some gift knitting, slinky ribs in progress

I have had a few events recently that required knitted gifts. (REQUIRED, you hear?) First was a baby shower. I, of course, knit a bunny as I am incapable of not knitting one of these when a baby is due, apparently. (Ravelry link – which indicates that I have knit this pattern 12 times and I know a couple of those projects include more than one bunny. I may need a bunny intervention.)

And an Avery sweater (Ravelry link). This is a pattern I have been intending to knit for a while. The pattern was designed by my friend Kristi and I wanted to upsize it for Niels. Now I still want to and since I waited so long I'd have to upsize it even farther. It might happen some day! Or maybe I'll knit it for other babies.

Yesterday I attended a housewarming and so I brought a hanging mitered towel that I had been working on but didn't have an intended recipient. I think this one turned out very nicely! (Ravelry link)

At the same party I saw a friend's daughter whose birthday gift from me was woefully late. I hope it was worth the wait! (Ravelry link)

Planning ahead, here is a jellyfish for the next birthday girl, who turns one next weekend. Her mom saw me working on it and she's too little to use the internet, so it's okay to post. (Ravelry link)

That's all the FOs, and now I feel like it's a lot! They were all kid-sized, though and some had been in the works for a while! This is what I'm working now.

slinky ribs in progressready for my close up!

It's the Slinky Ribs top by Wendy Bernard. (Ravelry link) I'm using Rowan Revive which is a recycled cotton, silk, linen, and viscose yarn. I really like the tweedy look of the yarn and the way it's knitting up so far. I need to spend some quality with a tape measure and the bust shaping worksheet from Big Girl Knits to figure out how many short rows and where. I have an inkling that I need to start them soon but the last time I approximated on bust shaping short rows I had to go back and do it all again. I'm trying to avoid that! I don't actually want to knit every sweater I make twice, in spite of what my Boba friends might think.

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two FOs and one definitely still in progress

I have done the finishing on three sweaters recently. First I finished Bellambie (Ravelry link).

Seeing that photo, I wish I had done some shaping on the bust. I thought the stretchy stitch pattern would be enough but I don't think it is. I do like it though.

Next up is Rill (Ravelry link).

finished rillfinished rillfinished rill

I don't think this one is that exciting from the front but it's cute from the back and side. In that last photo, you can really see how much knitting it was. The only change I made was to cast on more stitches for the sleeve than the pattern called for because, as Norah Gaughan suggested, I know myself and wanted a wider sleeve.

In between I made a few coasters for almost instant graitification (Ravelry link).

modular coastersmodular coasters

This project was on Knitty Gritty a couple of years ago and I unearthed the pattern while cleaning my desk. I'm glad I did. I like the way they turned out and think they'll be useful.

Last up is Pucker, which has the ends woven in but is not done. It's too … tenty. That is the intent of the top but it most definitely doesn't work for me.

pucker... still in progresspucker... still in progress

I like the top though, so I am going to pick out the ends (I even split the plies to weave them in more securely. Oy.) and knit down with shaping. I hope it will turn out nicely after I do that. I have high hopes.

I've been busy, huh? I am determined to have all of these done and a new sweater on the needles before school starts in three weeks.

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more bread, two WIPs and and FO

I am really getting into this bread thing. I made a  batch of the Oat Flour Bread dough, also from Artisan Bread, a few days ago. The recipe said to make it in loaf form but I wanted a round loaf. I'm not sure it turned that well. The crust was good but the crumb wasn't great.

I may not have cooked it long enough. I'm still getting the hang of this. Today I made the rest of it into two loaves (which were only 1 lb of dough each instead of 1.5, for some reason, so they are on the small side). I haven't cut them yet, but the look nice.

I also made a batch of the light whole wheat dough because I realized that I am blazing through the inherited white flour but haven't touched the whole wheat. I think after this one I will try the 100% whole wheat bread which has honey and milk in it and sounds yummy.

On the subject of knitting (and crochet), I finished a toy crocheted grocery bag for a friend of Stefan's. (We got her some wooden food for her birthday so I made the bag for her to carry it.)

I finished to top of the mermaid costume that I'm making for the little sister of the recipient of the previous mermaid costume. I finished the tail portion of the bottom but I think I've twisted the cast-on stitches for the rest of the skirt so I'm going to have to go back a bit. Boo.

mermaid topmermaid tail

Rill is still waiting for sleeves or for the body to be blocked, or both.

Last weekend Purlescence had a sale on Rowan Revive, which I have been wanting to try. It was 50% off! I could not resist. I have 12 balls of it, close to 1500 yds of DK weight yarn. I'm thinking about another cardigan. We'll see if I can finish this one first, or maybe one of the two cotton tops that I have knit that need ends weaving in!

And on a totally random subjsect: one of our silkworms made it through his/her lifecycle and the kids named him/her Silkie. Sorry the photo is blurry.

