Owl Sweater

The latest of my knits was a fun challenge I made for myself: I rewrote the pattern to better suit my own tastes. The original sweater pattern has a cute owl motif done in a simple openwork style, but the sweater itself was less appealing to me. It had these 80s drop sleeves that I just was not crazy about. It was also knit flat, in pieces, to be sewn together at the end. I decided to rewrite the pattern to be not only knit in the round, but to have raglan sleeves instead of the drop sleeves. I must say, I'm pretty pleased with my results! I used DK Swish yarn from knitpicks.com, and it's machine washable and so soft and comfy! 

Zigzag Mitts

I got my cool-weather knitting off to a great start with these zigzag fingerless mitts from KnitScene magazine! They were pretty easy to knit up, despite the size 1 double pointed knitting needles, which make you feel like you're knitting with toothpicks! I was afraid I was going to snap one at any time, which thankfully did not happen. I love the quirky zigzag design... horizontal on one, vertical on the other. I used KnitPicks "Palette" fingering weight yarn in Asphalt Heather and Tidepool Heather. I have plenty leftover, so maybe I'll make a hat or something later to go with the mitts?

The finished product

A Brief Hiatus (gasp!) from Knitting

I took a little break from knitting over the summer. I knew what I wanted my next projects to be, it just took me a while to decide on the yarn I wanted. In the meantime, I've been neglecting the debut of my most recent top, mostly because it's just been pretty hot out and I wanted to actually be able to wear the thing in comfort!  Luckily, I've been keeping myself busy enough with other fun things like riding my bike, birding, drawing and reading. (As an aside if you're keen to know what kinds of birds I've seen so far this summer, look up at the top of this site and you'll see a link to a page of my list!) I even have a hint of color on my arms now that most people would not even accidentally call a tan, but I'll take it! Without anymore chitchat, here's the debut of the Paloma cap-sleeve top from French Girl Knits, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. It is knit in Cascade Ultra-Pima Fine in Zen Green.

Now that I've got yarn for my next two projects, I'm back at it again! Here's a preview of what I'm starting:

I love the quirky zigzag on these mitts, horizontal on one glove, vertical on the other. The blue yarn, as usual, isn't coming up in the photo in quite the true shade... it is more teal-green in real life. Oh well. I've started the first one and I'm loving it!

I also mentioned both birding and drawing, so here are a few bird sketches I've done recently, just for fun:

A garden, a scorpion, and a mystery bird

This past Sunday was "planting day" at our community garden, and I'm hopeful that this season will bring a delicious bounty. I stopped by today to trim off some oregano and chives, and to decorate with some personal touches.

If you remember, last year our little garden decoration (a flower made of recycled spoons and forks) was stolen. We're optimistic, however, and trying again with this super cute scorpion we got at the Paradise City Arts Festival. It's from a Kentucky craftsman I mentioned in last year's post, Rich Kolb of Yardbirds. Hopefully he'll intimidate any hooligans and ne'er-do-wells, and if not, then the new closed-circuit camera monitoring the garden should do the trick! Anyway, here's what's growing:

A) two tomato plants, B) a trellis for peas to climb up, C) three kinds of peppers, D) sweet basil, E) chives, F) oregano
Hopefully there will be such a bumper crop I'll be giving food away by the bushel!

Hanging around near the garden were these little black birds that I can't for the life of me identify. I've gone through all of my field guides, and they remain a mystery. Am I just missing something really obvious? Maybe you can help me out.

As you can see, it's not completely black. It's primarily black (or black-ish) with lighter colored markings on its back and brown tipped wings (the primary feathers). It also has a yellow beak. It's about the size of a robin, maybe just a little bit bigger. Anyone who can identify this bird for me gets 100 brownie points!

A Finished Project and An Afternoon at WEBS!

It's Show and Tell time! Today I'm combining two posts into one: my finished Ginkgo Cami (a KnitScene magazine pattern), and my recent annual trek to WEBS for the annual Tent Sale! 

The Ginkgo Cami, as you might be able to tell from the photo, has a ginkgo leaf motif going around the bottom edge. The pattern itself was rated "Advanced", but I didn't have any problems with it. I did learn two new things, however, which I always like in a project: two different ways to make a picot edge (the slight little ruffle around the neckline, arms, and at the bottom hem). The yarn is a dreamily soft mohair/bamboo/nylon blend called Classic Elite: Pirouette (in the color "Chartreuse"). It is as light as a feather and airy enough to wear even on warm spring/ summer days. I absolutely love the yarn and would use it again in a heartbeat! 

The Finished Product blocking
Ginkgo leaves
I wore it over a dark tank and jeans here so you can see the stitch definition

Next, here's my haul from the Tent Sale! A modest purchase compared to the baskets of yarn some people were buying, but since I live only 30 minutes away I don't really need to "stock up" like some folks who make much longer trips to go to WEBS.

