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

Chess Set

Sometimes I have a hard time finding really good gifts for Matt, but this past Christmas I was excited about a chess set I found. It was from the Museum of Modern Art's online store. The one I wanted to get him was $225, but I ended up getting one deigned by Lanier Graham in 1966. It was much more affordable at only $60, and I have decided it is actually much cooler. 

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(Image from www.momastore.org)

The pieces are designed to "reflect their relative importance and how they move across the board. The mass of each piece indicates its level of influence, while the form of each piece reflects its range of mobility." As soon as I read about its design, I knew my husband would appreciate how the design fits the function. 

The only problem with my gift selection is that it didn't come with a chessboard. Now, the real travesty here is that someone would sell a chess set without a board. Why? I just don't understand. But I wanted to get him this chess set so badly I knew I would have to just make other arrangements for a board. I started looking online at wooden chessboards, and all the ones I saw were either cheap and ugly, came with a chess set (duh) or super expensive. 

So, I put on my creative thinking cap and quickly realized that I could make my own chessboard! I did some unsuccessful searching online for a pattern before I remembered seeing one in a knitting book I have called Weekend Knitting. As an aside, let me mention that this is the first knitting book I ever bought. I purchased it when I was a sophomore in college and had just started knitting scarves. I fell in love with the design of the book and the pictures – for lack of a better explanation, looking at it made me happy. Of course, I couldn't actually knit a thing in it (although I sure did try!) but I kept it around and now that I am a much better knitter, it has come in handy several times. 

Pattern and yarn (Patons Classic Wool) in hand, with 24 days until Christmas I decided to start a new knitting project. That I could never knit around my husband. That was boring stockinette. That took forever. Sometimes I think us knitters are crazy, but I love it!

Photo 1_editAbout 2 weeks into the project, this is all I had finished. So I kicked it into high gear, and got it done just in time for Christmas (except for blocking!) Oh, and did I mention that the pattern called for a crochet border? So I also had to teach myself to crochet. You know, no biggie. 

DSCN9819_editBut I will say that I am so pleased with the finished project. 

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DSCN9805The only drawback about this chess set is that the woods used to make them (cherry and maple) are very similar in color and therefore hard to differentiate. I think we've decided a quick stain on one of them will help with that. 

DSCN9812See how all the pieces fit together strategically? I just hope we don't lose the instruction paper that shows how they fit together!

Ravelry notes on chessboard here

Mindless Stockinette

Yesterday we got several inches of fast, heavy snow, and I was stuck working from home with a sick husband. I was starting to feel not so great myself, so after I finished my work, I spent several hours doing the mindless stockinette stitch on the Feather Dress sweater/tunic that I'm currently knitting. I must say it was therapeutic and healing. I took several pictures with my iPhone but the room was dark and the pictures were all terrible, so here is the picture from the original pattern.

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Photo © Gudrun Georges sourced from Ravelry.

The pattern comes from Kristen McGowan's book Modern Top-Down Knitting, which I have absolutely fallen in love with. Don't you just love this? I'm knitting mine in a purple color, and I can't wait to show it to you. I'm almost finished with the body of the dress, and all I'll have left after that is the sleeves.

Blue Water and a Cardigan

I think the best thing one can do for well-being in January is get the heck out of dodge. So that is what we did. We abandoned work, cell phones, snow, laptops, wind, and freezing temperatures and chose instead to embrace 80 degree Caribbean weather. It was beautiful and good for the soul. 

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Now I feel like I can face the potential double digit accumulation of snow tonight … especially because I just received my order of Osprey yarn from Quince and Co. for my new Annabel Cardigan! If I have to be stuck inside, at least I'll have plenty to do. 

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I just have one small project to finish first … but I am making good headway!

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Easy Baby Cardigan

I have a big announcement – I just finished knitting my 1st baby cardigan! And no, it isn't for me :)

I've tried to make several baby sweaters for friends who are expecting, but they have never been finished successfully. In fact, I think a baby sweater is what I tried to make when I first learned to knit in college. Now, I am all about knitting above your level so you learn new techniques, but I definitely wasn't ready to make a baby sweater then!

This sweater was a complete impulse – Matt and I were browsing in Barnes and Noble one night when I started looking through More Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. (Let me just give a plug here that if you don't have this book, you should purchase it now!) Anyway, I saw her pattern for the Easy Baby Cardigan, and I immediately knew that I wanted to make it for my friend Holly. Now, this was on a Sunday, and we were having a baby shower for her on Friday, but the book said this could be done in 4-6 hours. 

So, I jumped up from the table at Barnes and Noble, told Matt to wait, and ran to Michael's to get yarn. I ended up with Lion's Brand Yarn – Nature's Choice Organic Cotton in strawberry color. It was the only all cotton yarn I could find in a light pink, and surprisingly it was on sale! I went back to Barnes and Noble and proceeded to cast on while Matt was reading. 

