Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Block 5 (Adriana)

I've got a lot of projects on the go right now which doesn't make for good blogging. But I did finish the 5th square!
block 5
I didn't like this one when I just had the centre but now I really like it!

I've been working away on Ev's Birthday Bolero but progress has stalled. I have the sleeves left to knit but I'm missing the measurements for Ev's forearms. Here's what I've done so far.
ev shrug in progress
The short-row collar took a lot of time and a lot of yarn but it was fun :)

What else have I been working on you might ask? Here's a hint.
ev shrug and machine
Yes my friends, there has been sewing but it doesn't make for good blogging so I will wait until there's a FO to show off.

Spillyjane recently came to me with a problem; she is running low of sock yarn! Being the good friend that I am, I dug through my sock yarn stash and came up with two hanks of my handdyed yarn which had been languishing in the drawer. I'm happy to pass these off to someone who will actually knit with them.
yarn for jane
Enjoy the yarn, Spilly! I can't wait to see what you make :)

And just for fun
Look, it's Cleo!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Non-Knitting Content (Adriana)

Remember this handsome fellow?
This is my little brother Neil (though in the tradition of all little brothers he is now bigger than I am). Neil is currently here:
Kakamega, Kenya

Neil is there with this pretty lady
His girlfriend Courtney for whom I made this Odessa.

They are gone to Africa for three months to do good work there. They are taking part in CABDA (Community Asset Building and Development Action) which is a grassroots community organization. As I understand it (and I am quite likely wrong), they will be giving out microcredit loans to locals to help them start up their own businesses which will stimulate the economy. When they pay back the loans it will provide money for other people to start their own businesses. (Neil, please correct me because I'm sure this isn't exactly right)

I am so immensely proud of both of them for being so brave and adventurous that I just had to share their story with the readers of this blog. If you are interested in following Neil and Courtney on their grand adventure you can check out their blog (I've also linked to it on the sidebar).

I promise to return to your regularly scheduled knitting soon :)

Edit: Neil has explained some of the things I wasn't sure about in the comments so check that out for clarification.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blocks 3 & 4 (Adriana)

I hope that everyone had a lovely long weekend. Mine was super-fantastic! We celebrated my granny's 90th birthday with just her immediate family, which totalled 16 people. There was great company, excellent food and I even got some knitting done. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

block 3

This is block #3 which I didn't like very much but now it's growing on me. I tried to force the colours by breaking the yarn and jumping around, which I have decided I shouldn't do. I need to trust that the square will look great without my influence.

block 4

Block #4 is destined to be my favourite. You see, I cast on Saturday afternoon, while visiting with some relatives at Granny's home. I knit away and ended up casting off right before saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the party. My family is so terrific. They were really interested in my knitting and they kept asking me questions (they were particularly curious about spit-splicing). They were very excited when I finished the square before the end of the evening.

I forced the colours on this one just a little because I had some extra green from a different ball kicking around. I think it's stunning and will have to have a place of honour in the blanket.

Granny's socks were a big hit and I have pictures of her wearing them but they are trapped on mom's camera. I will try to get my hands on them soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mini-Post (Adriana)

This is just a mini-post since I don't have much to show for myself. The bolero is moving along as is the third log cabin square but neither are ready for photographing. I decided instead to show off what I made on Sunday.
I had mentioned recently my desire to make a cushion for the couch so that the boyfriend and I would stop fighting over the two we already have (also I don't like to make things without a purpose but you know that's the secondary reason). Thanks to my lovely new sewing paraphernalia I was able to do this in an afternoon (and a bit of an evening after The Simpsons).

quilt top
quilt bottom
I haven't bought filler yet so it's not a functioning cushion but it will be one day!

Details: the top is based on the Around the World quilt pattern. I wanted a box-shaped cushion (for want of a better description) to match the others on the couch. I decided to use the blue from the top because I had it already (who needs a better reason?). I went into this having no idea how to make corners but what I lacked in knowledge, I made up in gumption. I decided to just give it a try since it's so nice and easy to rip out sewing (a million times easier than with knitting!). I gave it a go and, miracles of miracles, there was a corner! I just kept on going and suddenly I had a real three-dimensional box. It was thrilling. Now I can't wait to do more sewing.
Stay tuned after the long weekend when I begin making my dress!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blocks 1 & 2 (Adriana)

Apologies for the lack of updating recently. Heather and I are both working full time right now which leaves less time for knitting (at least for Heather who has an hour commute each way) and less time for blogging.

I have still been knitting like a fiend. I'm done the back and both fronts of the birthday bolero. I need to do some finagling for the sleeves so it's been put on hold until I can measure the recipient's forearms.

This has given me some time to work on mom's log cabin blanket. I enjoy before and after shots so bear with me.
This yarn has become this:
block 1
And this:
block 2

That's right, two squares are done! I'm 1/6th of the way through a blanket!
blocks 1 and 2
Here they are together.

