Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Abate! Gotta Stay Warm!

Brrrr!!!  Days are getting chilly here.  Camden needed a warm sweater to fight the cold, as her Paint Me a Sweater is short-sleeved, and her Penny Lane IS warm, but a girl doesn't always want a turtle-neck, right???

In comes the Abate sweater, designed by Alicia Plummer (FB page HERE and blog HERE) of the Plum Dandi Ravelry group.  (There does happen to be two adult versions, called Ease...and Bulky Ease.  As for the yarn....oh, the YARN!!!  A big thanks goes to Jenny Porter, the dyer behind MarigoldJen yarns (FB page HERE, ravelry group HERE and shop HERE).  She dyed this yarn at my request, and it's just so lovely.  She called it Up North because I had told her I wanted it in grays, blues and greens to signify that Camden was born on the West side of the Cascade Mountains.  It's the second time I've worked with her yarn, and I have several skeins in my stash because it's all SO GORGEOUS.  Also, duh - she is awesomely sweet and helpful - and quick to respond to Etsy messages!

I've knit one or two of her patterns before, and this one was well-written.  It's clearly mostly stockinette, and you can see on the pattern page that it's meant to have a bit more ease, but I did make it slimmer-fitting; I just can't remember now if that was with intention or not.  I DO know I did make the forearm/wrist area slimmer-fitting, and I think I'd not do that next time.  I love the fit, but I think it'd be nicer for Camden if I hadn't decreased another few stitches.  Also, I will admit to pure laziness:  I should have done a sewn bind-off on the hem and sleeves, and I did NOT :O  And....I should have.  Ugh, but oh well.  I tried to bind off loosely, but that sewn bind-off would have reall helped out for cuff turn-ups and such.  Not a huge biggie, but I should have followed the directions, LOL.

It's a lovely, soft merino sweater, and Camden does find it cozy!  I was a bit silly and made the drawstring too short (btw, THIRD attempt making it...even THEN still too short).  Next time, I'll make sure to do another four inches in length.

I'm super excited about this sweater, too, because I planned for it in a colorway that would work for Tiberius.  I know there'll come a day when I'm moving even slower with knitting than I already do, and I'll be glad I planned ahead.  I do hope, though, that this sweater fits Camden through Fall of 2016 ;)  I did make it longer for that reason.

And of course, some fun shots from recently!
All the knits!  And remember this Bryce Canyon shawl??
Awww, drawing practice
LOL, a Santa!
Art smocks for Jeanine over at Stitch Art
Just another day of Community School
Skillzzzz with Lego

That Apple-Picking Dress!

I did it again - whipped up another favorite!  This is thankfully a favorite for both Camden and myself ;)  The Apple Picking Dress by Oliver and S really is SUCH a great project - cute and quick, and options for skirt pieces and sleeves.
Also wearing that Make Mine Strawberry from this past Spring (too small now, btw! :O )
These faces....
You can see a couple past incarnations HERE, but essentially, I got nothin'.  LOL.  I seriously love the dress and would make a million if I didn't have a million OTHER patterns I also wanted to sew.  (Speaking of, as of today, I haven't sewn in a month, I swear.  I NEED sewing time!)

I also super adore the buttons, which I think I picked up at Bolt during the fabric sale back in October.  Bolt is still one of my favorite local - as in, used to be local to me - fabric stores, right along with Modern Domestic.

The day I took the photos, we were in Portland to see Elephant and Piggie (AWESOME books, for REAL!) on stage, and it was such a fun show for Camden and her friends!  I was so happy for them, and they had a lovely time.

That is her nervous face!!!  Saying "hi" to a squirrel!
I always picture these three as mini high-schoolers! 
At our favorite restaurant!!!  Swiss Hibiscus
A full-on DATE with me included pottery-painting!
Lastly, some crazy photos from recent weeks:

She tried BMX riding and LOVED it!

He LOVES this wheel barrow - SURELY!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Socks for Everyone (except Dad) - Yay!!!

This will be known as the sock post!  I knit up three lovely pairs of socks recently, and for some reason, hand-knit socks make me so happy - especially when the socks are for Camden and Tiberius.  Something about wee hand-knit socks on little kids....

My fancy socks are the Kai Mei pattern by Cookie A.  (She is well-known for her awesome patterns, but maybe most famous (aha!) for the Monkey Sock, which is a free pattern - and which I have yet to knit.)  Kai Mei can be found in her book, Sock Innovation.  (THIS link on Amazon shows that you may have to buy it used, though I'm sure it can be found new SOMEwhere, LOL.....It is also available on Kindle).  I have knit one of her patterns before, but I can't, for the life of me, find a picture...and the socks were a gift for a friend.  There is errata for this pattern.  You can find a link on the pattern page on Ravelry and go from there.  In this case, where the pattern comes from a book, I just pen the correct information directly onto the page in the book.

The pattern is very easy, and with this particular pair of socks, I wanted to do them concurrently, sort of - LOL....I did the leg portion of each one first, before going back to the first sock to finish it.  I never cut the yarn, nor did I have to balls with which to work, so, I just knit from either end of the cake.

