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Monthly Archive for: ‘February, 2012’

Stash Acquisitions, TML edition

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I was trying to be good, but the space in my new yarn cabinet was crying out to me.

Tosh Victorian Gothic

Madelinetosh TML in Victorian Gothic (dark)

Little Knits, one of my favorite online retailers, had Tosh Merino Light grab bags up last week (it looks like they’re sold out now, unfortunately). 30% off 5 skeins–I got to choose the general color theme, but they chose the skeins.

This appealed to me on so many levels. Cheaper Madelinetosh! Beautiful skeins I’d only seen online! The mystery of wondering which ones I’d get! The neutral grab bag was the only one left in stock when I went to order, so I snapped it up.

Faded Chinos

Faded Chinos – my fave of the bunch. Even though it looks nothing like faded chinos to me… more like golden wheat or something.

I LOVE three of the skeins I got: Faded Chinos and Victorian Gothic above, and Badlands:

Badlands

Badlands – now THIS is a great name for this color.

The fourth skein I got is gorgeous, but just not my colors:

Parchment

Parchment

I posted that one for trade on the Madelinetosh Ravelry group and got a response really quickly–so I’m swapping it for a skein of TML in Tart. I’ve heard so many rave reviews of that color but have never seen it in person–now I get to try it!

I’m still trying to trade the last skein, if anyone’s interested. It’s Terra Verte, dark version, and man is it dark–the skein looks black unless you view it in the right light, and then tiny bits of olive green are visible. The pictures below are pretty accurate (thank you Madelinetosh-loving new camera!):

Terra Verte

Terra Verte

Terre Verte 2

See the hint of green?

Overall, I’m really pleased with my purchase. I knew I might want to trade some of the skeins away, and thanks to the magic that is Ravelry, that process is fairly painless.

Aaaannndd…. I just noticed Little Knits has Tosh Sock grab bags up. Must… resist… siren call of Tosh….

Eeeeeeee!

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My new pattern made Ravelry’s Top 20 hot right now list! First time!

And the more than 400 favorites in 24 hrs makes me very happy too :-)

New Pattern: Kari Baby Blanket

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The baby blanket pattern is now up for sale! You can find it here.

It’s gotten a really nice response on Ravelry, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :-)

Kari Baby Blanket

Now I just have to keep the sample in pristine condition until the baby shower next month… hmmm. Some cat-proofing may be in order.

Organized

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(Warning: photo-heavy post)

I have been disgruntled with my yarn storage for a while now. When we moved into our current apartment, we found these cubes at Target and hung them on the wall:

Wall cubes

There are several things to note in this photo. First, although the idea of having the yarn as decoration on the wall is a good one, everything ends up piled haphazardly in there. Second, the unattractive pieces of plastic stuck in the sides… which we found out pretty quickly were necessary to keep curious cats from jumping on the dresser and futzing with bits of yarn. And third… the top of the cubes pretty much serve as a clutter repository catch-all for random things.

And the rest of my yarny storage wasn’t much better. Here’s what my books/magazines/WIPs/needles/notions area looked like:

Junk

No, we don't live in a dorm room, but I don't blame you for thinking it.

My workspace, where I do the majority of my designing:

Junky desk

If you’re getting depressed by all this clutter, don’t worry! This post will have a happy ending, I promise.

A table covered with WIP patterns, swatches, etc:

Swatch table

So obviously I needed a new storage solution. Enter… (cue dramatic music)… IKEA!

IKEA boxes

The husband assembled it for me, assisted by the cats:

Kitty helpers

Esme's hammer

What? This is my hammer.

And here’s what my yarn storage looks like now!

new yarn cabinet

open cabinet

All my yarn fits in the cabinet with room to spare (okay, not much room–but some). WIPs (including swatches and designs-in-progress) are in the middle bin, partial balls leftover from projects in the second bin, and yarn I’m hoping to trade or sell in the bottom bin. The cubes hold all my needles, notions, and books. Magazines have been moved to the bookcase in the living room, where they stand up better anyway.

The cabinet is a Billy bookcase from IKEA, with a Billy Olsbo half-glass door. All together (including the bins), it was just under $100. A steal, if you ask me.

Although… after sorting my yarn, I’m starting to think I need more sweater-quantities. So it may not end up being quite so cheap, heh.

close-up of yarn

FO Friday: Kari’s Blanket

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A little late for FO Friday, but here’s the finished baby blanket in all its glory:

Kari main

I’m really, really happy with the way this turned out! Also, I’m delighted afresh with my new camera. These pictures were taken on the bed in my apartment, with limited light, but I don’t think you could ever tell.

Kari texture

 

I’m happy with the way the back looks post-blocking, too. It’s kind of a neat design in its own right:

Kari back

The specs:

Pattern: My own. I’ll work on releasing this one (self-publish via Ravelry) as soon as the two Knit Picks sweaters are done. Hopefully within the next few weeks.

Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton. The mama-to-be this is intended for wants organic clothes for baby, so this was perfect. Love the depth of the color, and it got even softer and smooshier with blocking.

Notes: I’m holding onto this FO until next month, when I’m throwing my bestie a baby shower. I can’t wait to give it to her…

Kari close-up

This may be a contender for best picture I've ever taken.

