Work in progress

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I am totally in love with this new knitting project. I have 6 different projects on the needles right now, but I feel a pressing need to knit this.

I started this scarf yesterday and hope to be finished with it tonight. 4 rows on the way to work. 20 rows at lunch. 4 rows on the way home. I’ve been knitting it every free moment I have. I hope the receipt of this gift loves it as much as I have loved knitting it!

Annabel Cardigan

Normally I would do a {this moment} post today, but I haven’t taken many pictures this week, and I am quite anxious to share some of my latest knitting projects with you.

I fell in love with the look of the Annabel Cardigan the moment I saw it, and I immediately started knitting one up in osprey in the chanterelle color. I actually finished the sweater in February, but I have hardly taken it off long enough to photograph it.

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I seriously love this sweater more than any other sweater I’ve knit.

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The three quarter length sleeves are perfect because I hate feeling like my sleeves are in the way or dragging in things.

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I wore this sweater in winter, spring, summer, and fall. I’m actually thankful that we have cool weather sometimes during our summer nights so that I can wear it!

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The leather buttons are from my collection. I bought them several years ago with the intent of using them to close a duvet cover, but they never made it there. To me, these buttons make the sweater. They give it a classy yet cozy look.

The only modifications I made on this sweater had to do with sizing, and you can see them in my ravelry notes.

As soon as I got the first sweater off my needles I decided that I needed one in another color. Since it was march, I was craving a nice spring color and decided on osprey in the pomegranate color. I think the initial excitement of the sweater wore off because it took me almost 6 months to finish this one. Because this project was so easy, I was able to knit other projects in between working on it.

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This color isn’t quite as universal as the brown one, so I find that I don’t wear it as often, but it adds a nice pop of color to a bland outfit.

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The buttons are from retronana on etsy.

I made this one a tiny bit larger so that it didn’t pull in the front, and you can see my mods here .

Hélène

The season is changing, whether I am ready for it or not. I have been trying to deny it for the past week, but I am finally trying to embrace it. It dropped down into the 40s a few nights this week, and I needed a sweater in the mornings. Fall is one of my favorite seasons, but it always seems like I’m not quite ready for it to come. I’m not finished growing tomatoes, enjoying the early evening sun or picnicking outside.

One of my favorite things about fall is a renewed enthusiasm for knitting. I knit all year long, but I feel a special calling as the weather turns cooler. As the summer draws to a close and the fall starts to edge in, I have decided to knit something that seems to fit the season.

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I ordered this beautiful organic linen yarn called sparrow from Quince and Co in order to knit Hélène.

This yarn has gotten some mixed reviews, and I am looking forward to trying it out for myself. It is supposed to get really soft when washed, but I think some people had issues with the yarn splitting.

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I will say that it looks beautiful. I love the natural color of the linen.

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{image © Carrie Bostick Hoge from ravelry}

I can’t wait to make this sweater. It is so delicate and feminine looking. I think it was the lighting in this picture that really captured me and made me decide to make this sweater. It makes me want to enjoy every last bit of the summer sun. We’re going on vacation later this week so I am anticipating quite a bit of knitting time!

Turmeric Tea

This photo pretty much sums up my week – turmeric tea, knitting, and a good book.

For some reason my throat has been hurting all week. I’m not sure if it is due to the change in weather, some new green tea I’ve been drinking, or an encroaching sickness. This winter I learned about the many health benefits of turmeric – from Meghan Telpner’s blog – and I have started drinking turmeric tea anytime I start feeling a little under the weather. I won’t pilfer her content, so if you’re interesting in reading about turmeric’s antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, check out her post. I follow her turmeric tea recipe pretty closely, and I have found it works wonders in soothing my sore throats.

Yarn Stash

Matt and I decided that we would try to limit our budgets for hobbies this summer. That means that for the months of June, July, and August we're trying not to spend any money on outdoor recreation (Matt) or crafts (me). We're calling it "super summer savings" and decided we would also throw in our clothing budget since we don't really need any clothes right now.

