Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorites: Sweater Love

In lieu of a Friday FOs post (because I can only post so many sock photos), I've decided to post a few of my favorite patterns and finished objects knit by other people this week. I get a little trigger happy whenever I'm on Ravelry and I favorite A LOT of things because I love a ton of things. And I want people to know that I like their fabulous knitwear. So apologies, dear Ravelry friends, for clogging up your friend's page, but I just cant help it sometimes; I've gotta share the love!!

(All photos borrowed from
Clockwise from the upper left corner: Pomme de Pin by ByGabs, Ibisco by Thea Colman, Aisance by Kirsten Johnstone, Carrie by Meggied23, Wild Sheep by AnnePande

It's no secret that I love me a good sweater, whether it be a cardigan or pullover. A hot body (not in that way) keeps me from knitting pullovers because I just get so warm all of the time. All of the time. Be that as it may I can still appreciate a good pullover and once I get one stuck on my brain I am just crazy enough to knit it anyway. Which is why i have so many sweaters that I just don't wear.

It's a sad, sad world.

These are 5 of my very favorite sweaters that caught my eye this week and I wanted to share my love for each and every one of them. I've included the links above just in case you too go gaga for these lovely creations and want to cast on for one of your very own; I know that I need to.

Ah, the good ol' Pomme de Pin cardigan. I'm already acquainted with this sweater, because I currently have one languishing away in my UFO pile. It's about 70% done and just needs sleeves and a collar. Y'know, my favorite parts of knitting a sweater! This interpretation by ByGabs might just be what I need to finish that sucker up next time I'm home. Seriously, isn't it beautiful? ByGabs used yarn by one of my favorite indie dyers The Uncommon Thread. I lose my mind every single time she posts an update and, after looking at this sweater, can you really blame me? Not just that but the fit on this sweater is perfect and ByGabs looks great in it.

Ibisco is a new pattern by Thea Colman and I stopped dead in my tracks (well, clicks) the moment I saw it. Again, I'm not gonna lie, it was the color that got me more than anything. But look at that neckline! That lace front! This isn't the first time and it definitely won't be the last that I wish dolman sleeves were flattering on me. Thanks for my weird little torso, mom! Thea Colman is all around awesome. A cocktail pairing for every design? There's a lady after my own heart. And this design further solidifies that.

Kristen Johnstone is another designer I've admired for quite awhile now. I love the way she plays with lines and angles, which makes a great deal of sense since she's an architect by trade. Go figure! Her Raiun, Kabuto (like the Pokemon! /nerd) & Kakomu have been languishing in my queue for far too long. I think I've bought 3-4 different options to make Raiun (Plucky! Tosh! Uncommon Thread even), but I just haven't done it yet. I'm insane. Either way, Aisance is her newest design and it's going to the top of the queue once I figure out what to use for it (let's be real it will be Plucky). The thing that got me about Aisance is the way it hangs when worn. I love the longer in front/shorter in back design element. This sweater reminds me a bit of Raiun, but I think of it as Raiun's grown-up older sister, in a way. Kristen's other new design Gake is also worth checking out this week.

As I mentioned, I don't really wear pullovers that much. I also don't wear turtlenecks or big cowlnecks or funnelnecks, but Megan has been killing it lately with this style of sweater! Her Boden is beautiful and suits her well. Not only is it encouraging me to buy all of the SQs of Madelinetosh DK Twist but that's where my self-induced brainwashing began. I've been trying to convince myself lately that if I knit a sweater like this it wouldn't make me look like the frumpiest thing in the world (it totally would) and that I would wear it all the time because mine would be as awesome as Megan's (I wouldn't). I had almost escaped this internal banter but then Megan posted a photo of her Carrie (knit in Plucky cashmere!!!) and I about died. You can tell through the screen just how soft that thing is! And would it really be the end of the world if I knit one for myself and only wore it around the house? Probably not. I can only afford a SQ of Plucky cashmere in my WILDEST dreams, so I started thinking about some more affordable options and decided that my sweater will be made out of O-Wool Local. It will be soft and sheepy greasy and wonderful. But, seriously Megan, stop making me want to make all of the sweaters that will look horrible on me.

