The only thing I hated about making this sweater was sewing together all the pieces. I think there is a good reason I tend to stick to circular knitting with minimal finishing - I am terrible at seaming, and pretty impatient with the process too. The sweater is really cute though. It has two buttons on the cuff of each sleeve, which is a pretty nice touch...although the buttons I bought are a little heavy, so our baby might get a muscle work-out from wearing this sweater! I made the 3-6 month size, so hopefully it'll fit him this winter. With my luck, it'll fit perfectly in the middle of the summer.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I had intended to make the tooth bears, which have a little pocket on their chests for kids to store lost teeth in...but honestly, teeth are not front and center in my mind right now. I'm not even thinking about my baby (not even born yet) getting teeth, let alone losing them. Plus, I didn't have any good pocket colors in my felt stash and I wasn't terribly convinced that I could embroider a picture of a tooth (that anyone would be able to identify as a tooth) on the little pocket...so I thought I'd forgo the pocket and put a red heart on their chests instead.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The gloves are great, and the glowing hearth yarn is one of my favorite handspun yarns ever. I am giving these gloves to a friend for Christmas, but only because I have enough of the yarn left to make something for myself later. I don't think I could completely part with this one...it's so glowing and warm and gorgeous.
I am also planning to make these same fingerless gloves in red and brown (with an orange button, like in the original pattern) for myself...to go with a new wool coat with red trim that I got last fall. I anticipate that sometime in the near future this coat will zip up over my belly again and I'll be happy as a clam to have coordinating gloves to go with it!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We used a free pattern from habitual, which worked well...and despite my not-so-great sewing skills, I was able to make two kimonos that I am totally in love with. I made the 6-12 month size, so I should be able to use them for a while.
I got both of these fabrics from Superbuzzy. The gold fabric is 100% cotton, and is called Proud Lion.
And the farm scene fabric is a Japanese linen-cotton waffle weave fabric (which has a wonderful drape by the way) called Free Range. I'm really happy with how both kimonos turned out, and can't wait to see them on baby!
Monday, October 20, 2008
Well, it wasn't.
The fleece was awful to work with. After washing, it shrunk in unpredictable ways and ended up as a big parallelogram rather than a square. So the blankets had to be smaller than I had originally hoped. Getting the two layers together smoothly proved to be even more difficult. I constructed my sister's blanket with the fleece layer on top, resulting in a puckery saggy fabric layer. Thinking I was wiser the second time around, I did mine with the fabric layer on top, and guess what? I ended up with a saggy fleece layer! The picture above is the only one in which you can't see my absolute frustration with these blankets - Adam came into the room and started taking pictures of me sewing and then I started getting mad at the blankets and mad at him!
All-in-all, I ended up with two respectable (and usable) baby blankets, but they aren't perfect. Next time (if there is one) I will tape one of the layers to the floor - like you would for basting a quilt. I think that would help. Also, I will never buy expensive organic cotton fleece again and instead would use economical 100% cotton flannel for this blanket if I ever were to make one again. Then I could make each blanket for under $10, rather than the $30 I spent on each blanket. I guess you could say it was a learning experience!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I did manage to find some time this past month to make some colorful felt balls for the baby. They are all about the size of a tennis ball, or slightly smaller, and three of the four have bells inside so they rattle. They are amazingly easy to make. I used a core of white wool roving and agitated it repeatedly after dipping the mass of wool into a bowl of hot soapy water. The ones that rattle have a small cat toy on the inside. I added the colorful outer layer the same way, and then needle felted polka-dots and stripes onto them. I gave one to my sister for her baby-on-the-way, and still have three of them. I'm tempted to make more but don't know how many felt balls a baby realistically needs!
Also in the category of felt baby toys, the gorgeous felt block below was made for me by my friend Rachel. It is made from wool felt and stuffed with bamboo stuffing, so is perfectly safe for a baby to gnaw on...but I think I might love this block too much too much to let my baby chew on it! Each of the sides has a different bird sewn on it...Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Wood Thrush, Black-capped Chickadee, Common Raven, and American Robin. I am quite the bird-lover, as I have devoted the past 10 years of my life to studying birds, so it is a pretty appropriate gift. I can't stop looking at it!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
We went foraging with a friend who is a very experienced mushroom hunter, and we came home with about 3 pounds of morels between the three of us - in dollars, this is about $120 worth of morels! Adam and I took 1.5 pounds of them and planned our dinner the whole way home.
