Recently in Started Category

If I Knew You Were Coming I'd a Baked a Quilt

It turns out that the island in the middle of our kitchen is the perfect cutting station. My big cutting mat fits perfectly upon it. And it's the correct height so my back doesn't hurt too much after hours of cutting. Because I can't just craft in reasonable spurts. I do marathon crafting for hours on end. Cause I'm silly that way.

Kitchen as Cutting Room

I've started working on a quilt that I originally started about 8 years ago. I'm not kidding. It was the second quilt that I decided to make and I picked out a bunch of the fabric with my mom while on a trip to CT. This was in the days before they charged you an arm and a leg for overweight baggage.

Making Little Pieces from Big Pieces

Cutting the fabric is my least favorite part of quilt making. I think it's because I'm not very good at it. I'm just starting to get the hang of actually getting the pieces to be the correct size. But making sure that the grain of the fabric is going in the right direction? That's still way beyond me. I know it will reflect in the quality of my quilts, but oh well. Apparently I can only work on one cutting skill at a time.

I spent a lot of time squaring up pieces that I had cut 8 years ago. There are 2 setting triangles that I will have problems with since they are off about 1/4 of an inch. But all the rest seem good. And I have way more fabric left for the stash than I thought I would. Yay stash!

Odds and Ends

Since I was in the kitchen, I grabbed a mixing bowl to collect the odds and ends of fabric as I cut. What a great idea! So much nicer than getting bits of fabric caught up in what you are working with, which is what I usually do. I love the way the bowl looks all filled up with fabric. Like I'm baking a quilt.

I can't wait for my sewing machine to get back from the shop so I can start with the piecing!

The CNN Sweater

I first started knitting back in December 2005. I worked on a small scarf-type thing for awhile and quickly realized I was hooked. In February 2006 I started working on The CNN Project, and so was flying back and forth to Hotlanta a lot. I decided that I'd start a bigger project, something that I could take on the plane with me and would keep me busy for awhile.

New Project

I went to visit the lovely people over at Skein Lane in El Cerrito (this was back when I was living in Berkeley). They helped me find a pattern that work. I got a huge pack of Cascade 220 yarn in a lovely heathered maroon color.

Raglan Sweater

I worked on this sweater a lot, at first. It taught me how to do increases and raglan sleeves. When I started it, I didn't know how to pick up with a new ball of yarn. So I cut my ends short and tied them in a knot. I added three more skeins, with a different join method (all wrong) for each one.

Then we hit the Thanksgiving of 2006 and there was the night of the drunken knitting while at Erik's dad's house in Colorado. I had yarn overs and mysterious increases and decreases all over the place. But I had made significant progress and couldn't bring myself to rip it out. So instead, I put the sweater aside and started working on other projects.

Raglan Sleeve

A few months ago I finally picked this sweater back up. I ripped out all of the drunken knitting, and all of the bad joins, all the way back to the end of the first skein. I've now knitted back (evenly and with good joins) just about everything that I ripped out.

I switched the project to my addiTurbo needles, instead of the Clover bamboo ones. Oh my goodness does that make a difference. The wool just slides right over the metal. Now I pull this project out when I want to knit but don't want to have to pay attention. It's all done in the round, in stockinette. My skills have certainly advanced beyond it. But at some point I will finish it. My first sweater.

And a Matching Scarf

I loved the Gingerbread cable hat that I made for Joann for Christmas so much, that I decided to make one for myself. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, though I may make it a bit deeper. It's lovely soft and warm -- I wore it during the inauguration.

Variegated Gingerbread Hat

I think it would have been better in a solid color, but I had this variegated Merino wool and figured I might as well use it. I had used this yarn to make an Amanda hat for myself, but I didn't like how it turned out at all. It works much better in this incarnation. Seeing how I have a number of balls left over after the hat, I decided to make a matching scarf.

Cabled Scarf

I love the gingerbread cable and luckily the pattern was pretty easy to modify. And the ladder stripes between the cables help so the edges don't roll up.

