Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Knitting

How many of you guys are making knitted gifts for the holidays this year? How many of you are still working on them? I know, I am! I've got two more to finish, and possibly a third to start and finish, if I have the time for it. :op We'll see if that happens.

I hope everyone has a great holiday (is having/will be having), and I'll be checking in with some posts after the holiday season of the gifts I made this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Movie Knitting

What sorts of projects do you enjoy knitting while watching a movie?  At home, I can knit on just about anything as long as I have the light on.  At a movie theatre... not so much.  I usually stick with things with tons of stockinette for those situations.  Anyone out there have any good patterns that they love for going out?  Please share!  I'd love to see them.  :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tis the Season

Now is the time when my needles seem to be filled with accessories for others.  Gift season starts for me in October and continues through into the beginning of January.  I'm rushing this year because, in additions to presents, I'm also knitting up a lot of new patterns that I'm hoping to get out while it's still cold out.  I've only managed to finish about three presents so far.  My aim is to get about ten gifts made up for Christmas, and to publish at least one quick to knit design by Dec. 1st.

How about you?  What are some of your favorite patterns to make for others?  Any quick projects that are also impressive to gift?  What about receive?  Are there types of items you like best?  Cowls, scarves, mittens, hats, etc?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Japan Part 2

So, here we are... I think this represents the... third day of our stay while in Japan.  Miho took us to some popular sites in Tokyo.  If I'm not mistaken, you'd get off at the Harajuku station to see this.  
Can you believe there's a temple like this in the middle of Tokyo?  Beautiful grounds, quiet little retreat.  Apparently, one of the most popular locations for Tokyo natives to go for New Years.  It is the Meiji Shinto Shrine.
Before entering, one should cleanse your hands.
It is a very popular wedding spot.  There were two wedding processions while we were there!
Almost literally across the street from that quiet, serene shrine is one of the brightest and most crowded shopping streets in all of Tokyo!  Takeshita Dori!  (Most well known for having the Goth and Lolita dressing people walking up and down.)
And the popular Harajuku girls.
I did find this sweet little dress though!  One of my purchases of the trip that was for myself.  :o)
On the way home, we stopped at Shinjuku.  There's this delicious udon place there that I very highly recommend!!  Unfortunately, this sign might be all we have to go on for it.  But it's great.  They make your noodles fresh from scratch when you order!!  Mmmmm...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Half FO: Soo Sock

Well, this one is only half done, as I've only completed one of the two socks needed for most of us.  This gorgeous sock is by Kitman Figueroa (of whom most of us who recognize her name would know for her gorgeous shawls).  This is her first sock pattern, and it is definitely not for beginner sock makers.  But for anyone used to her intricate lace patterns and sock making... the final product is definitely worth the effort.  It isn't a difficult pattern, but definitely wouldn't want to be a first pattern for either a newbie lace knitter and being familiar with sock construction would certainly help.  Anyways, without too much more further ado, here's sock number one!
My Soo Sock
Pattern: Soo Sock
Yarn: Nichole by Schaefer yarns. I lost the ball band, so I don't know the colorway.  According to ravelry, it is a discontinued brand of yarn anyways...
Needles:  US 1.5 Hiya Hiya Sharps dpns

Monday, October 20, 2014


My Diagonal
Pattern:  Diagonal
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Tosh Sock

Yes, this was another test knit.  I love doing them, they help me stay on task and actually FINISH something instead of becoming bored and getting a case of start-itis.  ;op

This designer was another doll to work with.  She is very enthusiastic, and open to questions and working with you.  The pattern was just too fun an idea to pass up.  I also had a bunch of this yarn from a time when I thought a long sleeved cabled sweater would look great in an entirely BRIGHT almost neon colored yarn.  I ended up frogging that early in, and still have an extra skein of this stuff after knitting this AND giving away one skein... Luckily, I do love the color, and what's wrong with having an extra skein of sock?  :o)

What's not to love about this pattern?  Loose gauge, dropping stitches on purpose, few fun pleats... Well... how about this:
It is utterly shapeless on the other side.  :o/  I was VERY disappointed with this once it was done and tried on.  The designer suggests a decent amount of positive ease to help the pleats fit just right.  While testing she was suggesting 6"+ or so of positive ease, so I jumped right on in.  In the end, it swallows me whole and looks like I'm wearing someone else's piece of clothing.