First we had to go up to the woods to get some wild leeks, a perfect partner for morels. I spent a few hours digging leeks on Thursday at Fat Rooster, and it was hard work in the deep rich soil near the farm. Luckily though, the soil in our woods is rocky and shallow, and pulling the leeks was really easy!
We decided to make homemade pasta to go with our morels, because it has been a long time since we last made pasta, and it really is superior to anything store bought. It seemed inappropriate to have our precious foraged morels and leeks with run-of-the-mill dried pasta, so we broke out the old pasta maker and made a simple egg fettuccini.
I sauteed the leeks and morels in butter and reduced some white wine into the mixture. I added heavy cream and tarragon, seasoned it all with salt and pepper, and boiled it until it was thickened. We had the morel sauce over our fresh pasta with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top. It was one of those meals that left us nearly speechless, aside from the occasional moan or exclamation of how amazing it was. Happily we still had about a half-pound of morels left, so we had another wonderful morel dinner on Sunday night!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
We were in New York City on Friday and Saturday for a wedding, and I stopped at Purl Patchwork (I've been wanting to go there for so long!). Adam went to hang out with a friend and his last words to me were "buy lots of fabric," so I did! I couldn't resist getting some of the Cake Rock Beach fabrics plus a cute little spectrum bundle of orange and yellow fabrics. I don't know how I will manage to hold off on sewing with these awesome fabrics for another month!
It is gorgeous and spring-like outside and we have a family of foxes living in our field with FIVE babies! We watched them for almost an hour last night, chasing each other and leaping into the air and rolling around in the grass. Hopefully soon I can spend more time watching foxes, gardening, sewing, and knitting!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I literally think every woman I know between the ages of 28 and 35 is currently pregnant, so I anticipate knitting many more Baby Surprise Jackets in the near future. I'm in love with this one though, because the handspun merino-silk yarn is so beautiful, almost too luxurious for a baby! But you know, nothing is too good for certain babies.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Portland went very well, Adam is done with his dissertation, we ate some incredible meals, and saw some friends. Everything is in bloom there and it is just gorgeous. Luckily though, when we got home, most of our snow had melted! We can see our driveway, yard, and back patio again, and spring is definitely in the air here too.
I finished a couple knitting projects, and will try to post them soon! But I am really a little frantic right now about finishing the last chapter of my dissertation, so posting knits might have to wait.
Monday, March 31, 2008
I am hoping to do a lot of knitting on the airplane. I've almost finished knitting my bitter orange yarn into a plain garter stitch scarf (inspired by a similar scarf by jared at brooklyntweed), and now I think I'm going to make a Baby Surprise Jacket with my handspun bark yarn. Next up is the Minimalist Cardigan, which will definitely satisfy my current desire to make a sweater (which I haven't done in years), and I know it is something I will actually wear for a change! And on the sewing front, I can't wait to make some things with this new fabric line, Cake Rock Beach...I really want to make these pillows, and I have some other ideas up my sleeve too!
I have to quell some of my creative urges for a while though, because now that Adam is done with his dissertation, it is my turn to finish mine!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
And I learned something about myself. When I am not 100% satisfied with a yarn, I just want to knit it right away! So I discovered a way to get myself to knit more: spin yarns that I'm unhappy with! Just kidding, I won't do that, but check out how amazingly gorgeous the bitter orange is in this knitted garter stitch swatch I made.
I LOVE it. It's tweedy and interesting and it drapes really well (because of the silk)...and I love all the colors. Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to make with it. Unfortunately I only have about 200 yards, which isn't a whole lot. I'm really anxious to knit with it though, so hopefully I'll figure out something good.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I did a double-fold binding, which involves hand sewing the entire binding onto the back of the quilt. I was dreading this part because I've always heard how time consuming it is, but it was my favorite part of the whole process! I really liked the slow precise hand sewing, and it was the only part of the process where I felt somewhat in control. It didn't even take that long...basically two nights of sewing. Look how cute my little polka-dotted binding is.
