Category Archives: knitting

Purple beaded Viajante

Yay, it’s finally off the needles! I’ve been working (or mostly not working, obviously) on this project since July. The pattern is usually a quick knit for me but this time, I had eleventy million other things that somehow took priority over finishing this lovely piece.

Purple beaded Viajante 1

The yarn is Miss Babs Katahdin and the color is called Violaceous. Isn’t it awesome? It’s a huge skein, at 14oz. and 1,750 yds. The best thing about a big skein like that is that it’s all one continuous piece of yarn. No extra ends to weave in. Perfection, I tell you. It’s 100% Bluefaced Leicester wool. This is the first time I’ve worked with BFL. It’s really lovely. Soft and springy, a joy to knit. And after blocking, it relaxed into a wonderful drapey fabric.

Purple beaded Viajante 2

The drapiness is helped to some degree by the weight of the beads. I’ve made this pattern three times before but this is the first time I decided to add beads to the lace section. Now I want beads on all of them because they add just that little extra sparkle. These beads are silver-lined Rainbow Purple 6/0 seed beads (Dyna-mites) from Fire Mountain Gems. I had considered a lighter purple too but there was just something about the rainbow finish that really made it work beautifully with this yarn.

Purple beaded Viajante 3

I wore it today to our knit group. It was a gorgeous sunny day, around 50F (a nice change from the arctic cold we’ve been having), and the beads caught the sunshine, sending sparkles everywhere. It’s hard to capture that on camera, at least for me. (Peeps, I was patting myself on the back for figuring out how to use the self-timer when it turned out that the battery in the remote is dead. Capturing sparkles is currently beyond my skills.)

Purple beaded Viajante closeup

Notes for future reference

Needles used: 2.5mm and 3.5mm

Increase is kfbf at the center stitch, with marker replaced after the first stitch through the front loop.
Decreases are only every fifth round, worked as a centered double decrease.
Worked 108 rounds. (Next time pay attention and work an odd number of rounds to avoid having to fudge the first yo round of the lace at the tip.)

Beaded lace mesh
One bead is placed on every 6th stitch in the following rounds:
R3: starting with stitch 5
R7: starting with stitch 1
R11: starting with stitch 3
R15: as R3
R19: as R7
R23: as R11
R27: as R3
Worked to RC29, then bound off using the stretchy bind-off method.
(A big thank you to mirielgw on Ravelry for figuring out the bead spacing.)

Measurements before/after blocking
Across neck: 8.5”/10″
Short side: 15.5”/18.5″

And that’s it for now. Happy holidays to all of you and I hope you all find some time to relax with fabric, yarn, or whatever your preferred creative medium.

See you soon!

Summer FO catch-up

Yay, it’s September! August was a busy and fun month, with traveling, knitting, and enjoying having my husband back from deployment.

Let me catch you up on my finished objects. First, the green Viajante:

Green Viajante 2Green Viajante 6

This is my third Viajante (pattern link). I just love the pattern. I made this one a little shorter and narrower at the pointy side. Probably not enough for a casual observer to notice but it does make a difference in how fast it works up and yarn yardage. I used Regia fingering weight, same yarn I’d used in the red version so there were no surprises. The color is actually quite green but photographs blueish teal. I don’t know why.

Next came my first beaded knitting project. I’d been watching Laura Nelkin’s Knitting with Beads class on Craftsy (fun and totally worth the money) and wanted a simple project to bead. Enter Jeweled Cowl (pattern link):

Jeweled Cowl 1

This is a lovely pattern – a loop knitted in the round, long enough to go around the neck twice. The yarn is a heavenly blend of cashmere, silk, and merino wool, light as air. There are 594 beads total. If I were to make it again in this cobwebby yarn, I’d use smaller beads so they’d be lighter. As it is, the beads weigh as much as the yarn in this piece. Probably not the best ratio. It will get plenty of wear so we’ll see how it fares with all those beads.

And last but not least, my black and yellow Cameo (pattern link):

Black and yellow Cameo shawl 1

I’d been admiring other people’s Cameos for a while and I finally decided to make one. Super easy pattern, garter stitch knits up fast, the striped section keeps it interesting, and the lace section adds some pretty. I absolutely love it and so I was crushed when the black yarn bled onto the yellow lace section during washing, right before I blocked it. I got as much out as I could, but not all of it. Myrna recommended Synthrapol so I’ll try that. If that doesn’t work, I’ll probably reknit the yellow section with new yarn so it’s nice and bright, and then use Synthrapol from there on out.

OK, that’s all I have for today. Next time I’ll tell you about my new discovery – polymer clay.