Last up we have one for the kiddos. My love of kid sweaters with animals (cats, weiner dogs, etc) knows no end, especially when sheep are involved. Especially blue sheep! And brown! This sweater is kidtastic, but it's not a baby sweater. This may be a boy's sweater with blue sheep on it, but I would wear the shit out of this sweater. I love the color combination here, but I also love when knitters stick their kids in real wooly sweaters. Another more girly interpretation can be found here.

The moral of this story? I love me a good sweater. What are you favorites this week (and beyond)?

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Couer de Lion

It might be hard to believe but I still knit things other than socks. I'm 95% sure that the sock affliction is a produce of California because before I moved here, I had no interest whatsoever in knitting socks. I knit socks because I can still wear them and they're pretty much the only knitwear I can stomach wearing in 70-80 degree heat.

Plus they're great little compact projects I can throw in my bag and we all know that I love those.

It should come as no surprise that I currently have 2 sock WIPs, like I usually do, but the other project I'm plowing through is a SHAWL. Yep. A SHAWL. I've knit quite a few shawls in my day, but I wouldn't say they're one of my favorite things to knit. Every so often I'll get it in my mind that I need to knit a new shawl and then it just gets out out of control because I love it so much. Which is exactly how I feel about my Coeur de Lion.

Coeur de Lion by Nadie Cretin-Lechenne 
This was my Ravellenics project for the year and I failed horribly at it. Most of this shawl is garter, which is simple enough, but after knitting all of the socks I just couldn't stand it. Especially when each row only adds one stitch, so I really didn't feel like I was getting anywhere at all. So I parked it halfway through the garter section and didn't pick it up again until the Olympics were almost over. I reached the lace section a few days ago and became obsessed with it all over again; I finished the first chart repeat in an afternoon!

The yarn is Studio Sock by Neighborhood Fiber Co. and I swear I lunged at it when I saw it on the shelf. I bought these skeins at Windy Knitty last time I was home in Chicago, but I've bought skeins from this company before. The color, though amazing, it also ridiculously hard to photograph properly. In real life, the skeins are electric purple, not as royal blue looking as in the photo above. The yarn is a joy to work with, but I'm second guessing my decision to use this yarn for this pattern. Studio Sock is definitely a sock yarn: it's tightly wound, springy and doesn't "cling" together. I'm a bit concerned about the lace "hearts" being lost in the FO. We shall see in a few days because mama is getting this thing done!

The socks of the week? More toe-up vanilla socks in yarn I dyed last fall/winter. This time I'm trying something new and doing afterthought heels! I finished the first of the green pair last night and immediately cast on with my Sushi Roll yarn (yay!) afterward. I think knitting two different socks at the same time inspires me to get them done faster, because then I don't just have a single pair to look forward to.

First afterthought heels! 
Sushi Rolls
I've been anxious to use my Sushi Roll sock yarn since I dyed it. I handpainted this skein (like the others), but I painted it in a different pattern than my other skeins. It's working up in a different manner, but it's not as splotchy as I had expected. I'll have to try a speckled skein next :)

What are you all working on this week? Don't let those (neverending) WIPs get you down!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Socks, Walks, More Socks

This week has been all about getting myself out of the house & being more active. Oh, and all about the socks as well. As I mentioned last time, I made myself a week to-do list (#listnerd) as a way to keep myself motivated throughout the week. I managed to accomplish all but one of the items on my list. Woohoo!

(49): First of many walks//(50): Finished my V-Day socks//(51):Frustrating run//(52): My favorites to date
(53): A little treat with Matt//(54): Farmer's Market Sunday//(55): The most Ashley skein of yarn//(56): "March" socks
Even though I'm not exactly new to Seal Beach anymore, it's exciting to explore around town and discover new things. As my leg is still giving me issues, I decided that each mile counts, whether I walk it or run it, so I set out with a weekly goal of 20 miles total. I soared past that goal and hit almost 25! I like to mix up my walks every now and then so I get to see more of my town and I've made it a small goal to visit more of the little shops and businesses on the main street of the downtown area.

