Posts Tagged ‘Knitting’

What I’m reading and knitting…

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

No I did not die. Work picks up in the spring time for me…taxes…and hello surprise root canal…bad Laura is bad!

I recently saw a blog post where the knitter, Carole of Carole Knits, who also does a fair amount of reading, posted an entry about what progress she was doing on both. I thought–What a great idea!

Lately there has been a lot of balance between these to great loves of mine so why not share them? Goodreads is doing a contest on Book Bloggers and I’ve been checking out some blogs to add to my “reading” bloglist. I was quite drawn to the format of Reading with Tequila’s reviews. I think it might take some pressure away from me writing reviews and over thinking if the paragraphs flow well. (Yes. I still get that “I’m-writing-for-an-English-class vibe when I know that I want to write these )

What I’ve recently finished:

**The Birth House by Ami McKay**
**GoodReads**
**Amazon**

What is it about?:
Dora Rare is the only female born into her family in five generations of the Rare family living in Scots Bay near Nova Scotia in the early part of the twentieth century. Eyebrows start to raise at her mere existance because she’s the only female born to her family but also because at the age of seventeen she befriends Miss Babineau, a very experienced midwife who has had something to do with almost every birth in town (and some outside of it as well) When most of her family and friends are searching for husbands, she is given a very eye opening apprenticeship working with Miss Babineau. Working with her, she encounters abusive marriages, an overall lack of sensitivity to women in childbirth, unfullfilling marriages and sex lives, all during a time when no one discussed such things.

But wait–the plot thickens! Dr. Gilbert Thomas comes in and builds a maternity ward nearby and insists that he can assure a way for the town’s women to experience a “painless childbirth.” Granted I’ve never given birth but even I can see how that would make a woman say “You have my attention”

Why did I read this?
You know…thinking about it, I don’t remember…I think I went searching on Goodreads lists. It appealed to me because of its “in with the new/out with the old” quality it had.

What impressed me about this book?
As corny as this might sound, the bonds between the town’s women. At a time when the point of view of women was hardly listened to, you saw characters stand up for delivering their kids according to their own terms. And with some you didn’t. It was interesting to think about these women’s motivations for their actions.

What disappointed me about this book?
Her loveless marriage. It was pretty surprising for me to see a character who has experienced so much of bad experiences of marriage through assisting a midwife that she turns around and tolerates it from her own husband. I won’t say much but there was a satisfying resolution with this aspect of the book

Overall Grade? (out of five)

 

Now Knitting!

I picked up my Apres Surf Hoodie and not I simply can not put it down. It’s pretty funny because I started it over a year ago. Perhaps I might be able to wear it to MDSW?? Maybe?? That said I secretly mock people that wear ridiculous handknits for an outdoor May fesitval. Should you be proud as hell at yourself for steeking that fair isle sweater? Ab-so-lutely but come on…It’s been known to hit 90 degrees…not very bright.

Anyway, I’m quite proud of the progress:

Apres Surf Hoodie

This was taken over the weekend too…I’m more than halfway done with one sleeve too

Are you going to MDSW this year? I’d love to meet up!! :-)

 

No I did not die

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

we just moved :-)

The move went very very well. We are about 97% unpacked with some few stubborn boxes here and there. This is starting to feel like home now and both of us, as you can see, the kittehs are quite happy here:

Layla and Luna Looking Out the Front Door

Our kittehs look out their front screen door


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what else I want this blog to be other than a digital scrapbook of all my finished objects. My life is so much more than that. I might hesitate writing about events in my life because they might involve people that do not want to be talked about online. I can’t say I blame them. Or perhaps maybe I think too much – Do people really care about a book I just read and absolutely loved? But this is for me first and foremost. I have readers, many of which know me in real life, some do not. If they don’t care about a particular topic, it is totally within their right to move on to the next blog listed in their Google Reader account.

[which reminds me...I have to work on my confidence in writing book reviews! I have read some really fantastic books lately too!]

ANYWAY!

This is a knitting blog and in my attempts to improve my writing in my professional life, perhaps this can help me share my thoughts on knitting and all the things that come with it.

My knitting buddy Carol mentioned this in a blog post a few months ago:

I did a blog post a little while back about some of the similarities I noticed between the quilting blog world and the knitting blog world. One thing I’ve seen on a lot of quilting blogs lately is a “Process Pledge.” The Process Pledge is a vow to not just “show finishes or occasionally confess about our moments of indecision, but chat openly and often about our works in progress, our inspirations, and our moments of decision,” to quote one blogger.

