12.31.2010

A Knitting Year in Recap

I decided it would be fun, or maybe OCD is the word, to compile what I knit (and crocheted) this year.... so here's a list of my fiber accomplishments with links where I can.  (Some of the items on the list are due to be released in the next few months, so you get no pics.... but that doesn't mean I didn't knit them!)

Hats/Accessories
Listado Cowl x2
Skull Hat for Miss B  (pic above)
Mystery Hat x5 (you will see this baby real soon!)
Huaraz

Sweaters
Cascabel
An Act of Love
Mystery Vest #1
Mystery Vest #2
Leyfi (half way done... sleeves still to be finished!)
Scarves/Shawls
Winterlude
Brisa Shrug
Shawl for Knitscene (you will see this SO SOON!)
Eventide- in Heather for me! (pic above)

Jewelry
Aile x 10
Beaded Cuffs x 8
Butin Collar x 2 (this just was published, it will get it's own blog post later in January!)


Baby/Kids
Tuxedo Pants for Baby V
Monkey for Chunky Monkey Sauce

Crochet

Acorns (lots)
Owls for Miss B (never even took a pic of these, from Amigurumi World)
Summer Duet x3

Socks
***NONE

A GAZILLION SWATCHES

*** OMG.. this must be remedied, RIGHT NOW!  Guess what's on my needles?
Maybe next year I should take it one step further and count all the stitches?

Happy New Year to you ALL!!!!!!!

12.29.2010

Deathflake for my Girl!

deathflake2
I finally finished and gave my girl her "Deathflake" Hat last night at our annual family celebration.  It was so freshly off the needles that I didn't have time to block it before I gave it to her, and now she won't take it off, so it's not going to get blocked for quite some time! 

Yarn:  Berroco Pure Merino, 2 balls Black, 1  ball white
Pattern:  Munchkin, rewritten for the smaller gauge with this chart AND some latvian braid for detailing (my first!)

I found out about the chart when Stephanie tweeted about it earlier this fall and knew right away that it was destined for holiday knitting.  Then when studying one of my co-workers Christmas Sotckings I was smitten by her Latvian braid details and I decided that had to be part of it as well. 

deathflake1

12.20.2010

Last Minute Gifting: Dulce de Leche

Need any last minute gifts? Well, I did (since we might have eaten a few too many of the caramels) and I decided to whip up some Dulce de Leche. It is scary easy, super inexpensive, and a great conversation piece, what could be better?
 
Need:
6 mini-cans Sweetened Condensed Milk 
(I found mine in the Latin American section of my grocery store.... you can also use bigger cans, the small ones were just too cute!)
A Crockpot
Paper Towel
Kraft Paper
To Make:
1.  Take the labels off all the cans.
2.  Place a few papertowels into the bottom of your crockpot.
3.  Place cans on top of the papertowel and fill with water so that they are completely immersed.
4.  Cover crock-pot and cook for 8 hours on low.
5.  Take cans out of crockpot, and let cool.
6. 
Make labels! I used kraft paper and followed Maya's directions for printing on it. Then I used my girl's sticker maker, which I secretly covet to apply them.  You could, though, use a glue stick or other strong glue!

It's that easy... go ahead, you know you want to make some "cooked cans" too!

12.16.2010

An Act of Love!

Right about this time last year I started thinking about knitting my man a sweater. I knit him one when I first learned how to knit that was a GINORMOUS FAIL. It is so bad, in fact, that you will NEVER see pics of it. It really was time that he have a sweater made by me! I am smitten with seamless yoke sweaters and while knitting Cascabel I realized that I wanted to work with Elizabeth Zimmermann's EPS system for a seamless yoke sweater and just go for it. 
max1
One of the best parts of this project is that I didn't have to write the pattern, I made decisions as I went, figured out color work and numbers on the fly... this sweater is not supposed to be duplicated, it's just for him, just this once. Oh my, how freeing! All of my knitting/designing is always meticulously documented and thought about at every step of the process so that others can follow my directions. Max's sweater was all about each moment and stage of the design. I wish I could share what my notes looked like for it, unbelievably sketchy, but true to form, I LOST them, how perfect is that?
max3
My honey is shaped like an upside down triangle... i.e. his shoulders are bigger than his waist. So I cast on the appropriate number of sts for his waist size and then did gradual increases to get to his chest size. I knit the sleeves a bit on the snug side as I know he doesn't like them baggy and then worked some decreases for the yoke before starting the colorwork. I was worried it would make his chest look too wide if I started the colorwork sooner. I'm not sure this step was necessary but it works! 
max4
I ended up using Cascade Ecowool. The body is color 8049, the cuffs 8085, and the colorwork 8061 and 8017. I love the wooliness of this yarn, knit at 5 sts to the inch it's a bit dense and wind resistant. I think it will make a great ski sweater! Though, next time I knit a sweater for him I think it's going to be in Shelter
max2
I'm unbelievably lucky that Max is a partner in this venture and one perk is that I have a live-in computer guru.  (And hence, I have a pretty awesome website that doesn't break that often.)  This sweater is just one way to thank my love for being everything and then some!

