Obsessed

I don’t think I’ve ever knit the same pattern twice. There are too many things out there that I want to make to do that. Or at least that was the case until last weekend. You guys. I’m obsessed. My best friend of 20 (OMG we’re old!) years had her second baby. When she had her first, she had her in September, and I distinctly remember knitting the gift while watching Pride and Prejudice (the good version) on New Years Eve… so that’s pretty bad. That’s like 4 months late.

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So I was determined to be just a smidge better this time. I ordered washable wool from Fat Cat Knits, who has great colors and selection and best of all meant I didn’t have to dye anything or buy a hunk of superwash. I spun it up. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the colors. I mean, I liked them a lot, but wasn’t sure about a baby traipsing around in them. But whatever, I just kept going.

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I had been wanting to knit up these overalls since I saw Adrien knit some up in handspun. OMG. Too cute. Must have. The only mods I made from the pattern (aside from a gauge change, DK from worsted) was to make the legs open along that bottom seam and not bell at the bottom. The bell might work fine in older sizes, but 0-6 month was 12″ around for a leg that is like 4″ around. The pattern, and as far as I can tell everyone who has made them on ravelry, calls for two tubes for legs. Now, if someone gave me some item of clothing for a 0-6 month old who is getting changed constantly that required taking them all the way off every time, I would just never put them on them. And since my main goal is for these to get ON the child, I knit the legs back and forth, and added snap tape along that inseam. It worked pretty well. I would recommend it. It means sewing in snap tape, which might make you want to kill yourself, but I promise if you make it through alive it will make them so much more useful as clothes. And I did snaps for the shoulder straps instead of buttons. No matter how well you sew buttons, the idea of them near a kids mouth makes me nervous. Babies are fascinated with the most boring of things, like circles with holes and string, and resourceful, and like to swallow things.

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And once all the snaps and sewing was over, OMG. I love them. I am obsessed with them. I could knit only these until I die and be quite happy. I was so deliriously pleased with myself that I brought them into work and showed them to normal non-knitters probably making squealy sounds the whole time in my delusion. I just love them. There is discussion of adult sized ones for every day of he week. (I’m kidding there… only sort of.) I think I’m done with baby sweaters. Who needs sweaters when you can have THESE!!!!

finished overalls 4

finished overalls 5

finished overalls 2

This baby was born in October, and I’m done a whole 2 WEEKS before New Years. That’s like 2 months! I’m practically early!!

The pattern is free on Ravelry. Get going.

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Button Love

My paternal grandmother was, as it is told, a great seamstress. When it was time to sell their house after my grandfather died, my dad found things in the attic. There were plastic army men. Also a complete spirograph set, a full complete 64 crayon box of Crayolas. Of course, every one was there in the appropriate box. My dad as an only child never lost anything, and didn’t have any siblings to lose things for him. To this day when his comb or nail clipper or “special” whatever it is is lost, it clearly must have been one us meddling kids. He doesn’t lose things like that. Along with photo albums. In the basement were canned goods and salt (my grandmother couldn’t pass up a sale. The price and date of each purchase was of course marked on the carton.) There were hand planes for woodworking and the first and only old fashioned hand drill I’ve seen. Like an electric drill for drilling holes, but not electric and considerably more work. And my most prized possession was the box of buttons. It was this great cigar box type box, and inside was my grandmothers button collection, as well as the chalk fabric markers for marking hems and darts, and a few needles. I can remember big plastic buttons and little metal ones. It wasn’t a huge collection but I thought it was great. I was also 7, and somewhere along the way from 7 to 29, the box has been lost. I have a high hope that it is somewhere in a box at my parents house in the attic, which is entirely likely given the number of unopened boxes in there. But the fact remains that at the moment, I have no idea where it is and am actually deeply sad about that.

Over the weekend we went to Newburyport again, home of my favorite antiques barn, where I’ve previously purchased a jar of leather buttons which I love and have used. This time, as I have a sweater that will be hopefully done in a few weeks which will need buttons, I decided to buy another jar and hope something in there would help. From the first time I saw these jars of buttons in and antique shop, I fell in love with them. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve stopped myself from buying jars and jars of them. Aside from being very useful, I think they just look so nice in the jars! Besides. I bought a giant jar of buttons with hundreds of buttons in there for $25. While the non-button-buying public may not appreciate this, I can tell you that buttons are not in fact cheap and this is in fact a terrific deal.