What a delight! I absolutely loved knitting this sweater. It was a fast, easy knit, that was so satisfying. I cast on Sunday evening and put on the finishing touches Thursday evening. The hardest part about this sweater was finding buttons – there are few places in Boone that have buttons, and I really wanted to use some cute ladybugs I found, but I didn't think they were constructed in a way that would be safe for a baby. So I resulted to digging in my button jar to find some matching hot pink ones, which ended up working quite well.

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IMG_0387_editHere is the beautiful mommy to be!

You can check out the details on my ravelry page. 

 

 

Let it snow!

DSCN9332So, we got a little snow on Saturday. It was a nice, friendly little dusting. 

DSCN9338This is our "Charlie Brown Tree". We cut down about 5 little pine saplings from the woods behind our house, and I zip tied them together. Thats right, it wasn't Matt's idea – it was my idea to zip tie together trees. Who does that?! It lasted a few days, but on Saturday we realized that our landlord's family grew trees and she offered us one.

DSCN9333_edit So, we just trekked behind our neighbor's house and cut down a nice little tree. It was the perfect size, and I will begrudgingly admit that it looks better than my zip tie tree!

DSCN9343So, remember the nice little snow we got on Saturday? I'm not sure what happened since then, but Boone has turned into a blizzard area! Matt has been shoveling the driveway several times a day. I'm guessing we've had around 8 inches since Sunday, but its hard to measure given the 30-50 mph winds that blow it all over the place. Oh, and the wind chill is 1 degree. No big deal. 

DSCN9350While Matt shovels the driveway, I sit inside with my nice warm coffee, look at the Christmas lights, and try to get some of my knit works-in-progressed finished. I just decided to keep this basket in our living room with projects I'm working on so I can easily pick up something and knit a few rows. So far its working quite well as I've finished a hat for a Christmas gift and a washcloth. I have such a hard time putting the finishing touches on a project, so I'm hoping this helps!

DSCN9351I'm also using this time while Matt's outside to work on a last minute Christmas project for him. 19 days until Christmas – plenty of time to cast on for a present, right?!

Knit Giraffe

Ok, since I've been out of pocket for a while, I thought I would come back to the blog with a bang. I have such a fun knitted project that I have been dying to share with you. Even though this project has been completed for a while, I had to wait to share it with you until it was sent across the world. Literally. 

My sister moved to Thailand this past spring and is teaching third grade at a local Thai school. Even though I miss her terribly, I am so excited that she has finally found her dream job! I am certainly thankful for skype, and the fact that I can even call her on skype from my iPhone. Anyway, she has an affinity for giraffe. I'm not sure where this love originally started – whether in her travels to Africa or from the hundreds of giraffe gifts she has gotten from my mom. Regardless, she loves giraffe. I visited a giraffe center in Kenya this past June, but I don't love them as much as she does. 

So, since I missed her, and I had acquired a new knitting book, I thought I would make her a little giraffe stuffed animal. 

DSCN8281This is a partially completed picture from when we went to the Sugar Grove Music Festival. I so desperately wanted to share this picture with you, but I knew it would ruin the surprise!

DSCN8939_editSeriously, how cute is this little guy?!

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DSCN8920_editDon't you just love the spots and mane? I think they add so much character to the giraffe. 

DSCN8949_editAnd here he is – all packed up and ready to travel across the world!

Here is my ravelry post with notes. 

Meet Diorama

Remember the sneak peak from a few days ago?

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Well, the weather has turned chilly and crisp, and today seems like the perfect day to share the rest of this project. 

Several months ago I was visiting Cottage Yarn, right outside of Charlotte, and Matt stumbled upon this lovely little knit vest they had on display. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and knew that I had to make it immediately! Unfortunately they didn't have the pattern book in the store, so I just bought my yarn and had to wait 7 agonizingly slow days for the pattern to arrive!

This was probably the hardest project I have done because figuring out Berroco patterns is almost a nightmare. Finally, after several months, I had a vest that I loved, right in time for fall weather!

DSCN9026_edit2Meet Diorama from Berroco Vintage #290. 

DSCN9028_edit2This vest is knit in three pieces, using Berroco Vintage yarn, then pieced together. At first I was afraid it was going to be too tight and too short, but after blocking, it fit perfectly. 

DSCN8894_editPlease note: this is the first time I've ever really blocked anything, so I was stumbling my way through it. Instead of buying one of those expensive blocking boards, I got a piece of foam board and put a checkered table cloth on top of it. As I was pinning it down, the checkered cloth allowed me to make sure I was getting straight edges!

DSCN8880_editMy favorite part about this vest is the three different textures. The combination of single moss stitch, garter stitch, and this chain stitch, really make a unique garment.  

Bring on the fall!

Here is my Ravelry page on the Diorama

Knit Toboggan

I’ve been working on a toboggan for my little sister lately. I have a lot of things in my knitting bag waiting for some work, but I just can’t put down this hat! It is such a fast and easy knit, and I absolutely love the textured pattern.

Here’s to hoping I have a finished product to show you in time for her birthday tomorrow, but I’m guessing this gift might be a little late. Oh well. Better handmade and late than store bought on time, right?!

Knit Toboggan

Knit Toboggan