12.14.2010

So much to tell you...

Well, when it rains it pours and since I checked in here last I have lots to tell you about!

***I did an interview with Allegra of Petite Purls for the Renaissance Mom series on their blog.  Grab a cuppa tea (or coffee) and sit down with us for a spell.  It even includes some pics of my family!!!

***I am SO EXCITED to have been invited to teach at the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling.  Sign-ups are open until Dec 22nd when the lottery will take place.  I'll be teaching along side Anne, Kirsten, and JC... the whole weekend is sure to be a blast.   I cannot wait to meet Sheri and her elves in St. Louis this April!  

***This weekend I taught 3fer at The Yarn Spot in Wheaton, Maryland as part of their one year anniversary celebration. The class went wonderfully. I've got a few new converts to working with beads... one of my favorite obsessions to share! Some of my students even came wearing their recently finished Undulating Waves
***I've been SUPER busy with some holiday knitting I'll be sharing with you over the next week or two as I begin to gift all the handknits to their proper owners... above is the first of them. Meet Monkey Sauce, made for Chunky Monkey Sauce for her first Birthday. I LOVED knitting this guy, he worked up super quickly... I was worried he'd be finicky to finish off but seaming him up was painless. I love the way the perfectly placed short rows shaped his monkey mouth and nose.  I used this pattern by Sarah Gasson and am proud to say I didn't modify it at all!

12.10.2010

Petite Purls Winter

Oh my, have you seen the latest Petite Purls?  It's enough to make me want another bambino... almost!  This summer I developed a lovely e-mail/twitter friendship with Allegra from Petite Purls and she asked me if I'd like to design a little something for their winter edition... how could I refuse?  I immediately opted for making leg warmers as they weren't something I thought of when my girl was little and I wish I had!  How perfect to be able to encase her little sausage legs in an extra layer of warmth while she crawled around our log cabin's cold floors.... ah, those were the days!

Introducing:  Leg Ups! 
Made with two coordinating colors (Indigo and Thistle) of Schaefer Yarn's newest yarn Chris; a worsted weight superwash that is perfect for high use applications... like leg warmers, of course!  The brioche stitch with it’s ribbed elasticity and dimensionality is perfect for these super simple leg warmies. Once you get the stitch pattern set up they were super fast and fun to knit on the go.  If you have questions on working the brioche stitch take a look at the queen of brioche, Nancy Marchant's website... all of them will be answered, and then some; it's an amazing resource!

A big thanks goes out to Allegra, Brandy, Joan and Colleen (for her SUPER fast model knitting skills)!!!!

11.30.2010

Time to get the gifting on!

Over the summer I agreed to be in a gift exchange with 20 other artists, many who I've known since college.  Luckily in August I came up with a plan and decided what to make... November is too crazy for me to wait for the last minute.  I decided to make homemade vanilla, I've heard how easy it is... and seriously, it was.  
I went and bought a good big bottle of vodka, drained a bit off, and placed 15 vanilla beans I got from our local gourmet and regional foods distributor in it.  Then placed it in a dark place, and tried to remember to gently shake it every so often.  Et voila, 3 months later, pure vanilla extract.  There are many different recipes out there, but this is all I did, and it came out perfectly (and quite strong!)  I even got brave and kept the same beans and covered them with a new bottle of vodka.  I'm hoping for a second batch later in the winter.  I'll let you know how that goes.... worst case scenario I end up with a bottle of vanilla flavored vodka, which ain't that bad!  The labels were printed on ironed brown craft paper, cut them out, and then fed through my girl's sticker machine.
When I decanted the vanilla and filled the bottles I decided I just HAD to make some caramels to go along with them.  We made over 200, and it took us HOURS to roll them up when they cooled.  I felt a bit like Lucy!  By the end my whole family decided that what they really are is the BEST homemade tootsie rolls evah.  If you ever happen to find yourself with extra sugar, heavy cream, butter and chocolate, you really should made them too!

 

11.23.2010

Thank-full!

Wow... I am in love with all your comments from the weekend's giveaway, I have to say, inviting people to share about themselves during a giveaway really does give me such a wonderful glimpse into who you all are (or at least how much sock yarn you have!)  The winner is:  #30 SusanB-knits, Congrats!