TILT: Blocking

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Thing I Love Today: the magic of blocking!

The baby blanket is done. I’ll have better pictures by Friday, but I thought a walk through my blocking process might be interesting.

I use these foam mats I bought at the hardware store to block everything. They were cheap and they do the job. The only problem is that they have some kind of magnetic attraction for one of my cats, so after two years they all look pretty much like this:

Chewed mats

Mats

All four mats, with guilty cat for scale

Here’s the blanket as it came off the needles: crumpled and narrow. This pattern (my own) includes quite a bit of 1×1 ribbing, so this was to be expected.

Crumply blanket

Size before blocking: 22" by 32"

Then I measured carefully and spent waaay too much time using every pin I own to stretch it to size.

Kitty inspector

Kitty inspecting my work. She doesn't look impressed, does she?

I got a nifty new steam iron a few weeks ago. It does vertical steaming as well as horizontal, which is awesome for quick sweater touchups before photoshoots.

Steam iron

Steaming/spraying in progress:

Steamy

And here’s the finished blanket drying. See how well the pattern opened up?

Finished blanket

Non-iPhone pics coming soon!

Work-in-progress: Baby Blanket

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Sigh… so I was hoping to have this as an FO for today, but that definitely isn’t happening, so I thought I’d do a post about its progress.

This is a blanket for my best friend, due to have her first baby (a girl!) in May. (Kari, I don’t think you read this blog–but on the off chance you do, act surprised when I give it to you, okay?)

Baby blanket I/P shot

The yarn is Knit Picks Simply Cotton in Duchess Heather. I’ve been on a Knit Picks kick recently–can you tell? The mama-to-be (who doesn’t know anything about the blanket) informed me a few days ago that she’s painting the baby’s room lavender, so I think it’ll go nicely. She also registered for mostly organic clothes and blankets, so the fact that this yarn is 100% organic cotton is a bonus.

The design is my own, a heavily-modified version of a stitch pattern from one of my design books. It’s an easy-to-memorize 16 row repeat, interesting enough to keep my attention but not enough to be frustrating. I’m about 75% done, and only now starting to get sick of the pattern–that’s pretty good for me. Blankets of any size usually drive me up the wall. They’re basically just giant swatches, right? Makes me long for some shaping.

Baby blanket 2

Stay tuned for the pattern, coming soon to a Ravelry store near you….

My recent SEX

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Er, Stash Enhancement eXpedition, that is, he he (always liked that acronym).

I was staying in Mountain View, CA for a few days, so after a quick Ravelry search, I set out to visit the most interesting-looking yarn store in the area: Green Planet Yarn! They’re in this fabulous building:

Green Planet Yarn

Picture shamelessly stolen from their website, as I forgot my camera…

They have a great selection, laid out in a very appealing way. My only quibble was that they hardly had any Madelinetosh, but the nice lady at the front desk told me they were expecting a big shipment in a few days.

I ended up buying a sweater’s-worth of scrumptious yarn, Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (Rav link) in Plum. It’s for a new design that’s been simmering in my head for a while and is bursting to get out!

Plummy goodness

Plummy goodness

More plum

And can I just say how happy I am to have a camera that can take pictures AT NIGHT? I have a homemade lightbox, but my old point-and-shoot couldn’t handle night pictures anyway. It makes me happy :-)

The camera did have a little trouble with my other purchase, two skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino (Rav link) in Ravelry Red (appropriate, no?), but I’ve heard red yarns are notoriously tricky to photograph during the daytime, much less at night.

Rav Red

It's a little redder than this in person.

All in all, it was a very satisfying trip :-)

FO Friday: Hipster Stripe

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My FO for today is the prototype for my newest sweater pattern: Hipster Stripe!

Hipster Stripe main

This design is actually a re-working of a sweater I designed a few months ago, Anyone for Rugby? (link goes to Ravelry project page).

Anyone for Rugby?

The original

I really, really liked that sweater… but I didn’t think it through. To maintain the wide stripe pattern for different sizes without changing the look, I had to increase or decrease the number of rows for each stripe. This meant that the extra-small size would be substantially shorter than the medium sample… and the plus sizes would have been down to the knees.

I made a promise to myself when I started designing that I would offer my garment patterns in a wide range of sizes. So when I figured out the workable range of this sweater would only be up to extra-large, it didn’t sit right. I went ahead and had the pattern test knitted, got it all ready to self-publish, and then couldn’t do it.

So this is the sweater reborn! Thinner stripes make it much easier to upsize and downsize, which is what I’m working on now.

Hipster stripe close-up

The specs:

Pattern: My own! I’m thinking this one will be ready in about a month. It will be published through Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Black and White. This yarn is oddly, eerily similar to the Malabrigo Rios I used for the wider-stripe version. It feels very similar, looks almost the same, and blocked identically. I thought it would make a good substitute, and I was obviously right!

Notes: This is a fast, easy sweater. It’s top-down and each section (sleeve increases, neck increases, body) are done one after the other, which hopefully will make it suitable for less-experienced sweater knitters. For the original, several of the test-knitters made this as their first sweater–and their FOs look gorgeous!

gratuitous cleavage

I like this pic–but I can't decide if there's too much cleavage to make it useable. Thoughts?