Chunky cables!

I dug through my yarn bin this afternoon and located a lone skein of Cascade 128, a bulky Peruvian highland wool that I bought on a whim a few years ago. I remember buying it, with no real project in mind, back when I first started knitting in 2009. It has sat, lonely and ignored in my yarn bin until now. I was delighted that I could get a jump start on my cabled practice project right away - no need to go buy yarn or anything. I am loving the natural cream color of this yarn, and am so totally psyched that I'm actually knitting cables!!

The pattern is a free Ravelry download, Snappy Hat, and it's really easy to follow. It's definitely a great first cabled project, and the fact that it uses bulky weight yarn makes it go pretty fast. I took these pictures after knitting for just a couple of hours. I am really looking forward to seeing how this hat turns out - if it looks half as cute as the ones people have posted on Ravelry, I'm in for a treat!



I had grand plans to stop by yesterday and share some of the fun we had this weekend with my Mom in town, but the truth is: we had so much fun that I hardly remembered to take any pictures at all! It was so great having her to ourselves for a whole weekend, and M especially loved getting to spend some quality time with his Biti. It was very sweet watching him tell her all about his passion for dinosaurs and superheroes, and asking her to read to him. Thanks for the fun visit, Mom. We're all missing you already.

And now, it's back to reality and the routine of the everyday. I'm finding it hard to get back into the swing of things after her visit, but that's usually how it goes after having an all-fun-and-no-work sort of weekend. It's taking me a little longer today to make my usual to do lists and actually getting things done.

One thing on my to do list is to finish up my Green Tea Leaves cardigan. I am making good progress, with both sleeves finished and only the button bands left to go. Unfortunately, I've only got enough yarn for one of the button bands left, and will have to buy one more skein for the other one.  

While I wait for the yarn to arrive, I'm starting to plan my next big knitting project: a Rocky Coast cardigan. It looks divine, and I cannot wait to cast on. Having never knit cables, I'm thinking maybe tackling a smaller cabled project first might be a good idea. This hat, maybe?


This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama:
This Moment:  A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. 


Ellie's Tiny Tea Leaves

My green tea leaves cardigan is coming along nicely. The body is finished (felt like it took forever) and am nearing the end of sleeve #1. The end of any knitting project often feels like it can drag on, but I'm surprised at how quickly this one is going.

In the meantime, I wanted to share the pink Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan made for our little pink-loving friend in Seattle. Ellie is M's best friend, the little girl that he grew up with and had nearly daily play dates with from the time they were only a few weeks old. One of the reasons leaving Seattle was so hard was because the mere thought of not seeing Ellie and her family on a regular basis made me cry -- and, really, it still does.

This girl is pinkalicious. Having a boy, I of course love any and all opportunities to make pink anything. And so, last September, on our flight to a friend's wedding, I cast on for a pretty little short sleeve tiny tea leaves. It took only a couple of weeks to knit, but it sat, untouched, for months.

What is it about weaving in ends that is so daunting? Whatever the reason, ends got woven in, buttons attached, and sweater blocked in time for it to be mailed along with some very, very late Christmas presents.

I loved knitting this pattern - so easy and straight-forward, and it totally got me psyched to make an adult version. The stripes were more a matter of necessity than a design choice: wanting to use yarn in my stash, I had three skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in three different shades of pink. No idea what the original intent was for that yarn, but it doesn't matter: it worked and Ellie loved it.

I wish I'd been there to see her put it on, but with any luck, I'll get to see her wearing it this summer at our annual family vacation. (Yeah, right... at the rate toddlers grow, I'll be lucky if she can still wear it past April!)


Making Progress

Because this weekend was a busy one, with lots of time spent outside running around, I got very little done on my Green Tea Leaves cardigan. It has reached that size where it is no longer practical to carry around and try to sneak in a row here and there, so I have resigned myself to working on it mostly at night, after M is in bed. Over the last week I managed to finish the body and am working on the first sleeve, so I am making a little (if slow) progress. 

I have to say that while the color seemed a little jarring at first, it's definitely growing on me. I'm thinking it'll look really cute with dark wash jeans and boots -- and now I cannot wait until I can wear it!


