Friday, January 20, 2017

Hello 2017

So we have entered a new year and as usual we look back on the previous year to reflect on how we can make the next one better. Resolutions have rarely worked out well for me, but I make them anyway. One of my resolutions this year is to make and document 25 unique yarn projects. Ideally I want to try styles and techniques out of my comfort zone, and then post what I've learned here. I also hope that some of those 25 will be original projects. 2016 was not a very productive year for me in terms of knitting and crochet, but I hope to make much in 2017 -- and also make a heavy dent in my yarn stash.

I also have quite a handful of unfinished projects lying around, and who knows if I'll get around to finishing them. If I complete them should they count towards my 25? I'm not sure. But here's a list! (This is so embarrassing, I can't finish a damn thing....)

Leftover 2016 Projects


1 -- Budding Shawlette -- I've been trying to make this one into a full-length shawl. The pattern is fairly simple once you get used to it, but I have to keep track of what row I'm one when I put it down or else I waste too much time trying to figure it out when I come back. The yarn I'm using for this is wonderful, and I've talked about it before. The yardage is huge so I'm just going to keep going until I run out. I think this colorway is going to look beautiful in this. 
2 -- 3/4 Granny Square -- This is just something I started working on during the spring and abandoned. It's very simple, but the repetitiveness bored me, although I'd like to pick it up again. I'm not completely sure what I would do with this but I want to finish this just to see.

Rainbow Baby Blanket -- This one I started working on just before the Christmas season. As I don't have a baby in my life at the moment, this sort of fell by the wayside. It's a nice, simple, portable pattern. Plus, I got more of this colorway during KnitPicks' recent Felici restock so this might turn into a longer project as well!


Bonus 2015 Leftover Project: Regatta Tee -- I also talked about this a while back when I finished the first half, and I'm ashamed to say I never got back to it. I would like to complete it one day, although I'm afraid that my gauge has changed since then -- I might have to create another gauge swatch.

2017 Project Ideas

  1. Looking at my Ravelry queue, I think I should finally get to some patterns that I've obviously been eyeing for years. I am in need of more gloves so I might finally get around to Mitaines Rainbow, which has been in my queue since before it was even actually available. The Chilkat Cowl is another one that I've always thought was really beautiful. I'm always knitting hats so I'm sure I'll get around to some of the ones in the queue.
  2. Francoise Danoy of ArohaKnits is one of my favorite designers. Her pieces are so gorgeous and unique, but I'm always a little intimidated by them. I've made a couple of shawls of hers, but I'm still mystified by any shape not a triangle. That's why I've signed up for her 5 Shawls, 5 Days Challenge. I watched it go on last year but missed the sign up for the actual challenge. Luckily it's going on again this year and I have signed up, and am posting what I do on my Instagram. Frenchie also offered up a Top 5 of 2016 bundle of patterns at the end of December (the coupon's expired now) that I totally snatched up. That pullover sweater is one of my dream projects, but I'm not sure if I have the attention span to make a sweater.
  3. I have had a Sock Crush subscription since August. I was never able to even complete the first sock. Socks are just impossible for me. I keep trying to knit them two at a time, and if I don't then I just never get around to the second sock. However, I do want to successfully get into sock knitting consistently. Now I have a backlog of patterns complete with the right yarn. I really want to get complete at least one month's sock. In the meantime, I'm going to adjust my subscription.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Schuyler Sisters

L-R: Angelicaaaaa, Eliiiiiza, and peggy

I could share a million pictures of these girls but there are size limits on this site.

For months now I've been obsessed with this musical. I even have some of those impossible to get tickets to see it in New York City next month — just days after the main actors of the original company leave but I'm not bitter! In case you've been living under a rock for the past year, these are the Schuyler sisters from the musical Hamilton. Angelica (work, work), Eliza, and Peggy have the catchiest number in the show and that — combined with their color coordinating outfits — made me want to make them in crochet form. I started months ago at the beginning of the year, and looked at all the official and unofficial photos I could google for reference. Back in April, the Hamiltome came out and I had a handy hard copy reference in its pictures. That's the Schuyler Sisters section of the book in the background of the photo above. It's been a long, difficult task but I'm happy to finally be able to show them off!