Cabled Scarf, Detail

It's a little on the thin side, but I'd much rather have a longer than wider scarf. Given how much I have left, I figured I'd err on the skinny side. It's a pretty quick knit, though I have a number of projects going at the moment, so this one has been quiet for a few weeks. The fact that it is quickly becoming too warm for scarves means this one may sit on the back burner for a bit.

Takes Longer When You Frog Every Other Row

I leave for a trip to Europe in a couple of weeks. I have my super-fuzzy hat, but I thought it might be a good idea for me to have a second hat, seeing how I often get cold. I LOVED the look of the Gretel Hat that I made as part of the hat series. The way the cables wound together was just lovely. So I decided that I'd make one of those for myself. I picked up a skein of Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted on one of my many trips to ImagiKnits. It was rather difficult to pick which color... there are so many lovely shades of pink and red. I ended up choosing a lovely hot pink with just enough red to go with my new red jacket.

A Hat for Me

This pattern isn't particularly difficult. It does have a unique cast-on and uses some more advanced stitches (like the purl in the front and back). But I made this once before, and I didn't have the problems then that I'm having now. Maybe I was just more careful the first time?

The cast on method involves using some waste yarn. So what do I do? Stitch 4 rows in the waste yarn when I was only suppose to use it for casting on. Frogging #1. I announce this and E looks at me with a quizzical look on his face. "Frogging?" I smile and say "Yup... rip-it, rip-it, rip-it." He laughs.

I complete the 2x2 ribbing and get to the point where you start adding stitches. The pattern just says M1. But how should I make one? I can't remember how I did it the last time, so I decide that I'm going to make one purlwise. I even look up online to see how to do so. I go all the way around, making one purlwise the whole time. On the next row, I have to M1 again. But this time it says K2, M1, K1, P1. Huh. I have 2 knits now 3 purls on my needles. Guess I wasn't suppose to make one purlwise after all. So, I frog the whole row out. Frogging #2.

I decided that I will just use the reverse of my handy-dandy making one purlwise stitch to make one knitwise. Why not? I go most of the way around the row and realize that oops! This method, while invisible purlwise, it leaves a nice hole knitwise. So, I frog the row again. Frogging #3.

I reknit the row, using my standard method of knitting into the front and back to add the stitches I need over the next two rows. It looks lovely. Must remember to make a note on the pattern so I don't have to go through this again.

I continue stitching, including getting through the first cable with out a single croak. I'm suppose to knit a basic row around (one of the "setting rows" as I like to think of them), but move the start of the row forward 3 stitches before starting the row of twists. Of course, we are knee deep in the episode of BSG that we are watching when I get to this row. I knit the whole thing and then move right into the twists. Without moving the start of the row. Get within 6 stitches of the end of the row, go to move the start and realize that I'm a row off. I have twisted right on top of the cables, rather than having them offset by 3 so the twists appear between the cables. *sigh* I call it a night.

The next morning I wake up and frog the whole twisted row. This wasn't as hard as I was afraid it would be. And luckily there are only 144 or so stitches at this point. But it's still rather tedious and time consuming. I back up enough to move over the row start and then twist the next row. Looks much better. Frogging #4 complete.

The purl into front and back (pfd) comes back to me much faster than I thought it would. I didn't even have to look it up again. This yarn doesn't do the "pop" that the silk blend did, but it's still kind of fun. So far I've managed to stick to the pattern and not have to frog anything else.

It's slow going though... all those cables. I looked up the trick on how to knit cables without using a cable needle. Basically you just move them to the other needle and then move them back. I'm a bit afraid that I'll drop the live stitches as I'm moving them. But it's suppose to be faster, so maybe I'll try it. I have a little less than 2 weeks to finish this after all.

Gretel Hat:
Started: September 13, 2008

Gracie's Birth Announcement Cross-Stitch

When I found out that my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant with my nephew, Nicholas, I stitched a birth announcement for him, the Beatrix Potter Storybook Sampler. I had it finished, framed and delivered to them within a few months of the birth. That was back in 1998 and I sadly don't have any photos of it.

