Monday, March 29, 2010

Stash enhancement w/o a yarn budget

So, I'm three (almost four!) months into my personal stash challenge and I found two opportunities to get some new yarn without spending any new money.

First, I sold a skein of discontinued Rowan yarn on ravelry and was able to put that money towards a new skien of locally spun and handpainted yarn. I found 340 yds. of this lovely blue 3-ply light worsted weight yarn at a local lambing event. I can't wait to match it to a fun project.

Second, I had an opportunity to do some trading with a fellow knitter. I picked out three yarns from my stash that I thought she would enjoy and she picked out out a couple skeins for me along with a request that if I need something in the future to be sure to ask her. One skein was a great all-purpose washable cotton in a bright, light blue. The other is this lovely grey cotton/wool tweed sock yarn with flecks of peach and blue. Not sure if I'll actually use it for socks - it would make a great baby vest, sweater or hat - but I'm happy to have it in my collection. She had even knit up a gauge swatch so I could see how the fabric will look.

Lastly, here's a photo of one of the baby lambs we saw during our morning at the farm. It's spring around these parts!

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Lastly, thanks to all for your kind words and thoughts. As the blanket grows I'm starting to feel better. The sun it out today and it's going to be summer-like warm this week. Monday morning is looking pretty good from here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In need of some color comfort

Our family received some very sad news early this week. I won't go into details - I try to keep this blog mostly about my craft - but it sent me in search of some comfort. I happened upon this zig zag pram blanket project/pattern in ravelry awhile back and was drawn to it now, while searching for something to help me through this tough time.

A simple project; the same stitches and pattern over and over again. A focused project; searching for, sorting and loving my left-over sock yarn. A bright project; something to remind me that the sun always rises. A colorful project; I can change colors to suit my mood. A meditative project; to help me process, reflect and heal.

The bonus is that this is a fantastic stash busting project! I think this would also make a fun scarf, or lap blanket in worsted weight yarn. Either could easily be done by increasing or decreasing the number of pattern repeats and/or needle size. I also happened upon another great stash-busting project for 100% wool worsted weight left overs: oven mitts [look on the last page of the book preview]. I'm sure you'll see one of two of these from me before the year is out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The aliens have landed!

Awhile back Melissa and I arranged a barter through her fabulous marketplace. She asked for a crayon roll for her son's birthday. Here's what I sent off in the mail last week.

It was much smaller than the pencil rolls I have worked on, so it took some tinkering to get the dimensions just right, but I think it turned out really well. The only hitch was that I intended to make one sized for the large-size triangle crayons. But when I tested them out they didn't behave well in a roll and were awkward to carry around. I had more success when I downsized to the regular-sized triangular crayons. I hope it loves it.

My favorite part is the exterior fabric. The aliens look so fun and friendly!

Monday, March 15, 2010

FO: EZ baby sweater on two needles

What a darling sweater. I've been hearing about this Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater for some time. In my mind it resides up on a pedastal with her other popular patterns: the baby surpirse jacket, the tomten and her EPS system for perfectly-fitting swaters.

This was my first attempt at a EZ pattern and I really liked it. The directions are short and spare. The whole sweater pattern is sketched out in just two paragraphs. What I loved is that it let my knitting skills shine. I read the pattern and understood exactly how the whole thing was going to go together. I had all the necessary skills to knit this up. It was sort of like a mini knitting quiz. And I passed.

My only complaint about this little sweater stems from my own (mis-)caluculations and worries about fit. I had read some comments on ravelry that the arms seemed to run a bit narrow, so I decided to compensate for this by going up a needle size for the body and arms of the sweater. This did result in a roomier sweater, but unfortunately the sleeves are bell-shaped. It still looks cute, almost like the sweater was designed that way, but when I knit it again - and I will! - I will stick to one needle size for the whole garment.

The other modification was that I omitted the gull lace pattern that is supposed to be on the body and arms of the sweater. Since I'm not sure if this little one is going to a yet-to-be born boy or girl I thought this would be a nice compromise. I love the look and color and think it will suit either nicely. The buttons are hand-carved coconut and sewn on with matching thread.

The yarn is a warm and cuddly alpaca that I received from a swap last year. And believe it or not I knit up this sweater with about 10 inches of yarn to spare. I have to say that I am loving my stash-busting efforts. It is a bit more work. Ok, it's a lot more work. I used to see a pattern I loved and wander (run) down to my LYS and get what I needed to knit up my project. Now I am resolved to working from what I have. I need to consider my fiber, yardage and color first - then hunt down patterns that will work with what I've got. I've been doing pretty well so far and have another three projects lined up based on yarn I already have. I may just make it through this year without any new yarn purchases afterall!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tigerlily Tinkering Barter Marketplace

Melissa over at Tigerlily Tinkering has set up a cool barter marketplace on her blog. I'm going to jump in and join. Here are the items I have available for barter:

Earflap hat (sized newborn up to 2 year old, assorted colors)

Colored pencil/crayon roll (colors can be customized)

Handknit shawl (in the colorway shown in the photo).

Baby bonnet (size 9-18 mos., assorted colors)

If you are interested join up! And if you'd like to barter, drop me a line:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sneak Peak

A sneak peak of what I've been working on. Another baby gift - but this one is for someone that reads this blog so I can't show much of it here. She's also on ravelry so I can't divulge any details just yet.

I've also hit a strange stumbling block with the vest. I'm scared to sew in the zipper. There, I said it. I am scared. I've read more than I care to repeat about sewing in zippers for knitted garments, and I should just sit down and start doing it. But something is holding me back. My fear of failure? My fear of ruining something so beautiful? Maybe it's that I love the yarn and I don't want to let it go...once that zipper is in it's gotta be sent to it's rightful owner.

Maybe now that I've written it down - confessed if you will - I can go in the other room, pick it up and start dealing with my zipper issues.