The yarn is Black Trillium Fibers, though I am only sort of sure the base is Pebble Sock, and I can't recall the colorway name at all, though surely the tag is somewhere in this house....It is a gorgeous blue with purple sort of peeking through.  I purchased it years ago, and I'm glad I finally used it!  The socks did take forever, though, in terms of the fact that I knit the legs months ago and only just got back to finishing I seem to do with adult socks.  I stuck with the original cast-on amount, as that is a good number for me, and I did add a repeat at the end - and added a few stitches for my bunion on the right sock.  Of course.
As for Tiberius's sock, I can't remember the name of this yarn, either, as it seems it was an "extra" with something...I think it came with one of my Knit Purl sock club installments back in the day.  I do know I purchased the orange at a local yarn store...why I purchased one 50 gram skein, I have no idea, but it works for heels and toes, eh?  For his socks - and Camden's - I used Knitting Pure and Simple Easy Children's Lightweight Sock pattern, which is a paper pattern I'd picked up at a LYS back in the day.  I love that I can use this pattern for them through part of elementary school!  Camden's sock was knit using the orange and the Madelinetosh sock yarn used in socks I knit for Tiberius before he was born.  I will totally be able to get one more pair out of this yarn, I am hoping....we will see!  Even if it's just heels and toes for a sock for ME, LOL.

Tiberius's socks took six whole days, but Camden's seemed to drag on a bit...apparently, 52 stitches, as opposed to 44, is a difference of a MILLION :O  They took almost a month, but they ARE pretty stinkin' cute.  I'm noticing, though, especially with her socks, that my row gauge, as is always the case, seems especially tight when my STITCH gauge is on.  It isn't a big deal, normally - except that we have a whole instep to consider.  I really think I need to start lengthening the heel flap because of this.  I did lengthen it a row or two on Camden's socks, but it probably needs to be more like four rows longer.  The socks fit great around her foot and around her ankle/leg, but getting them up and over is a pain.  I'm sure a soaking will loosen them up a bit, but something I need to remember, anyway.
I LOVE these!

On another note....poor Matt needs hand-knit socks.  I started some for him years ago....and have basically ripped them out and need to start over.  Sad times.  Soon enough!!!

And more family shenanigans....
Rock piles....good times
For real....
His sister has a bike.  The end.
Good 'ole family reading time
Poor kitty...

Swept Away - By the Wind!!! A Shawl

My one phone picture
I was super excited to knit up the Windswept Shawl by Molly Klatt of A Homespun House as soon as I saw the pattern release!  Of course.....the starting of it took a while.  I just couldn't figure out WHAT to do about my yarn choice.  I thought maybe I'd go with some Quince and Co. Chickadee, but I couldn't bring myself to use a solid-colored yarn with no depth - for an entire shawl.  I'm still interested in trying it out, as I know it's a quality yarn and that people love it, but I think I'd use it for a hat for the kids, aha!  I was also interested in trying some Sundara sport weight yarn, but I never happened upon a colorway on sport weight in one of their daily updates (I DID miss out on one stocking that I should have jumped on right away).  I also REALLY wanted to buy some of The Fibre Company's Road to China Light, but I felt badly spending so much money, though the yarn isn't truly badly priced.

Anyway, I FINALLY decided on Rosy Green Wool in the Cheeky Merino Base - in the colorways Rose Garden and Sand, which I purchased from Warm 'n Fuzzy, who has great customer service.  I'd originally planned on doing the whole shawl in Sand, but I couldn't imagine myself wrapped up in that much neutral color, aha!  I was worried, too, about using the red, but Matt said to go with it, so, I did.  I have a few other Rosy Green Wool colorways on two other bases, which I'm excited to try, so, I was glad to use it for something right away!

Thank goodness her dad was making her smile
The pattern went along mostly swimmingly - I did create a problem for myself in the very beginning, as I wasn't sure about whether or not to hold my yarn in the back or front when doing a stitch...and then later, I was confused about a pattern direction.  I went ahead at that time, as I figured I was correct - and it turned out I was, and the pattern instructions were fixed in that spot.  I get so nuts about reading directions and worrying, though I know other people just zoom along, not worrying at all, aha!

The yarn was definitely lovely, though my hands were - and still ARE - feeling the pain of so much purling and yarn-in-front moves, so, that section seemed to take forever.  I flew through the red edging, and though I was worried it'd be too small, the shawl blocked out nicely.  It's definitely deep enough.  I am interested, though, since I mention it, in doing some more crescent-shaped shawls/shallower shawls, as I'm so short and want to see how they fit.  I'm still bummed my Bryce Canyon came out so small back when I knit that - totally should have gone up a needle size on that one, oops.

I have definitely entered into a few KALs with this one, though it's a wonder I finished it, as it took me so long to get started, due to the lack of yarn.  Turns out it took me three weeks to knit, which isn't too bad!
My lovely card from Camden!
First time back in Vancouver in five months...and hard at work!
Somebody thinks she is claiming my shawl
Our first date night in FOREVER