cast on ...

Project Spectrum officially begins tomorrow! Our first cardinal direction? North. The associated color? Green. My first project? The "Classic Silk Open Cardigan" from Classic Elite Yarn's spring pattern booklet, New Harbor. I'm knitting from my stash for once ... some Elann Callista (colorway: peacock) I'd originally purchased for another CEY pattern. I'm hoping for an uber-productive PS4, considering the long laundry lists of sewing, knitting, and general crafting projects I have planned in anticipation of baby. I hope to be a little more consistent this go-round as well--last year I started off strong, but fell off the wagon during the last few months.

... and zipped up

my first successful zipper

My beginning sewing class ended today with a skill on my "must learn--pronto" list ... the zipper! I can't believe how professional the results are, and with such relative ease! Must replicate procedure ASAP so I don't forget! With this skill learned, I now can seriously consider attempting my latest acquisition ... a summer maternity dress pattern. Specifically, view "B" below. Cute, huh? In my brief searches so far, I've quickly discovered that the availability and selection for maternity patterns is meager at best.

swingy and oh-so-cool, this will get me through that last trimester

I'll have to tackle another "must learn" skill for me to attempt another recent pattern acquisition ... the button hole. Aren't these rompers adorable? Pretty simple, too, other than the pesky button hole.

In a cute, soft cotton gingham, perhaps?

Lots of good stuff in this pattern!

my first smocking

Here are the results of the smocking class I took last Saturday. The verdict? Sooo much fun! This could be addictive. It combines one of my old, and neglected loves--embroidery--with my new obsession, sewing. Very dangerous. We practiced basic stitches last Saturday, and then we'll combine them to follow an actual smocked panel pattern during this week's class. Now we just need to convince our instructor to offer a second class, teaching us how to insert the smocked panels into actual garments!

it's a zoo

Alexander Henry's "2D Zoo"

Fueled by my recent sewing successes, I've decided that I want to sew my own crib accessories (bumpers, blanket, etc.). We'll see if I'm being overly-ambitious ... but if my plans backfire, I'll just buy something from the store, no big deal. :-D After making this decision, I had envisioned some cute, modern fabric with lions and animals--totally gender neutral. Then I spotted Alexander Henry's "2D Zoo" and fell in love. Guess who now owns five yards, courtesy of eBay? Now I just need to, ahem, purchase a crib. Oh, and a sewing pattern would be helpful too ...

sweet smocking

This is what I'll be learning how to do today ... smocking! This sweet dress was mine when I was a little girl. I love embroidery ... I'll just need to get my sewing up to snuff to create some garments to insert the smocked panels into!

yellow week :: day five

sewing success

Week two of my beginning sewing class, and look at what I came home with! Sooo exciting. This is by far the cutest and most professional-looking thing I have ever sewed, and I am so inspired to dive into more sewing projects now. My first time using fusible interfacing, and my first time topstitching (see below). I was terrified every second of stitching it, especially since I chose a print that really didn't allow for a forgiving, blend-in-the-background thread choice. But I did pretty well, if I do say so myself!

Look at me, I'm relatively straight!

We even put in a lining and pocket.

The pattern was soo easy, I left the store with material for a second tote, which I whipped out the next day. It turned out even better than the first! Watch out world, I'm going to become a tote-bag making machine.

I love this print on the vertical ...

Cat inspected and approved.

yellow week :: day two

love that sun shining through

yellow week :: day one

Play along! To see a list of who's participating, visit Erin's blog.

bambino blankies

Baby blankets are how I got my start in knitting (well, once I got past the prerequisite beginner's garter stitch scarf!). My first knitting projects were all motivated by the desire to give an expecting friend a sweet, soft, handknit baby gift. So baby blankets have a fond place in my heart. My favorites use wild-colored, variegated yarn, and I've already been working to replenish my stash in that arena. I need to make at least two blankets ... I've listed these in the order of my desire/realistic estimation of whether or not I'll attempt to knit them.
  1. Basketweave. I have an old, tattered copy of a pattern my Mom sent me, and it's my go-to for baby blankies. I'll definitely make my kiddo one. I haven't found the actual pattern I use on Ravelry, but this one is close.

  2. Easy Ripple Baby Blanket. Easy, but not nearly as boring as plain stockinette. Perfect.

  3. Barbara Breiter's Teddy Bear Blanket. What can I say? I really enjoy visual patterns created from simple knitting and purling. Barbara provides a ton of options to choose from on her website.

  4. I love this Estonian lace pattern. I love that it's not too intricate, but still visually interesting--and definitely not too girly, either. With a worsted weight pattern option, this is a definite contender.

  5. The intarsia animals on Nicky Epstein's Animal Antics pattern make my heart skip a beat. And I'm pretty sure my local library actually has a copy of the book the pattern is published in ... my biggest obstacle on this one would be getting over my fear of intarsia.

  6. The Apple Core blanket is sooo awesome, but the thought of all that finishing makes me want to cry.

  7. OpArt by Melissa Dominguez looks very cool--and not nearly as painful in terms of finishing as the Apple Core blanket. if I snag two colors that will combine well for the stripes, this one will get added to the queue.

  8. If the baby is a girl, the Flower Baby Blanket is being knitted FOR SURE.

bambino sweaters

          Realistically, sweaters aren't a huge baby wardrobe necessity in Mississippi. But we do hit the freezing point off and on for about three months of the year, and babies can't regulate their body heat as well and need more layers ... not to mention that it would just be a crime for me not to knit at least one. I'm already half-done with the first sweater on my list. Sock yarn sweaters seems to be a good choice for our climate, considering that they make thin sweaters that are perfect for layering and won't be stifling hot. I'm limiting myself to no more than three sweaters in big sizes, since I have no idea how big lil' bambino will actually be by the time our chilly season rolls around.

