Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Just a little something I'm working on - I'm teaching someone nice to cross stitch, and it's such a pleasant, familiar feeling to separate the little piles of floss and work in an orderly fashion...
I'm still playing with the older camera - and it's a tricky business getting a clear, sharp photo - but the added challenge has made it fun. I always enjoy working within strict limitations, and seeing what I can make of them.
I only realized this week I've reached my 10 year anniversary of blogging - 10 years! In honor of this occasion, I've been tweaking the template a bit to spiff things up a bit. Apologies if you see something bizarre as I muck around in the code. :)
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I used to love snapping photos, but it wasn't until recently that I got back into it. I set myself the task of picking up one of my old cameras, which I never fully learned how to use, and teaching myself the ins and outs of it.
The camera has its limitations - being older, it doesn't do well in low light - anything above ISO 800 is too grainy to be useable. But in good light, it snaps some nice pics, and it has a nice zoom.
I've been using that zoom to do my photography in the exact opposite way that I usually approach it - I usually get very close to objects and do macro shots.
Instead, I've been zooming all the way in, to get close to things I am actually very far away from.
I've been using two free Photoshop Actions from the Coffee Shop blog which I highly recommend:
Vivid 2 and Perfect Portrait.
The actions do a great job brightening and sharpening up images I didn't think I could use. It's been fun to get back into snapping pics and editing them!
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
It's been so long since I've posted, I almost forgot how to blog. :) I had a variety of thing happen in my life, good, bad, and lovely, which made most of the fall and winter a quick blur. Finally life is approaching normal again, but with a few nice changes.
One thing that hasn't changed is my knitting. :)
I finally finished up this nice little red sweater on a sick day a few weeks ago. All that's left are the buttons - I'm thinking those big toggle-type things would suit it best. It's still not my favorite sweater on me, but I hope to find someone it might suit. :)
The lovely colors in that shawl are so difficult to photograph - here it is in the sun. I used the same pattern as my last shawl, and even the same yarn - but this lot was considerably darker and more varied. One might say the same thing of time I spent as I stitched it, which makes it fitting, I suppose. :)
I purchased a really confusing batch of metallic circular needles recently - I should have read the description more thoroughly, as it described the odd sizes rather well. I put sticky notes with my best guess on the size, using my Knit-Chek as guide. When will I ever use size 1 or size 0 circulars? Well, add it to the collection. :)
Saturday, September 5, 2015
I just got SO MANY knitting needles off eBay, it's ridiculous. For me, part of the charm of crafting is collecting my materials and staring at them, so I couldn't resist carefully sorting them by size and length, and taping them neatly together.
It's mostly metal (aluminum) needles, with a few pairs of plastic, one pair of wood or bamboo, and a few circulars. Oh and there's 2 red crochet hooks on the left end. I love to teach people how to knit, so I hardly ever have straight needles, because I am always giving them away to the people I teach. This substantial score should give me plenty to teach with in the upcoming months.
I started a shawl as a gift for Christmas - I thought if I start early it would give me time to burn out, put it away, and have a few mess-ups. :)
The pattern is the Old Shale Shawl and is free on Ravelry. I'm using Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in Tidal, on size 8 needles. I like it so far, but I'm wondering if a flat, less tonal yarn would have worked better to show the lovely texture in the stitch pattern. We'll see. So far it's not too hard to follow, but you must pay close attention - it's not a mindless knit. I've made a few small mistakes, but nothing terribly noticeable, or that I couldn't fix by adding a stitch in the next row.
My first sweater is on a brief break - I finished the buttonhole rows and decided I hated the buttons, so I'm still deciding how I'll finish it. The sweater is pretty, but not at all flattering on me, so I'm wondering if I should try fixing it or just gift it to someone with smaller hips. :)
Saturday, August 22, 2015
I can't believe I am almost finished! Knitting a sweater was one of those things I was putting off until I felt like a more established knitter. I never really felt more established, so I just went for it, and I was surprised how easily it progressed. I'm following along with the My First Sweater class on Craftsy, and I highly recommend it, if you are a visual learner, like me. Sometimes, just being able to see someone do something is what I need to make a new skill stick. The sweater pattern is free on the Lion Brand site and is the Cardigan Collared Variation.
I just finished the collar - my favorite part of the sweater, and am knitting the right front buttonhole band. I didn't think I would like the eyelet detail, but now that I see it all together, I like the subtle texture it creates. I knit a small - what I usually wear in shirts and sweaters, and it is roomy and fits just right. The only issue I see is that the sleeve cuffs fit super-snug, while the rest of the arm is a more relaxed fit. I also knitted a longer cuff on the sweater and sleeve edges - it just looks nicer to me that way.
The yarn I chose I am "meh" about - Red Heart Soft. I didn't choose wool because I didn't want to worry about blocking just yet. It also just doesn't get cold enough in South Texas for wool. :) The Red Heart Soft is soft, and washable, and not the least bit scratchy. But I didn't buy all 5 skeins I'd need to finish all at once - I had 2 in my stash, gifted by a friend, then bought a skein here and there. They all had different weights (some bulkier, some more worsted-weight), some felt softer, some more stiff. At least the color was consistent.
Here are some earlier progress pics before I hit a wall and took a break:
Really enjoying this process so far!
Saturday, August 8, 2015
First of all, I went on a yarn binge earlier this week - I found a local yarn store I hadn't visited in ages (since before I moved to New York, actually). The store had moved to a cute old two-story house, and was full of beautiful wools. I didn't NEED any yarn, but since when does that stop me? So I snapped up the lovely yarns above.
