Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Leaving for Sock Summit!


Armed with sock yarn (much more than you see pictured), a multitude of projects, some good reading and snacks (mm Gushers), I'm off to Sock Summit!  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WIP Post: Stella Blouse


So, after a couple of weeks of dragging her around in my purse and stealing a few rows here and there, the Stella blouse has a back.  I cast off this last weekend.  At first I was a little confused by the back, but after dividing and working on the first armhole, I finally realized what was going on: not a v-shaped back, but a cute little keyhole.  I'm liking the longer length, too - I think it really needed it to fit properly.


The pattern, Lace Blouse by Erika Knight, is a little skimpy on the instructions, but through my patented Close Eyes, Hold Breath, and Knit As If Everything Made Sense Method, it's been turning out pretty well.


And I'm in love with Kidsilk Haze.  Anything you knit from it turns into a confection worthy of rubbing your face in.


Now, to knit a front, two sleeves, and a placket... better get crackin'!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Outfit Post: Warm Weekend


This weekend was super laid-back - something I really, really needed!  I was going to go to an alumni picnic on Capitol Hill on Saturday, but since I had a one-day weekend last week, I felt much more like sitting around in my pajamas and knitting all day.  So that's what I did.


Saturday night, though, my brother, the Lumberjack, and I went to see Captain America.  It was an unexpectedly fun movie, and I loved the 40s-inspired costumes.  I particularly loved Hayley Atwell's dramatic red lip, which is probably why I reached for the lipstick Sunday morning!


Since graduating, I've definitely become more aware of my wardrobe's strengths and limitations.  I have a ton of great separates that I can combine in fun ways, but I've also noticed that there are some pieces that just aren't work appropriate.  I could layer this dress a little bit on top, but it's hard to work with the short short length of the skirt.  So, I think I'll be keeping this as a weekend-only dress - but that's just fine with me!


I went a little crazy for having nowhere to go Sunday: dark red lipstick, contacts, eyeliner & mascara, blush, and some sparkly powder as eyeshadow.  It's a little reminder of how much work makeup can be. I usually wear mineral foundation and blush and that's about it, since my eyes are super sensitive from allergies during the summer.  It's fun to play with it once in a while, though.


You'll also notice that I'm not wearing my flats, for the first time in forever.  I'm still head over heels for my Fluevog Belle Star sandals, which my mom got for me as a birthday present.  They're super comfortable, and I love the color.  Here's hoping that Seattle provides a little more sandal weather in the upcoming weeks!

Dress: Free People, summer 2010
Ladder necklace: by Made in Life, bought at a Kyoto flea market
Sandals: Fluevog Belle Star

Movie photo credit

Friday, July 22, 2011

Outfit Post: Fail Edition


You know it's a bad picture-taking day when the best shot is the one where you're giving yourself a ponytail mustache.  Needless to say, my outfit post was foiled - this time, by the sun, which today is abnormally... present.

I've been working on updating my stash page on Ravelry and working a whole lot at my two jobs - that along with the fact I got a one-day weekend last week has made getting blog content together a smidge harder!  Bear with me while I flail about and try to be a little more with it next week.  Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stash Appreciation: Tosh Sock in Coral


Stash: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock.  I now have four or five skeins of this in my stash, and I love all of them as madly as the last.  This cutie, the colorway of which is called Coral but reads much like a Grapefruit to me, was bought during one of my yarn excursions in Ohio.  I haven't yet decided what it will be, but I think whatever it is, it needs to be close to my face.

So the last couple of days have been insane!  Yesterday I went on a little bit of a Goodwill binge, although the lovely thing about Goodwill binges is that they end up costing you like seventy dollars for four really awesome items, and then you don't have to feel quite so bad.  Today, I went out with the Lumberjack and his mom to get him some semi-formal clothes for an interview tomorrow.  Godspeed, Lumberjack!  And now it's time for me to go to bed, so I can get up early tomorrow to give a practice SAT exam to a bunch of munchkins (I mean high schoolers).  It's times like these that I'm grateful to be out of my standardized testing days.

So, onward ho! - and all of that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

FO Post: Miralda for Kathy


So I was planning to write something actually intelligible about this particular finished project.  However, twenty minutes ago when I was lying on the patio trying to get that perfect photo of some yarn, I noticed this funny white gunk on the yarn.  And realized that it was pure pollen.  And that I was lying in it.  Fifteen minutes ago I started wheezing, five minutes later the Lumberjack got me a Benadryl, and now I'm staring at the screen feeling like someone just stuffed my cranium full of angora rabbits.

So!  Without further ado, (I almost spelled that adieu... apparently I turn French [and have moments of thinking that obviously French words are German.  Huh.] when my head is gently exploding from antihistamines)...... uhmmmmmmm

......anyways, here's the damn shawl.