We are gearing up for the Thanksgiving weekend in the US, I'll be sharing the meal with my family and some dear friends.  Dinner is at my place and I am SO looking forward to the next few days of cooking and organizing.  I've been thinking a bit about traditions, food traditions in particular as I plan our menu.  We all have foods that epitomize certain holidays, and to thank you for a wonderful year of listening to me rant about my knitting I want to share one of my fav Thanksgiving condiments with you:
Cranberry Relish!  
Cranberry Relish

1 lb. cranberries (I use organic when I can find them)
1 small orange ¼’d with peel on
1-1 ½ cups sugar
3 T bourbon or grand marnier

Wash produce.  Put in Cuisinart and pulse.  You can do it in two batches if needs be.

Yes, it's that easy and SOOOO good!  My girl still hasn't developed a taste for it, and I just say "YUM, more for me!"  Some years we have eaten it with a vegetarian entree, some years with fish, this year with a turkey that I luckily am not having to cook. (Insert happy sounds here)  


Feeling thank-full for it all! 

11.18.2010

Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders- GIVEAWAY!

Have you seen the latest Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders?  Do you have a wee bit of sock stash just waiting for the perfect project?  If the answer is yes... YOU NEED THIS BOOK!  
Laws, there are 101 patterns to combine with your sock yarn.. from hats, to gloves, shawls, mittens, baby sweaters, jewelry, hand bags... even ornaments.  Judith Durant has done a fabulous job with the fourth book in this One-Skein Wonders series!  I am proud to say that my Chubby Puppy is a special extra pattern in the Barnes and Noble edition of this book.  My girl and I had a great time there the other day visiting with him on their shelves.  Schaefer Yarn has 3 projects made with their sock yarn Anne, want to take a peak?
 Roses for Rosa Scarf by Judith Durant
Swan Shawl by Rebecca Hatcher
G.W.'s Bonnet and Bootees by Melissa Morgan-Oakes

All three of these fabulous designers have become friends of mine over my years of working at Schaefer Yarn (thinking that may be how they got the yarn...) friendship has it's perks, right?
So, when Storey Publishing asked me to do a giveaway I asked Schaefer if they would contribute yarn as well!  Here's the deal, with a random number generator the first person picked will win a copy of the book along with your choice of one of the three skeins of yarn show above.  (I couldn't choose so you get to!)  Leave a comment between now and November 23nd at 12 pm admitting to us all just how many skeins of sock yarn you have stashed and how much this book could help you.. oh, and which color shown is your favorite!  They are all one of a kind skeins and VERY special : )!

11.16.2010

Brisa Shrug

brisa_indigo_full
Introducing the sixth of my new patterns I am releasing this Fall:
Brisa Shrug

Brisa is a dressy little number to throw on over a simple dress to warm your shoulders on a cool night or for a little something special with your fancy cocktail dress. Beads float gently at the top of eyelets adding a bit of “bling”, though you can easily not use beads and still have a great lacey topper.    Brisa Shrug is worked in halves from sleeve to  center back and then grafted down the back.  The sleeves and edging are worked with feather and fan stitch (a personal favorite!)  The eyelet stitch pattern is a 6 stitch, 4 row repeat and EASY to memorize... promise!
brisa_indigo
The indigo version is the smaller than the smallest size, knit under deadline for Circular Knitting Redefined.  When I decided to release the pattern in my own line as well I sized the pattern up a bit a knit a second version without beads.  (The green version is colorway Laura Hobson, size: medium) Both shrugs are knit in Schaefer's Heather, a superwash wool, silk, nylon that holds it's definition in the lace stitch beautifully. 
brisa_hobson_close
When working this design I remembered how much I LOVE the feather and fan stitch.  This is probably the first lace stitch I ever worked and it is so comforting to me... I keep saying that one day I'll make a whole fingering weight blanket in it, and then I wake up!
brisa_hobson
You can see more pictures, get detailed information and purchase Brisa Shrug here or on Ravelry here
This is the 6th of the six new patterns I am releasing, one a week for six weeks.  Use the coupon code TimetoKnit at checkout to buy 2 get one free on all new patterns through November 30th.  (see details here)

11.09.2010

A weekend at Bedford Springs taking a Knitting Cure....