In June I've been working on a few knitting projects that I ordered yarn for in May. I am about to finish up those projects and was looking for something new to start, so I decided to do a quick inventory of my yarn stash, and well, I think I'm good to go for a while! 

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Linky Love – Crafting

I just realized that although I read/skim over 166 blogs on a regular basis, I've never shared any of them with you. Over the next few weeks I'll put up a post each Friday about some of my favorite blogs to read, categorized the way I have read them in Google Reader. I'll strive to share some of the lesser known blogs that I think are real gems as opposed to the very popular blogs that everyone follows. For instance, I love the Pioneer Woman's blog, but she probably has a zillion followers, so I won't mention it. Although I just did.

I'll start with the crafting category, because thats the first one I read every morning!

SouleMama – Amanda Soule's blog is the first one I ever started reading on a regular basis, and it is still my all-time favorite blog. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only folow one blog, this would be it. Everything about her blog makes me want to live life to its fullest. I want to be Amanda when I grow up :)

Posie Gets Cozy – If SouleMama is the first blog I followed, this is definitely the second. Alicia Paulson is probably the most creative person I have ever heard of. She sews, knits, embroiders, crochets, does crewel work, bakes, etc. Her blog reminds me of freshly cherries and it constantly inspires me to express my creativity in a different way.

{frolic!} – Chelsea Fuss's blog is a relatively new one to me, but I have been blown away by her creativity since I started reading it. She works as an event designer and commercial floral and prop stylist. I love the way her blog has such a clean and modern feel to it. Reading her blog makes me want to become a designer of some sort, but I think I'll leave that to her!

French Press Knits – Ever since I made the French Press Slippers, I have been hooked to Melynda's blog. She does the most fantastic Ravelry Roundups about once a week where she lists some of the new knit items on Ravelry that have inspired her. I absolutely love so many of the patterns that she finds. In fact, I have been super inspired to make Deco by Kate Davies that was in her most recent ravelry roundup.

Belle fleur de lis – I LOVE Lotte Janssens' blog. First of all, she lives in Belgium. Secondly, its sort of a diary of her inside garden. Thirdly, she has the most beautiful hair I've ever seen. Reading her blog makes me want to take a big step back and simplify my life.

Tiny Happy – In a way, this blog reminds me of Belle fleur de lis, but it definitely has its own character. Melissa lives in New Zealand, so its kind of fun to see her seasons directly mirror ours. While we are treading happily into spring, they are just stepping into fall. She does the most simple, yet beautiful embroidery I've ever seen. I am amazed at the way she can pick a wildflower and either sketch it or embroider it on something. And she can sew with the best of them.

The Shetland Trader – I started following Gudrun Johnston's blog shortly after I found her pattern for the Conway Cloche. Her knit designs are so practical, yet there is a certain attention to detail that that makes her desugbs pop off the screen. Plus, when I was struggling to figure out a technique in one of her patterns, I e-mailed her and she wrote me write back. You have to appreciate that!

Swatch Diaries – As you probably know, I am in love with Quince and Co.'s yarn. I could knit with their yarn for the rest of my life and be satisfied, so it is only natural that I follow Carrie Bostick Hoge's blog since she is a designer for many of the patterns they release. She designed the Annabel Cardigan, which is literally my favorite thing I've ever knit. In fact, I'm currently working on a second one.

So there you go, my favorite crafting blogs. I picked 8 out of the 45 blogs that I regularly read. At first I thougth it would be hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, but these definitely stand out among the rest in the way that they inspire me.

Do you follow any good crafting blogs?

Conway Cloche and Fingerless Mittens

I thought I would catch you up with a few knitting projects I've been working on. I first made the Conway Cloche in early 2010, and I must say that it is my favorite hat I've ever knit. I wear it all the time. Inevitably, my little sister Kathryn saw it and wanted on for herself. It took me a while to make hers, but I finally had it ready for her Christmas present this past year. She also asked for a pair of matching fingerless mittens. Both the hat and mittens were knit in Cascade 220, in a magenta color. The pattern for the mittens can be found in Joelle Hoverson's More Last Minute Knitted Gifts

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Feather Dress

As soon as I saw Modern Top Down Knitting at Barnes and Noble, I was in love. This book by Kristina McGowan is nothing short of incredible. There are so many projects that I want to make, but I chose the Feather Dress pattern to attempt first. Of course, due to my stubborn nature, I didn't use the same weight yarn as was recommended for the pattern, so it took a bit of time to do make some calculations and adjustments. 

