A Finished Shawl

I’ve made it pretty clear that I love Craftsy. Well, I recently bought a lace knitting class and have had SO much fun knitting the first pattern included in the class, Skywalker.

I consider myself an advanced beginner and am definitely daunted by complex patterns. This class was just what I needed to tackle my first intermediate lace project. The class is super fun—the instructor, Laura Nelkin, basically holds your hand every step of the way (which is exactly what I needed!).

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This pattern involves a series of different lace stitches—a great way to practice new techniques and tackle different types of lace. I used a super silky bamboo yarn, which was generously given to me from Andy’s mom a while ago, the same yarn I used to knit up this beret. I messed up quite a bit, especially at the beginning, but once I got going I sailed through pretty well!

The best part about this shawl was that it was the perfect distraction from all the packing and moving craziness. Along with my family & friends, this was truly a sanity saver!

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Here’s the finished shawl blocking—I loved seeing it expand. It almost doubled from its size on the needles and looked SO much better (like leaps and bounds better) after being blocked.

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Here’s a closer look at the stitches. You can see that I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, omitting the “plasma” stitch for others from the pattern. The border’s my absolute favorite part—aren’t the scallops super cute? These different lace patterns were definitely a challenge—but it’s so much fun to take on a project that grows your skills and confidence!

While working on this project, I’ve realized how much I love knitting lace. I think it’s the rhythm and intricacy of it—I definitely want to knit many more lace projects.

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Here’s another view. Sorry about the lighting! The other photos are much better representations of the yarn’s color.

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I just love how this shawl drapes! I haven’t worn it out yet, but I’ll be sure to post a photo once I do. This was such a fun project and I’m already scheming and dreaming about my next lace project.

Everglade Knit-Along

I finally finished! Here’s the hat I knitted up for Izzie’s knit-along of the Everglade pattern by Wooly Wormhead.

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I made lots of mistakes and almost swore this off as too difficult (many times). I’ve knitted in the round before and I’ve knitted lace, but never lace in the round. It was daunting.

After I got over my initial fear and put in a few lifelines (um… these are life changing), however, things moved along pretty quickly.  It’s a super fun pattern and I’m so glad I tried it out!

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I made the medium size, but made the brim about half the size as the pattern called for, so it wouldn’t be slouchy. If you ever make this pattern, bear in mind that it runs on the small size. Oh, and blocking this hat is a definite must—it really helps the lace open up.

photo-1It’s now too warm for me to wear this (yay for spring!), but I’m excited to break it out in the Fall. I’ll definitely make a few more of these hats!

Thanks to Izzie for choosing a great pattern! What a fun knit-along!

Red Beret

Last year, I knitted myself a beret from a Purl Bee pattern. It was my first venture into knitting with double pointed needles (daunting!), but I was so happy with how it turned out. But… it was a bit too big and it felt like it was always slipping off my head. It fit my mom perfectly, so I generously begrudgingly gave it to her.

Last week, I went on vacation with two of my sisters and decided that was the perfect time to make a new one with a smaller brim. Hilton Head was absolutely gorgeous: warm, ocean air and lots of sister time.

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I knitted a bit every day—usually while zoning out to the Kardashians. When I got home, I finished it up and wove in the ends. Presto! A nice little beret that fits much better and matches my Spring coat.

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To make the brim smaller, I casted on 100 stitches instead of 128, then just followed the instructions the exact same way from there on out.

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There you have it! Super simple and very fun—I’m already thinking up my next beret, maybe a slouchier one in black or grey. I still have two skeins of this nice red yarn left, so I might attempt a matching lace shawl. Even thought winter’s almost over here…

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Double Fail

It just isn’t my week, people. I’ve been busy finishing up two tops for myself—a knitted sweater and a silk top—both of which are just don’t work. Bummer!

The knitted sweater is too big and boxy. I guess I should have casted on for the smaller size…photo (53)

The subtle different in color isn’t nearly as obvious when I’m wearing it as it is in photos for some reason. I *won’t* post photos of me wearing it, because I honestly look like the Tinman. Should I just tear it all out and start over? Should I finish up the last sleeve, block it and then decide? To you super-talented knitters, what would you do?

I also worked on a little mint top that I’ve been dreaming up for a while. I based it Colette’s Sorbetto pattern, and added sleeves from the Peony pattern. I added extra seam allowance to make French seams, and even added an exposed zipper to the back.

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All in all, I’m happy with the sewing and the overall concept of this top. But it’s too small! Ugh. The opposite problem as with the sweater…

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I love the color and the fabric and the design… It just needs to be a bit bigger!

I think I’ll be able to reuse the sleeves and bias binding, and just have to cut out larger front and back pieces. It’ll be pretty once I get it right, I just thought it would be this time!

These crafting fails are always a bummer. I feel like I spend a lot of time planning and measuring. But I guess not enough in these cases!