The Schuyler Sisters are made completely with KnitPicks Brava Sport yarn and a 2.25 mm hook, meaning that they turned out a lot smaller than the Sailor Senshi I made last year. A much better size for space and display, in my opinion. I also didn't use a pattern for these, although I took elements of design that I rather liked from the pattern I used for the Senshi. I crocheted each doll with her dress, so each one was made slightly differently. Angelica's V-neck was rather difficult but I made it work (work!). I also learned how to embroider French Knots to make the buttons on Eliza and Peggy's tops.


And, of course, my favorite part of doll-making is the hair! These were definitely easier than trying to recreate anime hair, but I think they also turned out better. Eliza doesn't have a giant blue hair tie in the show, but I thought it looked cute so I kept it. I'm not quite sure if Peggy's hair is in a pony tail in the show, but it was the closest approximation I could get. And Angelica's hair was my absolute favorite. Renee Elise Goldsberry's wig in the show is slicked back at the front with loose curls in the back. The way I achieved this was by sewing strands of hair flat against the wig cap starting from the forehead, and then adding the curly strands starting at the top of the head. For Peggy and Angelica's curls I crocheted a flat piece of fabric before starting any of the dolls and then just unraveled it all when it was time to make the hair. I even over estimated the amount of yarn I would need, so I have enough hair left over for at least one more doll. I now have the urge to make the other woman (pun intended) of this show: Maria Reynolds.



Linking up with Yarn Along once again. Excited to see what other people are working on.





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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Yarn Goodies

I've been going through a process of decluttering my life, and have sadly decided that I must cull my book collection. I'm a huge advocate for ebooks because, while I do love the bookish aesthetic, I firmly believe that what really matters is the content and not the physical medium. That and physical books take up so much space that I just don't have. I've been taking bits and pieces of my collection to used bookstores that are sure to find them new lives and good homes, and have tried to follow a physical book ban. Last week, I took some to The Last Bookstore on my way home from work and made a pretty penny that I immediately spent upstairs.

The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles is the largest new and used bookstore in California, located in a former bank building, and seriously one of the coolest places to see in town. Seriously look up pictures of the inside, especially the Labyrinth, which is located on the mezzanine level along with art galleries and the place that provided the lovely goodies in the picture above -- Gather DTLA. This yarn shop is inside the bookstore, so you'll have to enter there first (such a sacrifice I know!) and then go upstairs to the yarn. This is such a dangerous and expensive combo of shopping but I love it.

On my trip last week I got the three cakes pictured above. They're all Tern by Quince & Co., in the color ways Oyster (gray) and Wampum (purple). They yarn is a fingering wool/silk blend that's sure to make a gorgeous and soft garment. I'm definitely in the mood to make a shawl but haven't quite settled on the right pattern. Although, I think I will put this yarn on the back burner for a while because while the cashier was winding up my hanks into those cute little cakes I fell in love with the other yarn in the picture. 

The hank pictured above is Caribbean by the brand In the Deep Hue Sea. This was in the local yarns section of the store. The brand is based in Huntington Beach, California. I fell in love with the simple speckles of red on white — although it was a little concerning when I got home and realized the color way was called Lovers Quarrel! It's a fingering Merino/Nylon blend, and at 463 yards one hank is enough for a small shawl — good because that's all I was able to afford on the day before pay day. I've never purchased a single skein or hank more than $10, and at $24 this one was very daunting. I made up my mind a dozen times while my other yarns were getting wound. I didn't get it that day, but I regretted it as soon as I left the store. This past weekend (with a fresh paycheck yay!) I went back and I got it. It was so satisfying, knowing it wasn't an impulse purchase. I already have a pattern picked out, and I'll be sure to share when it's finished.

