So as you may have noticed, it’s not actually Friday anymore (oops).
I figured it was time to let you in on the reason I’ve been so flaky about blog posts, cooking, knitting, and other things over the past few months: we’re expecting another baby this August! Morning sickness (which is really inappropriately named, if you ask me, since I’ve had it all day, every day) has been kicking my butt for the past few months. Cooking was completely out of the question for a solid month. I’m just starting to feel a little more like myself, so hopefully I can get back on track!
Now, on to the regularly scheduled roundup post!
What I’m Knitting
While I wait for yarn for a commissioned design, I’ve been doing some swatching. I picked up a blanket’s worth of gorgeous Malabrigo Rios for the new babe, and I’ve been playing with some ideas for modular cable/lace panels. Here’s my current swatch—doesn’t look like much right now, but I’m going to wait until I get a few more inches to make a decision on whether I like it or not.
What I’m Cooking
Hey, I made something this week! Here’s some tasty tortilla soup. We’re still enjoying the leftovers a few days later:
What I’m Reading
After finishing the most recent book in The Naturals series, I haven’t picked up anything new yet. A trip to the library is in my immediate future!
What I’m Knitting:
It’s been a while since I’ve had an FO ready to show off for FO Friday!
Here’s my nautical baby pullover (actual name forthcoming, obviously…):
Pattern: My own. I started the pattern writing and am aiming to release this one at the beginning of the fall knitting season—hopefully early to mid September.
Yarn: Universal Uptown Worsted in Royal Blue (2 skeins) and Cream (1 skein). I liked the yarn a lot! For 100% acrylic, it was very non-squeaky and soft. I’ll probably use it again for super-easy-care baby gifts.
Notes: This was a fun, relaxing knit. It’s top down, all in one piece, so the only thing that was complicated at all was the short rows on the shawl collar (which, frankly, were a good thing after all that stockinette). I was aiming for a 1-2 year old size and was worried that it came out a little small, but I tried it on my son (1 yr) and it fits him well with a little room to grow. Perfect! Now the weather just has to cooperate for outside pictures.
What I’m Cooking:
Not something I made from scratch, but something I ate several times this week: I just discovered this new and amazing product:
That is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free mac and cheese! And it’s delicious. I throw in some frozen peas and broccoli to up the veggie quotient and it’s a fabulous quick lunch or dinner. Plus my son loves it—bonus!
I did manage to make some yummy tofu Pad Thai, which I always crave in hot weather for some reason:
What I’m Reading:
I just finished The Dream Thieves (soooo good!) and am currently on the hunt for another MG/YA book to read. I think I’m going to take a break from intense and read something fun and quick before I tackle the third Raven Boys book.
What I’m Knitting
I missed posting last week while on vacation, but I’m back home as of a few days ago and settling back into the routine! Thanks to a road trip from the Seattle area to Sacramento, CA, I managed to finish most of a little nautical-themed pullover idea I’ve had brewing for a while:
I would have finished the whole thing, but I only brought one ball of the blue yarn, thinking I’d never get through that much with the little one to worry about. Oh well, now that I’m back, hopefully I can get it wrapped up this week. It just needs the second sleeve and the shawl collar, so not too bad.
We stopped in another lovely little yarn shop on our travels and I managed to score another couple of great skeins…but our suitcases were overfull, so I had to have those shipped. Hopefully I’ll have them by next week!
What I’m Cooking:
I actually cooked quite a bit in Sacramento, but I forgot to get pics (and it was mostly my old standbys that I’ve shown a few times here already, anyway). My son’s favorite food right now is my vegan broccoli “cheddar” soup, so I whipped up a big batch of that for his first birthday party last week. It was a hit!
Now that I’m home, we’re about to go on an epic grocery shopping trip and much cooking will commence. I always feel like I need to detox after a vacation—anyone else feel that way too?
What I’m Reading:
My husband and I have been fans of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half blog for years, so I had to get him this book version for his birthday. I got to read it when he was done. It’s just as funny as the blog! I was reading it on the plane with my son sleeping on my lap, trying not to laugh too much and wake him up.
Hello out there! Blog posts have been rare around here since my son was born back in July, but I miss blogging regularly and interacting with other bloggers and crafters. So I made a resolution (about a week late, but hey…) to get back to regular blogging in 2015.