Has this ever happened to you? How did you salvage the project? I’d love to hear!

Quick Cowl

I recently whipped up a VERY simple knitting project—a chunky infinity scarf. I bought this yarn a few years ago and tried using it for a few projects, all of which I ended up ripping out, thinking that the yarn is just too nice for a so-so end-product.

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After admiring my sister’s simple—and warm!—infinity scarf at Christmas, I decided to copy it. Verdict: it’s perfect! The simple design shows off the yarn’s beautiful yellow color (it’s like sunshine) and uneven widths. Best of all, it’s super duper warm and cozy. I find myself wearing it in the apartment on chilly days.

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This is seriously one of the easiest knitting projects. I simply knit a scarf, then sewed it together to create one big loop. To wear it, fold the entire loop in half, and twist it around your head twice or, if it’s really cold outside, three times. Voilà!

Bernie’s head is almost as big as mine! He has enough droopy skin around his neck, so I don’t think he needs a cowl. Ha. I still think of him as a teeny, tiny pup and am always surprised by how gigantic he is in pictures.

This cowl goes against my New Years resolution to push myself to knit more complicated projects, but oh well! When you find the perfect project for some great yarn you just have to knit. Plus, having a beautiful and snuggly cowl makes winter just a bit easier!

How about you? What have you knitted for yourself this winter? What’s your favorite quick-and-easy project?

Progress

I’ve been plugging away on a few different projects. They aren’t finished yet, but I wanted to share the progress I’ve made. Some people prefer to work on one project at a time… Obviously, I’m not one of those people! I tend to have a few things in the works and bounce around from one to another. I’m not sure why, but I have so much more fun creating this way than if I feel like I need to stick with one project until it’s done.

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Right now, I’m working on the Nicey Jane quilt, embroidered “home” pillow and my first-ever sweater!

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Since this quilt is super scrappy, I wanted to balance it out with one, big cohesive pattern for the quilting stitches. I finally landed on creating a large diamond that is echoed at different widths. I’m only about 50% done, but I’m happy with how it’s coming along! photo (22)

The cross hatching and corners are my favorite details. Aren’t they pretty? The dense quilting is new for me, but I love it!

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Here’s a peak at the back and the simple, diagonal stitches. I love straight-line quilting, maybe from reading Red Pepper Quilts blog for so long. She’s such an inspiration.

Unfortunately, while quilting away my my mama’s sewing machine starting having problems. Ugh. It’s in the shop now and should be ready to go very soon. In the meantime, I spent lots of time knitting and stitching.

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I’m tackling Quince and Co’s Annabel pullover. AH! It’s pretty nerve-wracking since it’s my first sweater. So far, however, it’s been smooth sailing!

photo (16)Last, but certainly not least, is the “home” embroidery I finished using a pattern Anna Maria Horner embroidery book. Once the machine is back from the shop, I’ll whip this up into a pillow cover to add to our collection on the couch! I’m so happy with this project so far!

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This chilly Chicago winter + having a husband that works late a lot = lots of crafting time! I certainly miss Andy when he’s away, but having lots of projects at hand makes the time go by so much faster. I always love the process of making something and, of course, get excited for the finished product!

How about you? What have you been working on lately? Do you like to work on several projects at once? Or just one at a time? Can’t wait to hear from you!

2013 Goals

Now that it’s 2013, I want to take a few moments to think my goals for this year. I wrote up a list of projects I’d like to make throughout the year here. I’ll keep you updated on all the progress!

Here are my goals for crafting:

:: Focus on sewing quality clothing. When sewing up clothing, I tend to get really excited for the end product and rush when I should spend more time on the details. This year, I want to work on creating a few muslins that fit me really well and sewing up clothing that will last for a long time.

:: Try more difficult projects. I want to try sewing, quilting and knitting a more complicated patterns. Especially when it comes to knitting, I tend to knit things that I’ve done before. Luckily, my super-generous parents gave me a few craftsy courses for Christmas–the gloves and mittens cours and the couture dress course! This will definitely give me the push I need to challenge myself.

:: Take more photos! I’m pretty terrible at taking pictures of my projects. This year, I want to take many, many more photos, and try to make them a bit better!

:: Always enjoy the process. I love creating and I want to always enjoy every step and stitch. It’s a hobby, not a chore. If something is no longer fun, I’ll set it aside.

What are your goals for the year? I’d love to hear them!

Clean Up!

I’ve been knitting for a little over two years now and, like all knitters, have amassed quite a bit of needles. For quite some time, they’ve been scattered at the bottom of my yarn basket. After rummaging around to find the right set, I knew there could be a better way. I mean, it was a mess.

While wondering around the Martha Stewart section of Staples (she really makes the best stuff), I found this simple accordion file. Perfect!

After some labeling and sorting, it’s now super easy to find the right needles.

I just love quick and easy projects like that that really make all the difference. Now I just need to get knitting!