Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Little Fair Isle Hat | For Cole

 I have been meaning to blog about this little knitting project that I picked up after I finished this quilt..but it came together so fast that [at least for me] that I didn't have time. If you are interested in learning stranded color work and have  a little one that you can knit for - definitely try this pattern.

It's available free at the Purl Bee - I used different yarns from Berocco and Submlime; you can view my ravelry notes for more information and details.

[photo of the inside - you can see the stranded work]

I had some issues on the finishing and will need to consult my friend Melissa on why I have some holes at the very top... I don't think this little hat was supposed to have vents. LOL.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Project Life 2012 | week four

This week was all about work.

Making time for yoga and spending time with family.

Celebrating the little things with friends, starting new craft projects and finishing up one.

I love how this project is encouraging me to try more and make time for things that I want to do. If I didn't you would just see a lot of photos of my computer screen and journaling about some of the people I work with. Blah.

How is Project Life coming along for you?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Organizing | Drona boxes

Much of last week [my staycation] was spent trying to figure out how to hide most of the 'clutter' in my office. Since I share my space between work and play I really needed to cut the distraction down to a minimum. While I love all the colors and textures of fabric I was feeling more and more cramped by having it out all the time and visible in my shelves. I have also noticed that my papers were fading so I assume that the fabrics would do the same.

So after doing some research and asking my guild friends how they organize; I settled on the IKEA Drona fabric boxes. Unfortunately they are not online and only available in store. The Portland, OR store only has the white, but in my research on Flickr they come in black, navy and pink.

 These fit perfectly in the shelving unit and store plenty of fabric! But as you can see on the plain ones they were just that...plain. As my good friend Jon said 'you just made a classy pant suit for the face of each storage box'! Indeed I did - nothing flashy, just simple linen. I love the Essex Robert Kaufman Linen - so much that I buy it by the bolt. 

Here is a quick tutorial - you are going to need the following:

Cutting mat, rotary cutter, scissors and ruler
Linen or fabric of choice
Hot glue gun

First cut your fabric into 13" squares - this gives you a square large enough to go up into the lip of the box. You can make this shorter if you like - Maybe 12x13" just so it goes under the flap.

You are now going to place the Steam a Seam adhesive on the first side, leaving a little room at the beginning and the end - I find that this cuts down on the bulk when turning the corners. Make sure that you rub down this strip so the  adhesive is sticking to the fabric

Then peel off the strip and ignore my un-manicured nails...

Once you have the sticky strip exposed, now you can turn your fabric edge up a 1/4"

After turning up the one edge I cut the corners at an angle - I am sure there is a way to do this cleaner; I was going for more quick and 'it looks fine'

Then you are ready to start the other edges - this time I go the edge of one side and leave room on the end.

As you are going around doing your edges do not be worried when you see your finished edges pop up. Keep in mind that this a temporary adhesive and only become permanent when set by heat. Take a deep breath...

Once all the edges are done you are now ready to set them with your iron

This is what your finished edges should look like...

If you used the same measurements [13x13] then you are going to need to 'stuff' the extra underneath the flap. I used a poker took that has a ball point to help me do this.

Once you have everything in place you can start hot gluing the edges down to the box. If you made them 13x13 then you only have to do three sides. If you made them shorter you will need to do all four sides

Ta-da! The Drona boxes now have a classic pant suit

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Garden Quilt | OLL Auction

This year I volunteered to help out with the auction project in my nieces' class at OLL. Lisa [one of the moms] had a wonderful idea of having a free-form design that included flowers, birds, etc cut out by the kids. The color palette that she choose really popped and makes this a great rainy day cuddle up on the sofa kind of quilt.

The back is using Sweetwater words print and more of the same border from the front. We also included some of Aneela Hoey Little Apples print.

I quilted this one [on my new machine!] in a FMQ meandering pattern in between all of the objects. I wanted the cut pieces to standout and the background fall to the back.

The binding is done in a black & white gingham - this really does frame out the entire quilt.

Now we have to go to the auction and bid on this! I would actually really like it back - :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Proxy Bid | Garden Quilt

I just found out that even though you don't live in the area or not able to attend the auction event you can bid on this quilt via Proxy!

All you need to do is contact Krista Wuest and let her know what your highest bid is and she will bid for you. So there is a chance that this quilt can be yours to cuddle up in!

Here is the contact info:
Krista Wuest
Events Coordinator
Our Lady of Lourdes School
4701 NW Franklin St.
Vancouver, WA 98663

Project Life 2012 | Week Three

Week three was a last minute decision to take vacation at home... staycation.

It was a week of Yoga, quilting, friends and organizing. Something that I needed after several weeks of long hours, every weekend and early mornings for work.