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buttons (1)

And as if to give a sign that it was the right idea, while picking through them yesterday, I found not one, not two but 15 buttons the exact shade and shape I would have gone out in search of for my new sweater!!

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Maybe someday I’ll find Babcias buttons again, but in the meanwhile, I’ll just try not to lose these.

Crewel Indeed

365.3 crewel

On New Years Day, I enjoyed the second annual watching of the BBC Pride and Prejudice all the way through, while working the pockets of my honeycomb sweater. It’s done in episode length segments, each starting with the opening credits shown over needlework. I admit I know nothing about it so maybe it’s a specific type of embroidery, but I had an urge to get out some crewel thread and an emboridery hoop and try out a few things. I am terrible. But I like it. I think I’ll try to learn to do that this year. Maybe a good summer project, when sitting with wool on my lap comes just after the last thing I want to do. I’ve been inspired by others work (here by Kate Davies, who, despite saying Colin Firth has a potato face, I greatly admire), as well as a desire to try my hand at some Polish Embroidery. My fathers family is Polish and on a trip to Poland a few years ago, I’d asked for some books on embroidery or traditional clothing or crafts, and they brought me back two books. They are in Polish, so I have no idea what it actually says, but they are region by region traditional formal dress, with a map and numbers, so I can tell what clothes come from which area. I’d love to try to replicate some of those motifs on something useful, I think it would be awesome to put a peacock on the hem of a skirt. Or copy some of the Polish papercuts I have like these in embroidery, I think they’d look really neat as pillows for framed.

Above paper cut image from the Polish Art Center.

This all involves me improving my skills past the sketchy display above. But I’ll try it out. I’ve got a few colors of crewel yarn, and I’ll be ordering more and some more appropriate cloth and needles from Wool and Hoop, whose website I find inspiring. Type “the new crewel” into flickr’s search and you’ll be super impressed and inspired and wish you were a lady of leisure. Happy Friday to all.

Honeycomb Sweater

The Honeycomb, it is finished.

honeycomb side

I have a new jacket or cardigan. It’s pretty heavy, super warm and I’m very happy with it.
Pattern is Estes Vest from Interweave Knits, Fall 2008
Yarn, Seacolors by Nanny Kennedy, really great yarn
Started October 24th 2010, finished Jan 1 2011

honeycomb shoulders

A few things that I did that were new on this one, it’s supposed to be a vest. I am always cold, and I had enough yarn (as it turns out just enough, I probably have about 20 yards left. Yikes.) so I put on sleeves. I liked the way a lot of people had done it on ravelry, with the lobster claw pattern down the top and the honeycombs on the bottom so I copied them. That’s not the new to me part, that would be short row sleeve caps. They are brilliant. I’ll be using them frequently. They fit perfectly, they didn’t have to be sewn in, they were try-on-able, the whole thing was great. Another first was pockets. I like them. I don’t love them, but I like them, and it makes it more of a jacket. I made it 2″ longer than stated (and I’m a short person) since it looked too short on some people and the model on the pattern. Why is this often the case? I’m 5’2″ on a good day, I shouldn’t be lengthening sweaters. Also, I was brilliant at sewing in the zipper which makes me so happy.

365.2 honeycomb inside zipper

See that? That is handsewn. I have never been able to sew a straight line before so this was very exciting. And it zips up well.

honeycomb zipper

The only thing I’d change if I were to do it again is make the neck decreases on the front begin sooner. The pattern makes it the same as the back, and the front it a little too high, but it’s livable and not super obvious. I love the details on this one. The pockets, the i-cord edge, the zipper, I did a tubular cast off on the collar which is pretty neat, overall I’m really happy with this one. And with that, my knitting bag is empty. I’m off to find something new to knit.

Long Week

This week was one of those where every day I swear it can’t be anyday but Saturday. As evidence, I offer my morning.