We've been trying SO hard to reign in our daily expenses, meaning we haven't been going out as much as usual. We had a bit of a weekend splurge when we stopped by Beachwood BBQ, our favorite place in Seal Beach, for a few beers. We couldn't help it when we saw they had Pliny on the menu. We purchased some raffle tickets for a shot at winning a pint of the famed Pliny the Younger, and while we didn't win, all proceeds went toward cancer research. One more reason to love Beachwood.

We also stopped by the Farmer's Market and ended up coming home with a bunch of weird things: heirloom carrots, blue potatoes, golden beets, cabernet cheddar. I felt like I was in a fairy tale as I scooped each thing up and plopped it in my bag. I can add that to the (short) list of things I like about Southern California; there are so many different and fun things that grow here. I've made a little list of new recipes to try for this week and look forward to sharing my favorites.

The sock love continues! I already blogged a bit about my Valentines Day socks last week, but I also managed to finish my Monkey socks. Wooohoooo! Of course I couldn't resist casting on for another pair. Might as well keep on chugging while I still love knitting them, right? I also fell off the wagon a bit and ordered two precious skeins of sock yarn this past weekend. The skein seen above (55) is Shepherd's Sock by Lorna's Laces and it is SERIOUSLY one of the most Ashley appropriate skein of yarn. EVER. I love Lorna's because they are Chicago-based and they make it known. Most of their skeins are named after neighborhoods or landmarks in Chicago. Imagine my delight when their newest colors were named after the suburbs and there was one for my hometown! Not only that but it happens to be the perfect autumnal skein. I can't even handle how pretty it is.

I can't wait to share the other skein when it arrives on Thursday. A winter storm is *finally* hitting Southern California and it's scheduled to rain for 4-5 days straight. I am so excited to bundle up with my sock knitting and try to catch up on as many Oscar nominated movies as I can.

Happy knitting!

Friday, February 21, 2014

FO Friday: V-Day Socks & Cross Stitch

Valentines socks to add to the pile!

I cast on for these socks the same time I cast on for my ridiculous Monkey socks. I tried sooooo hard to finish both for today, but I have 3 repeats to go on those Monkeys. With two pairs of socks finished in January and two pairs in February, I am well on my way to victory in my 14socksin2014 goal. Woohoo! 

Like the other socks I've finished this year, I dyed this yarn while I was home a few months back. This skein is pretty special because I dyed it in a different way than most of my other skeins. I love handpainting my skeins, but it's pretty time and space consuming. My kitchen back home is a decent size, but it's pretty cluttered, so surface space is always at a premium. I wanted to try my hand at immersion dyeing with different colors, so I gave this one 2-3 different color dips in Valentines appropriate colors. 

I'm really pleased with the results but there is definitely a learning curve to hand-dyeing in this way. The results can be very temperamental! I used pretty low water quantities when dyeing and made sure I exhausted each color before removing the yarn (carefully) from the dyepot/adding more dye. I had hoped to create a speckled look with the blue dye, but, like I said, this method can take on a mind of it's own and the color spread a bit more than I expected. Handpainting is still my favorite, but I'll be experimenting more with this method next time I buy yarn to dye.

I can't wait to share my Monkey socks with you all. Vanilla socks may be my favorite, but these are SUPER fun, in both pattern and colorway. I'm hoping to finish them up today, taking my WIP list from the other day down a few notches. Since I'm such a list nerd (Matt makes fun of me so much), I tried making myself a to-do list for the week on Sunday night and it's really been helping me keep on track. 

Being unemployed (whoopee! ...not) has given me so much free time and it's been SO easy to get sucked into the internet and waste my entire day, especially knowing that the next day will be exactly the same. But having actual goals written down on paper? It's inspired me to keep my computer shut, get my butt off the couch and get things done. Like socks and books, runs and long walks (18 miles & counting!), blog posts and checking in with e-people I've lost touch with. I think the Sunday night list will be something I keep up with, as long as it keeps working for me. 

Oh, and before I jet off I thought of another FO I haven't shared just yet. Valentine's Day is never a huge deal for us and, if I'm lucky, Matt will get me a card or a bottle of my favorite wine. This year I told him I wanted to go on a little adventure to Temecula, which is a Southern California wine region on the same-ish latitude as Rhone in France. I didn't realize this until after the fact, but it was a little treat since I love wines from that region. More on the trip later, but I knew that I still wanted to make Matt a little something for Valentines Day. I considered socks, but then I got an idea. The PERFECT idea for a Valentine.

