Mara Shawl FO

Mara shawl
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I finished the Mara shawl!  I am happy with the finished result, and am also surprised at how much I actually like the bit of ruffle on the edge.  Maybe this project will persuade me to incorporate them more often. . . eh, we’ll see.

The yarn worked out great on this project – the stripes, the fading bit toward the bottom, and the blue edging are all lovely.
I think handspun always works well on shawls, and I got pretty lucky that I had just enough of the blue to complete the edging!

Mara Shawl

Details
Pattern: Mara by Madelinetosh
Yarn: Handspun (body fiber originally dyed by Spunky Eclectic; Ruffle section dyed by me)

Next up, I’m working on a challenging and secret project that will probably take me forever, but it will be worth it in the end!

Mara Shawl

Mara Shawl in Handspun
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Mara Shawl in handspun

My knittas and I have started a bit of a knit-a-long!  Here are the specs:

Pattern: Mara ShawlYarn: Handspun (fiber dyed by Spunky Eclectic)

I really love working with handspun yarn on projects like this.  The garter stitch makes it super easy to carry around to work on and the handspun helps to keep it interesting.  There’s a really good chance that I will run out of yarn before I reach the end, but I’ll just work the trim in a coordinating color.

It’s a fun knit and I expect to see quite a few of these shawls around town. ;)

A Very Braidy Cowl

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I finished another knit!  I wanted something quick and relatively simple to work on, so I was thrilled when I came across A Very Braidy Cowl by Maryse Roudier

Very Braidy Cowl

I really enjoyed it because of the small amount of time it took to complete, as well as the fact that it didn’t get boring for me.  I love cables, and I especially love big cables (is that wrong?!)

Enough gab, here’s some photos:

A Very Braidy Cowl

Here’s some more details over on Ravelry.

Since I’m on break, life has been all about knitting, photos, reading, and working lately and it feels awesome.  I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday and Happy (belated) New Years!

Kindle & Knit

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  My family and I celebrated the holiday by staying home and having a great dinner made by my mom.  Simple.  I love simple.
One of my favorite gifts was an Amazon Kindle, and I gotta say that I am falling in love with it.  1) Browsing books online is one of my favorite past times; 2) I wanted to keep my physical library to a minimum, but don’t like getting rid of books; 3) I can buy and read books anywhere; 4) It’s lightweight.
In all honesty, I was a little worried that it would take time for me to get used to the screen, but the Kindle has a screen unlike a computer or phone. . . it really is like reading something on paper.  I also worried that I wouldn’t like the lack of page turning (it’s something I love about reading from paper books), but pushing a button isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. :)  The one and only thing that I will miss that the kindle cannot replace is the smell of books.  Ah well, life is about give and take anyway.

Enough of that – I’m gonna prove to you that I still knit.

Abalone Cardigan

Pattern: Abalone by Beata Jezek
Yarn: Hand dyed (main) and Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (cc)

The sleeves turned out too big for me, but I intentionally knit the body a little bigger so that I could close it up in the front if I needed to (with a shawl pin).  Either way, I’m pretty happy with it and I’ve almost completed another project which will be posted soon!

In the meantime, give me book recommendations!

Mojo-A-Go-Go

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I haven’t had a lot of knitting mojo in the last few weeks, and it’s not because there isn’t anything in my queue (that’s definitely not the case) – but mostly because I get in a rut when I feel forced to knit or crochet.  If that doesn’t make sense: I don’t like creating stuff that I didn’t originally feel like creating in the first place.  So, that mixture of being forced to make things that I’m not too big on to begin with plus school (read: writing papers upon papers) is just the right tincture to put me in a crafty rut.
However, that’s all changed within the last couple weeks;  a student wanted to learn to spin, so of course I said “Yes!” because we need more spinners ’round here – and she has put me back on track!  In our first lesson, I was reminded of how much I love to spin so I finished spinning up some Funky Carolina fiber that’s been sitting around for months into a very lovely lace.

Details
Funky Carolina – “Floralsplosion”
100% Merino
4 oz.
862 yards
25 WPI (Lace)

Now I just have to figure out what to make with it!  Suggestions welcome. ;)

Also off the needles is my Handspun Ripley (rav link)

Details
Pattern: Ripley by Ysolda Teague from the Whimsical Little Knits 2 collection
Size: Small
Yarn: Handspun from Lorna’s Laces fiber in “Montrose” colorway
Date: April 10-11, 2010

This hat was made out of a heavy worsted weight which made it knit up in less than 24 hours.  Usually I’m not really a hat wearer, but I love this hat and I plan on making more, especially because this one is just a smidge too tight for me. . . but I love it all the same.  I’ve been a fan of Ysolda’s designs for a long time, and this pattern has deepened my faith in her knitta skillz – it’s simple but interesting and depending on the band you decide to knit for it (lace or garter) it can look delicate or modern.
When I was spinning the fiber, I was less than thrilled with the color that was developing, but now that it has been knit up I like it a lot, and I’ve got just a bit left over for a crochet square or something. :)

Wowweeee. . .