See you soon!

Yellow Dawn shawlette

This was a quick knit. After the red Viajante, I really wanted another project on the needles. Knitting has been really soothing for me lately, and it makes for a very productive way to watch Craftsy classes. Probably movies too but I’m not much of a movie person.

Composite - Yellow Dawn shawlette

Over the last few weeks, I’ve developed a serious interest in shawls, wraps, shrugs, and similar knitted pieces, and have been adding all sorts of beautiful inspirational pictures to my favorites on Ravelry. I don’t know much about wearing shawls, how the different shapes work, and things like that. So I thought I’d experiment for a while. That means there will be more shawls, hehe.

This one is pretty simple, with a stockinette stitch body, an easy lace border along the curved edge, and a narrow lacey border along the straight edge. It’s knitted in one piece, side-to-side. The pattern is called From Dawn Till Dusk shawlette and it is available free on Ravelry. I used a sock yarn from my local yarn store. It’s Regia 4-ply, a blend of 75% wool and 25% nylon.

The yellow is quite bright. It will be perfect with a black dress. Now I just need a matching yellow bracelet and probably also earrings.

I have another Viajante on the needles. This time it’s green and I’m making some changes to it so that it’s shorter and also narrower at the bottom. We’ll see how that works.

See you soon!

Red Viajante

Yay, a new knitting project! I liked my gray Viajante so much I decided to make another one, this time in bright red. I think more might follow, in other beautiful colors.

Red Viajante

I used Regia 4-ply sock yarn. It’s 75% wool, 25% nylon. On size 6 (4mm) needles, it works up to a lovely drape. Sock yarn rocks!

At one point I had to unravel  a bunch of rounds because I had started the mesh lace too late, with too little yarn left. Unraveling allowed me to have a nice wide border around the bottom.

Red Viajante - front 3

The whole thing takes just under 200g of yarn and knits up really easily. I mean, it’s mostly the knit stitch. You start with garter stitch, knitting back and forth. Then you join it in the round, and just knit knit knit (and increase/decrease as needed) until you’re done. It makes for perfect quiet evenings. And once I figured out I could watch my Craftsy classes while knitting, things got even more perfect. Creating and learning at the same time – win!

And that’s all I have right now. Next up, a dress. See you then!

Gray Viajante

I don’t have a whole lot of pictures but I wanted to share this project with you because it was fun and easy and I love how it turned out. There haven’t been any knitting projects here lately, boo!, but at the end of June I finally felt inspired to pick up my needles once again and spent a fabulous week of knitting this lovely shawl. I used Cascade Heritage in charcoal. It’s a 75% wool, 25% nylon blend in fingering weight, 437 yds/100g. Easy to knit, doesn’t split, and produces a soft drapey fabric. I am in love with this yarn.

Viajante 1Viajante 2

The original is much longer but when I looked through the finished projects on Ravelry, I didn’t like how it looked on people in that size. So I made mine shorter. I was going for roughly two feet on the short side so it would cover my shoulder but leave most of my arm exposed. That would give it a nice diagonal line across my body without overwhelming my smallish frame.

Viajante blocking

It really has an interesting shape, doesn’t it?

I used two skeins of yarn, with a few grams left over. I could have continued the lace mesh but it’s such piddly work that once I had what I figured was enough length in the mesh, I bound off. I wanted a nice stretchy bind-off and found a really cool one. It’s easy and goes quickly. I’ll be using it again.

Modifications: on the short side, I used a centered double decrease (sl2tog, k1, psso) – it looks much nicer and doesn’t ladder. I only decreased every five rounds to prevent it from becoming a long narrow piece. I don’t want a chimney on my neck. On the long side, I increased by knitting into the center stitch three times: knit through the front loop, place marker, knit through the back loop, and then through the front loop again. This does require that you take the marker off the needles completely in order to knit this stitch but after a few rows you find a rhythm and it’s easy.

*** Update: here are pictures of the increases and the centered double decreases.

Viajante - decreases

You can see I started out with the decrease specified in the pattern (on the left side of the picture), then switched to the centered double decrease about 15 rounds in.

Viajante - increases

Pretty increases, right? No laddering at all. And it’s so easy too.

See you soon!

A little bit of this…

I just realized that I haven’t shown you my newly rearranged sewing studio. I moved the sewing cabinet into the corner to get a better flow and more airy feel for the room. I’m loving it now.

