Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Into the Future

Having loosely sorted the Futurella hexagons by colour, I began putting them on the design wall, today. (By "design wall" I mean a piece of fabric that I have crookedly hanging from clothes hangers in my bedroom.) This is a photo of the early stages. I'm not sure if it looks like much at this point -- particularly because the fabric they are attached to is uneven and is even hiding some hexagons in the fold -- but I wanted to keep you posted on the progress, so there you have it. I have all the hexagons up and in place, now, but am mulling it over for another day or two, to decide if I want to move any, before I commit to it and sew them together.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I am still in the honeymoon stage with the Aeolian shawl: where the rows are relatively short and you are clipping along through the charts at a good rate. Five more repeats of this pattern and then I get to the next part of the design. Of course, by then, things will probably have slowed down, considerably.

But really, who can resist working on such a spectacular shawl, especially when it gives you an excuse to use sparkly little beads. (Look closely -- they are in the center of the pairs of yarnovers.) These ones are way shinier than they look in the photo, more like a hematite.

Added bonus: it lets me use up some more of the JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight I have. I have loads of this stuff (several shawls worth) in my stash, and two thirds of it is this shade of purple. I am seriously considering some overdying, once this is knitted. Tell me -- am I crazy?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

These Boots are Made for Spacewalking

My two weeks off from work are almost over, and a part of me feels like I should have gotten more done. Fear not, the other part of me remembers that a vacation should be relaxing.

I have begun knitting a new lace shawl, which I am loving, but mostly I've been occupying my time with quilts. I've gotten another chunk of hexagons made for the Ingalls quilt, and am in the very early stages of two other quilts -- both machine applique quilts (sharp learning curve on that one, since I've barely done any before.)

What I am most excited about right now, though, is turning this fabric
into yet another One Block Wonder quilt. (As always, click photo to embiggen.)

The fabric is called Futurella, and as you can see, it is covered in pinup girls with a sort of 60s sci-fi twist. My favourite is the one with the bouffant, sitting in the chair. The last time I made one of these quilts with pinup fabric, it worked really well, so I thought I would give it another try. This one will be different, since it has more colour variation, although overall the print isn't any busier than the black and pink one was. With this sort of quilt, one never knows what will come of it, however, until you actually cut it up and sew it.

Today I finished sewing up the hexagon halves. (Those of you who have made this journey with me, before, will remember that the halves aren't sewn together until the final layout of the quilt is determined, so you'll have to forgive me the raw edges down the center of the hexagons, that make them seem asymmetrical.)

These are a few of my favourites -- I love the girl in the bottom left, and the one above it (how perfect is it that one of the motifs in the fabric is actually hexagons?) To see the rest of the hexagons (114 in total!) you'll have to wait a while, until I figure out the layout...

Monday, March 22, 2010

I am an Evil Genius

While I was planning my foray into Caramel Apple Sticky Buns, I checked out some of the other things that Ree Drummond has done with the dough, to decide what to do with the leftover half. Her Orange Marmalade buns in particular caught my eye.

Well, I don't have any orange marmalade around, but one of the things that has been lingering in my cupboard for a while is apricot jam. Why not play around with the recipe a little?

I slathered the dough with apricot jam, then couldn't resist adding a bit of spice, even though Ree hadn't. I sprinkled on a subtle covering of cinnamon (not even half the amount for a real cinnamon bun) and then I decided to add a tiny pinch of cloves. I had a good feeling that the flavours would marry well. Here is a photo, before I drenched the whole thing with melted butter and demerara sugar.

I made a spectacular gooey mess rolling it up, which seemed like it must be a good sign. While they were baking, I mixed the glaze. Since I had switched the orange marmalade for apricot jam, I thought I might as well change up the glaze, too. I have a few syrups for italian sodas, and thought about what to use: should I make Pomegranapricot buns? Or use the blood orange? I settled on Peach, which of course would go well with the apricot. I added a bit of homemade tequila vanilla to the sweet peachy glaze (it makes everything better) and poured it liberally over the buns once they came out of the oven.

I know, right?

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Know, Right?

I've been enjoying the food porn over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks for a while, now, but today I finally decided to take the plunge and make something, to see if it's as easy as she makes it look.

My Caramel Apple Sticky Buns don't look exactly like hers, but they are pretty darn close. That's a precious little cinnamon bun under there, baked in a pan of caramel and finely chopped apple bits, then inverted to cool.

And what's more, I still have half the dough in the fridge -- just wait until you see what else I have planned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flabella Socks

Right on the heels of my Frog Stripe socks, I finished the Flabella socks. (Okay, not right on the literal heels -- that would make some weird and useless socks.)

As I mentioned many times before, these ones are from the second pattern in the January Rockin' Sock Club, and this time using the actual yarn that came with the kit -- a bright and happy pink (called Happy Go Lucky) which made them so much fun to knit.

I actually really wanted to knit the Cascadia (my Tooth and Claw socks) out of this yarn, too, but since there was only enough yarn for one pair, I had to choose. Something about the bobbles on the Flabella screamed out for this colour, and then I thought of the dragon coloured tosh sock for the Cascadia, and it was all settled.

The pattern was actually a lot of fun to knit (even though there is a lot of ribbing and bobbles and purls) and is somewhat out of my standard sock zone. Bobbles are not something I am normally drawn to, but they were fun and make for a cute sock. Something about the top of this sock reminds me of a crown with little jewels. The ribbing makes it fit well, too, which I was more than a little concerned about.