Here’s how I’m going to do it: every Friday, I’ll post a weekly update like the one below. To solve my ever-present problem of working on secret knitting projects that I’m not allowed to blog about, I’m branching out a bit. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here on the blog before, but my household is about 90% vegan (no meat or dairy products). Another one of my resolutions is to cook healthy meals instead of eating mostly frozen and pre-made entrees, so I’ll be sharing new recipes I’m trying. It should be fun!
I’m also going to be sharing books I’m reading, since I’m still working on getting books published and it’s important to keep reading in the genre that I’m writing. I’m hoping a weekly check-in will motivate me to plow through some titles on my to-read list.
Without further ado, here’s my first new post! :-)
What I’m Knitting
I’m working on secret projects. Quelle surprise. But there are a lot of them this time. I’m doing a baby/child collection for a yarn company which is going to include two hats, two sets of mittens, a scarf, and a vest. The yarn is hand-dyed and scrumptious. I can’t wait to show these off. I have all the samples knit except the vest, which is in progress. Bulky yarn + hand-dyed goodness = fun to knit.
Here’s a teeny little preview of one of the hats (really just an excuse to show off my adorable son):
What I’m Cooking
Here’s something that probably won’t surprise you: cooking interesting, healthy vegan meals day after day is hard. But I got this amazing new cookbook as a Christmas present:
I used to use internet recipes much more than cookbooks, but there’s something oddly satisfying about flipping to a recipe in a big, thick cookbook and consulting it as you go. Maybe that’s just me.
I didn’t think to take pictures of anything I made last week, so my foray into the world of food photography will have to wait until next week.
What I’m Reading
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.
This is kind of cheating, because I’m writing middle grade fiction (for ages 8-12), so I really shouldn’t be reading young adult. But I gave myself permission to cheat. I loved this author’s first two books (Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door), so I have high hopes for this one.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?
Pattern: My own (to be named). The hat and vest will likely be part of a baby collection I’ll be releasing sometime in the fall.
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport in Grass and Caution. I got the hat and the vest out of just one skein of the green and less than a half skein of the yellow. Baby knits are tiny.
I’m still impressed with the quality of the Knit Picks acrylic lines. The sport-weight version is just as soft and non-squeaky as the worsted-weight version I used for the baby blanket.
Notes: I went back and forth on whether I wanted to do the v-neck edging in the same yellow-green combo as the hems and armholes, but in the end I decided it would be a little too much yellow. I think I made the right choice. Plus the neckline flows better into the green buttoned shoulder band this way.
I’m planning to knit up another sample of this pattern in a different yarn and colorway, because I want the pattern to have the options of a round neck instead of a v-neck and colorwork placement near the hem instead of at the chest.
Bonus FO for this week:
Pattern: Golden Pear (Ravelry link) by Melissa Thomson
Yarn: Scroungings from my leftovers drawer… I think this is Dream in Color Classy (the brown) and some varieties of Cascade 220 for the cream and green.
Notes: Not my own pattern, for once (gasp!). I have a friend who’s going into labor at any moment, so I thought I’d whip up a quick little baby hat. I think this took me about 2.5 hours from cast on to weaving in ends, so it was definitely quick! The i-cord loop at the top twisted a little when I sewed it down, but I actually like the look better than straight, so it’s all good. This is going in the mail tomorrow.
I finished this little sweater a few weeks ago, but I never got around to blogging about it.
Pattern: My own (very first self-designed baby garment!).
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Emerald, about 1.25 skeins. This yarn has been marinating in my stash since August of 2012 (long time readers might remember it from this birthday wrap-up post!). I love using long-term stash yarn.
And yes, it’s completely impractical, since the yarn isn’t machine washable. But it’s cuddly soft, and I figure my baby will probably fit into it for about 30 seconds anyway, so I’m willing to do a few hand-wash-and-dry-flat rounds.
Notes: I was shooting for a 3-6 month size, since my little one will be born in July and this won’t be worn until the fall. I think I pulled it off, but the sweater looks so teeny to me… I guess time will tell.
My plan is to write up this pattern and get it tested this summer, and then I can make this part of the baby collection I’m planning to release this fall.