Pretty.  Cashmere/silk.  Made me very happy when blocking.

Pattern: Miralda's Triangular Shawl
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Cashmere/Silk 2-ply, 2 skeins
Yardage: about 700 yards
Needles: size 7 Addi Turbo Lace
Modifications: a;dk


Friday, July 15, 2011

Outfit Post: Totally Mod One Piece


When I was visiting my friend Emily in New Haven right after graduation, I stopped into a vintage store, ostensibly to buy a bag to replace my purse, whose handle had unexpectedly snapped.  As often happens when I'm in a vintage store, I had to look around, and the Lumberjack pulled this little beauty off of the rack with the comment, "It's brown!  And look at the skirt, it's not boring!"


Then I tried it on, and it was definitely not boring; impeccably fitted, deliciously mod, belted, with orange flowers on the skirt.  That Lumberjack has some good eyes.

So I bought it, and washed it, and yesterday I wore it and felt adorable all day at work.


I think it would be really fun to try making a skirt that had a graphic floral underlayer and a lacey overlay - I love the print!  I also really like that this dress is decidedly of a certain time period (polyester, a-line skirt, funnel neck, would go great with go-go boots) but still manages to look awesome right now.  I'm sure it'll see a lot of wear!

Dress: Vintage
Shoes: Fellowship Kathy by John Fluevog
Socks: Handknit
Earrings: another Oberlin purchase
Blue mug, purveyor of coffee, preventer of crankiness and sleepy mumbling: Ikea

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stash Appreciation: Claudia Handpaints Fingering Weight


About three years ago, I had a protracted love affair with Claudia Handpaints.  I made two pairs of socks out of their fingering weight yarn and loved them, then bought two skeins of their silk laceweight to make a blouse.  I love their variegated colorways, and the yarn is absurdly soft.  The two pairs of socks bit the dust while I was in Japan, thanks to that cranky pair of shoes, but both of them lasted about two years - pretty impressive!


These two skeins, of the colorway Desert Dusk, are likely destined to become socks too.  I might flip through my copy of Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn to find a pattern that does the colors justice.  I love how the yarn could be a pretty neutral tonal variegated, if not for the ridiculously bright blue shots throughout.  The colors are definitely Southwestern, and it will be nice to have a little bit of sunshine on my feet in the middle of all this grey summer weather we're having.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIP: Lace Top by Erika Knight


I cast on this cute little lace top last week, and immediately had to frog hundreds of stitches of Kidsilk Haze because despite counting three times, I cast on 118 stitches instead of 117.  (I'm the kind of person who can't just k2tog at the end of the row.  It will always bother my neurotic little mind.)  After that catastrophe, I re-cast on successfully and now have about seven inches of lace knit during episodes of Beck and True Blood.


So far it's a pretty enjoyable piece of fluff.  It doesn't have any waist shaping, but I made sure to get gauge and plan for 2" of negative ease in the chest, so hopefully with a belt or a high-waisted skirt it will be nicely fitted.  I didn't want to change the pattern too much, since I'm making it as a sample for the shop where I work.


I'm really absurdly excited for this color to be in my wardrobe after it's done taking its turn as a sample.  I have far too few pink blouses!  I also think it will be a great multi-seasonal piece - layer it with a long-sleeved tee for winter, a light cardigan for spring, and a camisole for summer.

Oh hey, look at how well I just pretended that Seattle has seasons.  In actuality, I should style it like a true Pacific Northwester: socks, Birkenstocks, shorts, and a North Face fleece jacket.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FO Post: Tamamushi Shawl


Ahhh.  After a lot of knitting missteps, being able to knit, block, and take pictures of a shawl within two weeks has been awesome and refreshing.  I named this shawl Tamamushi on Ravelry, after the bright green Japanese beetle used to decorate the 7th century Tamamushi Shrine.  I was actually able to see the shrine in person when I visited Horyuji.  It shows a series of Jataka Tales, or stories of the sacrifices of the Bodhisattva that later became Shakyamuni Buddha.  Because the iridescent green beetle wings used to color the shrine are long gone, I can only imagine how beautiful it was when it was first completed.  This color really reminded me of that breathtaking green!


Remember how I mentioned the worries I had about the dye with this project?  Well, they weren't completely unfounded - a washing in lukewarm water with some Ecover delicate wash turned the water completely turquoise!  Luckily, after that initial washing and two more soaks - one in warm water and one in hot - the water ran pretty clear.  I usually get a little bit of excess dye in the wash with most of my handwashed clothing and knits, and it ended up being within my limits of acceptable bleeding.


I'm really glad about that, because this shawl is gorgeous.  I really love how seasilk blocks.  When it was first finished, it was sort of a limp, wrinkly mess, but with a good block, the spine went from 16" deep to 23" deep (!!??!!) and the fabric turned crisp and drapey without losing any of its softness.