I had my doubts about the colour combo when my mom picked it out but I should have trusted her colour sense (since she is an artist and all) because it looks fantastic!!
Here are some details about the planned blanket: each "square" is 14" by 15" and I'm making 12 of them which should result in a blanket which is 56" by 45". I think that will be the perfect size for a couch blanket.
Log cabining is really addictive. Each strip goes by so quickly that you just want to do another and another and another! This project has definitely replaced socks as my mindless knitting... at least for now :)

Also, I may have fallen in a fabric store and when I got up I'd accumulated this:
sewing supplies
Top from left to right we have: big ruler, bias tape, zipper, thread, 25th anniversary edition rotary cutter
Bottom: yellow scissors (when I was little the yellow scissors were the fabric ones), fabric for this dress, fusible.

I'm totally psyched to start working on my dress but I will be a good girl and finish my outstanding projects first, namely the bolero and my quilted cushion.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Knitting and Sewing on a Fine Spring Day (Adriana)

The weather has gotten so beautiful and yet I am inside working on my crafts instead of outside playing. My excuse is that I walked back from the gym and I'm also a little concerned that I'm getting sick. Keep your fingers crossed that I am not as Heather will be in town next week and I don't want to miss a moment of our time together.

I swung by Fabricland on my way home from work last night and availed myself to some of their cheap cottons (3 for the price of one!). You see, I've been inspired by the quilting projects of other knitters and have been infected by the quilting bug. The only way I could think of to exorcise this daemon (short of actually making a quilt and even I am not that crazy) is to make some mini-quilts! I cut some pieces last night, did a little sewing today and tada!
mini quilt1
It's a little quilt! This was more a test to see if I actually could do it and I can! (I used the tutorial here as a starting point) The pinning and sewing was easy; it was the cutting where I ran into trouble. You see, I had neglected to buy any proper cutting tools so I made do with small knitting scissors and a cardboard template I cut from a Shrek yogurt carton. Perhaps Heather would be so kind as to bring her cutting paraphernalia to visit me for the next time I do this.

That's right, I want to do more sewing! This small piece just made me want to do more. I hate knitting something without a purpose and the same goes for sewing so I've decided that my couch needs another cushion. I want to model the cushion top after the Around the World quilts and use all three of my fabrics.
I know these colours don't exactly work together but the price couldn't be beat.

The couch is blue so I want that to be the main colour of the cushion top. Here are the colour schemes I have come up with:
cushion colours
(Excel doesn't have beige so a light yellow had to suffice.)
I'm having trouble picking which would to go with. Any opinions? (I know you have one!)

And to show that my title isn't totally incorrect, I have also been knitting, working on the birthday bolero.
ev - gauge swatch
I'm getting to be such a good little knitter. I knit a proper swatch, 5 inches by 5 inches, with a garter stitch border and then I washed and blocked it! All my hard work was worth it when I nailed both stitch and row gauge!

ev - back
This might not look like much but it is actually the first few inches of the bolero back. I promise better pictures when I have more to show for it.

Now stop reading the blog and go play outside!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Granny's Socks (Adriana)

When I visited Heather in mid-January, naturally we had to go on a yarn crawl (we are self-respecting knitters after all). I was a girl on a mission: to find suitably luxurious sock yarn for Granny's 90th birthday. When I found Regia Silk in the Venezia colourway I knew I was set. Granny has always collected masks and together we picked out a stunning gold and silver Venice-inspired mask on our trip to England when I was 16. This sock yarn evoked the same emotions in me as did the mask.

Granny adores the socks I knit for her. She wears them year round. It took my mom a week after Christmas to pry them off her feet for a washing. Since I know how much she loves them I am happy to go to any amount of trouble to make sure that her socks fit perfectly. This means doing a top-down sock since she has specific requirements of the toe. Unfortunately, her other request was that these be tall socks and to make best use of the yarn would usually involve a toe-up sock. To manage this I did a provisional cast on and knit the foot, and then picked up the stitches and knit the leg. I increased from 64 stitches to 92 to accommodate her shapely calves. Many thanks to the Keyboard Biologist's excellent tutorial.
To give these socks the stretchiest cast-off possible, I braved the formerly scary "sewn off". It was waaaay easier than I had thought and gave a super stretchy edge.
These socks took from the end of January to the end of April though, in my defense, very little time was spent on them. It's amazing how long it takes to knit something when you don't work on it ;)

Ok, enough talking. Time for the pictures!
The sun was setting so the colour isn't quite right. Look at how little yarn I had left over!

This picture shows off the increases. I kept forgetting to M1R since my default is M1L but Granny's not going to be able to tell.

I promise to get pictures of the birthday girl modelling her socks in a few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed that they will fit!