I really like the little cable pattern on the back. It shows up so nicely in the Malabrigo:
Remember how I said I was obsessed with baby knits these days?
I knew I wanted to design some kind of baby blanket for my kiddo, so I delved into my inspiration folder and came up with these two blanket-like ideas.
After a bunch of swatching, I found a stitch pattern I liked that was reminiscent of the swirls from the first pattern. I figured a “start at the middle and increase on four lines to the edges” construction would work well for the pattern, but there was just one problem.
I hate projects that start with very few stitches and increase out to a zillion at the edges.
I would so much rather slog through the loooong part at the beginning and then be rewarded with ever-increasing speed and progress as I go on. That way the initial burst of enthusiasm sustains me through the beginning, and the visible progress sustains me through the rest of the project. So I decided to design this blanket to be worked outside-in instead of the more traditional inside-out.
I swatched a corner, took a picture, put it in Photoshop, and played around a little:
I’ve been working on the blanket steadily for about a week now, and here’s what I have to show for it:
The yellow fall pullover now has the body and one sleeve finished:
I’m about 1/3 of the way through the other sleeve, and then it’s on to the yoke! I was planning on a raglan sleeve, but I’m starting to wonder if I wouldn’t like a saddle shoulder better. I’m going to contemplate this as I knit tonight.
In other news, I’ve finally started a Ravelry group for my designs! I’ll be posting test knits (like the cozy gray sweater, which went up for test knitting yesterday and is almost full already, yay!), promotions, new designs, and lots of other stuff there. Come check it out here if you’re interested: Triona Designs Ravelry Group.
I finished a hat this week! (Okay, actually I finished it the week before, but finally got it together to take some pictures this week.)
It’s in Tosh Chunky, just like Dandelion Clock (pattern now available on Ravelry here!). Man, do I ever love this yarn. It’s just like Tosh Vintage, which is probably my favorite yarn ever, except FOs get done even more quickly. This color is Mica–isn’t it pretty?
Usually I have to rip out and reknit the decreases at the top of a new hat design a few times until they look right, but this one made this pretty floral-looking design on the first try! Bonus. :-)
(This is one of a series of design posts. The earlier posts can be found here.)
Remember I said we had a failed photoshoot for the gray sweater? Well, I was going through the pictures we got and realized something. Something not so fun.
I think I want to rip out and re-knit 30-50% of the sweater.
This is a really tough decision, particularly because it has nothing to do with the fit of the sweater. The fit is perfect, actually. See below:
What’s not so perfect (and even easier to see in these pictures than in life!) is the really terrible pooling of the hand-dyed yarn at the waist and below. This is particularly irritating because the upper body was knit with the exact same skein, but the smaller width below the armholes didn’t agree with the length of the color changes. What’s worse, I was working on this sweater mostly in the evenings in front of the TV and didn’t notice until the whole body was finished.
It’s also easy to see that the second skein I used for the sleeves and front pocket, while appearing virtually identical in the skein, included lots of dark bits not found anywhere in the first skein.
To tell you the truth, this is the kind of thing I’d ignore completely if I were knitting the sweater only for myself. The fit is perfect! The sweater is snuggly and cozy, just like I wanted! Who cares about some color differences?
But since I’m planning to sell the pattern, I know I won’t be happy with anything less than great pictures. And that is going to require ripping, rewinding, and alternating skeins.
Another factor is the season. This sweater is definitely more of a fall/winter piece. By the time I get it re-knit (sport-weight yarn, remember), we’ll be well into the spring/summer knitting season. So I think this is going into the WIP bin for a few months. I’ll probably revisit it in July and get everything ready for test-knitting during August, which will put me on track for a fall 2013 pattern release.
But it’s not all doom and gloom on the pattern-writing front! I started a new vest design with more Rhinebeck yarn, these two beautiful skeins of Cephalopod Traveller:
Learning from my mistakes, I’ve been alternating skeins the whole way. I’m pretty sure I’ll run out of yarn before I reach the end, but I found a Raveler willing to sell me a skein of this colorway and it’s already on the way, so no worries there. The vest is really, really cute so far. A great cure for the meh of the gray sweater.