I'm slowly building up my jewel-toned shawl collection.  I really like having brightly colored accessories for a little flash of color in my outfits, or for combining with other crazy colors in fun and interesting ways!  I had just gotten home from work when Lumberjack took the pictures, so I just grabbed this thrifted black and grey minidress for something that wouldn't distract from the color.


Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl, by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: Lunayarns Luna SeaSilk in colorway Neptune's Daughter
Yardage: most of a 437 yard skein, probably ~415 yards
Needles: size 6 US Addi Turbo Lace
Modifications: I think I switched a k2tog to a ssk because it suited the line of the lace more, but no one will ever notice it.  Hahah.  Otherwise, this pattern is pure gold.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Outfit Post: Lazy Weekend


A weekend: I has it.  So far, today has been eating cereal, watching the Lumberjack play games on my brother' Wii, and swatching.  On that note, I'll hopefully have some new things to share in the next couple of weeks - stay tuned!

I keep on reaching for this thrifted and refashioned skirt, especially on days when I want to be comfortable.  This outfit is apparently another one of my super neutral and comfy ones.  Working all week makes me really appreciate my weekends, and this sort of schedule is definitely a departure from my college schedule.  At Oberlin, weekends usually involved twice as much studying than weekdays, so the whole week was for working, and weekend nights were really the only time that I got to take a break.


In other news, I have a second job lined up starting next week!  I met my soon-to-be employer when I was thirteen, and he taught me all that I know about dystopian novels, Teletubbies, writing kickass essays, and dark chocolate with chili powder in it.  I worked for him all throughout high school at the same English tutoring company where I took classes, and I'm pretty excited to work there again - this time as a brand-spankin' new college grad.


I also chopped my bangs the other day.  I had them trimmed about two weeks ago, but they were already starting to get in my eyes again.  I've found I like my bangs super short for practicality's sake, and I've started to really like the way they look.  Although when I woke up this morning they were sticking straight out.  Hahah.

Viva la weekend!

Top: Chalet
Skirt: Thrifted & chopped 90s maxi skirt
Belt: Penguin
Hair flower: H&M

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stash Appreciation: Creatively Dyed Beaches


I picked up this skein of gorgeous one-ply fingering weight at the Great Lakes Fiber Show in Wooster, Ohio, from Creatively Dyed yarns.  My mom and I have gone to this show two years in a row, and although I'm not sure I'll be able to make it next year since I'm no longer living in the area, I'll definitely keep my eye out for this dyer at other fiber fests!  Her entire booth is stuffed with gorgeous yarns - some Wollmeise-esque in their depth and color saturation; others splatter dyed; others, like this gem, in tonal variegated colors.


I was completely overwhelmed at the booth until I saw this skein.  It reminds me a lot of the cashmere I used to make Miralda, which is probably why I was initially drawn to it.  I tend to underbuy pinks because I think I already have a ton in my stash, which leads to overbuying purples and greens because I think I don't have any of those, what with the copious amounts of pink and all.  This one is a droolworthy mixture of vibrant and pale pinks with some subtle violets thrown in.  Overall the color is a little cooler than it appears in these photos.


I'm not sure yet what this skein will become.  A lot of my skeins from festival dyers seem almost too special to knit, so they sit looking pretty in my stash for a long time.  Anybody else have that problem?  Something is so gorgeous and coveted that knitting it up almost seems like wasting it?

In any case, who are we kidding.  This is totally going to become lace.  What type of lace?  Only time will tell.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Outfit Post: Silk and Trousers


Today dawned grey and drizzly, so I reached for pants.  These are one of my favorite pairs - dark dark dark navy blue, high waisted and pleated in front.  I know this is a terrible fashion faux pas in the eyes of some, but I like them.  The first time I tried them on, my first thought was Hammer Pants, and as a child of the early nineties, that evokes more nostalgia than ick.


I do need to do a bit of repairs on them.  The seam at the hem is ripped out in some places, which is sort of a pain, and the length of the pants necessitates at least a small heel.

The cardigan is another thrifting find from the epic excursion with Sparkle and the Lumberjack.  I bought it because it was listed as a cotton/silk blend, an unusual find.  Plus beads - I can't resist beads.


The earrings were a gift from my friend Emily.  Although you can't see it here, the lipstick is Chanel.  I inherited it from my aunt when she did a purge of all of her lipsticks, and I sort of love it.  It's too bad that Chanel anything is out of my price range, because it's a really smooth lipstick that doesn't come off on your coffee cup.  I like it, and this is coming from a girl who hates lipstick.


The shirt is a mud-dyed silk blouse from China.  I got it in one of the shops down in Pike Place Market.  I love the neutral color combined with the intricate details - it makes it special without being too over-the-top.