From our {long} weekend

playing patio "hockey"

barefoot at the park (in near 70 degree weather) making sand angels

climbing trees

enjoying having daddy home, out collecting pine needles

building a nest for his baby dinos

Mikey was gone for part of the weekend, which left M and me to have each other's undivided attention for a couple of days. We spent our Friday and Saturday enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we've been having by playing outdoors as much as possible. I really loved running around at the park like a 3-year-old, pretending to be a dinosaur ninja (whatever that may be). And I hope that as he grows, he'll remember his Mom making a fool of herself growling and jumping and running around, and he'll know, without a doubt, that he's loved.

On Sunday, Mikey returned home, just in time for cold, rainy weather. We spent the day at home, cooking, laughing, and (what else?) roaring and pretending to be dinosaurs. (For some reason I always end up being the T. Rex that everyone runs away from. I'm trying not to take it personally.) I'm told there was snow not too far from us, but by the time we woke up this morning, there was only a slight dusting where we live. Today, we've been soaking up one last day together before having to get back to the everyday routine tomorrow. Luckily for us, my Mom will be here later this week, to join in the fun.

Thank goodness for long weekends.


First finish of 2012: Wonder Years

I considered setting the goal of knitting 12 sweaters in 2012, but I am notorious for setting crafty goals and not meeting them, so I figured: why set myself up for failure? Instead, I'm challenging myself to knit all the sweaters on my wish list that I've actually purchased yarn for. Luckily, I've only purchased yarn for 4 sweaters (one of them toddler sized), so it's definitely feeling doable. And until that goal is achieved, I just can't justify buying any more yarn.

There's nothing like putting oneself on a yarn diet to motivate one to actually knit. Go figure.

I have two sweaters in the works with said purchased yarn, and one of them will be finished by the end of the week, come what may. But today I wanted to share a sweater not originally on my sweater knit list, which also happens to be the first sweater I finished in 2012.

Back in December, when I should have been working on holiday gifts, I cast on for this Wonder Years cardigan for M (details here). It's a really great top-down raglan sweater pattern and I love that it comes in a wide variety of sizes (up to a size 8-10 years!!). This pattern is so clearly written and very easy to follow, and I know that I will definitely be making more of these in various colors and fibers. I worked on it a bit over the holidays, while in the car heading down to visit family, but the truth is that it mostly sat untouched until January, when I really made it a point to finish it.

I used Knit Picks Comfy Worsted (a Pima cotton/acrylic blend) for this sweater for two reasons: 1) I wanted it to be an easy-care garment to encourage wear, and 2) I had previously bought the yarn for a project that never materialized, and I wanted to use it up. I don't normally enjoy knitting with cotton, but this yarn was very easy to knit with and is incredibly soft. I seriously loved working on this, and would use this yarn again for this pattern.  Having said that, though, the next time I make this pattern, it will likely be with wool (Cascade 220 Superwash maybe?).

I loved making this sweater for my little guy. Sadly, this little boy of mine who adores his mama-knit hats really, really, really doesn't care for this sweater. He tells me it's because it doesn't feature a dinosaur, truck, or other trite boy motif. Ah, well... good thing a Digger Jacket is in my knitting queue.


From our weekend

getting ready for some swimming at the Y

building a dinosaur amusement park for the other animals to visit

lots of multi-tasking: reading Dr. Seuss while drawing monsters

a family nature walk in 29 degree weather, with plenty of stops to sketch in our nature journal

Baking oatmeal raisin cookies for some special friends

dinner with friends means a much-needed cleaning and tidying up around here

I live for weekends. I mean, I love my job, but there's nothing I love more than spending time with my family. And so weekends are the time I recharge and get ready for the week ahead. Our weekends are full of play time, reading, and outings. Love them.


Getting back to quilting

I was expecting M when I first went into a quilt shop and discovered online fabric stores. I promptly fell in love with all things fabric, and dove head first into quilting. I never took a proper class on the subject, and everything I know about quilting I learned from quilting blogs (of which there are many very good ones, whose owners generously share their knowledge in the form of tutorials, etc.).