I knit this with Berocco's Ultra Alpaca on size 8 needles. You can see the adjustments I made for yarn weight on my ravelry page. My absolute favorite thing about this sweater is the slight billow on the sleeve cuffs. I learned two new techniques knitting this sweater – how to crochet on a border (sleeve cuffs, hem, neckline) and how to crochet around elastic to make the high waist. 

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Weekending

Oh my. After being so busy last week, this weekend was the perfect time for rejeuvenation. We spent the weekend outside in the warm sun and at home straightening up and gathering our lives together. I feel so refreshed and ready to start the week. 

DSCN9849_editI love making homemade bagels. Nothing quite compares to a warm bagel, right out of the oven, graced with cream cheese. Something about bread rising seems complete to me. I am always amazed how dough can rise, doubling and tripling in size. I love to see the little bits that will become bagels fill themselves out and become round. 

DSCN9853_editI first learned how to make them last April, and I had no idea how easy they would be. Since then, we've made quite a few batches. The only downside is that they never seem to last very long. Bagels for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Yes please. 

DSCN9866_editI want one now. 

DSCN9861_editI also made baked oatmeal. I was traveling in China one time and was given this recipe by a lady whose husband worked with the state department. I've since modified it and will share the recipe soon. 

DSCN9856_editThis is Matt's favorite breakfast – baked oatmeal, yogurt, and blueberries we picked last summer. Speaking of blueberries, we picked 30 quarts and are down to only a few quarts left in the freezer. I'm not sure they'll last until we can go picking again in July. 

Sweater_editI spent quite a bit of time with some new yarn this weekend. I'm making the Annabel Cardigan from Quince and Co. in this light brown color. I'm already scheming another one in a spring color. 

DSCN9892_editAnd last but not least, organic Meyer lemons were on sale 10/$2 at my local grocery store this weekend! Clearly I took advantage of that since they were 4/$3 last time I was there! I bought 20, but upon arriving home, I quickly wished I had more! I used all of these to make preserved lemons. I've never eaten a preserved lemon, much less made them, but now seemed like the perfect time to try something new! I'll let you know how they turn out. 

Green Sweater

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I actually finished this sweater last fall, but I kept forgetting to take some photos and show you. This is a basic raglan style sweater. The pattern is Oatmeal Pullover by Jane Richmond. You can find it here at her etsy shop. This is my first raglan style sweater, and the pattern provided good basic directions for me. I made a few modifications, but not too many.

Quince and Co.'s Puffin yarn knit up smoothly and quickly. I used the color Lichen for this project. 

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This sweater took longer to make that I would have anticipated. As I was about to start the trim, I realized that I wasn't satisfied with the way it fit around my ribs and waist. It seemed really bulky, so I took it out quite a bit and made several decreases from my ribs to my waist and then increased it back when I got to my hips. I am much more satisfied with this. 

I also got a bit hung up on the arms because I couldn't figure out how big to make the sleeves. I redid them several times before finding a size that fit. Since I knit full length sleeves instead of 3/4 like the pattern recommends, I also had to make decreases once I knit past my elbows while keeping a number of stitches that was a multiple of 4 so that it wouldn't throw off the ribbing. For some reason, how to do this baffled me for a while.

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Let me just say that I absolutely love this sweater! The wool I used is incredibly warm but isn't itchy. I found that I mainly wear this sweater in our house (which can stay quite cold!) or outside instead of a big jacket. It keeps me very warm, in fact, too warm to actually wear all day at work! I get a little overheated … 

Here are photos from the last two times I've worn the sweater. 

DSCN9758On our winter hike at Bass Lake. 

DSCN9840_editAt my father-in-law's mountain bike race. 

Ravelry notes here