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June 26, 2007

Orange

One of my favorite design blogs, Decor8, is featuring my current favorite color -- orange. Orange isn't just the vibrant color you see on my blog header* and in my background . There are other muted, subtle shades as well -- peach, pumpkin, persimmon, apricot and more. Lately, it's a color I don't tire of. Although I haven't found a way to subtly weave the color in to my living space, I'm trying. Slowly, I'm collecting the inspiration pieces that will help me display this color in my home without overpowering.

orange1.jpg

I love reading about the significance of different colors and why we're drawn to certain colors over others. Typically, when I wear a bold color, it's an accessory that I'm using to punch up a neutral or white; for me, orange means vibrancy, creativity, joy. I've found that most people feel strongly about orange -- they either love it or they don't.

* blog header designed by Fluffa!

June 25, 2007

Knitted Clutch - Mystery Project Revealed

In spite of the lack of fanfare, here it is:

KnittedClutch.jpg

I've still head over heels in love with Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky, but I'm going to fiddle with this clutch a bit longer until it becomes exactly what I had envisioned. It will need lining and also a closure. I also want to replace the lower-quality ribbon for something a bit nicer. I want it to be rigid and satiny -- but not quite THIS rigid. I'll know it when I see it. This also isn't the color I wanted, but it's all I could find.

KnittedClutchWidth.jpg

If anybody's interested, I'll write up a pattern (more like guidelines -- it's pretty straightforward). And here's a slideshow also.

Plymouth Boku

I'm going to share a blog I'm addicted to -- Color + Design Blog -- specifically, today's entry: Color Inspiration: Knit Socks of All Sorts. There's a lot there -- prepare to be overwhelmed.

I might end up having two blog entries today - one for a finished BOKU bag and a separate entry for the Blue Sky Alpacas project. Here's the bag knit with one skein of Plymouth BOKU:

BOKUBag.jpg

Here's the in-progress photo I took yesterday:

BOKUBag1.jpg

I had a few issues while I was knitting with the BOKU - while I love the colorways (especially this one - #8), I had some sort of adverse reaction while I was working with it. I was fine after I put it away and I think it's okay since it's been felted. It was such a quick project that I wasn't going to abandon it, but if I was knitting something larger with it, I would have had to stop.

Behind the scenes around here, I've been brainstorming some HABU combinations (for myself and other HABU fans) and also preparing for the arrival of the supplies I need for assembly of my Etsy wares.

Here's a peek at the Blue Sky Alpacas item after seaming:

BSAPeek.jpg

Now I need to make a trip to the fabric store for a wide ribbon; I'm hooked on ribbon right now.

June 24, 2007

Mysteries and Mitts

SoakII.jpg

The mystery project can't be seamed until it's dry. Thanks to high humidity and really bulky yarn, it's still quite damp. If it dries in time for me to seam and I still have enough daylight, I'll have the photo I planned to have today.

I cast on for fingerless mitts with my Malabrigo since I was waiting for the Blue Sky Alpacas' item to dry:

malabrigomitts.jpg

I cast on 32 stitches for the fingerless mitts and knit about 2-1/2 inches of ribbing then started on the stockinette portion. I tried it on a few times to figure out when to increase and set aside stitches for the thumb. It's really a joy to work with because of the variegation and softness -- I'm sure it will also make a wonderful sweater.

June 23, 2007

Blue Sky Alpacas - Bulky Naturals

I'm nearly finished with something I wanted to try knitting with this:

blueskybulkyskein.jpg

It's as soft as it looks. Blue Sky Alpacas is one of my favorite yarn companies and everything of theirs that I've knit with has been consistently wonderful.

blueskyswatch.jpg


Though this accessory might be somewhat impractical, that was part of the appeal for me. I wanted something simple and unfussy to show off the stitches. And . . . even if it turns out horrible, I'll still share the finished product when it's seamed and dry.