Overall this is a more neutral outfit for me.  I've made some grave offenses to conventional fashion wisdom (see: do not wear black with navy; do not wear pleated pants if you are even sort of curvy) but for the sort of weather we're having, it feels cozy but sharp enough to work in.

Have a great day!

Pants: Liz Claiborne, thrifted
Blouse: Chinese brand carried at Simo Silk in Seattle
Beaded cardigan: thrifted
Socks: Handknit
Shoes: Fluevog Fellowship Kathy

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Post: Swallowtail 2.0, Finished but Unblocked


I cast off Swallowtail this morning - another quick knit and a great palate cleanser.  This is the shawl pre-blocking.  The spine is just about 16 inches deep, which is way too small to wear as a proper shawl or scarf at this point.  My first Swallowtail grew quite a bit in size, though, and I expect the same with this one.  I also had plenty of yarn left over, so no nail-biting on finishing.


So pretty.

Now it's time to swatch for other projects!  Whee!  Maybe I'll even manage to block this guy within a month of finishing it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WIP: Swallowtail Shawl #2


The other day I was in the mood to cast on for something new and fast, so I took a skein of seasilk I got a while back and started a second Swallowtail shawl.  The first one was really fun and only took about four days.  This one is taking a little longer, but that's okay.  Swallowtail is the potato chip of lace knitting: easily memorized chart, a couple nupps thrown in for fun, and done before you know it.


This is the second time I've worked with a seasilk yarn.  The first was Handmaiden Seasilk, which I loved working with but found a little bit sticky, especially on the brass Addi Turbo Lace needles.  This seasilk is from Etsy seller Lunayarns, who I posted about before here.  The colorway is a lovely combination of apple and minty greens.  I love how subtly variegated yarns add depth, particularly to lace.  I've also found that this yarn is softer and smoother than the Handmaiden.


As with most seasilks, there are little slubs of fiber in the yarn.  They're relatively easy to pick out.  When I was at work the other day I heard someone complaining about these slubs on a Handmaiden yarn, but to me it's just part of working with this fiber.  Just like stockinette is nice and flat, but curls like crazy, there are certain things you just have to accept about certain fibers.  Whether or not that's a dealbreaker is a really personal thing.  For example, alpaca is not one of my favorite fibers.  I love the softness, its warmth, and its particular sheen, but I don't like how limp and flat it can be, especially after it's been worn.  Because of that, I'm more careful when selecting alpaca yarns.  For some people, those positive attributes completely outweigh the negatives - it's just an issue of personal taste, and luckily for us, the yarn market is diverse enough to provide for all sorts of preferences.


The only thing that's ever a true dealbreaker is dye that isn't properly set even after washing.  I was listening to Doubleknit #54 the other day and they were talking about Jessica's Damson (rav link) that was indigo dyed and turned her hands blue as she knit.  The final verdict was that the dye was set improperly, and that it would never really stop bleeding.  Definitely not good to put that much work into something only to have it ruin your clothes!

This yarn has been bleeding on my fingers as I knit, but I'm hopeful that there's just a little dye that wasn't exhausted and a good washing will solve the problem.  I might also talk to my mom and see what I could use.  I've heard that Synthrapol kills the texture of silk, but I might try adding some vinegar to the bath if the regular hand-wash detergent I use doesn't work.

Monday, July 4, 2011

FO Post: Miralda 2.0


As often happens with my lace knits, I blocked this one over a month ago and just wove in the ends this morning.  Although this time, I have a totally legitimate excuse - moving across the country.  Right?  Right!


It's amazing how even the 50/50 silk-cashmere and 100% cashmere differ in their drape and hand.  Miraldette has very crisp lines and a slightly crunchy hand, while Miralda 2.0 is nothing but soft, fluffy goodness.  That being said, I've found the pure cashmere to be more delicate and prone to snagging and tearing.  My first Miralda needed two repairs in the year that I had her; so far, in six months, the 50/50 silk-cashmere version has held up beautifully.  When the yarn does snag, it's fairly easy to pull it back into place.  I also love the slight sheen that the silk-cashmere has.  They're just two very different beasts.


I really missed this color in my wardrobe.  I have a dark grey trench that looks fabulous with such a bright pink.  I also love that this yarn doesn't pill as it wears, it merely gets softer and grows a delicate halo.  As usual, the perfect yarn for the perfect pattern.

Pattern: Miralda's Triangular Shawl, from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 4-Ply, colorway Vintage Rose
Yardage: approx. 700 yards, or 1.75 skeins
Needles: Size 7 US Addi Turbo Lace
Modifications: Doubled cable-cast on instead of knitted cast-on for bottom edge.  I like the sturdiness and almost braided appearance of this cast-on for lace.

Happy 4th of July to those of you in the US, and happy Monday to everybody else!