Since I had to go back down to the bookstore to exit outside, and the person I was with was buying books anyway, I bought one too. My ban isn't going very well. I bought Los Angeles Noir — a collection of mystery/detective short stories based in Los Angeles. This is pretty big series with various entries focusing on different cities. I even had to read Mexico City Noir for a class and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd give the one based on my own city a shot.
Linking up with Yarn Along a little late, but still happy to see what people are working on!

Monday, May 30, 2016

FO: Tipless Gloves


The weather has been wacky in Los Angeles lately. (Yes, we do have weather!) When I started these it was bloody cold out, especially on my early morning commute to work. Of course — because my life always works out like this — by the time I was finished things settled back into the lovely warm and sunny weather that we're known for. However, making these was not a complete waste of time, given that the air conditioner in my office is always turned up to Russian winter levels of cold. (Seriously, I'm bundled up in scarves and gloves and sweaters all day, and then feel so ridiculous when it's time to leave and I'm sweating through all my clothes.) On my first week at this new job I knew I had to make these. I have to type into a computer all day and realized that I was sitting on my hands to keep them warm when I didn't have to type.

The design of these is the simplest it could possibly be, save for the color changes at the fingers. I wanted to make something quick, not necessarily interesting to make but nice to wear and see. These were made starting with a 2K2P ribbed cuff that transition into plain stockinette palms. Using KnitPicks Brava Sport yarn borrowed from another project (more to come later!), I made these in the span of a weekend. The yarn is on the thicker side of sport, which means that I'll definitely start sweating if I wear them outside but are perfect under the colder A/C settings. Since I used my own hands for measurement, these are perfectly tailored to fit me.
I love them for their simplicity, but I did feel that there needed to have a little variety somewhere, hence the multi-colored fingers. I'll admit that my biggest regret is that I didn't have another shade of brown available. However, they do serve their purpose wonderfully and these are sure to become a staple for cold days — provided I don't do as I'm prone to do and lose them in a month.

Monday, April 11, 2016

FO: Caterpillar Foods



In my last post I explained that I was making foods from The Very Hungry Caterpillar for my sister's pre-school students. She only asked for the fruits, but I was able to make a couple of the junk foods the caterpillar eats. I think they all turned out rather well and I'm excited to show them off!
On Monday, the caterpillar eats one apple. This was the first thing I made, and I think it turned out adorably. I definitely recommend the pattern for other apple needs, perhaps a teacher gift?

Two pears for Tuesday. These are adorable. The pattern is here. Pro-tip: add the stalk before stuffing and tie it to the tail yarn from the magic loop. It's easier than passing it through afterwards and more secure.

Plums. They look nothing like the plums in the book, which look more like blueberries in my opinion. I think these are a little more true to life plums.

In the last post I mentioned that my first strawberry turned out way bigger than anticipated. I changed my hook each time for the next three, and it resulted in a multi-sized strawberries. Pattern

Of Friday, the caterpillar went through five oranges. There's no pattern for these as they're just regular spheres. I did use green yarn for the first row to designate the belly button (??? I just realized I don't know what that's called. I'm not up on orange anatomy.), and continued the rest in orange yarn. I was going to add stems because the book has a couple of them, but the green/orange combo made them look like sad little pumpkins. I thought the bigger ones were better, but my sister preferred the smaller ones. Personally, I think those look more like Cuties than traditional oranges — but, hey, they're not for me.