When I found out that they were pregnant again, I found a similar pattern to the announcement I had made for Nick, the Beatrix Potter Storybook Sampler II. Gracie will be six years old in February and this poor thing is still less than half finished. I'm sorry Gracie! I swear I will finish it before you graduate college!

I just love the Green Apple cross-stitch patterns. They have such detail. It's a pain to stitch because you are constantly changing colors. But the result in the end is so very lovely. This is I think 16-count Aida. It's a bit bigger than the Colors project, so it's easier on the eyes. But it's still small enough that the stitches feel very delicate and intricate.

Do you notice how the Aida cloth is rolled around the edges. That's because it's been sitting in the stitching frame for the past 5 years. This is why you should always take your needlework out of the hoop/frame when you are not working on it kids. Hopefully steaming it when it's done will flatten it out.

Oh, and they had a third child two years ago, Tony. Unfortunately they don't make a Storybook Sampler III. I may combine images from the first two to make Tony's.

Storybook Sampler II:
Started: Fall 2001

Beatrix Potter Colors

This is another cross stitch project that I started years ago and has gone fallow. It's called Beatrix Potter Colors, and it shows various characters hanging their laundry on the line, and has the words for the colors with each item. It would look just lovely in a baby's room. Or my craft room. :)

I probably got this pattern on eBay. But I just discovered that you can also get it on Amazon. What can't you get on Amazon these days?

Beatrix Potter Colors:
Started: ~2001

The United States in Cross-Stitch

This is an amazing counted cross-stitch pattern that I picked up years ago. I purchased it from the now closed Dutch Treat shop in Livermore, CA. It's a map of the United States, complete with major cities, rivers, vegetation, and landmarks.

Cross-Stitched USA

I decided to make my version of the map truly my own. Rather than put in the names of the cities as suggested on the pattern, I decided to include the names of cities that I have lived in. So rather than Detroit, mine says Ann Arbor. It will say Evergreen instead of Denver.

Detail of Map of the United States

Rather than the typical aida cloth that you often seen cross-stitch stitched on (there's a mouthful), this is done on evenweave linen. I'm guessing that it's 32-count, but I honestly can't remember. It's tiny though, which is adding to how long it is taking to make. But it will be lovely when I'm done.

Map of the United States
Started: ~2002

Rustic Celtic Cable Scarf

I love making things for people I love. I realized back in March that I had yet to make anything for my darling E. I made encouraged him to look through some of my knitting books to see if there was a scarf pattern he liked.

He chose the Rustic Celtic Cable Scarf from Knit Ponchos, Wraps & Scarves by Jane Davis. It's the third cabled scarf in the book, the most complex. Did I mention that I have never knitted cables before?

Rustic Celtic Scarf

The next time we were at Michael's Crafts, E picked out some Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn, in a lovely dark green heathered color. (Pay no attention to the color in the photos. My camera phone apparently doesn't like to capture dark green.) I also got a pack of cable hooks. I tried knitting this with two strands of the Wool-Ease on size 15 needles (which is what I thought the patterns said). It was WAY too big. So I switched to a single strand and size 8 needles. It's coming out much more reasonable in size.

This is the first time I have ever done cables. The first row was a bit challenging (read: I kept ending up with a twisted mess). Then I realized I was suppose to use 2 cable needles. Heh. Much, much easier now. The scarf is coming out at 7 inches wide, while the pattern said 10. I may end up making it longer so it can wrap more times, since it's estimated to be about 18 inches shorter than the original at this gauge.

Cable Detail

I knitted on this a lot when I was at my grandmother's in April. But it does take some focus so I haven't worked it in awhile. It is lots of fun though. I see why so many people enjoy knitting cables.

Erik's Cable Scarf

Rustic Celtic Cable Scarf:
Started March 30, 2008


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