She went on to talk about writing a knitting book but it got me thinking about the knitting process. I know of various times in this blog where I have some hesitations about writing about Works In Progress Entries. It just comes to this: They’re not as fun. Let’s face it. What if you post a picture of a work in progress and four inches have been completed. Next week rolls around and you have done a whopping additional 2.5 inches to it. Wow. Not all that exciting.

But there are decisions you make as you knit something that would be interesting for your fellow knitters to know. I always appreciate a good heads up about charts or yarns for example. I like reading friends’ reviews of books. So why not add my own?

So I start now, in this new chapter of my blog, showing off my Featherweight Cardigan project.

At first, I’ve been so hesitant about such a pattern. There are thousands of projects on Ravelry and I noticed that a lot of them are sheer. And if that’s what people want, then FINE! More power to them. But from my point of view, I questioned the point of a cardigan so thin. My friend Darsana, who has made four, I’m pleased to note, mentioned that there are times in her office when it feels like a meat locker indoors. It’s not the time for a heavy sweater because it’s often summertime with ACs jacked up so high. I started thinking that and I said to myself, “Yuuuuup….I can see myself needing a few summer sweaters for those times.” She modified the pattern, too, to add more shaping to it. As you can see, many, have found these mods helpful.

One can’t take bulky yarn and knit this pattern. At the same time, I wanted to see more finished ones with fingering weight yarns as opposed to the laceweight it calls for. My friend Cam recently finished one that I just fell in love with! Let’s take a moment and gawk at her lovely cardi, shall we??

Sure, she used fingering weight yarn but you can’t see through the cardi. It fits her wonderfully and I particularly like the ribbing collar. It gives it a very nice border. She added length to the torso, which is something I’m probably going to have to do as well. All in all, a very well tailored cardi. Ms. Cam can probably wear this to the office if it gets too cold with the AC or she can wear it hanging out with her man on the weekends.

Ok I’m starting to sound like one of those announcers on a makeover show when they start talking about the clothes they picked out for the person.

So I started knitting one with Dream in Color Smooshy. This pattern can sometimes turn into a bore because it’s, for the most part, straight stockinette. But I am particularly interested in how the yarn I picked changes every so slightly:

Featherweight Cardigan

This is just the swatch I made a few weeks ago but it still kept my interest. This is the progress so far:

Featherweight Cardigan

The specs of purple, lighter blues and even some hints of green if you look close enough just make me giddy! :-D

I plan on making this with Darsana’s modifications too and adding length to the torso. Haven’t made a decision about whether I want full sleeves, like I usually do, or go for more snugĀ  and more fuller and longer ones. I usually go for longer sleeves but perhaps 3/4 length ones will allow it to look more professional and tailored? I don’t know. (I’m on this professional self-improvement stint as you can probably tell. I want to write better and look better and perhaps….maybe…feel more confident? I digress though)

Up next will be a finished test knitting cowl I did for my buddy, PAKnitWit!

Madison’s Dress

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I won’t speak for all knitters but I’ll certainly speak for this one–We view babies as our own Barbie dolls, only way way cooler.

I have kept in touch, thanks to Facebook, with Good Counsel’s Class of 2000′s Best Dressed Female, Cassie Martell, now Cassie Diehl. She gave birth to this enormously cute cute kid. I’ve always ohhhhhhhhed and awwwwwwwwwed every time she or her hubby posts pics of lil Madison on Facebook. This kid is So. So. Photogenic.

So….I start to get the itch to make something for a lil bebeh. A lot of my friends have kids approaching the toddler age. No. I wanted an instant gratification project. So I think to myself “Why not make something for lil Madison??” and I did.

Behold Maximum Bebeh Cuteness:

madison

Had NO IDEA the yarn almost exactly matched the color of her eyes. I can only wish I was that clever. But how awesome is this?!

Pattern: Elenka by Inna Alesandrova from Knitty, Summer, 2009
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Cotton Ease, Lion Brand & Cascade 220
Colorway(s): Light Blue and Purple, respectively
Needle(s): US 6 – 4.0 mm
Casted On: July 6, 2010
Casted Off: July 10, 2010
Modifications: This is very very minor but I just did single crochet stitches as opposed to double crocheted stitches for the border. Not really a big deal

Elenka

This project was exactly what I thought it would be–instant gratification. Kids grow so so fast so I’m not entirely sure how much use lil Madison will get from this dress, but I know that lil Abby has turned her dress I made for her when she was about a year old into a tank top so there’s always that idea too.