The reason I was concerned is because of having to play around with the sizing a little bit. Seems that if you knit the large size sock, as written, you are likely to run out of yarn. They suggested knitting the medium size on a bigger needle, to avoid that. I did, and it worked well -- I had some yarn left over -- but I have to admit that I am a bit worried that the fabric won't wear as well, since the stitches are a smidgen looser. I'm sure it'll be fine. I'll just have to wear them to find out. (Psst -- I am.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Frog Stripe Socks

Thusly named because the colours put me in mind of frogs and ponds and lily pads.

This is a super-basic toe-up stockingette sock (knit from -- guess what -- my ubiquitous Universal Toe-Up Sock formula, but using Judy's Magic Cast-On (love) and a basic toe, instead of the crocheted cast-on and short-row toe.)
I had pretty much a full skein of each of these colours left over from my Invader Yoke pullover, so when I was having a mental meltdown toward the end of the Honeybee Cardigan, I decided to cast on these mindless yet entertaining socks to save my knitting sanity.

Nothing fancy -- a three-row stripe of the two colours, with toe/heel/cuff in the third. I played with the various permutations of colours, and was intrigued by the one that was granny smith & grass stripes with a mermaid blue toe/heel/cuff, but something about it was weird, so I went with this combo, instead. They are warm and comfortable.

There is also a hidden agenda, here: I have read on Ravelry that some people found their KnitPicks Stroll in the grass colour has felted upon machine washing, and I figured if I'm going to test whether mine will felt, I'd rather it was on a pair of stockingette socks instead of on my Invader pullover, ya know?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Know You Want Photos

Sorry for the long days of silence, but I am out of town for a few days, and without my camera. You can be assured that while I left my camera behind, I brought plenty of knitting with me. I have finished the first of two Flabella socks (the second January RSC pattern which is enchanting and very very pink) and nearly finished another pair of basic striped toe-up socks from leftover yarn from the Invader Yoke sweater. (Not to mention that I brought yarn along for a pair of fingerless mitts, just in case I finish all the socks.) Photos will follow when I get back home.

How is your week going?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Honeybee Cardigan

Finally finished, and so lovely -- the lace really opened up with blocking (as is to be expected) and the weight of the Socks That Rock mediumweight makes it hang beautifully. The ribby nature of the lace makes it a bit clingy in all the right places, which is helped along by the inch of negative ease I knit it with. The yarn is also so round and bouncy that it gives great stitch definition. I think you've probably seen enough gratuitous closeups in previous posts, though, so I won't indulge myself with more of them.

I started this one in October and worked at it in fits and spurts, mostly at our group knit nights, so I'm sure it could have been done much faster, had I tried. Sometimes a slow project with no deadline can be so relaxing, though. (Case in point: the insane Ingalls hexagon quilt that I have puttered away on for a year or two and probably still will for several more.) The pattern itself was pretty straightforward, save when I got to the sleeve/body decreases, where I had to improvise the decreases amongst the ever-changing stitch counts of the lace. It went pretty well, and I don't think would be very noticeable if I didn't mention it. The only other change I made was to make the sleeves a bit shorter than recommended. I like them this length, and would even go another half inch shorter if I knew then what I know now (i.e. that they would lengthen a bit more in blocking.)

In any case, I have finished it and this leaves me with no big projects on the needles, and a world of possible options from my queue. *Rubs hands together* Where shall we go, next?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Buttons for the Bees

Since I am nearly at the finish line on the Honeybee Cardigan -- only the buttonbands and i-cord collar are left to knit -- I took a little trip to the fabric store yesterday to pick out some buttons. They are white, and a little bit shiny, and have flowers on them for the enjoyment of all the honeybees in the lace. I am pretty happy with them, but how they will look on the finished project remains to be seen.
I tried the cardigan on, after finishing the shoulder seams, and I think this one is going to be a winner, once it's finished and blocked. A few more days and I will post some photos, so we can all bask in the glory.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tooth and Claw Socks

Well, between finishing off Lizard Ridge and then deciding to make that "quick" "little" hat (aside: should I have put "hat" in quotes, too? It's really more of a parachute, don't you think?) it's taken a while to finish off the Tooth and Claw socks. They are now done, however, and fit like a glove. Well, more like a well-fitted sock than like a glove, really.

The pattern up the instep and the front of the leg was pretty easy and never got tedious. It also makes the sock fit very nicely, since it is, in essence, an angled rib of sorts. There is a lace pattern up the back leg (which I have just now realized I didn't photograph) which was a bit more work, as it involved a decrease while cabling, and thus necessitated a cable needle. It's a long time since I used one -- I usually cable without a cable needle, and doing those cable rows reminded me why. How fiddly to have to pick up and put down (or in my case, hold in my mouth) a cable needle every time you need to do a cable. It's a mug's game, I tell ya.

In any case, these socks are just what I dreamed they would be. The colour is so lovely (but you'll have to trust me on that since the photos don't really do it justice, even in the natural light.) The little dragon ridges are tamed a bit when you put it on, but they still don't go away altogether, and I think they are really charming. They do flatten out when you push on them, so I don't think they'll be a problem in shoes.

I enjoyed this pattern a lot -- it taught me a new way to do a toe-up gusset and heel flap, and it was a real treat to knit with the tosh sock yarn. Finishing them leaves me with only one knitting project on the needles (not counting the one which is in hibernation.) Perhaps I should go cast on for the other RSC January sock -- especially since the next kit will be coming by the end of this month!