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Excuse me while I dust the cobwebs off of my blog header. . . k, all done.  For the 5 readers who still check in from time to time, soooo sorry to have abandoned you for so long!  There is a lot of catching up to do, but I’ll mostly do it with a photo and a short explanation to get this blog back up to speed.

1.  Monster is officially 5 years old!! Craziness, I tell you.  Not only does he grow like a weed, but lately he’s been very assertive in terms of his independence, as in, “talking back”/”stepping over the line” or whatever phrase you’d like to use.  And although he has his moments, I love the kid to no end;  he’s at such a fantastic age where he’s like a sponge for knowledge, very imaginative, is able to make complete sentences (but still jumbles his thoughts), cares whether he looks “cool” or not, and can sit down for a real mommy-to-son chat.  All of those things and so much more, of course.  He amazes me constantly, and I’m so proud of him and Bobo.  I feel extremely lucky to be blessed with such awesome kiddos.  Really.
Oh, and he got some snow on his birthday. ;)

Monster's 5th Birthday

The boys and I on Monster's 5th birthday

2. Knitting has taken a backseat in my life lately.  Not that I’m not interested in it anymore (not by any means!) but I think holiday scarf knitting just sucks all of the joy out of the process for a moment in time.  I’m still working on a scarf that I promised my mom, and it’s nearly done.  But I won’t allow myself to work on anything else until it’s finished, because otherwise the scarf will never get completed, lol.
When I get my knitting mojo back, it’ll probably be a big post. ;)

3. Hooping has been sneaking it’s way up in my life, as I find myself loving it more and more with each practice session.  I will dedicate a whole post to it and how it’s influencing my life, but for now I’ll leave it at that.

4.  I am now a double major!  I will now be getting a bachelor of arts degree in Studio Art (Fibers) and Photography.  I know, I know – I agree that I am probably quite cuckoo in the head, but my intuition was telling me that something needed be done about the excitement that Photography brings to my life.  Being in the darkroom is a bit like a sanctuary to me;  Fibers is of course a major love of mine. . . but Photography has been my love since I was a child and it feels foolish to ignore it.
So – it only added one semester onto my life sentence years of college, so I don’t see why there is not any reason to not go for it.

Alright!  Hopefully I will be back soon to post in detail about what’s going on in my life (because there is a TON more to tell), but for now I leave it with a small dose of my roller coaster existence.

Crunch Time

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Well, it’s officially crunch time in terms of getting everything that needs to be finished, done in time for Christmas.  I’ve placed my last order through Amazon, wrapped a few presents (with some to go yet. . . ), and have finished some knitting projects (and ripped out some knitting as well)!

What is this about the ripping of knitting, you ask?  Well, as it turns out, Monster’s sweater will not be making an appearance in time for Christmas because Mommy doesn’t have a good sense of making a sweater from scratch. YET.  I’m guessing that I just added too much ease, therefore the sweater was a bit too wide for him for my liking.  And it needed to be a little longer in the torso as well – it’s easily fixable, but then I would have to rip back to the short rows. . . . yada, yada, yada.
Either way, I want his sweater to be done right and not fudged, so I will restart it after the holidays have passed.

On the other hand, I finished a scarf for him!  And I will be casting on for his brother’s scarf tonight. :)

Details
Pattern – Noro Striped Scarf from Jared Flood
Yarn – Malabrigo Merino Worsted
Notes – CO 35, worked until it measured 43 inches

Also, a big thanks to Stacy for picking out the colors!

More from the holiday happenings ’round here after Christmas! :)

A week later. . .

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Look! I’m blogging after only a week of silence!  Let’s get started, shall we?

Classes:
Nope, not going to talk about school classes – but I do want to share my teaching schedule with you for this month at The Knitting Nest.
There will be 2 crochet classes and 1 kool-aid dyeing class!  Look for more details at TKN’s website, but here are some photos to get you interested:

1. Christmas Light Bulb Ornament — Friday Dec. 11th from 4 to 5:30pm

2. Dyeing Yarn w/ Kool-Aid! — Saturday Dec. 12th from 3:30 to 6pm (only 4 spots available for this one, sign up quick!)

3. Super Mario Invincibility Star — Sunday Dec. 13th from 4:30 to 6pm  (you can make it w/ or w/o eyes)

Knitting:
I wasn’t sure if I was going to knit any Christmas presents this year after going through tons of scarves last year, but alas, I just can’t help myself.
There are a couple of projects cookin’, but I can’t show all of them on here for fear of the recipient seeing their gift. . . you understand. ;)
However, I can show you what I’m going to try and knit Monster: a Seamless Hybrid sweater out of some Dream In Color “Classy” I bought.  It’s gorgeous, really.  I’ve never used this yarn before, but so far it is an absolute joy to knit with!

