Friday, July 26, 2013

The Little Things

Warning: Wedding talk ahoy! If weddings aren't your jam, feel free to stop here!

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When people have been asking me what I've been up to lately, my answer has been the same: wedding planning.  Which sounds much nicer than, "frantically emailing vendors and guests while muttering to myself, wearing sweatpants and grumpily shoving bowls of vanilla bean ice cream into my face."

So this morning, after sending the requisite 85 emails that needed to be sent, I had a minor panic attack and spent an hour trying on my wedding dress, deciding that it was all wrong, and tearing through my closet trying on every fancy vintage dress I own.  (Too sheer!  Too poofy-sleeved!  Too beige!  Too boring!)  In the end, Lumberjack and Sparklepants talked me down by reminding me that the color scheme is already decided, and my dress is very nice thankyouverymuch.

Wedding planning is bad for my health.

What is not bad for my health, however, are the great details that are beginning to come together: my Fluevog Keepsake wedding shoes; my amazing handmade necklace by Material + Movement, the absolutely beautiful handspun, hand-knit, and handsewn ring pillow specially made for us by a friend; my wedding ring, which was custom made to fit my engagement ring.  In the end, I am proud of these details - because they are beautiful, because their purchase supports local artists and businesses, because they are made with love.

And I have to keep in mind that even if nothing else comes together, Lumberjack and I will end up married with rings on our fingers, all of our guests will be fed, and I will be wearing kickass shoes.  Which is, really, all that matters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP: Stashbusting Socks


So this afternoon I'm hanging out in a public library, reading up on couturiers from different periods for a school assignment, drooling over knitting books, and knitting a sock.  Hooray!  I started this sock just a few days ago as easy travel knitting.  I bought the yarn (Socks That Rock Lightweight in colorway G-Rocks) way back in 2007, and after four or five failed attempted to make them into Jaywalkers - a pattern which, alas, is not meant for my giant feet and teeny ankles - I tore them out and shoved the yarn into a deep, dark corner of my stash.


I feel rather clever about finally knitting these socks up, especially since the skein is apparently tagged on Ravelry as yarn I want to knit up in 2013.  Of course, I have only a very fuzzy recollection of doing this, so it makes me feel triply smart that a) I had enough forethought to make these a stash goal, b) I had an unplanned and sudden desire to knit them into something, which then resulted in c) my actually knitting them into something.  I have hit no snags; they have not been abandoned; I don't even hate them.  This sort of stash-busting success is kinda unprecedented.

Now, it remains to be seen what happens with the second sock...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yarn Lust: JulieSpins Vera Lace


Sorry for the silence last week - Lumberjack and I went on an impromptu Portland vacation before he started his new job!

I've been working on getting some recent stash photographed and put into Ravelry, and this is my favorite of my new additions.  My friend got me an Etsy gift certificate for my birthday a few months ago, and it's been burning a hole in my pocket ever since!  So a few weeks ago I was browsing JulieSpins and saw the most beautiful handpainted laceweight - I think it's a very similar base to Madelinetosh Prairie, which is well-documented as my favorite laceweight ever - and a few clicks later, it was on its way to me.

And then it showed up, and I ripped the package open, and bwrhherhgkjh.  It's pretty.  It's on a base called Vera Lace, and the colorway is Tempest.  It has just the right combination of magenta and eggplant and ocean blue, mixed with some neutral cream and fawn.  I'm thinking about designing a shawl for it, even though right now all I want to do is rub it all over my face.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rastita Design Challenge!

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So a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I ran into a friend from my knitting group, and that we were working on an idea together.  Well, now the details are all worked out, so we can finally let the cat out of the bag!

Ariel, supercool sock designer and Starjay Knits podcaster, is my partner is designy crime.  We were talking about Malabrigo Rastita and found that we both loved the yarn, but weren't sure what to knit with it.  Rastita is a new DK-weight sister yarn to Rasta, a lightly felted single-ply yarn.  It seems ideally suited to cozy accessories and lightweight garments, and I've been itching to try it out.

So we started playing with colors, and pretty soon we had come up with a grand idea: we would both get two colors of Rastita, design a pattern of our choosing with the yarn, and blog the design process and results.  And when the pattern is released, we'll each be doing a giveaway of a kit to make the new design - so stay tuned!

For my colors, I chose Lotus, a beautiful pink color with hints of blue and lavender, and Peacock, a deep, shadowed blue.  I sketched as soon as I got home and came up with a textured shawl with a lace border.  I'll be talking more about the idea process in the next post, but in the meantime I wanted to share the swatch - I love these two colors together, and I'm excited to cast on for the full shawl and share my progress next post!

Look out for Design Challenge Posts about every two weeks, and be sure to check out Ariel's blog for her spin on things!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Little Things

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Some nice things today:

Snuggly Mackie; just-about-finished socks out of Socks That Rock from deep stash; the new Spin Off, which has a gorgeous rectangular shawl in it; my beaten up copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia; a new Miralda for me out of cream laceweight alpaca.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

FO: Alfalfa Ashton

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Next up in the finishing parade, a little Ashton Shawlette knit out of Abstract Fiber Matisse - a tightly twisted 100% BFL fingering weight - that I finished um a while ago.  So long ago, in fact, that I didn't even take notes on when the knitting was done.