building
Well I'm back from a LOVELY weekend at Bedford Springs, PA teaching Entomology to a group of 50 dedicated knitters at the Bedford Springs Knittreat.  I have to admit, that when I agreed to teach at the Knittreat last spring, I quickly looked on the website for Bedford Springs, and said to myself... I'm teaching at a golf resort/spa, and then went about my regular business.  Let's just say I was SO surprised when I drove up to a massive gorgeous old building and surrendered my car to the valet (yes.. my first valet at a knitting retreat) and was immediately given a private tour and history lesson by the hotel's Maitre d'.  The hotel was founded over 200 years ago at the site of a curative mineral springs.   Dignitaries, celebrities, wealthy urbanites, and even presidents went there to escape the heat and "take the waters" during the summer months.  The hotel was restored in 2007 in a way that has preserved and cherished it's history.  As you walked through the labryinth of halls, stairwells, and corriders, you are able to read vignets, peruse photos and soak up the past.... quite a treat!  Look at this signature a new bride made with her wedding ring in a original leaded glass window pane:
signature
The Bedford Springs Knittreat is the baby of Barb Grossman, the director and founder of the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Show.  Knitters from around the Pittsburgh area came for the weekend to steep themselves in workshops, knitting, the resort and spa, and FOOD, did I mention the food?  Well, I should...... cause there was lots of it!  Oh, yes, and the knitter's taking over the hotel, knitting everywhere?  Nothing makes me happier!
knitters
I taught Friday and Saturday mornings and was free to explore, knit, and make new friends for the rest of my time.  I went for a wonderful 5 mile hike Friday afternoon with a group of fellow knitters, where we stumbled upon one of the original springs:
springs
I leave you with this really cool photo I took right before I left Sunday morning...  water bubbles, what's not to love?
And to all my new friends I made this weekend... thanks so much, you were all so wonderful, I'll Knittreat with you anytime!!!!!

11.04.2010

Flip-Top times TWO!

This weeks pattern is a re-do of my most functional pattern to date!  My flip-top mitten pattern, that first appeared on the pages of Designer 101 One-Skein Wonders, is about as basic and functional as you can get.  BUT, the yarn that the Flip-Top's were originally designed in was discontinued... and then I get requests to size it up to a men's large, and then I got requests for it to be re-written for a worsted weight yarn.  
So, here you go: Flip Top Mittens UPDATED!

The flip top mitten pattern is sized from child's 2 - 4 ALL THE WAY to men's Large AND it is now written for both fingering and worsted weight yarns.  Inspired by my favorite book I made charts for both yarn weights and all nine sizes.  It is easy to follow, simple to knit and ready for some holiday gift making!  There are already lots of these mittens made for you to check out on Ravelry, see?

If you have purchased this pattern from me before I have e-mailed a link for the updated version... enjoy!

Remember, this is the 5th of the six new patterns I am releasing, one a week for six weeks.  Use the coupon code TimetoKnit at checkout to buy 2 get one free on all new patterns through November 30th.  (see details here)

11.02.2010

NaKniSweMo!

Alright... it's official, on top of everything else, I've decided to take part in NaKniSweMo!  Don't know what it is?  Read here and here.  It's not too late to join in.  There is a super fun Ravelry group here.

I've got a project all lined up, and it's a vest, so technically, I'm participating in Vestvember as well.  (How's that for getting my geek on?)  My project is as yet unnamed. (Actually it was named but then a well loved designer who must think just like me used the name in the latest Knitty; Cadence, isn't it a great name and sweater?)

I knit the first vest in Schaefer Heather, and I LOVE IT, but it's too big for me, so I am knitting a second smaller version for myself in Fibre Company's Road to China Light.  This yarn has silk, baby alpaca, camel and cashmere... basically it's crack for this knitter!  The pattern is tech edited (thanks Kristen) and all I need is photography of both versions. So lighting a fire under my needles by joining in on NaKniSweMo will get it to you faster, right?

I've been busy making kits for my students at the Knittreat this weekend, and writing lists of everything I need not to forget.... at least I know what I'll be knitting!

10.28.2010

Centrino

Introducing Centrino:
centrino_white3

Centrino is a giant doily, based on a few vintage patterns I found and adore!  I’m not a doily person, neither lacey nor frilly, but the lure to begin something that starts out quite wee and grows into an abundant orb could not be refused. This project is addictive from start to finish. I loved the simple act of working around, and around, slowly building out.  The pattern shifts slightly but not so drastically that you are forced to hide away to “learn” your next repeat. 

