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Archive for April, 2007

arts & crafts

Boy, I hope the blocking fairies come in the night and turn this into something nice…

This is only one of the front pieces of the Ruffled Surplice. It would be coming together more quickly if I hadn’t started other craft projects. I’ve been experimenting with jewelry making using a few different materials: polymer clay, photo transfers, shrink plastic, glass, wire…but I’m still experimenting. I set up an Etsy shop, in the hopes that this might turn into a fun little business venture, but since I’m still in the experimental stage, the shop is pretty weak. I did, however, go buck wild craft crazy and ordered an approximate pantload of supplies including a hot pot kiln for precious metal clay! I can’t wait for them to get here. I think about that little kiln every day. I haven’t been this excited since I learned how to cable without a cable needle!

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shopping tunic

It’s not often that knitters experience (relatively) instant gratification, but if that’s what you’re after, the Twinkle Shopping Tunic fits the bill! It felt like it took no time at all, and I wasn’t even working on it very consistently. I used 3 skeins of Twinkle Soft Chunky in “urchin,” which is sometimes purple, sometimes blue, and sometimes gray, depending on what kind of light (and mood) you’re in. The color is gorgeous, but very difficult to capture on camera. I knit the small even though I am NOT a size small, because I had heard that the pattern was very stretchy, and it fits just fine. I ran out of yarn before doing all 13.5″ of the collar, but I don’t really mind. It’s still cowl-y enough for me. The only modification I made was to switch up the reverse stockinette stitch part of the way through the collar so that the reverse stockinette would still show it’s reverse side when the collar was folded down…if that makes any sense. Overall, this was a very satisfying knit. It was quick and fun and I think I’ll actually wear it!

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make room

Now that I’ve got a couple more projects off the needles, I’ve made room in the knitting basket for newer knits! I began the Ruffled Surplice while travelling last week and I’ve finished the back and about half of one of the front panels. I love the color of the Rowan Cotton Rope, but it’s not the most fun to knit with. Since it’s 55% cotton and 45% acrylic, I thought it might have a little more “give” than another cotton yarn. But after a while, the process feels more like beating the yarn into submission rather than knitting and purling. It’s a bit stressful on the hands… wrists… elbows… or maybe I just knit too much. I’m also knitting on size 8’s, and the ball band suggests size 10 needles, which could be adding to the problem. But I got gauge, and I really can’t imagine this yarn on size 10’s, anyway.

Now—scoot over and make room on the bandwagon, ’cause I got this the other day:

I’ve already started on the Shopping Tunic using Twinkle Soft Chunky in “urchin.” I’m skeptical about how this sweater will actually look on me, but it’s fun to have something knit up so quickly!

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lace hoodie

One of the things about having so many works in progress is that all of a sudden you have a bunch of finished objects! (Love that.)

I finished the lace hoodie from Rebecca 32 during a couple of rainy days during my spring vacation this week. I was unsure about this project right up until the very end, but I’m really happy with the results! I used Patons Classic Wool Merino on size 8 needles, and made just a few small modifications. I knit the body in the round, and eliminated one pattern repeat, because the lace pattern was so stretchy. I also knit the sleeves to three-quarter length, rather than full length.

I have to block the hood again because I don’t actually know the proper way to block a hood, so I’ll try another one of my mad scientist techniques tonight to get rid of the wonkiness. I’ll never actually wear the hood up, but there’s a photo here. The hood construction is pretty interesting.

Although I was less than thrilled with my previous attempt at a hoodie, I see myself getting a lot of use out of this one! The fit is just right and it’ll be something a little different to wear in this in-between-seasons weather.

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ms. oni opera gloves

I didn’t expect to be posting this FO so soon, but once again I found some extra time to work on them, so here they are, the Ms. Oni Opera Gloves! The pattern is Kate’s fabulous creation, so thank you thank you thank you, Kate, for letting me knit them! I used Yarntini in cherry cordial, just like Kate, because I pretty much want to be her when I grow up. The Yarntini was so much fun to knit with. I think that’s part of the reason these went so quickly. If I hadn’t gotten distracted by so many other projects, they would have been done in no time. And this is such a fantastic way to use sock yarn! I might never be a sock knitter, but I do love sock yarn. This pair of gloves is definitely one of my favorite finished objects yet! It almost makes me wish the cold weather would hang on a little longer, just so I can wear them. (Almost.)

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one down

I fully intended to work on the lace hoodie this week since I had many hours of travel time to kill. And I forgot my knitting needles. My knitting needles. Stitch markers? Got ’em. Row counter? Check. 3 different cable needles? Completely unnecessary, but yes, I had them. Knitting needles??? Nope!

Although I am not smart enough to bring the tool most crucial for the craft of knitting, I am somehow smart enough to bring a back-up project. So I unintentionally made serious progress on the Ms.Oni opera gloves. I completed the right-hand glove and only have 4 more fingers to knit on the left.

P.S. I am in love with them.

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I feel like I haven’t been knitting as much lately. There are a variety of reasons, but basically things are just very busy for me right now, so I have a bunch of other things sucking up my knitting time. Since I don’t have much knitting progress to post, I decided to break my self-imposed rule of only posting knitting content (I’m sure it’s a slippery slope from here on out) and show you some of the bridal shower craftiness I’ve been working on!

One of my dearest friends is having a sweets-themed bridal shower and since I’m much less likely to do irreparable damage with a glue gun than with a cooking utensil, I quickly volunteered to do the centerpieces and favors. I was a little stumped at first with the theme, so thank goodness for Martha Stewart! Or rather, thank goodness for the minions who work in her design department. Either way, these projects came out so stinkin’ cute I can hardly stand it! I got together with one of the other bridesmaids (another dear friend) and we had a girly, crafty evening, whipping up monogrammed cookies and candy topiaries. Both projects were very easy and kinda corny, but quite lovely, just the same.

The idea for the monogrammed cookies was stolen directly from Martha’s website. Now, I’m no Betty Crocker, so we used premade sugar cookie dough and cut out the cookies with a flower shaped cookie cutter. I got a flat-tipped icing applicator thingy (see? NOT Betty Crocker!) to do the lettering with chocolate icing. I was glad the bride’s new last name didn’t begin with a more complicated letter! After the icing had set, I popped them into cellophane bags, used twist-ties to close the bags and attach the “Thank You” tags we stamped, and finished them off with bows. We made the cookies a couple weeks in advance, so they are currently residing in my freezer.

For the topiaries, I began by painting the dowels white, and painting the flower pots with geometric patterns, using white and off-white acrylic paint, accented with metallic gold. I jammed some florist’s foam in the bottom (I had to trim it to fit with a serrated knife), stuck a 12″ dowel into a 4″ styrofoam ball, and then slapped the ball/dowel apparatus into the pot. Thinking that I wanted the centerpieces to be ultimately edible, I pinned the foil-wrapped candies into the styrofoam ball using straight pins, but in retrospect, I probably could have hot-glued them without corrupting the candy too much. I tied a wide ribbon and a narrower ribbon at the top of each dowel, and covered the florist’s foam in the pot with the leftover candies. I used a lot more candy than I thought I would for the three topiaries. I actually made two trips to the grocery store to pick the pinks and reds out of the bins. I think it took about 4-6 pounds, total.

In the midst of all this I realized that I must have a penchant for corny, themed bridal showers. Last spring I threw a Mad Hatter Tea Party for my sister’s shower (photos below). It was a lovely affair, complete with flamboyant homemade hats. I don’t know that I’ll ever top that soiree (it was a good one!) but I hope this bride enjoys her sweets shower!

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