This project was also a little bittersweet. I took the picture above right outside my apartment and went back inside and heard my cell going off–It was my mom calling me to tell me my dear granny had her fourth stroke. You look up the words “kind soul” in the dictionary and you will see my granny. Mom went down to Atlanta to be with her for her last few weeks, I sent this to Cassie. Yesterday she passed on and is now with my grandpa. They’re both in heaven now–he’s reading a Tom Clancy novel…Granny’s bitching about the squirrels in her tomato plants (she was kind to everyone but squirrels ) and they’re both watching the Atlanta Braves game. Needless to say I’ve been pretty sad. Seeing this new picture of Madison certainly did bring a smile to my face when I thought nothing could, so Thank You Cassie.

Well up next I’ll be showing of pictures of a cardigan that has been in the works for over a year! =D>

I DARE YOU!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

OK So you know how I’m knitting with two colors on opposing hands? Well, I think I’ve reached a crucial point with knitting from the right hand.

I made this chart because I always mix the two up:

Knitting from the Left Hand Knitting from the Right Hand
Continental English/Throwing

See, I started learning to knit Continentally, from the left hand. It was very comfortable to me, like writing with my right hand was. When I was learning to knit using the English method, or throwing, it was uncomfortable! I had uneven tension and slow technique in addition to it just not feeling right. Let me go back to the example of writing, only roles are reversed–with writing, I’m a righty. With knitting, I’m a lefty:

Right v Left

(...and yes I know I write Ks funny :P )

I use writing as an example to represent how it felt and looked knitting with my right hand–What you see above as I wrote with my left hand.

But I didn’t give up. I continued to work with it. Eventually I got a rhythm only when I held my yarn a certain way. No joke, you guys, I actually took pictures of how I was holding my yarn so I wouldn’t forget.

Naturally, I’d pick it up again and get frustrated that I forgot the magic way to hold the yarn that gave me a good fabric. I eventually would figure it out but then forget again.

Then I casted on for the Lightweight Pullover and saw it as an opportunity to knit this using nothing but English-style and, Ladies and Gents, I have become so very comfortable with this. I realized this when I picked up this project and knitted English way without even thinking of it. Lookie:

Laura Throws

Look you guys….I’m throwing! and doing it effortlessly And I got “my way” of holding my yarn:

Holding the yarn

So dear knitters, I dare you to try something uncomfortable or something you’re intimidated of. I think we get to a point where we get so judgmental and blow things off because they just look too scary or uncomfortable. Some times it’s with good reason–one doesn’t want to knit socks not because they’re made with small needles but because they just don’t like knit items on their feet and that’s fine. But don’t not knit socks only because of the techniques used. You CAN get over techniques that might look a little funny or feel uncomfortable. Dare yourself to learn something new and get comfortable with it. You can do it. Promise. (I’ll even say that it doesn’t hurt either :P )

FO – Kelmscott

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

I finished Kelmscott. And What a great pattern that is!!

Kelmscott - Complete!

Pattern: Kelmscott by Carol Sunday from Twist Collective, Winter 2009
My Ravelry Project Page
Yarn(s): Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (5 skeins)
Colorway(s): Great Lakes
Needle(s): US 7 – 4.5 mm
Casted On: April 28, 2010
Casted Off: May 30, 2010
Modifications: I’ve come to the realization that I have gumby arms so, of course, I added about three inches more to the arms than what the pattern instructed. Other than that, none, really.

Kelmscott - Complete!

How much did I love this pattern? Let me count the ways….

  • There was a nice mixture of repetitive stockinette but a very interesting lace motif at the same time
  • The collar, which is often a drag to make, was a fun accessory that complimented the rest of the cardigan quite well.
  • At first, I thought knitting lace on both the wrong and right sides of the fabric was going to be confusing. I won’t lie- there were times when that was in fact, true but I got used to it

The yarn I used as well–Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool–is an absolute dream to knit with. Soft without pilling. Warm but not overbearing. Nice quality yarn without breaking the bank. Love the yarn. Will definitely go back to Fibre Space in VA to get some more.

The Buttons

Kelmscott - Complete! I didn’t have much difficulty making this puppies. Sure they were a little annoying but I got the hang of it and popped out four. I might change them though, looking at this picture. The cardigan doesn’t look bad or sloppy but I would like the cardi to close complete. So I might get some nicer buttons or I might just move the current ones over a little. I do like the idea of having buttons that are covered in the same yarn I used. This feature couldn’t be used with every cardigan but I think it compliments this pattern very well.

This was a very fun knit. I certainly look forward to more Carol Sunday Patterns in future Twist Collective Magazines and I am eying up some more Shepherds Worsted for maybe the Blackberry Cabled Cardigan Who knows?

Have a great weekend, everyone. Be Safe.

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