The finished fabric is very light and crisp, and the color is fabulous - the yarn didn't pool but instead broke up into uniform runs of color stacked on top of each other.  This is my second time making the Ashton pattern, and the second time was just as fun as the first.  I think in general, though, I'm starting to gravitate back towards bigger, cozier shawls - this one is cute and small, but it doesn't have much heft around the neck.  A good summery shawl nonetheless!

Pattern: Ashton Shawlette by Dee O'Keefe
Yarn: Abstract Fiber Matisse 100% BFL
Yardage: ~400 yards of a 420-yard skein
Needles: Size 5 US Addi Turbo Lace

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vintage Fix: Printed Sundress

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I bought a little sundress back in December or so, in that twilight time before I started preparing for the show when I was still dreaming of spring.  It was a cute shape, but what really grabbed me was the print: stylized trees, hearts, leaves and polka dots in one of my favorite shades of green.  The dress was in great shape, but the hem was coming apart in some places, a patch near the armhole sewn on by the previous owner was falling off, and there was a little hole on the left shoulder.

So finally, last Saturday morning I took a few minutes to iron and re-sew the hem, apply a bit of strategic interfacing, and re-tack the patch back on.  It was fun to look at the inside of the dress - it's very well-constructed, and even the patch is clever.  I barely even noticed it was there except that the stitches were pulling out.

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The hole was probably the most difficult to deal with.  I cut a little scrap of fusible interfacing, placed it over the hole on the wrong side, and hit it with some steam, then satin stitched the hole closed with some black thread.  It's not perfect, but it's enough to keep the fabric together.  It's not in an area of high stress, so I'm not too worried about it.

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I think vintage repairs are my favorite type of sewing project.  It's always a fun puzzle to figure out what the garment needs to be functional, especially without compromising the original work, and I'm a lot less fussy about leaving stains and patches in vintage pieces than I am with new things.  Vintage treads the fine line between old clothes and artifacts, and I love that there are so many secrets and skills hidden in each one.

Plus, I'm pretty excited to have this dress ready to wear this summer!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Crochet WIP: Tart Loop

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So apparently I'm on a roll!  I finished the Wildflower Baktus on Tuesday and it's just waiting to be blocked, so I started a little crocheted cowl.  It's made from one skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina, which is incredibly soft and squishy and fun to work with.  I'm using a shop pattern called Pashmina Crocheted Cowl from Bad Woman Yarns - the pattern isn't listed on Ravelry but it's free with purchase of yarn at the shop.  I had to recalculate the numbers for the chain row - not sure if it was a mistake in the pattern or my crochet newbitude.  I chained 53 stitches instead of the recommended 50.  Since then it's been smooth sailing - I did about 6 inches at a 4th of July party last night!

Hope my American readers had a fun, relaxing 4th, and that everyone has a happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Save Those Dates!

Warning: Wedding talk ahoy! If weddings aren't your jam, feel free to stop here!

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I have to say, in the wedding planning process, I am one of those people who has to be dragged through the mud kicking and screaming just to get a yes or no answer to pretty much anything.  I deeply don't care about what the chairs look like.  I had to be persuaded to decide what, exactly, I wanted my bridesfolks to wear.  Cake?  Uhhhh, haven't really figured out cake yet.  (Personal note to cake: it's not you, it's me!  Don't leave, I love you!)

I'm really excited to be married... but I sorta hate wedding planning.

So in the middle of all of it, I am so glad that there have been a few things that we've stuck to since the very beginning.  We wanted an amazing photographer, and macaroni & cheese at the reception, and we wanted to send out adorable paper cards made by Lumberjack's mom.  Check, check, and check.

And even though I feel terribly behind in sending them, Lumberjack and I spent the better part of three hours last week hand-addressing envelopes, filling them with our seriously lovely Save the Date cards, and putting tiny vintage flower stamps on the front.  When they were all put together and in a stack, it felt so good - neat, and beautiful, and best of all, finished!

And I realized: hey, I like this part of wedding planning - the part where things come together.  And, admittedly, the part where I get to stop stressing out about it and eat my damn cake.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Heat Wave WIP: Wildflower Baktus

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We had a bit of a heat wave here in Seattle in the last couple of days, so I spent the weekend on the couch watching Mad Men and knitting.  I started this Lacy Baktus in Manos Serena on Friday at knitgroup, and have already finished about 75% of it.  I'm hoping to bust out the rest of it in the next few days.

I knit one of these as a sample a few years ago when Serena first came out, and have been planning to make another ever since.  Serena is a really interesting yarn: it has the hand of cotton and the warmth and fuzziness of alpaca, and it takes dye in the subtlest of ways.  This is one of my romantic multicolors, and I love how it's knitted up.  It's pooled a little bit here and there, but the overall effect is like a watercolor painting of wildflowers - appropriate, since the colorway name is Wildflowers!