Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Knitting and cake

Lots of stuff to show you this week! First, the knit FO:

The Fuss-Free Baby Blanket is done! It only took 16 days, but it was SUCH a drag at the end. The last round was 712 stitches. That's a lot. It was taking a really long time for each round, and it didn't look like much progress. But it's done! I've got just a teeny bit of yarn left. I'm thinking about making a matching hat, or maybe a stuffy. We'll see. 

Also finished, cake! My friend threw a first birthday party for her son this past weekend, and I made his cakes. There was the main cake:

And the smash cake:

And the 36 cupcakes:

Can you tell what the theme was? I'm pleased with how the cakes turned out, and so was she! And it looks like I'll be using the same cake pan to make a Minnie Mouse cake for her daughter's birthday in December. 

With the baby blanket finished, I started to focus on my beau's socks. I'm now about to turn the heel, which means I still can't take it out and about. But once the heel is done, they'll be much more portable. Oh, and while there is only one sock in the photo, I am doing two at a time, so the second sock is just as far. 

Speaking of socks, I've pulled out my grey stripey socks again. They travel somewhat better than the TARDIS socks, although I don't think I'm liking the two-at-a-time magic loop socks. I'll keep going, and I'll try it again before I make any decisions. I'll also try going toe-up and see if that makes a difference.  I'm not sure. I just really like my DPNs. 

I started a new project yesterday at lunch, when I forgot my socks at home. Luckily, I had a skein of yarn and some needles in my car, so I cast on Truly Tasha's Shawl by Nancy Bush. It's a free pattern that I found through Ravelry. I'm using I Love This Yarn in Purple. 

Finally, I cast on another baby project tonight. This one is We Like to Cardi by Vickie Howell, and you can find it in the Fall 2013 issue of KnitSimple. I'm using the unknown millends that I frogged a few weeks back. Because I cast it on tonight, I don't have photos, but I'll have some next week. This is my first attempt at any sort of lace pattern, and it's going okay so far. We'll see as it goes on!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breaking out the sewing machine!

This week, I've only got one FO, and it's not knit or crocheted.  I've been working on my baby blanket (more on that in a bit), and it got big enough that it wasn't really purse knitting anymore. Technically, I could fit it into my Namaste purse/project bag, but that bag is big, and I tend to fill it with purse stuff and portable electronic gadgets and it gets REALLY heavy. So! I decided to sew myself a project bag!

I've been staring at all of the awesome bags on the podcasts I watch, and while I'd like one of the lovely box bags, I feel like that one would need an actual pattern to turn out well. Also? Zippers take me an awful long time to sew in properly. So I went with a drawstring bag, because I was sure I could wing it. 

I dug through my fabric box and found about a yard of fabric leftover from a set of curtains that I sewed for a friend's nursery several years ago. It's a Winnie-the-Pooh print, and I picked up some grosgrain ribbon to trim the top and make a drawstring channel. I made a rectangular bottom and reinforced it with a piece of cardboard, lined the whole thing, and did all of the trimming in one evening. And now I have a cute project bag for baby blankets!

I'm really happy with it, and I'm planning to use it for all of my baby blankets - which actually means that I'll be much more likely to have just one baby blanket going at a time. 

And speaking of baby blankets... I'm still working on the Fuss Free Baby Blanket. I still really like the look, but it feels like it's slowing down. It's knit from the center out, and every round gets bigger.  I just finished the second pink stripe, and I'm up to 588 stitches per round. So it makes sense that it's taking longer to finish a round. My purple and blue stripes are going to be less than 25 rounds, because I'm not going to have enough yarn... But I'm okay with that. I think it'll turn out well. Here's the progress so far:

The only other knitting I touched this week was a new project: I cast on the TARDIS socks for my beau!  I'm soooooo excited about these! The main colour is Impressionist Sky in Malabrigo sock, and it's just delicious to work with. He tried it on before I did the colorwork section, so I'm crossing my fingers that they'll still fit after that section. Once I get to the heel, I'll get him to try them on again. Cross your fingers for me!

And that's been my week in crafting!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A touch of start-itis

I just want to start knitting All The Things! 

I only have one finished object this week, and it's going at the end of the post this time, so if Lorna is reading, she can stop and still be surprised(ish) at her birthday present.

What's on my needles? I'm glad you asked! I'm still working on the Moonlight Shawl for my mum, but I don't have any new pics yet. I'm still working on some striped socks for myself, but they haven't seen any action for a couple of weeks, so no new pics there, either.

