knit itch

Fun fact: it took me 3 tries to spell itch right and there were multiple typos in this first sentence alone. I swear I had only 1 mimosa today! 

And before that mimosa happened, a conversation happened. 

One of my besties recently learned how to knit continental style. She has been an avid crocheter for a long while and knew the basics of knitting, but it never really stuck for her. Within the last several months, she learned how to knit continental, and being a fantastic crocheter, she took to it easily. It has been so fun to see her become passionate about knitting. The other night we hung out and knit on our shawls together! #bestiegoals

This morning she was showing me some of her favorite sweaters on Ravelry and I spotted one that I've been thinking about as well, so we decided to do a knitalong! She texted me later in the day that Craftsy was having a sale on yarn, so I perused and made a decision (which was v difficult). 

And then of course I couldn't be content with just one new project, so I started planning out a couple more. 

So here are all the deets, in their still somewhat not fully formed glory!

Sweater (will be my first adult-sized sweater!):
Pattern: Boxy
Yarn: Cloudborn Highland Fingering in Grey Heather. This yarn is exclusive to Craftsy. I am a little hesitant using it, but I liked the stitch definition I saw on Ravelry, so I'm going to give it a go. 
Notes: I am already planning on lengthening this one. I am tall with a long torso and I hate cropped clothing. I want this sweater to be nearly tunic length. I'm also thinking I will most likely do a split hem and make the back a little longer than the front. Luckily I will (hopefully) have nearly an entire extra skein to work with, so I'm thinking these mods should work out just fine. 

Shawls (yes, more than one, DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME)
Pattern: Drys by Melanie Berg
Yarn: So here's where it gets tricky. The pattern calls for Woolfolk Far and Sno. These are STUNNING yarns and the end result is absolutely gorgeous. Buuuuuuuut. If you use the suggested yarn, you'll be spending over $300. Now listen, I am not saying that I'm not a yarn snob. I 100% am. But $300 is unjustifiable for me at this time. $150? Been there, done that, will absolutely do again. So now I have the difficult task of choosing what to use instead! Far is a chained yarn and I really love the look of the chained yarn (rather than plied) and I think it makes a big difference in the finished look. Because of that, I want to stick with a chained (wool) yarn. A lot of chained yarns have nylon in them and I am not about that life. After lots of researching, I think I am most likely going to go with Cascade Eco Cloud. The Cascade is very similar to the Woolfolk with the added bonus of having alpaca! I'm not sure yet on the color- it will be either cream, ecru, white, or undyed. I'm hoping to find them in a store to compare, but for now, Ravelry has been useful. Drys is double stranded and Sno is a 2 ply marled merino wool. It's plied with a white and a light grey yarn. A good marled sock weight yarn is tough to find and I have considered splurging on the Sno, but I searched Etsy and found a pretty on par sub made with undyed alpaca (yes!) and merino. I'm in conversation with the seller, so we will see what she says before I buy it but I'm hopeful it will work out. 
Notes: This wrap looks super chic and I'm excited to add another rectangular shawl to my collection. One of my favorite things about shawls, and rectangular ones in particular, is that they are essentially like wearing a blanket around, except they are perceived as chic and functional as opposed to slobby and lazy! 

Pattern: Decemberist by Melanie Berg (clearly I have a thing for Melanie Berg...you will too if you check out her Instagram or Ravelry page)
Yarn: Quince and Co. Puffin. I'm debating between the Glacier and Stream color ways. Stream was a new addition this past fall so there aren't any photos of it as a finished object yet, so I'm having a hard time deciding! As with Drys, I really, really wanted to use the Woolfolk, but I just cannot justify the price. It's gorgeous yarn and there are times in my life where I absolutely would have splurged on it, but it just doesn't make sense to do that when I can get an equally great yarn at a much cheaper price. I love Quince and Co. because they are an ethical yarn supplier, they make their yarn here in the US, AND they don't make superwash wool!!! Plus they make very affordable all natural fiber! Literally nothing to complain about if you ask me. 
Notes: I have been wanting to make this ever since Melanie Berg posted some teaser shots on Instagram and I am seriously excited about this knit. 