I bought some beautiful pima cotton yarn for an upcoming project. The website calls it "Zen Green", although the color in person is infinitely more beautiful than the photograph. I won't tell you what I'm going to make, but I'll give you a hint: it's a pattern from the book French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. I also bought a very cute little bag with funny owls all over it (shown larger below), some Eucalan detergent for delicate handwashable things, and some cuter-than cute little honeybee stitch markers that the hubby insisted I buy. Yay!

Bee Stitch Markers
Back side of bag. Other side has a zipper going down the middle.
Worth a mention here is a vendor I met and chatted with in one of the tents outside at the Tent Sale. She is JessaLu, and she makes and sells these adorable little bags at her website www.StitchedByJessaLu.com. You can also find her on Facebook. She uses fun and adorable fabric to cater to so many interests. I got my cute owls, but there were others that I loved, too! A "Pride and Prejudice" bag caught my eye, and a cute cartoon Star Trek one made me think of a couple of friends who would just love it!

Home Economist Book Idea?

I've been wanting to try my hand at knitwear design now that I've become comfortable with my own knitting skills. Skimming through Ravelry looking for inspiration, I was struck with an idea: what if I really liked knitwear design, and ended up with a bunch of decent patterns? What if I could make a book of them, and, you know, sell it? Then the gears really started cranking. I'd want something really original and unique. I'm already The Home Economist, so why not run with that? So, here's what I'd do, if I ever got around to doing it:

The Home Economist Knitting Book (title TBD) would have maybe 20 patterns, since that seems to be the norm. Each pattern would have an economics term for a name, like a pair of gloves called The Invisible Hand. Included would also be a little write-up explaining the term in a clever (well, that's subjective) way that would appeal to knitters.


Picture a form-fitting, kind of sexy sweater called "Demand Curve" (double entendre intentional!) with the following blurb: 
Demand Curve: a line on a graph that proves to your husband that when your LYS (local yarn shop) is having a big sale, the most rational thing for you to do is buy up extra cashmere yarn.
I've made up a whole list of terms that could work for pattern names, but I'll keep those to myself for the time being.

The Home Economist: Free Market Knitter (drawing also my own) coming someday to a yarn shop near you??

I've designed a few small things myself in the past, (like this and this) but it's time to take it to the next level. I'm going to use Shirley Paden's Knitwear Design Workshop to help me get started. Why not? I'm always trying to add to my skill set and accomplishments, and this seems like the natural next step. And if the step after that, and the step after that, and the step after that leads to something like this book idea, then great! If not, I'll still be a few steps ahead of where I am now.

Oh, also, while we are thinking about knitting puns and such, I also had an idea for an eco-friendly organic line of yarn called "Moral Fiber". Ha! I crack myself up. Who knows, somebody probably already thought of this and makes it for all I know, but I've never seen it. If you are a spinner looking for a name for your yarn, feel free to use it. I'm not a spinner, and don't really plan on being one, plus I think that intellectual property (owning ideas) is kind of silly. Go for it.

Guess Who?!

Guess whose picture now graces the main product page for a certain lovely scarf pattern on Ravelry? Mine!

Needle Felting for Peace

I made this little wristlet/ coin purse thingy a couple of months ago and I completely forgot to post it! It was an experimentation in felting, both wet felting and needle felting. For the body of the bag (the white part) I knit with a nice feltable wool and then agitated it in hot and soapy water (scrubbing with my hands). You know how when you accidentally stick a wool sweater in the washer/dryer and it shrinks and becomes a really stiff fabric? That's felting. The fibers get all tight and tangled, never to be loosened again. With needle felting (for the designs on front and back), you make a design with yarn or with loose fluffy wool by stabbing it repeatedly on the surface you want it to be on (the white background) with a sharp, barbed needle. This is another way of tangling the fibers so that they interlock, only in a more specific way. The experiment was a success. I also lined the inside with colorful fabric, and used grosgrain ribbon, a zipper, and a lobster clasp to finish it off.

Peace, Love, Anarchy
Can you tell that this is supposed to represent world peace? 

Cabled Collar Cap-sleeve Tee

Just in time for warm spring weather, I've finished a new knitted tee! This one is a cotton-linen blend yarn. It has short cap sleeves and a ribbed cable design on the collar. The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2011. 

Rainbow Scarf

I've been pretty lazy about getting around to posting this, my latest creation. As you can see, I am even taking the ol' "cell phone photo in the bathroom mirror" route of laziness. I didn't even bother to let my hair down or remove my glasses, for goodness sake! That does not mean, however, that this is not a wonderful finished product! It's quite lovely in person, actually. This scarf is perfect for spring and warmer weather because it is so light and airy, made of the most delicate cobweb yarn. It shifts colors many times, and because of the lightness of it all reminds me of a pale rainbow in the sky. The billowy effect is achieved by using two different sets of needles, one large (size 10) and one small (size 2) as well as using increases and decreases. Here's the pattern.


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