 

Just before cocooning himself for his epic transformation, the caterpillar gorged himself on junk food. My sister wanted mostly the fruits and didn't hold me to the junk given that it was a pretty short-notice assignment. However, I did deliver the best of the food: cherry pie and chocolate cake! The cherry pie in particular was my sister's favorite.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hooked On: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I have a fun new project. My sister's preschool class is about to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and she enlisted me to create some props. If you're unfamiliar, the very hungry caterpillar eats various fruits and other foods before he becomes a (spoiler alert!) beautiful butterfly.
I've already made a few of the fruits, although there's much more to go — it was a very hungry caterpillar.
  • Apple — I only have to make one but so far this my favorite pattern. It shapes up beautifully.
  • Pear — I need to make two and I'm debating whether to make them both the same color.
  • Strawberry — I was too lazy to change hook size, so this one turned out way bigger than expected. I suppose it would be realistic to have varying sizes of strawberries.

If anyone has any pattern suggestions for the other fruits, please leave me a link in the comments! 
Joining Yarn Along once again. Check out what everyone else is up to.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

FO:  Irish Hat

This will forever be my Irish hat. If I ever make it back to the Emerald Isle I'll be sure to bring this along, just to make more memories.



What I love about this hat is the textures. I mixed cables with a variation of moss stitch (my favorite basic stitch pattern). I've mentioned before that I was just winging it, and I'm so surprised that it didn't turn into a total disaster as is usually the case when I do that. The only part I don't like is the large patch of purls visible on one side. This came about because the honeycomb section was going to be larger but I noticed my miscalculations a few rows in. I had to undo everything in the middle of a row and it seemed easiest to just have a larger patch of purls separating the woven cables and honeycomb. Unfortunately this section was between double pointed needles as a I knitted, causing ugly laddering. Fortunately from the outside it's not too noticeable, and I was also able to sew from the inside for a little extra tightness. Next time I do this I'll probably just make it a moss stitch section.

Speaking of, I'm already working on a second version (with the fixed column). If I ever learn how to write a charted pattern, I might even publish it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Pinch of Green


This is me finally using the yarn I got in Ireland. (Also pictured is my sheep mug, also purchased in Ireland.) I purchased this 100% wool yarn from the Aran Sweater Market at Inis Mor in the Aran Islands. The store was full of beautiful knits, but sadly the beautiful sweaters were a little a lot out of my price range. It's a shame too because they looked so warm and my SoCal self was so so cold. Luckily the store did have hanks upon hanks of lovely wool! There were tons of color options, but of course I had to get this more budget-friendly yarn in green.

I've been wanting to use this yarn for ages but I couldn't decide on what, and I was too scared to even gauge swatch so as not to waste and inch. I knew I wanted a hat because wool is very itchy so it would never get much use as a scarf or gloves. I also wanted a cabled pattern because after looking at all the cables in Ireland it seemed like a shame to waste this yarn on plain stockinette. I didn't need specifically Irish cable patterns, but cables at all seemed appropriate. However, after looking at tons of patterns and not really feeling any that were *right* — and also really feeling the urge to have something for St. Patrick's Day NOT GONNA LIE — I decided to take the plunge and just do SOMETHING.

Starting a with a base of 96 stitches for the ribbed brim I began knitting. I didn't even gauge swatch but I figured it would fit snugly, but a the ribbing would give the elasticity needed. When it was time to knit the body I decided on blocks of textured knits and cables so that I wouldn't be fatigued trying to do cables all around. I have a very love-hate relationship with cables. I have two strips of honeycomb cables, one block of moss stitch, one block of double moss stitch, and one block of cables resembling a woven pattern, with purl columns separating each. Annoyingly, I do have a block of purls that is bigger than I intended, as a result of changing the pattern a few rows in. This was the first time I've ever gone into a cable pattern without having a clear plan. It was always somewhat a fear of mine to start cabling without a pattern, so I'm glad to say Fear Conquered!

I really love the way this beanie turned out and I'm so glad that will actually be ready for St. Patrick's Day! The finished product still needs some blocking but I'll be sure to show the results later. I also have plenty of yarn left for a second take of this baby.
I'm including this post in Yarn Along. Looks like a great way to see what people are working on!