I haven't worn it once, and not because of weather reasons.  I have positioned it out, and by adding pleats to the front along the collar and closing in some of the large boatneck, and using a belt, it does become a cute top.  I just haven't been enthused about doing more sewing.  The debate now comes for me to decide if I want to try to gift this along or play around with it some more to get it to work for me.  For now, it goes into the "not quite finished, but done with knitting" pile to be dealt with at a later date.

For those of you on the fence about knitting.  The designer now only suggests a 4" positive ease, and it does knit up fairly quickly and was a fun knit (and great "tv" knitting).  So, I'm not trying to dissuade you at all.  I'm only mentioning what happened in my particular case.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, here's a quick peek at the back (yes, there are still some dropped stitch accents on the back too!):

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Condo: After

Living room
This accent wall is one of my favorite changes we made to the place.  The teal just pops here.  The best part was when we brought the new-to-me vintage chair in and found out just how well it went with our new place.  :oD
Living room into kitchen/laundry nook
While the change is subtle, we did paint every wall in this place.  The walls that were a light blue are now a gray.  It makes it more neutral and allowed us to be more creative with the other colors in the house.  Bret was a little hesitant about the purple in the laundry nook, but once it was done he did really like it.
Living room into bedroom.
I chose an avocado green for the bedroom.  Somehow, I did not realize that it was pretty darn close to the same color of the new chair I had decided to purchase for our place.  I guess I'm just predictable...
Kitchen and laundry nook
Bathroom and bathroom closet
The bathroom is a brighter light blue with a little more bubble gum personality.  We decided to paint the insides of all the closets, and bright pink is what we chose for the bathroom closet!
Bathroom into walk thru closet into bedroom
This is one of my favorite shots from the "after" shots.  Our walk in closet is the middle man for our bedroom into the bathroom.  Bret graciously allowed me to have a pink closet... probably because he was happy that I wasn't proposing a pink bedroom.  ;o)  I just love the way the colors all go with each other!
Bedroom into living room/exit door
Bedroom into walk thru closet into bathroom
Living room/coat closet
Yes, every single wall got repainted.  An exhausting four days of hand cramps, achy feet, and back aches... The place looks amazing though, and it feels a lot more like "home" now that it looks more like us.  :o)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Condo: Before

Living Room
Living room into kitchen/laundry room
Have you noticed, yet?
All the same color through and through.  A shade shifting light blue.  Not terrible, but it didn't have any personality.
Bedroom looking towards door to closet and living room.
Other angle of living room towards kitchen/exit door.
It makes sense, the place was being rented out as an apartment previously.  And, as apartments go, it wasn't as generic as it can get... but as soon as it was ours, I immediately knew that we were going to be painting.  I had only helped paint before this when I was a lot younger.  I don't think either of us knew how tiring it was going to be.  Especially since we were both working full time with different days off.  But we got it done.  And once it was done, both of us agreed that the place already felt more like our home.  :o)  Stay tuned for "after."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baby Harvest

My Harvest
Pattern:  Harvest

This is my friend's bebe who commonly accompanies my friend to knit night.  When I saw this adorable cardigan, I had to make her one.  The bright red of the cardigan really suits the nature of this little one.  Super adorable, super large personality with a little bit of spitfire.  I chose the wool ease for parental ease.

This free pattern is a great one for either a beginner sweater or for those more experienced.  There's very little seaming (as in, just the ones under the arm), and she has great diagrams to explain how the sweater is constructed.  The pattern comes in sizes from infant all the way to 58" chest!  This pattern is coming highly recommended by me for a quick and easy knit with great directions.
See ya later!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Japan Part 1

Way back in November 2013, the idea that Bret and I would get to go to Japan for almost 2 weeks this year was nearly preposterous.  However, my good friend Miho announced that her husband would be doing a year of study abroad while she continued to work in Japan, and offered her friends a place to stay in her apartment if anybody wanted to take a trip to Japan.  Well, this ended up being too good to come true, and next thing we knew, we decided to book tickets.  Bret bought a nice camera for this trip, and it was well worth it to be able to document our experiences.  We ended up taking so many pictures that I can't possibly post them all in one blog post.  So, you'll get some here and then split up between knitting projects.  Enjoy!
Our first day led us to Asaksa, a famous Buddhist temple in Tokyo.  This is the famous entrance to the grounds.  You will see thousands of people try to get a picture here if you stand and watch through the day.  It's a pretty temple once you go in, and there are stands inside with vendors selling treats.  As it has its own subway stop, it's also a very convenient and easy place to go while Miho was at work. 