photo thanks to LilLadyBug
Early last Summer Amy Swenson (or Indigirl) asked me to design a shawl for the September shipment of her Year of Lace club. I was honored and decided it was the perfect opportunity to delve into my love of knitting in the round and lace.  I pulled out my beloved EZ Knitter's Almanac and devoured the chapter on knitting shawls in the round.  (FYI- this was July, the perfect travel knitting month) I then jumped right in, working the first repeat with it's increases.  When that repeat was done I designed the next one... it was so fun thinking and wondering what the next design motif would be.  And I must say a wee bit stressful as I started to wonder if I'd have enough yarn for the bound off edge.  I even borrowed a scale from a vendor in the middle of Sock Summit to be sure I had enough... living on the edge, seriously!
centrino_red1 With the help of Becca there are two versions of Centrino... the first one I did for Year of Lace was done with 2 skeins of Schaefer Anne, the second one that Becca knit for me was knit at the same gauge as the Anne version but with a lovely sport weight superwash merino, silk, milk fiber blend. I love that the same shawl worked with varying weights of yarn can have such a dramatically different feel.
You can see more pictures, get detailed information and purchase Centrino here or on Ravelry here.  There are already a fair number of projects done with Schaefer Anne on Ravelry so you'll get to see other people's versions as well!Remember, this is the 4th of the six new patterns I am releasing, one a week for six weeks.  Use the coupon code TimetoKnit at checkout to buy 2 get one free on all new patterns.  (see details here)

10.25.2010

Weaverknits and Bohus in one weekend?

This weekend held two big treats for me... a girl could get used to this!  
On Friday Ann Weaver of Weaver Knits came out to Schaefer to visit and show me her new book, Craft Work Knit (yes, I got a copy, it is the awesome!).  I've been a fan of Ann's patterns for quite a bit and it was such a joy to get to meet the person behind all that knitwear.  Ann's aesthetic is funky and clear and it was oh so much fun to pick her brain (and let mine be picked).  Meeting designers and delving into the world of designing and publishing with them is a blast.  On Saturday I stopped by Knitting Etc for a long visit and got to see many of her samples in person.  
I think her little Le Mans jacket is enough for me to want to have another baby... almost.  Of course, I forgot to take any pics, but Ann gave me permission to use the ones above, thanks Ann!

On Sunday, I went to the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell for a lecture and workshop on Bohus Stickning given by Suzette Newbury.  I have been smitten by the pieces that came out of Bohus Stickning, a design studio/knitting cooperative in Gothenberg, Sweden  for quite some time.  Having the luxury to sit and listen to a lecture helped me understand so much more about the history and process behind these stunning sweaters and accessories.  I am in awe of Emma Jacobson, a woman who while she created work and income for rural families also managed to create a new tradition.  I never realized that among the intense stranded colorwork done at 9 sts to the inch there were also combinations of purl and knit sts that lead to the incredible depth that their patterns have. Maybe one day when I retire I can get a kit and have time to knit it!  
Suzette was an engaging and knowledgable speaker, with a wealth of information and AMAZING samples to fondle.  The space we were in in the museum was "epic" with a full view of Cayuga Lake and it's surrounded hills in full fall foliage. 
And here's something to write home about:  I am speaking in the same space at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University on Tuesday November 16th for their lunch time Fiber Series.  We'll be discussing my design process and looking at samples of my work, and my inspiration in an informal round table environment... I'm looking forward to it, but to be frank am a wee bit nervous about being asked to speak at my alma matter! (and I have to admit, right after I got asked, I did write home and tell my Mom ALL about it : )!)

10.20.2010

Tuxedo Pants for a Baby?

I am about to kill you with some cute... hope it's not too much for you!

tux_vinda1
Introducing:  Tuxedo Pants
Tuxedo Pants is another pattern I originally designed for  Circular Knitting Redefined, and the copyright has reverted back to me!  Inspired by my friend Wendy and her absolute dedication to keeping her babies (all 7 of them) clad in wool pants I decided to take a spin on designs I'd seen and make some with a bit more of a tailored look.  I will tell you, this is what I make for my people when they get pregnant, I CANNOT resist the cuteness of knit baby pants!
ian_2

The details:  Worked in the round, from the top down, with a casing for an elastic band waist, short row shaping to make room for the diaper,  ribbed stripes that go down the leg, long legs that cuff to give added length when your baby grows, and a wee bit of flaring at the bottom. Seriously, who can resist Baby Tuxedo Bellbottoms?  Sized for 0-3 months through 3T, you can see exact sizing and measurements here.  I knit them in Schaefer Yarn's Nichole, a durable heavy fingering weight superwash wool.You can read more details about Tuxedo Pants and purchase it on my website or on Ravelry. 

Ready for more pics?
tux_vinda3 tux_vinda2 ian_1 ian_backtux_vinda4

Thanks to the adorable Baby Vinda and Impish Ian for their excellent modeling debuts!

 Remember, this is the 3rd of six new patterns I am releasing, one a week for six weeks.  Use the coupon code TimetoKnit at checkout to buy 2 get one free on all new patterns.  (see details here)