I did start a new baby blanket, because things just wouldn't be right in the world if I weren't working on one of those. I found this pattern from someone who posted in the Knitting Samurai Plus 1 podcast forum over on Ravelry. Steph is running a baby blanket KAL, and someone else was working on this pattern, and I just knew it would be perfect for using up some stash that was left after I finished the blanket and hat set for a friend. In 2008. The yarn has been around for a while, and I'd love to get it out of my stash. The pattern I'm using is called the Fuss Free Baby Blanket by Louise Tilbrook. It's a free download on Ravelry, if you're interested. So here's the best photo I could manage:

It's awkward to photograph, because it's a square blanket, but knit in the round on circulars. I have to say, I LOVE this construction! I'm just finishing up my first blue stripe, and I think I'll have enough yarn to do another set of stripes, then finish off with the white.  If there's anything left, I'll make some booties or a hat - this yarn WILL get used up!

I haven't started anything else yet, but I've come close. I stopped by my LYS yesterday on my way home after work, and I picked up two balls of sock yarn so I could finally cast on the TARDIS socks that I'm planning to make for my beau. I had already purchased two balls of Malabrigo Sock in Impressionist Sky (I adore that color!) for the main part of the sock, but I didn't have the black or white for the accents. I wanted to cast on as soon as I got home, but I held off. The accent yarns are Cascade Heritage Sock, and they look to be just a teensy bit thinner than the Malabrigo, so I want to swatch and see if I'll need to change needle sizes for that section before I get going. Wow, I've totally grown as a knitter! Back in the day, I would have just cast on, gauge be damned! 

While the ladies were caking up the skeins for me (did I mention that I'd really like a ball winder of my own?), I picked up the latest Interweave Knits - it's the Unofficial Harry Potter edition! I wanted to cast on all of the projects, right then. So, of course, I bought the magazine. There are just so many awesome things in there! I'll be knitting myself at least two pairs of armwarmers/handwarmers, and I put out a call to my friends on Facebook - if you provide the yarn, I'll knit you anything you want from there. With the caveat that it's first come, first served, and that you'll have to be patient, because knitting isn't fast.

And finally, that brings me to my FO, Lorna's birthday present. Lorna, if you're reading this, close the browser and go away now. Now!
Just in case...

Voila! A pair of socks! They're knit using Lorna's Laces Solemate in the colorway Zombie Barbecue, using US1/2.25 mm needles. I used 54g of a 100g skein, so I'll probably make myself some handwarmers, and a sock blanket square, and hopefully a hexipuff when I finally buy the Beekeeper's Quilt pattern.

And that's what's been going on in my crafting world! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two FOs!

I am in a finishing mood! And I'm doing really well at resisting the urge to cast on all the things, which is very good. 

So this week, I've got two FOs. First, the picnic blanket that wouldn't end. It took up my whole weekend, but I got it done! Including the coordinating bag! 

That's off the needles - well, hook. It was crocheted from a pattern in Crochet Today's special blanket edition from a few years ago, using a 5.0 mm hook and Red Heart Super Saver in Real Teal and Turqua. 

I didn't think I was a yarn snob, but after working with the acrylic Red Heart, it was so nice to move on to better yarn. It was just so rough on my fingers! I hope that I can avoid using it again for a while. 

After I finished that, I moved on to Heaven - Plymouth Yarn Heaven, that is, in color 122, on US 10.5/6.5 mm needles. I finished a baby blanket for Tiffany and Phillip!

You can see the diagonal stripe in the center if you look closely - I had two balls of one dye lot and four balls of another, so I intentionally spaced them like this. You can't see it so much in person, and really, it's going to be all bunched up around a baby, so it won't matter much. But the point is, I prefer an intentional stripe to a random clump. 

Once I finished those, I moved back to a pair of gift socks. I turned the heel of the first sock, and I'm partway up the leg. I'm nearly done, because it won't be a really tall sock, and I've only used 24g of a 100g skein, so I'm going to be fine for yardage. This is really good, because I want to use the leftover yarn to make a pair of handwarmers for myself! 

Here's a sneak preview of the socks:

Still on the needles are Mum's Moonlight Shawl, my grey stripey socks, dishcloths, and my sock yarn blanket (which I have misplaced! If you see my baggie of yarn scraps, please tell me!). 

Finally, I've also been in a ripping mood. Last week, I started ripping out a ripple afghan that I started a very long time ago. I finished winding all of the yarn back into center-pull balls. A few nights ago, I started ripping out a baby blanket that I started in 2004. That's NINE YEARS AGO. If I haven't finished it by now, I'm not going to. I'm actually going to reuse the yarn to make a baby blanket using the same pattern I'm using for the sock yarn blanket, but I've got to finish ripping it out first, and finish knitting and crocheting a few other things. 

So that's what's going on in my crafting world!