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the missing month

It's been a month since I posted! A big month too, the end of school is always a busy time. Here's what I've been up to. We went to the Maker Faire and saw cool stuff like this dragon.

We  went on a camping trip with lots of cool rocks.

And I spent a bunch of time helping some friends of ours pack up their house and sell their stuff to move onto a boat. In the process I inherited many pounds (20?) of organic white flour, about half as much whole wheat pastry flour, some hard red whole wheat flour, oat flour, yeast and vital wheat gluten. My friend Victoria also loaned me her copies of Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. One of the reasons she was giving the ingredients to me is that half of her family is gluten-free now. So on Monday when I had her daughter over to play instead of watching them pack I also mixed a batch of the olive oil dough so that Victoria could at least eat some. I then made it into a foccacia with onion and olives on top. I didn't get a picture of it but here is the less beautiful version I made the next day, with Stefan's help. (He was "patting" with all of his weight so it got a bit squished and lumpy.)

It was delicious, though.

Tonight for dinner I used the other half of the dough and made two sausage strombolis (recipe also from the Artisan Bread cookbook). Again, not beautiful but really delicious.

Niels liked the bread but not the stromboli. I'm going to try it with pizza sauce instead of diced tomato and cut up meatballs instead of sausages. Niels only likes chicken apple sausage and didn't approve of the sweet Italian sausage. The nice thing is, if I make two I can make one Niels-friendly and one for the rest of us.

There has been some knitting too. My Rill is ready for the sleeves to be attached, so I need to knit those. I want to block the body first and make sure it's not going to grow too much and that the edges will work out. I also knitted a quick baby blanket for Stefan's baby doll, which I tried to get him to name Saskia. (It's supposed to follow the layout of the Moderne Log Cabin blanket but I kind of messed up.)

Saskia is the girl's name I have had picked out since about 1999. I love that name but since I am not having any more babies I figured the babydoll could have it. It didn't stick, though, Stefan calls her Saskie (and another doll Saska) so I guess it's close.

a weekend away and lots of wips

I have been neglectful of my blog but no one wants to read blog posts about how few blog posts there are, right? Right. So let's just pretend I'm not neglectful, deal? Thanks.

I went away this weekend with some of the BobaKnitters. We went to South Lake Tahoe and spent the weekend knitting, eating and watching movies. Oh, and drinking margaritas and/or wine. It was fun. There were some beautiful views to be seen, of course.

the view up the mountain from outside our hoteltahoethe view of the mountain from the lakeside

A bit of wildlife.

And lots of knitting and hanging out. All of my people photos were taken on my phone and are not so great. Sorry, guys.

To update you on what projects I've been doing since March, here's a run down of my current WIPs.

Pucker needs the ends woven in and to be washed before I decide if it's long enough or if it needs an edging at the hem. I didn't want to do the hem in the pattern so I'm at a loss.

By the way, after searching high and low and finding someone on Ravelry with a ball of yarn it turns out I had one more! It had fallen behind the sofa. So now I have an extra. I'm pretending this is amusing and not really irritating.

Next up is Bellambie, which also needs the ends woven in and to be washed. I want to split the plies and weave them into the stitches on both of these projects which makes end weaving even more tedious than it usually is. I'm a masochist.

Next is Ishbel, which I finished (according to the pattern) and then realized I was going to have way too much yarn left so I pulled out the bind off ripped back to add more lace repeats. I don't have much yarn left this time, I think it was a good choice. It clearly needs to be blocked.

Finally, the only WIP that I'm actually currently working on: Rill. It's a Norah Gaughan pattern from her Vol. 6 booklet. I bought enough Berrocco Seduce to make this or another sweater from WEBS at Stitches (thanks for the gift card, BobaKnitters!) and then my friend Pamela said she was going to knit it so I decided to knit it along with her. It's a big wide rectangle and it is s l o w going. I think it will be worth it in the end, though.

I love the colors in the yarn. The only problem right now is the edges. I'm not sure what is going on with them. I might wash and block this piece to see if they get settled in that process because otherwise, I might have to rip back (and cry).

As you might have noticed form the above picture, I am using my new (again) Signature circulars for this project. They sent me a replacement pair after the first broke. So far so good! Cross your fingers for me.

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finished anhinga photo

I washed and blocked my Anhinga so I can really truly declare it done now. I'm happy with it but I still might put in a stitch or two to hold the tuck in place. I do think washing it helped that. We'll see how it wears.

It only took me four months to finish my one month sweater! (It did sit idle for a fair bit of that time but I'm still proud of finishing it!)

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a few finished items, stitches

I am back to my non-regular posting schedule with pictures of finished stuff like once a month. Here we go.

First of all, bike helmet ear warmers for Niels

No action shot because he doesn't like them. They're too tight under his helmet or something. Live and learn.

Next up, things knit with Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton that I got from the BobaKnit yarnswap. I was seized with the desire to knit it all up immediately.

Blanket for Pete and Surgirtha's baby (born a few days ago, I better send it off).