After this week I noticed an integral activity that was missing from my daily routine - yoga. I went four days this week and also had two deep tissue massages. My body and mind really needs this kind of fuel to function during high stress. If my job continues to be in this high mode I really need to carve out time for both of these. Which means saying 'no' a little bit more.

I am also happy that I didn't miss our first real snow! It didn't last very long but was pretty while it was here - pretty in a sense that I didn't have to commute in it and could enjoy it from my window. However I didn't like the fact that when we have weather like this, the area right inside of the dog door become an indoor toilet. LOL!

How is project life coming along for you? I am hoping that Amber posts soon - she shared with me some great tips on printing on the PictureMate printer and having set cutting marks on your trimmer for the common sizes you need when doing this project. Time savers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do. Good Stitches | blocks

Catching up on sharing my latest Do. Good Stitches blocks...

December block - pattern by Cut to Pieces, it is called Ring of Stars. This block has a lot of little pieces and I struggled with point placement. In the end I was just happy that they were done and the right size!

January block - pattern by Thought & Found. This has to be the easiest way so far to do sawtooth stars. I really do love that about my group - great inspiration and tips to easy tutorials.

I am learning so much by being apart of the Do. Good Stitches group. Something like this pushes you to try things that you haven't or have steered away from for one reason or another.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

XOXO Hat | finished!

This has to go down in the record books for me... 16 days from start to finish!
I really do like the stranded colorwork - it has to be one of my favorite techniques so far. I blogged about this last week here.

There was one major snafu - I didn't have the right size DPNs [double pointed needles] for the decrease. I used 7s instead of 6s and as you can see it made a difference on how everything finished up at the top. I am not too worried about it - Kirk loves it and doesn't see the difference.

And here you can see an increase ick on the rim - I will have to sit down with my friend Melissa and figure out how to do increases without the holes. Again, Kirk didn't even notice.

 I highly recommend this pattern by Exercise before knitting as a beginner colorwork project. It is also a very warm thick hat because of the use of two yarns. Perfect for the colder days we have been having!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Project Life | Week Two

I was pleasantly surprised that week two came together as easily as it did. It was a stressful week at work and I wasn't sure how the whole documentation was going to come together.

What was interesting was what I chose to capture - mostly all the positive things that happened during the week.

Through the entire week I just snap photos with my iPhone or G12 [LOVE this little camera] and I really don't look at them until Sunday. There were no photos of late night work or early morning conference calls - who wants to remember that?

This week I definitely had something to say - way more than a little card could support. So I added a 6x12 insert, printed out my Instagram photos 3x3 and placed them on cardstock. Dug into my stash and found some book binding tape and a doily, typed 'reflections' on it.

The back side has my journaling and a great Rules of the Creators Life that Amy Tangerine posted on her blog. Perfect for a Sunday morning.

So far I am loving this project - I love that I can snap photos with no pressure other than to have fun and the pleasant surprises at the end of the week. It kind of reminds me of when we used film!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Since I have been so full of myself for tackling the cable knitted hat I decided that it was time to try stranded colorwork with TWO yarns! Yes, two yarns. CRAZY.

First I found my inspiration at Exercise before knitting [which btw should be my mantra] not sure how I got there - maybe through Ravelry? But when I saw this - I fell in love and was so intimidated by the detail...there was no way - how do they do that??
[photo from Exercise before knitting]
Then I saw some of her other patterns; Winter Sunrise and XOXO... it became a mission to find out how knitters accomplish this two color work. I spent a couple of hours researching the internet, always coming back to KnittingHelp and doing a search on YouTube for stranded colorwork.  I found out that it's really just a stockinette stitch and you follow a chart using the colors. I can do this!

I decided to start with the XOXO hat first - she provides the pattern for FREE! Went to my stash and found some gray and green Cascade 220 Superwash that Kirk had liked. Of course this would be for him - saving the Moody House for me. Plus what a great Valentine's gift - XOXO!

You won't believe how easy this hat has been to knit - WAY easier than the Koolhaas. Working in the second color was easy - I was freaked out at first but I just used the 'start to knit/work it in' method and everything worked out great.

But I do have some mistakes. As you can see my ear warmer part [dk gray] was knitted the wrong way. I remember flipping my needles for some reason - can't remember. Well it was the wrong way. No plans to re-do, since you won't see it anyway. That part is going to be sewn to the inside of the hat.  Just need to keep that in mind for the next time.

The other part I would do differently is choose a contrasting color that isn't also 'heathered'. The green has just enough gray heather in it so the Xs and Os are sometimes not defined enough. The second color needs to be solid contrasting or bright enough to stand out.

