I will learn from my mistakes.  I will start months ahead and have enough time to knit myself something for the holidays too.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  Yeah right!  Wishful thinking......

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday WIP: Dressel Shawl

 Blankets, blankets, blankets.  How many blankets can one person make at a time?  This Wednesday I'm going to introduce my new project that I just cast on this past week.  It's a beautiful shawl from the 2014 Accessories edition of Knitscene magazine.  This is the Dressel Shawl by Megi Burl.  It's available to purchase in the Interweave store.  If you don't happen to have the magazine I highly suggest you try to find it because there are some great patterns in it.

In the pattern, they suggest using Knit Picks Stroll Sport but unfortunately it has been discontinued.  As an alternative I have substituted it for Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport.  It's 100% Peruvian Highland wool so it's not as soft as Stroll's merino wool, but it'll keep you nice and toasty warm in the winter.  Megi uses a vibrant orange called Pumpkin in Stroll, but Wool of the Andes Pumpkin is very muted so I went with a red-orange shade called Saffron.  Also, I was afraid that if it was too orange then it would look too halloween-ish (which might be appropriate this month but not so much in January).  The other shade is black but in Wool of the Andes it's Coal.

It appears this shawl combines many different techniques so I might not suggest it for a beginner, unless you're feeling daring.  From what it appears, it includes color work, intarsia, and picking up stitches and knitting side ways.  This is actually the first time I've ever done intarsia.  I'm not a fan of all those tangles of string hanging every which way while I'm trying to hold tension and switch and twist colors, but the results look good.  I'm finally using my bobbins that I bought like 3 years ago.  I don't have enough for every strand but at least I can use them for every other strand.

Since my niece should be born a month from now I'm feeling the pressure to finish her gray and white chevron blanket.  I really want to make a hat with matching mittens and booties for her also but I'm running out of time.  This shawl will probably get pushed to the side for awhile until I get her projects  done.  I would love to make a dress or sweater for her but that can be saved for Christmas.  Then again, Christmas is right around the corner!  If only I could knit all day instead of working.  Maybe I should get a lotto ticket.  A knitter can dream.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday

I'm going to start a new special weekly post.  I introduce to you Throwback Thursday.  In these posts I will show off my own past projects that haven't been blogged about and also handmade goodies made by my family that have been passed down to me.  Being a crafter,  you can instantly connect to and appreciate these pieces because you understand the work and time put in to creating them.  They serve as inspirations and reminders that what we do when we craft is special.  We are creating memories by hand.  The generations after you could have a piece of you that they can hold in their hands.  It's our legacy.

So here is a cluster of beautiful doilies featuring the famous pineapple motif.  They were crocheted by my maternal grandmother, my Nanny.  Unfortunately I didn't really get to know her too well.  She had a stroke around the time I was born and lost her speech and then passed away when I was about 6.  My mother tells me she was a wonderful knitter and crocheter.  She has piles of doilies that her mother made and now some of those were passed down to me.  These are about 7 1/2 inches in diameter and crocheted in an off white shade.  I'm sure there are numerous patterns on Ravelry that are similar; its such a classic doily.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday WIP

It's time for another Wednesday WIP!!  It's a good thing I have multiple projects going because my crocheted yellow chevron blanket is going to be a long long long process.  I think you'd get bored of seeing the same thing every week!  Well, I guess this project isn't that different.  It's still chevron!  And a blanket!!

One of my sisters is expecting her second child in November.  I offered to make a blanket of her choice and wouldn't you know, she picked chevron!  What is it about those zig zags?  The baby's room is all set up and the main theme is gray and white chevron with splashes of pink (it's a girl!).  I've been loving the crochet chevron blanket that I've been making for myself so I was excited to start another one.

I personally prefer knit blankets for babies rather than crocheted.  Knit has a lighter softer feel to me and an easier drape to wrap that bundle of joy in.  Plus I needed to switch it up a little!  I found a great free knit chevron pattern on Ravelry.  I highly recommend checking out the creators' website, Espace Tricot.  They have a beautiful store in Montreal and, although I've never been there, it's on my places to visit if I ever plan a vacation!  Is it weird that I think about knitting shops when thinking of vacations?  Nah!  I bet you do too!

This beauty is being made with Knit Picks Brava worsted in white and silver.  It's a quality acrylic yarn that I've used for two other baby blankets and a baby hat because of it's soft texture and easy washing care.  Did I mention the cost?  $2.99 for 218 yards!  That's a good deal!  Not to make this all about Knit Picks (Knit Picks is awesome!!) but I am also using their amazing Options Interchangeable Nickel Plated Circular Needles.  I absolutely love this set!  I store them in my Pendleton Zippered Needle Case.  It's a great way to organize all those needles.  Plus, it's pretty.  

     So far this blanket has been a treat to knit.  It's going surprisingly fast and you can easily memorize the repeats.  I have a little over a month to finish this and I have plans for a few more baby related projects to start.  It's always exciting when a new baby arrives.  They're so tiny and cute and you just want to cover them in wonderful handmade things!  Typically the items are small too so it's not a big time sucker, that way you have more time to spend with the baby!  And of course I can't forget about my nephew, the baby's big brother.  I'm sure he wouldn't mind a handmade toy or cool new winter hat!  My list of things to make is growing by the second!  Good thing I have a huge stash of yarn all ready to be used.  I hear it calling my name!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday WIP

So.... it's been a long time since I've posted anything.  Well let's jump right in!  I have decided to start a Wednesday WIP.  Every Wednesday I will be sharing my current WIPs (Work In Progress).  I've never been good at keeping up with a posting schedule but I think it'll benefit me in the long run.