So there you have it, a brain dump of my soon-to-be WIPs! And of course I'm still working on my Daybreak and Seed Stitch Wrap, so my hands will have lots of options to choose from on any given day!

 

frog it real good

Ah frog it...ah frog it...frog it real good! 

This is new, uncharted territory for me. I frogged a project. I'm all about trying new things with knitting these days, including, apparently, ripping shit out. 

Ripping is the worst, right? You're undoing a lot of hard and long work. But you know what's worse than ripping? HATING YOUR FINISHED OBJECT (required caps). I ripped out like 70 rows of my never ending seed stitch wrap because I wasn't loving how one of the colors was looking. It sucked but I am so much happier with how it's looking. 

And so I knew what I had to do with my Doodler

I wanted to love it, I really did. The Hedgehog Fibres was BEGGING for a crazy pattern like The Doodler. I had exactly enough yarn. I had the assurance that it was a popular pattern that everyone on Ravelry likes (not that that ever matters to me). But it just never felt right to me. And then I messed it up! I was confused by the instructions and it wasn't turning out right, so I ripped back to the first couple of rows. It was going well once I figured out my mistake. 

Buuuuuut I just couldn't get on board with it. It just wasn't doing it for me, ya know? Thus commenced a 3 hour long spree on Ravelry to find a new pattern that would do my yarn justice. And surprise surprise, Stephen West had another pattern that I liked! It seemed only right that I would rip one West Knit out only to replace it with another. 

I took one last picture of my Doodler, then I ripped. It's a sad kind of incredible to realize how weeks and weeks worth of work can be ripped out in just a few minutes. I immediately cast on for Daybreak and immediately felt a sense of excitement that I hadn't felt with The Doodler. I'm going to use all 3 colors that I was going to use for my Doodler. I'm super excited about the stripes! 

Here is the last-ever photo of my Doodler. 

And the first-ever photo of my Daybreak! 

new wip on the needles

It was bound to happen. I commit to making a craft goals list for the last bit of the year and then I go and buy 3 of the prettiest skeins of yarn ever and must come up with a pattern for them immediately and then next thing I know I've cast on for a new shawl that is most definitely not on my craft goals list. 

sigh. 

BUT IT'S SO FUN. 

Here's the story. You remember my impulse yarn purchase at Stitches, right? Well, I got home and stared lovingly at my new yarns and had visions in my head of some sort of stripey shawl. I have always been drawn to the stripey shawls, a la Kirsten Kapur, and these yarns were just begging to be stripes. So I got on Ravelry and hunted around and then I found The Doodler. Now I am fully educated about Stephen West and his cult-like following, but I was not aware of him or his imminence before last week! This guy is very popular among the modern knitters and his designs are a little...out there...for me. I like a more classic looking knit (even if I am using crazy colors) and West Knits aren't exactly classics. They are FABULOUS though!! 

The Doodler happens to use 3 skeins of Hedgehog Fibres and what did I just happen to buy? 3 skeins of Hedgehog Fibres! Yes! I got to knitting and started progressing pretty quickly, but things looked...off. So I consulted my fellow Ravelers and they informed me that I had been doing the shawl wrong THE WHOLE TIME. So I ripped to about row 3 and started over, the correct way, and it's been fun and perfect ever since! 

Doodler photo updates!

Looking good on the first few rows.

Still looking pretty good 2 wedges in. 

The point where really loud alarm bells went off in my head...things looking reeeeeeal wonky!

Ah yes, much better! Started over and looking normal!

time for some closeup color appreciation!