I also picked up some gorgeous Malabrigo worsted weight yarn to knit some fingerless mitts:

malabrigopagoda.jpg

It's a great way to test-drive a yarn for a future sweater -- I love the yarn and I love the color and it's soft enough to be worn next to the skin.

June 17, 2007

Soft Drawstring Pouch

This was the reason I bought Last Minute Knitted Gifts last year:

AlpacaSilkPouch.jpg

I love the idea of knitted gift packaging and the Blue Sky Alpacas' Alpaca and Silk has been languishing in my stash since August 2006. I made the i-cord tie called for in the pattern but decided to try the Hana silk ribbon instead and love it. The Blue Sky Alpacas yarns I've worked with improve noticeably after washing and blocking -- the softness and sheen of this bag makes me want to buy more (which is a bit counterintuitive to the idea of knitting what's in the stash!). I used my favorite Soak fiber wash - A Scent for Celebration - to soak the bag before blocking overnight. (For a handful of you who love all things Amy Butler -- there's a new limited edition Soak -- "Sola" by Amy Butler).

And although I'll probably jinx myself by saying it, I've been motivated to continue working on evaluating the stash and finishing works-in-progress. The stash cull has been ruthless, but I feel a lot of peace about my decisions. I'm also relieved about having frogged this. I fell out of love with it when I took it off the needles and put it on waste yarn to try it on. I noticed something unfixable that I had done in the first several rows (plus two other small mistakes I had decided to live with). So although I was nearly finished with it, I frogged it and the yarn is waiting to become something else now. Because I was knitting this for a loved one, my standards were higher -- and I had to balance whether finishing it would even yield something the recipient would love. It's probably not a good idea to give a shawl to somebody who's never worn one. (And, yes, I should have thought this through before casting on). I think I'll knit her a cardigan in a soft, feminine color and I'll make sure it's machine-washable. Have you tried Louet Gems Worsted yet? It's what I plan to use -- with a Knitting Pure and Simple cardigan pattern. Until then, I'm focusing on season- and climate-appropriate knits like sleeveless shells and tanks for myself. I'm tired of knitting for the wrong season.

And, last but not least, I wanted to share some lovely things that have been given to me as gifts or just out of pure thoughtfulness:

Lovely gifts and thoughtfulness

Thank you to my co-workers as well as Nora, Vanessa, Kim and Paul.

June 13, 2007

I'm not short on ideas . . . I'm just short

I'm not short on ideas or inspiration but I do sometimes lack focus and discipline. No surprise there! But having put some of my ideas and thoughts out there, I feel I have a responsibility to at least update on my progress.

First, I want to mention that there's nothing at Ravelry any of you are missing out on if you're not "in" yet. When you get your invitation, you'll catch up quickly if you're already taking photos of your knits and stash and uploading them to Flickr. It's a database and an organization tool. If there's one thing that Ravelry will give you that is currently impossible or unwieldy to do, is a quick way of figuring out who has knit something -- the Monkey socks, for instance. (And you won't believe how many people have knit Monkey).

All of this organization has tied in nicely with what I was already doing in preparation for my new Etsy venture. I always do a major purge and declutter right before I launch something new and this is no exception. It has helped to contain information somewhere in addition to this blog. (There's nothing over there that isn't here, btw). The backstory -- one of the most effective time management books for me is Getting Things Done by David Allen. Ravelry is a collection bucket. It won't replace blogging (at least I hope it doesn't make you all stop blogging) and it's not a social networking site (I thought it was a knitter's version of MySpace -- it's not). So don't despair if you're not in yet. You will be. And with that, I'll now shut up about Ravelry.

Much more importantly, I have a few things I want to share that have inspired me - this lovely project bag from Lisa L handmade by her friend from recycled kimono fabric:

KimonoPouch.jpg
(There's a Monkey inside)

and a Zakka Bag from Nora:

zakka.jpg

with some stitch markers:

StitchMarkers.jpg

And while you're clicking, please go see this lovely Kusha Kusha scarf that Kat knit. It was even beautiful before she felted it. Someday I'll knit my own Kusha Kusha

Finally, this fabric I've been wanting for the Amy Butler Cabo Halter (I bought the pattern from ReproDepot over a year ago):

Amy Butler Fabric

Tomorrow I'll have more lovely things to post. It's a blessing to have access to so much inspiration out there along with so much kindness and generosity of spirit. Thank you all.