For a while there, I was on a roll, sewing and quilting gifts for friends and my own family. And then we moved, and my fabric stash, which had previously lived on tall shelves in our old home, got put away in plastic bins. The plastic bins are now stacked in my bedroom and serve as my night table (don't judge), and rarely get opened anymore.

That is, until this week. I decided it's about time I finished some of the many incomplete projects I moved with the intention of finishing up once we got settled. So I pulled some fabric and started playing. I haven't yet started working on those projects I just mentioned, of course. I'm warming up, you see. Getting the hang of it again, methodically pinning, sewing, and pressing. I like to hear the humm of my sewing machine as I feed little pieces of fabric into it. I love seeing said pieces come together to make something pretty. 

But of course, I've got to be careful. My tendency to begin projects that don't get finished is well-known to my family and friends (What can I say? My brain works faster than my hands...). And so, besides working on those forgotten projects, I am limiting myself to making cute little pink houses. I know exactly what they'll be used for, but I'll share that with you later. Now, off I go to get some piecing done!


Birthday wishes

Some 11 years ago, I graduated from college and moved into my very first apartment. It was then that I discovered my love for all things paper and virtually any craft ever invented. I especially took a liking to making my own cards - and made so many that I had a nice stash to draw from for everyone's birthdays, anniversaries, etc. In the past few years, that's changed, big time. It's not that I don't love making cards, it's just that I've got a limited amount of leisure time and I'd rather do something else these days (read: knit).

Two very dear friends have birthdays this month, and I really wanted to make some cards for them. And yet, it's been so long, I drew a blank. Where to start? What to use? And then I got overwhelmed - until I remembered that I'd actually bookmarked some ideas I'd seen online. Totally drew on them and the resulting cards were cute and quick to put together.

The first card, above, was inspired by this tag by Nora Griffin. I love her cards and visit her blog often. She's so creative, and I love that her cards aren't at all fussy. I love her use of color - so fun. If you haven't yet visited her blog, I highly recommend it. I got this deer stamp on clearance more than a year ago, and while it's been used for a few holiday projects here and there, it wasn't until I saw Nora's tag that I realized how versatile it could be. Maybe if I get my act together I can whip up some 'dear friend' Valentine's day cards, too (maybe.....).

This card, was inspired by this one from Two Peas in a Bucket. I love these robot stamps and hadn't really used them much because I kept thinking they were really boyish. After seeing the original card, it got me thinking that the little robots could really be versatile. This card is for a little girl, and I think that even though the base card is white & blue, the added purple touches  and glitter glue make it work. Our little friend is turning 6, and she's such a cool girl, I know she won't mind that this isn't a syrupy sweet all pink card.

I am always astonished at the amount of inspiration online, and so grateful for people who so generously share their ideas. Had it not been for them, I probably wouldn't have made the effort to go dig out my supplies and put these little cards together. So glad I did. I love homemade cards.


Happy New Yea -- wait, it's February?

I can't believe that it's already February. I have been away from this spot much longer than I'd intended to. I won't lie: this move has really taken it out of me. I feel like all my energy over the past few months has been devoted to getting settled in, making our house a home, and making new friends. And then we had the holidays in there, which were good and lots of fun, but really exhausting.

And, just like that, it's been months since I last stopped by.

One really good thing about that is that I've got lots of crafty projects to share here, most of them yarn related. Over these past few months, I've really found knitting to be my source of comfort and relaxation. And I've moved on from baby garments and hats, partly out of necessity (those babies grow, after all) and partly as a challenge to myself.

Currently on the needles is what I hope will be the perfect Spring sweater for me (not that it's been all that cold here, so maybe a wool sweater is a little silly). The pattern is the very popular Tea Leaves Cardigan, and it's a delight to work on. The yoke is fun and quick to knit, while adding interest to the design. I'm using Knit Picks Swish Tonal in Springtime (which I bought on their Cyber Monday sale specifically for this project). It's a little bit brighter than I envisioned it, but it's very soft and I love really colorful garments, so I think it might just work. 

My goal is to have it finished by March 1. Now, I know I've had many goals in the past that have fallen by the wayside, but I'm feeling good about this one. I will get this done - I can't wait to wear it and give my old Seattle fleece jackets a break.