I put one of those yarns to use quickly enough on some last-minute gifts for a dad and baby. I thought it would be cute to give them matching winter hats (yes, I am aware it's August) because the dad will be spending his first winter in South Korea, and it would be sweet to have baby wearing a hat to match. I used up the whole skein of Berroco Vintage, and added a couple of thin blue stripes and a blue pompom in a wool from my stash.
In the process, I also finished up these two baby hats that had been sitting in my stash box. I'm so glad I finally got better at making pompoms! This winter, I'm gonna stick a pompom on everything. I mean it. :)
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Today I deviate slightly from my method to show you a little something I made with the Ostrich Plume stitch. It really messes with my mojo to deviate from my typical gray background with two swatches, but, I'll deal. :)
I used size 6 needles and a teal cotton yarn from my stash - you can find the pattern on Ravelry.
For some reason, I found this block VERY tricky to execute - there were only 4 rows to this pattern, but I guess they weren't predictable enough for me to memorize. The pattern is so lovely, but I kept messing it up and unraveling it.
This knit was that magical combination of tricky and boring - I had to focus completely, or I'd mess it up - but there was just enough repetition to be crashingly dull. I got about 60% finished, then I made a mistake, and could not for the life of me fix it. Also, it looked like I'd run out of yarn before I finished, so I grumpily scrapped it. At least I have this photo to remember it by, so it wasn't a total fail. :)
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
I'm a fan of nice textured stitches and this one was fairly simple to do. My wool swatch (right) on size 6 needles curled a great deal. Blocking helped (those are the blocked swatches above) but the wool swatch still looks pretty curled, doesn't it?
Left: Using size 8 needles, I cast on 17 stitches in Teal acrylic thread from my stash
Right: Using size 6 needles I cast on 17 stitches in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Currant
Pattern found here: http://www.knittingstitchpatterns.com/2015/04/diamond-honeycomb.html
I'm fairly certain I messed something up in my "knit under loose strands" step on the teal swatch - see that long, loose looking portion on the left? I'd re-do that. Does anyone know any clear instructions on how to knit under loose strands? All I found were pictures that weren't super-helpful!
Here's a peek at the back (unblocked):
And here's the swatches before blocking:
Saturday, July 4, 2015
I first started on a sweater quest about a year ago - but I was super-picky and indecisive about which pattern to go with. I started with a fabulous rainbow yarn, but I ended up combining so many different patterns that I just confused myself, and the half-knitted sweater is sitting sadly in my closet.
Enter, my first sweater, part deux...
I dug up some Red Heart Soft yarn from my stash (from a lovely batch I still have thanks to my crochet friend Linda - thank you again!) I still have the My First Sweater class to follow along on Craftsy, and I chose the Raglan Collared Cardigan pattern this time around. I'm knitting a size small which will hopefully fit - if not, I know a few skinny minnies who might get this for Christmas. :)
Stitching has gone fairly quickly - here is the back, all finished up:
I've also stitched through one half of the front, picture soon for that. So far I am loving the color: Really Red - and the yarn has a slightly chunky feel. I'm knitting on size 8 needles, which is also why it's going quickly.
Miss Korea was the drama on tap for this round of knitting, and my red sweater was a perfect (though unintentional) match to all the gorgeous reds that appear in the first 4 episodes.
I adore their use of color, and the beautiful way they repeat that red over and over again in this crowded nightclub scene:
The girl who plays Oh Ji-young, an elevator girl who decides to go for Miss Korea, is absolutely gorgeous. I adored the cuteness of her stewardess-like elevator uniform, and I also adored how tough she was..
And, of course, she is heartbreaking when she cries...
I loved the scene where she rescues her two co-workers from a party with her sleazy bosses, and replaces them with naked mannequins from their department store.. priceless.
There was something about the magical red of her lipstick, I found myself super-distracted by its prettiness every time it was on screen - it was like it was its own character... :)
There are other wonderful moments throughout this drama, like the mini romance of two side characters, which ultimately hinges on who is willing to cook for who:
Overall, it was a good watch, but much more male-centric than any drama I've seen yet. It had a slightly gritty feel, with the mob elements, and although Miss Korea is kind of the main character, I repeatedly got the sense that the story mainly belonged to the male characters. It seems more like the rare kind of drama a male audience would enjoy, so I'm really happy there were such strong female characters.
Back to sweater knitting!
Saturday, June 27, 2015
In keeping with my usual mode of doing things, I finished my knitted chevron blanket in record time, and moved on so quickly that I didn't bother updating you here.
So I thought I'd walk you through the end of my project after the fact! :) Up above you see what all the ends looked like when I was finished knitting...
This photo was slightly more picturesque, but you get the idea, TONS of ends to weave in. It wasn't so bad - I worked steadily at it for a full evening in front of the TV, and I was done.
So here's the finished blanket!
As you can see, the edges curl in a little. If I was feeling obsessive, I'd have blocked it. I decided to wait for my first wash, after which I'll block it, and see how much the size changes.
Overall, I was very happy with this free pattern and the colors I chose - I think the chevrons look tidier than some patterns I have seen, and once I memorized the pattern, it was a breeze to stitch. I will say, however, that if you make a mistake, it seems next to impossible to go back and fix it. So, I'd suggest good concentration and precision for this one.
My finished size was 20 in wide, 42 in long. I knit this using size 8 circular needles and remnants of Love This Yarn from my Log Cabin project.