2.26.2014

Moorish Mosaic Afghan: DONE!

Y'all, The Year of Making has me ON FIRE!
I finished a WIP that I started almost 5 years ago!  I am going to admit to having motivation outside of Year of Making to get this puppy done... I got a new blue chair!  Last winter we finally got a little propane stove for the dining room and I "had" to wait until this year to get it a chair... after I ordered it I knew it was going to need a throw, and suddenly I remembered that I had 60% of the motifs done for the Moorish Mosaic Afghan, now that's luck!
Back when I worked at Schaefer Yarn I decided I wanted to learn to crochet, then I stumbled upon Interweave Crochet 2009 and fell in love with the Moorish Mosaic Afghan. We had just introduced Nichole at Schaefer and I thought it would be PERFECT!  (Nevermind that the pattern called for sport weight and Nichole is Fingering...) I spent days, or maybe weeks?, going through the stockroom piling up colors that I loved together. 

I ended up with 11 skeins total:
3 in Julia Child
1 in Apple
1 in Peter
1 in Spruce
1 in Stone
1 in Elizabeth Zimmermenn
1 in Green Jeans
1 in Chamomile
1 in an insanely gorgeous OAK purple
Did you read above that this was my first real crochet project?  Yes, I am a little cray cray, but I did take a break to make a few other simpler things along the way.  There is no better way to learn than to dive right in, right?

It was a great summer travel project, I took the motifs on many family camping trips and slowly but surely they started to pile up.

My final blanket ended up being 4 motifs wide by 6 motifs long as I wanted a rectangle!  This is a bit smaller than the pattern called for, but one thing I learned is that crochet is easy to "fudge"!

I've been asked more than once if I had a plan for this... and the answer is NO. I did make an even number of squares distributed over all the colors (except Stone), and other than that I just went for it!

My girl and I had a GREAT time laying it out looking for the perfect balance, is was a layout party, and we kept changing our minds until we both knew it was right. 


And then joining it took forever...

And then weaving in the ends took longer than that...


But in the end, it was TOTALLY worth it. 
Want to see more of my Year of Making?  Follow me on Instagram, it's my new favorite place to be!

(and yes.... I'm already thinking that I want to have another epic crochet project for the next 5 years... maybe the Babette Blanket?)

2.20.2014

An Artichoke French for my Girl!

When I finished the first Artichoke French for Ysolda's Rhinebeck Sweater Book in the Fall of 2012, my girl begged me for one of her own.... in black!  I haven't knit her a sweater since she was small, and it was time! 
Of course it took me two more years... and I had to beg Jill to dye me an Empire in Black (she came up with this amazing navy, maroon, eggplant color I call "Blackish").  Thanks Jill, my eyes were not looking forward to knitting this in black!
The sweater itself is the quickest knit ever, Aran weight yarn at 3.5 sts/in is a wee bit faster than working with laceweight.  And the pattern is so easily modifiable that Bella's ended up being a mash up of 3 different sizes for the perfect fit!
The only major modification I did was to replace the mock turtleneck with an attached i-cord.  She didn't want the high neckline so this was the perfect compromise.  I've got yarn leftover and am considering making myself some fingerless mitts with the Artichoke Stitch... all I have to do is knit two arms just below the elbow!
There are many other LOVELY Artichoke French's on Ravelry... take a peek!  A few people even knit it in less than two weeks for the Ravellenic Games!!!! I love how it's looking on everyone, and now I want one of my own too!
For anyone wanting to knit their own Artichoke French, I think that Jill is sold out of Empire for the year, but there are many other great Aran weight yarns that will work until she has more.  The pattern is available as part of The Rhinebeck Sweater Book or individually on Ravelry! 

I'm not saying anything about her hair..... : )!

2.12.2014

The Story of Magpie MKAL... or how I put a bird on it!

WARNING:  MAPGIE MKAL SPOILERS BELOW.....

I know many of you have been waiting to hear the story of Magpie Mystery KAL and how I came up with it's crazypants construction!  The guesses while everyone was knitting Magpie had me cracking up... very few guessed the shrug/shawl/scarf combo that it actually is!

I started with one directive... to come up with an innovative construction to keep the knitter's guessing.  I knew I was working with 2 colors of Jill Draper's newest yarn Esopus and had a full skein of the main color, and half skein of a contrasting variegated.  And then I started to play!  I lost track of how many times I knit and ripped the first two mitered triangles I wanted the back to have a sufficient depth, but not be so big as to cause me to run out of yarn.... sometimes design is more about the ripping and reimagining than the knitting.  Everytime I reworked the design it got better!  Once I made it to the first "arm" I knew it was time for some double sided lace with beads... and I thought I would design a southwest inspired arrow shape that worked outward towards the wrist (or bottom of the scarf).

I finished up the first half and decided to block it to get the measurements before working the other side.  The biggest trick here was to get those "arms" as long as possible without running out of yarn! AND THEN OH MY GOODNESS... I looked down at the blocking board, and do you know what I saw?
 I PUT A BIRD ON IT! (if you aren't in the US and can't see the video try this link)



And so Magpie was named!

Magpie can be worn multiple ways....
 As a Shrug!

As a Shawl!
 Or as a Scarf!

I can't wait to see how you wear your Magpie... this is one versatile bird : )!  Thanks so much for trusting me on this grand adventure... I know I had some of you guessing until the very end!