Sewing room

It feels so good to be there. I spent some time this week on tweaking the T-shirt dress pattern. I’m using a lovely shimmery gray knit to test this new version. It was supposed to be just a hip-length sweater to wear around the house but as I draped the fabric around myself, it said very clearly that I should make it into a dress. OK, dress it is then. It’s all cut out and waiting for me to sew it up.

Just cut out

In other news: a little more than two years ago, I started a major decluttering effort, in which I successfully eliminated all sorts of unneeded and duplicate items. This made my life (and subsequent move) easier. But wouldn’t you know, my effort was a bit too successful and I have now placed an order on Amazon to replace two of the books that fell victim to the big purge (top two books in the picture below).

Jean Frost books

With all the recent talk in the sewing blogosphere about Chanel-style jacket sew-alongs, the new Craftsy class, and all manner of inspirational pictures, it’s only natural that I’ve had silk-lined tweedy/textured jackets on my mind. Then as I was perusing Ravelry in search of knitting inspiration, I came across Leah’s Enchanted Emerald and Coco. (You can also see her other beautiful projects on Ravelry.) A-ha! I can knit my own fabric too. And you know it’s meant to be because in addition to the two books that I will once again own, there are two new books in the same collection – one about customizing the knitted jacket, and the other a stitchionary for knits with the look of wovens. Yes!!! I can hardly wait.

See you soon!

Fall knitting – lime green cardigan

Yay, it’s done! Actually, it’s been done for the last few days but I finally managed to take pictures so here goes:

Front view

Front view

I used the measurements from my old Georgie cardigan because I like how it fits. Did you notice that the sleeves are rolled up at the hem? Well, that would be because either the tape measure or the calculator lied. Or something. Anyway, I’m leaving it like that and calling it a cuff.

The yarn is fingering weight Nature Spun from Brown Sheep. It comes on cones. I love it. They named the color Spring Green. It’s bright and happy. Totally makes my day every time I look at it.

Side view

Side view

The front band is 32 rows of garter stitch on 2mm needles (size 0). It will be a while before the memory of knitting a gazillion tiny stitches fades. Suffice it to say that it took less than 7 hours total to knit the back, the fronts, and both sleeves, but the front band alone took more than that.

I was super excited to find out one evening how to make an I-cord on my machine (it’s right there in the manual, how cool is that?) and much to my husband’s chagrin I just had to try it right then. At 11:30pm. Not that he was doing anything important like sleeping, no, he was playing the Playstation. I think I’m excused.

Back view

Back view

I tried to put the arms on the dressform, I really tried, but after about 10 frustrating minutes I gave up. Not sure what happened there but those metal doodads just wouldn’t engage. So, back to the I-cord. Easy-peasy, this one is done on four needles. Next time, I will move the eyelets up an inch and a half so that the cord is at my waist. Now it’s closer to high hip, which is okay, but waist level would be better I think.

I have another machine knitted project in progress, the new SWAP rules have just been announced so there is planning to do, there will be fabric and yarn shopping on our upcoming trip stateside… all sorts of fun.

See you soon!

Good times…

What a fun month this has been. Not much blogging, well, not any blogging. Sorry about that. Let me catch you up.

First, shortly after I made those lime green PJs, I went to spend some time with my parents in Slovakia. It’s a roughly 10-hour trip one way so very much driveable. It was a great visit and I wore those green PJs so my mom would not have to comment about how everything I wear is black 🙂

Lime green sweater

Not to worry, there is more color coming to a closet near me – see? This will soon be a cardigan. Not black.

Then I brought my mom home with me for a couple of weeks and this is where things got busy. My mom spent just one night in our guest bedroom before she started making suggestions. Admittedly, the guest bedroom was very bare – just a platform with a mattress on it, and two dressers. First, mom wanted a chair so we took one from the dining table. Then she didn’t like how the bed was right under the window and “can we turn it the other way?” So I measured, brought out my trusty Super Sliders, and we moved and turned the bed. Now there was room for a night stand, only we didn’t have an extra one, so we bought one on our next Ikea trip a few days later. Oh, and a headboard would be nice. Yes, well, that would have to wait.

Mom had a few sewing projects for me – pants alterations, small fabric sachets to hold dried lavender, and a cover for her future heating pad. When she mentioned something about keeping her shoulders warm, I offered to make her a shrug. It was a quick project on the knitting machine – one piece, knitted sideways. She sewed up the sleeves and I crocheted around the edges. We even got do to some social fun stuff: going to a couple of meetings with my new-found knitting and quilting buddies. Mom was inspired to start knitting again, and we worked together to bind some charity quilts. Good times.

Quilt on the wall

Apologies for the poor photo – I can’t quite get the lighting right. The colors are much more vibrant in real life.