I'm thinking about putting this thing away until 2017 so I can knit up my other goal knits, but I doubt it's going to stay hidden for long! 

beginnings

 

One of my friends invited me to spend this past weekend at her lakehouse with her and several other gal pals, so of course I brought some crafts along. I intended to do a lot of work on a baby quilt, but I ended up lounging around with my friends most of the time. But I did start my Worsted Twist Seed Stitch Wrap v. 2

yessssss no words describe the feeling of opening up a box from purl soho! 

lakehouse mornings are perfection

My friend Emily is also knitting the same wrap. I warned her about how crazy we are to do this, but she was up for it. It's already been fun knowing that someone else is working on it at the same time, with many of the same colors. 

friends that knit together...go crazy together? 

Speaking of colors, when my yarn arrived I was less than thrilled with a few of the colors I chose. They were beautiful, no doubt about that, but they didn't look great together. I returned 4 skeins and I'll be exchanging them for some other colors. 

the colors I originally ordered

the colors I'm actually going to use

I am already obsessed with this Super Pink yarn. I'm dreaming of other ways to use it. It's certainly a pop of color! I'm trying to update my Ravelry page more, so I'm documenting this project in fuller detail over there. 

sunday morning perfection

love the pink with the grey polka dots!

I'm sure I'll post many more updates about this project...hopefully it doesn't take 11 months to finish

 

sea captain update

 

Back in November, I shared this Sea Captain embroidery project I was working on. I took a little hiatus on it (probably because of a giant knot...knots make me reassess life) but I'm back at it and I'm having so much fun! 

Part of the reason I took a break was because the intricate detailing of the hat was intimidating me. Once I started working on it, though, I found that it is easy and not intimidating at all. I'm mostly using running stitch or straight stitch, which are pretty much the easiest embroidery stitches out there. 

In weaving, there is a "dark side of the loom" hashtag, that is, the back of the weaving where all the secrets (er, ugly bits) hide. I'm starting a new thing- "dark side of the hoop", the crazy back side of embroidery! Here's my dark side!

#darksideofthehoop. just go with it. 

This dark side actually isn't too dark at all. My first many embroidery projects look AWFUL on the back. I've learned over the years how to not make knots unless I absolutely have to, which leads to a much cleaner looking dark side. 

Hopefully knots and intimidation won't stop me from keeping on with this one. I'm already trying to think of how I want to finish it. At first I was thinking I would stain a hoop and just hang it on the hoop, but now I'm thinking it would be cool to cut it into a square, sew a border, and let the ends fray. Ah, possibilities! 

Embroidery pattern: Sea Captain by Cozy Blue

 

a finished weaving

 

Last week I shared some photos of a weaving in progress. Well, that wip has become an fo! I put a TON of rya on this one and it is very thick and beautiful, like a cartoon character's hair. 

Before adding the rya. 

~artsy~ rya photo

I was working on this last Friday morning before work- this is the point where I had to go to work, so I snapped a quick photo and dreamed of finishing it. 

I did one layer of the rya and I could still see warp strings, so I decided to do a second layer. 

see through rya! no good! must add more. 

Finished! 

I love how this beauty turned out. I definitely want to make some adorable mini versions of it. I really enjoyed using the sequin strand and I'm sure it will show up in just about every weaving I do from now on. 

 

new warp

 

Now that I have been weaving for a few months, I have noticed something: many of the weavers I follow and like use the same warp thread. I've been having problems with warping- I just can't seem to get it tight enough. I had bought some cotton crochet thread and I pulled it so tight that it broke! I finally bit the bullet and purchased the warp that everyone else was using: Maysville Cotton Warp. I had been putting it off because the shipping was as expensive as the thread itself and I, being spoiled by Amazon Prime, just couldn't bring myself to spend money on shipping. But alas, it got to the point where I just couldn't deal with subpar warps. 

When the warp arrived, I immediately got to working with it. 

Don't you want to live in this Downton Abbey scene?! 

For this weaving, I'm using a simple white acrylic yarn with a strand of mini sequins. It's so fun! 

Close up of the mini sequins. 

I'm working this weaving into a point and then I'm thinking I'll add purple rya to it. I'm loving how it's turning out so far. 