Will be posting updates as I work on this project!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Knitting Journey | Part Two

I think everyone should try working with fiber. There is something very old about this craft and utilitarian. In the past people probably had to knit their own socks and sweaters for warmth. Thankfully [as Kirk would say] we don't live in that era because we would freeze to death before I finished anything.

[WW1 poster - encouraging people to knit socks for our troops]

Someone did ask me about where do I possibly find the time. I will be honest, it's either knitting or reading - lately reading has taken a back seat to these recent projects. Both of these activities are my decompress time before bed, around an hour or so.

Here is one tip from a self taught beginner [that's me]:

Reading Directions | Patterns
Make sure you read through the directions thoroughly first - I know big PIA. But here is my hard lesson learned - For the Koolhaas hat there was a chart and written directions. I assumed that they were providing both a chart [for those that like to follow charts] and written directions for the pattern. Because I didn't read close enough the actual written directions were for the decrease. So after finishing the ribbing I started knitting the body [or at least what I thought was the body] - not knowing until things started to get tight and smaller...but I kept plugging along thinking 'maybe this will stretch out'?? Towards actually cinching the thing up I realized that this just couldn't be right. Kirk even tried it on and asked if I was making him a very warm Yamaka. I was stumped - I read all the forums, searched through the web, then finally sat down and read the directions word for word and busted out laughing. Coming to the realization that I had to actually follow the chart for 8" not start the decrease. Because I had never followed a chart before I ended up writing out the written directions and followed that. My experience did give the nice gal at my local yarn shop a good laugh.

Needles | Bamboo or Metal
This is definitely a personal choice. For this hat I used Clover Takumi Bamboo Circular kn Bamboo circular needles for the ribbing and then when I had to change to larger needle size I sent to the Addi Turbo Circular . Besides the price difference I noticed that maybe the metal needle might be a little slippery for a beginner. While the ease of slip off makes for faster knitting - at the beginning for me I was slipping off stitches and had to be very careful that I was paying attention. This definitely got easier as I became more comfortable. I am currently working on a new hat with stranded color work and loaded it on Bamboo needles - now I was wishing it was on the Addi's. I thought the color work was going to be much harder. But that will be another post!

Knitting Needle Stoppers
When I first saw these I had no idea what needle stoppers were - but Dottie said I definitely needed them. But did I use them right away??? Oh no, that would be too much work. Lesson learned - I was about half way through the Koolhaas hat and took a break. Left my project on the bed... with the dogs. My dogs had previously shown NO interest what so ever in the yarn or the needles. They just like the fact that was sitting somewhere for long periods of time. When I came back all I saw was a bare needle and two dogs staring at me and one rolling around on the hat. Fortunately, that was my lesson on how to pick stitches back up and get them on the needle AND use those needle stoppers.

Markers, Markers and more Markers
If you are like me and can't keep track of the number of stitches, you are going to need markers. Buy a package of them. I like the ones that clip like a safety pin vs. the ones that you knit in. Mainly because I don't always remember to place a marker - so the clip in ones you can go back and count and put one in. 

Tape Measure or Knitting Gauge
I have a knitting gauge but when I snapped this photo I couldn't find it. But most patterns it is recommended that you knit a gauge swatch to see if you either need to go up or down a needle size or loosen or tighten your stitch. This is one thing that I am not very good at doing beforehand - I measure along the way... which might turn out to be a hard lesson learned one of these days. You do need a handy measuring tool for various measurements. 

Needle Gauge
This has come in handy several times when I can read the microscopic print on the needle to tell me what size the needle is!

Pen and Paper
Definitely need a pen and paper to keep track of the rows you are on - be diligent on this tracking until you are comfortable enough to 'read' and count your stitches. I am not totally there yet - I know what a purl and knit stitch look like but have a hard time when it comes to increases and decreases. So I keep this handy little pad and red pen. I actually used this when I had to write out the written instructions for the hat.

So what's in your knitting bag??? [you can read my knitting journey part one here]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project Life 2012 | week one

I have to say - it doesn't get any more simple than this! Printing the photos at home was key for me - I just printed them all out [on Sunday] and whipped this together. I did print the smaller cards with the Paislee Press templates [mentioned here] earlier in the week. Other than that this took me about an hour total.

I ended up cutting a strip off the main title card because it just didn't look right with all the photos.

I am also opting to just write on the photos with my photo marker pen from American Crafts. To me this is way easier than running the photos through PS.

What thoughts did I try to capture this week? Really just the basics and the highlights. It will be interesting how weeks change with my thoughts. The photos I captured were a mix of iPhone and G12.

How was your first week of Project Life?