Making a quilt was on my "life list," or list of things to do during my lifetime. It is always such a good feeling when I actually accomplish one of these things. And the greatest part is that I really want to keep making quilts, so this definitely will not be a one-time thing. In fact, I just bought some gorgeous fabric for my next project! There will definitely be some hand-quilting in my future too, since I enjoyed the hand sewing so much.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
It's about 360 yards, 4.1 ounces, and once again it fluffed up into a really soft squishy yarn. Back in my spinning heyday (just over 5 years ago when I lived in Moscow, Idaho), I never spun yarns like this...I mainly spun drapey, very fine yarns with a looser ply. It is probably partly because I am spinning a lot of merino these days, which is really springy, and partly because I've been making a conscious effort to ply tighter. I'm really really happy with my current spinning though, and it is very knitting-friendly (though obviously I haven't even been knitting with it!), so I guess I'm just going to keep it up. I did recently buy some chocolate brown bombyx silk, which I can't wait to spin, and that will be a nice change of pace from all this fluffy merino.
Anyway, stay tuned (my two readers!) because my quilt is officially finished, and I will try to get some decent pictures this weekend and post it. It turned out really great, and I'm so glad that I did the whole process myself instead of having someone else quilt it.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The daffodils are from Adam. It always amazes me how much something so simple, like a vase of flowers, can brighten my mood! When we lived in Portland, I had fresh flowers in my house almost all the time. But here, it is really difficult to find nice flowers...and there aren't any growing outside yet since we're still buried under snow.
This is pretty much the only knitting work in progress I have going on these days. The photo is blurry, but I'm not going to take the time to re-photograph it until it is done! It's a hydrangea lace scarf in malabrigo lace, probably the softest yarn I've ever felt. I'm actually not so crazy about the lace pattern (though I do love hydrangeas!)...I grabbed the pattern and the yarn one day at Webs when I was in a hurry (code for Adam wanted to leave). They had a sample of this scarf knit in this yarn and it was gorgeous and soft. I probably could have found or designed a pattern I like more, but I'm happy enough to do something fairly mindless and I figure you can't go wrong with malabrigo lace!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Our supply of garlic was getting completely out of control. Not only did we have the garlic from our winter CSA share, but we also had our own crop of garlic...about 50 heads that we planted during our last fall in Portland that were harvested by my brother about a month after we moved to New Hampshire. Well, now it is getting warm and inevitably some of our garlic has started to sprout a little and we had to find a way to preserve it.
Adam came up with the idea of putting it in the food dehydrator and making little dried slivers of garlic. We are storing it in the freezer to further its shelf-life. At first I wasn't quite sure what to do with dried garlic, but I was making a recipe the other day that called for garlic powder and I don't have any because I typically prefer to use fresh garlic. I figured I'd give the dried garlic a chance and Adam ground some in a mortar & pestle into the finest most wonderfully fragrant golden garlic powder I have ever seen. It probably comes as no surprise that freshly ground garlic powder is far superior to anything that has been sitting in a jar for months or years...but really, this stuff is amazing!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On Sunday, I helped inaugurate the 2008 maple sugaring season out at the farm. We tapped about 60 more maple trees (they had already tapped a bunch a few days prior), and then spent the whole afternoon collecting sap to bring down to the sugar shack.
Most of the trees are hooked up to tubes that all drain into huge 250 gallon collecting tanks, but a number of trees are still done with the old fashioned bucket hanging from a tree. Most of the trees with buckets are along the road, but it is really difficult to climb up the huge pile of snow on the side of the road (all the while risking the chance that you'll fall through the thin icy layer on top and end up waist-high in a snow drift!) and make your way to the buckets, empty them into your bigger bucket, then make your way back down the snow drift...without spilling too much sap!