We both agree that it's too cute to look at. I cobbled together a few patterns I already had (Matt is based on the 10th Doctor Who! Ha!!) and added a few modifications. I really love it and plan on framing it for our someday home. Matt wants me to add myself, but this is more special ;p Their love is ridiculous. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: I Want to Knit EVERYTHING

So guys. I have a lot going on right now and all I can think about is starting something new. That's silly, right? Right. Except I might just do that when I finish my February socks (14 in 2014, y'all!). Blame the Yarnover Truck and their fabulous 40% off sale, where I scored a SQ of Sincere Sheep Equity Fingering that needs to become Grace. Right. Now. It's actually been sweater weather in Seal Beach these past few weeks and it would be lovely to have a nice fingering weight sweater to throw on when I sit outside.

But I should finish up that Pumpkin Ale.
Let's count these bad boys.
(From background to foreground)

  1. Giant Granny Crocheted Blanket in Lion Amazing (Strawberry Fields)
  2. Pumpkin Ale in Manos del Uruguay Rittenhouse (Cinnamon)
  3. Couer de Lion in Neighborhood Fibre Company (Georgetown)
  4. February's Basic Socks in my hand-dyed yarn (V-day)
  5. Monkey Socks in my hand-dyed yarn (80's Hard Candy)
  6. Untitled Cowl design in Manos Alegria (Atlantico)
I've been working on the Alegria cowl the longest and hope to finish it up this week, along with both of my socks. This might be a bit of a lofty knitting goal, but I think I can do it. I'm a bit concerned about the Alegria cowl because that color was a dye mixup, so all of the skeins since that run look nothing like it. Sigh. This will teach me for not scooping up another skein!

The most fun project this week? That giant granny square. It might be because crocheting is still new and exciting or it might be the yarn that is getting the job done. I'm still an unbelievably slow crocheter, but it seems like I can whip through each ball of yarn in a day or two. I have 5 balls of yarn remaining and I think that will do the trick. The beautiful thing about this is that I can fasten it off when I run out of yarn and pick it up again if I decide I want to. Hooray, crochet! 

Ok. Let's go get some FOs for Friday. Happy knitting to you all! 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Photos: Man, it's been awhile

Wow has it been awhile since I was here last. Why is this? I've been all over the place. Well, not really. But it feels like it. I spent some time at home and then, just days later, we scampered off to Temecula, aka Southern California wine country, for a Valentines Day getaway. We stayed in a camper! On a horse farm! It was a really lovely time and we even joined a wine club while we were there.

I've been knitting all of the socks, but I got majorly distracted by crocheting while I was home. I've been dreaming of a giant granny square blanket for the longest time, but whenever I sit down to crochet I get so bored. All of the time. And I only ever manage to make one granny square, so I always have to look it up and refresh myself when I pick it back up again. Not this time though! I've used up 5 balls of Lion Brand Amazing that I dug out of my stash while I was back home. Yarn from Joann? Who am I? Seriously, this yarn is actually pretty nice and this comes from someone who really HATES acrylic yarn. So you can trust my judgement here ;) The colorway I'm using is Strawberry Fields and I'm really digging the color combination.

(29): View from a run//(30): FINALLY finished Christmas socks//(31): ...and started 2 more pairs
(32): Fabric junkie//(33): Farmer's market breakfast//(34): Beach run//(35): Local stout in Arizona
(36): Reunited w/ my monster//(37): Second socks. Ugh//(38): NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL//(39): Wandering Chicago...where's Caleb?!
(40): These two//(41): So I started crocheting. And I'm a monster//(42): Last morning with her
(43): Back in California, beat the Vortex//(44): More running, foggy pier//(45): Immortal love for V-Day
(46): View from our camper at 7am//(47): Too much time together/hatechu faces//(48): Rough run & still gimpy

So far this month has been a lot of outside time, crafting & ODing on suck-you-in TV shows. I managed to marathon both The Middle & Scandal while I was home. Since I ran yesterday, today I'm locking myself in with all my neverending WIPs and taking a long walk after lunch. Gotta stretch those legs! More on those WIPs tomorrow.