Since I was staying later at work, I figured I’d run in the morning before work to get it done. Last night I packed my bag, lunch, breakfast, got my clothes out. This morning I got up, got dressed, drove to work, and ran there. (Insert rant here about creepy people that make running in the dark at 5:45 am impossible who ruin other people’s schedules. End rant.) Those of you good at math will figure this out much faster than I did at 6:20 this morning. I figure, I’ll run for 45 minutes total. So I go and I start running. Having a great time, weather was nice, it was cool, I got onto some quiet roads, all was well. I ran and ran, and my GPS watch tells me I’m doing just under 9 minute miles. Great, I think, I’ll do just over 5 miles total in my 45 minutes. I’m heading up the hill, look at my watch, and it says 22 minutes. Cool, 3 more minutes then I’ll turn around. I go ahead, look at my watch, 25 minutes, 2.8 miles. Funny, how can that be if I expected to be about 5 miles total and my GPS still says the same pace? Oh well, GPS must be wrong. Turn around, get about half a mile from work and see my watch tell me 45 minutes. Hunh, that’s wierd, how did that happen? Finished 5.6 miles in 49 minutes and change. It wasn’t until I was telling this story to a co-worker that I figured out what’s wrong…
Co-Worker: How was your run?
Me: Great! It was nice out. This funny thing happened though.
CW: What happened?
Me: Well, I was trying to run for 45 minutes and turned around at 25 minutes…. OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Guys, what is half of 45? I’ll give you a hint. Not 25. It was the kind of morning where simple math is just not possible.

I took a nap when I got home and am now sitting down with my wine and some wools to try and erase the day and get ready to make it through one more getup.

long week

The wool in the bowl is a grab off of all the dyed wool I have, all mixed up randomly, at the request of a brilliant customer. It’s coming out great, and it’s really fun. I suspect it will satisfy my limited mental capacity tonight. Almost there, just one more getup.

odds_and_ends_yarn

Rosamunds Sweater

Finally had some time to finish up a few things this morning, since there was nothing planned for once. I had some hook and eye closures to sew onto my newest sweater, and labels to sew onto this and the previous two sweaters. (Yes, I have labels.)

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So here is my latest sweater. I’ll just say, a stranger (who I suspect is my neighbor, I really ought to introduce myself next time) complemented it on our way out to photo shoot. This is exciting since no one who doesn’t know I knit ever does that, which I suspect suggests that it looks like I bought it. Score!

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Rosamunds Cardigan
from Interweave Knits Fall 2009
Yarn – 13 Mile Farm yarn in Hawkweed, bought on vacation in Bozeman Mt this summer
Started – 9/11/10, finished 10/24/10
Size 4,5, and 6 needles (don’t ask)
Used somewhere between 900 and 1000 yds
LOVE it!

The buttons are from an antique shop in Newburyport, Ma.

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It’s very warm and cozy, and different from what I have already. I don’t usually wear short sleeve sweaters, since if I’m wearing a sweater, chances are I’m cold, and I probably want sleeves. Plus, I would have been left with 1.5 skeins and I’m doing my best not to be left with random bits of yarn, since I never know what to do with it. So I added sleeves. If I did it again, I’d make the top portion above the arms a little longer, maybe half an inch, and I added about 3″ to the length. I’d move the waist shaping down a bit (you can’t really tell, but it puts my waist about 2″ higher than it really is), but on the whole I think it’s pretty good.

Following this trend, I’m going to try and make the purple yarn I have be an Estes Not-Vest Cardigan, I’ve seen it done a few times well on Ravelry, and I’m interested in trying a short row sleeve cap.

Busy Times

In the mass redecorating, there is also… FALL!! I love fall. Fall is my most favorite season ever. The weather is perfect for running, and wearing wool. The leaves turn my favorite colors. And there is harvest everything. Cinnamon and cloves are my favorite scents. So last night was an extravaganza of domestic harvest-time fun.

We roasted pumpkins, and their seeds, to make soup.

pumpkins

roasted pumpkin seeds

pumpkin soup

I peeled 10 pounds of apples, put two pies worth in the freezer and made an apple crisp.

apples for pie

We put up the pictures back on the walls (sorry, no photos here). And I made curtains.

curtains

For some reason, I think that Etta James and Peggy Lee is the best – ever – sewing music. Somehow whenever I sew, that’s what I want to listen to. I highly recommend them for sewing. Very comfy.