This summer has been filled with crazy changes that have caused me some major stress and panic attacks.  I'm talking full on panic.  The kind of panic that I would imagine a prisoner walking to the guillotine would have.  Looking back over the crazy stressful events, my husband pointed out something to me- over the last couple of months he's noticed I haven't been working on my knitting.  No knitting. No crocheting.  No embroidery.  I was denying myself all the things that keep me happy.  He was totally right.  My crafts keep me sane!  They help calm me down when I'm stressed.  I wasn't allowing myself to have any time to decompress and unwind.  Crafting is my therapy.  There are numerous scientific studies out there that prove it.  Everyone!!  Keep that crafting going!  The world could be a safer, better, happier place!

So, picking those needles and hooks back up, here is my first WIP in the project pile.  This blanket of sunshine is pure HAPPY!!  I'm using the pattern Chevron Baby Blanket from the very cool blog Eat, Knit & DIY.  Krista fills in the the bottom and top zig zags to make a straight edge but I happen to like the points that it naturally makes so I'm leaving them as is.  I'm also making this blanket big enough to fit a full size bed.  More to cuddle!  I have to admit, I am not a very experienced crocheter.  I learned the most basic of basics from my grandmother when I was very very young but I've only recently been diving into it with seriousness.  This, in my opinion, is a great beginners blanket.  Easy repeats.  Easy to stitch while watching TV.  

I'm using Caron One Pound acrylic worsted yarn.  I'm not a huge fan of acrylic but considering how much this sucker is going to get washed, it seems like that best choice.  This particular yarn is a little scratchy but it does soften up after a wash.  With lots of fabric softener.  I'm using the colors white and sunflower.  Doesn't it just instantly make you smile?  Sunshine.  That's what i want to see laying on my couch when I come home from a long day at work.  Pure happiness in the form of blanket.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

FOs To Share

Lately I feel like I've been knitting and crocheting so much, but when I signed in to blogger to update my progress I realized I really had nothing to share!  How many pictures of dish clothes do you really need to see!  I have been using them, by the way.  It's definitely different then using a regular sponge, but it makes me feel so happy using those colorful little swatches.  My Chevron Shawl is forever in progress.  I did knit several more inches, but I feel like it's not enough to really want to share yet.  I'm madly in love with Knit Picks Capretta because of it.  I highly recommend it.  So lusciously soft!  

Today I decided to show off a couple of projects that have been sitting around my apartment waiting to be finished and photographed.  First up is a cowl I first started talking about way back when in March of 2012.  I can't believe it was that long ago.  It's when I introduced Andy to the world.  Once I was done turning worsted acrylic into super bulky acrylic I knit it up into a chunky cowl.  It looked really cool except it was too chunky and stiff!  Sadly, it was not worn and was draped over a chair to get it out of the way.  It stayed on that chair for almost a year and a half.  That's when I realized something.  It looked great there!  

I placed the cowl in its permanent place and sewed up the top.  I still wanted the option to take it off and throw it in the wash so the bottom is just tied with some left over yarn.  Now it looks right.  I'm not sad for that cowl anymore.  It's a happy little chair cover now.  It has found its rightful place in this world.

It kind of makes me want to knit more things for my home.  Why should knitwear be confined to people!  Let it loose!  Hence my next project, the crocheted basket.  I finished this guy over a month ago but I haven't gotten around to felting it until last week.  I think I kept putting off the felting process because I've never done it before.  I was scared.  Finally I gathered enough courage to dump that sucker into a tub of hot soapy water and swished away.  Ten minutes in and I thought I clearly had done something wrong.  It looked loose and stretched.  Another ten minutes later it happened.  It started to felt.  I don't know how long I really sat there crouched in my bathtub with my felting bucket but it hurt.  I took a dinner break and then went right back to it.  Finally the holes started closing in.  A glorious fuzz has appeared!  I HAVE FELTED!!!  Truth be told, I probably should have felted it a bit more but whatever!  I'm impatient.  

Now this awesome basket holds my awesome Chevron Shawl and all its wool.  I'm thinking about adding handles and stitching the white brim down.  We'll see.  No rush.

Just to update you on the dish cloth craze, I have finally finished my last dish cloth.  Now I have moved on to crocheting a big mat for my drying rack.  I bought two drying mats from Target but they get stinky pretty quickly.  Plus they're beige and boring.  Cue the color!  Obviously I had to buy some more colorfully fun cotton Sugar 'n Cream!  I'm only a third done with the first mat.  It's going to take at least 3 balls.

My Patons wool is calling me to start another basket.  I hear it quietly whispering to me.  Who am I to ignore it.  Stitch away!!!

Is anyone making things for the house and not themselves?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dish Cloth Addict

Hello.  My name is Paula and I am a dish cloth addict.  Seriously.  I don't know what's gotten in to me.  For the past 2 weeks I have been obsessed with making small dish cloths using Tunisian crochet.  I love the texture that Tunisian crochet creates.  One side is smooth while the other is rough and bumpy.

I intend to use these cloths for washing my dishes so I made them fairly small.  I have tiny hands and larger cloths flop around to much.  I like when they fit in the palm of my hand.  I certainly had plenty of cotton yarn to choose from already but I'm not excited by the colors.  I have a very bright and colorful kitchen so I wanted something that would compliment that.  I took a fast trip to A.C. Moore and picked up some fun multi colors of Sugar n' Cream.  I used what I owned already to do a single crochet border.  Each ball made 5 cloths.

I think Tunisian crochet might be perfect for making sturdy baskets too.  This was definitely a nice break from the never-ending Chevron Shawl.  Sometimes you have to mix things up!  I still have more cotton left so I'm not done with this craze yet.  Of course, minutes ago my niece asked to go to the craft store.  Let's see how much cotton I'll buy now!