          1. Red Heart, Heart and Sole Baby Pleasure Pullover :: In progress, using the Tequila Sunrise colorway. (I have to admit that I am not so much a fan of this colorway now that I've knitted it, but I've finished too much of the sweater to quit now. What looked gender neutral on the skein looks pretty boyish to me now... I have enough yarn to make a second sweater in the Green Envy colorway, which looks much cuter.)
          2. Seedling (Rav link) by Jil Eaton, in the book Minnies: Quick Knits for Babies and Toddlers. To be cast on using a sunny yellow Lion Brand Homespun.
          3. Some variation of a baby kimono ... but which pattern? Lately I've been admiring Carina Spencer's version and Jacki Kelly's version. Carina's is written for worsted weight, while Jacki's is for DK so maybe I'll let the yarn make my decision. I've got some DK/sport weight green Baby Bee yarn that would be cute worked up in this sweater style ... or a green/yellow/white variegated colorway. Can't decide.
          4. If the baby's a girl ... Helena will be knitted FOR SURE. Soooo adorable. And the 5-Hour Baby Sweater too ... oh yeah.

          project plannin'

          My knitting mojo has been floundering lately. After some last-minute, intense knitting for Christmas presents, I completely burned myself out. Thankfully, I have a great group of ladies to knit with each week that's kept me going--but for the past month or so, knitting's definitely been on the backburner.

          Despite my slump, my mind is filled with projects I want to make. The fingers just haven't been as willing as my mind to keep up! Lolly's recent announcement of the theme for Project Spectrum 4 on Ravelry has inspired me to do some prioritization and organization around here ... priority numero uno right now is baby knitting. My southern summer baby will be arriving in July, so no winter garments necessary, but I can't turn off the urge to knit. Baby blankets, toys, a handful of sweaters that will get rarely used ... you know, the basics. Ironically, the colors for the first two months of the "Cardinal Directions" theme for PS4 are perfect for my baby knitting--yellow and green. Which I've already been stocking up in, en masse. :-D

          So my goal in the next couple of posts is to zero in on exactly what I want to make for the lil' bambino ... in an attempt to quit distracting myself with all the millions of amazing patterns out there! And prioritize a few projects for myself, of course. :-D

          If you haven't participated in Project Spectrum before, I highly encourage you to do so. Last year my participation was sporadic, but the Ravelry group is amazingly encouraging and fun to be part of (even if it's only to lurk and admire everyone's amazing work!).


          First up in the project planning/wish list---toys! I haven't attempted any since my felted flamingo (details on Ravelry), but I've been meaning to for a long time. These cuties are top priority in my queue!

          Raynor Gellatly's Jelly Bums Lion
          (details on Ravelry)

          Tums the Hippo by Anna Hrachovec
          (details on Ravelry)

          Elijah by Ysolda Teague
          (details on Ravelry)

          Otto by Ysolda Teague
          (details on Ravelry)

          first bloom

          First daffodil ... in February?!?! I freaked out when I saw them sprouting at Christmas. Yes, you read that right--Christmas. I am all about this southern year-round gardening thing, but seriously, this is sick. Let me extend a little bit of sunshine to the other parts of our nation that are experiencing much more decidedly winter-like conditions!

          organized chaos

          When I realized I had to search through more than six "works in progress" project bags to find all my knitting needles, I knew I had a problem. Did I have a pair of size 5 circulars? No idea. The search for a perfect needle case began ...

          My answer? The Namaste needle binder. I had seen it online and fell in immediate lust, but thought it was too much of a splurge at first. Instead, I focused more on the roll-up cloth needle cases. When I realized my LYS carried Offhand Designs, which I had been admiring online, I dropped in to see the product in person. Instead I walked out of the store with a shiny new turquoise Namaste needle binder and extra inserts in hand. Oops!

          After seeing the Namaste needle binder in person, and comparing to cloth-based needle cases, I realized it wasn't as much of a splurge as I initially thought. Many of the cloth-based needle cases my LYS carried were similar in price. And the Namaste needle binder has one significant advantage the cloth-based needle rolls were lacking--expandability. Even as a relatively new knitter, I could immediately fill the cloth-based needle cases with my current needle collection. The Namaste binder? Plenty of ability to grow with my needle collection. After that realization, I was sold. And no regrets here!

          The binder comes with four inserts. Two sleeves for straights, one with skinny pockets (below), the other with wide (above). I easily fit a set of size 7 and 8 dpn's in the wide pockets. One zippered mesh sleeve divided into two pockets, and one zippered notions bag. I used the zippered mesh sleeve for my circulars, which has worked great so far.

          The Namaste needle binder also has internal zippered mesh pockets on both sides of the binder. I'm using one side for my dpn collection (below) and the other side for various notions.

          Final verdict? I am sooo in love with this needle organization solution. Now that I know what I have, I know what I need to purchase! :-D

          I'm baaaack

          New year, new crafting! Not only am I back, but my trusty 'ol sewing machine is too ... thanks to a "Beginning Sewing" class I started this morning at the Golden Triangle Fabric Center. The class is great--our instructor, Everlyn, is a sweetheart, and this is just the boost I need for my sewing confidence. After reviewing the basics and practicing sewing some straight lines, we actually completed our first project on the first day of class (a pillowcase!). Next week? A tote bag! I'm lovin' it! So look for weekly updates on my progress. I've got extra motivation to beef up my skills now that there's a little bun in the oven that's going to need some hand-crafted love. :-D

          2021 year in review

            Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...