Friday, April 4, 2014

Introducing...


Well, she doesn't actually have a name yet, and I am awaiting her arrival, but she is a "vintage 1995" porcelain hand mannequin.  

I decided I have neglected designing mittens and gloves, even though I have the sketches for several in my little book of thoughts, long enough. 

The most pressing question of the day is:  What shall we name her?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stockings...

Is it too early to think about Christmas stockings?

Well, I guess that really depends on which Christmas one is referring.  Christmas 2006?

My mother-in-law originally needlepointed stockings for our daughters just after they were born, gifting them on each of their first birthdays.

Here is a shot from 2004.  At the bottom sit the two stockings for the girls.


Unfortunately, neither of them survived a fire in the summer of 2006. Even more tragically, my mother-in-law died a few weeks after that.

One of the first things I bought after that fire were two hand-painted canvases to replace the stockings the girls had lost.  

As Elizabeth was the younger of the two, I immediately began stitching on hers; however, almost eight years later, I have not gotten that far...



My husband's uncle (and my mother-in-law's brother) graciously attempted to help me with Sydney's stocking, but he did not get that far, either.


The natural light outside would have made for more attractive photos, but there is a lot of white already needlepointed into these, and I did not wish to risk sullying them before they are done.


Beautiful, aren't they?

Is this the year I actually finish one of them?

::sigh::

I certainly hope so!

I pulled Elizabeth's out last night and began stitching again.  If I finish one by September, it can be sewn up and ready to use by Christmas...

How many hours are there in a day?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Retreat Spoils!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the first ever Knitting in the Hills Getaway in Wimberley, Texas!

Romi (Rosemary Hill) and Ann Budd were the rockstar knitting teachers. Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wools was also there, she is adorable! My dear friend Elizabeth Inman of Vice Yarns was proudly displaying her wares. The event was hosted by Hill Country Weavers of Austin, Texas and coordinated by the incomparable Miss Cindy!

Within five minutes of arriving, I walked past the market place they had set up on my way to my Treehouse room and bought several cones of my favorite Habu Tsumugi Silk in color #48:


These will become yet another Insouciant by Julie Hoover.


The yarn acquisition did not stop there, either.  On the first night of the event, I even won a prize!


This lovely pair is from Shibui Knits. The one of the left is Silk Cloud and the one of the right is Baby Alpaca. Together, they were accompanied by a pattern called Mix No. 6, a casual slouch-hat style.


Before the weekend was done, a lovely color of Amaranthine by Yarn Carnival kept calling my name. As soon as I bought them, I knew they were destined to become Breckon by Amy Christophers.  I swatched and even cast on for a sleeve almost the second I got home.



If you have a chance to participate in next year's Knitting in the Hills Getaway, I encourage you to go.  I know I will be there!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hey Mister!

Just in time for Mardi Gras, my third Xena Cowl is complete!




Pattern:  Xena Cowl by me!
Yarn:  Heavenly Fiber Stardust Sock in New Grass (green) and Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball in Fuchienbeet (self-striping)

It was completely serendipitous that the stripes evenly spaced themselves throughout the color work design. What a lovely and delightful surprise!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A little Earl Grey in the morning


This project was started in April of last year.  While the pattern is well written and the design is clever and easy, I don't know why I didn't finish this up much sooner.  After casting on and knitting top-down until I reached where the sleeves were divided, I put it down until December.  When I next picked it up, it took three days to knit the whole of the body from the arm holes down.  Again, I put it away.  On Friday, I returned to it and knit the first sleeve.  Yesterday, I knit the second sleeve, and the entire thing was done.

In all, there was probably less than two weeks of knitting in the whole project.

My only modification was to make the sleeves three-quarter in length.  This is a light-weight cardigan/jacket, and shorter sleeves seemed to be the way to go.

Overall, a lovely, lovely knit!

Pattern:  Jaquetta Cardigan by Julliana Lund
Yarn:  Madelinetosh Sport in Earl Grey.  I used approximately 5.5 of the 9 skeins I had or 1,485 yards. Due to the hand-dyed nature of the yarn, I did alternate two skeins throughout most of the body.

While this design resulted in a more fitted sweater than I normally wear, I don't anticipate buttoning all of the buttons or maybe none of the buttons.  I am currently looking for more patterns calling for sport weight yarn, the light feel of the fabric is just perfect for South Texas!

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hempathy v-neck

It seems as though I am always in search of a pattern for the perfect v-neck pullover.

Truth told, the most flattering top on me is a v-neck with set in sleeves; however, finding a simple construction that would lend itself to different types of yarns (i.e., silk, linen and hemp, as well as wool), has proven difficult.

Last summer, I cast on a top-down v-neck sweater in Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy. While it had raglan sleeves, I had thought the top-down construction would give me greater control over modifications, including sleeve length and shaping below the bust, as well as overall length.

Initially, I had made great progress, but sometime in August, I put it down after I reached the point where the sleeves were separated and a vast abundance of stockinette in the round awaited me.  There it sat, still on the needles, until I picked it up a couple of weeks ago.

Last night, while I watched the men's skiing and ladies' figure skating, I finished it.



First, the good news:  The hempathy makes a lovely fabric that I anticipate enjoying in the hot-as-Hades summer we endure here in South Texas for six months.  

Now, the not so good news:  One thing that I continue to find in top down constructed sweaters is that the sleeves are far too large for the bust size I need.  The calculations for the design were probably based (looking at the model) on a slight person significantly smaller than I am.  In order to get the number of stitches to compensate for the bust size, the sleeves tend to grow and grow and grow.  This is actually a math issue, which creates disproportionately wide sleeves.  Again, this is not the first time I have encountered this.  What I find is that sweater designers rarely knit a sample in each size they offer. They typically choose a middle of the road size or smaller, then extrapolate for larger sized women.  I have found the same issues in the upper range of sizes for men's and women's patterns for pieced sweaters, too.  This includes sweaters I have made for others, so the issue is not necessarily that I am malformed or misshapen. 

In any event, this pullover is certainly serviceable, although, I shall not be able to use the pattern again, as it does not have the fit that I wanted due to the sleeves.

Pattern:  #1303 Top Down V Neck Pullover by Diane Soucy
Yarn:  Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in Hazy Blue.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Greystone in Lace!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a class on a new design at The Tinsmith's Wife in Comfort. While I was there, a lovely lady named Connie showed me her finished Greystone that she had done in a beautiful slate lace.  There was just one thing, she told me, she hated to block, so it was unblocked.  I instantly made her a deal.  I told her if I could take it with me, I would block it, in exchange for a few pictures.  She agreed with a broad grin!





Isn't it stunning?

She used 1,752 yards of Manos del Uruguay Lace in blue.  More details on her project page.

As she listened to my conversation with Connie, Darcy told me she was almost finished with her Greystone. She asked if she finished it before I returned, if I would block hers, too!  So, today, I collect Darcy's Greyston with the promise of more pictures to follow!