June 11, 2007

We thought the blog was enough

We thought the blog was enough, the Flickr an enhancement, and the knitting journal de rigeur. And all of it is still good and necessary, but Ravelry is the cherry on the sundae. When you get your invite (and you will, I'm quite sure), plan to spend hours getting your projects added. It's all worth it.

(If you're a knitter or crocheter and you haven't already requested an invite, go to Ravelry.com and scroll down to the lower righthand corner . . . add your email).

The biggest surprise was how much knititng I have actually finished -- much more than I thought. And what I love most about Ravelry is that it is database-driven. It is something I would have loved to have hobbled together myself -- and yet, I couldn't have done a fraction of what they did.

I don't think it will change the way I blog, but I'll be linking to photos on Flickr more often. I'll be making it a point to shoot better photos of my finished knits also.

Rowan Soft Lux
Click photo above to see more on Flickr

And guess what else I figured out? I'm addicted to Rowan Calmer -- stashing it, that is. Although I haven't stashed any in 2007, I did buy a sweater's worth of Calmer in 2004:

Rowan Calmer "Joy"
For "Audrey" - Rowan Magazine 35

2005:

Rowan Calmer 2005 Stash
For Rowan "Soul"

and 2006:

Rowan Calmer 2006 Stash
For a future CeCe

Today I've committed to taking a break from entering stuff in Ravelry -- but that doesn't mean I won't be there scoping out what other knitters are working on.

June 05, 2007

More

I couldn't agree more.

Thank you everybody for the wonderful birthday messages. I've had a great birthday week so far.

About a month ago, I'd mentioned that I would officially open my Etsy shop on my birthday. I've decided to push that back a month or so while I work out the details and get some feedback on some of my ideas. Ultimately, I don't want it to interfere with what little knitting time I already have.

For over a year now, I've been working on being more self disciplined -- add to that a somewhat new fascination with a stashless knitting philosophy (and finding some stashless knitters out there in the blogosphere) and project monogamy -- i.e. sticking with one major knitting project until it's finished. (CAVEAT: socks are allowed to be started and finished at any time because there's always room for a sock on the side). When I first began to think in terms of seeing something through knitting-wise, it was so foreign (some insight into the scattered way I normally think). But I've noticed I'm more patient with myself than before. I know that when I make a mistake in my knitting, I have to fix it. I can't abandon it and start something new (ahem). If I want to move forward, I have to deal with my mistakes.

So, as you all know, I've graduated my first-born, and she's moved on (literally and figuratively) to the next phase of her life. She learned how to knit almost two years ago and is much more of a natural knitter than I am. She has a love for small gauge stockinette knitting -- something I never really mastered. Ironically enough, I wasn't the one who taught her to knit. Most of the credit for that goes to Mariann, who's also the one who taught me just about everything except the knit stitch.

There really is a reward to those who stick with it, face their mistakes and know when to ask for help.

3generations.jpg

EJJ2007.jpg


June 04, 2007

Birthday Monkey

Birthday Monkey

Pattern: Monkey from Knitty (Winter 2006)
Sock Yarn: Mama Llama Sock Yarn in Twisted Yarns Colorway
Needles: Lantern Moon Sox Stix, Ebony, Size 1 (2.25mm)


June 02, 2007

Contest Winners

Contest Winners
My Random Seven contest winners:

Malabrigo Laceweight - for S t a c i

And . . . a few extras because I was in the mood to give away more:

Malabrigo Worsted - Wynne (even though she didn't want to win anything) ;-)

Interweave Crochet Spring 2007 - with the Larger-Than-Life Bag - Shannon

Interweave Crochet Spring 2006 - with the Babette Blanket - Erin

Congratulations everybody and thank you so much for playing along!