After mom left, I shifted into some serious home dec DIY gear. My new knitting friend has several quilts hanging on walls. Seeing this inspired me to hang my quilt, too. I’ve only made two – one I use on my bed, the other was supposed to be a couch quilt but we haven’t been using it. So on the wall it went. Invisibly, too.

Couch pillows

Next up were the couch pillows. I’ve thought buying new ones because the old ones just were not the right color. Instead, I bought some quilting fabric and made new covers for them. Now they’re washable, too. (Well, the covers are, not the pillows. And I had to make pillow forms for them, too. Would you have guessed that when you take off the outer fabric from a store-bought pillow, there is just stuffing? No plain fabric to keep it contained?)

Then I cleaned out my bedroom and hung some pictures there. And then I figured out the headboard for the guest bedroom. I’ll tell you all about it in the next post.

Fall sewing – lime green PJs

I washed the cotton for these pajama pants weeks ago. Then it was too hot in the sewing room. Then it was something else. Then I had fifteen million other things on my list. And then… I finally had enough of the procrastination. I ironed the fabric before I went to bed, cut out the pants the next morning and sewed them up that night.

PJs 2

I’m finding the yellow-green range impossible to capture correctly.

The fabric is Kona quilting cotton in Peridot. The pattern is my TNT pants pattern, Burda WOF 8/98 #106. It’s a pattern for wide-leg pleated-front pants with a wide curved waistband. I have made it many times over the years, with and without the pleats, in worsted wools, cottons, even denim, most recently as the black cotton pants in my summer 6-PAC. Two years ago, I turned it into a simple PJ pattern by eliminating the side seam, replacing the waistband with a casing for elastic, and narrowing the hem a bit. I loved the resulting pajama pants and wore them to shreds so of course I dug out that PJ pattern for this project.

PJs 3

The pants are a bright lime green. The “yellow” in the quilt is a much lighter version of the same color.

Between the cutting and sewing sessions, I knitted a couple of swatches in preparation for a cardigan project. First I made a tension swatch to get an idea of the fabric created at different tensions. You can see the holes on the right side of the swatches – the number of holes indicates the tension of the fabric above them.

Lime green swatches

The fabric is too loose at tension 6 and too firm at tension 2. Tensions 3-5 all resulted in nice fabric. I chose tension 4 for this project and made the second swatch – the gauge swatch. It has 34 stitches and 51 rows to 4″ square. I am using the basic shape of the Georgie cardigan, with quite a few modification. I have spent the better part of today making design decisions and calculating the pattern.

Peridot necklace fix

In other news, I did a little bit of necklace surgery last week. The pretty peridot torsade was a little too chunky (and heavy) for me so I cut off three strands of it. The remaining four strands make the perfect medium scale necklace for me.

How are your fall projects coming along? Please talk to me.


It seems like I’ve been sewing up a storm in black and white fabrics lately, even though I said I would be adding bright colors. The problem is my stash – about 90% of it is black and dark gray wool suitings, and the other 10% are cotton shirtings and heavier wool doubleknits – not suitable for my current plans.

But I really am adding bright colors to my wardrobe and fabric collection. I have recently bought these lovely cottons (plus a chartreuse one that I’m not sure why it’s not in the picture) at a quilting store.  See how nicely they harmonize with the Bright Winter color fan? These cottons are destined for PJs. I washed them all today so the project is imminent.
PJ fabrics

On the knitting front, I have been practicing edges, hems, and necklines on the knitting machine in preparation for larger projects. These are cut & sew samples. I don’t care for the neckline on the right, which was sewn on the sewing machine – it turned out wonky and I didn’t care much for the process. The other one is better in that it was rehung on the machine after cutting and the neckline trim knitted right onto the piece. My favorite sample is the houndstooth. I love houndstooth! It is such a classic, pretty pattern.
MK practice 1

On Saturday, I found this bright turquoise 100% cotton yarn at our local yarn store. It’s a good weight for knitting on the standard gauge machine. The gauge swatch is drying right now. I envision this as a cardigan but that may still change.
Baby Cotton by Lang Yarns

But wait, there’s more! (sounds like an infomercial, doesn’t it?) I also have some bright colored yarns coming in from what was my local yarn store when we lived in Wyoming.

And more still! I had requested samples of charcoal and lime green fabrics from Banksville Fabrics a couple of weeks ago and they came through as always. I placed my order on Friday so there will be more colorful fabrics coming soon.

See? My fabric collection is about to get very colorful. And then my wardrobe too. It’s exciting! These colors make me feel so happy that I just want to spread the joy. So stay tuned!