Baby Bolero from One Skein for Diana's baby, also born a few days go, also not yet delivered.

Single Cable Scarf, also from One Skein, for my mom.

The two babies are also getting bunny buddies, of course.

I have no idea what this yarn is. My aunt gave it to me from my grandmother's stash, I believe. It's some kind of cotton plied with a thread so it's bumpy. It makes a nice bunny.

My Anhinga is also finished but it is blocking right now. I'm trying to see if the pleat stays in just from blocking or if I'll to sew a tuck it. We'll see soon, I hope.

Last weekend was Stitches West. I took a class on sweater finishing that was mostly about swatching, including washing your swatches so you understand your fiber and then about seaming. I do think I learned some new techniques that will help me improve my seaming but I could have lived without the instructor trying to convince me that I am allergic to dyes and not wool. Trust me lady, I am sure I'm allergic to wool, just ask my nebulizer.

As I mentioned, my lovely Boba friends gave me a gift card for WEBS. I used it to buy a sweater's worth of Seduce.

berrocco seduce in gris-bleuberrocco seduce in gris-bleu

I also got the books I mentioned previously (Berroco booklet #294 and Norah Gaughan Vol. 6) from WEBS and Whimsical Little Knits by Ysolda Teague from Verb For Keeping Warm. I want to make Ishbel out of the Handmaiden Sea Silk that I bought at Stitches two years ago… I think? (I looked it up, yes, it was two years ago!)

Last but not least, I got a few tools and notions.

Three bone "wandas" by Lacis from Carolina Homespun, they're a crochet hook on one end and a knitting needle on the other. One of my friends described it perfectly: it's an "oh crap!" tool. Perfect for fixing things; the Sinature circulars were too hard to resist once I learned that the point rotates on the cable! If you knit on circular needles you'll probably understand right away why I think that's a wonderful idea; last up: highlighter tape, red from the wooden sock blocker people and yellow from The Mannings. The highlighter tape has already enabled me to go back to my tapestry cowl, a double knitting colorwork project with no repeats in the pattern. NO REPEATS. I might get it finished by the time it's cold again, which would be a Good Thing.

Just because they're so awesome, here are the points of my Signature Needles.

I find Stitches to be inspiring and exhausting at the same time. It inspired me to finish my Anhinga and then to pick up two UFOs that had been hanging around but by Sunday night I was so tired, and I didn't even spend time in the marketplace except on Thursday evening and Sunday after my class. I'm not sure what it is: the crowds, the wool fumes, the sensory overload. I'm going with all three.

I'm glad Stitches is over and now I need to focus on finishing the projects I have planned with this year's yarn AND last year's! That sweater still hasn't been knit either. Oops.

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stitches west shopping list

It's a month away but I am already thinking about what to buy at Stitches West. I don't usually go with specific yarns in mind but this year I am. Some of my wonderful Boba friends gave me a gift card to WEBS as a thank you for the many baby blankets I designed for them so I am plotting. My plan is to buy Norah Gaughan Vol. 6 and Berroco Booklet #294  and 16 hanks of Berroco Seduce. I want to make one of the Vol. 6 tops, but I'm not sure which, in the Seduce Bellambie in All Seasons Cotton.

I am also going to be on the look out for Sockina. I  got some from The Fold at Sock Summit and knit a pair of socks in it for myself. Several people hinted (some more clearly than others) that they'd like a pair too. I don't think WEBS carries it but I'm hoping someone will have some at Stitches. Maybe The Loopy Ewe?

I also have a gift card to Purlescence from my friends (aren't they the best) but I might wait until Stitches to decide what to get from them also. I have my eye on Rowan Calmer but I might also pick up books that I've had on my wish list since they have a good book selection in their shop. I don't know if I'll buy from Purlescence at Stitches since I know I can go there easily, obviously.

There's also homework to be done for my sweater finishing class. Thankfully, it doesn't require knitting up an entire sweater to finish!

I'm looking forward to Stitches, in case you can't tell.

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the schedule problem

After NaBloPoMo I made a resolution to blog at least once a week, preferably twice. I haven't posted in two weeks now. On Christmas I got a Wii Fit and have been using it every day and getting up early in the morning to walk before I do the Wii Fit exercises. The side effect of that is that I really need to go to bed earlier or I can't get up to walk. The side effect of going to bed earlier is that I have a lot less computer time, which is probably not a bad thing.

So I guess I'm back to my sporadic posting schedule. I expect that everyone understands why. Exercise trumps blogging, right?

I have a lot less knitting and crocheting time but I have managed to finish a couple of things recently. A new crocheted bathmat for our downstairs bath.

And a pair of fingerless mitts for Niels to wear while scootering to school. They are styled after the mitts Ash wears on Pokemon.

I haven't destashed at all yet, but we do have a destash party planned with my BobaKnit group. The week after that Purlescence is having a yarn swap so if anything is left we can all take it over there.

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