Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Albuquerque snowstorm

We might have a very rare chance at a white Christmas this year, thanks to El Nino. Considering it's not sticking, though, I'm not so sure.

I loved this dandelion



Oh, well. We don't know how to drive in snow anyway.

(And in case you might think we NEVER get "real" snow, check out this doozy a few years ago, 12/29/06 -- happened just AFTER Christmas)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finally finished

In October, a friend at work commissioned me to make a shawl for his mom for Christmas. He offered to pay, but really, it took so many hours that it would have cost $700. Or $1,000. I started it Oct. 31 and finished it Dec. 15, working on it about two hours a day almost every day. Seriously. I'm not a slow knitter, but it sure takes me a while to finish projects. And I get very impatient and bored with things. And let me say for the record, I will not be doing any more requests for anyone.

Adagio shawl,knitting

I had motivation, though, because I had a deadline. I did it, and I think it came out beautiful.

Adagio shawl,knitting

The pattern is a vintage pattern called the Adagio shawl. If you're on Ravelry, you can see my link here, and find your way to the pattern.

Adagio shawl,knitting

I used Knit Picks City Tweed dk yarn, about 9.5 balls of it. It's a beautiful, soft tweed. I used the colorway Orca.

Adagio shawl,knitting

I used size 7 needles, but found it to be too tight despite having knit a swatch. It stretched nicely upon blocking, though. I did initially have trouble with the k3tog at the beginning, because it was too tight to get the needle into three stitches at once. I panicked, but nobody else seemed to mention this problem on Ravelry. I found a substitute stitch that makes the same effect (SSK, then pass that stitch to left needle, pass third stitch over it and off, then pass stitch back to right needle.), though it was much more time consuming. After a few rows, however, the fabric loosened up and I was easily able to k3tog.

knitting projects

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Funky elf stockings

This week, my post on Warehouse Fabrics Inc.'s blog is about these funky, super-cute elf stockings in fun fabrics that give your Christmas decor a little edge.


I also included a few notes on applique, in case you're intimidated.
(Don't be :) )

Another jersey top

I loved my first gray jersey top made from Burda 7866 so much that I decided to make another one in a more interesting print. For some reason, I got most of the way done weeks ago and then stopped. I finally finished it up today. I definitely seemed to have a day of bad luck with this, which may be why I set it aside. While snipping thread ends, I accidentally snipped a small hole right in the middle of the fabric. And at one point, while top stitching the neck edge, the machine tried to suck in the fabric and tore it when I pulled it out. There were other mistakes I made, too, that slowed down the process, but it's cute and wearable. And most of all, it's finished.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blocking mats and my love of all things dry

I ordered these blocking mats from knitpicks recently and am using them for the first time. Unfortunately, they are not as big as I expected. I hope to get another set for Christmas.

Adiago shawl,knitting

I am blocking the Adagio shawl I'm making for a friend, and I will have to do it in two sections because I ran out of mat. But my shawl is almost finished -- I just have to complete the collar and sew it on.


I had wanted to talk about the blocking mats a little bit when I posted this before, but at the moment, I really wanted to take a nap, so I seemed to forget about half of the intended post.

Anyway, these blocking mats are awesome. They are each 12 inches square and fit together like puzzle pieces so you can make whatever size and shape you need. They are made of foam so you can pin easily to them.

I also bought the blocking pins at the same site, which are easier to use than straight pins, in my opinion. You dampen your knitting project with a spray bottle on one side, put that side face down and start pinning to your desired measurements (we're talking about wool here, not synthetics. Wool has a memory that allows you to shape it while it's wet). Then, after it's pinned, spray down the exposed side really well and let it dry. If you live in the desert southwest, like I do, it dries in about five minutes and you're on your merry way. I sort of wonder how people deal with humidity, to tell you the truth!

I am fully adapted to low humidity, so even dry skin rarely gets ahold of me. You don't get as much mold and mildew, and you never see rust around here. The summers are hot ... "but it's a dry heat," so it doesn't bother you. And in the winters, HARDLY ANY SNOW! Yay! You never get those days where the air is so heavy and wet that you can't breathe. That's my plug for arid climates. I know it has nothing much to do with knitting, but tangents are my thing.

Dogs need warmth, too

Some friends of Mark's like to hunt and have three beautiful hunting dogs. Me, I'm not very outdoorsy, and I'm more of a cat person.

But they needed a hunting vest whipped up for their dog. It wasn't an easy project, and it didn't fit the way I wanted it to, but it felt sort of "Project Runway"-ish.

dog vest

The man wanted it made out of "tin cloth," which is a densely woven canvas treated with wax (not so good for a sewing machine, really. Especially one that I just spent $60 to have serviced a week before). He wanted it lined with wool, but not too thick. It's purpose is both warmth and to repel stickers, so it needed to fit snugly around her front legs.

dog vest

Thankfully, he had a little vest made of some sort of foam material that fit her like a glove, so I was able to work from that to make a pattern. The tin cloth he provided was actually in the form of human chaps, so I had to cut it up and "make it work." I could totally hear Tim Gunn sending inspiration my way.

dog vest

One of the chaps was brand new, but the others were really dirty and used. So I got most of my pattern pieces from the clean one, but had to use some of the dirty. I turned the dirty part to the inside, so it looks pretty good.

dog vest

The wool lining I got at Joann's on sale for $9.99. I wanted to make a skirt out of it for ME.

dog vest

Hope it keeps you warm, Alley! Sorry I didn't get photos on the pup.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Luxe, 2-tier Christmas tree skirt

I know, nobody probably reads this blog anymore. I have been so busy and not feeling particularly great, either. My lack of posting is pathetic.

But I do have this fancy-pants Christmas tree skirt to show you. I made it for the Warehouse Fabrics Inc. blog.


It's made from two satiny, flocked, wine-colored fabrics that are very pretty together, and it's fully reversible, so if your cat barfs on it, just flip it over! Go check it out, and leave me a comment when you stop by.