Speaking of Monster, today he said he wanted to look “cool” – and I think he did a job well done.  He has an official new nickname (coined by the one and only Amandizzzzle) – “L-Money” (or “L$$”??).  Either way, my kid is totally cool in my book, and not just because of his shades. ;)

Last but not least:
My good friend, Snowden the knitonaire, has a new pattern out!  So run, don’t walk, to get your very own Agatha pattern.

Have a great weekend!

Lots Going On

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As usual, school and life have kept me from blogging regularly – and I’m a little backlogged on things to talk about, so I’m just going to start fresh.

Life:
Bobo turned 3 a week ago!
I’m always surprised at how fast children grow, and Bobo is no exception.  Every day I notice how much older he looks, how tall he gets, and how much his vocabulary broadens; sometimes I just love to sit and stare at him with his brother and count my blessings.
Enough with the sappy mom talk, here’s a photo of him (with his Toy Story treasures) on his birthday!

Knitting:
I was making some great progress on my Bernhardt cardigan until I got to the shoulder/sleeve/neck shaping.  It’s the first time I’ve had to work at 2 separate (but together) sections of a project at one time, so I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock.  Staci helped me figure out what I was confused about, but now I’ve reached another speedbump.  UGH.  I’ll get it figured out, but in the meantime I finished a pair of Bella Mittens for Jessica (I didn’t get a photo), some crochet projects for The Knitting Nest, and another Ishbel shawl.
I won’t talk about the crochet projects in this post because I need to take photos, but I will show you how much I love my Ishbel shawl.
All photos were taken by Amanda Klaus (thanks, Amanda!!) and as usual there are more in my flickr stream.

Details (Ravelry details here)
Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Spinning Colors Fingering in “Baroque”
Needles: US 8
Notes: I made the small size, but since I used a larger needle than what the pattern calls for I got a larger shawl than the first one I made.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and I still have yarn left over.

School:
The fall semester is pretty much over and I could not be happier.  It’s been a rough semester because out of 3 classes, I only enjoy 1 of them, but I am looking forward to the Spring semester because I’m taking 4 art classes and NO CORE classes whatsoever.  I’ll be enrolled in Painting I, Fibers III, Intro to Traditional Photography (I get to get back in the dark room!!!) and Art History.  I’ll be really busy, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

That’s all for now, I’ll get some crochet updates up soon. :)

Dress Form

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Dress Form:
Since I’m on a mission of insanity to sew my own Halloween costume this year,  I felt it was time that I get a dress form.  The problem with that idea is that 1.) They’re a bit pricey, 2.) I’m not really sure which brand is better quality and 3.) I need a petite size, and those are kinda hard to find. . . if you have any suggestions let me know!
So, I took it upon myself (with my mom’s help!) to make my own using duct tape.  I went to a few different places to try and figure out the best way to approach this project, and here are a few links to some helpful instructions:

Threads Magazine
Mimi Goodwin’s Video (short version) – great for showing how to work around the curvy parts.
Wild Onion
– I found this one after my dress form was made, and I highly recommend her version.

Here’s mine:

I think it came out okay, but there’s a lot less definition that my actual body. . . which is understandable.  Though, I think if I would have followed the Wild Onion instructions, things would have come out better.
For instance, we worked from the bottom to top – Wild Onion works from top to bottom; working from top to bottom would have kept the sleeves from getting stretched (and hard to work with) like they did from working bottom to top.  When we got to the bust area, we had to snip the top of my sleeves so that it wouldn’t alter the form, and then that made my arm and sleeve area hard to work around because we had to make sure my skin was covered to protect it from the duct tape.
Another thing Wild Onion does that would have made the process faster and simpler – she cut the shirt a little up the back so that she could form it to fit her body.  Since you’re supposed to use a shirt that’s big on you to begin with, her method helps get rid of a lot of unnecessary bulk.
Next time around I’ll use her method!

After we were done taping, it was time to do the stuffing.  I used fiber fill to stuff it, and I like it a lot because it’s really good at getting into the nooks and crannies.  However, as you can see from the photo, I didn’t do a great job stuffing the bust area!  Luckily, it’s still the same measurement as me, but this is one of the spots that I wish had more definition. . . meaning I don’t like how straight across the chest is.  There’s no rise and fall! lol

For the stand, I bought a microphone stand from Guitar Center, and it works great!  I cut out pieces of leftover illustration board I had to fit the neck and base of the form, then cut holes in the board to allow the stand to go through.  It’s adjustable and sturdy.

Now that it’s all done, I just need to start my costume!

Knitting:
As promised, I have finally gotten around to getting a photo of my finished cardigan.  It’s amazingly comfortable and perfect to wear in chilly air.
For this cardigan I knit the collar in plain stockinette because I wanted the rolled collar look, but I think next time (if there is a next time), I will opt for the ribbed collar.
Without further ado, I present the Caribbean Featherweight:

Details
Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fetig
Yarn: Spinning Colors Merino Lace in Caribbean

More details on Ravelry.

That’s it for now!
I hope the dress form experience is helpful to those of you looking to make your own; hopefully I’ll get around to sewing something to show how much having a dress form can help anyone who wants to make their own clothes. :)