The second day we went to the Studio Ghibli Museum.  I am a fan of Miyazaki's works, and Studio Ghibli as well.  The museum is a delight, and definitely worth the trip.  It is on the outskirts of Tokyo; we had to take 2 trains and a 25 min walk to get there.  I was so glad that Miho was our guide for our general trip.  She let us know that tickets to the museum must be purchased in advance at a drug store (Lawsons) for a specific date and hour.  I guess to assure that the museum does not become too crowded.  She graciously purchased them for us to assure we had them.  :o)
Our first sushi experience in Japan was fantastic!  This was actually our breakfast our second day, if you can believe it.  The Tsukiji fish market operates primarily at night.  As morning hits, the fisherman are packing up and getting ready to go home.  There are restaurants along the inner market that are there to allow these workers to have their "dinner" before heading off.  Miho suggested we go and have breakfast here so we could get some of the freshest sushi available in Tokyo.  Mmmmm... 
We finished our second day relaxing in a cafe overlooking the famous Shibuya crossing.  This is actually early evening *before* it gets crowded!  We were too jet lagged still to be able to stay longer, but even in the hour we hung out at the cafe, the intersection started to fill up.  Shibuya is where the young 20somethings go after work to hang out.  The night life here is definitely one of the hot spots in town.

Friday, October 3, 2014


My sideKick
Pattern:  sideKick
Yarn:  Louet Gems Sportweight

Here's one of the hair colors that has been since my last post.  And this photo was taken in my new condo!  The chair I'm sitting in was purchased specifically for the place.  I love it!  :oD

Now, on to the pattern.  This, as many of my knits are, was a test knit.  It was clearly written, and the designer was very open to suggestions and advice; I liked working with her a lot.  The pattern came out lovely.  I knit the 38" bust which gives me a little bit of positive ease, which I've been liking lately.  Easy and relaxed style.

While I had no troubles with the knitting of the project, I did have some issues with the final fit.  For instance, take a look at this:
Ok, so, maybe this isn't the best picture to illustrate my problem... but if you would take a look at the underarms:  there is a LOT of extra fabric there.  I feel like it all bunches up in the underarm area.  Definitely a tank top underneath ONLY sweater.  I don't like feeling a lot of bulk with my clothing, so wearing a t-shirt or anything will not work for me.  The other issue I had with this pattern is that there is no shaping done on the body of the sweater at all.  If I were to do it again, I probably would add a bit of shaping at the waist to help with the feminine feel of the overall appearance.  Since this was a test, I did not do so.

Despite these issues, I do really like the way it turned out, and look forward to wearing it when the weather starts to cool off a bit more here.  (I'm still in Texas, it won't be cool until November at the earliest.)  My boyfriend stated that this is probably his favorite sweater I've ever made myself, and with that kind of compliment, I do recommend this pattern to anyone who is trying to decide.  I would just recommend either adding shaping at the waist, or a bit of negative ease to help with the fit, and possibly pick up a few less sts for the underarms.  :o)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Homeowners!

At the end of April, Bret and I got a startling announcement:  our landlord had sold his primary residence, and now needed a place to stay of his own.  Our lease was the first ending and about the right size that he was looking for so he would no longer be renting it.  Our lease was up at the end of June, so he did give us some time to look for a new place, but it was still extremely unexpected.

We had briefly talked about purchasing a place of our own, but we didn't actually know if it would be possible.  Luckily, one of Bret's friends is a realtor in the area, so we contacted him, and next thing we knew we were house hunting!  We found a cute condo complex in an up-and-coming neighborhood, and placed an offer on it.  We ended up winning the bid (by a hair... there were 4 other bids the exact same price as we had put in for it, but we lucked out and won the bid!), and paperwork was set in motion.

It felt like a whirlwind at the time.  We managed to sign all the paperwork and were official homeowners the week before we flew to Japan.  What a great way to celebrate!  I'll be posting some before and after pics of the paint job soon.  :o)

And actual UPDATE!

I can't believe (wait, yes, I can...) that I let another post go SO long.  Since that post, Vandra has visited, I've changed hair colors 4 times, traveled to Japan, bought a small condo, traveled back to Portland, and have finished a good number of projects.  Here are some sneak peeks of the projects I'll be reviewing shortly...