Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Inspirations Abound

In March where I live, Spring is defintely apparent all over.  From everyone's complaints about their sinuses and the tell-tale yellow dusting on everything to the buds and flowers on trees and shrubs, you can't get away from it.  Spring is like nature's caffeine spurt.


The past couple of weeks have been the opposite for myself!  Other than occasionally making jewelry for my Etsy store, I haven't done a thing.  It's definitely not for lack of inspiration, because I have a head full of ideas!  Therein lies the problem - I need to get organized to decide what to do first.

In the warm months I am an avid gardener - and I can't wait to fill up my landscaping with tons of new (and unfortunately expensive) annuals and perrineals.  If I haven't been going to the nurseries, I've been wanting to go and load up on plants.  Two summers ago I was so proud of my garden and my goal this year is to do it again.  There's something therapeutic about pulling up the driveway and seeing tons of color and life.

I've also had my brain wrapped around some new jewelry ideas.  I've been asked to provide several pieces to my kids' school for their annual silent auction.  It's always a huge success for them - a ton of people come everything gets sold!  It's very important because as a private school, they rely on donations and fundraisers for a lot of their capital.  I'm really excited about the prospect of having my name and my designs spread here locally.  Word of mouth is crucial for artists and let's face it - there are millions of items of jewelry on Etsy.  It's difficult to get discovered. 
This auction has me really re-thinking one of my personal preferences about jewelry.  I am not the type of person to buy or wear or even make a set of earrings/necklace or necklace/bracelet that matches.  I like to make pieces that will coordinate well together, but not necessarily look like they were made to go together.  That's part of my creativity.  That's my taste.  However, I know many people prefer sets.  I'm debating on putting together a couple of sets of necklaces and earrings just for the auction and seeing what kind of feedback I get.  I will update on how that goes!

Any knitting news? None at the moment.  I did make a pair of fingerless gloves a few weeks ago.  They got snapped up by a friend (I was happy to give them to someone who would wear them and not just photograph them!!).  I casted on for my own set and you'll never believe what happened to them -- my dog ate them.  I'm serious!  He is three months old and he loves to chew on yarn.  Obviously I was livid - but I was only halfway through with the first one.  I haven't been inclined to restart because it is getting too warm here to wear them. 

I have been thinking about this cardigan lately

It's Berroco's Rill.  These flowy cardigans are so popular right now and I can actually see myself knitting and wearing this in the summer over a tank.  Of course, it would cost me around $85 to knit it in the recommended Seduce yarn.  I'll wait and see if it goes on sale or if I can find a good sub. 

Till next time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Finally, a Sweater!

I nearly forgot how gratifying it feels to actually finish a knitting project! But it feels awesome! Last night I casted off my Rena Cardigan. How many months has it been since I could say that I casted off of a big project??!

It has a few quirks that I will likely go back and tweak, but I must say that I am really satisfied with the results. My intention was to knit a very neutral, wear with anything, comfortable cardigan. As far as I'm concerned, mission accomplished! The inspirational piece can be found here on Fossil's website.

When I started this sweater back in August, I almost immediately got hit with knitting obstacles (my way of saying "no time for knitting") and eventually it was shoved into one of my many yarn baskets to await the day when I would finally pull it out and finish it. To be honest, somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving, my interest to complete it was almost nonexistent. I'd hit a wall from being worried I wouldn't have enough yarn in my dyelot to finish and the knitting itself began to feel monotonous and never-ending. Essentially, I gave up on the sweater. I guess it's easier to admit that now that it is actually complete. Nobody wants to say they gave up on something that they were so excited about!

But inevitably, I got bitten hard once again by the knitting bug. I guess when you truly love something, you may stray but you always go back to it. Hence my urge last Saturday to pull it out of the basket, and over the next few nights, it was all done!

I am so excited to share my work that I'll settle for the photos I took during the last few minutes of daylight this afternoon.

As you can see in the above photo, the rolled edges of the collar are rolling in just a bit too much. I believe that a little more blocking should help with that. Also, there are a couple of stitches around the edge where I picked-up to knit the collar that got a little too stretched out. I will probably go back and reinforce them slightly. It was quite a task to pick up all of those stitches and have them on the needle at one time!

In this photo of the back, you can see where my seam looks crooked. This was frustrating, because I ripped and re-seamed half a dozen times before I realized that it would always appear crooked. This is because the eyelets are two different sizes on either side of the ridge. That's what I get for wanting a reverse stockingette stitch background with yarn-overs! I guess it's a good thing I've let my hair get so long - it will cover the seam up!!

As for the construction, it went much like my September sweater (check my labels to the right). I absolutely love putting something together in a non-traditional way! First, I casted on at the elbow of one sleeve and knit up to the shoulder. I casted on stitches at either side for the front and back yokes. I did a tiny bit of neck shaping and knit to the center of the back. I wanted this sweater to have a seam there (a fact I now regret a teeny bit due to the aforementioned crookedness). Then I knitted a second sleeve exactly the same way. Next I sewed both pieces together. Then stitches were picked up for the bottom and lastly, for the collar. If only it went as quickly as the explanation!!


  • Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Stone; 3.5 balls
  • Needles: US 6,7,8
  • Time: Sometime in August - January: way too damn long!

Well, that's all for now. I took pretty good notes while knitting this baby and once I organize them, I'll likely share them in the form of a tutorial. I don't know why I recoil from the idea of writing a bona fide pattern. I think my brain just rejects all the math involved in sizing. It's enough for me to keep up with calculating gauge :)

I'm already planning on a little somethin' to cast on tonight! Ha!
I guess I've got it bad!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Believe it or not....

I am currently in the final knitting stages of my Rena Cardigan! I am so excited to be finally finishing it that I couldn't wait to share the news! After I finish the knitting, I'll have to do another blocking for the stich pattern to flatten out, so expect pics and details of this forever UFO finally turned FO later this week.

I won't bore any of you with the random "life" details that have kept me away from this blog and my knitting. Other than my etsy shop, I haven't been doing anything remotely creative. As someone put it, "Sometimes life gets in the way". Agreed 110%!

I hope I haven't let anyone down in my absence, but hopefully this sweater is bringing me back...for real this time!