And just a pretty one- I have these Christmas lights wrapped around my headboard and in the last couple of weeks they have been blinking off and on constantly because a bulb is lose. I was able to fix them and enjoy the light again. 

 

wip: sea captain embroidery

 

I don’t remember the exact details of how it happened, but it happened. Inspiration struck and I had to learn how to embroider. This was my first year of college and before Instagram so I know I didn’t see a captivating image that inspired me. I was reading a few blogs at the time, so perhaps that’s where it came from. All I know is that one day I was not interested in embroidery, but the next day I was. 

I’ve talked before about my inspiration process. Inspiration strikes me pretty hard and heavily. Then there is this immediate need to follow through. That’s how it happened with embroidery. So, I went to Michael’s and bought a pillowcase kit- on each open edge of the pillowcase there was a garden of flowers. There were suggested colors, but I don’t follow rules, so I picked out whatever colors I wanted. I filled up my cart with the pillowcases, many DMC flosses, a thread box, spools to wind the floss onto, embroidery needles, and a hoop. When I got home, I knew exactly how to wind the floss onto the spools, thanks to years of watching my mom wind her spools for cross stitch. I wound them all and color coded them in the box. Though it was about 20 years ago, I still remember getting my mom’s boxes out of her closet and looking at all the colors. She used her thread for cross stitch- my sisters and I used it for friendship bracelets. 

Now I had my very own colorful box. I got to work on my pillowcases. That night, I had a meeting. I wanted to cancel on the meeting so I could work on the embroidery instead (story of my life), but I was responsible and went to the meeting. To this day, I have arrived late at events because I was finishing up a project. Friends, thanks for being understanding of my ridiculous ways. 

I wish I could post a photo of my finished pillowcases, looking cute on my bed, but the reality is this: they are still WIPs. Yep. 7-8 years later, they are unfinished. But they are where I got my start and I haven’t stopped since. 

My current project is both intricate and simple- the pattern itself is quite detailed and almost intimidating, but the actual stitching required is very easy. I am having so much fun with this project. I have used only straight and back stitches so far, but I’ll throw in a few French knots soon. I am using only one strand of floss, which is something I never do, and I’m not using any knots to secure the back of the stitching, something else I never do. The back is by far the neatest I have ever done. 

A neat back!

Something else new in this project is my transfer method. When I found this pattern I fell in love with it, but I couldn’t imagine transferring the image onto the fabric- so many lines! Luckily, the creator of the pattern included a special tip, one I had never heard of: Sticky Fabri-Solvy. This magic stuff can be run through your printer, so all you do is print the pattern onto it, peel off the back, and stick it onto your fabric. You can stitch right through it (though I will say that it can make you needle a little sticky and it’s slightly harder to push the needle through) and when you are done with your project, you just soak it in water and all of the fabri-solvy dissolves right before your eyes. Magic, I tell you. I’m not joking when I say my life has changed. It is that amazing. 

Unlike the flowered pillowcases, this project is destined to become an FO in a timely manner.

 

october wips and fos

 

I'm not one of those crafters that does just one thing at a time. I aspire to that and I am getting close to that, but typically I have a few projects going on at the same time. I try to keep it to a minimum, though, and to have just one project from each genre, if you will, going at the same time. Here are some things I'm working on/recently finished these days:

Calligraphy: just some practicing. 

Drawing and painting- my sketchbook tends to be a conglomeration of all sorts of random stuff- sewing and quilting ideas, calligraphy practice, doodles, tons of flowery paintings, testing out new supplies. It's a fun place to play around and not care how anything turns out. 

some fall doodles in pen

and with some color

Knitting: Seed Stitch Wrap in Worsted Twist from the purl bee. I'm going to dedicate a whole post to this one eventually because it took nearly a year to complete! 

That's what I've got going on these days. I've got a knitting project and hand sewing project in the queue as well that I'm hoping to finish before Christmas, but I know better than to put deadlines on myself.