All in all, we gathered almost 600 gallons of sap, which sounds like a lot, but with a ratio of 40 gallons of sap to every one gallon of maple syrup, that is only enough for about 15 gallons of syrup! But the sugaring season has just begun, and the sap is likely to flow like crazy this week since we are expected to have daytime temperatures above freezing for the rest of the week.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Also at the farm...more than 20 lambs have been born over the past couple weeks! They are so curious, and entertaining to watch. My favorite is this little reddish lamb below (I guess I can relate...I have red hair too).
These two (my reddish lamb and another with reddish legs) were definitely interested in me, and the camera...so it was easier to get pictures of them than the rest of the lambs running around like crazy! There was a really cute black lamb that I wanted to get a picture of...but he was uncooperative.
So, it seems like spring really is on its way! (Finally!)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
These two yarns are from amazing batts I purchased from Loop. The brown yarn was spun from batts called "Butterscotch Sundae." It is three colors of baby alpaca: Dark brown, light brown, and white, topped off with some gold tussah silk. I love what silk does to yarn...the beautiful glowing quality that it gives. The brown skeins are spun pretty fine...a little heavier than true laceweight yarn, and I have no plans for it yet.
The green skein below is from Loop batts named "Sour Apple." It is a blend of 50% gray and green alpaca with 50% green bamboo and a touch of tussah silk and silk noil. It is a silky, drapey, and strong light worsted weight yarn...and I love the color! For some reason I think it would make a beautiful throw pillow cover. I was thinking of using it as the weft in a piece of woven fabric that I could make into the front of a pillow cover. My thought is that it would be really pretty aside my birch forest pillow on the bed that will (someday) be home to my quilt.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Oh, how I love good mail! This amazing pack of cards was printed by Kaija of Paperiaarre, and I actually won them in a giveaway she had on her blog. I am so happy that I won, because I am typically not a very lucky person! I really love her work...I have had my eye on this journal of hers on etsy for months now, and wish that I could justify the expense. I also love her bird-in-a-circle motif and was so happy that the tag she attached to the cards I won had this image on it. Imagine a coptic-bound journal with the bird-in-circle motif printed on front...hmmm...that would be amazing. Maybe someday!
I guess this mail is lucky too, but I had to pay for this bit of luck! Not quite as good as winning something...but Pigeonroof Studios' rovings are so hard to come by that it still feels lucky when I manage to get my hands on them. These two are 80% merino, 20% tussah silk...the inner braid is colorway "bitter orange," and the outer braid is colorway "bark." I love how the two different colorways coordinate with each other, and I can't wait to spin them! I've been doing a lot of spinning lately, so I'll be posting some of my handspun yarn soon...
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It's a stacked coins quilt that I made according to the instructions in Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts...I LOVE the oranges and yellows in this quilt from the book (pictured below), but I was inspired by the fabric designed by Lara Cameron of Kirin & Co., so I went with a blue-green-brown color scheme instead so I could use some of those fabrics in the quilt.
The top (and bottom) pictures, which were taken with a flash, actually make the blues in Lara's fabric look much brighter than they actually are. The picture below, taken without a flash, is more true to color (although it is fuzzy!). I used three of the fabrics from Kirin & Co., including my very favorite birch forest fabric, which I have talked about before. The rest of the fabrics I chose to coordinate, but not stand out too much...I wanted to real focus to be on the ginkgo and birch fabrics. I am really happy with how all the fabrics worked together. I love the brighter green fabric because it adds so much brightness, and the little tiny birds, and the grass fabric too...I pretty much love them all, which is good!
The quilt is around 65 inches long and 52 inches wide, so it is a good size and will hopefully someday go on a twin bed. Now I just have to figure out what I am going to do about getting it quilted. I've already decided that I will NOT be hand quilting this particular quilt...I think it would take forever, and I don't have that kind of patience right now. So either I will machine quilt it myself, or I will have it professionally machine quilted. I think I'll probably go with the last option because I'm a little daunted by the prospect of quilting it myself...maybe some day I'll work up to that, but for now I'm just so proud that I managed to piece the quilt, that I think I'll let someone else quilt it.
Update! After 24 hours of mulling over how to have this thing quilted (and asking a friend in the area how I would even go about having that done), I think I might try to quilt it myself...it could be a disaster, but it seems like it might be worth a try!